Sunburst

I did it! I finished! I’m still processing the entire experience.

DSCF5398

The weather wasn’t ideal for any outdoor activity yesterday. The morning was an especially good one for burrowing under the bed covers, but I got myself out of bed and out the door pretty much on schedule. Right as the 5K racers were lining up, there was a thunderstorm threatening. We were worried the race was going to be delayed or even cancelled. Luckily it blew over and eventually the sun came out. It ended up being a very hot, humid, and thankfully breezy, sunny day.

DSCF5382

Even though I arrived an hour early, I almost missed the start of the race. I misjudged the time and went to make one last potty stop. The line to the bathroom was so long, that I cut it really close. I hopped in the back of the pack with all the walkers just as the gun went off. My dad says I was one of the last people to cross the starting line. I honestly wasn’t paying attention to my position. I was just happy I made it in time. While I was a ball of panicked adrenaline from worrying I was going to miss the start, I think being last helped. I have a habit, like most new runners, of going out too fast. However, I couldn’t get around some of the walkers in the beginning, so it forced me to start slow.

DSCF5386

The course itself wasn’t anything to write home about, but Indiana is not the most exciting state on the map. It was pretty in some spots along the river, but it got a bit twisted and confusing as it went through some of the neighborhoods. And there was one out and back stretch that was so boring I started going down the, “Why am I doing this? This is the dumbest thing ever! I could be home in bed!” route. The stifling 88% humidity didn’t help. I felt so sticky and heavy the entire time. And there were times I was struggling to catch my breath. Luckily around mile 7, OK Go! saved me by reminding me that “This Too Shall Pass”. And it did.

I’m not a football or Notre Dame fan, so I didn’t really get all the hype about Sunburst’s finish line. I get it now. Sunburst has the coolest finish line ever (at least in my experience, which is a bit limited). I felt like such a rock star running through the tunnel to the 50 yd line of the football field.

022

I am thankful that I obsessively read blog posts about marathon running tips and others’ race reports leading up to Sunburst. One tip in particular saved me. (I’d link, but I read so many random posts I don’t remember where this tip came from.) It was a marathon race report. The runner was running in hot/humid conditions and commented that while she noticed most of the other runners struggling around her, she stayed strong by always finding the shade and taking 2 cups of water at every stop – 1 to drink and the other to pour over her head. I’m glad that piece of advice popped into my head when it did, because that is what I ended up doing during the second half of the race and it helped me manage the heat and humidity. I am also thankful for all the good citizens of South Bend who left their sprinklers in the road for us to run through. I jumped through a few like a little kid. It helped give me the boost I needed to make it to the finish line with a smile still on my face.

DSCF5392_2

My official time was 2:44:58. Not very fast, but I’m happy with my time. Given how the end of my training went, I honestly didn’t expect to finish under 3 hours. I went in with a goal to just finish. I decided to leave my competitiveness behind yesterday and just run for fun and the experience. I realize now, it’s really not about the time. It’s the entire journey – all the hard work, sweat, and perseverance that got me to the finish line – that I am most proud of. I learned a lot, I made some mistakes, and most important, I had a great time.

I think the half is my favorite distance so far. I want to run another in the near future. Maybe one in the fall when it’s not so hot. I’m also entertaining ideas of training for a full marathon in a few years. But for now, I have a few 5K’s on the horizon with the kids, so I think my goal is to work on my pace. I have to be able to keep up with the kidlets. Or at least not be too far behind them.

Half-Marathon Training: The Second Week Slump

Gee, Chuck, the date started off good….

Untitled

The above quote from the movie, Ace Ventura, seems to sum up my week in a nutshell. The week started off with a beautiful winter run on Sunday with my dog, Chuck. It wasn’t too cold, the sun was shining, and there was a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. But then, what I always call the “second week slump” kicked in. Does anyone else have this problem with the second week? The second week is always the hardest for me, and this week the weather didn’t help at all. I made it through, though, and I know it will start getting better from here.

I had a 3-miler on the schedule for Tuesday, but with 35 mph sustained winds and 50 mph gusts, I wasn’t about to go out for a run. Instead, I did a circuit in my living room that consisted of skipping rope, swinging my kettle bells, push-ups, and some core work on my stability ball.

Wednesday, we had sub-zero temperatures (-11 with the windchill). Too cold for me, so I stayed in again and did a long yoga session.

bird tracks

Thursday was a gray day, but it warmed up in to the 20’s, so I decided to hit the trails. I ended up cutting the run short when during my warm-up walk, I not only noticed some cute little bird tracks in the new snow, but also fresh coyote tracks. The one set of tracks was joined a few feet up the trail by another set, which was joined by another set a few more feet up the trail. They were fresh tracks and the coyotes have seemed more aggressive this year than other years – my husband has had few tense run-ins with coyotes while hunting and collecting maple syrup buckets this year. I decided to err on the side of caution, leave the trail, and run around town instead. Luckily, I had nothing else on my schedule that morning, so the extra time it took to switch gears didn’t matter much. I was still able to get 3 miles in around town.

Friday was a rest day. That’s when the mental chatter started in – you know, the negative, unhelpful chatter that questions everything, wonders why you are doing this to yourself, what the hell were you thinking, you’re not a real runner, etc…. The second week slump had kicked in something fierce. I did nothing active except take Chuck for a leisurely walk in the afternoon. I stuck to my nutrition plan though, which was a huge accomplishment since I tend to stress eat. I’ll take the little victories, because they add up over time.

And by Saturday’s run the mental chatter was really loud. It took me an hour just to get out the door in the morning, I took more walk breaks than usual, and I was feeling pretty defeated a mile into my 4-mile run. But by mile 2, a small ray of sunshine peeked through the clouds, Tightrope came into my playlist, and I was able to quiet my mind and finish strong. It’s amazing what a good song can do for your spirits.

I’m taking another rest day today so I can recharge. I might do some yoga to clear the last bit of negativity from my head.

It looks like this week I will have to be flexible with my training schedule again since we have a huge winter storm in the forecast. Hopefully this will be the last big winter storm, but I’m not holding my breath. And I’m hoping the last bit of negativity will be banished so the second week slump won’t carry over into the third week.

****

Week two of training:

  • Sunday: easy 3 miles, light yoga
  • Monday: strength training
  • Tuesday: circuit training
  • Wednesday: yoga
  • Thursday: easy 3.8 miles
  • Friday: rest day
  • Saturday: 4 miles, light yoga

Do you experience the second week slump? How do you overcome the negative thoughts?