Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back in the saddle, again...

Happy 2010 everyone! I cannot believe that a year has gone by since I last updated my blog! My apologies to all my followers as I have been slacking in the writing department. Let me update you on my adventures since I've last written (pay special attention to #2):

1) completed student teaching (January '09 - May '09)

2) completed my FIRST half marathon (April '09)
3) received teaching license (June '09)

4) accepted teaching position with Maumee City Schools (July '09)

5) been crazy busy teaching K-1 students with special needs ( August '09-current)

6) back to training for 2nd half marathon (December '09- current)

One of my (many) New Year's resolutions is to be faithful to this blog and update often. Girl Scout's honor.
Last year my sister-in-law, Kristen, and I trained for the Glass City Half Marathon and finished in just under 3 hours. It was one of the most amazing experiences I have had in my life, and I am hooked! This year, my husband (after hearing me go on-and-on about how AMAZING the race was) signed up to run the Glass City Half Marathon as well. We are starting to train, so here comes the pain!!!

Before I get to the pain part, let's talk about the half marathon Kristen and I completed in April. We trained. We trained more. And we trained, and trained and trained. We were running on our own during the week. If I wasn't running at least 4 miles each day, I wasn't happy with myself. My time stayed right around 9'30" per mile (which I hope to improve this year). On the weekends Kristen and I would run our "long" run, which started off at 5 miles, then 6, then get the picture. The most we ever ran (and the most that was recommended before the race) was 10 miles (that day I was sick all day after running- shaky and throwing up- YUCK!) and the half marathon was the following week. I started to think, if this is what 10 miles does, then how am I going to do 13?

The day of the race I ate what I normally do (and still do) one egg and one english muffin (only three points on weight watchers by the way), and carpooled with Kristen to the race. We were nervous and thinking "What did we get ourselves into?", "Did I hydrate enough yesterday?", "Are we gonna make it?", and thinking to ourselves "Holy crap, everyone here is really thin and buff! Why doesn't running do that to my body?"
The day before the race I had picked up my race packet my number and my tracker. We attached our numbers to our backs, and the time trackers to our shoe laces. The time trackers have a microchip in them that keeps track of the time you cross the start line, and cross the finish line. I also used a saftey pin to attach a small ziplock baggie to my back with the following enclosed: asprin, lip balm and "goo".

We approched the starting line with thousands of other racers, all giddy and rearin' to go! And slowly but surely (like a heard of cattle) the race began. It was awesome to see all of these people with the same goal: to FINISH. The race took us through some really beautiful parts of Toledo and Maumee (right by my future place of employment- little did I know at the time), and some not so great parts of Toledo. Kristen and I kept a good pace and were running on pure race day adrenaline which got us through about mile 6. After that I had to stop and use the port-a-potty so I found myself running pretty much by myself, all alone, through the "bad" parts of Toledo. I wasn't sure I was even in the right place until I saw the policemen and women guiding us through the route. It was starting to get hot and at one point I ran by a guy who was washing his car, I asked him to spray me down, and he happily did so.
I was getting very tired and my legs felt like lead. I remembered I had purchased some "goo" (basically liquid energy) the day before and really needed to take it around miles 7, and 9, 11, and 12. The "goo" would give me instant energy and I would feel great, but I could definately tell when it would wear off, at which I would feel the need to take more "goo", I guess it's just as addicting as narcotics. But thank goodness there were nice cheery volunteers who had water and gatorade waiting at every mile (which I gladly drank) along with much needed words of encouragement.

At mile 11 I started to see crowds of people cheering us on, and this is about the time I started to cry, out of joy, and then I thought, "you can't cry yet, you have two miles left!", so I sucked it up. At this point my body was so exhausted I think people walking could have passed me, but I still kept my "running" stride. The whole race I kept around a 10 minute mile give or take (the best miles after I took the "goo" but then the next mile would be horrendous until I took more "goo") but the last two miles were about a 22 minute mile (seriously, walkers could have passed me) but I was determined to keep a "running" stride and to not walk.
The last half mile I picked up the pace as more and more people were cheering, and I could see the finish line. This was pure adrenaline, it's amazing what your body can do even when you think you can't do anymore. This is when I told myself it was okay to cry, but I think I was so dehydrated that the tears wouldn't come! Plus I was too excited and happy to see my wonderful husband at the finish line video taping the finish. At last, I reached the finish line! I immediately gave my husband a hug and said "water, please!"

What an amazing experience. To train, and to put your body through the fatigue and pain, but in the end, you can do anything you put your mind to, and your body will follow suit. It is an amazing feeling to accomplish this feat, something that not everyone can say that they accomplished. It takes dedication, mental strength, and determination, and I cannot wait to do it again. This time right beside my husband, experiencing it together.