Half Marathon Race Photo Fun Time!

I see you, Mr. Race Photographer.  I’m totally going to smile and get a great race picture this time.

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The “yanking up my pants” photo.  Didn’t see that one coming.  Also, note in these pictures how I appear to run without actually lifting my feet more than half an inch off the ground.

imageMile 12.  A feeble, feeble attempt at a smile.

imageWhich becomes a grimace mere seconds later.

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Look at how fast I am!  My ponytail blows in the wind!

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I lick my lips, thinking of the delicious meal I will consume later.

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Oh, balls, this hurts.

imageTim REALLY wanted to high five me at the finish line.  I look happy, though!  (There are about ten photos with my arm outstretched awkwardly.)

image  Oh, hey, a finish line photo!  And I don’t look totally ridiculous!

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Look!  I ran a half marathon!

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(Source.)

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Bridal shower the second

First things first—I do NOT feel like death today!  I’m surprised at how good I feel, actually.  I am sore in a few odd places (like my shoulders and triceps) and a few more normal places (hips, calves, and quads), but I don’t feel like anything is injured (yay!) or abnormally sensitive.  I was worried about how transitioning from treadmill to outdoors would be, but it was really seamless for me.  (If only that dang fast mile 5 hadn’t killed me…but oh well.)

All in all I really liked the half marathon distance!  I think it’s long enough to be challenging mentally and physically, but I didn’t feel like I had to go full speed all the time like in a 5K, which can be stressful.  There’s another HUGE half in KC that’s supposed to be awesome on June 5th…but I’ll be out of town for work.  Guess I’ll just have to hold out until August!  I’m excited already!

Last night we went out to dinner and ice cream and I did a bit of shopping.  I rewarded myself with a few good reads for my plane trips these weeks!  (And a really super soft Gap t-shirt.  Gap t-shirts are the best t-shirts in the whole wide world and you’ll never convince me otherwise!)

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I totally love reading, but I can’t really get into the book I was working on now, so I thought this would be a nice little splurge.  (Anyone read these two?  Are they great?)

Anyway, Tim and I slept in this morning.  I was hangry, so we agreed that he would make pancakes while I walked the dog.  Milhouse and I went for a nice long stroll in the sunshine.  I could feel my joints and muscles loosening.   Ahh, the benefits of having a dog!

Finally, we headed over to his Aunt Emily’s house for my bridal shower.  Tim decided he’d like to come, so he invited himself.  We didn’t kick him out!

Look at how pretty the table was!

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We had all kinds of pretty girly food—a nice salad with artichokes, crackers and Brie (in my honor!), chicken salad croissants, and petit fours.  Yum!

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The guests (minus Tim):

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Series of gift opening photos, taken by Tim:

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Tim, of course, photographed his favorite gift—a new ice cream scoop!

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All in all we had a lovely time chatting and catching up and we got lots of great gifts.  Behold! 

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The wedding room has reached new levels of insanity.  That’s not even all our wedding gifts—we have a ton at my mom’s house in Chicago.  Plus, all the wedding junk we’re going to have to take to Chicago!

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As a comparison, that room literally had nothing but a bed and bookshelf in it before the wedding took over.  It’s a great problem to have, but it’ll be nice to clean it out and set up our new things after the wedding! 

This blog post is late because of the following:

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I am paranoid about thank you notes.  For both my showers, I’ve had them in the mail the day after the event.  It’s a personal pet peeve of mine when I send a gift to someone and I get a thank you note six months later…or not at all.  They take five minutes to write, and really, it’s the least I can do to thank these people for being so generous.  (And, frankly, I don’t want to give anyone anything to cattily gossip about.)

So they will all be mailed tomorrow.

Anyway, tomorrow morning I go to get fitted for custom stinkin’ orthotics.  I’m excited!  I just want to be able to keep my legs in tip-top shape for my future running plans and I’m really interested to see how the whole process works.  Whee!

What’s your pet peeve?

I’m a half marathoner!

Well, folks, today was the big day of justice.  The half marathon I’ve been training for since January (and registered for back in October, I think!).

I woke up at 4:45 bright and fresh.  Usually I don’t sleep well before races, but last night I was OUT.  It was glorious.  I took the dog out and had a breakfast cookie.  The only little snafu was that I couldn’t find my favorite sports bra to wear—I thought I’d laid it out, but apparently not.  So, I had to clash a bit and wear my kelly green one with my lime green shirt.  Such is life.   We left around 5:45, because our house is about 45 minutes from good old Olathe, Kansas.

Have you ever wondered where your Forerunners and Nuvis are developed and made?  Well, look no further.  Behold, Garmin Headquarters!

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It would have been pretty embarrassing for them if our Forerunners didn’t get satellite reception.

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But thankfully they did. 

After a successful Port-A-Potty stop, I made Tim take pictures.

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See?   Lime green.

So, I did not bring my iPhone, so I have no pictures from the course.  Sad.  But here are my impressions of the race.

I decided that my strategy was going to be to try to hang with the 2:10:00 half pace group for as long as possible.  I didn’t want to go out too fast, and the pacer was adamant about a slow pace for the first two miles.  (She was AWESOME, by the way.)  I knew I could hang with them for awhile, at least, so I wanted to at least try using a pacer for awhile.

The gun went off.  Miles 1 and 2 were a breeze.  After half a mile, I turned my iPod off because I realized everyone in the pace group was chatting and I figured, hey, human contact is good.   I chatted with the pacer, who was giving great tips about nutrition and pacing, as well as a Garmin employee and a couple that’s getting married in three weeks.  The weather was perfect for racing—cool, breezy, probably high 50s-low 60s, with not a cloud in the sky.   However, we were REALLY  annoyed when the first aid station was literally out of water.  Really?  How hard is it?  Andplusalso it’s not like we were in the back of the pack.  I was thankful for my handheld water bottle at that point, though I chewed gum for the first five miles to keep my mouth from getting cottony as it is wont to do in races.

At mile 3, we picked up the pace so we were running just sub-10:00 miles.  I felt good and like that was a sustainable pace for me for the rest of the race.  We kept at it for mile 4 as well.

At the aid station at the start of Mile 5, I took a Chocolate Gu.  At this point, the pacer REALLY picked up the pace.  Like, a lot.  More than I’m comfortable with for a long run.  At that point, I started thinking, “okay, hang with her as long as you can, but this is probably not going to last.”   I kept within sight of the 2:10 group through the end of mile 7, at which point we hit an aid station and I just couldn’t keep up with them anymore. 

Mile 7 was kind of “the wall” of this race for me.  I could see the pacer slipping further and further away from me, and I knew I still had 6 miles to go.  My “friends” in the pace group kept passing me by and I started feeling a little desperate and edgy.  Luckily, at that point, two nice women about my age came up and introduced themselves and really encouraged me to keep going.  They were shooting to stick with the 2:10 group, too.  They stuck with me for awhile but eventually moved on.  It definitely got me through a bad point in the race!

At mile 8 I started feeling better and just focused on sinking into a nice, natural pace for me, about 10:00/miles.  I figured I’d banked some time with the 2:10 group and even if I kept up a slower pace of my own I would still finish strong with a great time I could be proud of!  I could also see the end in sight.

As my Garmin beeped at the start of Mile 10, I heard someone say “hi, Brie!” and lo and behold it was Sarah from Still A Runner!  She recognized my florescent green shirt and it was officially my first meeting of a blog reader.  (Sarah’s hardcore and ran over 20 miles today!)

Miles 10 and 11 kind of blurred, though I remember thanking a lot of volunteers (especially one REALLY enthusiastic guy with funny sunglasses on) and giving a lot of high fives to kids.  I remember thinking, “hey, this is not that bad at all!” several times.  Then I thought about the various things I thought could go wrong (ankle/knee/shin issues, pooping/barfy feelings, incredibly painful blisters) and realized that none of them had!  That alone made me feel great.  I also saw someone with a Team in Training hat on and thanked her.  It was also cool to have the, “hey, every step from here on out is a PDR” moment at mile 10.4.

Mile 12 was difficult, mostly because it was straight uphill.  Not a steep one, but a slow incline that was not the most friendly at the end of the race.  There were also some bridges that sucked.  I did a bit of shuffling/power walking up them.  Finally, for the last half mile, I just started counting down on my Garmin—.50 left.  Now .49 left.  And so on, and ran the whole way to the finish line to finish strong.

You can kind of see me here.  I’m a tiny green dot behind the old lady’s head.

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Coming up on the finish line…

 

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And I’m done!

(I should note here that I had a bit of a gear issue as these pants were a little big in the waist and kept sliding down on my butt.  So I’m sorry if anyone saw my buttcrack today.)

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Final stats?

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My splits were:

  • Mile 1: 10:47
  • Mile 2: 10:24
  • Mile 3: 9:45
  • Mile 4: 9:50
  • Mile 5: 9:08
  • Mile 6: 9:27
  • Mile 7: 9:23
  • Mile 8: 10:02
  • Mile 9: 10:08
  • Mile 10: 10:31
  • Mile 11: 10:42
  • Mile 12: 10:20
  • Mile 13: 11:22
  • .17 nubbin:  1:46

Garmin total time: 2:13:40 (still waiting on the chip!)

Or in picture form…

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I totally teared up like a goober at the end.

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Side note: the Bondi Band was AWESOME.  It did not slip once during the race and I had to touch my head a few times to see if it was there.  It’s not the most attractive look, but I will probably be a huge sucker and buy more of these because they are awesome.   Every other fabric headband I’ve tried pops off the back of my head within 30 seconds, even the super-sporty rubber-grippy ones.  Go buy one.

Another side note: there was almost zero crowd support for most of this race, so I’m looking forward to my next half which should be pretty packed.  The people who were out cheering were very nice, but there were long stretches of the course on boring suburban roads without anyone there.  The course was also very narrow at times, and I found myself tripping over road cones more than once.

While I got half a banana and water, we saw a cute dog eating an orange slice.  Tim took a picture.  There were lots of cute dogs along this race route, and my pace group probably thought I was mildly challenged because I kept pointing and yelling “AWW LOOKIT THE DOG.”

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I was also happy with my decision to bring a handheld water bottle, especially given that the aid stations were, you know, out of water at times.  I zipped my inhaler in the pocket and stuck a Gu in the outer pocket.  (I grabbed another Gu at mile 9 from the aid station, but didn’t end up needing it.)

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My first-ever finisher’s medal!
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And, because I’m a realist…my battle scars.

A black toenail on my right foot, second toe.  (I think my second and third toes on my left foot are going to blacken too.)

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My right foot.  I blistered mainly in the forefoot area and some in the arch.

 olathe 014 And my left.  Not too bad.olathe 015

I also have some chafing from my sports bra and in the buttcheeks.  Shoulda Body Glided, but it’s never happened in the past so, well, now I know.

Overall, I feel really great.   I feel like I was well prepared and absolutely nothing went wrong.  I had a kinda-sorta time goal of 2:10, but I realized how ambitious that was and I do not feel at all like my race wasn’t a success today because I didn’t meet that.  I know a sub 2:10 half is in my near future (and maybe even a sub 2:00 in the less-near future) and I am glad that I finished strong and ran a great race today.

Now…I’m off to take a nap and demolish half the kitchen…AS A HALF MARATHONER! 

Thank you all for your kind comments and tweets!  I definitely think about them when the going gets tough.

I’m sorry I made you cry.

You GUYS.

You are all too incredible. 

I have been reading your comments on my last post all day long and smiling and tearing up with you all.  I am so thrilled that we raised over $650 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society today!  I am almost 20% of the way to my goal.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I can’t say it enough.  I will be inspired by your kindness when the going gets tough tomorrow.

I feel like I had to write that post for a few reasons.  I’m going to be talking a lot about marathon training and, consequently, Team in Training quite a bit from here on out, and I want everyone to realize that this is really and truly something very important to me. This is not something I’m doing on a whim, and I am taking my fundraising commitment very seriously.  Every little bit helps!

I also wrote it for myself.  I haven’t talked about those details for a long, long time and I was literally sitting in my bloggin’ chair sobbing.  It was cathartic.  I don’t have a reason to share that time in my life much of the time, and it truly helped me to be able to write about it.  I don’t walk around sad anymore, but the little twinges over the course of eighteen years add up. 

A few commenters suggested that I also recommend everyone register for the National Bone Marrow Donor Program, and I wholeheartedly agree!  I am a registered marrow donor, and I hope you will visit their website and learn more about how you can become one too.  Even though a transplant didn’t help my dad, it is an incredible cure for many, many people and I’m so grateful to the donor who gave my dad his best chance at life.

Anyway, tomorrow’s the BIG DAY.  So I did things today one does before a half marathon.  Such as charge Sheila the Garmin:

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Carb load:

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And pick up my race packet.

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(Quite an expo, huh?)  There wasn’t too much there, but there was a Team in Training booth.  I stopped to talk with the rep a little bit and she gave me her card and told me to e-mail her and I could train with the Kansas City team!  Whee!

And a preview?

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I…don’t think this is going to be a very interesting course. 

The shirt isn’t half bad.  At least it’s not bright orange!

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And my number.  Nice and round.  I like that.

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I also finished my official half marathon playlist.

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I still can’t decide whether to wear my tiny iPod shuffle or carry my larger iPhone in my SPIbelt.  If I bring the iPhone, I can possibly take pictures along the course…but it would require more gear.  Decisions, decisions.

I am off to get everything arranged and re-arranged for tomorrow.  Can’t be too prepared!

Hopefully next time I ‘see’ you…I’ll be a half marathoner!  Eep! 

What’s your favorite pre-race breakfast?

Half marathon STYLE

Chocolate Raspberry Luna Bars are the best.

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After work, instead of going to the gym, I went to my beloved TJ Maxx to scope out the situation on their workout gear.  I love TJ’s (no, not Trader Joe’s, though I love them too) because they have high quality wicking-type clothes at low prices. 

Backup: I went to TJ Maxx because I freaked out realizing that even though the forecast for Saturday is 75 and sunny…at 7 a.m., it will be in the low 50s.  And it will be that chilly for the entire race (unless I take, like, four hours to finish, in which case I doubt I’ll care what I’m wearing).  And I don’t really have a dri-fit short-sleeved shirt I liked—I like V-necks, and my other two are too big.  I contemplated using my Zensah calf compression sleeves as arm warmers, and then realized I’d look like a total douchebag.

So yes.  My options were light pink, dark pink, and fluorescent green.

DISCLAIMER: I don’t hate pink.  Our wedding flowers are pink.  I think pink is pretty.  But it annoys the bejeezus out of me that all women’s workout gear is pink.  I realize TJ Maxx has a limited selection, but I don’t think it’s just there.  Whenever I want to buy workout clothes, I feel like my options are white, pink, and purple!  I want to wear green and navy and black and red and gray and yellow and orange, too!  (I don’t really look great in pink, either, which also explains my bias.)

Anyway.  Obviously, I am going to be a bright lime green runner on Saturday!  (My decision was actually mostly based on the fact that this fabric was much lighter and is basically the exact same as my favorite adidas tank top that I was planning on wearing, but with light sleeves.)

Tim has NO EXCUSE for missing me running by on Saturday.

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I also bought the black dri-fit capris with green accents to match because they were cheap.  (They are the exact same as another pair of adidas capris I have, just different colors, so I know I’m not going to burst into flames for wearing new gear on race day.)

So if you are at the Olathe Marathon on Saturday, I will be the asshole in neon green.

Also, I ordered a BondiBand on Monday and it came! 

Cripes, I need to Windex our mirror. 

0408 004I can’t usually wear fabric headbands, even the ones with rubbery grips, because they pop off the back of my oddly-shaped, large head.  But this one is holding strong so far!  I usually wear a hard plastic headband, but this is much more comfortable.  I am reserving judgment for awhile until I take it for a workout, but so far so good!

And again, our little lovers:

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Oh yeah!  In more exciting news…I got my first donation to Team in Training today!  Super exciting.  If you think I can finish a marathon, throw a few dimes in my tip jar, please! 

What’s your take on the predominance of girly workout gear?   Would you rather workout clothing be more unisex? 

Good omens

Today, Tim and I met for a lunch date at The Mixx. I was really impressed with their giant salads last time so we thought we’d try again.

I’ll take good omens in any form I can get them.  Like our order number.  (I feel like Kath!)  13 would have been better…but I’ll take it!

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I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with Brie on a pretzel roll.  (I would probably eat a dirty sock if it was on a pretzel roll.)0407 002

I was nonplussed.  The chicken was basically the dry, cut up kind they put in salads, and it was just not good.  And it took them 15 minutes to get it to me!   Next time I’ll get a salad again.

More pretty springtime porn:

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Aside from the allergies, I love spring.  There’s a reason we’re getting married in May, and it’s because of all this gorgeous junk out there.

After the gym, I went for my last official run of my training plan!  I did two fast miles in about 18:30.  I felt great while I was running, but once I stopped..my left knee, shin, and ankle started aching.  I took the aggressive approach—I put on my Zensah compression sleeves immediately, and went home and massaged my leg with ice cubes for awhile.  Pain gone!  I’m going to take it easy—REALLY easy—until the race, and keep icing and foam rolling and crossing my fingers.

In other news, some components of various bridesmaids’ gifts arrived today!

The most adorable baby hat ever:

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And a Colts sweatshirt for the die-hard fan:

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Annnd the RSVP count shoots up again—67 yes, 44 no, 93 delinquent. 

This week has been pretty boring, but the fun starts Saturday!  Here’s what’s going on:

  • Saturday: Half Marathon! 
  • Sunday: Second bridal shower with Tim’s family
  • Monday: Get fitted for orthotics!
  • Tuesday-Thursday night: Vegas, baby!  I’ll be at a conference for work.  (And I’ve never been before!)
  • Friday-Monday: Napa Valley

Whee!  I’m excited.

Any must-sees in Vegas or Napa?  (I’ll be at Caesar’s Palace!)

Half Marathon training in review

Today will be my last run in preparation for my half marathon on Saturday.  I’ll be in total rest mode Thursday and Friday, and I’m just doing two easy miles today.

131(Source.)

When all is said and done, I logged 202.95 miles training for this race.  Hal Higdon’s novice plan calls for 191.3 miles (if I added correctly, which is entirely unlikely), so I exceeded that by over 10 miles, despite two very light weeks due to injury.

Once I hit about 20 miles per week, I bailed on cross training and strength training.  I’m not exactly proud that I failed this aspect of things, but I don’t claim to be perfect or superhuman.  I am at work 9 hours a day, plus a 30ish minute commute each way, and doing lots of traveling and wedding planning, and sometimes four days a week is the best I can do.  I am okay with that.  My primary goal was to finish my half marathon, and I think I’m going to.

I have maintained my weight, which I’m also proud of.  I’ve heard that some people gain weight while training, but I followed my hunger cues pretty well.  Example: I noticed last week I was less hungry since I wasn’t running, so I cut out my morning snack and reduced the size of my lunch.  I was starving and ate all the time during harder training weeks, and that’s okay too!  I think that training really improved my ability to be an intuitive eater, which was totally unexpected.

My body has changed.  I think I have lost a bit of muscle in my upper body, which makes me sad, but it’s my own damn fault for skipping out on weight training.  BUT, the upside is that my ass is bangin’.  Seriously!  It is perky and round and tight.  Who knew running was so nice to the booty?  My thighs have also slimmed down a bit, which is a big deal because they are usually my “trouble zone,” so to speak.  All in all, I am happy with the physical changes in my body.

Mentally, towards the end I got a little burned out.  My horrible 10.4 miler that ended in dry heaves made me feel so broken and like I was wasting my time.  I started missing my house and Tim and the animals.  BUT, thankfully, when I hit that point, it was just about time to taper anyway.   I also really liked that the first few weeks were basically confidence-booster weeks for me—the mileage was low and I was able to prove to myself that I could stick with this program.

Am I prepared?  Well, I hope so.  You’ll find out on Saturday one way or the other.  But, I would give this program two thumbs up so far.  I think that if I was slightly less busy on other fronts and didn’t have to bail on some of the cross-training and strength training elements,  I would have been even happier right now.

So, that’s my review of Hal Higdon’s novice half marathon plan.  I hope it helps anyone thinking about going for a half!