Sunday, March 3, 2013

Little Rock Half-Marathon 2013 (probably the longest post ever)

If you are reading this, I have officially survived!  

Before I get into all the details of the race itself, let's recap the past few months.

In October, I got this wild idea that I could walk a half-marathon.  I was inspired by  Katie, from Runs For Cookies.  She walked a half when she was starting out on her weight loss journey.  Now she's running full marathons and Ragnar relays.  On my list of fitness heroes, she's in the top 3.  

I really didn't think I'd do it, but when I looked at the training schedule and realized that I needed to start right then, I thought "why not just start the training and register later?"  So I did.  I honestly didn't expect myself to make it to the half-marathon... I never finish anything.  19 weeks of training?  Yeah, whatever.  I actually didn't register until late December, just barely squeaking in before they sold out.

I weighed 253 lbs when I started.  I had walked 5Ks, but nothing more.  It's not like I started this thing in any great shape, OK.  I just want that to be clear.

With my and my husband's schedule and our 3 kids, doing the weekday walks was going to be very difficult.  I didn't have an hour or so of free time until it got dark, and well, even then someone should be in the house while the kids sleep.  So, the majority of my weekday walks (which were 2-4 miles) were accomplished with Leslie Sansone Walk-at-Home videos.  I did spend January doing Turbo Jam, but when I went back to WAH videos in February, my pace definitely improved.  I did my long walks on Sundays, when my husband could be home with the kids.

My first 4 mile walk was no big deal.  My first 6 mile was HARD.  I remember being about 5 miles in and thinking "Am I really thinking of doing more than twice this distance?  I'm in misery!".  Then I did something to irritate my peroneal tendon and limped for 3 days.  I really thought I was done right then.

But I got back out there the next Sunday and 6 miles was easy.  And I learned how important stretching was.

My first 8 miler wasn't bad, but the second one.... wasn't 8 miles.  About 3 miles in, my peroneal tendon acted up again and I limped 3 miles back to the van.  I had skipped the previous week's long walk and most of my weekday workouts.  That's how I learned to stick with the plan.  And that's when I think it finally clicked that I was going to do this no matter what.  If I can limp 3 miles and still get back out there the next weekend, there wasn't going to be anything that would stop me.

I started out being so, so sore for a few days after my long walks, to not feeling the least bit sore after walking 12 miles a few weeks ago.  I had walks that left me sick as a dog afterwards because I didn't fuel properly and my blood sugar plummeted.  Every increase in mileage meant adjusting how I did things, not to mention breaking down this mental barrier that kept telling me I'd never be able to walk 10 miles, I'll never finish 12 miles.  I managed to break it down every time, though.  I never quit.

I always quit.  You have no idea how amazed at myself that I trudged through 19 weeks of training, overcoming issues that most people would easily accept as a good reason to quit, and yet - I never quit.

During the course of my training, I dropped about 15 lbs, but I'm still nowhere close to being a model of fitness (yet).  I'm saying that because I hear all the time "I would die if I walked a half-marathon!"  No.  No, you wouldn't.  You might wish for it, especially if you don't train, but you won't die.  If *I* can do it, there is no reason you can't do it.  I don't care if you're in a wheelchair.  There's an option for that when you register.  Not an excuse.  If you have no desire to, that's a valid excuse, but saying you can't is not.

So, let's get to the exciting part!

The butterflies in my belly went into full swing Friday morning when I woke up and realized it was the day to pick up my race packet.  It was cold outside and Zoe looked like someone beat her in the face because she has a sinus infection, but we trudged over there anyway.  Maybe taking Zoe was poor judgement, but she feels fine.  She just looks frightening, poor thing.

We had to navigate the Health Expo going on to get to the packet pick-up area.  My first heart attack occurred when looking up my bib number on the wall and not realizing I had moved over to the 10K list, couldn't find my name.  Dear Lord, don't tell me I did all that and wasn't actually registered!  Which wouldn't make sense considering I got my confirmation ticket to pick up my packet.  I finally realized that I was in the wrong spot, scooted over, and found my name.  Whew!  I got my tshirt, my bib, and my timing chip.  

Yeah.  A timing chip.  I'm feeling all like an athlete now.

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We browsed around and I picked up a 13.1 sticker because, yes, I do intend to advertise.   I actually had to resist buying multiple stickers.  One for my van, one for the truck, one for my notebook, one to paste on my forehead....  I controlled myself, though.  I got a pair of socks, though, with 13.1 on the cuff.  I almost got this shirt:

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But didn't think it would fit over my boobs.  Just to be honest.  Boobs will always be an issue for me, no matter how much I lose.  I had boobs in 3rd grade.  C'est la vie.

When I checked out, the guy said "Are you running the half?"  I told him that I was actually going to walk it.  He gave me a wink and said "No, you're not going to walk it, you're going to strut it."  Yeah, I will.  Until the final miles when I'll be resembling more of a zombie, but for most of it, I'm sure I will strut.

So... on to the big day!

I woke up at 5am (on a Sunday... ugh!), ate a big breakfast somehow, and got dressed.  Grabbed 3 Larabars, chapstick, and my phone and was off!

It was 25 degrees when I got there.  TWENTY FIVE.  The coldest it's ever been for race day here in Little Rock, and most likely the coldest morning of this winter, period.  How lucky for me.  I tried my best to stay warm, but by the time I got into the corral, I could barely feel my feet.  It took 20 minutes to actually get to the start line once the race started, but once we got moving, my feet thawed out pretty quickly.

I guess my Cardio Trainer on my phone is off or something, because it said I walked 14 miles to the finish.  It's a certified course, so I'm sure it must have been 13.1 like it should be.  I didn't really fuss with my phone too much.  I missed my music, but the rules said no earphones but I was one of the few who followed the rule.  There was water and Gatorade every 2 miles, along with bathrooms (which I managed to not have to use).  The Gatorade made my tummy feel icky, so I stuck with water most of the time.  I ate a Larabar about mile 6, and didn't feel the need for another until the Finish Line.  

I was really pleased with myself, no real aches or pains, no blisters, no mental struggle to get that last 1.1 mile in that I hadn't done in training.  No limping, no feeling like my legs were going to just fall off.  

I crossed the finish at 3 hours 28 minutes (unofficially, that's the time on my phone).

It's big.  And heavy.  =)  The full marathon medals were epic.  8 inches across, 8 lbs, and crystal studded.  Almost makes me want to eventually run a marathon.  Almost.
 
My sister and her husband met me as soon as I found my way out of the madness.  She had flowers for me =).  Then my kids tackled me and I got a kiss and a hug from my hubby.  My sister also had hummus for me.  I don't normally eat hummus, because I don't eat legumes or grain (in the pretzels), but I felt a treat was in order, for sure.
 

 And that's that.  I made my way back to the truck and went home to shower and try to nap.  My fitbit says I walked a total of 17 miles including walks to and from the truck and wandering around trying not to freeze before the race.  Not bad.  =)


Here's the crazy part... for most of my training, I said "I am never, ever, ever doing anything like this again!"  And then I started planning on learning to run so that I can run next year's half.  What's even crazier?  My next half marathon isn't next year.  I found another half.  In October.  And I am still going to try to run it.  I might not be able to run 13.1 miles without walking, but I am going to give it my best.  Because I finally know it's in there, and am loving getting it out.  So, hello C25K, let's get this started!

30 comments:

  1. This post is SO inspiring!! I'm SUPER proud of you for sticking through the training... And it totally paid off! Your finish time was fantastic, too--my first two were almost 4 hours each, and when I trained for and walked my third, I finished in 3:23. I was so proud of that time :) I think it's AWESOME you're going to do another!

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  2. Congrats! Hooray! So awesome!

    I found your blog through Katie, and I find it pretty crazy that we're 10 years apart age wise, two days apart birthday wise, a few miles apart location wise (I live in Hot Springs) and...just a few pounds apart, size wise. (I just hit 237 on March 1!! so exciting!)

    Anyway, just thought I'd say hi. :)

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    1. My parents live in Hot Springs! Congrats on hitting 237... I was hoping to hit it by the marathon, but I was .8 lbs off! Maybe this next Friday!

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  3. I found your blog through Katie, too! This was so awesome to read. I've never run in my life, apart from sprints for softball back in high school, and I'm training for a 5K that's on April 20. My training plan is something I made up on my own and is based loosely on the C25K program -- same method of increasing running/decreasing walking, but more gradual than C25K. [Run 8/Walk 5 one week, run 20 the next? Pfft, yeah right.] This week's plan has me running more than walking... AND I DID IT! I wanted to quit the last 5 minutes, but I forced myself to tough it out.

    Anyway, congrats on all this! Point of my rambling was to say, this was exactly what I needed to read today. Thanks. =)

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    1. I'll be starting C25K in the next week or so... I've never run either! Way to go on toughing it out - hope I can!

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    2. I'd love to see your modified training plan. I've tried C25K, and it's a bit too advanced for me.

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    3. Hey Megan - I am doing my first 5k on April 20th too!
      Jennifer - you are such an inspiration - I might just *think* about walking a half sooner than my goal for next year!

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  4. Congratulations! You show a lot of determination and discipline! You must be such a great example for your little girls. Best wishes to you in your future half-marathons, and then full marathons! K
    Kim

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  5. I clicked on your site from Runs for Cookies today - and just wanted to say you are AMAZING!

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  6. Just clicked over from Katie's site as well. Thanks a ton for the motivation. I am planning to celebrate my one year running anniversary with a half marathon and I really appreciate your story. Thank you for being so inspiring.

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  7. WHOO HOO You are amazing! I just walked my first 5k a few weeks ago. I cannot even imagine walking a half! You rock!

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  8. Way to be! That's so great and so inspiring! You can do difficult things!

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  9. Way to go!! YOu will be surprised how quickly you will be able to RUN! Just go slow and steady, not adding to much distance too fast. Check out Jeff Galloway-he does the run/walk method and can get almost anyone running!

    Hurray for a great race!

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    1. I'll definitely check him out! Thanks!

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  10. great job. I "ran" a 1/2 marathon in november and it took me 3 hrs!

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  11. Totally awesome! (Found you from Runs for Cookies....)
    That is a great accomplishment! Congratulations for making it through both the training and the race. Have fun with the next ones!

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  12. YAY! So Proud of you ! You've inspired me so much ! (and I needed that right now)! Way to go ! The part about your family meeting you at the finish line made the eyes water !

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  13. Congrats! You are awesome! Found you through Runs for Cookies. Thank you so much for the inspiration! Tammy B.

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  14. Found you on Katie's Motivational Monday post, and just wanted to say WOW! Well done on completing it AND planning your next event! I am on Week 6 of couch to 5k, and it's hard, but so worthwhile.

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  15. I feel like a chump strutting around talking about running my 5Ks. You're amazing! Way to go! My plan for a half marathon is probably going to be next year.

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    1. Hey, I can't run a 5K yet, so strut away =)

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  16. I also came here from Runs for Cookies, and I am SO inspired by your story. I weigh 253 pounds and sometimes worry about my joints were I to start a program like this (and other bs excuses). Your post has made me believe that I can do it...THANK YOU.

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    1. You so can! I actually had trouble with my right knee before I started training, and I haven't had any problem with it at all since I started training.

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  17. I've signed up for a 10k in June and the Rock and Roll Half Marathon here in Dublin for 5th August.... saw the race course the other day and 13.1 miles looks A LOT longer than it did in my head!! But going to stick to the plan and see how it goes! :-)

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    1. LOL... I am a terrible judge of distance, so every course seems crazy long to me =)

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  18. I have to tell you... I felt like I was reading one of my own race recaps!! I love that you leave no detail untold hehehe. I have a tendency to include it all too :) I'm so excited for you to be planning your next half already, and that you anticipate running in it! I did C25K last year, ran a couple 5Ks (hello... empowering!?) and then life got in the way and I lost my consistency. I'm currently working on building back up to a 5K so that I can then move on to a 10K by the end of the year. Look at you just blaze on through to training to run a half! You rock :) Thanks for sharing your experience :) (Honestly, go read one of my race recaps. You'll see. We have a similar blog "voice" LOL)

    Cheering you on!

    ~Ang (who found you through Katie of course!)

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  19. Whoops. Here's my blog link if you wanna read one of those race recaps :) http://droppingtheplus.blogspot.com/p/my-races.html

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your blog!

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  20. I needed this today ... SO much. Thank you!

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  21. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am so proud of, and inspired by, you! ♥

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