The last time I blogged on Sparkpeople was back in May... and there were lots of huge life milestones on the horizon. I wrote about my upcoming first half marathon, a potential triathlon, running the Marine Corps Marathon and signing up for the Tucson Marathon in Arizona in December. It's funny to look back over the last 5-6 months and see how much has happened - it's a lot of stuff. Time to catch everyone up!
First off, my weight hasn't changed much - I'm still hovering around 210-215 lbs. I've used the last few months to focus on my fitness goals and less on my weight loss goals. Some days I regret that decision - like when I am having trouble fitting into my skinny jeans or when I see my race photos (oh, yea, there are lots!) and I look HUGE in them - but mostly those bad feelings fade quickly when I'm pushing my body to do new and challenging things!
Last time I blogged, I wrote about my first half marathon coming up in San Diego. YES - THAT HAPPENED. And, it was a life changing experience. I flew out to San Diego, CA with about 10-12 of my Team in Training teammates and my best girlfriend, Danielle and prepared myself to run 13.1 miles to fight blood cancers. First half-marathon. First event with Team in Training. First time to the West Coast. I believe there are distinct moments in your life that you experience that you know are shaping the person you want to become. This was one of them. After doing the Cherry Blossom 10-Mile run in DC, I knew 13.1 was something I could do. I never felt pressured or concerned that I wouldn't be able to finish the race. I was mostly just excited to get out there and explore San Diego on the 2 little legs God gave me. The race was sponsored by Leukemia and Lymphoma Society so there was literally a SEA of people wearing purple. It was incredibly inspiring to see so many people out there running for a great cause. I raised about $3,000 for LLS and felt great knowing that I was surrounded by people who had done similar fundraising. All the hard training and fundraising paid off. I finished the half-marathon in just under 3 hours at 2:59:49. Here are some pictures from my trip!
On the plane headed to San Diego, CA
Race Singlet with names of people I'm running in memory of and in honor of
Waiting for the race to begin!
So many people - almost 30,000 runners - Look at all that purple!!
Start Line - FINALLY!
Back at the Hotel with the MEDAL!
Post Race Celebration with my TNT Coaches - Abby and Jim!!
Me and Danielle waiting at the airport for our flight back!
After returning home from San Diego and experiencing the incredible runner's high that inevitably followed my first half-marathon finish, I promptly signed up for a second half-marathon in Dover, DE for the following weekend. It was a small race on the Dover Air Force Base and registration was inexpensive, you received a medal upon completion and a pretty cool technical tee. So, I woke up at 2AM and drove the 3.5 hour drive from DC to Dover to participate in my second half marathon in 8 days. This half marathon was HARD! There was a half option and a 5K option. There were about 800 people running and about 40 of them were actually running the half. Being a slower runner, I was at the back of the pack for the entire race. Also, it was HOTTTTT!!! I'm talking 93 degrees with 100% humidity before 8AM kind of HOT! It was probably my hardest half-marathon to-date. I thought I was going to die at mile 8. The entire half took place on the tarmac of the airforce base and it was in direct sunlight the entire 13.1 miles. I made it a goal to just finish and not finish last - if I could do that, I would call the race a success. I got to mile 11 and didn't think I was going to make it - I started feeling the beginning signs of heat exhaustion set in - I had cold chills, I was dizzy and nauseous - but I pushed through. I finished 5th to last with a time of 3:13:41 - you could tell how badly the heat affected me with that time. Here are some pictures from this half:
Bib pickup was inside the Dover Airforce Base Museum
SO HAPPY TO BE DONE!!
I decided to spend the rest of June letting my body fully recover and I did not sign up for any more races. However, Rock N Roll Race Series has a deal where if you do several of their races - you qualify for "Heavy Medals." So, I decided to sign up for the Virginia Beach Half Marathon. Since I went to college there, I figured it would be a fun way to visit friends and run around my alma mater. I stayed with a college buddy of mine and spent the weekend catching up with her, drinking water, and being sleep-deprived = PERFECT race conditions. I drove to the parking area and boarded a shuttle bus and ended up sitting next to a guy who lived about 20 minutes away from me back home. He told me this was his 7th half-marathon and that he had lost 287lbs running, biking, and eating healthy. THAT was inspirational. We stuck together for the entire part of the morning and then said our goodbyes as we went to our corrals for the start. This race was warm, humid, but fun! I've been to Virginia Beach so many times, but never experienced it through runner's eyes. The last .6 of the race are run on the boardwalk right next to the ocean. Sounds fun, right? Wrong. The worst part is that you can see the finish line, but it is SO. FAR. AWAY. You want to kick in for that final stretch, but it's really easy to burn out halfway there because it is just a little too far away. I finished this half marathon in 3:12:20... not a great race. I was feeling the lack of sleep, long travels and the heat from this race. I learned a lot, though, and I had a ton of fun which is the POINT! See below pictures from this half:
At the race expo for bib pickup!
Perfect morning to run! Look at all those people!
Pretty view on the run!
An acquaintance of mine from high school reached out to me a few months ago and asked me about my new found love for running. She had started getting into running about the same time I had and though we knew OF each other in high school we were never particularly close. We began talking every day through Facebook or gchat - updating each other on our runs or mileage for the week - giving each other advice on running, etc. We discovered that we had a LOT of common interests and decided that we should run a half together. She lives in NYC, so I figured it would be a fun destination race for me. We decided to do an all-girl's half marathon called the Diva's Half Marathon in Long Island, NY. I drove up after work on Friday evening and spent the weekend eating NYC's finest pizza, sushi, bagels, and pumpkin pancakes. The whole weekend was incredible. Even though Nicole and I knew each other before this weekend, we had spent the last few months talking every day and had become really close so it was pretty cool to finally hang out with her in person - I felt like we were going on a real date after internet dating, HA! This was my best half marathon. The whole thing was perfect. I felt great before the race started and each mile just seemed to tick by one by one. I got to mile 10 and I couldn't believe I was almost done. I was in the zone - it felt like it was pretty easy. I finished this half marathon with a new personal record at 2:48:21. So, not only did I shave off about 24 minutes from my last half marathon, I shaved off almost 12 minutes from my best half marathon (San Diego). It was an amazing feeling. This race was so much fun - because it was an all girl marathon, you received a hot pink boa and a tiara at mile 12 and then upon crossing the finish line you received a red rose, a glass of champagne, and they had many shirtless, fit men at the finish line giving everyone their medals. It was VERY FUN! See below photos from this half:
Goodies at the finish line!
Me and Nicole stretching out our sore calves after the race!
By far my favorite Half Marathon Race Medal!
Also, I have some big, exciting news (no, I'm not pregnant) which I will share in my next blog - I promise it will NOT take me months to post it - I will hopefully be posting it relatively soon in the next few days! Thanks for reading!
Question: are any of you new to running? Do you love running for the medals or the race bling? Do you pick races based on where they are located so you can vacation and run at the same time? I'd love to hear from you!!