Posts Tagged ‘Halfathon’
Can you believe a year ago I was just starting to run? I remember those early mornings where I could only run 1-3 minutes at a time before I needed to walk or sometimes even quit. I remember the 5K’s at Komen(year 1 and 2), The Gift of Life 5K, and even the local races like the lightening bug race. I remember the achy legs and the dreadful walk up and down the stairs just to go to bed. I remember it was rough and now I am reflecting back on a 13.1 mile run that may have been the most rewarding run I’ve had thus far.
I thought the best way to commemorate this event was to of course reflect on the run itself and offer up some real truths…
The run was well so tough and so extremely rewarding that it is honestly hard to balance two such very different emotions. I was there with three very inspirational friends and a friend’s dad that offered up great advice and was a real motivator. So Ashley and Ann headed to downtown Akron with me at 6:00 in the morning. When we got there we arrived- top floor of the parking garage in the cold air and headed toward the meeting place. By some miracle I overheard a voice say (yes with 15,000 people there) “I tried to call Jaci” and like BAM Jen and her dad were standing right behind us in the 10:30 pace group. How we managed to find each other in all of those people is what I would typically call impossible so I can only assume it was fate.
We took off on the course with fireworks in the air and tears in my eyes. It was such an overwhelming feeling that I honestly had tears in my eyes as we took off because I feel like I have been thinking about this event for months and for it to actually be there was such a crazy but wonderful feeling.
I would say the first 4 miles were just full of adrenaline and fun. Because I had completed a lot of 5K’s over the past year I was 100% confident that I could run the 3 miles so I was just having fun and taking my time at a pretty solid 11 min/mile pace. Mile 7 was a steady incline up hill and was when I really started to feel my legs start to tremble. It was pretty much a full mile of just oh my goodness when is this torture going to end. And like most things, the pain came to an end when we leveled out around mile 8. Now let’s not forget about mile 4-7… those miles were truly about my body. I really tried to concentrate on everything going on- my feet putting one front in front of the other, my arms pumping but not too much in an attempt to “chi run” and my hips working on the rotation and the movement that they hadn’t felt in quite a while. It was one of those times when you kind of have that “AHA” moment and you realize what your body can actually do and while I could tell mine was going to start feeling a little sore in the near future it was truly a cool feeling/realization to come to. So after mile 8 leveled out we were really on the home stretch. My legs were TIRED especially my right hamstring and it was getting almost impossible to ignore. I didn’t even say it outloud to Ann though who was trucking along beside me because something about saying it out loud made it too real for me. I passed a sign right around mile 9 that read “Sure it hurts, but it’s not getting worse. Keep going.” And that sign was right! It wasn’t that my legs hurt any worse at mile 9 than they did at mile 7 it was a steady pain and while that doesn’t sound ideal it was better than it getting worse and worse as the miles went on. That sign may have saved me.
Or maybe it was the guy with the Obama mask on standing outside his house waving at people. That may have saved me too.
So as we hit mile 10 the first thing that popped into my head (and probably most of those around me) was… Just a 5K left and I can do that! Well that was the longest and perhaps the most painful 5K I have ever been in. I had to really mentally tell myself that I was strong and that I could finish this thing and knowing that if I finished it I would accomplishment one of my life goals or “bucket list” item if you will kept me going.
Until we finally hit that sign that said 1 mile left. Realizing that we had been at a steady 11 min/mile pace for the entire run made it that much easier to just keep going. One foot in front of the other is what I kept repeating in my head. You can do it Jaci are the words I kept telling myself. The mile was long but it was the weirdest mile I have ever experienced. It was like the last mile of a stage in my life. A stage in my life where I only dreamed of being a “runner.” The type of runner that could wake up one morning and go complete the Akron Half Marathon. The type of runner that could do more. Hell, I was a runner that last mile and every single mile before it. The miles a year ago- I was a runner. The miles 4 months ago- I was a runner. And now I’m a runner that did a half marathon.
While that last mile was a mile I’ll never forget the best part of the race had to be the turn into the stadium where the finish line was. The road was hard for 13 miles, the people cheered and we made it through, but that was nothing like the last few steps of that marathon. As I rounded the corner into the stage hand in hand with Ann I went numb. My entire body went numb. I was so overwhelmed with joy at the amount of people on the field, in the stands, and surrounding us with smiles and cheers that it no longer mattered that I was sweaty and gross. It didn’t matter that my legs hurt or that my hand had fallen asleep a mile before. All that really mattered was that I did.
I completed a half marathon. I completed a half marathon in 2 hours 27 minutes and 33 seconds. I completed a half marathon in which I RAN EVERY SINGLE STEP of that way. I, the girl that could barely run a mile just a year ago, completed a half marathon.
I did. And I want to do it again.
But what about the real truth? It sounds great right- I cried, I got a medal and a sweat hat, and I accomplished a goal I set for myself. That is all great news. But what about the rest?
It was tough. It was really tough for me. If I had to do it over I would NOT have scheduled a half marathon just 2 weeks after my wedding and days after I returned from my honeymoon. I would have trained harder- longer- and I would have ran it faster and harder. You have to WORK to complete these types of goals. At least I do. 13.1 miles DOES NOT come easily to this girl. You have to work. You have to work HARD. And trust me I know that is it TIME CONSUMING and sometimes you just DON’T FEEL LIKE IT but you HAVE to do it. And when you do it..
It is SO SO worth it.
Training was hard. I had to give up things to go run in the mornings. I had to get up earlier than I wanted on the weekends. I had to sweat uncontrollably. I had achy legs and used more heating pads and iced than I ever had before. But when I crossed that finish line NONE of that stuff mattered anymore. What mattered was the feeling I had knowing I had gone after something I REALLY wanted.
I accomplished it. My legs took me 13.1 miles. The support from my family and friends took me 13.1 miles. My mind took me 13.1 miles. But more importantly my heart took me 13.1 miles.
And while it is not ready quite yet, I believe it can take me 13.1 more.
I’ve been worried. I’ve been worried that after the wedding and the half marathon was over I would be lost. I was worried that the identity I have been working to build over the last 14 months would be lost. I had worry wrinkles. That means it was serious, right?
I’ve been asked a few times since the wedding, “so what’s next for the blog?” I’ve been told “well, you’re not engaged and running anymore. You are married!” It’s been posed “are you still going to do your blog anymore? Or was that it?”
Well hmm. Good questions.
So I have been thinking about it and I have come to this conclusion….
I’m keeping the blog name as is. Not because I don’t love being married (I do!) and not because I can’t come up with another creative name (because I could, I think?) and it’s not because I am lost or confused and not sure what to do at this point. It’s because it’s just become part of who I am. It’s because I enjoy having friends and family ask me if they are going to make it on engaged and running or not and it’s because I like it. I like that part of me.
Then I found that “pledged” is a synonym is engaged. Pledgedandrunning.com doesn’t have the same ring to it does it? But really by definition it is what this is all about. I work every day to pledge myself, commit myself, to being happy healthy and to living life to its fullest the best way I know how.
So I’m keeping it. I’m still engagedandrunning.com.
But now who I am when I am not online? When I’m not blogging and sharing my life with the world? Who am I then?
I don’t know if anyone else experienced this when they got married but I started to feel a little overwhelmed by the loss of what I thought was my identity. To me, a name is not just a name. My first is a reminder of a trip my parents took with one another. My last name is a reminder of where I came from and the family I have. It’s not just letters put together to spell something. It was who I was.
And then add all of that on top this whole half marathon thing and wedding planning. Two things I have been planning for over a year and that kind of started to mold me into who I am today. It started with a proposal, turned into a commitment to a wonderful man and to multiple pairs of sneakers and time on the street and when it was all over… wedding was over, half marathon was done what did I have then? I was worried there was no answer. Sounds silly but I was seriously concerned that I had put so much of myself into two activities that I wouldn’t be able to define who I was anymore when they were both accomplished and gone.
Luckily that didn’t happen.
You may think it sounds cheesy and hell I feel cheesy for saying it but somewhere along the lines I think I sort of found myself. Without really trying to even knowing it at the time I found this inner strength and passion for life that I didn’t have before. I found a new appreciation for the man who has been in my life for 6 years, for friends that are there for you no matter what, for family that drives for hours or goes out on a limb to make things right. In the heat of worrying if I was losing myself, I finally found it.
There was something about slipping on the dance floor during our first dance thinking I was going down and bracing myself for the pain only to realize that there were two very strong arms there to hold me up and that I no longer had to worry about falling. It was the moment walking down the aisle looking in his eyes that I knew the label girlfriend and fiancé wouldn’t satisfy me anymore because being his wife was exactly where I wanted to be. It was looking across the room during cocktail hour and catching his eye just long to see the smile on his face as he mouth I loved you. It was waking up next to him the next morning and knowing that no matter what happens I get to do that for the rest of my life.
And then it was crossing the finish line at the half marathon, legs tired and achy and body wanting to stop that made me proud to have accomplished something I had considered impossible just a year ago. It was at mile 8 when I thought I couldn’t keep going that I blocked out all of that negative mental crap and thought about the hard word I had put in. It was seeing my husband and my best friend at the finish line waiting with support and smile that made it all worth it. With unsteady legs and my heart beating fast the finish line wasn’t just the end of 13.1 miles, it was the end to a beginning. It was the end of that training and the beginning of the next. I felt more like myself in those moments than I ever have before.
So yea the first post back was a little heavy but I wanted to be sure I addressed all of those lingering questions right away…
engagedandrunning.com is here to stay and is back… A MARRIED WOMAN… A HALF MARATHON RUNNER… AND BETTER THAN EVER!
Or maybe I’m just taking names? Hmmm.
So last night I kind of tricked Tim… I’m sneaky like that. I asked him if he would be interested in going for a run with me when he got home and after some careful consideration he was kind enough to say that yes he would be interested. So around 7pm last night, after he rolled in from doing some volunteer work (imagine how weird I thought it was when I saw “Barberton Pregnancy” on our shared to-do calendars) we laced up our tennis shoes and headed out to the tow path. I waited until the very last minute to delivery the good news to Tim…
The goal for the night’s run was 7 MILES! He was resistant at first and even actually exclaimed that he WOULD NOT go but after a little coaxing we were on our way. Had Tim not agreed to the run I was actually going to try the whole idea of books on tape for my run. Ashley had recommended it a few days ago when she sent me this inspiration text picture…
She said that she enjoyed listening to Jen Lancaster’s book while she runs and has found that it keeps her engaged and motivated during long runs. I was pleasantly surprised when I downloaded the “Overdrive” app on my i-phone and was able to connect to my local library and download “Bright Lights, Big Ass” by Jen Lancaster (clearly Ashley knows me well enough to know how much that title would intrigue me). With an easy click of “download” the book is now on my phone for FREE for the next 14 days.
Thank you Clevenet Library!
Additionally, I keep seeing that commercial where the kid uses his books on tape app on his phone (is it the same app? I have no clue) and he runs to like Moby Dick and stuff. WAY further than my little legs would take me but the commercial is still entertaining nonetheless.
My review of the run- went awesome! It has been MONTHS since I completed my first 7 mile run (which I couldn’t even track because my phone died so that was a guess) and I was surprised by how good it felt to get out there for a long run. The hardest part for me is just thinking about how long you will be running for. Setting aside over an hour of your day for a run is a long time… it’s not like a 20 or 30 minute run that you don’t really have to mentally prepare for- it’s a long sucker and you have to be in it to win it or not in it at all.
The really nice part of going on a long run with someone else, at least for me, is that I like to keep my pace at a conversationalist pace so Tim and I were able to catch up on our day with each other. Tim started his new job last week and is starting to get acclimated to the work and the people so I really enjoyed hearing about his new co-workers and workload. While it is probably a very fair statement to say that Tim and I understand about 10% of what the other person does on a day to day basis I do think it helps to keeps things interested. I have taken a more active role with my new position on the financial side of the business and have been coming across what would seem to Tim to be very basics questions in my meetings so it’s nice to be able to go home and get all of my answers from him! I think we spent a good 3 miles chatting about the balance sheet haha.
Very exciting right? Be jealous!
At the end of the 7 miles we went for a fast sprint to the car and guess who won?!?
Are you still thinking about me? ME silly.
But I never did warn Tim that we were racing- I just starting sprinting so perhaps he could have caught me.
I guess we’ll never know.
So with my Hal Higdon app on I was able to get a recap of my run and since you can’t really see the entire screen here, my mile breakdown looked like this
- Mile 1: 11:34 pace
- Mile 2: 11:15 pace
- Mile 3: 11:40 pace
- Mile 4: 11:51 pace
- Mile 5: 11:56 pace
- Mile 6: 11:40 pace
- Mile 7: 11:18 pace
So if you are good at math you would know that we averaged about 11:35 min/mile. And in case you are really observant you will notice that below it actually says I am a REST DAY well good for me for going running anyway.
As if that makes up for all of my slacking lately.
This weekend the app is suggested I do another 7 and I think I may try to make 8 happen. I figure it’s only actually a half of a mile longer than we went yesterday which is only another 5 minutes or so- I can do that right?
Yes of course I can!
Also, I was given (by my running buddy Ashley of course) a really neat little item to hold my keys for me while I run! Check out this little buddy…
It’s also. Since Tim and I both have push-button starts on our cars we really just need to pull out the little remote control and slip it in this handy holders which tightly connects to my shoe laces! Easy to put on and easy to remove. Easy to put in your purse too.
Off to Crossfit tonight! Hope my legs don’t give out on me.