Giving up the fight, but keeping the streak alive.

Since I ran my second half marathon in October, I have been trying to continue with my training. I had hopes of running my third half in December, my fourth half in January, and my first full marathon in February. Unfortunately my body had other ideas and I have finally given up the fight. Lately, most of my runs have not been the greatest and I have been fighting my way through them. I’ve been unable to go any further than 15 miles without some kind of injury sidelining me. For the last few weeks, every run I have done over 3 miles has resulted in pain and always in a different spot so it doesn’t seem to be a recurring injury. I just think my body is telling me I need a break and I need to scale back my weekly mileage. 

I will conquer you one day marathon!

On a more positive note, I can still run and I am keeping the streak alive. I have managed to run at least one mile for the last 7 days and I do not intend on giving up on that challenge. Here is how the miles have added up so far:

Tuesday: 2 miles

Wednesday: 1 mile

Thursday: 10k fun run

Friday: 1 mile

Saturday: 3 miles

Sunday: 12 miles

Today: 1.5 miles

I left my cousin’s house on Saturday morning to head home and after it warmed up, I went out for my run. I was planning on a long run on Sunday morning so I didn’t want to go too far or hard but I was feeling good so I ran out 1.5 miles and ran the whole way back feeling pretty strong with a pace of 8:51. It was a great run and gave me hope for the long run I had planned for Sunday. So that night I carbo loaded with some delicious pancakes with peanut butter on top.

I got up Sunday morning and knew that I wanted to get the run done first thing because I run better in the mornings. But it was 25 degrees out! So I bundled up in my running capris, compression socks, thermal top, my new pullover from Walmart, gloves, and a headband to keep my ears warm. At mile 3 there was still frost on the ground:

My hands got hot around mile 2, so the gloves came off, but I needed everything else to keep me warm for the rest of the run. Here I am happy for a walk/fuel break at mile 3:

At mile 6 I started feeling some pain in my achilles/calf muscle so I turned around and had another walk/fuel break.

Please excuse the luggage under my eyes, that’s what my allergies do to me.

It is so peaceful and beautiful running out here:

It was a struggle with the pain in my calf continuing to irritate me but I made in back home, 12 miles in 2 hours 1 min. I was pretty sore the rest of the day so I did my best to continually stretch and foam roll. When I woke up this morning I still had some residual pain in my calf so I rested most of the morning before heading to the gym around 10:45.

I decided to take it easy to try to work out the soreness in my legs, 35 slow minutes on the bike and 35 minutes at level 2 on the stair climber. Then I needed to get in my run for the day and it was raining outside, so I reluctantly hopped on the treadmill and did 1.5 miles at an average pace of 10:30. It was boring! But I got it done and the streak continues!


AthHalf Half Marathon Recap part 3

In case you missed part 1 or part 2 of my race recap, I wrote about the morning leading up to the race and how I did on the run. As I crossed the finish line and stopped my Garmin, I was riding the high of not only achieving a PR but beating my goal of under 2 hours by over 2.5 minutes. I don’t remember feeling this tired as I crossed the finish line.
I accepted my finishers medal and a bottle of water from the wonderful volunteers at the finish line and made my way over to the food. At this point I ran into a wall of people and chaos worse than at the start line. One of the volunteers was yelling food to the right and exit to the left. I knew I really needed some fuel so I tried to head to the right. Unfortunately, everyone else was also thinking the same thing. There was only one sidewalk of space to enter and exit the food area so there was a lot of pushing and shoving. I don’t mind waiting in line for food but my legs were starting to hurt and I needed to keep moving. Also, I understand being happy about your accomplishment but it would have been nice if people went somewhere else to celebrate and let those of us that wanted food to get to it without having to climb over them. 

As far as the food went, there was plenty to choose from: bagels, bananas, muffins, pizza, smoothies, and many other things I didn’t take the time to see because I was trying to get out of the mass of people. I grabbed two quarter pieces of a bagel and a third of a banana (not sure what the point of cutting them up was, I would have liked to have a whole banana and bagel without having to grab a million different pieces) Even the muffins were cut in half, which just seemed weird to me. 

Luckily, I was able to cut through the Tate Student Center and not have to face the mass of people trying to push back past others trying to get food. I was worried about finding my Dad because we hadn’t set any definite meeting place for after the race. I headed up to the bridge in hopes that he stayed where he was and luckily found him without a problem. Now came the hard part of walking back to the car, a very steep half mile on tired legs. 

I got a picture with my medal and called my husband to tell him what my time was. He was a little jealous that I had beat his time again but very proud of how I did. (His first half time was 2:19:03, I ran my first a couple of months later in 2:05:39, then he ran his second half in 1:59:21 and once again I have triumphed!) 

We got back to the hotel so I could stretch, roll, and shower. It was when I took my shoes off that I felt how much pain I was experiencing in both of my feet. The injury I had suffered a few weeks back was definitely bothering me but now there was a new pain on the other foot, right in the middle of my instep. Needless to say, I got to hobble around for the rest of the day and Dad said I was walking like an old lady. Then we headed home and I got to eat some delicious leftover Pizza Hut pizza for lunch, yum yum! Do you think it’s weird that I had green peppers, black olives, and pineapple on it?

I need to add that I really enjoyed the enthusiasm of the spectators and volunteers. I also loved the massive amount of signs along the course and I am sad I couldn’t read all of them without slowing down. Shirtless dude who kept me entertained, thank you! I loved the singing and air drumming immensely.  

AthHalf Half Marathon Recap part 2

That’s my Dad in the red jacket taking pictures

As I talked about in part 1 of my half marathon recap, it was very crowded at the start line and it didn’t let up once our timing started after we crossed the line. I was able to start jogging but definitely not going very fast. I started trying to weave through the other runners as much as I could but I wanted to stay on the left side because that was were my Dad was going to be taking pictures. Unfortunately, there were so many people my Dad didn’t see me so I missed photo op #1. 
Since we were basically running around the block, my Dad was able to walk up the street and get some more pictures of us passing. I again tried to stay on the left side so he would see me, while still weaving through as many people as possible. Here is the one pic my Dad was able to snap before I zoomed by.

After I knew the photo ops were done, I started concentrating on keeping a comfortable pace while getting free of most of the crowd. I was feeling really good and keeping an awesome pace of around 8:35 and then after I hit mile 2 my legs just wanted to quit, they felt so tired and I began to question my fueling plan and whether I would be able to finish the race. I told myself to just keep going until mile 3.5, refuel, and then reassess how I was feeling. So I pushed through and got my peanut butter gu followed by some water at mile 4. 

I began to feel better and then we hit a nice long downhill that felt like it lasted for over a mile. This was when the euphoria hit and I felt like I had the biggest smile on my face. I was enjoying every minute of the downhill and felt like I could run forever. Then we got to mile 5 and the uphills started, just a few at first and one big one I powered up but then it felt like we just kept hitting more and more uphills and I started feeling sluggish again. We crossed the timing line at the 10k mark and I realized I had just ran my fastest ever 10k at 54:39. This gave me a nice push when I needed it and I knew I was still on target to meet my goal of finishing under 2 hours. 

Crossing the bridge over Sanford Stadium

At around mile 7 I started recognizing some landmarks from my college days, and realized we were heading towards the apartment building I lived in my junior and senior years. Unfortunately, we had to climb a couple of big hills to get there. By the time we made it to where my apartment was, we were headed down a nice hill. I totally missed the complex as I was concentrating on getting some water at mile 8 and trying not to focus on the pain that was radiating from my right ankle and up the back of my calf.

Heading up the first of the last 3 hills

The course then brought us to the east side of the UGA campus, which has changed so much in the last 9 years. The parking lots I remember are now dorms, but it was nice to be able to run down some of the same roads I walked down all those years ago and see the many changes and that some things are still the same. I refueled again at mile 9.5 and followed it with some water at mile 10. At this point I was ready to be done but I was really enjoying seeing the campus again. 

As I was nearing mile 12 I passed what used to be my dorm my sophomore year and sadly it no longer existed. A new building was going up in its place, this made me a bit sad but that quickly passed as I zoomed down the hill and headed towards the stadium and what would be the final leg of the half marathon. 

I pushed through the last 3 hills and finally headed downhill towards the entrance to Sanford Stadium. This was the part of the race I had waited all morning for! Actually I had been waiting months for this part of the race and it was so much better than I thought it would be. Running a lap around the hedges, being on the jumbotron, not once, but twice…So amazing and the perfect way to end a race. 

After leaving the stadium, it was just that final tenth of mile left and I was making great time. I was even kicking myself for not pushing harder and getting an even better time. So my goals were to set a PR (my first half marathon time was 2 hours 5 minutes and 37 seconds) and to finish under 2 hours. Here are my results:

So there is my recap for the race course. Overall, it was a great course, some of the hills tried to kill my spirit but I made it and I am stronger for it! Stay tuned for part 3 where I will review the finish line set up, post race food, and the race aftermath.   

The hills of Athens
Mile splits

AthHalf Half Marathon Recap part 1

The alarm went off at 5:15 and I got up easily, still not feeling anxious but also not feeling excited either. After dealing with the foot problems that have not completely gone away and some not so stellar training runs I wasn’t feeling very positive about my chances at a PR and I was just ready to get it over with. I got dressed and got everything together and went downstairs to meet my Dad for breakfast. 

The hotel provided a fairly common continental breakfast and I decided on a mini bagel with some jelly (sadly there was no peanut butter) and a blueberry muffin. I made sure I drank plenty of water and mentally prepared myself for the cold I was about to step out into. 

After breakfast we left the hotel to head to the start line. We managed to find parking within a block of the start line and I begrudgingly took off my sweatshirt. I had a quick motivational chat with my husband (he is so encouraging) and climbed out into the cold. I immediately started pumping my arms and jogging in place to try and get the blood flowing so I wouldn’t freeze before the race started. It actually was not that bad out as long as we stayed near the buildings and out of the wind. 

We headed over to the start line and staked out a warm spot to hang until closer to race time. I decided I should try to empty my bladder before the race and headed over to the port-a-potties. I made it halfway across the street when I saw the line and decided I would never get through it before the race started and I didn’t have to really go so I went back and started my warmup. My Dad was nice enough to lend me his jacket because my arms were freezing and I enjoyed the warmth until they announced it was time to head to the start line. 

There was supposed to be close to 3,000 runners and they told us to line up according to our bib numbers (hello I was 1007 and now I’m 2955!) because they were assigned according to estimated finishing time. Of course no one really stuck to this and I managed to squeeze my way into the middle of the pack but a bit far behind the 2 hour pace group. 

As we were packed in like cattle, I was reminded why I dislike running in races with more than 500 people. It was complete chaos (at least to me) and I only heard the last line of the National Anthem and none of what the announcer was saying. I didn’t even hear the gunshot and only knew we had started when I began to see people heading up the hill in front of us. 

One nice thing about being packed in like sardines is you are no longer cold but it makes for a very frustrating start to the race. As we slowly started walking to the start line, I hoped that I would be able to start running once I crossed the line and my time started. I was really starting to fear that this slow start would blow my entire race plan. Stayed tuned for part 2 of my recap to find out how the race went along with a few pictures of the course.

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