Final countdown…..

Well sort of anyway….

It is the final count down to my half marathon.  In exactly one week I will be heading out to do battle with my will and my legs to run that glorious, half-crazy 13.1 miles for the real thing…that beautiful finishers medal!!! Woot Woot! Bling Bling! I love those medals, I really do:)

It is also the official  final count down to my MARATHON TRAINING.  It is exactly 6 months, 0 weeks, and 2 days until my big, fat, totally, fully-insane marathon date.  Unlike last February when I ran my first half marathon, I will NOT be taking 3 weeks off.  I will be heading right into ramp up training.  I admit I am a bit scared by the approaching training schedule.  I already have every run mapped out on my calendar.  Its official, and its officially a LOT of miles to come.

However, I am trying to be in the present and think about my race that is directly in front of me.  As we discussed, I am in taper mode:) Today I only ( giggle) ran 8 miles!!!  I made up of lack of miles by running them as fast as I could, pushing at race pace just to see what I could do.  To my absolute delight, my race legs showed up today:)!  I ran like the wind ( for me anyway).  I hit a new personal record of an hour and 6 minutes for my first 10 K of the run:)! I managed negative splits ( running each successive mile faster than the one before it) the ENTIRE 8 miles:).  And finally….drum roll…I ran my fastest mile as my last mile (a 10 minute mile)! For a relative slow poke like me, for a run over 3 miles in length, that was roadrunner speed:) My general, average, distance speed is around an 11 minute mile…so OH YEAH!

It was a great final distance run 🙂 I had my race legs, my compression calf sleeves, the wind in my hair, and a lovely Fall day ( for FL anyway).  Next week its just a couple miles here and there to keep from getting creaky and then off to the races! I’d LOVE to beat my time of 2 hr 37 minutes if possible…if not, I just want to run strong and enjoy my new stronger legs as they carry me onward toward this finish line and the next!

Here’s to the miles behind and the miles and finish lines ahead!

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Joy Unspeakable, Faith Unsinkable, Love Unstoppable, Anything is possible

Sooooooooooooo ( drum roll please)….I have officially finished my last long run before my half marathon.  I am now into that glorious, sweet spot called “The Taper”…in non runner-ese, that means I get to run 8 miles next week instead of 12, and fewer still the next week.  I am Resting My Legs.   I am almost giddy with excitement! I can’t wait to relax a bit over the next two weeks.

Now here’s the thing people, just a few short months ago if I had heard someone say take it easy and 8 miles in the same sentence, I would have thought they were delirious, hysterically funny, or cracked…possible all three.  Just a short while ago, 8 miles was a kick- my -butt- to- the curb, I’m going home to nap for the rest of the day run…Now its actually sounding like a day off lol. It is official folks, I am a Crazy Running Chick.

I got up at the butt crack of dawn today and ran 12 miles.  That’s just shy of a half marathon folks.  Not only that, but after said run, I did not collapse in a heap but came home, showered, fueled with caffeine and breakfast and went to my son’s school for his holiday party, came home, ran errands and basically continued my day. You know..no big deal…what evs…just a morning run ( riiiiiiight).

I did not feel like a million bucks mind you, but I also didn’t feel like I had been dragged behind the bumper of a ford F150 on a dirt road for 12 miles ( which by the way is exactly how I DID feel after running my first half marathon last February). I’m a bit sore and l feel like I have pushed myself, but I don’t feel half or even a quarter dead.  I have Changed. I am Stronger.  God is Good.

One of my favorite songs right now is “thrive” by casting crowns.  It speaks to me on so many many levels right now, but my favorite is the chorus:’Joy Unspeakable, Faith Unsinkable, Love Unstoppable, Anything is possible’  as I hit my half way point today, this song was playing and it just lit me up.  With every footfall I am becoming, I am Becoming, I am Becoming a New Creation.

God has asked me to run a marathon and he is making me stronger.  He’s keeping his promises and showing me that as I put in the work, he is making a path. I am being faithful and he is showing me what is possible.  That gives me Joy unspeakable people, it really does.

Shut up legs!

Whew! Today was a tough run of 11 miles.  Now we all know that I ran 10 miles last week…and even the week before.  I was thinking one more mile would be no big thing.  Well I was clearly wrong! You see, my running legs didn’t really show up on time this morning.  I stumbled out of bed and started off down the road with some very confused and conflicted legs.  It took me a good 4 miles to convince them that we were indeed running, and yes, we were completing a LONG run like it or not.

Around mile 4 my cranky legs accepted that I was in a stubborn mood and no good would come of continued protests.  I rewarded my now complacent legs, started up my playlist, ( it is a fabulous play list if I say so myself) and actually cruised along nicely until mile 9.5.  At this point I realized I was only a half mile from home and had underestimated my route.  This was NOT GOOD.  I had planned for 11.  I had beaten my legs into submission with the threat of 11.  If I let my legs win, they would never get over it. My stomach sank as I realized I would have to run past my home stretch turn off and churn out another mile.  As I passed my home street my legs once again began protesting…they were NOT HAPPY.  We were clearly going the wrong way and they were going to protest for the remaining mile. PERIOD.

I ran home tired.  I was beat.  My legs hurt, my feet hurt.  My legs were telling me “I told you so, I told you so” with every foot fall. My legs were so smug.  I started to feel a bit down about the run.  I still had 2 more miles til half marathon distance and that felt impossible today…not to mention the other 15 that I will have to run to complete a marathon.

I quickly pulled out of my funk however when a good friend reminded me…I RAN 11 MILES this morning.  That is an accomplishment no matter HOW I managed it.  And that is a long run…I should be tired darn it! If it were easy, everyone would be out running their butt off in the early morning hours!

I will complete 13.1 in 3 weeks…I will have a nice taper and show up with rested legs.  I will forewarn my legs and they will be in racing form.  It took me 4 months to get back up to half marathon form…I have 5 months to get from there to marathon form.  We’ll be fine. We’ll make it. My legs will just have to shut up and run.

Smooth running: 10 miles and counting.

I had to get up before the sun to run my long run this week.  That was a problem on a few levels.  I am NOT a morning person.  I do NOT function well before 6:30 AM, and I don’t start talking in sentences until at least 7:30 AM.  I also do not like to run in  the dark.  I feel like an extra on a scary movie set, just one trip or stumble away from horrible disaster.  Lastly, I am a music junkie.  I have over 2,000 songs in my I tunes account. No lie. I may have a music problem…that is an intervention for another day.  I have 11 different running playlists. I run with music. Period.  Well running in the dark and with headphones in just seemed like a BAD IDEA. I did listen to Hubby and clip on a blink light for visibility.

So I struck out bleary eyed, blinking like a raver-but with no music,  occasionally glancing in the bushes for a masked mad mad with a chain saw. ( My brain was asleep at this hour, but my imagination was happily in overdrive).

I can confirm that running in the dark is not my thing.  However I will say, that those fleeting minutes of twilight, just before the sun peeks out is spectacular!  That was totally worth the 30 minutes of stumbling, skittish running in the dark.  It was a truly beautiful sunrise.

I had every intention of gritting it out in silence until the sun came up, and then plugging into my tunes.  Somehow though, I just never did.  For the first time in my life, I was able to run in silence.  It was lovely really.  I simply had a few hours of relative peace.  I honestly ran for 5 miles before I even noticed that I was running without music…and at that point I was half way home.  I decided to just run and see what God had to tell me that day.  Turns out he just wanted to show me what I could do.

Now here’s the part that I haven’t told you.  Some marathons have outlawed running with headphones ( evil practice if you ask me…making something that is already unbelievably difficult even more torturous). Right or  wrong, it is what it is.  I was appalled to find out that the Flying Pig is one of those.  Not only was God asking me to run a marathon, but He was asking me to do it without my tunes… something I had never even considered being able to do.  I had a long chat with Him about this…I was really not happy about this development…but in obedience I signed up anyway.  I figured if He will give me the strength to run, he will give me the ability to run without music if it called for it. After all, I could still train with music, and just run the big day without.  One more step of faith.

So when I found myself unintentionally running without music, and not dying, and not gritting it out, but rather cruising along as if it was second nature…I just had to smile.  You see to you all reading this, its a small thing, but to me it was a hug from the Almighty himself…just a happy warm fuzzy to let me know He’s got this, and he’s got me.  Smooth running….