Friday, May 9, 2014

New Inov-8 Running Shoes and Instagram Inspiration

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Guest Post: Jackie's Race Report from the Urban Escape Half Marathon

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Get the tissue out, this one will pull at your heartstrings, in a good way. Below is an inspirational guest post from my runner/mom friend Jackie. She's made many appearances in past blog posts and race reports. Jackie is a huge fan/supporter of my journey - and I of hers - thank you Jackie. I'll turn it over to her now.

I woke up early to participate in the Inaugural Urban Escape Half Marathon in Novato. My running clothes and gear were laid out the night before, so I quietly got myself together and made my way to the kitchen. I sat down for my typical pre-run meal; two packets of instant oatmeal and a couple cups of coffee. I probably should have loaded up on water as well but was more concerned about pit-stops than dehydration. Then I successfully made my way out of the house without waking the kids.

I was ill-prepared for this event. I was physically and emotionally drained from some intense family issues that had taken place weeks prior. It was an extremely difficult time and I was exhausted. Not to mention I did not have the opportunity to get any long runs in. I had only run 6 miles the weekend before and 2 miles the week before that. But, rain or shine, I needed this run.

I had this event on my calendar for months. It was a personal goal. And if there is one thing I am good at, it is following through on what I set out to do. In my world of chaos, achieving goals I have set for myself makes me feel like I am in control. It makes me feel strong. I am able to focus on something positive and not get caught up on life’s little stresses. And, believe me; I have my share of stresses. 

Next week marks my baby’s first birthday. So, you can imagine the kind of year I have had…..sleepless nights, breastfeeding, diapers, laundry, etc. Simultaneously, my 3 year old is potty training, learning about boundaries and acclimating to life with a sibling. I knew going in, child number two would bring its own set of challenges. So, I set my wellness plan and goals before he was born. I wanted to make sure that I did not lose control over “me” during this crazy time. For starters, I signed up for the online Weight Watchers program and a 4 Mile running event four months out. One important thing I have learned about myself is that if I pay for something, I am adamant about seeing it through. 

As soon as I recovered from my C-Section and received clearance from my doctor, I hit the streets. First long walks, then short runs. After I returned to full time at work, I was only able to run on Saturday mornings. I dubbed myself a “weekend warrior,” running a 5-mile route each week. And, I also continued to sign up for running events each month. This kept me going. And so I find myself here, this morning, with my third Half Marathon of the year.

Deb, me, Laura, Laurie (L to R)
I was joined by my fabulously fit girlfriends who were as excited as I was to be participating in our big hometown event. The race began and we started out as a group, engaging in conversation and laughs and then, one-by-one, each set our own pace. When I run, I relish the quiet in my brain. I stopped carrying an ipod years ago. I look forward to the random things that come to mind or the issues I am able to resolve. Sometimes I laugh and other times I cry. I love having this time to myself. During this particular run, both stress and relief from the pressures of the preceding days brought me to tears. But once released, I felt strength; strong enough to finish. 

official race picture
But, when I came across the 10 mile marker, my left knee gave out. I needed to stop running and briefly walk it out. This has happened before and is a result of insufficient training or not enough stretching. I am certainly not a model runner. Fortunately, I was able to continue, but had to take frequent walk breaks. As I approached the final stretch down San Marin Drive, I started to get choked up. It was more difficult getting through this event than I had originally anticipated. Then, I spotted my husband and 3 yr. old on the sideline cheering me on. The site brought me to tears...

... but gave me the kick I needed to push through the victory lap. 

My family joined me at the Finish and at that moment, nothing meant more.

After each event I am able to celebrate the success of having reached another goal. I need to feel accomplishment and forward movement. I need to momentarily forget about the ever growing pile of clothes in the corner of my room, the button that I have not yet sewn back on to my husband’s shirt or the reason for my son’s last time out. I’ve got a list of mundane tasks and stresses that will never cease. 

So for me, setting these personal goals is keeping me well. During the last year I also completed one 10K, two 12Ks, one 15K and two other Half Marathon events. WOW! Looking at that list now makes me so proud.

This last year I have only run to finish. My race time today was 2:36.54 with an 11:55 pace. But, it’s time to start setting personal record goals. For starters, I’d like to see myself post a 10 minute mile. I’ll get there soon. I’ve already scheduled my next event!  

me, Deb, Laura, Laurie at the finish!