Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2 Races, 18 total miles, 5 Days Apart

It has taken me forever to get around to this post, but I have a little bit to brag about.  Despite not having time or energy to run lately, there were two races I really wanted to run:  the Star City Half Marathon and a Thanksgiving Day run.

The Star City Half Marathon was held on November 23, and I signed up for it way before I really should have.  I ran a little beforehand, and I was not physically or mentally ready for this race.  Also, I had not run enough in cold weather to become acclimated to the chilly temperatures.  But regardless, I ran it with a great attitude.  Until the 10K mark, anyway..  This race was a half marathon and 10K, and the half marathon course passed right by the 10K finish.  By this point my knee had started to hurt and I was really tempted to cut off my 13.1 into a 6.2.  I was not even halfway and my knee was giving out.  Between the cold weather and the hilly course, I was in pain.  But I toughed it out, ending with a time of which I am not proud.

Elevation Map of the Star City Half..... I loved that climb between miles 6 and 8

However, 5 days later would be Thanksgiving Day.  I have wanted to do a Thanksgiving Day run for the past three years, but it just hasn't worked out.  This year, (before the Star City) I committed to finding a race on Thanksgiving Day that my dad, Mr. Marathon, and I could all run.  Since we were visiting family out of state, I planned ahead for that too, and found a race about 30 minutes away from where we were staying.  It was a decent-sized, first year 8K in downtown Athens, Georgia.  It had a very small-town feel to it that we are all used to, but it was COLD.  Oh my word, it was so so so cold!!!!  It was definitely below freezing, even by the 9:00 AM start time.  And by the time we had finished it didn't seem to warm up at all.  Despite being frigid for the whole 4.9 miles, we all made it through.  Mr. Marathon finished first in his age group!  So exciting!

Isn't he adorable????

Also, I have to brag on Mr. Marathon.  He has recently gotten back into running with a friend of his (who is not as slow as I am).  Today, he managed to finish out his first semester of college and hit the road on a 13 mile training run!  SO PROUD.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Patriot Trail Run 5K

This past Saturday, I, Mr. Marathon, had the privilege of participating in Patrick Henry Community College's inaugural 5K trail run:  The Patriot Trail Run 5K.  Many people were under the impression that it was just that:  a trail run.

Waiting at the starting line
However, they were mistaken.  The intention of this race was to be a fitness challenge obstacle course along with a 5K trail run.  On the course, there were various fitness stations, including a Burpee Station in case you wanted to taste last night's dinner (ew... yum?), a Jackknife Station to make ALL parts of your body (arms, legs, and abs) feel the pain/joy of being alive, a bucket-carry (buckets full of water.... not just regular buckets!), and many random other obstacles including jumbo-sized hay bales, low-crawls, a cargo net, and balance beams.  Sounds like a lot, right? Well that's not all!  Imagine all of these obstacles in addition to a 3.1 mile run on a very hilly terrain.  It was quite a challenge!  Oh, and to top it all off, I got lost.  Hooray!  So I ended up adding a little bit of mileage to my course.

Mr. Marathon and all the other winners
But that didn't stop me.  Despite all the challenges I encountered, I managed to make pretty good time of 23 minutes and 24 seconds, which got me the first place overall finisher!  That's not bad for getting lost!  It's also not bad that I got a pretty nice plaque to hang with my collection.

The next race for us will be the Star City Half-Marathon in 17 days!  Today we took a 7-mile training run, so we'll see how that goes...  Wish us luck!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Goblin Gallop 5K: Take 3

Last Saturday, Mr. Marathon and I participated in the Goblin Gallop for the third year in a row!  We had a great time, despite the rainy, chilly weather.  This year, it was not only us on "Team Garcia."  We convinced a few other friends and family members run with us: my dad, Mr. Marathon's mom and nieces, and one of his good friends.  We all had a blast, but even better: we all won a medal!  All of us placed in our age groups, except for Mr. Marathon.  Because he placed second overall, duh.  He also won another award that I'm totally jealous of.  He won the costume contest!  And he wasn't even trying!  We decided to wear some striped tights to fit the Halloween theme.  However, the reason I am jealous is because we were pretty much wearing the EXACT same thing, and he won.... but I didn't....  RUDE! It must have been his orange shoes that matched his orange tights.  LAME.

Today we also hit the trail with my dad for a chilly, wonderful 4-miler.  We really really want to get back into our groove, which I lost because I have been so busy with my third graders and Mr. Marathon lost because of school and soccer.  The upcoming race for right now is the Patriot Trail Run 5K.

Mr. Marathon is signed up for this one, but I'm not sure about it.... trail running... hmmm.... Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Harvest Moon 10K, 2013

This past Friday, Mr. Marathon and I hit the trail for our second annual running of the Harvest Moon 10K here in Martinsville, VA.  We both ran it in better time than the previous year, which is a good start for our Fall 2013 running season!  Mr. Marathon cut his time down to 39:31, and mine was 1:10:45 (which still stinks, I know...).

We attribute our success (read about last year's race here).
to running the course multiple times before raceday.  We were ready, mentally and physically, for the run that was such a challenge to us just a year ago.

Also, we celebrated one major success last Friday night.  My dad ran it with us!  For the first time in longer than he'd like to admit, he ran a race!  And he BEASTED.  He finished in 1:05 and some change, so he beat me!  He ran once with us for training, and he managed to cut off 10 additional minutes from the training run.  I am so proud!  To quote a strange little boy from a trampoline park, "It's cool that an old guy can do that!"

Anyway, we are still looking forward to some upcoming races.  We have to register for the Paint the Town 5K next weekend.  This is like a Color Run, but a local equivalent.  We missed out on a Color Run that was near us in June, so we are really looking forward to this one!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Un-Slumper Run

A page from my favorite Dr. Seuss book, Oh, The Places You'll Go!
Today was a beautiful day for a comeback run.  I was hoping to run the Harvest Moon 10K that is in less than two weeks.  But since I have been in such a slump, I didn't think I would be able to make it the 6 miles.  However today, I proved myself wrong.  Mr. Marathon and I woke up and hit the trail and ran the course of the Harvest Moon Run and I did it.  I completed the course.  In time that was only 2 minutes longer than my race time last year, as well.  I was so proud that I could run the 6 miles, let alone in good time.  I was telling myself that if I could finish it, I was doing okay.  But I felt like myself again running that distance.  My feet hurt a little and I was kinda achy and really really really itchy, but I didn't care.

So I'm gonna get me a registration form for the Harvest Moon 10K and kick my hiney into gear.  I will be doing hopefully one more run of the course between now and September 6 (race day!), as well as other shorter runs and some speed training.  Also, I will be closely watching my diet (fruits and protein will be my focus), and doing some Insanity (remember when we used to do that? heh....) and hopefully it will all pay off on race day.

Also, we will be using the Harvest Moon as a warm up run to the fall 2013 season of our running.  Upcoming races include:

Paint the Town 5K: September 21

Star City Half Marathon: November 23

Danville Half Marathon: October 5

Richmond Marathon: November 16
Richmond Half Marathon: November 16

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Helgramite Hustle Mud Run 5K

Last week, Mr. Marathon abandoned his normal road running for a new, more challenging terrain.  He registered for the Helgramite Hustle Mud Run that is held at the Smith River Sports Complex in conjunction with the Smith River Fest.  Oh, and he signed up for it on a whim.  He just thought to himself, "Oh!  This sounds delightfully fun!" and just went for it.  Little did he know what we was in for.  He says that running in the mud and completing all of the obstacles was very challenging.  He says he was SO TIRED during the run.  He says that he felt like he was slowing down.  Well I say WHATEVER.  I was watching him and did not see any of this.
Beginning of the race.   He is wearing the white shirt, jumping.

First of all, there was a big mud puddle to start out the race.  He "accidentally" ran around it.  He tippy toed around the puddle and then took off while others were wading through the mud and water. Then, he was off.  I decided to spectate only, and so I went across the festival to about mile 1.5 or so, where he would be running through shortly.  I was poised and ready with my camera.  We heard people splashing down the creek, and there he was, coming in first, speeding around the curve and I saw him climb up the rope out of the creek and he was gone.  So, I ran back to the starting line (also the finish line) and waited.  And waited.  It was so hot, and I was in suspense.  The finish line was on the other side of a field that the runners would be coming through.  They were going to pop out of the woods and then run through the field so I was watching the woods for a muddy Mr. Marathon.  I continued to wait, and then I saw a lone runner emerge.  I was so excited!  I couldn't tell if it was him at first, but then I realized that he was prancing, umm, I mean, running, in his usual style.  He was the first one, by a long shot.  He came running through the field over and through the final two obstacles with time for a quick dip in the puddle before victoriously crossing the finish line with a time of 22:45!

After he finished and  soaked up all the glory (and mud), the Axton Fire Department hosed him off so he could be camera-ready for an interview with a local news station.  After his interview, he went for a swim in the Smith River to cool off.  SO PROUD!  Even though he was muddy for days.... oh well!

Sunday, August 4, 2013


I've been trying this lately....
Ahh, embarrassment: an emotion most of us know all too well.  Embarrassment is also the reason for the delay in this blog post.  I haven't posted in months for a multitude of reasons and excuses, but I know that you don't care.  So I'll skip all that and get right to the point.  I get embarrassed.  A lot.  And currently I am embarrassed because I have hardly been running this summer.  I keep telling myself I need to kick it into gear before the school year starts (I'm starting my FIRST YEAR as a third grade teacher... SO EXCITED!!), but somehow, I just can't find the motivation to just run.  I have taken a few 3-milers and quick 1 mile loops around my neighborhood, but past that, I can't seem to find it in me to really get back to my training.  Mr. Marathon has been biking
and playing soccer and staying active other ways, and he recently started running a little more.  So he's at least better off than me.  We are both (supposedly) training for a few upcoming events, including (but certainly not limited to): the Danville Half Marathon, Richmond Marathon/Half (respectively), and the Star City Half Marathon.

My new kicks....
yes I am modeling them in the middle of the road

I bought new running shoes in hopes that I would become a little more motivated.... let's see if it works.  I've run a grand total of 4 miles in them in the past two weeks.  HAH.

So now I know I have some loyal readers out there.  I have a favor to ask of you: either comment here, on Facebook, or email me your mantras for when times get tough.  I need a little extra motivation to overcome my embarrassment.  Can't wait to hear from you!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Blue Ridge Marathon: America's Toughest Road Marathon!

Today marks the fourth annual running of the Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke, VA!  Today was also the fourth time I, Mr. Marathon, have run the Blue Ridge Marathon.  What a coincidence!  Well not really, because I've run it every year.  But anyway!  I would like to tell you why this is the most awesome marathon ever.

First of all, this year's race was dedicated to Boston.  Runners were running in honor of those affected by the tragedy that occurred earlier this week.  It was very touching that the community came together even stronger in the midst of such a sad event.  This shows
you that runners are just one big family, coming together from all the nations of the world.

The, there's the most obvious reason:  this is officially AMERICA'S TOUGHEST ROAD MARATHON, and this year's course was EVEN TOUGHER than years past, thanks to Mother Nature.  Flooding earlier this week caused parts of the course to be inaccessible so they had to add extra elevation to make the runners happier.  Or more miserable.  Whichever you prefer.  But speaking of Mother Nature:  she couldn't have been nicer to us this morning!  Considering that yesterday there were tornado watches and severe thunderstorm warnings all over the place, we got pretty lucky this morning.  It was all cleared up.  It started off a little chilly and really breezy at about 48 degrees and ended up warming up to about 55 degrees (but still really windy!) by the time that I finished.  So it was awesome in my opinion!  I LOVED the weather.  In addition to perfect weather, they had awesome volunteers as well as residents from the Roanoke area setting out tables full of yummies for the runners (which was totally awesome!) all along the course.  Sorry for sounding prissy.  Not really.  Anyway, police were also patrolling the whole city and all along the course throughout the whole race.  This made me feel safe, which was nice.

The Blue Ridge Mountains, morning of the race

The scenery of the race was so beautiful!  The scenery, along with the beautiful weather, was a nice distraction from the challenging course.  The whole course was in full bloom thanks to the great spring weather.  Finally.  'Bout time, spring!

Mr. Marathon being awesome after the race!

Also, there was one part of the course that I liked the most:  MILE 17.  Mrs. Marathon was waiting there for me with a smile on her face and a camera in her hand.  It was a nice, pleasant surprise.  I was doing so well that she wasn't expecting me just yet, but I was ROLLIN'.  Which I could not believe!  But that just goes to show you that when you take your own advice (for once!) and put it into play, it can do a lotta good.  I did not want to take off this year like previous years, when I took off from the starting line quicker than a bunny rabbit on crack (if you can imagine what that would be like...??).  This year I took it slow, even though it was tough.  Although I was feeling tired from going slower, I knew that I wasn't wearing myself out in the beginning and throughout the hills.  Well, mountains.  No biggie.  I also carried my water bottle that has a compartment big enough for storing my snacks smorgasbord (two different types and flavors of energy chews, GU, energy jelly beans, and salt pills to prevent cramping).

All of these factors, in addition to my positive attitude going in (and coming out!), I managed to accomplish two of my goals that I set specifically for this race: 1) I ran the WHOOOOOOOOLE THING (whoop whoop!) and 2) I finished in under 4 hours, which would mean beating last year's PR of 4:03:45 (and my time today was 3:31:14, to be exact!).  Not to toot my own horn but...........
All in all, today was a great day, and I even got to meet a record-setting running legend and got interviewed by a Runner's World reporter while running uphill (so it was a nice distraction).  And of course it was nice to see a bunch of friends and familiar faces from our running community and previous races.  I know I already said it once, but I'll say it again:  this was the best race I have ever run!  I couldn't have asked for a better day!  Thank you, Blue Ridge Marathon staff, volunteers, and spectators, for an amazing day!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bridge to Bridge 10K

This past Saturday, Mr. Marathon and I traveled to Danville, VA, for the Bridge to Bridge 10K.  This run took place through Downtown Danville and along the Dan River.  It was a beautiful course and a beautiful day.  Prior to starting the race, Mr. Marathon and I set goal times:  he wanted to beat his pre-standing 10K personal record of 43 minutes, and I wanted to beat my PR of 1:07.  (I'm really working toward my ultimate 10K goal of under an hour, but I'm still not quite there.)

Anyway, we both did very well.  I finished with a time of 1:04, and he finished in 39:46 (according to his watch, since the timing was somewhat unreliable)!  We both enjoyed the run, but the awards were kind of disappointing.  He placed third overall, and they were giving out these really nice trophies to everyone who placed.  They somehow didn't have the male overall trophies for the 10K.  Those were the only trophies missing too.  So we both left empty handed (because I didn't place at all... so sad!), but we left feeling mostly accomplished.  I am still not quite to my 10K goal, but I am 3 minutes closer!

Also, in light of the tragedy that occurred yesterday, April 15, a.k.a "Marathon Monday" Mr. Marathon would like to make a little side note:

About a year ago, I decided to pursue the ultimate marathoner goal:  to qualify for BOSTON.  I was really trying to make it to run in the 2013 Boston Marathon.  It was what I really wanted.  But due to a lack of training, I was unable to make the 3:05 qualifying time.  Although I was not there running and competing, I was definitely there in spirit upon hearing about the incident.  It really makes me think that I can no longer feel safe doing what I love.  But that's not going to stop me.  I may not have qualified for Boston, but this makes me want to qualify even more.  Maybe in 2014, or maybe some time in the future.  We'll just have to wait and see!  As for now, I will keep on running whatever I can, whenever I can.  And I will dedicate each mile of my training to those who ran and to those spectated the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Martinsville Half Marathon

Yesterday, Mr. Marathon and I ran the Martinsville Half Marathon!  It was Mr. Marathon's third time running this race, but it was just my first.  And we had an amazing race!  We both PR'd and placed first in our age groups!  So, instead of just rambling on and on about the race, we have decided to compile a list of 13.1 reasons why the 2013 Martinsville Half Marathon was THE BEST RACE.  EVER.

13.  It was not miserably cold this year.  Unlike both years prior to this one.  It was kinda cold, though, but not too bad as our bodies warmed up after a few miles.

12.  It was not rainy (like last year) or snowy (like um, today?????  the day after the race!!!).

11.  Because we knew what the weather was going to be like, we knew that wearing shorts would make us look like fools.  Sorry to everyone who wore shorts.  Your fault.  We managed to dress appropriately for the moderately chilly temperature.

10.  Mr. Marathon rediscovered his blazing speed by removing three pounds (just kidding!  maybe....) from his head by way of a haircut.  He believes that a haircut doesn't have to be a bad thing.  Especially since it wasn't in his eyes hindering his visibility.  Or poking his eyeballs or dripping with sweat into his eyeballs.  Ew.

9.  We both firmly believe that carrying our own water bottles really contributed to our success in this race.  I like to carry a water bottle when I run, but Mr. Marathon thinks he's a camel or something and generally refuses to.  But he caved, and it benefited him in the long run (get it?  we ran 13.1 miles.  that's kinda long...)

8.  This month, we kicked it into high gear with our training.  Just this month we have run 99.8 and 67.3 miles before the Half Marathon (can you guess which numbers are whose? just kidding don't do that).  Anyway, we decided that it's actually not magic that makes a runner improve.  It's training.  Who woulda thunk it?  It only took Mr. Marathon three years to realize this.

7.  Being familiar with the course also helped us greatly.  Most of our training runs took place on the Dick and Willie and in Uptown Martinsville, along the course of the Half Marathon.  And we did that practice run of the whole course, which totally helped.

6.  Running the whole course prior to race day helped me set what I thought to be a reasonable goal of finishing in 2:45.  Mr. Marathon's goal was to beat his first year's time of 1:32.  We had these goals nervously set for race day.  And then on the day before the race, we started feeling sick.  What a fabulous time to get sick, right??  We were really worried that we would not perform our best on race day and that we would not meet our goals.  Well, we started out yesterday feeling a little "off," but we both blew it OUT OF THE WATER.  Mr. Marathon could not even look at his watch because he was so nervous that he would see something he didn't wanna see, but he could tell by the fact that there were only four people ahead of him at any given time that he was doing pretty well.  I had like 140 people in front of me at any given time, so I had to use my watch.  But I liked what I saw.  I hit 3 miles in 28 minutes, 4 miles in 38 minutes, and I was flying!  The whole time!!  I realized that when I reached the 11 mile marker at 2 hours even, I WAS ON FIRE.  I was surprising everyone.... including myself.  Mr. Marathon and I were both pleasantly surprised with our final times (1:30:25 and 2:24:43, respectively).  Placing first in our age groups wasn't a bad surprise, either!  Overall, the race was full of surprises!  But only the good kind.  Not like my "surprises" from the Disney Half Marathon.... yikes!

5.  Mr. Marathon realized that being serious is no fun.  He might be a seriously good runner, but he ain't got time to be serious!  Ain't nobody got time for that!  He found out that what continues to drive him to be a better runner is to see other runners having a good time-- smiling, laughing, joking, high-fiving, you know.  And on this out-and-back course, he got the privilege of seeing every single other runner at some point on the course, and he greeted them with a word of encouragement and a smile.  I also had a similar experience. Not only did I run 13.1 miles, but I also smiled 13.1 miles!  I was doing so well from the get-go that I did not stop smiling.  Not even when the uphills were rising up from the ground.... completely unexpectedly (psych!). We decided that a smile can go a long way.... 13.1 miles and beyond!  :)  So if you're a runner, throw a smile out at a fellow runner.  It might just come back to help you, too!

4.  Speaking of smiles, the amazingly friendly volunteers from our community really helped make this race the wonderful experience that it was.  They greeted all the runners with a smile and a cup of water or Gatorade, whether you wanted it or not!  They were eager to help and very motivating.  We don't think we could have done nearly as well without the cheering (and the hydration and GU) provided by the course volunteers and spectators.

Our Finisher Medals and First Place ChooChoo Trains!
(the Dick and Willie used to be a railroad... cute awards, right???)
3.  We know that organizing an event of any kind can be hectic and difficult, and we frequently have complaints about poorly organized races in particular.  However, the Martinsville Half Marathon is the best organized event we have ever participated in, hands down.  Registration was seamless, the starting line was self-explanatory, the refreshments were readily available and plentiful, and overall, we knew exactly what to do, where to be, and when to be there!  The aforementioned volunteers were also well placed along the course to help guide and assist (and of course cheer for) all participants.

2.  We also love that this is a very small-town kinda race.  We recognized a good majority of the other runners from training runs and other local races.  The Martinsville race scene is growing and expanding, but we all seem to know each other somehow or another!

1.  And last but not least, it's OUR small-town.  We love that Martinsville and Henry County are capable of coming together and putting on such a wonderful, inspiring, motivational event.  It's nice to see something so great come out of our little community.  We hope to be loyal participants/supporters for as long as we can.

Mrs. Marathon modeling
the awesome t-shirt!
Oh, I almost forgot about the .1!  The icing on the cake of all the awesomeness was the t-shirts.  I saw Mr. Marathon's shirt and thought it looked pretty cool, but when I pulled mine out, it was pretty cool too, but it was also WOMEN'S CUT.  Hey, it's the small things that make me happy.  Sorry I'm not sorry!  :)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Martinsville Half Marathon Practice Run

I didn't actually wear these socks today.
This picture is from a 6 miler earlier this week!
Today Mr. Marathon and I did a practice run (run... haha, get it?!) of the Martinsville Half Marathon.  Since he has run this race twice already, he knows the course pretty well.  Also, he decided to take a solo practice run earlier this week in some freezing rain.  Totally crazy.  But anyway, today was anything but freezing.  It was 60 degrees and sunny!  Perfect running weather.  So we stocked up on supplies, put on running SHORTS and SHORT SLEEVE SHIRTS and headed out around the busy metropolis (psych!) that is Martinsville.  We had a lovely run.   The weather was beautiful and we had some running snacks (including GU, Jelly Belly Sports Beans, and Honey Stingers Energy Chews) and of course lots of water.  We were both very excited to be out running, however, Mr. Marathon was a bit sore from his 13 miles earlier this week, and as for me, well, I'm just lazy; I have no excuse.  Just kidding.  Kind of.  I did surprisingly well, honestly!  Mr. Marathon's practice run on Tuesday was 1 hour 56 minutes, but he is obviously so much faster than me.  Today our run took 2:57!!!!  That, ladies and gentlemen, is a full 13 minutes shaved off of my time from the Disney Princess Half!  I was hoping for a time under 3 hours; that's all I cared about.  And guess what??? I DID IT!  And there is still two weeks until race day, so there is still a little more time for improvement!  I'm pretty pleased with myself.

Here is a link to my Garmin profile thing if you're at all curious about elevation change of the course, my pacing, etc:
Martinsville Half Marathon Practice Run by ehgarcia at Garmin Connect - Details

Also, to celebrate our awesomeness, we went to get some FRO YO!!!!  Love me some Sweet Frog.  Can you guess whose yogurt is whose?  Sorry I love chocolate.  Just kidding, I am totally not apologizing for this! :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Musical Motivation!

My new jams: Titanium, Girl on Fire, Good Time,
and Bulletproof
Running lately has felt like a real chore.  I have found it to be boring and monotonous, and I really haven't wanted to run at all, between the weather, being busy, being tired, blah blah blah.  So many excuses, I know.  However, today I decided to try something new.  Despite the super chilly temperature and gusty wind, I decided to tackle my usual 6 mile route on the Dick and Willie.  Instead of just running it and being boring, though, I finally downloaded some new songs.  I have pretty much been listening to the same 15-20 songs on my running playlist for like...  a year.  Seriously.  It might not seem like much, but with my new 4 peppy running songs, I felt awesome!  I finished my 6 miles in 1:07:32, which is a completely acceptable time for me. It wasn't a PR or anything, but I felt great doing it!
My GPS Watch:
Garmin Forerunner 110

Also, I figured out how to use my awesome new GPS watch and upload everything online!  Totally cool.  I am kinda unsure about how to post it on here, but I think this link should work.  It shows everything, including my overall pace, pace per mile, elevation change, and other cool stuff.
Dick and Willie 0-3 by ehgarcia at Garmin Connect - Details

So, to sum it up, sometimes new things during a run aren't so bad (as long as it's not a big race or anything, so I've learned).  My new watch and new running jams really helped me out today.  Hopefully I can hold onto this motivation because the Martinsville Half Marathon is in 20 days!

Monday, February 25, 2013


Totally gorgeous Princess finisher's medal
In addition to my awesome swag and gorgeous medal, I also gained something more valuable than any material item: experience.  Through this experience, I have learned many valuable lessons for my future half marathons (btw I am signed up for one on March 23.... eeep!).  So, now I will bestow upon you my pearls of wisdom based on my first 13.1-mile experience.  Note: I am speaking from personal experience.  Things on my list may not apply to you.  If something doesn't apply to you.... well, sucks for you.  Just kidding!  Kind of... Anyway, feel free to email or comment any other pearls of wisdom you'd like to share with me.  Seriously, I need all the advice I can get.  Moving on... heeeere we go!

  • Lesson #1: BYOB! That is, bring your own banana.  I made the mistake of buying a banana from the food court where we stayed, and it was terrible.  I always eat at least one banana before running, and so I was devastated that the banana I bought (and paid like 2 or 3 dollars for!) was sub-par.  I learned the hard way to never trust strange bananas.  Especially on the morning of a race.

  • Lesson #2: Never try anything new on race day.  I have heard this before, but I figured it was for foods, clothes, and shoes mostly.  My parents bought me this totally cool GPS watch to replace my basic running watch for my birthday.  I was so excited to wear it at my race!  I was wearing it, checking my pace constantly, and everything was hunky-dory.  Until it died before I even reached the 10K split.  The watch was perfect until it died, though.  I think I just didn't charge it right.  I’m not very tech-savvy.
Clif Shot Energy Gel (no, I'm not
like, advertising, they were just
really good!)

  • Lesson #3: Always have options and backups… of everything.  I planned everything clothing-related for this race.  I had so many pairs of socks, shorts, undies, shirts, bras…. All just in case I changed my mind or something happened.  Despite my desire to always be over-prepared in the wardrobe department, I forgot all about my sustenance for during the race.  I did not have anything to eat during the race.  It’s not even like I just didn’t have any options.  I straight up did not have anything except my water bottle.  They did have one energy goo stop during the race, but by that point, I was already becoming dizzy and weak.  Lesson learned for next time, though.  I will be purchasing Clif Shot Energy Gels for my next race, as well (but I will include other options and backups, just in case).  The Clif Energy Gel  was the on-course “food” stop, and it was actually really good.  But I was still about to fall over due to not being properly fueled either way.  See BYOB.  Also see the following lesson…

    Chili Cheese Dog... Yum?
    (this is someone else's picture,
    but I ate one that was just like this)
  • Lesson #4:  Fuel up right—no excuses!  I can make a billion trillion excuses regarding my performance in my half-marathon.  I do, however, accept responsibility for why many of these things happened.  One of those excuses is that I was not properly fueled and prepared.  The day before my race, I was walking all around Disney World getting hot, dehydrated, and exhausted, all while eating fatty greasy fried nasty food (that was the only option… you’ve seen theme park food!).   Totally my fault.  But that means that this is also preventable for my next race.  It should be a no-brainer, right?  Well, not for me.  I was too excited about DISNEY WORLD.  Sorry.

  • Lesson #5:  If your hair is not long enough for a hairstyle or if you don’t usually run with your hair in a certain hairstyle, don’t push it on race day.  This may seem silly, but it is true.  Runner chicks—you feel me, right?  When I had really long hair, I used to wear it in a braid when I ran and that worked for me.  Well since I cut it off, I have just been wearing it in a basic ponytail.  On Saturday night, I tried to braid my hair for fun and noticed that I could do it!  So for my race I decided to braid my hair.  It was all good until mile 2 when it started falling out and driving me crazy.  I had to stop and fix my hair.  Like, completely stop.  Diva much?  Sorry again.

  • Lesson #6:  This one is the most important.  Don’t set your expectations too high.  Especially if you really genuinely don’t know what to expect.  I’m gonna be real with y’all.  I was hoping for a time between 2:30 and 2:45.  My final time was 3:10.  I’m not super duper happy about it, but I had never run 13.1 miles before.  I had only been up to 10 miles, which took me 2:26.  So I really should have expected the time that I got.  I kept making excuses saying that my 10 mile run was in a hilly area and I would run faster in Florida because it’s flat.  Nope.   I set my expectations too high regardless.  No matter my time, it was really a PR for me since it was my first half-marathon.... silver lining?  I think so!!

Us with Aladdin and Jasmine!  Sorry I'm awkward...
So there you have it.  Six important lessons that will help guide me to better half-marathoning in the future.  Some of these lessons might seem really obvious, or even a little silly, but this is just what I took away from my experience at the Disney’s Princess Half Marathon.   Also, like I mentioned, I am not trying to make excuses for myself.  I really took note and will do better next time!  It’ll be easier since I won’t be spending the whole day before running around like a 5-year-old on crack (probably?).  I will be much better prepared for March 23:  The Martinsville Half Marathon!

Disney's Princess Half Marathon

A view from the flight
Yesterday was the day we've all been waiting for!  Well, I have been waiting for it, anyway.  You might not have been.  Or maybe you were.  Either way, yesterday was the Disney's Princess Half Marathon!!  Mr. Marathon and I headed out for the airport on Friday (which was also my birthday!  and George Washington's birthday!) and flew into sunny Orlando.  We checked into the All Star Sports Resort at Disney World, then headed to the Race Expo for packet pickup.  It.  Was.  CRAZY.  Seriously, I have never seen that many people in one place in my life.  But, there was a lot going on and a lot to see.  On Saturday, we woke up bright and early (so we thought) and headed to the parks.  We spent the day at Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom having fun, riding rides, eating deliciously unhealthy food, and seeing everything we could possibly see.  At the end of a long day of fun, we returned to our room and hit the hay because we knew what time we would have to wake up in order for me to make it to the starting line on time for Sunday's race.  First of all, let me say that the race was scheduled to start at 5:35 AM.  Ridiculously early right?  That's earlier than I wake up to go work on a regular weekday.  Ew.  So now let's work backwards to discover the time we had to actually wake up, shall we?

Post-race: I know I look a mess
5:35 Corral A start
5:00 Recommended time to be in starting corral and ready to go
4:15 We allowed 45 minutes for walking, waiting in line for the shuttle, riding the shuttle, and navigating the starting area
3:15 I need at least an hour to get up and going, because of course I had to look beautiful.
3:00 In case I decide I need 15 minutes of extra sleep, I need to wake up 15 minutes earlier than I think.

So, I was awake at 3 AM.  Seriously.  But anyway, I got everywhere mostly ok, then the race began with singing and fireworks and all that other magical stuff, and I ran my very first half-marathon, mostly successfully.  I may not have finished in my goal time, but I did finish still running.  In the interest of keeping my posts here fairly short and sweet, I will end this one right here.  I will, however, post about something else I got from this experience, besides plenty of souvenirs and a blingin' medal.  Stay tuned, it's coming super soon.  Promise!
A collage of memories from the weekend

Saturday, February 9, 2013

And the Rockets GREEN GLARE!

The first half of this post is not for those readers who are faint of heart.  It is probably TMI, but I'm sure you'll find it humorous.  Or disgusting.  Or hopefully a little bit of both.  Earlier this week, I had a great run.  I decided to just do 4 miles, and I ended up running it in a time that was a personal best for me!  I was so excited.  But that was not the only triumph.  I also conquered a fear of mine.  I'm kind of a priss sometimes, and if I am caught with a runny nose without a tissue, LORD HAVE MERCY.  Well during my run, I did not have any tissues and my nose started running faster than me after one mile.  So I swallowed my pride (and NOT my boogers) and let it rip.  Yes, I blew a snot rocket.  Here is a text message exchange between me and my father following the incident (for the record, I do call the Dick and Willie trail where we run the "Wick and Dillie" because I say it that way on accident so often.  It's not a typo).  I shared this info with him because since he has been a runner for so long, he's pretty much a pro at snot rockets.  I just knew it would make him proud!  For those of you who are unaware of the definition of the phrase "snot rocket," here is a definition, courtesy of Urban Dictionary:

1.snot rocket
When you plug one nostril with your finger, and blow out of the other nostril with everything you have, sending a snot projectile out of the nose

On another note of pride, today we tackled an 8 miler with the assistance of a furry friend.  Mr. Marathon and I are dogsitting this weekend so we had to bring our weekend dog along with us.  He was totally showing off, but the only reason that dog ran better than me was because he had two extra legs.  Totally rude.  So today our running group consisted of me, Mr. Marathon, our four-legged companion, and my dad.  I am SO PROUD that my dad joined us today.  He's pretty much one of my main inspirations for running.  He's been running for so long, and I hope that I can stay as committed to running as he has, although he'll totally try to tell you otherwise (he's so modest!).  So my training is going well and my half marathon is only 12 days away!  SO CLOSE!!!!!!  AND Mr. Marathon's costume is finally complete as well.  We're ready!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

So, It's February? When Did That Happen?

Our Post-Run Shoe Pose (I made them do this...)

January has come and gone faster than I realized. So now February is here and rolling right along. My half-marathon is later this month and I am freaking out!!!! So this month my training kicks into high gear.

Last month, I ran a grand total of 23 miles.  Not too impressive, I know.  Regardless, the weather has been crazy and unpredictable for the past few weeks, so it has been really difficult to make a plan (and stick to it....).

This past weekend, we decided just commit and go for a training run (finally).  We did a nice 6 mile run at the Dick and Willie, despite the super cold temperatures and the threat of snow (see weather forecast from last week).  Mr. Marathon, my dad, and I set off despite these factors and made good time.  So, we decided that this upcoming weekend, we will kick it up a notch and do an 8 mile training run.  As of right now, the weather looks promising, but we'll see about that.

The Dick and Willie Passage:
where all our running magic happens
With only 15 days until race day, we have to have a pretty intense training schedule, so whether it's raining, snowing, cold, hot (this is unlikely, but I won't rule it out), or windy, we gotta just RUN.  Wish us luck... because.... we will need it, quite frankly.  But we can totally do it!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mr. Couch Potato and Mrs. Snow Princess

So, we're really not changing our names from Mr. and Mrs. Marathon, it's just a figure of speech.  However, we have a lot to update on.   Neither Mr. Marathon nor I have been running really, due to cold weather.  I have included the weather forecast from over the weekend to demonstrate how cold it was.  It has been cold, snowy, icy, and windy.  Ew.

Well anyway, in addition to the cold weather, I have been busy babysitting.  Babysitting Mr. Marathon, that is.  He was playing soccer last Sunday, and he was the goalie.  He went to dive to block the ball, landed on his arm funny, and BOOM: dislocated shoulder.  He managed to wiggle it back into place, but then he went to his mother so she could give him a therapeutic massage because, obviously, it HURT.  Well, she was massaging, then BOOM.  It popped out again.  She put it back like it was supposed to be and continued rubbing then BOOM.  One more time it was dislocated.  Strike three, it was OUT.  It was not wiggling back into place this time.  Because he knew it was not going to pop back into the socket, we hurried to the hospital, and after about an hour of waiting, the doctor popped it into place in seriously 30 seconds.  Then we had wait an additional hour or so before he could be released.  His shoulder still hurts and it has been one week since he hurt it.  Oh, and he gets to wear a SHOULDER IMMOBILIZER (aka, a sling) for 14 days.  Which totally stinks because he can't do Insanity or run or pretty much do anything.

But that's not stopping me!  Today, despite chilly temperatures of 38 degrees and leftover snow and ice on the ground, I set off with my dad for a delicious 5.4 mile run.  Then this evening, I rocked out some Insanity. I'm pretty much a beast.  While Mr. Marathon is being a couch potato.

P. S. 25 days til my Disney Half Marathon!  My mom also helped me make my Jasmine tutu yesterday.  My costume is complete!