Sunday, May 26, 2013

Happy Runniversary to me

Two years ago today I started the couch to 5k program to see if I would like it.  To see if I could do it.  I like to say the first time I hit the treadmill it was love.  I think I was so excited that I didn't fall of the treadmill that I was just twitterpated.  I can tell you that I woke up the next morning and went to the gym to do day two.  I can also tell you with absolute certainty even early on I knew I felt better when I ran.

I kind of one cheeked my way through the program.  I probably didn't apply myself as hard as I could have/should have but it definitely fueled the fire.  I was hooked even on the treadmill.  I was quite content on the treadmill.  I had music, I had closed captioned TV, I could go rain or shine.

I ran my first 5k in December of 2011.  That was not only my first 5k, but the first time I ever ran outside.  It was cold that day, or so I thought, so not being familiar with the dynamic of running in the cold I had on sweat pants, the race shirt and a sweat jacket.  I might as well have had a big "Hi, I'm new!" sign.  The jacket came off within about five minutes.  It was then that I realized why my experience runner friend told me she always wore shorts 45 degrees and above.  I finished at 40:18.  Not spectacular, but not too bad either.

Next thing I knew I started running outside with friends at lunch, one of them was BRF.  It was during those runs that we became friends.  Before I knew I had signed up for two more 5k's and a 10k within a three week period.  Then we were doing 5k's every weekend through May.

The rest, my friends, you know as I started my blog shortly after my first runniversary.

So just for giggles since I have started running, I have competed in 18 5k's.  I have shaved 10 minutes off my initial 5k time from 2011.

One 8K in the prettiest local place imaginable to run.

I have complete two 10'ks.  Shaving off a little over four minutes from my first 10k.

I have competed in one 15k, and ran two legs of the Route 66 Marathon relay.  Which had been my farthest distances prior to Princess.

Then of course there was the half that started it all.  Princess Half, which then led to two other half marathons  in two months and qualified me for Half Fanatics.  Plus shaved 18 minutes off of my half time from Princess to the OKC Half.  Not too bad for someone whose long term running goal was just to complete Princess Half and call it good.

For this year I have planned my first race with my five year old daughter, plus my favorite local fall races.  Heading into the Tulsa Run and the Route 66 Marathon (half).  I'd be lying if I wasn't the least bit tempted to try and run for Charity for Wine & Dine.  It's Just a few short days after a mid decade birthday and what would be more fun than a couple of days at Disney?  Doubtful I will do it at as we will have just returned from the family fall break trip two weeks prior.  But a girl can dream right?

So thankful for all that running has changed in my world and so thankful for my running friends, and my new running friends that I have yet to meet.

I can not wait to see what the next year brings.  Thanks for lacing up with me on the journey.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dusting off

It's been awhile.  Seems like the last couple of weeks have just flown by and one activity has blended into the next.  I'm thankful we only had soccer this year and not the soccer and dance recital combo we normally have.  But holy cow, I'm ready for some normalcy.

As of today, school is out, activities are done and summer can officially begin.

What that means is I can get back into my groove, get back into a good running schedule and of course get back to my sadly neglected blog.

I have got several things coming up that I am super excited about it.  Curious?

First up, I have decided to participate in the Runner's World Summer Run Streak. Yes, that's right, I will be streaking this summer.  This may be one of the only times I can say that, so I'm kind of enjoying it.  Sorry for any unintentional visual images.  What exactly is it?  I can assure you it does involve running and I will be fully clothed.  Whew.  Basically, I am vowing  (feet to flame here) to run at least one mile a day between Memorial weekend and the 4th of July.  Somewhat appropriate as Memorial Weekend 2011 was when I started this crazy journey and began the couch to 5k program.  

Next up is a biggie, my first blogiversary.  Oh the places this little blog has gone and will continue to go.  So excited to see what the next year brings me.  So to celebrate I am hosting my first ever giveaway.  I've got a couple of really cool things lined up and will be giving away a few of my favorite things.  Stay tuned for more details.

Finally, the registration for the Princess Half/Glass Slipper Challenge is coming up.  Can you believe it's that time again?  You can bet I'm all set.  Plus this year not only is my BRF coming along and running the Glass Slipper Challenge with me this year.  But we have corrupted one of our other BRF's into coming along for the fun.

Speaking of my BRF (hello, friend).  She has started her own blog Cupcakes-N-Running Shoes.  Check her out.  She will be chronicling her journey from foot surgery to her first half marathon the Williams Route 66 and her love of baking.  I might make an appearance or two, or three.  No pressure, Lisa, no pressure. ;)

For now I am getting back into my three day a week running habit and also am currently taking place in a 30 day challenge being hosted by the awesomely fun Julie at Run.Walk.FASTPASS.Repeat.  I totally blog, Facebook and Twitter stalk her and two of her friends.  She doesn't seem to mind though. Not too late to join in.  Crunches, Squats and Planks, oh my!

Who else is excited for summer and a break from the crazies?  What events coming up are you most excited about?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Race Recap: 13th Annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon (Half)

This was a last minute decision for me to sign up for this Half.  It became the final piece of the my quest to reach Half Fanatic Status.  I talked my husband into coming along with me on a family trip and promised we would take the Little's to the Zoo after.  It was also a big deal, because this would be the first time either of them had seen the Oklahoma City Memorial.  Our seven year old son was aware of what happened but my daughter really had no idea.  It's an important part of Oklahoma history.  It's a testament not only to the devastation that happened there, but it's a testament of hope.  A reminder of grace and resilience.  It's somber and sad and beautiful and awe inspiring all at the same time.

Then the Boston Marathon bombing happened almost two weeks from the day of the race.  I became even more determined that this was a race I needed to run, it became less about my goal and more about the true meaning behind the run, it is and was a "Race to Remember".  Runners from Boston who were not able to complete the marathon were invited out to complete the race free of charge.  Runners attending were encouraged to wear red socks in honor of Boston and green laces in remembrance of the Oklahoma City Bombing victims. 

A couple of things stood out to me the 168 seconds of silence (one second for each of the Oklahoma City Victims) was morphed into 171 seconds adding the three from Boston.  The fact that there are no bib numbers prior to 169.  The first 168 are set up on a wall in remembrance of the victims complete with their names on them.  Add on to that the Boston runners who were at the front of the pack plus the firefighters who went through the race in their complete gear. 

It was just an amazing event to behold from an emotional and personal standpoint.  I don't know that I could actually put in words how extraordinary it was to be at this event. 

As far as the personal recap aspect of it.  I ran with four of my running friends.  We met in Oklahoma City the night before to have dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse and then went back to the hotel for sleep.  We left around 515a for the 630a start. 

I was slightly worried about the IT band/knee issue as the week prior had been a particularly bad week.  But I stuck with it.  I really did not expect to be able to hang with my friends the whole time.  Which would have been fine as I usually run by myself at some point in time.  But we mostly stuck together.  At one point we did get separated but we stayed two by two.  I found out I was grateful to have the company.  I was also impressed by the IT Band that could.  Every time I thought I was going to have to start walking, it got better.  I also totally believe had I been left to my own devices I probably would not have pushed through it as I did.   

I went into hoping for minimum hills and there were several, including one named Gorilla.  You can imagine how thrilled I was when I heard that was coming up.  Oddly enough I conquered the hills  (or at least trudged through them).  The course in spots was crowded.  I got splashed with mud and got pushed from behind in one tighter spot.  But aside from that no major grumps.

I hit my stride around miles 6 to 9 this time and then kind of dwindled down but picked it back up there at the end.  When all was said and doing my friend and I crossed at 2:22:19 which is a little over three minutes faster than my 2nd Half (the Aquarium Run) and a good eighteen and half minutes over my Princess Half time. This was encouraging to me because even though I definitely wasn't a 100% I did better than I had anticipated.  My serious goal for this was to finish,  ideally I just wanted to at least finish at the same time as the Aquarium Run.  So I was quite pleased.

We found our two friends, got a group finisher picture together and made our way through the crowds to find my family by the memorial.

I said good-bye to my friends and walked through the Memorial with my family.  I had heard that runners had been known to put their medals around the chairs that signify the people whose lives were lost during the bombing but to see them hanging there was an entirely different thing.  The Field of Empty Chairs took on a whole new meaning.  The family of one of the victim's run in remembrance of their father.  To see his chair with their medals and bibs just leveled me but it also reminded me that while this race is about remembrance, it's also about the hope that is prevalent.  Even when things look bleak, look devastating, hope is right around the corner.

 The Oklahoma City Memorial Half may have been the end to a short term goal.  But it now will hold a special place in my heart.  This is a race that I will come back to year after year.  A race that I will continue to share with my family.  It truly is a race to remember.