Sunday, March 23, 2014

Who is Mrs. Marathon?

In November 2012, Mr. Marathon did a post explaining who he is (read it here).  Now, it's finally my turn.  So, who am I?

How I Started Running

Mr. Marathon had been running since high school.  When we started dating back in high school, he tried to get me to go run around his high school track and I though "Ew, why would I want to do that???"  He was all into fitness and whatnot, but I was starting to get away from fitness.  I did gymnastics when I was way younger.  I tried some exercise classes, like yoga, Fit Ball, and kickboxing.  I was on the swim team in high school, but I slowly faded away from being healthy and fit.

Me, weighing about 117
I keep this picture as a reminder of how fit I can be.
And it was starting to show.  I went from 115 pounds in high school to almost 140 pounds.  I thought to myself "That's it.  I've gotta do something about this."  I was stumped though.  What in the world could I do to lose my extra weight?  I had no idea.  So, I started using My Plate on and began to track my calories daily.  The weight started coming right off!  I got to 125 pounds and then the weight loss stopped.  I needed something else to keep me going.  I kept racking my brain trying to figure out what I was missing.

Then I thought, hey... my husband runs marathons.  Um, maybe I should try running!  So I did.  I set a goal to run my first 5K, the Great Goblin Gallop.  I set that goal in August 2011 to run the race in October 2011.  I trained and trained, and met my goal!  I wanted to run it in 45 minutes or faster, and then when the time came I ran it in 39 minutes!  I was so proud and addicted to running!  I kept running 5Ks, and then tried a 10K, and kept on loving it.  Thanks to all this running, I had met my goal weight of 120 pounds, and kept losing weight until I reached 117!

Disney Princess Half!

I decided to try a half marathon when I stumbled upon the Disney Princess Half Marathon on Pinterest.  I thought "OMG there is no other race that could possibly be more perfect for me!"  because I love Disney, and let's face it, I'm obviously a princess.  I signed up, and started training, and completed the race in February 2012 (read part 1 here and part 2 here) .

Girls on the Run 5K, December 2013
Since my first half marathon, I have completed three more half marathons, a few 5Ks, and some 10Ks despite physical and emotional challenges, including (but not limited to) a hurt knee, slight Achilles pain, breathing problems, (suspected but never diagnosed) plantar fasciitis, feeling unmotivated, anxiety, and so much more.

Where I Am Now

Currently, I am a rookie third grade teacher and full time wife.  I started teaching in August, which of course has been my #1 priority since then, not leaving a whole lot of time for running.  Also, being a wife is pretty time consuming too, with all that cooking and cleaning and stuff, but I'm getting pretty used to that since Mr. Marathon and I have been married for over 3 and a half years!

Post-run selfies... gotta love 'em
Anyway, I have decided recently to take myself one step further.  I have done 5Ks, 8Ks, 10Ks, 15Ks, and half marathons, and I would ultimately love to tackle a full marathon.  It will be difficult, I know, but I feel like with some serious training and continued motivation from Mr. Marathon, I will be able to achieve it... eventually!  I want to run a full marathon for many reasons.  First and foremost, it is very embarrassing for me to admit after bragging about my awesome weight loss, but I have gained weight again.  I have hit 130 once again, and that is the weight that I promised myself I would never get back to.  I need to get it under control because it is not only affecting my body image and wardrobe, but it's also affecting my running.  I feel the extra weight while running and it is really slowing me down.  A lot of things have made it difficult to eat right and exercise as much as I should, so I hope that setting this goal will help kick me outta my funk!  In addition to the weight thing, I want to better myself overall.  I have been searching for something to make me feel good about myself for a long time now, and nothing feels better than finishing a good run, or hitting a PR, or accomplishing a new distance, so of course, a full marathon is the only logical thing to do, right?  Not that running a full marathon is ever truly logical! Haha!

Things that I Love and Cannot Live Without (besides running, duh)!

Adorable coffee mugs and delicious flavored coffee

All things chocolate... I have a terrible sweet tooth.  Might explain my frequent weight fluctuations....

I lovelovelove motivational pics I find on Facebook and Pinterest!

Seriously, love them.

What, did you think I was kidding?

They really keep me going when I'm in a funk.

And last but not least: Mr. Marathon, of course!  I love being silly with him!

Well, anyway, there you have it.  All about me, Elizabeth.  Or Mrs. (soon to be) Marathon.  Hopefully one day I will live all the way up to that title.  I hope you will all follow my journey to 26.2.  I will need all the support I can get!

Martinsville Half Marathon 2014

Mr. Marathon, his running buddy Lucas,
and new friend from DC that came in 6th place
right after Mr. Marathon

Yesterday, Mr. Marathon and I participated in the Martinsville Half Marathon.  This year was his 4th year running the half and it was my 2nd year.  Last year, we fell in love with this race (read about it here).  This year was a teeny bit different.  The weather was much better (cloudy and about 50 degrees), but the race was just missing something.  As we started towards the starting line, the whole thing just felt kind of off.  There were limited portapotties and they had some technical issues that threw the race off about 20 minutes or so.  The race seemed to be missing some of the joie de vivre (that's a French phrase often used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life) that it had last year.  And we noticed that from the get-go.

Mr. Marathon and his awesome stride to the finish!
Anyway, after we took off running, it seemed like a great day for a race.  For Mr. Marathon, it was.  He set a PR at 1:29:01!  All of his training and dedication really paid off.  Mr. Marathon's running buddy, Lucas, also set a PR of 1:29:26.... not far behind!  Mr. Marathon feels like he could have done better because he feels like he could have pushed himself even more than he did (which I think is CRAZY because he did AWESOME!).  His legs were giving out, but everything else wanted to keep on going!  Let's add more training to the To-Do list before his upcoming marathons!

Mrs. Marathon crossing the finish line,
slowly but surely
 I, on the other hand, must have not trained enough or something.  A recurring breathing problem of mine came back just a few short days ago and affected my final days of training and of course my race, but I was just happy to finish!  It was so weird that for once, my entire body felt fantastic-- my Achilles wasn't bothering me, my knee felt strong, and my feet were ready to run!  All was well except my chest felt tight and I was struggling to catch a good breath.  Obviously that affected my pace significantly and no PR for me this year.

Beautiful medals this year!
Another thing that we feel could have improved our run would be the aforementioned joie de vivre.  Last year's race was overflowing with enthusiasm and excitement, in runners, volunteers, and spectators.  This year, that was not the case.  There really weren't enough volunteers.  Fortunately we knew the course or else we for sure would have gotten lost due to the lack of course attendants.  Water stops were really missing the umph to keep us motivated.  Turn arounds were uneventful and bland.  And there was no music at the end.  Or water (!!!!!).  The end seemed a little blah.  Although we did get nice bling and a comfy blanket!  I guess we just got spoiled to last year's amazing event.

Mr. Marathon is really looking forward to the Blue Ridge experience; however, we don't know if Raleigh is going to knock the Blue Ridge out of the water.  Stay tuned to find out!

Monday, March 17, 2014

March Update and the Final Countdown to Race Day!

This week's weather...
yes this is the same week
4 days, 21 hours, 22 minutes til RACE DAY!  That's right, folks, it is almost time for the Martinsville Half Marathon!  This Saturday is the day we have been training for!  And we hope we will do well, even though it's currently snowing and sleeting (and I'm off school for a snow day... whaaaaat?? and Mr. Marathon is on SPRING break...).  No outdoor run for us... or well me, anyway.  The forecast is not looking good for last minute training, but Saturday/race day is looking a little better temperature-wise, although there is a chance for rain.  I would rather run in warm rain than in snow, sleet, ice, and cold, so I'm good!

Love my new lime green laces to spice up
my neon coral New Balances!

Anyway, I would like to take this opportunity to brag on Mr. Marathon and his mileage for the month of March.  Thanks to his new running buddy and my newly rediscovered motivation, he has been racking up the miles... 102.13 this month to be exact!  Wowie zowie!  He has taken a few good distance training runs, along with some long distance training runs, including a 20-miler last Friday.  He is determined to be ready for his two upcoming marathons: Rock and Roll Raleigh and the Blue Ridge Marathon.  And it's looking good at this point.  I, on the other hand, have a mere 48.6 miles for the month, and hopefully that will be enough for me to be successful on Saturday!

Hopefully we will have the opportunity to get a few more miles in by the end of this week.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

From Snow to 60 Degrees in Seven Days... And It's Not Stopping Us!

This week we have really put some boogie in it!  Despite some crazy Virginia weather, we have managed to put in some decent mileage for the first time in a long time.  The Martinsville Half Marathon is only 12 days, 12 hours and 49 minutes away (I have a countdown on my phone, sorry)!!!!  So far for the month of March we have......
Mr. Marathon: 61.8 miles
Mrs. Marathon: 32.1 miles

Going back to the crazy Virginia weather, Mr. Marathon has taken a few brave snow runs the past week: one 13 miler with flurries coming down, and then a 9 miler with 4 inches of snow on the trail.  He is so dedicated!  Sometimes.  When he feels like it.... HAHA!

Enjoying post-run Taco Bell
(healthy choices right??)
The snow has mostly melted, and today was 60 degrees, so we did our practice half.  We ran the entire Martinsville Half course, at my pace.  I did it 2 minutes faster than last year's practice too!  That gives me hope that I'll be able to do even better than last year, but we'll have to wait and see...  Despite a bloody toe and an injured thumb (weird right?), I feel really good about our practice run considering I have not run that far since November!

Also, Mr. Marathon's fundraising is going pretty well!  He is 42% of the way to his goal of raising $500 for Team V for Cancer Research!  Help him meet his goal by April 13 by donating on his behalf!!!!!

Stay tuned, because we are expecting great things!  And probably some more snow.... according to our 10-day forecast... YIKES!

Monday, March 3, 2014

11.5 Miles, 4 Sore Legs, 2 Runs, 1 Wake-up Call

Birthday 3 miler (February 22)
Hello, everybody we are BACK!  And we are SORE!  One more than the other....  This past weekend we started out March on the right track.  We have been a little lazy lately, with really low mileage in the month of February, but we started out this month with 2 runs: 7.5 miles on Saturday and 4 miles on Sunday.  This past weekend was beautiful, so we had to take advantage of it considering we are under winter storm warnings today.  Crazy, right?

Regardless, I considered these runs this weekend to be a wake up call.  I really jumped right back into my long distance running, but we made sure to go for distance only, not speed.  I was really slow and steady, doing more of a run/walk, but I made it!  Both of our runs, we made sure to run segments of the upcoming Martinsville Half Marathon for practice.  Next weekend, we hope to run a full practice.... hopefully.  Depending on weather and how sore our (my) legs are.

I have taken on a new extra-curricular activity at school recently.  I am now a coach for my school's team of Girls on the Run!  Girls on the Run is "to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running," which is the mission of the organization.  The program lasts 10 weeks, and at the end, the girls get the opportunity to run a 5K and show off what they have been training for (and all their mad skills!).  I am coaching my team, and I am running with them two days a week as well.  So hopefully this can count toward some training for me!  I am having a great time so far coaching, and I can't wait until April 12 when we run our 5K!

Mr. Marathon is SUPER EXCITED.  He found a running buddy, Lucas, who shares the same enthusiasm and the same goal (and the same pace) as him.  They both ultimately want to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and they decided they are both going to run an upcoming qualifier:  Rock and Roll Raleigh.  However, Mr. Marathon isn't just going to run this marathon.  He is running for a good cause. He is running to benefit Team V for cancer research.  His goal is to raise $500 before race day (April 13) for Team V.  But he can't do this on his own!  He needs your help to reach his goal!  If you'd like to make a completely tax-deductible donation on his behalf to Team V's cancer research, check out his fundraising page here!!

We hope to keep you updated on our upcoming endeavors.  We promise we won't leave you hanging!

Until next time,
Mr. & Mrs. Marathon