Signing Up For Your First Half Marathon

It’s been a while since I’ve officially raced a half marathon (just a little over two years to be exact) but Rock n Roll San Francisco is just around the corner so its time, once again, to suck it up buttercup. While my end goal this year is full marathon number two, believe it or not, 13.1 still makes me nervous. As I pondered the race this morning in the shower (you know, the place where we ALL get our best ideas), I thought back to my very first half marathon, which ironically, was also in San Francisco. What did I do to prepare? What would I have done better? Why did I decide to eat an entire bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on the drive home afterward? (See also: why WOULDN’T I do that?!)

I remember having all of the questions, and none of the resources. Running was still somewhat new to me so I didn’t have too many friends that I could reach out too. Of course, there was the internets, but who reads blogs and trust strangers? Thus, I present you with some helpful tips for preparing for your first half marathon.

  1. Picking the race: go with a run that includes some fun! Pick somewhere that you’ll have to travel to, but not too far or tricky to get to. I’d go with a place you are somewhat familiar with, but will still present you with some new scenes to pass the time on your run. That’s why I went with San Francisco – it was a short 3.5 hour drive from home that I had been to a few times, but hadn’t seen enough of. I knew how to get there, could plan a strategy around booking a hotel and the finish line and had a few pre and post race restaurants already planned out.
    • Part two: One thing I love about the Rock n Roll Races is that there’s always a free concert that coincides with it. At my first RNR, I got to see Macklemore and Ryan Lewis before the race and was so pumped on the show that it fueled the rest of my run! Find something that has a fun component to it. Tiffany necklace? Beer garden at the end? Running through Disneyland? This just gives you some extra motivation for getting across that finish line.
  2. Pinterest allllll the training plans. Seriously – look at a few and decide which one is most feasible for you. I tend to go with fewer short runs during the week, one long weekend run and three to four days of strength training. Why? Because it better protects my hips and I don’t get burnt out from running as quickly. The best way to figure out what will work for you is to just go for it. There’s nothing wrong with changing your plan to better conquer your challenges and Pinterest is there to help you get it done! I guess I am too – so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need help picking a plan.
  3.  Buy a new pair of running shoes. DON’T be like me and think you can run long distances in $30 sneakers from Payless or classified “running” shoes from the Nike Outlet. Take an hour to visit your local running or sports specialty store and ask someone to help you find the perfect pair. My life (and my feet) changed the second I stepped foot into Reno Running Company for some new kicks. The right store will analyze your running style, narrow down the type of shoe you need and even try and find something that fits your style (hello purple and pink Mizunos).
  4. Make a running playlist. Making a new one of these has been on my to-do list for a while. My personal computer recently died and with it went years and years and years of my favorite songs. What’s left of it, are my iTunes purchases and a very minimal list. Thanks to Spotify, I’ve been able to at least quickly select some playlists made by others (Punk Rock Workout being my favorite). Pick out 20-30 songs that make you dance, smile and move and group them together. They’ll keep you going along the way and help you pace out your miles. Don’t be ashamed to add whatever it is that will get you going – remember, this is for YOUR ears and feet. (queue Esther Dean’s “Drop It Low” in the background of my life).

I’ll never forget that last half mile of my first half marathon. I cried, I pep talked, I even picked up the pace. It helped that a fireman in a tuxedo was waiting at the finish line with a Tiffany’s necklace for me, but that’s not why I’ll never forget it. Me, who at her heaviest was 263 pounds, was conquering the world. My hope for every aspiring runner is to have their finish line moment, there are few things in the world quite like it.

Sign up for Rock n Roll San Francisco, April 8 in the Bay! Use the code RNRRNB2018 to save $15 on registration. See you there! 

Last Week Was Fun and I Never Want to Remember It

I know its only the fourth week of 2018, but so far, I’ve felt a focus and desire to reach my goals more than I ever have before. This has included making it to the gym every day I said I would, making my meal plans and sticking to them, taking my vitamins, etc. But then last Monday happened and although I felt incredibly discouraged by it, today I write this as one last send off to its past.

After a delicious, paleo, in-the-diet-plan, homemade dinner on Monday, I started getting severe but intermittent sharp pains in my abdomen. By about 8 p.m., I had my head in the toilet. And it hardly left there all night. I’ve been through something like this before, which I thought was just food poisoning, and it usually goes away within 12-15 hours, so I decided to stay home from work and get some rest. I hardly moved all day, unless it was to hurl or grimace in pain. I couldn’t drink water or even eat saltines. I couldn’t walk to let my dog outside or feed him dinner. I knew if I went to Urgent Care, they’d send me to the ER. I didn’t want to go to the ER because I’m still paying for my last trip in October 2016. 

More than 48 hours later, it was still happening and this time worse than ever. I finally decided to go to the hospital Wednesday night where I was checked for possible appendicitis. After lab work and a CAT scan, thankfully appendicitis was ruled out. The hospital gave me some heavy pain medication which was worth the trip in itself because I went from “I’d rather be in Hell right now” to “Maybe I can get a decent night sleep!”

My labs did show some things which I’ll be following up with my doctor on this week, and my body has certainly felt weak while in recovery. I was getting winded after simple tasks like doing the dishes. Whether this is related to the mysterious pain I often get, I’m not sure. But it did give me more ideas on what to ask my doctor and hopefully I can kill two birds with one stone.

It took a few days for me to get back to the gym but I am determined to continue on the accomplished path that I started the year out with. Yesterday, Pawko and I did a well-paced four miler that was a great accomplishment for us both – me after the week from Hell, and he at his farthest distance in quite sometime. We were quite proud of ourselves, and earned our Epsom salt bath and belly rub rewards respectively.

Here’s to a brand new week and here’s a  to last week.

I See You Looking at Me…

That’s it… 112 is officially going on my running playlist.

This weekend I conquered (more like struggled through) six miles. I’m feeling the soreness in my hips from upping my mileage and focusing on my training, but I’m also working on strengthening and stretching that area so it doesn’t become a common problem. Between mile three and four, I had a bit of wreckage with my run and kept having to walk, stretch, adjust my gear and basically avoided getting back on pace. Once I got over that little hump, I stayed focus on the finish line for the remainder of the run and felt great once I reached the end. I made a promise to myself that I could spend the remainder of the weekend relaxing and resting without feeling guilty, and such is what I did.

As I was trying to pass time on my run, I couldn’t help but notice the different type of eye contact and reactions I had from drivers along the way. I often wonder what exactly they are thinking as I run towards them and they drive past me. I’ve gotten smiles and waves and honks and even a few middle fingers. Yep. For whatever reason, multiple assholes have decided giving the girl trying to push herself to be her best, a big ol’ bird from behind the wheel. Like, can you really smell me from there?

So I present to you, driver reactions to distance runners on the road:

  • The woman smiling is rooting me on because she knows how great and healthy I’ll feel when I finish
  • The older woman switching lanes so I can have more room on the road is silently shaking her fist at me and saying “damn kids.” She also apparently thinks I have a sign on that reads “wide load.”
  • Mischievous teens are impressed that a girl my size looks so bad ass in running shoes and a tank top in 50 degree weather
  • Fellow runners honk in jealousy because they wish they were out on a jaunt (I know this one is true from experience).
  • Non-runners are wondering why I am running on the road, in the bike lane, against traffic – no its not because I’m running from a monster, but so I can see you (looking at me).
  • If my dog is with me, EVERYONE is oogling at how handsome he is in his bowtie with his tongue sticking out and freedom blowing his ears back.

To be quite honest, I have a few more that I could list here, but I’ll save those for one-on-one conversations with people I know won’t judge me for them. I hope the above made you laugh, because while I aim to provide you with interesting, motivational and informational content, I also aim to make you smile in the interim. Have a great week!

The Power of Ten

Happy New Year! It’s January 2nd and I’m still suffering from an NYE champagne hangover. I blame it on the fact that from Christmas till NYE, I got whatever cold is going around along with the fact that I need to realize I just cannot drink like I did in my early 20s. Needless to say, January 1st was supposed to be my first official marathon training day, but that did not happen.

Back to that cold thing… man – I thought I got off easy with just a terrible sore throat, but it got worse Thursday night, so I went to bed at 7 p.m. and literally could not leave my bed (except to go to the bathroom) until 9 a.m. Saturday. It was rough and I have never really been happier to breathe fresh air. Between that and a week of bad eating, my body is certainly feeling the repercussions. Everything from a food belly to an awful case of acne is happening, but of course, its time to kick all of that in the ass. As such, I was up dark and early to begin training with a three mile treadmill run and a one mile cool down walk. While it wasn’t my best due to the aforementioned circumstances, it felt a hell of a lot better than laying in bed all day.

As I enter 2018 with a positive outlook and a big goal in mind, I set up a few smaller, attainable goals to help me get there. Ten to be exact. They are daily action items that will keep me focused on the bigger goals ahead. And since you asked, here they are:

  1. No alcohol until Valentine’s Day
  2. Only black coffee or tea (no sweet, sugary coffees)
  3. No eating out unless previously scheduled or necessary for work
  4. Meet 10,000 step goal daily
  5. Go to sleep by 10 p.m., if not earlier
  6. Drink a gallon of water per day
  7. Take vitamins daily
  8. Take an Epsom Salt bath at least once per week
  9. Make extra time for stretching and foam rolling
  10. Make your shopping list on Friday and grocery shop by noon on Saturday

What’s your goal for 2018 and what are you going to do to get there?

Well, I did it…

Marathon number two is official.

In May of 2016, I didn’t think there’d ever be a marathon two. I said, “No way. Absolutely not. Never Again.” The rest of 2016 was spent without mileage boosts. I’d mostly (never) remember to go to the gym. The weight gain was fierce. The insecurities were arise. But no worries, I ran a marathon. That instantly makes me skinny and fit for the rest of my life, right? If only.

Then, come Fall 2017 I started to seldom say that if the right race came along, in the right place, at the right time of year, then maybe… just maybe I’d do it. This turned into, “okay, I think I’m gonna do it.”

A few months back, I happened to stumble upon a tweet from the Rock n Roll Marathon Series looking for bloggers. Thinking I didn’t have much to lose, and that it was likely a long shot, I took my chances and applied. About two weeks ago, the best surprise landed in my inbox in the form of being notified that I had been selected for the Rock n Blog team! As I scoured the list of RNR runs for ’18, the word “marathon” stood out like a sore thumb. It was my sign, my calling, my fair warning of lots of chafe ahead.

San Diego caught my eye and soon after, my ducks were in a row  – I had a good friend I could stay with down there, I could fly in the day before and back the evening after and not miss any work, the weather is seemingly always perfect and the altitude was on my side (seriously… going from running in the Northern Nevada altitude to sea level is always heavenly).

At approximately 4:30 p.m. yesterday, I did it. I made it officially official followed by Facebook official. In 2018, I’ll be running Marathon #2. Training starts 1/2/18.

Dear chiropractor, we’ll see each other monthly. Dear friends, I’m sorry, I can’t go drinking, I have to run 18 miles in the morning. Dear boyfriend, I’m sorry I have to go to bed at 7 p.m. to make my long run in the morning. Dear Pawko, hope you will enjoy the first or last miles of my run with me. Dear everyone else, I’m sorry you’ll have to listen to me talk about this from here until June 2.