Thursday, April 16

Boston is Here!

Exactly four years ago I met with my coach at the time at a local Starbucks. It was there that I first said the following words out loud: "I want to run the Boston Marathon." My goodness gracious... four years ago. Can you believe that?

For those that have been following my quest to qualify for Boston, this weekend has been a long time coming, as Marathon Monday is just a few days away.

This week I've had several folks ask me:
  1. How are you feeling?
  2. Are you ready?
  3. Can we track you during the race?
I'll answer the last question first so that those that don't care how I'm feeling can close their browser and go about their day.

How to track me during the race: 

Simply text the my Bib Number (4835) to the number 234567 using your US mobile phone. You will then receive an sms text response confirming that you're following me. You’ll receive an alert each time I cross the following course markers:
  • 10K (6.2 miles)
  • Half-Marathon (13.1 miles)
  • 30K (18.6 miles)
  • 35K (21.7 miles)
  • 40K (24.8 miles)
  • Finish (26.2 miles)
My start time is approximately 10:00a local in Boston, approximately 9:00a CT. Let me know if you end up following; it'll be neat to feel some "virtual support"!

How I'm Feeling:

That about sums it up. I've written briefly about tapering before while training for the Houston Marathon. While I intend to go into more detail in a later post, here's what you need to know about tapering.

It's the point at which you allow your body to recover from typically the hardest work you've put in throughout all of training. Your body is used to a certain type of exercise and then all the sudden the workload decreases. Your body goes into repair-mode, which comes with a set of side effects. Some people get cranky, others feel hyper, giddy, or anxious. Because the body is repairing itself the legs can hurt, ache, and have a general sense of discomfort. You notice little pains that you hadn't noticed throughout training.

Because of all of this, runs during the taper typically don't feel as good. This has a psychological impact on athletes and often causes them to doubt their race-readiness. 

I've had just about all of these tapering symptoms, plus some emotional instances thrown in. Four years this has been on my mind, and it's here! I've had anxiety, doubts, and really bad runs lately. When people ask me how I'm feeling I typically respond with "crappy". But guess what... this overall sense of what some refer to as "Taper Madness", this undeniable crappy feeling that rears its' head, is 100% expected and natural. To feel crappy is a temporary part of the plan.

So, am I ready? 

You're damn right I'm ready. I'll see you on the other side!

Thursday, April 9

Amanda's Race Report

This is a guest post by Amanda on running, training, and the Dallas Rock'n Roll Half Marathon.

I never thought I would be on the other side of a half marathon and have positive feelings about it, because that isn't how I felt about my fist half. 

Amanda's finisher medal!
2013 was a big year for me; I started the year newly engaged, planning a wedding and a new job. My new coworkers were discussing signing up for a half marathon and my husband and I thought that would be great way to workout leading up to the wedding, as well as cross something of our bucket list. We were the only two that hadn't ran one before so we followed their lead, didn't think twice about which half marathon we signed up for or even the training plan. It was just running, seemed easy enough that the more you ran the easier it would be to hit that 13.1 mark. 

Looking back I can blame the fact that the race was in August in Texas, or that the course was 14 miles instead of 13.1, or that it wasn’t the most well executed event, but none of these measure up to the fact that I did not train properly to be successful for a half marathon. When I crossed that finish line I felt terrible and didn’t have the desire to run again. So when a year later the opportunity to work with Brian came up I almost passed on it, but with some encouragement from my husband and conversations with Brian I figured it wouldn’t kill me to try this again.

My training began with Brian and it was obvious from the beginning this was not anything like the training, or lack there of, I had done before. I thought it was too good to be true when Brian expressed that the training wasn’t going to be a huge time commitment, with most workouts being 30min. I caught myself doubting the lack of distance and time needed to workout. Brian had to reassure me that there was a method to the training in order to build my strength and endurance rather than just building up my mileage. So I tried to push out these thoughts and trust the coaching that was being provided.

When race day came along I found that anxiety resurfacing and I kept reflecting on my first half marathon experience. Brian was so supportive in the days leading up to the race and proactive in helping me curb my nervousness, but it seemed like I couldn’t shake the thought that this race wasn’t going to be a repeat. I tried to focus on my pace as I started the race to keep my mind occupied and I was able to keep it right where I had been during my most of my training runs. As I hit mile 7, mile 9, and then mile 11 the more and more people were giving up and walking and I still felt so good! I was so thankful for our hills training as we approached hills in the last couple of miles that I noticed people stopping and I was able to keep pushing through. Then when I saw the finish line I knew I was going to hit my goal, which was to finish the race without stopping, and with a smile on my face!

As I reflect on my experience with training and the half, I am grateful to have finished in a good place but more thankful that I have found a new hobby with running. What I cherish most about this experience is what running has brought to my life. Now I am able to leave the house and go for a 30-minute run without even thinking twice about it. It’s my time to completely unplug from everything in life and clear my head. I may not be the typical runner seeking a new PR but more of a runner seeking a better and healthier life. 
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