Final Shred Week

I keep referring to my shred as a “cut” and I wonder if people think I’ve lost my mind saying that I’m still cutting until Saturday, but I’ll have ham and casseroles on Sunday. I’ve been so busy through this process. I’ve hit the gym every other day during the week and I grocery shop more often for fresh items. I’m holding at 5 lbs lost so far, but I’ll see how that figures in fat loss at the final weigh in on Saturday. One thing I’ve noticed is that my wrist is smaller because one of my bracelets I was wearing daily slides all over the place now. It can be easily adjusted. I was impressed that it was noticeable and somewhat regretted not taking body measurements at the start.

I have been a bit cranky this week. Not unusual for this time of the month, if you know what I mean. (PMS, guys. I’m talking about PMS.) I’ve been emotional and depression creeps up on me out of nowhere. I was worried that the darkness would stick around after thinking about how my absence wouldn’t be more than an inconvenience for the people I’m closest to. Yeah, dark intrusive thoughts come by without warning and definitely no invitation.

Fortunately, I’ve had a couple of good days. I’ve enjoyed my workouts and made progress. My Tuesday run wasn’t fantastic because it felt difficult, but I needed the run and it did what I needed it to for my mental state.

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When I got to the gym on Wednesday, the coach was laying on the floor from the workout. My brain was instantly thinking that I should turn around and walk out because I couldn’t put up that kind of work and I’d just be embarrassing myself. On an overhead press, I completed one full set before failing to press the bar up beyond nose level for the rest of the time. I tried repeatedly and couldn’t break my mind of “I can’t do this.” We started another part of the workout that involved squats. While trying to improve my form, I lost my focus and fell on my butt with a bar overhead, but somehow was fine and it only made me try harder to get it right. I was exhausted, but I actually made it through that portion despite feeling like I couldn’t do another rep without falling over for most of the last portion where I had dumbbells to press.

Wednesday night, I had a trail run. My friend asked to ride with me, so I picked her up on the way. When I got lost, I was glad to have someone with me in the car. We were able to use trail shoes on loan from Saucony and go on a path Fleet Feet had marked out for us. It was muddy. There were hills and branches. When we hit 1.26 miles, I’d felt like I’d gone 3 miles and was feeling done with the experience. I was mostly hot because I’ve always taken a while to get used to changes in weather when I run. It was still fun, though. I got to chat with people I haven’t seen in awhile, splash in the mud, and give the shoes back to someone else to clean the mud off. I’d do it again even if my running partner for the evening would not. I also really liked the shoes I borrowed. They had a way to fasten them that made it easier to operate when they’re muddy and not have to tie them. The shoes were also not filled with water or mud despite the number of times I put my whole foot into the wet puddles. When I got home to clean up, I found a single thorn poking out of my knee and just laughed as I plucked it off. I required a bit of scrubbing to see the skin under all the mud I’d gotten on me.

All in all, this week has been ok. I am exhausted today and the gloomy skies don’t help that at all. I finished getting Easter items for my kids [and dogs]. This weekend is going to be busy, but I am excited to see my results from the shred as well as to watch my kids hunt for eggs stuffed with candy. I’m thankful for so many blessings and the ability to recognize them when I was feeling down.

 

Thanks for reading! I hope you have a great day!

Progress is Progress

This weekend was a blur. I weighed in on Saturday and I knew that I wasn’t down much in pounds, but I was disappointed to see the number on the scale that day. I started obsessing about getting my personalized report to see how much fat loss and muscle gain I’d experienced. GAINS! lol.

That board is always there, but this was special for Saturday’s event at the gym.

I considered skipping my Saturday cheat meal because I couldn’t land on one meal or cuisine in which I wanted to eat. I accidentally missed lunch by being busy and wound up eating a little bag of pistachios from a vending machine because it was the only ‘natural’ thing in there. I wanted to eat dinner somewhere that had draft beer. When my husband and I have gotten away for a meal together, we wound up at a local place called Flingers that had craft pizza and craft beer. I actually picked another local place before I changed my mind in the car to go to the pizza joint. No regrets there. My kids loved their meal and my husband and I had a bbq chicken pizza that was delicious. My beer tasted incredible. I ordered a skillet cookie and shared it, of course. I required some antacid later on, but I wasn’t sickly full. I didn’t binge on the food. I stopped when I was full and I was mindful about my bites.

I’m really digging the New England IPAs

Sunday, we went to church early for a meeting and breakfast where everything looked so tasty, but I only grabbed a small bite of their breakfast pizza and a large portion of fruit. My kids ate the pastries and donuts. The day was busy again and I simply didn’t feel like eating my lunch. My house was a zoo that day with kids coming in and out and I cleaned the floors before heading back to church for my evening volunteering.

My results came in after dinner Sunday night. I was down 3 pounds, gained 1 pound of muscle and lost 1% fat over the first two weeks of the program. While I know I should have been proud of myself, I felt like my hard work should have resulted in more. What’s up with that? “MORE!” There is always room for it.

And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Ooh, they only answer “More! More! More!”

Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Progress is progress and not being happy that I’ve made some in the right direction is nonsense. I still have two weeks to go and the main idea is to get fit and stay that way instead of starting over and over. Monday at the gym, the coaches were surprised that I wasn’t more pleased with my results and reminded me that I’m putting in the hard work and doing it the right way. I left the gym energized and went to tackle the rest of my day with a little more positivity than I’d started it.

I have a physical therapy evaluation today. This time a women’s health PT. Fortunately, I am not experiencing pelvic prolapse again. My ob/gyn has noticed some ligament issues that have causes me a lot of lower abdominal and back pain that have been annoying to say the least. My foot pain that was in the metatarsal region has nagged off and on lately and I’ve been trying to do all the exercises from that therapy so I don’t have to go back to the podiatrist. I’m not even old yet and I can’t stay away from the doctor for aches and pains.

Thanks for reading! I’ve felt higher energy levels since starting to eat better and exercise more regularly. My depression isn’t gone and obviously had to rear its ugly head on my weigh in results. It helps that I can have outdoor time without a coat lately. I’ve been running less than 10 miles a week, but it’ll pick up when the weather is consistently warm. Today, I ran with Aurora for 3 miles and she was nuts. I think she really had fun and we’re slowly learning how to use the running leash. She looked tired for the picture, but after some water and ice cubes, she bolted around the house like a herd of cattle were coming through.

Complain or Endure

I want to complain. I totally want to spend an entire blog post ranting.
I have sold nothing this month and it’s only my 2nd month trying to make myself the girl boss I’ve dreamed of being. It is not for lack of trying. I dropped a wooden table leg on my foot and my toes and foot are black and blue. Not running just in case, but also not running because I’ve had enough of the cold and slippery. I realized I’m probably food addicted because my weight swings 30 lbs up and down over time and I’m on the “high” end of that right now. I’m buying a book to try to get my mind right on food.

That’s really all the rant. Shoot, other stuff is pretty good.

I finally caught some of tidy madness and I completely emptied my walk in closet. I looked at each item and I decided what to keep and what to toss (and what could still be donated). My husband and I put in some work and completely changed the shelves and bars to make the space more efficient. It is amazing! Finally, after almost 10 years of arguing every time we had a project, we did it with no bickering.

I enjoy being a Keep designer and the things we share with each other in the online groups. I like designing stuff for myself and other people. I like trying to come up with things and the idea that I’m going to be the girl boss that I want to be. I also get a pretty good deal on the stuff, so I can have a huge variety for myself.

The food thing is annoying. I am constantly hungry and I try really hard not to eat stuff that isn’t nourishing. I am not good at it. I’ll let you all know if reading a book helps or not. I’m not ready for Whole 30 or anything because my eating is disordered and restrictive dieting is the first step to causing a binge. I know my ways well.

Today is full of Valentine parties at school and little things that need to be done, but I’m happy. I’m content. Things aren’t all going my way, but my attitude about it isn’t affecting how I live. That’s what I’m thinking about.

I’m not always on positive when things aren’t going my way. In fact, sometimes, I’m at “This is the end of the world,” instead. Accepting that those thing suck actually helps more than trying to focus on the positive and guilt myself into feeling better. Embrace the suck and try to make it through to the other side.

I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day if you celebrate. Otherwise, I hope you are reaching your goals and still trying.

Winter Slump

The weather was warm the weekend of my birthday and I’d wondered if we’d have winter weather. Winter showed up in the Midwest. My little city had 8 inches of snow this past weekend followed by sub freezing temperatures, fog, and some freezing drizzle. I almost fell on my butt in my own driveway while laying salt down to make it less slippery. I feel the irony, but fortunately not the pain from falling.

I named this post “Winter Slump” because I have no desire to work out. Not just running. I don’t want to squat, plank, or even foam roll. My brain is set to, “blah, no.” I’ve forced myself a few times. I even made my puppy join me once for a quick mile around the block. It was actually fine and I enjoyed it, but it didn’t flip a switch in me to get back into it. I’ve averaged 5.5 miles a week for the past two weeks. That’s not much for someone who would average nearly 15 miles a week when not in training.

My point, and I have one, is that the drive to do it isn’t always going to be there. Sometimes, there isn’t anything to make you want to be active. Some days, there is no outward motivation. I have a challenge going on where I need to be active at least 25 days of the first 45 of the year, so I can’t miss too many days. It keeps me accountable and sometimes, I end up using “I have to,” instead of, “I get to.”

Don’t forget that the reason we get to be active is because we’re able. Taking your ability to move and challenge yourself for granted would be kind of a waste. Then, there’s how hard it is to start over after giving up. I am not a fan of starting over.

I read Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis for a second time. I highlighted the heck out of the pages of her book. Toward the end, she mentioned doing things you want to do and not worrying as much about what other people will think. Page 151 says: Do something daring this year and stop “reading” your version of reviews.

So, I took the leap and got myself a starter kit to sell Keep Collective Jewelry. Something I’d said I’d wanted to do since I went to a party and bought some silicone bracelets and charms. I’m still a little nervous and I won’t often use this as a place to sell to you, but I do want to show you what I’m talking about, so here is my very first design session link: Click these words.

This is one of my many arrows I like to wear.

That’s the rundown for my blog. I don’t want to do anything except hibernate and design jewelry, but I’m going to make myself until I want to do it again. It is what is good for me. That’s what it comes down to. Do what is going to help you meet your goals even when you don’t feel like it and you’ll achieve more than you thought possible.

Hebrews 12 with some 13.1 and 26.2 bling

It’s 2019

I have a soft start each year because my birthday is the 5th of January. That means today is my last day being 37 and I consider tomorrow a new year. There’s really nothing special about 38, but I plan to gather with friends to celebrate tomorrow night. That’s actually out of character for me, but so was running not so long ago.

I didn’t resume the streak, but I went and ran on New Year’s Day at Fleet Feet. I started out the run with friends and ran solo for the rest of it. I didn’t feel like it, but I ran 3 miles. Fortunately, I had my music on to keep my mind off the fact that I overdressed and wanted to run in 32 degree (Fahrenheit) weather in a sports bra because my shirt was toasty and I’d shoved my hat down my bra to cool my head off. I’m in the pink top and hat in the photo.

This was just my pace group for the run. There were so many people there, it was awesome!


I joined multiple challenges to keep me motivated through 2019. One has me running 1019 km for the year. My local gym challenge is 25 workouts in the first 45 days. I joined a Saucony challenge to run at least 12 times more than 1 mile in the month of January.

Of course I have a head full of snot, a voice stuck on monotone, and a sore throat to kick off all of that fun. I’m going to do what I can, though. This Monday, the kids will be back in school and I can make gym and run time during the school day.

Yesterday, I found out that my application to be a Nuun ambassador was accepted and I’m going to be #teamnuun this year. I’m so excited! I was introduced to it when I started training with Fleet Feet and I absolutely love it. I have used it before, during, and after races. It really comes in handy during the sweatiest months of the year. Not to mention, Nuun is great hydration when you’re fighting a stomach bug or self induced sickness from having one more [alcoholic] beverage.

SO COOL!

I have been ‘re-branding’ my social media recently anyway and trying to make it all come together like I hadn’t been before. That way, people don’t feel like they have a different person on each Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

I’m excited for my new year. I can’t wait to see what it brings! I have a notebook that I wrote “Jenn’s 2019 experiment,” on the front in metallic marker. I wrote an outline of my plans for the year. I’m not setting a weight loss goal. I’m going to love my body more the way it is. I’m going to write more and I’m going to read more. I’m going for less physical change and more mental shifts.

Did you set a goal for the year? Do you have a product you wish you could represent? Or currently represent? You’ll see “Nuun” in a lot of my race photos this year and perhaps some of my training pics, too.

Ideas! Nothing is written in stone…

A Month Between Posts

I didn’t realize that I hadn’t written in my blog in so long. Last month, I was complaining about the early onset of sub freezing temperatures in the Midwest US despite it not being officially winter, yet. It is now winter. I also mentioned started a running streak planning to run at least a mile daily from Thanksgiving thru New Year’s Day.

I broke the streak on day 25. I ran at least a mile a day each day until December 17th, when I got sick. I took off from running for 9 days. I started to feel the frustration of not running before I felt better from being sick. It has also been unseasonably warm outside the past week. I was sweating on my comeback run last night. Fortunately, it was a pub run and there was beer at the end.

When thinking about writing today, I decided to be like a sitcom episode with a flashback episode. *Except it isn’t going to take 30 minutes with commercials.

This year started out rough. I dropped into the deepest depression that I can recall. I was unwell. My daughter was unwell. My husband and I were experiencing so much pressure on our relationship that it could have broken us if it didn’t help us grow closer.

We started going to church. As the ever supportive parents, we encouraged our oldest daughter’s addiction recovery by going to church ourselves and taking her with us. While she didn’t keep up with it, we did. On September 23rd, we were baptized at church. It wasn’t planned. We were both moved to do it during a service where the conclusion was the opportunity for baptism by submersion to anyone interested.

I improved my running, but not my overall health. I did my physical therapy. I mentored a couple of 5k programs. Watching people meet their goals led me to reach for my own. I signed up for two fall half marathons and trained for both. I wasn’t in shape to beat my personal best for either race, but my Indy race was awesome. I had a great time at that race. My times have gotten better. I found joy in running again. I was so focused on getting back into running without pain, I neglected the rest. I’m going to have a heck of a time getting my core and arms strong again.

I’m happier. There isn’t a key or a secret to why I’m happier than I was before. Life hasn’t gotten easier. It’s a perspective thing. I’ve made it pretty far, all things considered. I’ve kept my kindness intact. I’m also much less concerned with what other people think of me and that has made a difference.

I’m not delusional. I don’t like how my clothes fit or how my body looks. I have rough days. I get mom guilt. I am hard on myself. I worry that I’m not good enough at cooking, cleaning, parenting, or any number of things.

In 2019, I’m going to work on overall health, fitness, and being more positive. I plan to take up the habit of gratitude and to remember the importance of self care.

What stands out to you from this year? What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?

Thanks for reading! I hope you have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve and/or Day celebration. Also, I hope if an opportunity to train for something challenging arises, you give it a second thought and maybe even a try.

She was also new in 2018. The puppy that found us.

It isn’t even winter, yet.

It is COLD outside and technically, it is autumn. I realize the weather isn’t unusual for this time of year in the Midwest. I just like to complain about the weather being extreme. I’m not a fan of bitter cold, dry skin, and slippery surfaces. Of course, I’m on a holiday running streak. No, not Christmas. That is one of the holidays in there, but it actually runs from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, so “holiday” is the correct term. 

I missed the local Turkey Trot, so I prepped our Thanksgiving meal and went for a run once the turkey was in the oven. The nurse practitioner I’d seen on Wednesday gave me a steroid for my shoulder pain. I spent most of Thursday with my heart rate 40 beats faster than normal while donning the tank top I had on under my button down flannel because I was too hot to wear more. Fortunately, that feeling went away and I had some Friday yoga with friends. That was the extent of my leaving the house on Black Friday.

I almost gave up the streak Saturday because I didn’t want to go. I headed out with my puppy on her harness for her first run and she did well. Like, surprisingly well. She once put her brakes on for a stick in the sidewalk and she wasn’t very friendly to passersby, but she kept the leash loose and didn’t trip me. She’s only about 7 months old. The mile is her maximum distance for running now, but I’m happy to get her comfortable with being my running partner in the future. 

Sunday, I got up and met friends to run. They were going 5 miles and I turned back after 2 miles. I ran faster with each mile even after setting off on my own. Later, my joints were all screaming about it. It amazes me that I ran a half marathon a few weeks ago, but 4 miles seemed challenging. 

Me, after 4 miles

There was nothing spectacular about Monday’s run except that we’d gotten some wintry weather overnight on Sunday. I was going to go to the gym to run. Then I decided that I didn’t want to drive a mile to run a mile indoors. I set aside the gym clothes I’d put on and got out my winter running gear. Once out the door, I was about 2 houses from my own when I realized it was too slick to run without traction. I went back in and put on “Yak Trax” over my shoes and went on my run. The slick parts were no longer the problem. The precipitation had melted into slushy spots and frozen again on the sidewalk. The bumps were like running on rocks and I was slowed by my footfalls needing to be carefully chosen. My knees were wobbly after that run.

Yak Trax

Tuesday, I headed to the gym for a run. I hopped on the treadmill and squeaked out a quick mile, then calibrated my Garmin to read what the treadmill said on the display. I started a new mile and increased the speed. I kept challenging myself to just to a little further at a faster speed. By the end of my run, I was under a 9 minute mile for the final 1/4 mile. It was rewarding to challenge myself and be able to follow through. I hopped off of the treadmill and went to the indoor track for a final mile. 

The track says that 9 laps is one mile, but I ran about 9.5 before my watch said 1 mile was complete. I did a few cool down stretches and had a seat near the gym lobby listening to my music on my headphones and scrolling through my phone. A man approached me, smiling, so I removed one earbud and returned the smile. He told me, “Your running form is perfect. You should run a 5k, you would do really well.” He went on to tell me how my gait and my foot falls made it clear I was a ‘natural’ at running. He again encouraged me to run a 5k and said he believed I could. I simply thanked him and screwed my earbud back in before taking a selfie to ponder how I felt about that conversation. 

I can’t say I was stunned or that I was displaying courtesy. It didn’t occur to me that anything I said had any bearing on that interaction. Of course I wanted to track him down on my way out and say, “I ran the Chicago Marathon last year. I just finished 2 half marathons this fall that were my 6th and 7th.” Honestly, it was nice to be encouraged. I know that my efforts likely will not result in me looking the way people, including me, expect an athlete to appear. I’m just happy to be able to do the things I get to do. It was a nice reminder that I can, in fact, run. I’m actually pretty good at it.

How do you think you would react to a similar situation? Do you ever just reiterate to yourself the things you’re able to do? Are you a holiday streaker? 

Post Race Hiatus

I have not run since the race in Indy at the start of November. I’ve been off a little over two weeks. I haven’t worn my Garmin every day. I plan to start again on Thursday as part of my usual holiday streak from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. 

Not much activity there

I can feel the difference in me when I’m not running. I feel a little less optimistic and energetic. I feel a little more isolated and it makes me want to isolate myself more. It’s the right time of year for depression to creep up on me. That unwelcome and uninvited guest sneaks in during the extended dark and tells me that I’m too tired or not good enough to complete everything I need to. I have to force myself to override the exhaustion on most days.

Fortunately, my prayers were answered for my oldest daughter. God placed the right person in our lives to help at the right time. She’s living in a safe environment and has even secured a full time job. It has been an incredible relief to my husband and me. I think recommitting to my faith this year has shown me why faith is important. God is good and this is me witnessing that.

I worked out last Monday with weights and pushed a little too hard. I was sore most of the week. I spent a lot of time foam rolling, stretching, and walking to relieve the pain. I was volunteering during most of the week, so I spent much time on my feet. Standing was fine because my rear end and quadriceps made sitting a chore. I intend to work out again this week, but I’ll choose a workout with less squats and lunges so I can actually sit down the next day. I think focusing so much on my calves, feet, and ankles during this past training session has left me weak everywhere else. I didn’t have sore calves or ankles at all from all the work. 

This Nike Workout

I’m in pain. I have a recurring pain in my shoulder and neck muscles. I’ve had a few migraines over the past couple of months, which is unusual. I get nervous about talking to the doctor about it because the answer I get most often is that depression causes physical pain. I’m not fond of that answer because I’m not sure that my depression isn’t a symptom of a greater problem. I know how weird that must sound to some. It doesn’t change that it is more optimistic than accepting that I have a disorder that can be managed and treated, but not cured. I don’t think that is true for every case of depression, but I think looking at it as a symptom could be helpful in finding relief.

I’ll soon be working on my goals for 2019. My goal for the remaining time of this year is to maintain my weight (no gain) and to complete the running streak. I’ve graduated physical therapy and I’m not under the care of my podiatrist anymore. I can start cross training as part of my workout regime again. I am aware that some of the therapy exercises are ongoing and I’ll probably have to work extra on my ankles and calves to keep my feet healthy. 

Do you have end of the year goals? Do you have goals for next year already? How does winter make you feel? 

I’m also hoping this little pup will be able to run with me in 2019. Aurora is already 6 months old and over 30 lbs! When she joined our family, she was 3.5 lbs! 

Redemption Race

Flashback: November 2016:

 

Sixteen weeks of marathon training was coming to a close on a mild autumn Thursday afternoon. The training group had one more meeting at Fleet Feet to run before our trip to the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. The mundane task of walking to the bus stop to collect my son resulted in an injury that would sideline for what was supposed to be my first marathon. I went to Indianapolis anyway and cheered on my friends. I saw from the sidelines the stocking hats finishers were getting and I said I wanted one to myself and to the Fleet Feet Bloomington owner, Julie, and pretty much anyone else who would listen. Julie told me I’d have it one day when I earned it and it would be that much more special. 

November 3, 2018: Race Day

The crowd was HUGE. My usual panic set in getting to the race start before the race actually started. After the first wave started, my friends and I discovered we were in the wrong wave and had to go underneath a divider to get into the correct one. I danced around to the music and said, “If you’re not having fun at the start, you’re not going to have fun later.” I watched my friends go forward as we separated in the group. Their goal time was over 20 minutes faster than mine and I didn’t want to sabotage my race.

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Ready to START!

I was finally in Indy to race. I was doing the half marathon instead of the full, but I was finally there. It seemed like an eternity from the time the race started to the time I finally crossed the starting line. It was about 12 minutes, in reality. I had my music ready and was excited at the prospect of finishing this race.

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Yes, 10 hours of variety. It keeps it fresh.

It was crowded, but I settled in and told myself that the first mile needed to get me warmed up and would have to be 11 minutes or slower. I warmed up and tossed my outer layer during the first mile. I was feeling so good by mile 3, I told myself that I needed to hold back just a little longer despite feeling good and start running how I felt after the first 6 miles were over.

The crowd was amazing! There were the usual “press here for power up” signs and the “worst parade ever” signs. BUT…there were people in costumes all over the place. Young Skywalker and a Storm Trooper were there. A skeleton placed in a chair held up a sign that said “Worst Caravan Ever.” A guy in a shark suit ran beside me and asked if I was his best friend’s friend until I laughed and gave him a thumbs up. A man in a Batman costume ran the race. A woman in a nun getup (a habit) ran the race. She probably beat me even in her nun shoes. There were people giving out beer. There were others giving out ghost peppers and milk. Despite not taking any, I thanked everyone that had an offering on the sidelines. The atmosphere was like a party and it helped push me through. Someone even yelled “Go Jenn Go,” as I’d had printed on my race bib.

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I took in scenery and talked to myself about how I finally got to see the streets and the sights I’d missed before. I reminded myself to take it all in and I prayed a few times for the strength to finish. I felt so good, in fact, I nearly forgot to take a gel until I was into my 5th mile. I was walking through every water stop and taking 1-2 drinks of water at each one and it was working out well for me energizing. I wasn’t taking many drinks from my hydration belt, which contained Tailwind. I’ve had a lot of luck using Tailwind in my summer runs and figured it would be a good thing to bring along to Indy. It would have been if I’d used more than 1/4 of the bottle by mile 10.

I felt amazing! Then, it hit me. I felt a little tired. My head was soaked with sweat. I was pushing as hard as I could and I couldn’t surpass a 12 minute pace. My heart rate was in the 170 range. I had to walk before I hit a water stop and I was not happy about it. I took off the Buff that was on my head and shoved it down the right side of my pant leg. I removed my gloves and shoved them down the left pant leg. I walked and drank from my water bottle. I started estimating a finish time and set a goal. Initially, I’d wanted to get a personal best at less than 2:19. Today, I would finish in less than 2 hours and 30 minutes. I picked back up and pushed myself as hard as I could.  The elite runners of the full marathon started to pass me. I clapped for them and yelled how impressive their performance was. It gave me a little recharge, but probably more because I’m competitive and my ego was achy.

Upon seeing the sign that said “Mile 25,”  I turned off my headphones and I prayed. I thanked God for helping me. I wasn’t doing a marathon that day, but I was nearing the finish line. I repeated: “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1). Then, I just silenced my thoughts and paid attention to everything there was to see. The people. The signs. The things the people said that were so beautiful and encouraging. This was a fantastic show of people being positive without even knowing all of the people they cheered for. I saw the finish and breifly looked down at my watch. A lady shouted “ON YOUR LEFT” while passing me in the 100 yards to the end. I noticed my watch reading 2:29 and seconds ticking away and I went as fast as I could to cross and beat my goal time by 11 seconds officially. Not my personal best, but still did what I wanted to. I looked at the person next to me [total stranger] and said “We did it,” with a smile as she looked back and mustered a little grin.

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I found my way past the finish and I got my medal and put it on while I tightly wrapped the Mylar blanket around my sweat soaked clothes. I mindlessly grabbed a banana (I’m a little allergic). I saw the hats. The stocking caps were being handed out and I reached out and grabbed it and thanked the people at the table while I carefully ensured it was secure in my possession.

No matter how many times someone suggested I put the hat on when I said I was cold, I declined. My hair was sweaty and this hat was special. It could only be placed on my hair after it was clean and dry. The hat was that thing I’d wanted and I’d finally earned.

My Takeaways

  • Indy was an amazing experience. I would actually spend more time there if given the opportunity. There are so many things to see and to do there, one night isn’t really enough.
  • I know better than to only take 1 gel and drink so little of my nutrition. This is likely the cause of using more effort with less speed nearing the end of the race. This still wouldn’t have led to a personal best, but probably a better time than I had gotten.
  • I chafed my under boob. I didn’t spray Tri Slide lower than the bra’s band, which I also know better. Bras start to creep down a little during long runs.
  • It was a good choice to not toss my cheap running gloves because I really needed to take them out more than once to warm my hands.
  • Mesh panels in running pants and shirts are a great idea for temps in the high 30’s and 40’s. At least for me, they were.
  • The Indy medals are set up for a 4 year series to spell the word “INDY,” and now I have the letter “I” medal in my possession…. uh oh.

Look at this race swag:

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Trip to Indy

Friday

With the race app on my phone, bags packed, errands already run, I waited for my friends to head to the Indy Monumental half marathon race. Over the summer, Jane and I planned a trip for the race where we’d stay outside of the city at a less expensive hotel and use a parking app to reserve a space ahead of race day. We found two more friends to join on the trip.

Maureen and Kristen came to my house together after Jane came solo. Maureen was our driver and I was to navigate when needed. Kristen gave each of us a paper face mask and candy in a cute paper bag. The ride to Indy was filled with conversation and laughs. We found a parking spot in a garage near the race expo convention center. A passerby was snarky about our close parking space saying we must be special. I assure you, it was not a designated space for any specific person(s) and it was simply the first space available after entry.

The expo was packed. We got our race packets and then explored. We got separated at packet pickup. I found Jane and bought race merchandise before walking around the expo. I found the Run Like a Mother table and found a new hat that I’m excited about. Here it is:

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We got in line for a photo as our meeting spot. We ran into our friend, Patrick, who recently moved to Northern Michigan and was running his first marathon in Indy. We had to get a photo with him as well.

 

 

After the expo, we set out to locate and check in to our hotel. We stopped for gas along the way and Maureen’s Subaru wouldn’t start after the fill up. Some young guys used their car to jump the car for us and we went to the Lawrence, Indiana Baymont Inn and Suites. While checking in, Jane was told that her requested room required additional cleaning from the previous guests and would not be available. As a substitute for a room with 2 queen beds: a suite with a king sized bed, a sofa sleeper, and a roll away bed. We agreed, unloaded our luggage, and went to dinner at Applebee’s. I felt like I should write in my blog that I wasn’t expecting much, but I enjoyed my food there.

We returned to the Baymont, and saw the Goodwill store across the parking lot was still open. We headed there for ‘throw away’ clothes for race morning. [Athletes wear clothes to the start that they don’t intend to wear the full duration of the race. In many races, those clothes are donated to a local charity after being collected.] I found an Adidas jacket I wanted to keep and a hooded zip front sweatshirt to use as my throw away. I had already gotten gloves for a dollar in case I didn’t need them for the whole race. I couldn’t find a jacket in my closet that I wanted to part with.

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Great Goodwill find!

At the hotel, we started getting ready for race morning. The hotel delivered a roll away bed that we had to call for help to open. When we pulled the bed from the sofa, there were black spots all over it. They weren’t moving, but it was obvious it hadn’t been cleaned from a prior use. Maureen called the front desk and they gave us another suite upstairs. Kristen and I left Jane and Maureen and went to the other room to use that bed. I’m not hip on trying this particular hotel chain again. I don’t think a sleeper sofa and roll away bed were a comparable substitute for the room we’d reserved and we were still charged the same. Lesson learned. Kristen and I again unpacked our things and organized them for race morning. I set an alarm for 5:15 am.

Saturday

I still managed to wake up before the alarm despite the time difference. Kristen had already gotten up. We got ready, packed all of our things, and headed to the hotel breakfast area. The hotel offered a continental breakfast, but I was hesitant to eat more than my usual Stinger waffle. I had yogurt cup from their offerings. We saw other people with race bibs heading out of the lobby of the hotel.

Maureen drove as I navigated to the parking garage where we had a reservation on the Spot Hero app. The parking was easy to find. There were other race people in the same garage and we had a semi warm place to hang out a little bit before going to the race.

Once out on the street, we encountered a woman who ran the Chicago Marathon in October and recommended that we try it sometime. We all chimed in that we ran it in 2017 and Kristen had also run it this year. We congratulated her then wished her luck. We stopped in at a hotel lobby to use the restroom. A hotel employee unlocked the door for us saying that they lock them to guest only use for events like the race so people don’t just wander in off the street to use theirs [ha, ha…oops].

As we brought our official [clear] gear check bags to the gear check, we stopped a few times to chat with people we knew. Like our Girl Boss friend, Lauri:

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Maureen, Jane, Me, Lauri, Kristen

Checking the bags was easy and we had a little time, so we waited inside of some doors with a bunch of other race participants to stay warm and to take some group photos with our training group from Fleet Feet. We rushed to the start at about 7:45 for the 8 am race start. The four of us were in Wave 3.

I plan to talk about the race in another post because this one is going pretty long already.

After the race, Kristen and I were in different places in line for a free massage. The line turned into a nearly 2 hour commitment. I ran into Wendy and socialized with her for the last part of the wait. I had been chatting it up with a woman from Boston I’d met waiting. When Wendy went to take our selfie, her camera was rear facing and I suggested she take the photo anyway to confuse herself later. “Who is that person I took a picture of?” We got our selfie, though.

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Wendy and Jenn sighting

The long wait for the massage meant that Jane and Maureen had lunch without Kristen and I because we told them to go ahead instead of waiting. I was distraught when I’d realized how much of a waste of time waiting had been and that I’d missed out on trying out beer at Rock Bottom Brewing. I was already emotional, so tears welled up in my eyes. Kristen and I were encouraged by Maureen to go ahead and order food to eat there instead of having our orders wrapped for take out. I had lost my appetite, so I ordered a bowl of chicken tortilla soup and a beer. Both were really good. The chicken tortilla soup was warm and spicy, so I felt a little better after eating it.

The ride home was a good kind of uneventful. We chatted about things including our experiences at the race. We all shared similar plans to bathe and relax the rest of the evening. I’m pretty sure my dogs missed me more than my children, but I was only gone a day, so I’ll accept it. The dogs wanted to lay on me, but my kids wanted to go play with friends.

 

Have you ever had a bad experience with lodging for a race? I didn’t realize that gear check was so easy. That was my first experience with it and I was happy to have some dry gear available at the finish. Now I need to decide if I want to do this race the next 3 years to complete a series in the medals…

My race story will be tomorrow. I hope you enjoyed this and read my post tomorrow, too!

Thank you!