First half marathon – complete!

I did it! Yesterday I ran my first half marathon at the PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. The craziest part was I really enjoyed it. Sure, it was tough but I felt pretty great the whole way through. Plus I finished close to the goal time I had set for myself. Seeing as how this was my first time ever running this distance, I aimed to finish in 2.5 hours. My official chip time was 2:36:01. Practically nailed it! I think I would have hit it too, if it wasn’t for a spiral of tiny errors. The race started at least 40 minutes (or more) later than it was supposed to. That caused a problem, as I was hydrated to start on time. Right as I started to run I realized I desperately needed to use the restroom. Yeeeaahh, no bueno. The first porta potty I saw was a standalone, and the line was more than 20 people deep. I decided to keep going. The second one I saw had the same LONG line. I was so stressed! I knew if I waited for 20+ people to go to the bathroom it would take forever so I said a quick prayer and ran ahead, hoping the next bathroom opportunity would be better. It was, slightly. The next stop (around mile marker 2) had a few porta potty’s lined up, each with about 8 people waiting. I figured this would have to do. I bit the bullet and stood in line to wait.

I knew my pace was blown at this point, it put me at least 10 minutes behind. The delay was clear when I looked at the breakdown of my checkpoints. See, I normally run a 5k in about 30 minutes or less. Because of the bathroom debacle my 5k time was about 40 minutes. Oh well! Other than that, the rest of the run was exactly what I hoped for. I slowed slightly for water/gatorade along the race. I also got a wicked stitch in my side around mile 11 and took a quick breather to stretch and walk for maybe a quarter mile. Aside from that, I ran the entire half marathon! I made sure to keep a nice even pace, running over 5 mph but less than 6 mph for most of the race. I usually only keep 6 mph pace when I run 3-4 miles max, so rather than try to push and burn out I opted for a more relaxed approach on this 13.1.

I loved it. I saw bystanders holding hilarious signs along the way, and I got lots of high fives. But the best part was knowing I had followed though. My family and friends all reached out with calls and messages and I felt real pride for my accomplishment. And now I have a baseline goal. I want to run another this year, and I have a personal time to compete against! Plus now I know, no matter what, I am waiting in line to use the bathrooms before the gun goes off so I won’t lose time on the track. I’ve already scoped out another couple half marathons to do in Texas.

Did I mention this already? My husband and I are making plans to move to Texas soon. We are waiting on a few details regarding his job relocation, but planning is heavily underway and we should be there well before the summer, possibly early spring! I’m so excited, it’s a great opportunity for Matt and his career, plus I will be closer to my family.

Speaking of family, I proudly posed with a Rolling Rock in hand, just like my own dad whenever he finished a marathon.

Rolling Rock runner

And a photo Matt took of me shortly before I crossed the finish line, grinning like a damn fool:

Half Marathon


So much fun. I don’t know if it’s insanity or excitement that had me searching out my next half marathon while I recovered on the couch mere hours after finishing my first. Probably a little bit of both.



Progress – December 2014 to January 2015

I have been in my weight range (120-125 lbs.) for most of the last two months. I jumped up a couple extra pounds during X-mas and New Years (no huge shock). I quickly dropped back down below 125, but the last couple of days I am up again to 126/127 pounds. The last week or so I have been eating more carbs for my calorie intake to prep for the half marathon on Sunday – TOMORROW!! Based on what I have read I knew I could expect to add a few extra pounds on with a heavier carb based diet even if I am eating the same general amount of calories overall. Once I get back into normal eating mode after the marathon I’m sure I’ll drop back into my normal maintenance weight range.

Maintenance mode still feels like a success, especially since I know why I’m temporarily a little heavier on the scale. I’m feeling really positive about this because I’ve done it without using MyFitnessPal as I mentioned in a post a little while back. I was worried there would be a major backslide, but other than the normal holiday enjoyment I think I’m doing really well!

My very supportive and awesome husband Matt surprised me with a gift after I signed up for the half marathon. He got me a massage roller. Holy cow, amazing. My muscles were a little sore from last weekend, I ran nearly 9.5 miles on the trail. I used it on my tired muscles and it felt great. I know I will need it after the 13+ miles tomorrow! I also made sure to have a box of Epsom salt ready to bathe in after the run. I’ve been pretty lucky so far to not have major joint issues, just muscle soreness. These items really help to alleviate that.

Last thing – I’ve been to plenty of marathons and cheered from the sidelines. I loved when people had names written on their shirts so the crowds could cheer for them as they ran. I decided to make my own shirt in the hopes that I hear a cheer along the way. Never know, that could come at just the right moment when I need it the most!

Homemade marathon shirt

Homemade marathon shirt



My brain has been my biggest obstacle. At the end of 2013 I wrote:

…my ultimate goal is to train for a half marathon. I don’t know if I will run one this year, I’m leaning more towards training during 2014 to ultimately run in one by early 2015. I am going to try! Exciting to think about… and a little scary.

I have been training all year, just as I said I would. In 2014 I became a stronger and more capable runner. A week didn’t go by where I didn’t run at least several miles, 2-4 times. Early in 2014 I decided my aim was to run the half at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon; not only because it was early 2015, but also because it was a marathon that my own father has run. It excited me to think of being able to cross that finish line myself (even if it was a half instead of a full marathon like my dad had done).

Even in December 2013 when I wrote the goal I acknowledged my problem. Being scared. Ultimately it is the fear of failing. I have been working on getting healthy and fit for so long now, and this is an actual marker of success. This is a clear and definitive goal to achieve rather than just getting healthy, or posting before and after pictures. If you run a marathon, you either finish it or you don’t.

As the race drew near I contemplated whether I was ready. While I knew I was ready physically, my fear took hold. I wussed out. A couple of friends asked if I was going to run, even tried to talk me into at least running the 10k. I said I’d think about it but deep down I knew I really didn’t want to run the 10k. I wanted that half and if I wasn’t doing the half, frankly I didn’t want anything to do with the event. I knew it would be a giant neon sign of failure in my own brain if I did anything less than run that half. And after all the hard work and effort I had put in, my brain put up a wall and I chose to cowardly skulk away from the whole event.

The other day someone asked if I would be there to watch her finish the race. I made up a completely lame excuse about not wanting to deal with the parking. I felt awful about it. So I talked to my husband. He knew how I felt, and asked me if I really wanted to run. After some hemming and hawing I admitted: YES. I was really scared but yes, I wanted to run. I had always wanted to run.

Last minute and way too much money later, I am signed up to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon. I’m going to crush it. And yeah – I’m still scared. But I think that it’s okay to be scared. It will be all the better when I cross that finish line. My time might be wimpy, but that doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is completing the goal I made. I’ve turned my life around over the last 2+ years. I’ve earned this, and I am really proud of myself for going for it. I’m going to cross that finish line, just like when I watched my dad cross it.

I got this.



My first step in the goal to do a half marathon has been officially checked off the list today. I ran my first 5k this morning and I did pretty well!

Picture 1

My goal was to try to get it done in 30 minutes. I practically nailed it, got it in 30 minutes, 8 seconds! Quite pleased with myself.


I went solo. It was a little strange to not have any familiar faces there with me. My husband was out out of town on a business trip (he wasn’t told about it until after I signed up) and my friend who was planning to join me got an opportunity to work (very late) the night before and couldn’t run so early. I was a little nervous; I didn’t have the social buffer of someone else to chat with and figure out what to do. But I went, and I did it. Ultimately this was something I did for myself so doing it alone kind of gave me an added sense of accomplishment. Even still, I know that the 5k was not a huge hurdle for me at this point. I’m already planning to sign up for a 10k when an interesting one crosses my path. By next year, I am planning to tackle the half marathon. I feel pretty confident that I am progressing well and will be ready.


Progress – January 2014

Current status: 123 pounds, 19.3 BMI. (I am 5′ 7″ for anyone wondering)

Feeling good about my progress. I’m not really trying to lose weight anymore, but I still have a mini goal in my back pocket to reach 120 pounds at some point. It’s nice to have a little weight goal, I suppose, but I’m not pushing hard for it.

One of the big reasons I started this was to better fit into my clothes. For example: I used to never, ever tuck in a shirt. Because I overcame that fear over the past few months, I’ve decided to use my outfit from a few days ago as my progress picture:


No muffin top! No love handles! Smooth sides. That is one of those things I never valued when I was young and effortlessly had slim sides. Now that I have earned that back, I’m proud.

I am going to be able to do some more trail running soon, with a temporary change happening with my work schedule. Since I love it, and even just hiking in general, I decided it was time to upgrade my shoes. All I had was a pair of running shoes that I’d been wearing out for well over a year. I know I waited too long to replace my sneakers – I used the same pair for every gym trip, every run, and even for hiking. They were good shoes, but I definitely went beyond than the recommended replacement length in them. I decided to upgrade by getting new running shoes and also new trail running shoes! I love them both. Haven’t snapped a picture of my running shoes yet, but here are my trail shoes taken during yesterday’s hike:


I have a couple of new goals. I am focused on my upcoming 5k, which is just barely over 3 miles. I can currently run it in just a little over 30 minutes. Last time I tried I did it in about 33 minutes. My goal is to slice a tiny bit of time off and hit the 5k in 30 minutes or less. My other goal is to not hurt anymore though. I hurt my knee when I did the first trail run. I also hurt the same knee doing my last 5k practice. It was all my fault too, I didn’t stretch! What a dummy. Ultimately the goal is to not only get better at the 5k, but to take care of myself while doing so! I want to be able to keep on doing this for a long time, I need to take care of these joints and muscles. I mean, I’m already 33 – no more youthful and near immediate bouncing back after injuries. This was my painful reminder to ALWAYS stretch before running.



Making good on my goals

On my last progress post I stated that I wanted to sign up for a 5k and start training towards longer races, like a half marathon. I’m already making good on both of those goals!

I have officially signed up for my first 5k. In March I will be participating in the Run to Fight Children’s Cancer. Stoked! I’ve been invited to run on a team, and I think I’ve even successfully talked my best friend into running with me. *Pats self on back*

As for longer distance training… this one scares me, I have to admit. There is a group of folks from my work that get together and go trail running a few days a week. Unfortunately they typically go on days I can’t. I have an unconventional work week; my weekends are Sunday and Monday plus my workday starts at the freakishly early hour of 6:30 AM – there isn’t a chance for me to go and then work after and they don’t happen to run on my days off. BUT! This week I have a few personal days off and they are hitting the trail on Saturday morning. I am going to join them. Here’s where I get jittery: it’s over 9 miles. I’ve been reassured that it’s a very slow pace and it’s OK to walk the tough parts. It’s a trail I typically go hiking on, a lot of steep inclines then drops. I was worried I’d get made fun of for walking instead of running up the mountains but was told that was normal, no worries. So… I am going for it. And fucking nervous as all hell. But it’s worth trying! I’m a big fan of meeting goals, I don’t think many things in life feel as good as conquering something you didn’t think you could do. If I eat shit, so be it. However, I have been working hard at increasing my stamina and endurance. I think this is a great way to see what I can really do. Wish me luck, I’ll update with how it went later.