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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Big Cottonwood Marathon - A recap of sorts

Running 26.2 miles, no matter what the course is like or how well you have trained, is hard. I still don't love the distance, but there is nothing like crossing the finish line of a marathon. Nothing.

On September 14, I completed Big Cottonwood Marathon. Here are a few things I never want to forget, things I always want to remember and things that worked for me.

Things I Never Want to Forget

This moment....
When I got home, I went upstairs to shower, with a little detour to register for Boston.
I saw my family for the first time at mile 17. It was really the first time you could see spectators, and I tried to take in the sight as much as I could!

I have only cried happy tears a handful of times in my life. This day was one of them. Especially when I texted the person who has believed in me and cheered me on through it all more than anyone, other than my family. I did get to have a mostly incoherent phone call with her a few minutes later. Both are moments I will always treasure.

Admitting on the bus ride up that I was hoping for a sub-3:35 freaked me out a little. I realized the night before the race that I actually needed a sub-3:35 to be able to register for Boston that same day, even though my BQ time is 3:40. Hearing myself say it out loud to a complete stranger was a little scary.

Seeing Jen and Julia just before the finish line was a moment I will never forget. I have the most amazing friends!!!! The moment I saw them was the first time I let myself really acknowledge I had done it. I had crushed my sub-3:35. Then seeing Janice and Janae after the race made the moment even sweeter.

I ran the last two miles for my girls. Thinking of my Princess running her races and picturing her running along the same trail I spend so many mornings logging miles on pushed me through one of my most difficult miles. And thinking of my silly little Bean and knowing I would see her smiling face in just a few minutes pushed me through that last mile.

I couldn't have gotten to the start or the finish line without my family. They have been my support crew and my cheerleaders through it all. On Saturday, they were there every mile or so after 17. With signs, dressed up, with water and Powerade ready to go, blasting my theme song out of the back of our car (Katy Perry's Roar) and just cheering me on. I am so spoiled I actually remember, the one time I went about two miles without seeing them, thinking, "Where's my freaking family?!?" And my girls wouldn't have appreciated my accomplishment if their dad hadn't helped them understand what it really meant. I wouldn't have runnerd license plates without him either, which they surprised me with at the end of the race.

Laying next to my Bean Saturday night, she asked why I cried after my race. When I explained that they were happy tears because I had done something I never thought I would do, she asked, "Did you win?" My answer: "Yes. I won."

Things I Want to Remember

When my left calf started talking to me, I talked back. I started willing it to not cramp up. I sent it happy thoughts. I've never done this before, but it worked. And it kept me entertained for a while. When my right quad started acting up, I did the same thing. And it worked again.

I struggled at mile 8. I struggled at that same point in some of my longer training runs, so I knew it wouldn't last. Knowing this helped me get through several other tough miles as well. A marathon is full of ups and downs. And so much of running really is mental. If you can get through the rough spots mentally, your body will (usually) follow.

The last six miles or so were hard. In a marathon, they will always be hard. But quitting is even harder. I've had a lot of races when I've looked back and wished I wouldn't have stopped to pee or wondered what my time would have been if I had just pushed a little harder when I was struggling, but I've NEVER had a race where I looked back and wished I would have quit.

Things That Worked for Me

I walked through all the aid stations and drank water. I've never done this before. On any other distance, I don't fuel or hydrate at all. So finding what works for me during a marathon has been a journey of trial and error. During most of my other marathons, I carried a handheld water bottle the entire race. I hate carrying it and I still got dehydrated during several races when I carried it, so I figured walking through the aid stations would force me to get the fluid I needed. It was absolutely worth the few seconds it took each time! Getting dehydrated would have certainly cost me much more than those extra seconds.

I grabbed my handheld full of Powerade at mile 17. I kept it for the next few miles and then ditched it. My apologies to the hubs who had to run out in traffic to get it. And to the driver I scared when my sad throwing while running skills only got it to the middle of the traffic lane rather than to the opposite shoulder.

My stomach wasn't happy off and on, so I kept putting off using my fuel. Around mile 21, I downed one Accel Gel. It really seemed to help. This is big for me. I had to force myself to start using some kind of fuel. And feeling like it actually helped will make it easier to fuel in future races.

I took salt tablets (actually Hammer Endurolytes) just before I started and at miles 6 and 12 and 16.

I smiled. I know it seems simple and trivial, but it's amazing how smiling at a volunteer or another runner would give me a boost. And every time I told myself "I've freaking got this," I couldn't help but smile. Because I freaking had it. And I wasn't letting anything stop me!

Monday, September 16, 2013

I'm Going to Boston!

Dream big. And never give up on your dreams!

A year ago, I wouldn't have let myself dream I could ever qualify for the Boston Marathon. On Saturday, I ran Big Cottonwood Marathon and qualified, with 18 minutes to spare!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Things I Love Thursday - Choices

I'm pretty sure by the end of this post, you will be thoroughly sick of the word choose in all its forms. But bear with me. This is something I have thought about a lot, and I think it might have some meaning to at least one other person out there.

I've been thinking about how the choices we make can often affect our lives in big ways or lots of small ways.

I chose to have two children. I constantly choose to put them first. But I also choose to set a good example for them.

I choose to spend their school time running. I am fortunate that I don't have to work outside the home, which allows me to budget the time they are in school how I choose.

I choose to wake up early most Saturday mornings to run. I could sleep in. I choose not to. 

I choose to make healthy eating choices. I also choose to eat a cupcake every week. These choices make me happy.

As I have made the choices that have led to me becoming a better runner, I have found the quote above to be so true. I didn't start out the runner I am today. I started out dreading every step but willing myself to keep moving forward. My abilities have grown and expanded because of my choices.

So the next time you have to make a choice about whether or not to set your alarm for a crazy early time or you hear a not-so-pleasant weather report or you skip dessert because your stomach won't be as cooperative on your next run, think about this:

Speaking of choices, my girls drew the winners of the Color Me Rad entry giveaway. Congratulations to...
Please contact me as soon as possible at so you can get signed up for the race! If you are unable to run it, please also let me know ASAP so I can select a different winner. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Things I Love Thursday - Three Things

I decided to combine my Things I Love Thursday with a Three Things Thursday because it just feels like a bullet points kind of day. So here are three things I'm loving...

1. The birthday girl. My Bean turned five today. Five!! It's hard to believe she came into my life that long ago! I am so blessed to have this spunky, animated, little snug bug in my life.  

2. Key lime Accel Gel. Okay, so maybe "love" is a little extreme. But I'm tolerating it, and it will be my go-to fuel during upcoming races.

3. Giveaways. I have two entries to give away to the Color Me Rad 5k race in Orem, Utah on September 28! You can find out more about the race HERE. What you really need to know is it will be fun. And I'm running it too. Yes, I'm stepping out of my running comfort zone to give this race a try!!

And since the race can sell iteself better than I can, here's a little more about it:
If you're allergic to the metric system, corn starch, or unbridled joy, you'd probably be more comfortable watching Matlock than at the starting blocks of this color-filled 5k. 

But if you're itching for a great time and not from a bad case of diaper rash, Color Me Rad Utah Valley is the run for you.

By intelligent design or evolution, man was meant to run for one thing and one thing only: to stay alive. Pamplona was the first real race organized for what running should be: running from stuff that's going to kill, gore, or maim you.

Luckily, we've evolved to where we only hunt for attractive potential mates, we only gather for extreme couponing, and we only run to benefit charities and our cardiovascular system.

So quit lollygagging and join us for the race that's been ruining all other 5Ks since 2012 at Color Me Rad Utah Valley
Color Me Rad: gluten-free running since 2012 (all previous years were full of gluten).
To enter to win one of two free race entries, all you have to do is visit the Color Me Rad site HERE. Then leave a comment telling me why you want to run it either here or on my Color Me Rad Instagram post HERE.
Winners will be announced Thursday, September 12.

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