Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Race Report :) I like saying that.

Where do I begin? It was such a great experience and I truly can't wait to do it again!
Official Results:

L-Me, R- Selene....our shirts say "she runs a mother mile (play on words...another mile, get it?) with arrows pointing at eachother :)
So at 8 am, Selene picked me up. I made us these little shirts that matched. It was kind of cheesy, but I we'd done almost all of our long runs together and we planned to run together during the race. I felt like we were a little mini mom team, and teams need shirts, right? So, I figured out how to DIY screen printed shirts and gave it a go. (Gotta love Target clearance...I got our "victory green" shirts for $2.48 each!)
We headed to the race, where we met up with Heidi, in the loooong porto line. They did this girly warm up with an aerobics type thing...but we were rebellious, and figured that we'd save our calories and energy for the run. We stretched a bit and then lined up with the other 2300 women. The mayor of Vancouver welcomed us and made some strange comment about getting his friend to rub down ladies legs to warm them up. It sounded weird coming from the Mayor. It WAS cold. I heard it was 37 when the race started, but it was crisp and beautiful.

not sure why we look more like power walkers here, but we were happy :)
We were off and running through downtown Vancouver, through the farmers market, trying to find our pace and get away from the jam packed crowd. Finally, we started to warm up once we got into the sun. About Mile 1 we saw our first cheerleaders, Alli and Rosemary...and about mile 2 or so, we saw my family :) I was impressed they got out of the house and to the point they'd see us that early in the race!  We saw several awesome cheerleaders throughout this area, my friend Jill, (who's getting ready for her first half  this weekend!), Curtis and Meleea (Meleea is a new runner too!), Wendy (just ran her second Marathon!), Mere's family...down a bit further, near Marine Park we saw Heidi's hubby and kids, who were rockin' signs and cheering for all the runners. It was awesome!

Nicci and Tamara (taken by my hubby)
Between Marine Park and Wintler Park, was the most beautiful stretch (well, that I noticed!) The fall colors were SO fantastic! At this point, we started seeing the leaders for the race coming back from the out and back, too, so we started looking for friends. Right as Selene said to me, I wonder if we'll see Nicci....Nicci and Tamara blew by yelling in our face, "Girls!"
If she hadn't waved we would have missed her. Then we saw Meredith, all smiles! 
I was SO happy to see her! We saw Amy, rocking it, and made the turnaround.
On our way back, we were looking for sweet Heidi. We knew that she was worried about her knee holding up, so we were hoping hoping hoping that it would and that she was having as much fun as we were. We saw her...all smiles! Yay!

We saw Heidi's family again...and were dad, 3 kids, two locations! Shortly after, we saw Selene's family. That was so fun! Channing, Selene's little 4 year old was fist pumping, saying "Go, Mama,Go!" so sweet and gave us a nice little boost.

We ran back through seeing all the cheerleaders again, which was AWESOME! So nice to see so many friendly uplifting faces! Around Mile 8-9, we saw my mom, and my hubby again with my kiddos, which was fantastic! They were ringing little bells and cheering loud! Again, impressed with my man, getting around! Shortly after, we saw Alli and Rosemary again, with Nicci's brother Brandon added, who were doing the wave for us! It made us giggle and we appreciated the spirit! We saw some other families, and AGAIN Heidi's little family. Colin, Heidi's hubby got the MVP cheerleader award, we saw them 4 times!!
This was another out and back, sort of, and so we saw many of our friends, again! It was so fun to see our girls killing it at the front of the pack! (Nicci, Tamara, and Mere---going for sub-2). After we rounded the Fred Meyer complex I think Mile 9-10, we got a fun little surprise, my friend Lisa was there on the sidelines, cheering for us! I was SO HAPPY to see her, i had to give her a drive by hug. She's been on a long vacation, and I hadn't seen her for a few weeks, SUCH a treat! We looped around, and ran through the Fort Vancouver park, which was really beautiful. Alot of this mile was uphill, but not as bad as we'd been told, we didnt' think. We were expecting this horrendous hill...but it was doable. We knew that at the top of it, we had just one more mile. During that stretch we saw Alli and Rosemary again, and they told us how easy we made it look...we truly were still enjoying ourselves, and I think we may have even been chatting at this point about running a full marathon :). Looking at my watch, I knew we were right at the time Mere should be crossing if she made sub-2 (which I KNEW she would). Getting up that hill, was work, but we knew we were getting close to finishing. Once we hit Officer's Row, we picked up our pace. Our game plan was to keep it at our consistent 10:30 pace (which was nearly hard to hold back!) We bounced around 10-10:15 much of the race. Our uphill pace was around 10:40. Once we hit Officer's Row, we knew we could let all go and run our fannies off. So, we did. 9:50, 9:40, 9:30...our pace kept getting quicker. Selene was telling me," you got this, you got this!" and I was saying back, "WE got this!" It felt good to just haul a** and hold nothing back. The last time I looked at my Garmin, about 12.75 miles, we were hittting 8:40 pace.  My Garmin said my best pace was 7:50. Once we saw the 13th mile marker, just around the corner from the finish, the line of runner's was single file in a tight area. Selene was ahead of me and I was just off her shoulder. We passed several runners, which felt so great (sorry, runners! iknow it's not fun to be the one being passed!). Selene was on FIRE.
Selene, hauling it in to the finish!
Once she saw that last corner, it was like her shoes were on fire...she pulled ahead of me and blasted toward the finish. I was chasing her and going at 110%...I knew I was giving it all I had left to give. My legs were going at max speed...I literally couldn't make them go any faster.
Me, flying towards the finish--I like that neither of my feet are touching the ground in this pic
PUSHING it to the finish.

I felt like Selene got a block ahead of me, but in reality, she crossed the finish line 10 seconds ahead of me, and only one runner was in between us. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my mom cheering, and Meleea again, and I was glad I'd looked up from the ground. I pushed one foot in front of the other, and felt SO relieved to see those blue mats in front of me! Selene turned around as soon as she crossed, and I came in just behind her....we hugged and cried. We held on tight, and I thanked her for inviting me on this crazy journey.
Finish time 2:14:50--average 10:18 pace

oops, some of these gals are probably annoyed that we were right on the mats, but we were having a moment!

When we let go, Meredith was right there on the sidelines...calling me over for the hug I'd been waiting for! We hugged sweaty and tight, and I asked, "did you do it??" And she said yes...1:56. We told each other how proud we were of each was one of my favorite moments of the day. I found my family, and hugged them, and we went back to watch for Heidi.
The fam at the finish
Heidi, coming across the finish line!
That was another one of my favorite moments...seeing her cross the finish. She was in a great body in front of her, so I had a great view of her coming in! I snapped a photo of her crossing the line, and waited to hug her....She finished with a huge smile and a fantastic time!! She'd run the whole thing, and her knees were doing great! I was teary as I hugged her, telling her how proud I was of her HUGE accomplishment!

It was a fantastic day. We grabbed our bagels and soup...said goodbye to our families and we sat on the curb eating. I cried some more, telling Selene how much us sharing this had meant to me. I told her how much this experience, not just the race, but the training for the race, had TRULY changed me. Changed my life. We hugged again. We ate...we went and got our free massages and chocolate. It was such a fun race to be a part of!
Me, Heidi, and Selene at the massage headquarters- GREAT perk of Girlfriends!
I think I'll have some more thoughts, about the future, about the race experience, and how it changed me...but this post has taken FOREVER to type up, so I'm off to bed :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gearing Up

I'm getting so excited for Sunday's half marathon. I can't even believe I'm really saying that. I never EVER imagined that I'd even consider running that far, let along look forward to it.

The past 3 months of training have been so good for me. TRULY, changed me.  I feel good about myself in a way I haven't since my high school athlete days. I weigh now less than what I did before I got pregnant with Hayden (my first babe)...and I know I'm in better shape now than I was then.

When I started running, out of desperation for sanity, back in June, I really just wanted to get up to 3 miles. When my buddy Selene, casually tossed it out there, that she needed  a partner to train with for the Girlfriends mind instantly said yes. My body...I hadn't even worked all the way up to 3 miles yet. So, I committed to get to 3 miles, and run it consistently for a few weeks before starting the half training. And, I did. My first "long" run of 5 miles, seemed HUGE to me.  But, shockingly, it was doable. And it felt so good to know I accomplished something I'd never thougth possible. And that continued as the mileage increased. With each mile, my self esteem also went up. My inches started going down, along with some pounds. My husband started commenting on how I was different. Not just physically, but there was something there that wasn't before. Others started noticing, too.

I just sat tonight, and wrote a little note to my BRB (best running buddy) Selene, and thanked her for inviting me on this journey that has changed me. It's given me something to feel good about in my life. (not that there aren't other things). Something that is just for me. Something that is GOOD for me.

I can't even believe that 13.1 MILES is in my reach. 12 miles was actually FUN. I felt great, I felt accomplished. I can't believe that I already know that I want to do it again. I can't believe that I'm already wondering, "Can I push towards a marathon?" I know I want to. I know that someday, I will. Maybe before 2011 is over.  Selene and I are daydreaming a way to make it worth our while...

I am so thankful for this experience...I had truly begun to believe that I would never be "fit". It just wasn't something I thought I'd ever be. I still have a long ways to go...but I've lost 14.9 lbs and 10 inches from various body parts in the past 3.5 months. I am feeling so thankful that I have been given the chance to believe in myself, and be thankful for the healthy body God gave me. I'm excited to see how my body will respond to staying on this path.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

For the girls...

My amazing friends, Julie and Ashley ran the Portland Marathon this weekend. My other amazing friends and running buddies, Meredith and Heidi and I went to cheer. And cry cheer we did. Ok, we cried. ALOT.

I have never gone to spectate at a marathon before...I had no idea how emotional and moving it would be. We arrived at our first viewing point just minutes before the first runner came through. I think all 3 of us cried when we saw him come flying through. So awesome! To be the first runner in a pack that big for a marathon?? Must feel crazy good. Then, a few runners later, the first woman came through, and I got all teary again. Girl power at it's best!

We went to the FitRight NW store in NW Portland...they had an awesome DJ (who's playlist I'd REALLY love to have for was awesome! I was grooving to it a little too much, and made my sweet baby girl hurl her milk. Not good.) They had some pop up canopies to shelter cheerleaders from the rain, although we didn't mind at all getting all drippy wet to cheer for our favorite runners! FitRight is such a fantastic shop with amazing customer service...I wish I had more opportunities to shop there!

Anyhow, we waited in the rain, and we saw pacers start coming through. 3:00, 3:15, and 3:30...we knew they were getting close! 3:40 came and we had our eyes peeled for Ashley, we knew she'd be the first of our friends to come through. We were searching the crowd for her orange tank, and soon enough, there she was!! She was looking fantastic at 11.5 miles!  Happy smile and a typical Ashley grace as she booked it through. It was a HUGE deal for Ashley to be doing this marathon. Her first didn't go as she'd hoped, and after 25 miles, she didn't get to cross the finish. THIS marathon, we knew she was going to prove herself a marathoner!! We all cried after she was out of sight.

We waited for just a few minutes, and Julie was right behind. Julie had an injured leg, and didn't even know if she'd get to the start line in Portland. When earlier in the week, she sent a quick note on facebook telling us about her new pain that she couldn't run on, we all felt a punch to the gut, only imagining what she must be feeling. 4 months of not run, just days before the big race? But...Julie is the toughest runner I know. She is fun, lovely, and stubborn and sassy. She showed up on Sunday, ready to give it all she had. And she did. When we saw her at that 11.5 mile mark, she was ROCKING!! We knew what pace group she hoped to be in, but weren't sure if she'd be able to keep it up on her bad leg....but she DID!! We saw her coming, and we were all cheering out of our minds. (I'm sure the spectators around us appreciated us screaming in thier ears!)...But, our Julie was rocking it!! We didn't care.  Julie and Ashley are BFF' much in common yet so different. I laughed between tears at the way Ashley graciously went by, telling us we were making her cry, and Julie, who whooped it up, blowing us kisses and giving that glowing Julie smile! We all cried, because even at that point in the race our strong, dedicated friends, had already had victories. They were RUNNING!

There were a few more gals who we were hunting for, Wendy and Janae, and of course, SBS from Run Like A Mother. That felt a little like our tribe mama going by, and it was a proud moment! All of those gals were doing so great too. We cheered for lots of people we didn't know, soggy runners pushing through the puddles for victory. SO much fun!

We dashed into FitRight, picked up some odds and ends, and then we booked it downtown towards the finish line. We got such an amazing little spot, on the final bend of the race. Literally, around the corner, maybe 200 yards from the finish line. It was so much fun to see runners faces as they saw the finish line in their sights. We saw the pacers again, and we looked for our friends. While we waited we saw some amazing finishers...One guy who raced himself in a handpropelled race wheelchair, and another girl doing the same. The were cooking! It was so inspiring. A husband and wife, each pushing a jogger.  An adorable couple, wearing wedding outfits and signs on their backs that said "Just Married". A dad pushing a middle school age looking special needs son in a jogger...all so inspiring and brought us to tears. (We were a blubbering mess of spectators!)

We stood on our tiptoes, leaning out as far as we could, trying to get a glimpse of Ashley. Straining to see that orange shirt. Finally, we saw her. Of course, we cried. She had already won it, to us. She had MADE IT to the finish. This was a huge freaking deal!! And, her pace was AMAZING! We saw her, and made ourselves look like idiots cheering for her!  She grinned and glowed. She knew she had done it too. She not only finished, but Boston Qualified!!! Take THAT 25 mile marathon. Of course, we cried again.

Then we saw Sarah, SBS, and she was hauling! She too, had the glow of woman with victory in her sights. It was so incredible! Sarah also BQ'd....GO RLAM Mama!!

We knew Julie wanted be close behind. We waited and worried when we didn't see her. After 10 minutes, our hearts began to ache.  After 20 minutes we prayed that she was still running and not in the medic tent. We prayed and cried, hoping her leg would carry her to the finish. Finally, we got a phone call from a fellow spectator that said she was on her way to us!! We were freaking out. SHE DID IT!! She was finishing the race! The race she didn't even know if she could start. We leaned out, searching for the blue shirt. We yelled her we were screaming. I could see her turning, looking around for who was calling her. Finally, she saw us. We knew, that she knew, that we knew, what a big freaking deal this was. She made it. Not the finish she'd trained her fanny off for, but it was a FINISH!! And a great one at that. She looked emotional...and of course, that one really got us blubbering. We were all SO PROUD and amazed, and inspired, that she was so stinking tough and finished strong, smile intact.

These ladies and all the runners, helped me find my motivation again. I can't imagine a better way to spend 3 hours in the pouring down rain.

Of course, On the way home, the rain stopped, the sun came out and it was a beautiful afternoon. I met up with my best running buddy, Selene for our final long run before our half marathon this Sunday. I think it was one of my favorites. Knowing we were ready. Feeling strong and good. Feeling so inspired by my friends who ran 26.2 freaking miles.  It was a really, really great day!

My sweet boys keep asking me, how many more days to the "big race". I love that they are excited with me!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cool Lululemon giveaway on shut up and run!

Check out this awesome Lululemon giveaway on Shut Up and Run's Blog!

I'm off to cheer on my amazing friends at Portland Marathon tomorrow and run my last long run before the half! 12 miles, baby!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Where did my motivation go??

Somehow, the rush of new fall activities, my running mojo has gone a little soft. I am still loving my runs, but finding it much harder to get in all of my training runs each week, when NOW is when it really counts. I just am not feeling the dying need to get out there and pound the pavement. My right knee (which has been my whiney knee for a few years, even pre-running) that has been contributing to my lack luster motivation.

I'm about to sign up for two fun holiday runs, the Hot Buttered Run, and the Jingle Bell run. Hoping the fun wrapped up in those will help keep me moving into the rainy weeks ahead.

On a happy note, I 'm gearing up to go see two of my fabulous inspiring girlfriends, Julie and Ashley, run the Portland Marathon on Sunday. AND I get to cheer with another one of my most favorite people, Meredith...also a knock out runner. She and I will both be running the Girlfriend's Half in Vancouver next weekend (If you see her there, wait about 1/2 an hour or so, and then you'll see me huffing and puffing my way into the finish). I really can't believe it's just a week away!! Holy moly.