Saturday, June 29, 2013

21 Days and 2 Half Marathons: Part 1

Yes you read that right....TWO half marathons. Normally I wait a week or so before doing my recap, to let it all soak in. Well by the time a week had passed I was in full swing preparing for another half (more on that in Part 2) and sort of forgot I never finished my recap!!

The night before Wounded Warrior we went to an early dinner with a few friends and then headed home to get ready to wake up at 3:45am so we could get to Irving in time. As I was gathering all my stuff and getting ready to go to bed, I realized my ipod had officially died.

So there we were at 10:30pm (when I should have been asleep) running around trying to get my music on another random ipod we had. It was only fitting that itunes was being a pill and we didn't have my playlist anymore. How the heck I was going to run with no music? Seriously, I forgot my ipod one time and made it 2 miles before I couldn't take it anymore! How could I make it 13.1 miles if I couldn't make it 2? And what about my perfectly selected playlist?  I was a panicked mess. But after about an hour I made peace with the fact that at least I had a working ipod and that it had some sort of decent music on it. We had to get some sleep because our wake up time was creeping up on us.

The next morning I woke up feeling really good. I ate my normal race morning breakfast of a bagel with peanut butter and we headed out the door to AJ's house. All the way to Irving we watch the rain clouds and followed on facebook as people talked about the storms. I was just praying that some how they would pass us. Unfortunately that didn't happen....

So we waited and waited to see if they would still have the race or call it. Finally nearly an hour later we had a new start time, but new issues had set in. Both Kipper and I were starving and feared if we didn't get something in our stomachs we couldn't make it just on gu gels. So with not much time to spear we went to the hotel across the street to find some bananas, coffee for Kipper and bathrooms for AJ and I. But we did run into our sweet friend Melissa is the lobby, so that was a plus! :) 

There was mass confusion as to the start times of the Half and 10K, so we barely made it across the start line before the 10K headed out. Did I mention it was pouring down rain still??  And they had to re-route us up a muddy hill to go around part of the course that had rapid, moving water flooding it!!

I ran the first hour or so in the pouring rain, but my times were actually quite impressive. At several moments I kept telling myself I needed to slow down because I was going to run out of steam, but somehow I just keep going strong. 

As the sun came out the humidity started to set in, but it wasn't too terribly bad and lots of the trail was shaded. Actually most the second hour was pretty uneventful....until around mile 6.5 and the snake! Yep, you heard me right, there was a huge snake stretched out across the path. (I can't even begin to tell you how much I hate snakes!) It was a blessing I saw it far enough out so I didn't step on it. Eek thinking about it still gives me the creeps! 

After that incident we were back to smooth sailing until around mile 10.5 when we hit nearly a half mile of ankle high water. Apparently while we were on the trail it flooded!! All I could think about was that snake and hoping he didn't have any friends in this water!

My time up until this point was awesome! Even with 3 bathroom stops I was on target to beat my Cowtown time by at least 15 minutes. Having to walk through this water, then up and down a muddy hill, really slowed me down. The last 3 miles were tough. My shoes were soaked and every step I took, I could feel my feet rubbing. 

That 15 minute headway quickly dwindled down and I felt like I was going to be doing good to match my Cowtown time.  After what felt like at least a 4 or 5 mile stretch (it was more like 2.5) I finally spotted AJ and she helped run me across the finish line. Missing a PR by 2 minutes, but to my credit with the re-routes on the course the route was almost 14 miles so I was totally ok with my time. 

Then we waited for Kipper. I honestly started to panic a little that he hadn't finished yet. For most of the race he was ahead of me, but I knew he was struggling and hadn't gone into the race with the clear mental state that he really needed. (you can read about his experience here, here, and here) After what seemed like for ages he rounded the corner and I was able to run him in. The last mile was incredibly tough for him, but he didn't give up and that is what truly matters! 

I can't believe how much stronger I felt post race compared to Cowtown. A year ago I would have saw the rain and just gone back to bed, but not only did I not go back to bed, I got out there and RAN in it!!  I wish I could truly put into words how this journey has changed me. I am not the same person I was a year and a half ago, heck I am not the same person I was 6 months ago. 

And what I did next just solidified that statement. I might actually be slightly crazier. AJ and I signed up for another half marathon and only had 20 days to prepare!! Stay tuned for Part 2!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

When Average Becomes Awesome

As much as I love social media, it has some down falls.  You watch all your friends post photos/status updates/etc you begin to feel pressure that your life isn't exciting enough. All of a sudden you start to think that every weekend needs to be EPIC or you have to be involved in a million things so that you appear more interesting. (My dear friend, Jordan, wrote a fabulous post on her blog "When life gives you lemons" about this that you should all read!)

I am someone who has had too many irons in the fire since age 5 and sadly, I have fallen victim to this mind set a few times more than I care to admit. It wasn't until right before my 30th birthday that I really started to analyze things and decide enough was enough. (you can read more about it here) I was tired of being busy for the sake of being busy all the time. Over the last 2 years or so I have started cutting back on my commitments and learning to play things a little more by ear. And you know what? It has been amazing!!! 

Sure sometimes we get to the weekend and realize we don't have plans - awesome Kipper and I will have an impromptu date night or (gasp) even just stay home watch a TV together! It. Is. Awesome! Or sometimes it leaves you open to spur of the moment plans that are far better than anything you could have planned out in advance. 

Enter last weekend.

In a rare turn of events, I had to work both Saturday evening and all day Sunday so I hadn't planned on doing anything else all weekend. Then Friday, T asked if I wanted to do a 5K up by her house with her. I didn't have any plans and needed to get a run in, so why not! 

It was humid and gross, there was a slight delay for a man who may or may not have had a heart attack during the 1K, but it was awesome!!  Not only did I have a PR, I got to spend time with one of my best friends. 

Afterwards we went to Denny's to eat where we spent the time talking and laughing. Even when we tried to leave, we ended up standing around in the parking lot talking more. This of course led to us having a "post run Denny's" in the back of T's car.  An average Saturday morning that was just plain awesome!

Of course when you combine this with a wonderful evening on Lake Granbury with my Hood County Jamboree Volunteers (that felt like a family get together in Alabama rather than work) and then National Cancer Survivors Day on Sunday (how could you not love watching a second line parade of cancer survivors?) it made for a pretty awesome weekend!

Now don't get me wrong, I still overcommit, and sometimes work is a little crazier than I would like. But until you break the cycle of always expecting awesome, you will never see just how amazing your average, everyday life can really be!