November 27, 2011

One week

Today was my last long run before the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, and this week, I've been reminded of what it takes to persevere, keep going when you're exhausted and to never give up. I've mentioned before that I'm running for Team Carson, in honor of my cousin who was treated at St. Jude for brain cancer. And this past week, Carson's story was featured on the TODAY Show! He and his family spent the week in New York and had a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Check out his video from the show.

Carson and his parents are such an inspiration. They never gave up, even when it was incredibly difficult, and Carson is with us today because of St. Jude. (If you'd like to make a donation to Team Carson, which goes directly to St. Jude, please visit my St. Jude Heroes fundraising page HERE.) 

So when I'm running my first 26.2 in just six short days, you can bet I'll be thinking of Carson and hoping I can muster a fraction of the strength that he and his family have. As race day looms closer, I'm getting more and more nervous. I just got a new job, and I haven't had much time to run at all the last couple of weeks, so I was even nervous about today's 10 miler. It's the farthest I've run since my 20 mile run two weeks ago...because Trea and I spent last weekend eating bacon instead of running our planned mileage. Ahem.

This morning, we met up with Lori, Alicia, Jennifer and Charles for 10 miles in the freezing cold. The weather was kind of awful, but we were all bundled up, so we had a good, strong run. It was exactly the confidence booster I needed before the big day. I can do this! I think. Probably.

Cold 10 miler

I can't believe we only have a week left -- just six days! -- and then we'll be Memphis bound!

November 25, 2011

Fun in the Ozarks

Who knew that the tiny town of Ponca, Arkansas could be so gorgeous?

View from our cabin porch
Trea and I have exhausted ourselves with nearly 16 weeks of marathon training, and we needed to get away from it all. FAR away. So last weekend, we drove well out of cell range, rented a cabin with no cable and holed up for three days along the Buffalo River. It was bliss.

Mountaintop cabin in the fog
We spent three days sleeping in, playing board games, lounging in the hot tub, watching our favorite laugh-out-loud movies -- Anchorman, Tommy Boy, Eastbound and Down, The Burbs -- hiking, running, cooking, and best of all...we had bacon every single day!

Chef Trea
We were supposed to run 13 miles that weekend, but all the nearby paved roads seemed kind of dangerous, especially in incredibly thick fog that we experienced for two of the days we were there, so we stuck to trails. The first day, we hiked to Whittaker Point/Hawksbill Crag. We had to drive several miles up a very steep dirt road to get to the trail head, and we felt like we had completely left civilization. Our hike was gorgeous!

On the drive back to the cabin, we saw elk!

The next day, the weather warmed up and we went for a run on Lost Valley and Centerpoint Trails. We were so deep in the woods that our GPS watches couldn't find a satellite, so I'm not sure how many miles we ran. But we were running, hiking and climbing for about two and a half hours straight, so that's kind of like running 13 miles, right? Let's hope so.

At Lost Valley, we ran to a couple of waterfalls. I think this is the prettiest trail I've ever been on in Arkansas. We loved it!

Eden Falls
Those trails were steep though! My legs were super sore for days afterward.

On our last day, we drove around and checked out the river, and now I can't wait to come back for a float trip in the spring. It's absolutely beautiful.

Our little weekend getaway was exactly what we needed to catch our breath before the craziness of the holidays and our marathon. We only have one more long run left, and then we'll be running 26.2 on December 3!

November 17, 2011

I survived!

I survived my first 20 miler! It was hard, it was HOT, the 30 mph wind about blew me over, but I made it!

20 miles

Trea and I ran all over Bentonville and Rogers, and I thought we would never get back to the car. I took Gatorade breaks and walked pretty frequently during the last 10 miles, but I'm still just happy that I made it all the way. It was a really tough run, not only because of the new distance, but because I just wasn't feeling it that day. It would have been difficult even if I had only been running 10 miles.

I prepared just the way That Pink Girl instructed. I hydrated like it was my job, got plenty of rest, started paying closer attention to my diet all week leading up to the run and increasing my carb intake, but I still woke up feeling blah. My 18 miler was hard, but not in the same way as this run. So maybe some days are better than others, and every run won't always be great. I just hope I have another day like my 18 miler on race day! It's almost here!

After our run, we were crazy exhausted. But instead of eating our weight in burgers and collapsing on the couch...we threw a little party. A few friends who are also training for the Memphis Marathon and Half came over to watch "Spirit of the Marathon."

 They are gonna kill me for posting this pic.

So Trea and I didn't exactly go through our usual recovery routine like we should have, but we had a great time. We even had a friend who had just run her first marathon come over and share her wisdom. There's nothing like a room full of runners talking about chafing and blisters over dinner.

The next day, I focused on pampering my sore legs. I soaked in an epsom salt bath and tried out my new CEP compression socks. I also got a massage by the incredible hulk to work out the tightness in my legs. It was amazing.

This weekend, I only have 13 miles to run. It's taper time! Only 16 days to go until race day!

November 11, 2011

Running for Carson

When I decided I wanted to run a full marathon, people thought I was crazy. At the time, I was fresh off the high of running my first half marathon, and I felt like I could do anything. But 26.2 is serious business. I knew it would be hard, so I was selective about choosing my first race. I wanted a location that would have lots of crowd support, one without massive hills, and ideally, I wanted a race that means something to me. It's my first marathon; it's a big deal. And that's why I chose the St. Jude Memphis Marathon on Dec. 3.

St. Jude is a special place, and I'm thrilled to be able to support such a worthy cause if even just in a small way -- because St. Jude saved my family. My 8-year-old cousin, Carson, was treated there when he was a baby for a rare brain tumor. The medical care there rivals no other, and after months of harsh treatments, surgeries and therapy, Carson made a full recovery. 

But you'll notice I said St. Jude saved my family -- not just Carson. While he got the best treatment in the world, his tireless parents and his sweet twin brother had a place to live. They weren't left to find a hotel far away from their child in a city that was already far from their home; they were able to stay on the St. Jude campus with him...and remain the family they were so desperately trying to be. The beautiful thing about St. Jude is that no child is ever turned away for the inability to pay for treatment. So when families are living their worst nightmare, they can focus on the only thing that matters -- making sure their babies get better.

Carson's mom, my cousin Ginger, has been running the St. Jude Half Marathon for several years now as a St. Jude Hero. That means she puts together a team and raises money each year as a way to give back so other kids can have the treatment Carson received.

In fact, several members of my family take part in the weekend races -- in the 5K and family fun run. So when I decided to run a full marathon, I knew I wanted to run for Team Carson. I'm also running as a St. Jude Hero to raise money for the hospital.

I have a fundraising site HERE, and I hope you'll stop by and make a donation. All donations go directly to St. Jude. Every single one of us knows someone who has been impacted by cancer, and when children are the ones who are affected, it's absolutely heartbreaking. So please consider making a donation. Thanks in advance for your support.

November 2, 2011

18 miles and counting

A lot can happen in 18 miles. On Saturday, Trea and I ran our longest distance ever. 18 big ones. After my bad experience trudging through 16 miles, I did not have high hopes for this run. But it was awesome! I felt strong the entire time and had plenty of energy to get to the end. I still can't believe I ran that far and actually had fun doing it.

We ran a new route that went through places we were somewhat familiar with, but areas where we usually don't run. It was so nice to have a change of scenery. We ran past the city airport and watched planes take off and land, saw about 47 little kid soccer games and were serenaded by a Latino garage band. I almost stopped and loved on some free puppies that were being given away on the side of the road, but I made myself keep going. It was a beautiful, happy day.

I stopped at a gas station around mile 7 to get some ice and refill my water bottle, and we were already starting to get hungry. After about 10.5 miles, we ran past a Popeyes, and I was doing fine, trucking right along...until the smell hit me. Trea and I both smelled fried chicken and biscuits at the same time and just couldn't resist. We were starving and still had quite a ways to go. I had packed Shotbloks and strawberry Newtons to eat along the way, and I had 8 oz. of Accelerade for an extra boost, but all that stuff suddenly seemed pretty nasty compared to hot, buttery biscuits. So we stopped our watches, walked in all stinky and covered in a thick layer of salt and ordered three biscuits and some water. The lady behind the counter was not too excited about touching my debit card, but I didn't let her snobby attitude get me down. People in the restaurant were staring at us, but we were too hungry and exhausted to care. We took off our gear, plopped down at a table and destroyed some biscuits. YUM.

After a few minutes of rest, we topped off our water supplies and headed back out for 7.5 more. The rest of the run was new territory for me, with much of it on bike trails in Rogers, where I never run. It was sunny and breezy and the fall leaves were beautiful. At around mile 15, we made another quick pit stop. We were just getting started again, ready for the home stretch when the unthinkable happened. I was standing there talking to Trea, waiting for the crosswalk to change, and SMACK, I felt a hard thud on my head, like an acorn had fallen out of a tree. But there weren't any trees.

I got pooped on by a bird! Thank goodness I had a hat on, but it was still disgusting. Luckily, I had packed kleenex, so I was able to clean up a little. An hour later, Trea was still laughing at me.

Even with the bird incident, this was still one of my favorite runs so far. Getting through that distance -- and getting through it feeling good and staying strong -- was huge for me. I feel a lot more confident about finishing a marathon now, but at the same time, I'm still nervous about 26.2. Although I didn't get so tired that I had to take walk breaks on this run, I got little breaks at stoplights, crosswalks, bathroom stops and breaks while I consulted my route notes to figure out where to go. I won't get any breaks like that during a race. Pretty sure I won't have a chance to swing by Popeyes either, so nutrition is a big concern for me. I still don't know what to eat that I can carry with me. I can't eat Shotbloks for 5 hours straight. I can't even get through a whole package without feeling sick. They're just too sweet. On my next long run, I'm planning to pack a PB&J and see how that goes. I need to figure out what works for me in race conditions -- without a bunch of stopping and without a piping hot biscuit.

I don't know what to eat, but at least I know what to wear. I got my first pair of real, legit running tights last week!

No more Old Navy yoga pants for this girl! I feel like a real runner now. They look black in the first photo, but they actually have a fun design so I'll look FAST. (Ha!!)

I'm hoping Memphis brings some cold weather on December 3 so I can put these to good use! They're Nike Pro tights with a soft fleecey lining, so I'm hoping they'll keep my legs toasty warm this winter.

Only 31 days till the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, and just 10 days till my first 20-mile run.

I'm ready!!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...