Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Finish Line!!!!

Russell and I headed to Knoxville, Tn last weekend to run in the Covenant Health Half-Marathon. I must admit, after being sick in bed for a week only two weeks prior to the event and struggling to finish my 5k due to illness, I wasn't sure how it was going to go. I never doubted that I would finish, it was just whether or not I could finish in the 2:45 minutes we had decided to make our goal... after seeing all the hills.

I had never been to Knoxville prior to Saturday. The home of the University of Tennessee and is the third-largest city in Tennessee, behind Memphis and Nashville. It is also the Home to the Womens Basketball Hall of Fame. It appears they have done quite a bit to the city over the past few years to revitalize the downtown and surrounding area. The University is well hidden within the city's mixture of Modern buildings and historical sights.

We checked into the race on Saturday... having never ran in a race this large we didn't know what to expect. It was extremely well organized, especially considering there were over 5800 participants in the 5 separate races. The handcycle & wheelchair marathon, the Full 26.2K Marathon, The Half-Marathon, a relay marathon, and the 5k.

After checking in Rusty and I went to have dinner and cheer on the Mountaineers in the Elite Eight game against Kentucky. We walked back to the hotel (the Marriott, which was .7 miles from the hotel, and was excellent for the evening) to watch the second half and get a good night sleep.

Race Day:

6:00 am ~ Wake up, remember that WVU beat Kentucky.... that wasn't a dream! Get ready and head downstairs for a quick breakfast of bananas and Yogurt!!

6:45 am ~ We jogged to the start line to get in a warm-up. This is when I should tell you that although we did a few weeks of hill training, we assumed that knoxville was a relatively flat city... we were VERY wrong. Although not quite as hilly as Morgantown, it was pretty close. But I felt great on our warm-up... still wasn't nervous. Just wanted to get started.

7:00 am ~ When we arrived to the event center, we went inside to stretch and use the bathroom. The only complaint I ever heard about the organization of the Marathon was that the bathrooms inside the Convention Center were locked... and the lines outside to use the porta-johns were huge. So we went to the neighboring hotel and disaster was avoided.

7:25 ~ After the handcylces and wheelchair participants started we were allowed to line up. You find the corral that had a set of pace times, for example we were in the 11:00-16:00 minute mile grouping, there were also groups such as the 9:00 minute ahead of us and so on.

7:30 ~ The gun fires and there are so many people in front of you that you can not move. However you have a disposable microchip on you that tells them when you actually cross the start line so... 2 minutes later we began. We stayed with the pacer for the 5 hour Marathon for the first 2 5k's averaging between a 11:30 to 12 minute mile. It would have put us at a 2 hour 30 minute finish. But by the 7th mile... the hills were really starting to affect my performance and we slowed to a 14 minute mile pace, where we stayed for the remainder of the race.

Also around the 7th mile I was experiencing back spasms and right knee pain. I was expecting to feel some pain, especially since during training I never ran over 10 miles. However, I hadn't expected it so early in the race or to be in my back (where I had never had any discomfort whatsoever). But we pushed on. I was disappointed that I slowed in the 7th Mile considering it normally is where I feel the most comfortable and in rhythm with my body.

The organizers had 8 water stations placed along the way and the people of Knoxville and volunteers cheered us along the way... which really helped! They even handed out Gu at the 11th mile, which came at the perfect time and took away Rusty's hunger pains. I found that every time I tried to drink water I thought I would be sick. But I pushed through.

Russell was amazing. Encouraging and only pushing at the right moment. He stayed within 10 yards of me the whole race, keeping track of our pace, slowly speeding it up when we got off track and letting me know he was proud of me. I definitely needed him there. I know I wouldn't have made it through without him!!!

Throughout the race you meet people, other runners, who all have a story... many of which in my pace group were alot like my own. People who realized they had to do something to get healthy. They aren't out to win but to finish. Everyone we meet who runs in multiple destinations a year says that knoxville is one of the hardest courses, that Nashville, or Virginia Beach are much easier... I kept thinking to myself... "maybe I should have researched this course more" I just picked by location and date. But hey if you can get through a difficult race, the easier ones should be cake!

During the last three miles the group we ran with were so encouraging of each other. By the 12th mile I kept expecting to see Neyland Stadium... but nothing. I got a little bit of a push during the 12th mile, and seeing the 13th mile marker was amazing, until we got to the last hill... going up to what we hoped was the Stadium. I walked a moment. Gather my breath and then started to jog up the hill. As we turned the corner we saw the Stadium ( I never thought I would be so happy to see the UT stadium!)

When we got to the stadium entrance I looked at Russ and said " you ready?" and kicked for my sprint to the finish. Russ said he was surprised I had so much left in me. Sprinting down that to that finish line was amazing. I heard them announce our names and then I crossed!!! I DID IT!!! I accomplished my new years resolution!! The best part was doing it with Russ by my side!!! I am so thankful that God has given me such a wonderful husband and friend!

So there you go... my journey to the finish line.

What next?

Well I have started working at the YMCA as a wellness instructor and hope to get my personal trainers license... I wanna work with other women like myself, who were never athletes and just want to get healthy for themselves.

I am also starting the PX90 workout probably next week and want to continue cycling and running.

Friday, February 26, 2010


With only 4 weeks left in training I can definitely say it has been a roller coaster ride! Staying Motivated isn't always easy. Especially when you don't feel well or there are a million reasons to stay away from the gym, ie. cold weather, pretty weather, cramps, sore muscles! So staying on track is my nemesis! It helps when Russ isn't working late or playing soccer, having a someone to motivate you is that extra push I need sometimes to finish out the day!

The fun part of working out with Russ is he has a plan of attack! Our schedule has evolved to fit our lifestyle better, moving days around and adding new workouts. I also have started keeping better track of my workouts. Writing down everything from Miles to heartbeat, weights to number of reps. This allows me to be better informed from workout to workout, especially when there are days in between.

This week I was sick Monday and Tuesday so we missed a run and cycling class. I Love Cycling! Definitely keeping up with that even when the marathon training is complete! I recomend it to anyone who has bad knees. I find, especially after long runs, cycyling is a great workout the next day! Keeps some of the pounding of the knees. We have a great teacher at the YMCA! I <3 the YMCA!!!

We decided, after missing our long runs the past two weeks, That we would move them to Wednesday. Normally Wednesday night is not busy, most people in our community go to Church wednesday night. However this wednesday was packed, so we started with some light weight training while waiting for the treadmills to open. My weights have increased quite a bit. I will tell you more about my weight training later.

Once we finally secured two treadmills, we ran our 10 mile divided into 3 5k's. So 3.2 miles at 4.8 then a 5 minute walk. We did this three times. Russell finished a good 35 minutes before me. We figured out that Steve Prefontaine ran his 3 mile in 12:51.4... That is how fast I run one mile and Russ runs two miles! That is freaking amazing.

By the end of the run I had pulled my arch in my foot and my knees felt like jelly, but I finished. It took 136 minutes. I lost two pounds while running (course I gained them back with the spaghetti dinner we ate to restore some of the 1200 calories I burned)

Thursday I wanted to Cycle but the class was full. So I needed something low impact because of my knees... I normally don't like ellipticals but I actually enjoyed the mile I did before heading to do weights.

Thursdays weight training was as follows:

Leg Press X 2 sets of 12 at 120lbs
Abductor/ Adductor machine (my favorite) X 2 sets of 12 at 50/110 lbs
Roman Chair with kettleball weights, Back extensions x12 Lat extensions X12 both sides
abdominal Machine X2 sets at 50lbs
Planks x2 hold for 30 second
side planks x2/hold for 20 second
Squats on BOSU Ball x30
Squats with kettleball (17.6 lbs) x 20

Today I was supposed to do 4 sets of Sprints, but I hate them so I only managed to do 2 sets. Then I repeated Thursdays Weight training, but added steps on the bench with 8lb weights.

so total miles for the week. 13miles!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hitting a wall.

Week two of training went really well... I did 15 miles again throughout the week and tried to change my schedule as much as possible to get to a morning routine. Waking up with Russ and staying up until bedtime. I was making my runs and feeling very confident. Every Monday I weigh myself and take my Measurements. (Note: The goal is not to lose weight, but to get healthier, and tone muscle) And after two weeks of kicking my butt I saw ZERO progress! I was so frustrated.

So when it came time for week three I was over it. But I made myself keep going. We had to switch some days around because of scheduling issues, but I was doing my best to make up the ground. Then came Friday, my long distance day and I was done. I didn't want to do it.... And I didn't do it. Disappointed! After all that hard work in Week 1-2, here I was giving up on week three. I had hit a "wall!" I felt burnt out. I had only got in 10 miles all week! I took all weekend off. Focusing on important issues, my home and family. Things I had been neglecting a bit. Which brings me to Week 4!

Week 4!!! After this week I am a third of the way finished with the training program and on my way towards my goal!! I am feeling re-energized after a few day off.

I started Monday with another packed house at the YMCA... it is frustrating when it is that busy... People waiting for treadmills which limits the amount of time you have to complete your runs. So I finished 3 cycles of 10 minute sprints at 5.5, followed by 3 minutes of rest at 3.0. 3 miles down!

On Tuesday, my schedule calls for a 30 minute light workout or walk. But Russ and I decided that we would try an indoor cycling class!! LOVED IT!!!! It was great crosstraining and a good break for my knees (compared to the beating they take while running)

Today I got up early with Russ, made us a healthy breakfast, sent him off to work and headed to the gym. I went to yoga!! Which I love!!! Yoga is so great for so many reasons. I have been taking classes off and on since college. It helps with my breathing issues, not only on the everyday level, but also when I am running. The stretching is amazing, especially after training all week. And it gives me some "me" time, time to relax and yet still get a good workout in.

After Yoga I headed to the gym to get in a 5 minute warmup, 20 minute jog, and 5 minute cooldown. 2 miles down!!! Then did some weight training, including abductor and adductor, pull ups and dips, the roman chair (for lats and abs) and squats! All in all a pretty well rounded workout!!! So pray for me that week 4 continues to be a productive one!!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Will Run for Pedicure!

So my first week of training is over!!!

On Tuesday I had to brave the gym without Russell for the first time. My assignment for the day was to walk 30 minutes. I was also going to attend the cardio and step classes offered at my YMCA. When I arrived I was informed whenever school is canceled all the classes are canceled also. That is all well and good, unless you are like me and don't have kids so you never know when they have canceled school!

There is this crazy thing that happens when you don't have classes, everyone flocks to the treadmills! Well that and the fact that right after the New Year everyone and their brother (myself included) makes some form of New years resolution to get healthy! I have been going to the Y for almost a year and I had never seen it this crowded! Once I snagged a treadmill for my walk, I decided to bump up my speed a bit and got in a two mile jog.

On Wednesday, Russ and I returned to the Y a bit later in the evening, to try and avoid the craziness. We started with a 5 minute walk to warm up, then I jogged forty minutes at 4.0 and then a 5 minute cool down... my first time jogging that long without needing to walk!!!! Russell always goes a bit faster than I do, but normally goes for the same amount of time. Another 3 mile accomplished!!!

Thursday was take a break day! We even had Date night at Ella's and then settled in to watch a movie (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which was much better than the first Harry Potter Movie!).

Then came this weeks D day. Friday is the long distance day. Now mind you before this test of my endurance the longest I have ran was my 5k on my last birthday (August) so when Russell said we were doing to run a 6 miles, approximately a 10k I was a bit nervous. We would jog 12 minutes, then rest walk for 2 minutes. My starting speed for the jog was 4.8, walk was 3.5. The first two miles didn't seem too bad. Then the two middle miles hit... I was exhausted, my heart rate was way above where it needed to be so Russell slowed my time to 4.2 and 3.0. and had me walk a little longer than the allocated two minutes. It should be noted that Friday is not about speed, but about getting to the goal of 6 miles.

The last two miles brought relief, and numbness in my right foot. Originally we had given ourselves (well really me, Russell was finished with his 6 mile while I was on mile 4, he continued to run with me until the last 3/4 a mile but stopped so he could get me more water and watch my vitals) 2 hours to complete the 6 mile objective, however 3 miles into it we knew we would far surpass that and possibly even get right at the 90 minute mark. Towards the end of the last mile I realized that if I upped my speed I might have the possibility of getting under 85 minutes. So, with Russell cheering me on (and checking my heart rate every two seconds) I boosted my speed to 5.o for the final three minutes, then to 5.5 for the final minute. Final time 85:20. Not too shabby for my first distance day!!!

After a few minutes of cool down, we went to stretch. It was then I noticed there was a little bit of blood coming through my tennis shoes. Now mind you there was no pain involved, but Russell helped me get my shoe off and my sock was soaked in blood. Not wanting to get blood anywhere we immediately put the shoe back on and left for home...still no pain.

After we got home Russell cleaned up my foot and found that even though I had recently trimmed my nails, there was one that was sharp and had cut into the toe beside it... it was super tiny... but because my heart was pumping so much from running it bled a whole lot... so other than being a tad bit scary it was not a big deal. Russell even got all the blood out of my tennis shoe which was amazing.

Final Mile Tally for the week: 15 miles!!!!!

Today is my day off before starting week two... Russell is at a Indoor Soccer tournament, so I think I will settle in for a girlie day!!! Maybe even a pedicure!!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

So the new year has begun and I like so many other crazy people have set off with a New Years Resolution. Last year was the first year I have successfully completed a resolution. So I am more determined than ever to accomplish this years goal.

In 2009, I managed to break my hardest habit, lose 20 lbs., and run my first 5k (in 36 minutes, 9 minutes under my goal of 45 minutes!!!) all with the loving support of my husband. Needless to say I am lucky to have an in house personal trainer/athlete to teach me how to run, work out and eat right under my own roof. Being Married to an athlete certainly has its positives!!!
So in 2010 I have set a new goal for myself, I am going to run a half marathon. 13.1 miles stand between me and my goal. So Russell has drawn up a very tailored 12 week plan to get me there.

Jan. 1 was day one... it constisted of 2 miles, with a 5 minute warm up and a goal to jog the whole time, no walking! By the halfway point I thought, "What the crap am I thinking?" I have never been an althlete. anyone who knows me knows although I tried (I was a Cheerleader, ran track and played tennis in high school) I was actually never very good at sports! I am a better observer. I love to watch sports to engage in full rants at the television when WVU isn't playing its best, to let the TV have it when a referee call pisses me off, hyperventilate at during the last two minutes of a basketball game and nobody wants to be around if you slide tackle my husband and miss the ball!!! It is why I worked in a Sport Bar for years, why I instantly fell in love with my husband while watching the World Cup for the first time!

So here I am running on a treadmill thinking "Why?!?" Am I really doing this for me? Am I doing it because it is what I think I should do? I say to Russ "I think I need to walk for a minute." He says, "not much further." And it hits me he is right. I am so close to my goal, don't stop. This is my goal. To be healthy. Not skinny, healthy. I don't wanna go back to that girl that just a year ago couldn't walk on a treadmill for 20 minutes, much less finish a 5k or train for a half marathon. So I finished. Not for Russ, not for the skimpy Sports Page uniform that haunts me from last year super bowl photos, but because I wanted to do it for Me. To prove to myself that I am a strong, healthy woman.

Jan. 2 ~ today I started with a 5 minute warm-up. Did 3 intervals of a 6 minute run at 5.0 and then walked 2 minutes at 3.0. Afterward my face was the color of a lobster, but I did it!! I got through it, and every time I wanted to stop Russ was there to support me. Training right beside me for his triathlon, following the same regiment as me that he has so carefully mapped out for us.

We also took starting weights and measurements for comparison, but I think I will keep those to myself for now. I will keep you posted. Pray for us!! We will probably need it!

Oh and by the way Happy New Year, I hope God blesses you and yours this 2010!

About Me

My photo
I am the mother of 2 beautiful babies! They are my world! I have been married to my WVU sweetheart for the last 8 years! I am a stay at home, working mom. I run a photography business from home, am a fitness instructor, and homeschool my girls! I teach at the local homeshool co-op, and at my church. I currently run, Modern Mommy. It is an online support group for moms. We have 17 different facebook support groups! I have dedicated a lot of the past 3 years to helping other moms! I love music, to paint and to read but don't have time for any of them! My girls are amazing! Eliza is almost 4, and a spirited blue eyed ginger! She loves ballet, music, soccer, and yoga! My 14 month old, Hazel Ann is the happiest child ever! She is still nursing. I currently live in East Tennessee, by way of North Carolina, colorado, West Virginia and New Jersey! I have an obsession with boutique brand little girls clothes, which is strange because I am quite the tom boy