I’m a Marathoner! Recap on Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon

My race was on November 8, and I know I’m a little late on getting this posted. But I seriously needed time to digest everything before I could type up all the highs and lows. I know in my heart that this will come across like I’m upset, but truly I am thrilled with my whole experience! I mean I finally ran a marathon, regardless of my time I crossed that finish line! So get ready for a long recap, and about 15 pictures that capture my first full marathon.

When Zach and I lived in Savannah, the Rock ‘n’ Roll just started in the city. At that point I never wanted to run a marathon. So why did I come back to this city for my first full marathon? Because it is flat! And who doesn’t love some time in Savannah?!  When my training first started, I wanted to see how well I could handle working and training. Once I knew I could do it, I registered. To be honest, I never got extremely nervous about the distance. I got scared sure, but I never second guessed myself.

Friday morning we all packed up to head south to Savannah, we I mean myself, Zach, and my mom. I wanted to miss the horrible ATL traffic, but didn’t want to be stuck in the expo traffic so our time to leave was around 9. The closer we got, the more excited I got! I couldn’t wait to get my stuff. We arrived right around 1:30-2PM I think and traffic was amazing. We seriously missed all of it. The island for the convention center was welcoming.

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Once in, I grabbed my bib number and goodie bag. I told myself if the shirt wasn’t terrible, then I wouldn’t buy any expo merchandise. Well… lets just say I ended up buying a Brooks navy pullover with the logo on it. I’m glad I did, I want something to wear that shows my hard work! (I mean I could wear my medal everywhere ;) Oh and while waiting in line, I saw where I once ran and Brett Michaels was there.

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The rest of the expo was fun, I got slightly overwhelmed from the crowd, but it was good. I was ready to get checked in the hotel so we left and headed out.

Friday night we ate at one of our old local restaurants and it was terrible. Zach and I both were disappointed, but I had to get food in my system. We called it a night at 10PM and our wake up call was 4AM. I purchased a parking pass when I registered, so we had to be at the assigned parking deck by 5:30AM. I was ready to leave by 4:10. Seriously, I got dressed and took my food and drinks. I wasn’t going to eat too early and crash. Zach and my mom hit up McDonald’s and we sat there for like 20 minutes in line. I was slightly freaking out, but thats why I wanted to leave early. We got to our parking deck in plenty of time, but you never know. It was already 3/4 full by the time we got there! So the 3 of us sat in the warm truck and I ate one bagel at 5:15 and the second at 6:00 all with a liter of water. We also took a little nap. It was glorious.

Next was getting to the corrals. First thing was getting in line for the porto-potties. Yep, priorities. I stood in the lines twice. And boy was it cold! I was thrilled I had my sweat shirt, and glad I didn’t go to bag check. I chickened out last minute. But I found heat in the lights on the side walk.

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Gotta love the quality of the photos. Thanks iPhone. The sun was coming up and people were jumping in their corrals. Mine was so far back! Corral 17 and I finally started walking to it. I started crying when I was trying to get undressed from my warm sweat shirt. It all, and I mean all hit me. I was seriously here, I was about to start running for 26.2 miles and I was panicking. It was a complete fear of the unknown. I couldn’t tell if I was happy or sad. But I wanted to throw up. Once I was calm and slightly more collected,  I jumped in line and had a mini photo shoot.

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I looked like a total goober, but who cares. I did freak out when I thought the race for the marathon started differently because I didn’t see any other marathon bibs, but right then like 10 people jumped in and I calmed back down. Zach and my mom walked with me on the side walk until it was time to leave. I told them I loved them and that I’d see them at the finish. It was time to run!

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I was probably 2 rows back from the start line, and I questioned my logic. Why was so close you ask, because I legit didn’t know I would be some of the first few to cross. Oh well. So the course is same for full and half. You split off around mile 11. So the corrals had both distances. I started crying again when I crossed the start line. The journey was on.

The first 4 miles weren’t through the nicest part of Savannah, but it was nice to see the local’s cheering us on. I saw some interesting things.

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I kept thinking that will chafe later.

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That beautiful yellow townhouse, yep that gorgeous piece of real-estate belonged to Marc Jacobs. And no, that is not him on the balcony. Once I saw it, I recognized it immediately. It was definitely a photo worthy moment.

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I honestly felt great the whole beginning of the race. I walked through every water station to make sure I was drinking plenty of fluids. I started consuming gels every 4 miles. I was on top of this, and finally it was time to make the decision.

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Full! After I started my way towards mile 13, I had to stop for the bathroom. Afterwards I was golden again. Gotta love the TMI moments of runners. I still felt pretty good physically, until I crossed the mat for 13.1 miles. I was starting to slow down, but that was ok. What bothered me was the minor cramp developing in my leg. I walked for a bit to get rid of it and it worked. I started running again. Mile 14 it came back. And it didn’t stop. Miles 15-18 I walked majority of the course. My legs were stiff as boards and each step brought on pain I have never experienced. I would try to run, and it wouldn’t help. During all my training, I never had symptoms that severely. At mile 17 I stopped at the medic tent. They stretched out my calves, and then massaged both legs and I started crying again. The pain was brutal. They sprayed Bio-Freeze and told me to stop by the next tent for the same treatment since I was refusing to quit. Trying to get to mile 18 was the worst. I realized I didn’t restart my Garmin until I was approaching the mile marker for 18. My watch read 17.44…and I began to cry again. I was so mad. So f*cking mad. I was texting Zach how much pain I was in. I did want to quit. I was hating the course, seriously it was bad. I was disappointed by the running through run-down neighborhoods and lack of spectators. Anyway, I tried my best to run/walk whenever I could. And that was my focus and goal. I hit every single medic tent for the rest of the race.

When we came around mile 20 I was like, “ok 6 more. You can walk 6 miles if you must, its not bad.” At that moment I was more like, “F*ck the 6 miles, just f*cking finish.” And that is what I was doing. The more I got down on my self, the more I was cheering me on. Mentally the whole time I was golden. For reals, my mental game was strong. My physical pain was bringing me down. I was getting frustrated though, I had my Garmin off and then turned my music off. Everything was pissing me off. When we got back to the interstate I was like done. I had hit the wall and was crawling. My pain was so intense that I couldn’t feel my torso or arms. Everything was waist down and I couldn’t remember when I didn’t have pain. Finally I was coming back to the road to finish the race. I was asking, more like begging to find out where the finish line was. I started chatting with 2 ladies who were speed walking and they helped me. I wish I got their names, they seriously were the best distraction. When the mile 25 marker came into view I was numb. I couldn’t figure out my emotions, I was almost done but still not there yet. The last medic tent was there too, and OMG I had Gatorade with a salt tablet. First, it was gross, second it saved my life. My cramps were gone! I felt like a sponge getting squeezed because it was a lot of sodium, but damnit those cramps vanished. Gave me enough to run/walk again.

I texted Zach and my mom. I was coming around the block. I was right here. I was finishing. I was on cloud 9. And this is getting my teary eyed again right now. I gave everything I had left into the last .1 of running. I could hear my name being called, I could see my family. I could see the finish line. And I was seconds and feet away from it. Tears came streaming down my face. It was about to change my life.

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And then I crossed it.

Chip time of 6:18:37.

All of pain was worth the moment of getting that medal placed around my neck.  I was officially a marathoner. I was so confused on how I should of felt, I finished, but I hated my time. Then it hit me that it didn’t matter, I just finished 26.2 miles. Nothing could take that away from me, thats what I kept thinking. I saw my mom and Zach coming to me and I was ushered into getting my finishers blanket and food. When we were finally reunited, I just wanted to lay down. And thats what I did. It was glorious. My mom was so amazed by my attitude. She couldn’t believe how cheerful I was, like I said my mental game was there. I never got down in that sense. It was all physical.

Now, let me tell you how amazing my husband is, ok so we parked a good ways from the finish line because of our parking pass. Well, Zach went and moved the truck closer to the finish line so I didn’t have to walk more than 1 block. He truly loves me.  We finally got back to the truck, it took me a while to start moving again and it was slow. I took a selfie. Duh.

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I am so proud of myself. I cannot describe the feeling of finishing this race without saying the pain was well worth it. Even with things going south, I wouldn’t change it. Eventually I’ll do this distance again, maybe 2016. Definitely not this race again, at least for the full. The course was not even ok after the split off. I would do the half marathon, because you’re running through the beautiful neighborhoods for more than half the race. Otherwise, yeah it was just ok. But that beautiful medal is definitely well earned, and it was ugly. But it was oh, so worth it.

I AM A MARATHONER! Thank you to everyone who reads this blog, and to my family and friends. Each mile was dedicated to you. Without support I couldn’t of done this. Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)

I’ll do a post on my week of recovery sometime this week. This post was long enough!

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I Needed a Break and Monthly Recap

I took almost a whole month from blogging. I was beginning to get burnt out on trying to post on every weekly recap that included a really long run. So much was happening that I was completely worn out by the time I was supposed to write something.

Well it is still the same, but I do feel the need to post how I’ve feeling with a week away from my first full marathon.

I am so pumped. Seriously, I cannot wait to start that 26.2 mile journey to receive some race bling and wear it around my neck all day. I look forward to the joy and achievement, along with the struggle. I know there will be good miles and bad miles, but I’ll take them all because I’ll be in a marathon.

For the past month I’ve swayed from my training plan. I’ve completed most of my long runs and that is about it. I’m just so tired. Honestly, I am exhausted. I decided that if I’m this tired that maybe I should take the breaks I need in order to be fully rested to run 26.2 miles.

I was up for 17 miles on 10/5, and my stomach started to act up that I only made it to 14.6 and guess what? I was fine with that. I have become fully aware of how my body feels during this training season that I know when to stop and be ok with it. I ran the miles in 3:08:02, a slow average pace of 12:53.

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My next long run was on 10/18! Yep, that is kinda a long stint of some high mileage. Work got me, so life did get in the way and that is fine. I still managed to run 18 miles in 3:48:07.

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This was a STRUGGLE. I ran out of fuel, and my mom called me at 16.91 and I began to cry. I hit the wall, I was walking so much from miles 15-present and I wanted out. My mom was like, “You’re doing great! You made it so far, don’t quit now. And you still need to get to your car, so just walk otherwise you won’t get home.” True. I literally cried walking to my car, I did it. I couldn’t grasp I did it. I drove the mile to CVS and ate all of this…

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Yeah…

On 10/23 I was up for 20, my last long run. I couldn’t do it. My stomach was chaotic. I switched my breakfast and started really late, but after 10 I couldn’t handle the pain. So I called it quits. 10 miles in 2:06:05, average of 12:33.

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You know me, if at first you don’t succeed, try again. In which I did.  This past Sunday I went at it again, this time feeling amazing. But alas, the 20 miles didn’t happen. The heat climbed up rather quickly, so I was being smart and didn’t want to die so I made it to 14 and was thrilled. 2:56:44, average of 12:33 again.

Now that I have only 3 runs left, all small miles (8-9 Sunday, 6 Tuesday, and 3 Thursday) I am literally giddy that this is almost over. I get to sleep in on Sundays, I won’t be eating every thing in my house, and my body gets a break. But I have loved this journey. Yes, I will definitely do another marathon eventually. I’ve learned what I did right and wrong with this, which is why I love training. You always learn something.  So that is my monthly recap. I can’t believe I’m this “-” close to being a marathoner. I’M SO EXCITED!

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#SweatPinkAutumn

Last week was a special week for us Sweat Pink Ambassadors. I love Instagram, and I love challenges. Combine the two, and man oh man I’m in social media heaven.

Each day had another theme so here are the 5 days worth of photos!

Day 1 : favorite pumpkin recipe

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Day 2 : favorite fall accessory : scarf obvi.

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Day 3 :  favorite way to sweat pink : running!

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Day 4 : favorite scenery : definitely the beauty of the greenway

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Day  5 : favorite fall activity : Halloween!

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So much fun, I love getting involved with the Sweat Pink community.

What are you fall favorites?

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Marathon Training and its Hardships

I’ve posting so late on this. I’m sorry.

But I’ve been struggling with training in the past 2 weeks that I seriously questioned my will to run my first marathon. I felt over my head and way overwhelmed. I had my first non-car induced anxiety attack this morning about my 15 mile long run that I’ve postponed by 2 days…now it’ll be a full week until I have another long run next Sunday.

So these two runs are from a while back.

But each one was great! So at least there is something great to share.

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Passed this on one of my 5 mile runs. I don’t know, it just struck me as beautiful. I’ve going to go on a limb and say this is from one young couple in the middle of young love. Probably more like lust, but I loved seeing it. You never know what you come across on the Greenway.

Like this.

THIS.

IS.

TERRIFYING.

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First off, I am proud of myself for getting this picture. Secondly, I used my iPhone focus and managed to not scream in public. That sucker was HUGE. I’m talking like silver dollar size. Ok, enough of that. I saw this while running a portion of my 14 miles last week.

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I can honestly say this was great. Proud running moment! Negative splits. AWESOME. And I ran with my new hydration belt, I’ll be sure to do a post on it. I needed something with more bottles. But it leaves me with some serious sweat stains.

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What running in Georgia’s humidity looks like. All that sweat was from my belt, but I’ll deal with it as long as it keeps me adequately hydrated.

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My first run in the new Wave Inspire 10s 2 weeks ago. I broke them in with 13 miles…and yes, it did kinda hurt. But my other ones were ready for retirement. But I always run past this “mark” at the trailhead, and it looks just like a running shoe. Well I finally managed to snap a photo. And apparently I’m the only one who thinks it looks like a shoe.

So marathon training is hard. I mean, really. I thought I’d be more upbeat about it. But as I’m getting more into high mileage, I’m realizing that it is exhausting. I do love running, and I’m incredibly proud of myself for taking on this challenge. But I’m thinking once I’m done with this race, I might stick with half marathons for a while. And I get that I’m saying this now, I haven’t even ran my full yet. I’ll probably be so elated that I’ll see which one I want to do next, but I’m working my way around all this exhaustion. Working 6 days at 40+ hours (you awesome people doing this with kids plus full time jobs are AMAZING :) while running 20-30 miles a week is a lot. But I’m learning. I’m making mistakes, crying, getting hurt, and then I’m falling back in love with it. Because a sane person would never do this for fun! But having these days off have really helped, minus my anxiety attack this morning. I am however ready to tackle this beast and be done with it…because I’m running out of food in my house that I constantly stuff my face with. Just saying.

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Marathon Training Week 5

Last week was week 5 of my marathon training, even though I’ve been running since May for this. That doesn’t sound weird at all, right? Anyway I ran one time. ONE TIME AGAIN last week. I had work plans both Tuesday and Friday mornings which are typically 2 of my 3 running days. Wednesday I had the option of running, and instead I slept. Normally I’d be upset about it, but this time I seriously needed it. Working 6 days, being on your feet for either 5 or 6 hours, then running pretty far can definitely wear you down. So when I missed a run last week I seriously could of cared less.

So… last Sunday I tackled 12 miles. 1-2 miles. And that was it. I missed a 6 miler, and a 8.5 mile speed work out. Oops.

I woke up extremely excited. Because I’m a crazy person. I mean, no sane person would wake up feeling giddy about running for 2+ hours to conquer 12 miles. I ate my unusually large breakfast, the one that consists of 750 calories and got ready.

By the time I got to the trail it was hot. Not too humid, but seriously warm. Grossss. I’m SO over summer. I took a pre-run selfie.

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I look prepared. That is an i-Fit hydration belt, which I like, but the bottles are too small. I have to fill them up a couple of times during my longer runs. Also my HeadSweats visor which I seriously wonder how I ever ran without it?! And a hot mess bun.

I remember feeling pretty great the first 8 miles. I was drinking plenty of water, had enough fuel in the form of gels, and even took a minor break to fill up my bottles and stretch a bit. Oh and take a mid-run selfie.

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I’m a little too jazzed here. I think my body expression is, “This run is fantastic and I’m feeling awesome, I love my fuel belt, I love my Garmin, I love my iPhone, I love the sun, I love this giant sweat mark all the way across my abdominals…” That expression quickly, and I mean quickly disappeared.

Around mile 9 my feet were throbbing. I ran in my white Mizuno Wave Inspire 10s which are close to death and the moment I started running my feet kinda ached. For the past couple of runs my feet bothered me. I knew I’d have to retire these shoes soon. Just didn’t know it would be on this run that I would break up with them and cry. I literally could not step any more. The thought alone to run was killing me. The pressure was so painful that I had thought of crawling the rest of the way. 3 miles on hurting feet is a lot to handle.

But alas I finished. I was 1.) close to my car and 2.) already walking just in my socks. I quit crying at this point and was ready for my famous post-run selfie. The picture that captures the essence of my glorious run and how crazy I look. This one wasn’t terrible, I overall felt great the entire time. My body was tuned well and my fueling/hydration system worked. It was just my feet that bothered me. I was thrilled with my time, only 22 seconds past my goal of 2:30. If I hadn’t walked for a bit I could of done it, but I was still pumped.

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I stopped at a CVS to grab post-run goodness. I found a new drink that is great for those with lactose problems. I am working on getting more protein in my system post run, but I am incredibly lazy at it. So anything is better than nothing.

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Oh and I grabbed this delicious coconut water that has pineapple so its drinkable. Getting those natural electrolytes back in my system is crucial after a long run. Otherwise I will cramp like a mofo. And that is no bueno.

I also got filthy while running. Which is strange to me because I was running on concrete and broadwalk… and yet ended up like this…

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I so wish that was a tan line. But sadly it is not. That is all dirt. I was baffled. I clearly needed to share this with everyone, but first sent it to my mom who said, “GET IN THE SHOWER!” which is what I did…after taking a mini photo shoot to capture my last run in my Mizunos.

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It was a great 265 miles. I already have my next pair which I broke in with 13 miles on Monday, but they are ready to be donated. I take the inserts out and put in SuperFeet’s and then once the shoe is finished, I put the original insoles in and donate them at local races.

So that was my week 5 in training. One run of 12 miles. BOOM!

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Marathon Training Week 3 & 4

Technically last week was week 4, and the previous week I only ran twice so I’m going to include that one run because it was epic.

No, not really. I ran 10 miles on the treadmill (week 3).

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It was a “get it done” moment and I had just a small window of time before Zach and I went to see his mother at the hospital. Plus it was raining and the trails wouldn’t of been ideal to run on. I ran for 2 HOURS on a freaking treadmill and was dying. Mentally I was golden, physically I was sweating buckets because they had 0 fans and I never felt air conditioning. I was drenched and icky. And very “fragrant.”  I never got a chance to head out to finish my 6 miles but I did get my 8 mile tempo run in. It wasn’t great, I finished it in 1:32:00 and average pace 11:30 (w/u 1.25 miles, 7 sets of 5 minutes @ tempo pace, followed by 3 minutes walk/jog, c/d 1.25 miles).

Weekly mileage 8/10- 8/16: 18 miles with average pace 11:47

Last week (week 4) I had 11 miles, 6 miles, and 8-9 mile speed work. I have highs and lows from each run. My worst was the 11 miles, the best the 8, and 6 miles was ok.

Sunday I ran 11 miles, and failed. Not really, but I failed in my mind because I set myself up for disaster. Like only taking 1 Gu, not drinking enough water before heading out, and not enough calorie consumption in the days prior. I also started out a tad too late because it was steamy as all get out when I started.

I did have the best Gu ever though,

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I cannot get enough of this flavor! It was so amazing. Like I said I brought one. Just one for 11 miles. And I took it at 5.5 miles thinking that’d carry me to finish. Nope. I felt tired from the beginning so by the time I took it this, it was far too late to get some energy. But I think any calorie intake is better than none in a long run.

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Average pace 12:43, I am getting slower and slower. Which is fine, I’m more into covering the distance than worrying about pace. But in the winter I am aiming for both. I finished and almost immediately starting cramping up. I could hardly drive home, my calves were on fire from pain. I stopped at a gas station to pick up chocolate coconut water and some apples. I needed something quick. Once I got home I was still cramping, but nothing a little compression sleeves couldn’t handle. I swear, those babies are life savers.

So remember how on my last post I showed that picture of my sock with a blood stain? Well I felt pain from miles 4-11 on one toe. I knew when I finished something was either 1) blistered or 2) completely gone. When I got home to look I noticed first, my sock and then I just lost it. I don’t know why I immediately freaked out but I still hadn’t seen my foot yet. Poor Zach had to deal with me (BTW I was also crying because my run was bad and I thought I sucked, etc. so this just was the icing on top of my crazy cake). I took the sock off and BAM. Bloody toe, but no lost toenail! Yay! I’ll spare you the photos, but I did send it to my mom and dad proclaiming my first ever marathon training toe scare.

I needed to run Tuesday, and I set out to but I started at the trail and at .5 miles I heard thunder so I hightailed it back to the car.  I opted to run this one on Saturday. I’m going to skip Friday’s and go into Saturday’s and then back to Friday’s. You’re confused and I’m sorry.

All I can say about this was it was ok. But holy crap it was HOT.

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Friday I had speed work. My least favorite. I don’t mind running fast, but I don’t find it enjoyable during the summer when its like 1000° outside and I’m required to run at a certain pace for a certain amount of time all while trying not to die.

My workout called for warm up 1.5 miles, 50 minutes @ hard pace, 1.5 miles cool down. I broke it down differently because I knew it was hot and that I wouldn’t make it through if I didn’t change my game plan. So I ran 50 minutes hard, then 3 miles slow. I told myself technically I’m running quick for 25 minutes and just turning around. It helped A LOT. When I started the weather was steamy, I’m talking dew and humidity to the max. It was 74° and heat index feeling of 81°. Lovely. At my first 25 minutes I followed this group of super speedy women and I kept a 9:36 pace the entire time. With running that fast I got a little sweaty. Enough to cause my Garmin to freak out and die for about 10 solid minutes before I got it to work again. I was livid. I had cooled down enough that I knew it would be a struggle to get back to pace for my finish. However, the temps kept rising so I managed to knock out the second portion at a 10:30 pace. Once I got back to the trailhead I was more than ready to run some easy, slow miles. It worked out perfectly. But I was done, 100% by the time I finished.

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I was glad this happened the way it did. I hated it, but loved it. I enjoyed feeling fast again, even for only a short time. I know I could try to keep up some speed, but honestly I’m not feeling it right now. My goal for this first full marathon is to finish. Finish strong and with a smile on my face, I don’t want to burn out. And I definitely don’t want to burn out in training. Like all things I’m learning as I go, maybe on the next one I can train at a quicker speed, but for me and for right now this is perfect. I couldn’t be more thrilled of my progress and how much this training is changing me. I’m learning to endure pain and mental toughness. Even if I don’t run another full marathon, I can honestly say I am loving this right now.

Weekly mileage 8/17-8/23: 25.1 with average pace 12:03

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Random Photos

I needed to clear out my albums on my cellular device so I thought it’d be a great time for another random edition of phone dump.

I have 5 amazing photos for you (more like some ok photos ;) )

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1. I literally LOL-ed when I saw this e-card. Could not be further from the truth.

2. Legit science and truth. I’m not a cupcake quitter.

3. #storyofmylife but more like EVERYDAY WE WEAR BLACK.

4. My first bloody sock from a long run. I freaked out and cried (will be in my next post) because I was too scared to see if I lost a toenail. I’ll let you know later if I did.

5. I chopped my hair off! I freaking love it. It is so nice having fresh hair, especially when your good friend does it for you.

Any rando things happening in your life? Please share!

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