Tuesday, June 26, 2012

7th Half Marathon: Done!

I honestly cannot believe what has happened to me. In less than a year I have become a Half Fanatic, joined the Idiot's Running Club, and now I am on track to become a Marathon Maniac. It seems strange that for 29 years of my life, I hadn't the slightest idea that any of these things existed. I sort of knew that crazy people ran marathons, I sometimes saw people out jogging but never paid that much attention. And now when I see people running, I am instantly analyzing their form, seeing what shoes they're wearing, and feeling extremely tempted to roll down my car window and yell motivational slogans. I suddenly know when every race in the state of Utah is and am signed up for most of them. My new regrets involve things like not being able to be in two races at the same time, owning too many running shoes to justify buying more, and not having enough Body Glide.

Anyway, on to the race report. I ran the AF Canyon Half Marathon last Saturday. It was a really lovely race down the canyon. I'm glad it started nice and early because that summer sun is getting brutal. It was a really well put together event and 100% of the proceeds from the race went to cancer research. So I got a neat medal and shirt, and got warm fuzzies! I got to meet a few of my Daily Mile friends out there as well. It's so nice to meet my internet friends in real life, you guys. Sometimes I get to wondering if they really exist, you know? But they do, and they're great. I have been having a bit of a weird issue with a muscle at the top of my right shin though. It cramps like a bugger for about three miles of every run, thus forcing me to walk A LOT until it finally figures out that I'm not going to stop running and it gives up the fight. I still managed a decent (for me anyway) finish time of 2:46:41. That's my second fastest time this year and my third fastest overall. And the best part, well besides the shirts and medals, was the Kneader's french toast at the end! You all know I'm a plump runner; I love to eat. I had thought that maybe distance running would make me thinner, alas it just made me hungrier. But I digress.

A wonderful race for a wonderful cause. I highly recommend it and will most likely be running it next year as well. I'll be back next week with two new race reports since I decided to do a 5K on the 4th of July and a half marathon on the 7th.

Happy running!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Marathon: Complete!

I did it. I actually did it. I ran (well, ran and walked) 26.2 miles. And not spread out over weeks either. This was all at once and everything. And I really enjoyed it. Really. Even when I got tired around mile 15 and had to walk a fair bit. Even when I felt a blister rising around mile 16. Even when I was standing in line at various port-o-potties. I may have even loved it, a little. Last year at this time, I hadn't even entertained the idea of running a marathon. I had only just decided to train for a half someday. I am completely amazed at what has happened over the last 11 months. I have gone from being terrified of a 7 mile run to willingly waking up at 2:30 a.m. to go run 26.2 miles. Body Glide, LSD's, Fartleks, and Gu have become integrated into my life and vocabulary. Every run leading up to this race taught me something. Some taught me patience, some gratitude. An awful lot of runs taught me humility. And most of all, running has taught me about myself.

It was the perfect day for a race. The most beautiful June 9th on record (in my mind, okay guys? Just go with it). It was a gorgeous morning up Provo Canyon in the tiny town of Wallsburg. It wasn't even cold like we were all expecting.  A pleasant 60 degrees. The Marathon Maniacs chose this marathon as a meet up. There were Maniacs everywhere. I wanted so badly to go and talk to them, but felt like I would be intruding. I am a member of the Half Fanatics, the Maniacs younger sibling, so to speak. But I remained timid. I listed to them talk about all the races that they had run. Many had completed over 150 marathons. The best part is, most of the Maniacs that I heard talking, were planning on finishing nice and slow, like me. They talked about running ultras and how it was so great to walk the hills, chat with other runners, and eat. I instantly thought that maybe ultra running could be my thing. I like to eat, okay?

There were so many nice people running. All the Maniacs were fun and friendly to me as I ran. I shouldn't have been worried about trying to talk to them. The Gear Guy even ran mile 3 to 4 with me, since I finally got up the nerve to talk to other runners once we started. I was wearing the brightest neon pink calf sleeves on the face of the earth. That garnered much approval from my fellow runners and also the aid station people. One of my favorite things about running is all the neon apparel available. But back to the marathon. The course was beautiful. The canyon was alive and green. There were verdant pastures filled with frolicking horses. The half moon stayed in the sky all through the run. There were a few windy sections, but I just imagined myself flying through the air, like a super hero, cape flapping in the wind. A true champion of justice  and all that. Running is a very mental sport. I have to use all sorts of visualizations and self talk to get through the long ones.

I had a bit of a scare when the sag wagon pulled up to me around mile 16 and asked how I was doing. I guess I was falling a bit behind. I politely waved him on and started booking it down the canyon. I managed to get back on track and beat the time limit. By mile 21 I was actually getting my second wind. It got to the point where I didn't like stopping for my walk breaks because it was harder to get going again after. So I just kept on truckin'. I was passing people there at the end too. I was actually passing people! After running for over 5 hours! There were so many people who looked so miserable. I couldn't quite understand it, since every step I took was taking me closer to the finish line. I could feel the smile on my face grow with every inch of ground gained. I didn't feel fresh as a daisy, by any means, but after training for so long, the last thing I was going to do was hate this experience.

I crossed that finish line in 6:08:54. And I was beaming! Other runners had finished in nearly a third of my time. But I bet they weren't as thrilled as this plump runner. I hope I enjoy the Park City Marathon as much when it rears it head in August. At least now the fear of the distance has dissipated. Now I know I can go that far and my heart doesn't explode and my legs don't fall off. Because, before, I thought that maybe that could happen...

Here's to living, learning, and running happy :)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Busy girl, busy life.

Hey everyone in blogger land! I am still here. And I am still running. But life is busy and then when your little brother breaks his neck while mountain biking (he's mostly okay, not paralyzed at least), one tends to forget to blog. Anyway, I have now done the previously unthinkable, I ran 23 miles, on my birthday even (3 weeks ago, now I'm in taper mode). If someone had told me last year that on my 30th birthday, I would wake up early and run 23 miles, I would have laughed in their faces. Short, fat, white girls don't run that far. But you know what? Turns out, they do. And it doesn't even kill them.  I hope that by being able to run 23 miles without dying that means that I can run my first ever marathon next week without dying. I guess when you've already gone that far, what's another 3.2, right?

I had a lovely little race today, so it's time to share the race reports and fun photos! This was my third year in a row running in the Dirty Dash. This year, I actually had a team of people with me. That's so much better than running it solo, like last year. Team Rocket got down and dirty and had a great time. It took two shampooings to get the mud out of my hair... That means it was a most excellent mud fest. This is a good race, for pretty much anyone really. You can skip the obstacles if you don't want to do them (or can't, like when I couldn't jump over the wall that was as tall as I was). There's a gigantic slip n' slide, which is by far my favorite part. And the big ol' mud pits are a blast. That's some cold mountain water they've got in them though. It's a good idea to get in on the earlier start times. The course is not as crowded and it's over nice and early, plus you can actually get a good parking spot.


Please enjoy theses mud filled photos and run happy :)