Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Half-y Feet

Mission: Accomplished! (and the famous pink triple jogger!)
After several months of training, the morning of October 16th carried a lot of firsts for me. It was my first time running a half with a training partner (actually running it with them and not just training with them), my first time trying the Galloway Method in a race, and my first time running a half-marathon without the assistance of an iPod. J and his sister ran the race as well, with awesome times, and it was fun to have she and her husband stay with us for the weekend. (The wine consumed the night before may not have been the best idea, though.)

It was perfect running weather, starting out with rain that reduced to a drizzle by the starting gun, then further reduced to light mists for the remainder of the race. The course was great, the conversation better and the companionship that pushed me to a PR was the best.

It wasn't all rosy, though, there was a point about 6.5 miles in that I thought; oh, lawd, what did I get myself into again? Maybe I'm not cut out to run this distance afterall! Then, a few more strides and a deep breath and I was fine, but running without music was both a relief and a serious challenge for me. E is a great running conversationalist, so I've grown accustomed to running without it, or else I'd have been begging for a little Cake with some White Stripes thrown in around mile 7.

We chugged up the hill on Kendall, the only 'real' hill on the course and after that I knew we were home free. Once we rounded the park, and were within sight and sound of the finish line I felt invigorated, as I always do, and had that tickle in the back of my brain saying maybe I could have pushed it a little harder in certain points. I looked at the clock as I was coming in the last stretch and my heart sank; 3:09?! How did that happen? I thought for sure I was great on time and that I was going to PR! Then I realized my error as the clock on the left hand side caught my eye and I realized that the marathoners had a fifteen minute head start on us. Wahoo! Under 2:55; Goal Achieved!

E worked so hard in training, often pushing a triple jogger while I pushed my double, and that hard work paid off. I know in my bones that she could have busted out and sped ahead, but she set out to finish with me (or just really likes the interval timer on my garmin, ha!) and  stuck with me until the last block where we broke off and she was almost 20 seconds ahead when we crossed the finish line.

Although my knees were a little achy the next morning, I wasn't any more sore than I've been after other training runs, and it made me see that I could be pushing myself harder on race days. I know that consistent attendance at bootcamp is helping me a lot, and I'm now registered through January.

Next up is Vegas and I'll get to run with Pam, Jill and the girls again for the first time in over a year; I'm giddy with the thought. I would love to PR there, and think that with their encouragement, and that of Cheap Trick of course, I'll rock the 'Strip at Night' on December Fourth.
Yep, that's Jill! (My own personal WWJD on my fridge motivation montage :))
This weekend Pam and co. are running their second full marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon in DC, and I can't WAIT to cheer them on virtually, as their splits will post in real-time to Facebook. Send good thoughts their way. Although, I'm sure they'll have plenty of their own good thoughts as actual hottie Marines will be manning each water station. Hoo-ah!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Shake that Body For Me

Last month, I finally decided to jump on the strength training band wagon. While I've always fallen in the 'big girl' category, it used to be because I was tall and strong. I used to love weight training, and seeing  the definition of my calves and quads (and the smooth lines on the back of my shirt that have been absent since I acquired backfat along with my college diploma and a state job), so I got on the Cardio Strength Bootcamp website and put the month of September in my cart. It only took one week before I went back and paid for October as well (and earned November for free because I'm out of control). Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning church bells toll from my iPhone at 5:20 am and I'm up and at 'em. If you know me, mornings are not my strong suit so the fact that I have not even been once tempted to hit the snooze button says a lot about this class.

It's a fantastic group dynamic, the workout is fast and furious and I felt sore in places that running hadn't touched. I initially made the mistake of trying to squeeze in a long run the same morning as bootcamp and it just didn't work. But, I'm finding the the days I run 3-5 miles are perfect for pairing with it. I am definitely done by the end of that day, but it's the best kind of tired. I have been falling into bed between 9 and 9:30 and waking feeling rested and ready to go. Really?! Really. J said that he knew it was the thing for me after I got up without missing or finding excuses for a whole month. He calls it my booty bootcamp. Methinks he likes the results.

After a month of faithful attendance, sticking to my running training plan and eating really well I was down almost 10 pounds and feeling stronger. I've still got a long way to go, demonstrated by the fact that I was doing a Turkish Get-up this morning and one of the trainers advised that I 'really tighten your core'. Um, sadly this is my tight. Shall I unleash the beast to show you the full glory that is two babies and too much Ben and Jerry's without proper strength training for about a decade? Okay then, let us resume.

So, what's the point of the title you may be asking yourself about now. How long has it been since you did full-on jumping jacks, jumped rope, or stood with your feet planted while flicking large gauge ropes up and down or side to side. Let me tell you, it's some jiggle-tastic times for me in that gym. All the miles I've put in haven't tamed the tummy so from here on out three mornings a week for the first three weeks of every month, you'll see me sweating it out with a bunch of other suckers because public shaming and herd mentality really work for me. Yes, I'm harkening back to my good Catholic upbringing. Now, if I could just make myself be as faithful about it for our week off...