Thursday, February 28, 2013

Race photos

Am I the only one who cringes in anticipation of their finish photos?

Even with muscle cramps and a bad time, I still remembered to smile while I crossed the finish line.

At least you can see me with this one, but I'm still not paying $10 to download it to Facebook. Maybe if I didn't look like I was grimacing as much.

I ran a beautiful 5K in downtown Memphis this past summer. I had one of my best times and awesome backdrop. As I run the last tenth of a mile, you can see the Beale Street signs behind. Unfortunately, after looking through 300 photos, I finally figured out that the photo I'm in - I'm completely blocked my another runner. You can barely see my sneakers in the background.

Of all the races so far, I have yet to frame a race photo. Ah, maybe this year.

So, do you use your race photos? Good or bad?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oxford's Run for Hope

I'll admit it, I bit off more than I could chew this weekend.

Everyone had warned me about the hills of Oxford's half-marathon. Those hills kicked my butt.

I had a fast meal standing up the night before and downed two cups of water before going to bed at 11. Woke up at 5:45 to get out the door by 6:30. Stopped for coffee and then drove the hour to Oxford. It was a little crazy because once I get there and checked in, it was a little confusing on where the starting line was. Not a good start. I learned too late that this was not a "fun" half-marathon, but one for seasoned athletes.

At the gun start, I thought I had a good pace going until I got to mile 1. With an 8:30 mile pace, I knew I needed to slow down. I did the St. Jude half at an easy 10 and this one was not going to be easy. I tried to slow down for the next several miles and still didn't do a great job. I tried to find someone slower than me to help keep my pace, but no luck.

It was incredibly hilly - big steep hills, long deep hills right at the start. I knew that if I could just get to campus, I'd find that motivation to get to mile 10. I did great until mile 8. And then around mile 10, my calves started going into spasms. It almost felt like rolling spasms. I stretched at each mile, and then each half mile. I massaged my calves. Nothing seemed to help. It got to the point where I had to stop and walk at certain times, and that killed me.

At the last mile, I walked to the 13-mile marker and painfully jogged over the finish line with a time of 2:21. Ten minutes worse than my last half. My split went from 8:30 to 13:30 at the end. I had great time until the cramps started.

Maybe I should have fueled more so that I didn't run out of juice near the end. Maybe I should have hydrated better, stretched more, trained more (that's a given).
All of these what-ifs ... I just need to let it go.

And this second-guessing and feelings of failure, I need to remember that I finished. And it was hard. Yesterday I thought to myself that I would never do that race again. That it beat me. Today, I'm thinking - next year, hills. I'm coming for ya.

It was questionable, but I made it!
Probably more than any other medal,
I earned the title of "finisher."

The famous Walk of Champions. 
The beautiful Grove. On Game Day,
this  place is packed with tents, co-eds,
fans and libations. But not today!

The road leading up to the Circle
and the beautiful Lyceum.
Also took a good stretch here. 

This is where I studied journalism
at Ole Miss before the term "new media"
ever existed. I feel old.

Friday, February 22, 2013

On my own

I've run one race totally by myself. Drove up, ran it, came in 4th and drove home. Very anticlimactic, but a personal best.

That's something to consider.

My mom called tonight and said she wouldn't be able to make it to the Oxford half. I'm a little bummed, but her knee has been bothering her and it's a long drive just to see me cross the finish line.

At the Oxford half, my running buddy's husband cheered for us at the finish line. But this will be my first solo half.

I'm going to be a big girl and be my own motivation tomorrow. I'm going to create a rocking playlist tonight to help. And when I cross the finish line (once I finally make it up that huge asphalt cliff they call a hill), I'll have an awesome finisher medal waiting for me.

I'll then drive the hour back home, shower and let my husband cook me dinner and celebrate with friends.

Sounds like a great day.

Why are rest days so hard?

It seems every other day I should run, bike or swim, it takes a little bit of effort to get me up and out the door. But on rest days, I have to restrain myself! What is that about?

I have the Oxford Run for Hope half marathon tomorrow at 8:30 and because all the hotels are booked, I’m going to drive down at 6 a.m. to make it in time to pick up my race packet. Bring on the coffee!

 I may have been a little exuberant when I chose to follow up the St. Jude race with this one. I, unbeknownst to me, have chosen one of the hardest halfs in a 250-mile radius. It’s hilly.

I asked if anyone was running it this weekend in my running club, and I got these responses:

“Good luck! That is a tough half”
“It’s a long big hill.”

And if anyone was doing a long run for fun this Saturday:

“I won’t run more than 6-7. The long milers will be in Oxford for the half marathon.”
“13.1 in the Oxford hills has GOT to be the same as 15.”

Well, maybe I’ll enjoy this rest day after all. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Haven't trained for this one: Half-marathon #2

After the greatness that is the St. Jude Half-Marathon, I've taken a little break. Unfortunately, I signed up for another half-marathon when I was still in the euphoria of "This is great! Let's do one every month!"

Of course, life creeps in. The weather gets freezing cold. There are holidays. There is traveling for work. There are kid's basketball games and birthdays and trips to see family.

So, now I'm a week before my second half-marathon and I've trained for it about once a week. The longest I've trained is about eight miles last month. I clocked in 5.5 this morning before I got a call from my oldest asking when I was going to return and make breakfast. Talk about a buzz kill. I knew I should have woken up earlier.

It's also been harder because my running buddy has taken a break, too. She's sworn off cold-weather running and moved her workout into the spin room at the gym. Meanwhile, I've joined a running club and we are miserably cold together every Saturday morning.

As I laid in bed this morning wondering if I should even attempt to run this morning, I googled "half-marathon with no training." Here was my inspiration to get up and just do it.

Finishing a half marathon with no training and living to blog about it

This is what I needed to hear. That someone hadn't trained for their half, but that they were in relatively good shape and had run a half-marathon before. The tips were helpful and she shared my medal-greed. Even if my time is slower than the St. Jude's, I still have my medal to hang in my office. I'll just have to remember to listen to my body, it's OK if I need to walk a bit, and to remember that there is a big piece of hardware waiting for me at the finish line. 

It also got me out of bed this morning in 30-degree temps. Each step counts.