Alive on the Other Side

Well guys, it’s Monday.  The half marathon is over, and I’m still alive and walking without any assistance from wheelchairs, canes, or walkers.  I have mixed feelings about how it went.  I was not able to make it the entire way without walking a bit.  I started out running with one of the pacers and she claimed she was 2 seconds off the pace, but according to my Nike app we were averaging 25 seconds faster per mile than we were supposed to be going.  By Mile 5 I started to slow.  The back pain started around Mile 7.5 (I used Icy Hot on my shins and they felt fine, but I didn’t think to use any on my lower back).  I walked around Mile 9.5, but right after Mile 10 I saw my sister, brother, and my brother’s girlfriend there cheering me on so that pushed me to finish.

ImageWe didn’t stop during the race, so we needed pictures with my sister and the signs she made for both my aunt and I afterward

Although I’m bummed that I walked, I did beat the time I ran last year by 7 minutes.  I’m pretty proud of that.  That’s like 30 seconds faster per mile.  That’s why I have mixed feelings.  I’m sad that I walked, but I’m happy that I ran a faster time.

*Edit:  I just looked up my official time from last year’s half.  I was 7 minutes 48 seconds faster.  That’s an average pace of 36 seconds faster per mile.  Nothing to sneeze at…

Other than the walking, the day was awesome.  The crowds were huge, just as expected.  Check out this video taken of the start of the race (the marathon, half marathon, and 10k all started together):

Finishing on Broadway in downtown Fargo was also pretty cool.  There were tons of people lining the streets for the last half mile.  The fans were actually great throughout the entire course.  If I’m ever in town and not running, I will for sure make humorous signs and go cheer the runners on.  The comedic relief was a major help.  Some of my favorite signs were as follows:

-At about Mile 3 someone was holding a sign that said “You still have a SHIT TON of miles left”
– “Staying up all night to make this sign was hard, too”  (and it was just a white posterboard with those words written in black marker)
– “Jack Bauer runs until the treadmill breaks”  (any 24 fans out there?)
– “Run fast, random stranger!”
– “Pain now, beer later”
– “Run faster, I just farted”

A lot of the signs were pretty dumb, but even a second’s relief from thinking about the pain or how much farther we had to go was greatly appreciated.

I started the race running with my friend Lindsey.  I pulled ahead of her after about 2 miles (following that stupid pacer) but she caught back up with me around Mile 9 and we finished together.  As we were running those last few miles we discussed how next year we were either going to do the 10k or the Marathon Relay so we didn’t have to run so far.  I can’t say that I won’t for sure do the half again.  I still want to complete one without walking, and Fargo is probably the best place to do that because it’s so flat.  My training was interrupted this year with the whole broken foot thing and then I was gone for a week in Pittsburgh.  But life will happen every year.  I’m sure if I register next year my life will be super busy and things will get in the way of training too.  I want to participate in the Fargo Marathon weekend in some form, because it is a really fun and exciting weekend.  We’ll just see how many miles I will put in next year 🙂


The Final Countdown

If you need to get pumped up on this Friday, click this link and proceed to rock out:

This is it.  It’s the final countdown.  In less than 24 hours I will be (hopefully) done with the half marathon.  I’m a whole bundle of nerves right now.  I had a running nightmare last night–I dreamed that I only made it 4 miles and then had to quit the race because I was in too much pain.  Not a great dream to have 2 nights before the race.  In addition, it seems like I’ve been talking about the marathon all morning.  We had the annual Staff vs. Student basketball game this morning, and about a hundred different students and teachers asked why I’m not playing (I am not good at basketball, but everyone knows I coach it and I also am usually game to participate in these kinds of activities).  I repeated to everyone that I’m running tomorrow and, knowing my luck, I would twist an ankle and 3 months of training plus $70 would be wasted.

In spite of being incredibly nervous, I’m also getting excited.  I made a randomly awesome playlist to run to (I put it on shuffle and the first three songs that came up were “Get Silly” by V.I.C., “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell, and “Love is an Open Door” from Frozen) and looking at those songs is just getting me pumped.  In addition, the whole weekend is an exciting event.  According to the last numbers I saw, there’s going to be something like 21,000 runners and volunteers participating.  I have no idea if there are estimates on how many people come to watch, but it’s a lot.  There are over 50 live bands or DJs scattered along the course.  Despite the pain of running 13.1 miles, it’s a really fun and exciting event.

I’ve been bouncing back and forth between excitement and nerves all morning.  I texted my aunt this morning about my dream making me nervous, and she replied that she’s pretty nervous too but tomorrow is going to be “all about mind over matter.”  I’m trying to believe that and tell myself that I’m going to do it.  It’s probably going to hurt, but I’m going to do it.  I want the feeling of crossing that finish line and being proud of myself.  Pushing through pain for 2 hours and 20 minutes is totally worth that.   And hey, I get to have a day of carbing up–nothing like eating carbs all day and not feeling badly about myself!

If you are awake tomorrow morning between 8 and 10:30 AM CDT, please send some positive thoughts my way.  I’ll probably need as much help as I can get :S

 Half marathon countdown:  0 days, 19 hours, 16 minutes

T-3 Days

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  I gave you a heads-up that my brain is swirling with thoughts of the impending doom that is the half marathon I’m going to run on Saturday.  Since it’s pretty much all I can think about, it’s pretty much all I’m going to blog about for the next 4 days 🙂

I’m not sure why I’m so nervous for this half marathon.  I’ve already done 2, and I did the Fargo Half last year.  I know 2 half marathons isn’t an extreme amount, but I have a pretty good idea of what to expect.  Usually my nerves kick in when I’m about to do something new or unfamiliar.  Maybe I’m nervous about the fact that I don’t 100% know how my body is going to respond on race day.  I’ve had some training runs that feel amazing, and others where my legs start to get sore about a mile into the run (these days usually correspond to the days I drink less than 60 oz of water beforehand…you’d think I would learn).

Last night was my last long-ish training run before Saturday.  I went 7.37 miles, and now tonight and tomorrow I’ll just do 3-4.  Yesterday was one of the good runs.  It was 60 degrees out, so for the first time all year I was able to run in short sleeves.  I had a little bit of foot numbness in my left foot from Mile 2-3 (I have pronation issues if I don’t focus on keeping my foot stable) but otherwise I felt really strong.  As I was finishing, I thought to myself that I probably had enough left to do 6 more miles, so I should be ready to go on Saturday.  Like I said yesterday, this race is going to be mostly about mental strength so I’m doing what I can to build that up.

I realized something else while I was running yesterday.  My aunt is also running the half, and yesterday she told me her goal is to run sub-10 min/miles.  That would put her total time at under 2 hours, 10 minutes–at least 5 minutes faster than my goal.  I started to feel badly about myself and began to wonder if I could push myself to run that pace.  I was considering this while I was running last night, and I realized that I place way too much stock in comparing myself to others.  Two days ago I was content with my time goal for the half; now, one comment was making me reconsider that.  Why should my aunt’s goal have any impact on my own?

After this became clear, I also realized that running is not the only arena of my life where comparisons run rampant.  At my cousin’s wedding this past weekend I found myself thinking, “Ok, the bride is 30.  They met 3 years ago, which means I would have just under 2 years to meet my future spouse.  That’s not so bad.  They seem like a decently young couple.”  I’ve done this same calculation with many other couples as well.  I think it’s the fear of being the old maid friend that prompts me to do this.  I also want to have a family and be a somewhat young mom.  These two things lead me to constantly compare my place in life with those around me.  Sometimes these comparisons give me hope (like at my cousin’s wedding–2 years is PLENTY of time to meet someone) and other times they stress me out (at my age she was married and had two kids, I’m going to be alone forever!).  

I decided last night that I’m done comparing myself.  I’m uniquely me.  My life will take a different path than everyone around me, and that’s ok.  It’s ok if it takes me 2 hours and 20 minutes to run a half marathon.  That’s not the fastest pace ever, but I’m still out there doing it.  It’s also ok if I’m 25 and still single.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to be alone forever.  Constantly comparing myself to others is only going to leave me feeling inadequate and stressed out, and probably saddle me with some feelings of jealousy as well.  I’m making a commitment to replacing the comparisons with self-love.  I think if I’m actually able to do this I will have much better relationships with others and with myself.

Half marathon countdown–3 days, 21 hours, 37 minutes 

Aaaaaand We’re Back!

I’m back for my first real post in almost 3 weeks!  I had to double-check that, because it doesn’t seem like it can possibly be that long since I posted, but it’s true.  Life has been absolutely crazy these past few weeks, but I’ll try to be brief and get myself caught up.

I was in Pittsburgh from April 21-25 for the NCEA National Convention.  I went with two other teachers from the Catholic elementary schools in Fargo.  I hadn’t met either teacher beforehand, but we got along really well and had an amazing week.

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The three teachers at a Pirates game

The conference was wonderful as well.  I attended some incredible speakers and got a ton of great resources that I will be able to use as I transition to the 6th grade classroom next year.  Plus, it was a much-needed break from life in Fargo.  Next year the NCEA convention is in Orlando, and I’m really really hoping my principal asks me if I want to go again!

I came back from Pittsburgh, was at school for two days, and then left again as a chaperone on the junior class retreat.  We went out to a campground on Pelican Lake in Minnesota.  I didn’t know what to expect on the retreat because they had asked me to come along only 5 days before we left, so I didn’t have much time to prepare.  The retreat was another amazing experience.  It was definitely about the juniors and helping prepare them to lead the school next year, but the chaperones got a lot out of it too.  This was another event that I hope to be asked back to.

We got back from the retreat on Thursday afternoon.  I was in Fargo for approximately 24 hours before we took off for Rochester, MN for my cousin’s wedding.  That’s about a 4.5 hour drive from Fargo.  I was pretty exhausted before we even left, but I wanted to go support my cousin and see my family.

Displaying photo2.jpgDolled up for the wedding with my cousin, brother’s girlfriend, and sister

I won’t lie, I was not excited for this wedding.  It’s the first one I attended since breaking off my own engagement.  I was supposed to be at this wedding crazy excited to get married myself in 50 days, and instead I was hoping to be able to get through the day without breaking down.  

I would be lying if I said it was easy.  There were several moments during the ceremony when I forced my mind to wander so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed by what was happening.  This was also the first time I had seen several family members since everything happened, so they asked how I was doing and wanted to talk about the very things I was trying not to think about.  I got through the ceremony, dinner, and toasts, and when the dance started I was fine.  It was good to dance with my cousins and just have fun.  Hopefully now that the first wedding is out of the way things will get easier, since I have 3 more to go to in the next 6 months.

I’m finally back in Fargo for a few weeks, but that doesn’t mean life is any less busy.  We have 14 school days left (!!!) so things are getting crazy.  On top of that, this Saturday is D-Day (aka, the day of the half marathon).  I have no idea if I’m ready.  My longest training run was 10.17 miles (ran last Tuesday).  I’m hopeful, because that’s over 2 miles longer than the longest runs I did before that 2 other half marathons that I’ve done.  I think this race is going to be a mental thing for me–I’m pretty sure my body can do it, so long as I don’t psych myself out.  As I was nearing the end of my 10-mile run, I thought to myself “at this point next Saturday, I will still have a 5k to run.”  I started feeling desperate and panicky.  That’s exactly the type of crap I need to NOT do on race day.  I need to just make up my mind that I’m going to do it.  After everything I’ve lived through these past few months, I can run for 2 hours (my time goal is 2:15–about 10:18 min/miles).  And I want the feeling of pride after I’ve crossed the finish line and know I did it.  I want that badly.  I’m trying to spend a lot of my time this week visualizing it.  That was a piece of advice I was given back when I did Weight Watchers–instead of focusing on the pain of what you are going through, visualize how good it will feel when you finish.  Hopefully that applies in half marathons too.

This post didn’t really serve any purpose other than to catch up on where I’ve been the last few weeks and explain why I’ve been neglecting you.  My mind is pretty focused on the half this week, so that’s probably all I’ll be talking about.  Hopefully next week I’ll be exciting and interesting again (I AM exciting and interesting sometimes, right?)!

Half marathon countdown–4 days, 16 hours, 43 minutes (thanks to the Fargo Marathon app I downloaded this morning)

Training Update

I realize my posts have been all gloom and doom as of late.  I feel like I have been surrounded by negativity, and no matter what I do bad things keep happening.  I can’t control a majority of what has happened, but I do have 100% control over how I respond to these situations.  I’m done focusing on the negativity.  It’s time to focus on how I can move on from these situations.

As far as the fire at my high school, I’ve been brainstorming ways to help raise money.  I’ve contacted a few national figures via Twitter and email (hey, you never know) about helping spread the word for the relief fund.  If anyone in the blogosphere wants to help, here’s the link:

Any and all support is greatly, greatly appreciated.  Also, if you believe in the power of prayer please consider taking part in this:

rosaryIf you can’t read the text, it’s explaining that at 2 pm MST today we will be praying the rosary for the students and staff affected by the fire

The fire wasn’t the only thing that had been bringing me down these past few days (though it was definitely the most major) so I’m trying to refocus my energy on my half marathon training.  Running releases endorphins and just makes me feel better.  When I can accomplish a goal that I’ve set for myself, I feel proud.

As a reminder, here is what I am using as my guide for training:


I say I’m using this as my guide because I’m not following it exactly.  My goal is to run the number of miles they specify each week, but I might not do it on the days they outline.  For example, this past week I did 3 on Sunday and then was busy Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and didn’t have time to run.  I ran 3 again last night, will do 3 more tonight, then do 4 tomorrow or Sunday.  I’m doing all the runs they outline, just not in the exact order.

Training has been going pretty well.  I’ve done most of it on a treadmill, and have been gradually increasing my pace.  On Sunday I ran the fastest pace for a 3-mile run that I’ve done in a while (about 9:30 min/miles…not super fast I know, but pretty good for me).  Last night I tried running outside because the temperature had warmed up to about 38 degrees.  There was still a lot of snow and ice on the sidewalks so that was pretty slow going.  Plus, it’s just a lot tougher to run outside with the different inclines and the cold air hurting my lungs.  However, it was still a good run and I felt good after finishing.

I really think this half marathon is what is going to pull me out of this funk.  It’s something that I have total control over.  Yesterday I was feeling pretty tired around Mile 2.  I made myself push through it and was able to finish the run without walking.  That felt good that I was able to control that situation.  A little feeling of control can go a long way!

Let’s Get It Started

First of all,  I’m sorry I’ve dropped off the grid for nearly a week!  This past week was absolutely crazy, and I really lacked the time and energy to do any blogging :S

Secondly, happy Super Bowl!  Though my Packers didn’t make it this year, I will still be watching the game (and eating tons of appetizers).  Also, who is excited that the Puppy Bowl has penguin cheerleaders this year?!

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any cuter, they added penguins

Anyway, a few posts ago I talked about the struggle to find motivation to work out when it is so cold outside.  The best way for me to motivate myself is to sign up for races.  I don’t like to fail, so the fear of falling short is usually enough to get my butt into the gym.  So, I’ve decided to run the Fargo Half Marathon again this year.  Fargo is a good half to run.  The course is very flat, and a ton of people come out for it.  It’s a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, so there are definitely the really good runners who sign up.  But there are also many people who come out to try to accomplish a bucket list item and are less psycho (ahem, me).

I did the Fargo Half last year and it was really fun.  I think pretty much the whole town was out supporting, because there were few places along the 13.1 miles that weren’t filled with people cheering the runners on.  However, I fell short of my goal.  In both half marathons that I’ve done, I’ve made it to the 10-mile mark and then had to walk.  This year I REALLY want to run the entire thing, so training starts now.

This is the training scheduled I’ve tried to use in the past, but never really stuck with it:

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I would always get off the schedule (usually on the days when I was supposed to do the longer runs) and then end up just sort of improvising.  As a result, the longest training running I’ve ever completed as been just over 8 miles.  Therein lies my problem; I’m going to get up to the 12-mile mark before the half this year.

This is a 10-week program.  In order to start it you have to be able to run for 30 minutes without stopping.  The Fargo Half is May 10, which means the program starts on March 1.  I have just under 4 weeks to get myself ready to start, so on Thursday I bought myself a membership to Planet Fitness ($10/month what what).  Y’all, it was ugly.  My first day there I legit ran 1 mile and walked.  One stinking mile.  

This training is going to be all about attitude and mindset.  I went home after my mile run feeling very disappointed in myself.  When I woke up the next morning, I decided there is no room in my life for negative feelings.  Yeah, I’m out of shape.  But I’m taking steps to make it better.  So I got up yesterday morning, was at the gym by 8:15, set the treadmill speed to 5.8 (so slow, I know) and the time for 20 minutes, and I ran the whole time without stopping once.  Yeah, it was slow.  And yeah, I’m really sore today.  But I set a goal and I achieved it.  Even though it wasn’t an amazing length or pace, I did what I set out to do.

The lesson I learned from all of this is to dream big but set attainable goals to help you get there.  Have an ultimate goal, but make sure you have mini goals along the way.  You want to start a multi-million dollar company?  That’s awesome, but you should probably set a mini goal of staying in the black your first year in business.  You want to lose 100 pounds and become a healthier person?  Kudos, but it’s ok if you only lose 4 pounds your first week of dieting.  You want to run a half marathon?  Go you, but if on your second day of training it takes you 21 minutes to run 2 miles and you feel like dying after, that’s totally fine.

If you’re like me, you find that it can be pretty easy to be really hard on yourself.  Setting unrealistic goals can lead to disappointment, which can lead to discouragement, which can lead to premature abandonment of your dreams.  Let me be clear: I am not saying anyone should ever limit their dreams.  Dreaming big is what changes the world.  BUT, we have to keep the big picture in mind.  Have a big dream, but also realize that big dreams often don’t happen overnight.  Create a path that leads to your dream, and the journey toward it will be a lot less emotionally painful!

Finding Motivation in the Cold

Dangggggggg it’s cold outside.  I was actually stuck at my parents’ house last night because the interstate closed due to high winds, blowing snow, and zero visibility.  So I had the fun time of getting up at 6 AM today to drive to Fargo and make it to school by noon.  Gross.

ImageTrying to walk when you can’t see (from the Fargo Forum)

This weather makes it really difficult to find motivation to do anything that requires leaving the house (No groceries?  I’d rather get reallyyyyyy creative with my cooking than venture out to the store).  It is especially difficult to get up the energy to go work out.  I have a strange relationship with exercise.  It’s very easy for me to get addicted to going to the gym.  I skip once or twice, and it’s also really easy for me to stop going.  I’m really trying to get in the “addiction to working out” phase again so I can start training for another half marathon.

Untitled24   Running my first half marathon with my aunt, September 2012

I managed to get my butt to the gym on Saturday morning and it was uglyyyyy.  The last time I’ve ran was when I did an Ugly Sweater 5k on November 16.  I legit made it 2 miles and gave up.  I was already mad at myself for the short run, and then I was SO. SORE. on Sunday.  It was frustrating to be that sore when you ran a half marathon less than 8 months ago.

photo (3)My friends and I after the Fargo Half last May

Every time I get myself in shape I promise that I’m not going to stop.  Then life gets in the way and I find myself unable to run a 5k and carrying about 20 extra pounds that I would like to get rid of.

I kept telling myself that after Christmas was when I was really going to get in shape for the wedding.  Then all that stuff happened and not only was I not getting in shape, I wasn’t doing much of anything.  I’m coming to realize that I need to be healthy for myself, not for someone or something else.  Just because I’m no longer getting married in 5 months does not mean that I shouldn’t be healthy (also, I think my sisters and I are going to Puerto Rico over the wedding date, and I do not want to look like a beached whale).  Of course I want to look good, but I also want to feel good.  I want to live a long and healthy life for myself and for my future family.

I really need to establish a lifestyle that maintains this instead of training for 2 months before a race, running it, and then losing everything I worked for.  Anyone have any motivation tips (especially when it’s -45 outside and going to the gym sounds awful)?