Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Taper Week!

We're a few short days from the marathon. My taper week hasn't gone so well. Sunday I took a rest day thinking that I was going to the gym on Monday and Tuesday but plans got a little changed. 
had to take my car into the shop to get the breaks checked and thought that I was buying a new car from the company that fixed mine. After thinking about it I decided that I wanted to shop around a little bit so I looked online and on a spur of the moment decision on my lunch break yesterday my husband and I (and Hudson) drive about an hour and a half away from home to pick the car up. After a few bumps in the road we were finally able to leave and we didn't get home until after 11:00 last night. Needless to say, I've had a long first two days of the week. Today though, I taught a awesome cycling class. I had three brand new students and three regular students! The gym that I teach at has a very small class for cycling so once all the students were seated I only had two bikes left. I pushed them and I pushed myself. 

I haven't gotten to run as much as I wanted this training season but I am confident that the CrossFit and cycling will help me with a strong run on Sunday. My only current goal is to finish healthy. I always finish exhausted and not able breathe but this year I just want to enjoy it. 

I think that Sunday race will either tell me that I needed to train harder or that I need to stick with going with the flow and not worrying about it. Let's hope it's a great day. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

There's a New Runner in the Family

This year and last year The Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon asked me to blog for them.  Just getting the opportunity to run the half and full marathons were a dream come true.  I will never forget telling my sister when we would run together {almost six years ago} that "I would never be able to run one of those full marathon things but if I ran the half, I would be happy."

Four years ago I made a commitment to myself that I would run the half marathon that next year.  Full of doubt and uncertainty I signed up, and three years ago race weekend became my second favorite weekend of the year (and they don't pay me to say that).

Almost every post so far I have said how this year is different.  This year I am employed.  This year I have trained differently. This year I stopped worrying about my time.  This year I am happier.  And this year, Hudson is running too!!

If you follow me on any social media outlet, you know that my 70 lb., year and a half old Goldendoodle is my puppy son and best friend.  Usually where I go, he goes.  He loves his walk, people and other animals so we thought this would be a great year for him to participate in the Purina Petwalk.  Last year he was a little too fast and wild, but this year I think he will do well.  I can't wait.

I think that one of my favorite parts about race weekend is how family friendly it is.  You can run the 5k, half, full, full relay, your kids can run the kids race, and your dog and do the pet walk. {And what is my cat going to do you ask? He's going to nap all weekend and not even realize we aren't with him}  This year, Hudson will be doing the pet walk on Saturday afternoon and I will run the half on Sunday morning.  I have yet to talk my husband into doing a race but he likes to spectate so he's still a part of race weekend.

This Friday, Hudson will be getting his hair cut so his fro is perfect by next weekend.  I think he's ready.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

First Time Marathon Advice

Let me start out with, you will never be prepared for your first marathon.  Ever. No matter how corny people sound when they tell you that running your first marathon will change you, it is true.  Believe in the corny.  I woke up the morning of my first marathon puking.  I wasn't nervous until every time I tried to eat I wanted to vomit because I was so nervous. 

So here is how to properly prepare for your first marathon because I sure as heck wasn't prepared: 

1.) Understand now that it's okay to be afraid: I joked with people telling them that I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to finish. Honestly, I was terrified that i wasn't going to finish.  Like I said before, I woke up vomiting the morning of my first marathon. 

2.) Don't eat the Sushi: Um, I'm not kidding.  I ate sushi the night before my first marathon.  No matter how many posts I read that said "DO NOT EAT ANYTHING NEW!" I totally ate something new and it was sushi.  Maybe it was my body being stressed out and craving to eat something weird.  I don't know but I do know that I'll never part take in that awesomeness again. I really did wake up puking the morning of my first marathon, maybe it was the sushi, maybe it was nerves, maybe it was because I was so hungry because sushi didn't really fill me up.  I don't know but i will never, ever do it again. I promise.  

3.) Don't drink two bottles of water before you start running:  Yep, totally did that one too.  My running partner and I had to pee within the first mile and it was the "I'm nervous pee." It was the "If I don't find the porta potty I'm pissing my pants with pride." Next time I'll pee myself because we stood in line and knocked us back 20-30 minutes but we both really had to go!  No matter how many articles tell you that you need to be properly hydrated before a race, two bottles is not the answer.  I even drank over a gallon of water the day before.  There will also be more than enough water on the route. 

4.) You'll feel awesome at mile 16 but by mile 19 you'll hate your life: All I remember is saying out loud,"10 more miles, I can totally do this." And somehow 3 miles later I was praying that it would all end soon. I also remember saying that I would never sign up for another one again and somehow by the Wednesday after it I was contemplating which one I wanted to run. (Incase you're wondering, I chose Columbus 26.2 for October 2015) 

5.) Be okay with not being prepared: You will have your outfit laid out and instagramed the night before, the perfect breakfast ready, you won't hit any traffic getting into the city, but the second that your husband kisses you goodbye at the gate, you're going to cry like a little baby wishing you had never signed up.  RELAX, BREATHE, STOP BEING DRAMATIC. Surprisingly enough, most big races that you sign up for are extremely organized and have an area sectioned off by letters of your name so you can find your family afterward.  You will find him.  You will be alive at the end.  He will not leave you. I never take my phone with me and I always manage to find my husband afterwards.  Even if there are over 30,000 runner and 100,000 spectators, we find each other.  I think the scariest part of my marathon was leaving my husband because one my very last 20 mile run before my first marathon he road his bike beside me.  I felt prepared and like I could do it.  That is, until he wasn't there.  

Before my first marathon I had no idea what to expect.  You are going to be scared, nervous, and excited.  Take this time to enjoy the process.  You are going to learn more about what you love(sometimes who you love), what you hate(Sometimes who you hate), you'll find out what triggers your emotions and how much you really want something.  There are going to be friends that come and go during the season but the ones that hang around and show up for race day are the ones worth keeping.  Trust yourself, trust the process, and know that it's okay to cry.  It's okay to be so happy that you cry and it's okay to have such a bad day that you cry.  You'll have bad days and good days. The people you need most will be there for you. 

The only advice that I can really give is this: Train. Train hard or train easy. Lay your outfit out the night before, don't eat the sushi, listen to your body, and know that when you kiss your spouse good bye that you'll both make it to the finish line. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

We're less than 4 weeks away!

This year will be the third year that I've ran Pittsburgh. The first two years I raced I lost my jobs right before race day. It was stressful and depressing especially when you were let go because a company was closing and the then you weren't told the second time because they didn't even know why they had to fire you. I'm not going to lie, if that would have happened this year I'm pretty sure I would have quit running Pittsburgh all together. 

This year is different though. This year I already got a promotion and a raise at my main job. I became a cycling instructor and it's going well also, I even have a third part time job that was supposed to end at Christmas but I stuck around to do floor sets. But still, something is wrong. Things are just different. Training this year has been much different as well. This year I've taken a different route with training in the sense that I would use cycling and CrossFit to me my main training sources. 

I started officially training in February and for the past few month I just wasn't feeling right. I've felt tired and depressed, just not myself.  I would yell for no reason and I've been skipping workouts to sleep. I have also been so cold that I would sleep with gloves on. My breathing also hasn't been on point but I stopped taking my asthma medication, ya know, to just see what happens. (I'll be starting that back up very soon)

I finally made it a point to call and make a doctor appointment. I really thought my thyroid was underactive because of some of my symptoms and if that was the case I want to take care of everything before race day of I could feel 100%. Last Friday I went and she sent me for blood work. I made sure to go the next day because I knew if I didn't then I probably wasn't going to go at all. My husband went in with me to do my bloodwork(and I cried. I can handle 15 piercings and 2 tattoos but that needle near my arm is a different story). The doctor said that she would call within a day or two if something was up but if she didn't call then I would be fine. 

By 9:00A.M. Monday morning I had a missed call from the doctors office and a voicemail. Do you know what kind of panic attack that intrudes on someone?! First thing in the morning I get a call? 

It ended up that my iron was really low and I just need to take iron pills everyday. That's a lot better than what I originally thought was wrong. I've been so unmotivated, tired, cold and short of breath lately and she said that once my iron is back up then everything with start to go back to normal.  After starting starting them for the past 5 days in already feeling a little bit better. I can't wait to feel normal and ready to go on race day!

Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The (Kind-Of) Runner that Could.

I do not look like a runner. I’m not shaped like a runner. I’m average height. I enjoy wine,

cheese and ice cream way too much, and my physique shows it. But I've turned myself into

a runner. Not a graceful, fast, or record-breaking one, but a runner nonetheless. And since I

was matched with The Wheezy Runner for this annual blog-hop, I decided to share my

story of how I got into this crazy sport.

I do not play well with others.

I am not very coordinated and I get frustrated to the point of quitting if I’m not immediately

super-good at something. My memories of school Phys Ed class involve hiding somewhere

near the back of the pack of whatever team sport we were involved in, exerting barely

enough effort and motion to stay off the teacher’s radar.

I wish I could say I’m a great “team player,” but I’m really not. I never got the hang of

working together with other players all to ward the common goal. On group projects, I

would purposely select people who I know wouldn’t participate at all, just so I could do the

whole thing myself, my way, without interference.

Then in college, I studied abroad in Germany.  I certainly was not a sheltered kid, but living

abroad introduced me to all kinds of new and different foods and drinks, and OMG I

WANTED THEM ALL. Being 19, I kind of had the metabolism of a 19 year old,  which is

really just to say that my metabolism has never been impressive but it was certainly faster

than it is now that I’m in my 30s.  I knew that if I just kept chowing down, I pack on pounds

fast. I decided to take up running, because why not.

So I went to the nearby German version of Target, got myself some (ill fitting) running

shoes and some workout appropriate clothes, and I hit the pavement. I pushed myself to go

out each day. My first goal was to run around the block. It actually took a couple weeks

until I could do that. Despite me eating every last edible thing that had the misfortune to

cross my plate, I started losing weight. My friends noticed I was losing weight, which

encouraged me. I upped my goal to running 20 minutes nonstop, which by the end of the

summer, I accomplished.

When I got back to the states, I kept up with the running. I signed up for a 5k. Then a 10k.

Then I took the plunge and (in a surprise even to myself) announced to anyone who would

listen that I was going to run a marathon. I signed up for the LA Marathon, and said “here

we go!”  I ran it SLOWLY (5:24 gun time). But I ran it. I crossed the finish line holding hands

with my running partner. It was the first marathon for the both of us. Then I ran the

Cleveland marathon a couple months later. That’s when the magic of running with another

person wore off.  Our styles were too different. Then I completely burned out on running.

I eventually got back into it. My race distance of choice is 10 miles.  It’s long enough to be a

challenge, but not so long that it takes over your life. I like half marathons well enough too.

As long as I keep up a fairly steady pattern of running throughout the week, I can run one

without too much stress or injury. And the running gives me some nice alone time to listen

to audiobooks.

Way back when, I puzzled and marveled over distance runners. How on earth did they do

it? All that distance and effort and sweating. If you’re interested in running, here’s how you

get started: with one step after another. Get out there and run until you’re tired. Then the

next day run just as far, and a couple seconds more.  Even if you, like me, can’t make it

around the block, you will eventually. The first few weeks are brutal, there’s no way around

it. But after those first few weeks of pain, that crazy want and need to run develops.  You

don’t have to be fast or thin to run. You just have to have feet (or appropriate prostheses, or

a wheelchair, or whatever it is that can make you go from one place to another). See,

running’s for everybody.

But I still don’t play well with others.

Follow Elizabeth here!
You can also follow her on twitter @BeezusKiddo