Tuesday, January 13, 2015

WW3 Reflections: Her Perspective

Swagggg!  Jacket and commemorative brick!
Well, last week certainly was something, to say the least.  I realize that this was an endurance challenge, and that it was.  I realize that all participants, and other runners in general, have faced unique individual triumphs and challenges, but this post is all about my personal experience with the WW3 endurance challenge.
Feature shot of the commemorative brick... we're scared to
put our bricks on our swag shelves... might break 'em!
The first part of the challenge that I wanted to reflect on was my commitment to training.  I didn't realize that I could be this committed to any training.  While training for RnRSav, I was fairly committed to my training plan, doing most of my mileage, just on different days or in a different order than what the plan called for.  Doing this challenge, I knew what was expected of me-- 6.2 every day, 7 days straight.  I made it work.  Despite work, fatigue, and other complications (like life and everything else in it), I was committed to my challenge: every day, every mile (and tenth of a mile).

Artsy shot of the swag, compliments of the mister
The second part of this challenge that I wanted to write about is the mental/emotional aspect.  Attitude is a very powerful thing.  Whether it be positive or negative, attitude affects everything.  And I'm gonna be honest, my attitude can be pretty crappy.  I have been battling with my negativity for a while, and although I love running, that can be a downfall.  This challenge helped me curb some negativity because I knew that I had to do my runs.  Not because I was being forced against my will.  But because I decided to commit and rise to the challenge.  Although some things didn't go exactly the way I wanted them to and the weather didn't cooperate (because duh, it's winter but that's the point of the challenge), but after my turning point on Day 5, I refueled my emotional gas tank and pulled out the motivation to finish strong.

Forgot to include this gem...my empty gas tank from Day 5!
Retrospect is an amazing thing, though.  Looking back, I am proud of my commitment and overcoming my obstacles.  Of course, at the time, I was tired, frustrated, and running low on time and energy, but now in retrospect, I am just proud.  Everybody else should be proud, too.  People who participated in WW3, runners in general, and oh, everybody else.  We're all overcoming something.
Be proud.
Just a little reflection food for thought...
Or just some quote I found on Pinterest and lovelovelove!

The greatest of these is SPIRIT.
So applicable for this past week.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

WW3 Day 7: DONE.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the moment we have all been waiting for is finally here!  WW3 is over.  Mr. Marathon and I have survived 7 days of cold, hard running.

Finishing strong
Our final run took place this afternoon.  We took off at the same time for the first time since Day 1.  It was cold again today, but warmer than previous days.  The sun was shining, so it felt nice and toasty.  Mr. Marathon's run was the most rewarding run of the week.  He finally decided to treat himself with listening to music while running, so that was a nice change of pace for him.  If he had gotten used to running with music all week, it would have gotten boring, so he was glad that he saved it for his victory run.  He also enjoyed seeing so many other runners on the trail today.  He felt extra motivated seeing everybody else suffering as well.  Despite the extra motivation, however, his foot was bothering him during most of his run, but now that he's done, his foot feels better, but his knee started aching.  I wonder why...

My run was just fine and dandy.  I had everything I needed, and I felt physically and mentally prepared.  Overall, today was a smashing success for both of us, and we are glad that it's over!  It's been challenging, but we did it.  For me: 7 days, 43.4 miles, 8 hours, 4 minutes, and 32 seconds.  For him: 7 days, 105 miles, 13 hours, 55 minutes, and 37 seconds.  Now, time to hibernate. Just kidding, can't let all this hard work go to waste! :)

Mrs: 6.2 miles, 1:07:41
Mr: 15.01 miles, 1:53:33

Yeah, we're awesome.  Deal with it.

Friday, January 9, 2015

WW3 Day 6: Almost There!

Action selfie!
Well, folks, we're almost there.  WW3 is coming to a close, with our final run tomorrow.

Day 6!
Today's run was much much better for me.  The temperature was way up today compared to Wednesday and Thursday, so I knew I would get to go back outside where I belong!  I was excited to get back outside and I was feeling good after my refueling run yesterday, so I made super extra sure that I had all my stuff packed: layered clothes, shoes, gloves, SHOES, watch, all that good stuff.  I was looking forward to my run all day long!  Nothing was stopping me!  Then, this afternoon, I suffered from a random nosebleed.  I have never gotten a nosebleed ever, so this afternoon it really took me by surprise.  (If this is TMI, sorry.... but come on, you should expect this by now!)  I was really scared to run after this happened, because I didn't want to cause it to start bleeding again.  But I was still excited to run outside again, so I braved the elements and took off.  I kept slowing down during the first half of my run because my nose kept running and I started panicking, thinking my nose had started bleeding again.  But, it was just boogers!  Wait, that's still gross.  Sorry not sorry! Moving on, though, my run was a million times better than my treadmill runs, and I felt really good after finishing, which was very nice this close to the end of the week.

Mr. Marathon decided to take extra precautions since the past few runs he has had, he has finished up completely starving.  He decided that today he was going to stuff himself throughout the day, but with good stuff.  So as he took off this afternoon for his 6th 15-miler (!!!!!!), he felt a little unsure of his run.  He was stuffed full of good food, but mentally not prepared.  He couldn't figure out what course to run, so he settled for 3 mile repeats, which was five 3-mile laps.  He just kept counting down, and while counting down, he just kept telling himself, One more run after this, and you will be DONE!  That's what got him through today-- thinking about the sense of accomplishment he is going to feel after tomorrow.  He has told me that tomorrow will be one of the best runs, but it's also going to be one of the hardest runs physically.  He made a good point that emotionally it will be a huge relief to be done, but our muscles, joints, and bones have been pushed to their limits.  So, check back tomorrow to see how we're feeling...

6 down, 1 to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Then, recovery time!

For now, enjoy some pictures chronicling today's run:

It was a gorgeous afternoon!

The creek along the trail was still frozen a bit.  Brr!

We saw other fellow WW3 runners.
These guys are doing the 10 mile distance.

Hubbs was on top of the bridge overlooking the trail,
taking paparazzi pictures of me!

Mrs: 6.2 miles, 1:07:51

Mr: 15 miles, 2:01:50

Thursday, January 8, 2015

WW3 Day 5:
Things Are About to Get Deep

We're over halfway through the What's Your Wall? challenge.  It's all downhill from here.  Except when we run tomorrow and Saturday.  We'll probably hit an uphill then.  But then we'll get to go downhill too, I'm sure.

Love me some Mean Girls... it really helped pass the time!
Today's run was much better for me.  I still had to hit the treadmill, since the windchill was so low and I'm a pansy.  I was dreading running on the treadmill today.  As I got in my car after work to head out for my run, I noticed in my running bag, I forgot my running shoes.  The most important part of a run, and I forgot.  I was angry about forgetting, and having to drive all the way back home then all the way back.  I was getting very irritated about the whole thing.  And then, halfway home, my gas light came on.  I'm very obsessive, so I wanted to get home and get my shoes, but I realized that I needed to stop for gas before I ran out.  I made it to the gas station near my house, then I paused.  This is where things start to get deep.  Today I was afraid of running out of gas in my car, but I was also afraid of running out gas physically and emotionally.  This week has been long, challenging, and tiring.  So as I pumped my gas, I reflected on the fact that we have already completed over half of this challenge.  We are rocking it out, and getting it done.  Mr. Marathon is running in the cold, and I am running on a treadmill-- both things we're not exactly fans of, but we're doing it.  So I filled up my literal and figurative gas tank, went home, got my shoes, returned to the treadmill, and conquered it, with the help of Netflix and Mean Girls.

Action treadmill selfie!  Sorry it's blurry.
I tried.
Post run selfie!

Hubbs conquered his chilly run today with about 15 pounds of layered clothing, limited foot pain (yay!) and only moderate knee pain, with a touch of back pain.  Nothing too bad to ruin his run.  He just keeps saying he's getting old... riiiiiiight.

5 down, 2 to go.  Only 2 more runs and we have successfully completed the What's Your Wall? challenge!!!!!!!!!  And what's the great thing about this, you ask?  We get to have our very own bricks!  You know, like the ones you build houses with.  Yeah, pretty badass huh?  But we're probably not going to build a house with them...  We also get a pretty cool jacket.  Be jealous.
Mr: 15 miles, 2:11:29

Mrs: 6.204 miles, 1:06

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

WW3 Day 4:
Treadmill vs. Cold

Day 4 of our challenge proved to be even more challenging than previous days.  As many of you who live around here are aware, it's, um, COLD to say the least.  The high for today was below 30, with a wind chill of even lower, so we were both pretty torn.  Brave the cold, or settle for a treadmill?  Run on a hamster-wheel, or potentially freeze?  Decisions, decisions.  So hubbs opted for the dangerous option, running outside.  I, on the other hand, settled for a treadmill run.  Both of us had our struggles, though.
Hardcore ninja runner!
Mr. Hardcore set off for his afternoon stroll after bundling up.  His 15 miles were tough.  He was literally freezing for his run.  His water bottle had ice forming around the top, and his mask covering his nose, mouth, and neck started forming ice crystals from the condensation of his breath!  And at this point in the week, the challenge is taking its toll physically on him.  His back is aching, knees are sore, and the bottom of his foot is suspiciously starting to bother him....  He says it will be interesting to tackle these lasts 3 runs.  He may even have to settle for a treadmill run with me, seeing as the high for tomorrow is 29, not counting the wind chill.

Frozen water bottle

My treadmill run was emotionally taxing.  First of all, let me tell you that I am not a very coordinated person.  I'm not coordinated in anything I do.  Fortunately, running doesn't require much coordination.  Concentration, yes, but not much coordination.  While I run outside on a trail or track, I can hold my own at a steady pace, trucking along.  Sometimes, I'll lose concentration and fall of the side of a trail, but I'll snap back into the groove and carry on, mostly unharmed.  However, let me tell you that a treadmill is different.  It requires concentration AND coordination.  I kept zoning out and my foot kept hitting the sides of the treadmill.  Every time my feet went off the rails, I was terrified that I would go flying off the back into the wall behind me!  This happened four or five times.  I'm not a fan.  Also, trying to stay focused on what I was doing proved especially difficult, considering I was trying desperately to distract myself from the fact that I wasn't going anywhere.  I was miserably bored.  Each mile dragged on longer than the one before.  But I did it, and it was nice that I could wear capris and a short-sleeved shirt and be comfortable.

4 down, 3 to go.

Oh, and just so you know, this evening I got out of the shower and went to the living room to see this:

My lovely husband has his foot in my crockpot soaking it in hot water to make it feel better.  He was having a hard time finding a container big enough and sturdy enough to fill with hot water.  So he tore apart the kitchen and decided on my crockpot.  He promises that it will be sanitized by the next time I have to use it though, so it's all ok.

Mr: 15:01, 2:05:43
Mrs: 6.2, 1:14

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

WW3 Day 3:
The Day Everything Went Wrong

Ok, so everything didn't go wrong.  My title is a bit dramatic.  I'll start this post off with a positive note and tell you what went right:

  1.  We finished.

Now that that's over, let me tell you what went wrong in my third 6.2-mile run of the week.

A little motivation... all true about this run
except for the "early" part
  1. As I was packing my stuff this morning, I was rushing a little bit.  That being said, this afternoon after work when I changed, I realized that I had grabbed my tights, two jackets, a compression shirt, socks, shoes, and a pair of compression shorts.  That pair of compression shorts though, I didn't need.  I don't wear compressions with my tights.  However, the reason I'm telling you this is because those compressions in my rushed morning preparations, I thought were my sports bra.  So, I didn't have a sports bra.  Runner chicks, you know how it is.  This piece of running attire is very important, regardless of chest size.  Running without the proper garment in that area is very difficult.  I didn't realize that it would bother me as much as it did.  Between the girls not being properly contained and it being cold and bothering my asthma, my chest was starting to get really tight and achy.  But enough about my boobs.
  2. After realizing that I had forgotten my sports bra while changing before my run, I was confused about the amount of moisture on some of my clothes.  Apparently, my water bottle that I must run with at all times had been slowly leaking all day into my running bag.  Most of my clothes were slightly damp, which in the cold is really not the best idea, but I could deal.  The part that upset me was that my headband that covers my ears up and keeps them toasty warm that I have to wear in temperatures below 50 degrees was DRENCHED.  No possibility of drying it off.  Soaked.  Unwearable.  Bright side!  I had my ear buds that I stuffed into my ears which kept some of the bitter cold wind out of my ears.  But enough about my ears.
  3. As I mentioned, my water bottle leaked.  It also got the strap soaked, so I couldn't carry my water bottle with me unless I wanted my hand to turn into a handsicle.  I always like to have my water bottle with me because I am a mouth breather, so having water to wet my whistle is important.  Also, I keep my inhaler in the little pocket.  So I was lost without it.  But enough about my unnatural attachment to my water bottle.
  4. It was COLD.  That is all.

Enough about my drama.  Hubbs had his 15 mile run, and he headed out after work (he gets out an hour or so earlier than me), so he was out on the trail a little bit before me.  He was trying to be helpful after completing his run on his own, but he wanted to see me so he did 2 extra miles that caused him to feel like he was about to die.  He felt like he was going to freeze or starve, but he didn't know what would happen first.  He finally saw me with a half mile to go, and he limped all the way to his car to bundle up and relax!

Despite the problems, we did it.  And I guess we still love to run.  Or something like that.  3 down, 4 to go.  Almost halfway!

Mr: 15 miles, 1:54:43
Mrs: 6.21, 1:08:43

Monday, January 5, 2015

WW3: Day 2

Is today seriously only Day 2 of the What's Your Wall? challenge??????  The correct answer is yes, yes it is.  Anyway, today we took on our runs, despite me having to go back to work (boo!).

Hubbs was lazy today and doesn't have to go back to work until tomorrow.  Just kidding!  Of course he wasn't lazy.  He still ran 15 miles.... so totally not lazy.  He got to do his run this morning and enjoy the cool, brisk day.  As he was enjoying the morning, he was hoping that his knee would not continue (!) to bother him, because it had started to ache just a little yesterday, along with his back.  He claims that it's old age....  But today, he began his run wearing his knee brace to ward off any lingering pains, but he ended up taking it off after the first 3 miles and didn't look back.  He ended up having a successful, although tough, second day.

I, on the other hand, had to wait until the afternoon to run after work, and it actually started getting dark on me by the end, as you can see in my picture... but I still got in my 6.2.  Since he still had some energy after his morning run, he rode alongside me for my run.  AwWwWwWw ToTes AdOrBs!!!!
Mr.: 15 miles, 1:52:53
Mrs.: 6.21 miles, 1:09:59  

2 days down, 5 to go!  And unfortunately it's looking a little extra chilly Wednesday and Thursday.... Yikes!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

WW3: Day 1

So, my mister and I have taken on a new endurance challenge that a lot of our friends are doing.  They talked us into doing this crazy awesome challenge.  A local running and tri store has posed this challenge apparently twice before, but we had never heard of it.  This challenge is called What's Your Wall? 3 (WW3).  The premise of this challenge is to commit to a distance and run that distance every day for 1 week.  Like, 7 consecutive days.  Meaning, no rest days.  Hence, the challenge.  Also, the additional challenge of it being winter is added in, so of course we signed up and we're off!

I signed up for the 10K distance, so my challenge is to do 6.2 miles every day from today (Sunday) through Saturday.  Of course, Mr. Marathon had to do the highest mileage possible.  He selected the 15 mile challenge.  Yikes!

Today was Day 1.  It was a yucky, gray, slightly rainy, but not too cold morning.  Hubbs set his alarm for waaaaaaay too early during Christmas break to get a head start on his 15 miler.  Because I'm only signed up for the 10K distance, I couldn't keep up with him anyhow.  Also, we like to meet up with our running posse on Sunday mornings, so instead of making them run 15 miles with him, he just ran to meet us.  And then kept on running....!  So we kept on running with him.  After leaving our house, he ran to the trail where we usually run, which was 8.4 miles down, then he just jumped right in on the trail to finish up the next 6.6, no break, no stop, no nothing!  As a matter of fact, one of the other running friends didn't want to hold him back, so of course he ran harder and stepped up his game.  It is a challenge, after all, right???  Right!

Mr.: Day 1
Mrs.: Day 1
Anyway, 1 down, 6 to go.  Stay tuned for (hopefully) daily updates!