Finish Line

finish lineIt has been ten days since I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon! Yesterday morning I went out for a two-mile run. This was the first time I have run since completing the half. It was an amazing feeling to run because I “wanted” to, not because I had to for training.

What a mind shift. When I started this journey on January 9, 2016 I couldn’t (or didn’t think I could) even run a mile, and now I am a 13.1 mile finisher, and I am running for enjoyment and exercise.

My head has been flooded with different thoughts, feelings and emotions that it has taken some time to sort it all out and share my race weekend experience.

Friday: I signed up for the race weekend experience and well worth the extra money. Friday night there was a cocktail party sponsored by Fellow Flowers. You got a sweet swag bag, free drink ticket, lovely display of appetizers and desserts + a badass dj, that cranked the tunes and kept the dance floor packed all night.  I was a good girl all week, and didn’t have any alcohol and drinking extra water to stay hydrated, but I couldn’t resist a free cocktail so I did have the “flowertini”. I was on my feet all day at work, so I was not your typical dance machine, but it was so much fun to absorb the positive energy and excitement of 500 ladies.  Check out this cool video of the party & see if you can spot me! 🙂

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A few of my Foundations Training Run ladies. We clean up nicely!

Saturday:  You could start the day with a “shake-out” run, but there would be no more running for me until the big day on Sunday.  I did take part in the yoga yogaclass led by Kula Yoga and Wellness. That is exactly want I needed to get ready. It was the perfect amount of stretch and relaxation. After yoga is was time to pick up my packet and visit the expo full of running goodies. I splurged on a bracelet and a 13.1 charm. I then met up with one of my fellow Foundations training partners, Lori, and we walked around the farmers market and then rolled out our yoga mats on the grass outside the Capitol Square and bib pick upenjoyed the beautiful sun, blue sky and trees.  We had time to kill before the guest speaker series at DreamBank. The day ended by listening to two inspiration women in their own way talk about their adventures in life and in running.

After an amazing day, I went home, put my feet up and kept drinking my water.  I was actually in bed by 10pm and slept!

Sunday:  I got up at 5pm. I made myself breakfast consisting of a veggie omelet, toast and coffee. This is what I had the last two long training runs and it seemed to give me the fuel I needed and helped me “take care of business” before I left the house.

I got to Hilldale Shopping Center at 6:45am. I wanted to cheer on the 7:00am 13.1 walkers. Thank goodness the main storms passed by 6:30am and the set up crew scrambled to get everything in place. Thanks to Race Director, Jen Anderson and her crew, the walkers were only delayed by 15 minutes. Now it was our turn! Coach Flo had us gather for our traditional Foundations Training Run picture. On the way I ran into my friends from Green Bay, Brian, Kate and her boyfriend!

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Brian, me and Kate!

I was so excited to see these friendly faces on the morning of my first half! It was a weird déjà vu feeling that I was the one running and they were cheering me on, versus the other way around.

Ten minutes to the start.  It was a weird feeling….. I thought I would be more nervous but I wasn’t. I was ready to do this! I was not excited about the temps and humidity, but it was weather similar to my 12 mile training run, and if I had to walk, to make it, then I had to walk.

at the start8:00am – I line up with the pacing group at the 3 hour mark. My goal was to come in at 3.5 hours, so I thought if I stayed with the 3 hour group for most of it, if I have to walk some, I could still come in with the time I was shooting for.

The horn sounds, and I start running.  It was amazing to see as I rounded the first corner, joining Brian was Marla, Stosh and Sarah. They made it for the start! I was all thumbs up and smiling.

blood signWe are starting out uphill and we run past the Red Cross building.  There is Megan with the best sign ever! Before I know it I have made it to mile 1 – only 12.1 to go!

On Saturday, at the expo, I attended Jen’s race day course talk.  She said there will be ice on the course and if you feel yourself overheating, to put ice in your sports bra and over your heart to cool your blood. Rookie mistake….. I forgot to ask WHAT “AID STATIONS the ice will be at.

We get to the first aid station, and I was starting to feel pretty warm… “Do you have ice?” Awesome volunteer, “no”.  Get to the second aid station, “Do you have ice?” again a no…. this is happens again at mile 6 – still no ice.  By this time, I can feel my face getting beet red. My saviors and amazing “Route Rockers” were there for me to cheer me on just past mile 6, and I go to them (could have been in a demonic voice at this point) “GET ME ICE”.

Sarah pouring ice down my pants and sports bra!

Sarah pouring ice down my pants and sports bra!

Mile 7, I see my angels and Sarah has a cup with ice, and I let her dump it right down my shirt and sports bra.  I also had them dump ice down each leg. Instantly, I could feel my core temp starting to lower. This went on for every mile.  My team was there with a cup of ice to dump down my sports bra.  I did finally see ice at the aid station, but it was not until mile 10.  I would have over heated by then and left to the buzzards. This course was a tough one.  Observatory Hill, some additional hill beasts and some full sun areas that made you want to melt. I did have to walk the last mile.  It was mostly up hill, full sun and I was starting to feel a little dizzy.  Slow and steady has been my motto and I really channeled that mantra in

Finish Line with high Fives!

Finish Line with high Fives!

the final stretch.  I passed the Red Cross building again, and after that I knew it was all downhill (literally). I started to run again. I get to the final stretch and I see the finish line, I see about 20 women lined up on both sides and I picked up the pace, running through their dance party,  giving high fives and finally crossing the finish line and this little girl handing me my medal!

Now I know why people do this crazy shit! After all the training, hard work and sacrifices, crossing the finish was AMAZING.

WE DID IT!

WE DID IT! My official time: 3:42:07

Amazing Route Rockers and Ice Team!

Amazing Route Rockers and Ice Team!

After I crossed the finish line my “ice angels” where there, and some of my Foundations running teammates. No matter how tired and hot I was, I was so excited and proud of myself. I finished the day with a beer at Great Dane with my Route Rockers, then I went home, showered, slept two hours, and had a smile on my face for the rest of the day!

BEER!!!

BEER!!!

 

MY FINAL COMMENTS! I wrote this a few hours after I finished and still holds true.

blingIt is hard to put into words how amazing today was. My “word” going into today was “Believe” my word after finishing my first Half Marathon is “Grateful”. Grateful for all the messages & cards of support, Grateful for my training run teammates, grateful for my Route Rockers who saved me by being my own personal ice delivery crew & provided needed words of encouragement on the course, finally grateful for my legs & health that allowed me to be a Half Marathon Finisher!!!!!

Double Digits

11I am two weeks away from my goal race of the Her Half Marathon on June 26. The last 3 weeks, I have been doing double digits for my Saturday long training runs. I am still in awe of myself for hitting these HUGE milestone!

As I look back on this journey here are some things I have learned.

  1. To help make your goal a reality, you must vocalize it. By telling people about your goal, it helps keep you accountable.
  1. I have some pretty incredible friends and family who have been amazing in giving me the encouragement I needed and words of support along the way to keep going.
  1. Doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are, the point is you are doing it. Your butt is off the couch, you are being physically active to better your health and creating life long healthy habits.
  1. Learn to love the body you are given. Did I drop 50lbs from running? No, in actuality the number on the scale barely moved, but I am ok with that. I feel stronger, my body is allowing me to do something I never thought possible, and for that no matter the shape or size of it, I have learned to love who I am inside and outside.
  1.  Running is more mental than physical. If you get in your own head with negative thoughts, all those aches and pains you are experiencing will take over. Strong mind, strong body.
Foundations Training Run Team before our 12 mile run at Fireman's Park in Verona.

Foundations Training Run Team before our 12 mile run at Fireman’s Park in Verona.

I started this journey on January 9th and it is hard to believe I am two weeks away from making it a reality. I am so grateful for my fellow Foundation Training run members and Coach Flo for helping me get this far.  I have put in the work, and next week is our taper week to absorb everything we have done so far and gear up for race day. I look forward to towing the line on June 26 and run, walk or crawl…. I will make it across that finish line!

My First Training Run!

 

Saturday, January 9, 8:00 am, at Endurance House was my first training run. I was 20160109_080315-1_resizedthankful the temperature was in the 30’s and there was just a light dusting of snow that made everything very pretty instead of gray and gloomy.

Before we got started, Coach Flo and the other program mentors had us play “Icebreaker Bingo” so we could get to know the 25+ members in the spring program.

Flo then talked about “The Four Agreements”, a book by Don Miquel Ruiz. I put this book on my “must read” list.

The principals include:

4agreements

The Four Agreements are a great life lesson to practice in your entire life, not just within our group.

Then it was time to run! We went outside and did some warm up exercises as a group and then depending on what you are training for 5K walk or run or 10K walk or run we did our distance for that day. I ran for 16 minutes and did not stop or walk! I was proud of myself. When we got back at our own pace we paired up and worked on planks for our core and stretching.

I am realizing from this first week of learning and trying to be a runner, that it is mind over matter. I can honestly say, my mind has never wanted to do this before now and I think I picked the right group to help me reach my goal.

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You Have to Start Somewhere!

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Starting anything new can be intimidating. Thanks to my friend Jen Anderson, Race Director for the Her Madison Half, she told me about the Endurance House Foundations Program for people of all abilities and distance goals.

20160106_175929January 6th I nervously walked in the doors of Endurance House for the informational meeting. I felt more at ease as I saw other people of all shapes and sizes walk through the door. We were greeted by Coach Flo, who immediately made you feel comfortable. She told us about the program goal: “To build the foundation of our best life by enjoying walking and running outside, without injury in an ever growing supportive and active community,” and then we went around the room to introduce ourselves.

Some of the reasons and stories on why people, like me, where exploring this fitness journey were very inspiring. Trying to get fit after battling cancer, a women who walked her first 5k, and now wanted to run it and someone like me, hates running, but likes running with this group.

Coach Flo!

Coach Flo!

For the spring Foundations Program, we are working toward running or walking a 5K or 10K by mid-March, depends on your fitness goal. I am shooting for running a 10K by mid-March.  If I can get to 6.2 by March I have almost 3 months to get to 13.1.

I felt inspired and thought, this is the right fit for me to accomplish my goal. I signed up. The program cost for the 10 week program is $125 and that includes Walk, Run/Walk and Run pace groups (Wednesday at 6pm & Saturdays at 8am), coached team workouts, 15% in-store discounts, workshop series and much more.

Here’s my start!