Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Next Step

As life gets busier and fuller, I've come to realize that I need to prioritize the things that I do. Of course family is always going to come first but under that file, comes a ton of subfiles in our lives. I try to be home as much as possible with my kids. I am always there in the mornings as they get up and get ready for school. I am able to cook them breakfast, tell them to change if they look strange and say goodbye when it's time to catch the bus. It is something that I wasn't able to do for almost three years with my previous job. I can't tell you how much this time in the mornings means to me. It is something that I cherish so much. I am not there when they get home from school except on days that I am off from work. However, I am home every night to make or eat dinner with them. I am there to take them to sporting events or activities. I do a lot for/with my kids and I wouldn't trade that for anything. Part of my reasoning for training and achieving my goal of my half marathon was to show my kids that just as I expect them to practice, try their best and follow through with things, I can and will do it too. Another reason for my training and working toward this was to become healthy and stay healthy. I cannot be the type of mom I want to be if I am not healthy. I want to be able to run, play and spend time with my kids doing fun, active stuff. We are not the type of family that just sits around watching tv. We like to go hiking, running, play kickball or Frisbee or just go walking. So, I am in pretty good health but I want to continue to be fit and maybe even improve a bit. I am starting to do more in the way of health and fitness. I am going to start with some weight training and spinning classes. I did my first Body Pump class today and it worked. I can already feel the muscles I worked and they are tired!! I am planning on doing the Pittsburgh Marathon Relay with a team of either just girls or a mix of girls and guys. I put out a Facebook status asking if anyone would be interested and the maximum number of team members is 5 but I had more than that respond so I would love to get a guys team and a girls team so everyone will have someone else to run with! It would make it more fun for all of us! After the half marathon that Chuck and I ran, he realized that he needs to get in shape too so he is going to start back at the gym and lifting weights and getting on the treadmill. We have a friend that is going to give us their treadmill that is in better condition than the one we have at home for free!!! I am so excited! Big things are happening and I couldn't be more excited. Health and fitness has become a priority for me. A longer, stronger life is very important to me so I can see my kids grow up and I can keep up with them along the way.

Monday, October 21, 2013

My First Half Marathon Recap

It's very true that if you create a goal for yourself, work hard to ready yourself for it and be diligent, you can achieve it!  I can now say that I ran a half marathon and I am so proud of myself and feel great. 

I went to bed on Friday full of nerves and figured that I probably wouldn't get much sleep because my anxiety was on high alert.  I planned on getting up around 5:30am because we needed to be out the door by 7:30am to head to the race.  My body had be up around 4:30am and I was able to slip in and out of sleep for an hour until the alarm went off. 

Chuck and I got ready and I had my outfit planned out and I only had to add one extra shirt to the mix.  I was surprisingly calm which had me kind of worried because I am never calm before a big event.  Usually, my stomach is in knots and I feel close to throwing up but I didn't feel that way at all. 

We got in the car and that's when my nerves hit.  I was getting so nervous and my anxiety was at a level of about a 9 on a 10 scale.  I thought I was going to yack.  I started to take some deep breaths and remind myself that I was going to be okay. 

When we got to the parking lot, we walked to the shuttles and we arrived at the starting point.  I was calm again.  We decided to do some stretching and some warm up jogging.  We were hoping to avoid the tight muscles and cramping.  We wanted to be warm and ready for the race. 

The start was upon us and we were standing in line to begin.  This was it......we were really doing this!!

We started off with adrenaline and as usual, Chuck was going faster than I wanted him to.  He has a faster pace than me, in general, and this happens every single time we run anything.  We had plans to do our 8:1 intervals of running/walking.  Well, he was so far ahead of me that I let the first walking interval go.  We ran through it.  Then, he let me catch up and was wondering when it was time to walk because he needed to walk.  We walked then we ran and for the first 3 or so miles, the intervals were messed up because he needed to walk and couldn't wait for the walk intervals.  I could tell that he was struggling a bit so I was trying to stick with him and be supportive since I knew he didn't train at all and he was doing this to support me. 

At mile 7, I was feeling good and I was starting to get back into the intervals but Chuck wasn't.  He couldn't maintain the running.  At this point, he urged me to go on ahead of him and do my thing.  He didn't want to hold me back from my goal and he couldn't go on with my pace.  So, I left him behind.  To say that it was a tough decision is an understatement.  This was my goal, I worked so hard to get to this point but to see my husband struggling and wanting to do this for me, I felt guilty. 

The span of mile 9 to mile 10 seemed like forever.  I would say it was the toughest part of the whole race.  I am reading from a lot of other runners that this was the case for them, as well. I figured if I could get to mile 10, I was good.  It was just a little while longer to the finish. 

As I got closer, I got more excited to know that I could do it and make it to the finish.  At the end of the course, you go under a bridge, around a bend and then it is a long, straight run to the finish.  When I was under the bridge, I started to walk because I was tired and my right knee was bothering me.  A woman that was going to pass me, tapped me on the shoulder and said, "you are too close to the finish line to start walking now, let's go!" so she ran with me and we ran together for that last .25 miles to the finish line. 

I did it!!  Holy crap, I did it!  I feel great, I feel proud and my husband keeps telling me how proud he is of me.  He didn't doubt that I could do it but I think it still surprised him.  Best of all, my kids saw that even their mom can create a goal, work hard and achieve it. 

Now the question is, what's next?!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mind Over Matter

I am three days away from my first half marathon and several people have mentioned the fact that completing a run this long is more mental than physical.  I am not na├»ve enough to think that my physical strength and ability have no factors in this race but I am also trying to mentally prepare myself for it. 

I have a game plan and I hope that it works well for me.  I am going to do my intervals and I have my playlist ready for motivation and getting into a rhythm while I run.  I am planning my race day outfit and what exactly I will need for optimum efficiency. 

I am excited and nervous.  I have been looking forward to this day for so long and I have worked so hard to prepare.  I am nervous that something unseen with happen.  I am nervous that I won't be able to get into a good pace and/or rhythm.

At the same time, I am fairly confident that I can do this.  I feel like my training has prepared me pretty well.  I have been running a lot of hills lately to strengthen my legs and my lungs.  The course is mostly downhill so that will help.  I think the drink stations are spaced well to help me in the hydration department. 

The weather will be cooler, which is very helpful for me.  The rain should hold off until the late afternoon so we should be dry (as far as rain is concerned, not so much on the sweat front.) 

I can't wait to cross that finish line and shout from the rooftops that I did it.  I want this achievement so badly that I should mentally be right where I need to be.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

MAMAVATION MONDAY, ER TUESDAY: What I have been doing lately

It has been a very long time since I have posted a Mamavation Monday post and I'm not quite sure why.  I'm back though so here's my first post to get back into a routine....well, a day late but hey, it's progress, right?! 

Anyway, I have been working out but not as much as I probably should.  I am not participating in any monthly challenges or workout routines but I have been running a lot since I am in training for the half marathon.  Included in that training in cross training and strength.  I haven't been doing any big lifting but rather lower weights with more reps and I've been walking or doing ab work for my cross training. 

This month, I am going to participate in the Virtual Ride for Breast Cancer with Jess from Run With Jess.  I will be riding 31 miles this month, most likely in a few rides.  I can incorporate that into my cross training and it will help strengthen my legs and keep me aware. I would encourage everyone else to sign up too and we can all ride together!

I need to find a monthly challenge to do!  I think I will look for an ab one to do so that I can strengthen my midsection and core.  I haven't been pushing myself as hard as I should be so this is a target area for me to strengthen.  I love the monthly challenges because I don't lose focus and I am building up gradually instead of trying to go balls to the wall.  Yes, I just said that! haha.

What have you been doing lately?  Do you have any monthly goals this month?  My monthly goal is to run at least 50 miles which shouldn't be too hard for me since my daily runs are at least 5 miles.