Justice In Motion

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I have mentioned before that I love to run in local 5ks that are for a good cause. Well tomorrow morning I will be running in the Justice in Motion 5K here in Valdosta. This race holds a close place in my heart because it’s put on by the local women’s rape crisis center – The Haven. The race is a kick off for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Therefore, I have decided to run the race not for me so no 1st place finishes, no PR’s, no competition should be expected. I will run the race for the faces I often times find haunting my dreams. The faces of the women, children, and men I have come in contact with due to some form of verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. I have decided that I will focus on one name, face, and story for every minute I run. I will give thanks that they, the victim, had the courage to call for help. And I will give thanks that I was able to provide some form or relief if even for just a moment. So if you see a tear as I am running down the street it’s not that running is painful it’s the images and stories of evil that reside in my memory that bring with them a sadness that is unavoidable.

Training weeks 1-3

I have realized I am not the best at blogging. Finding the time to actually sit down and write about my training is hard to find. I had a run on this mornings agenda but its raining outside soooo here I am sitting at my computer looking out the window wishing the rain would stop so I could go for a run. At least I can update my blog!!

Today is the first day of my first Tri training week #4 (of 12). It makes me a bit nervous how fast theses weeks are going by. I keep reminding myself I will do fine I still have time to push harder. A fast recap of the last 3 weeks I guess is due.

Week one and two I was introduced to the art of swimming formal laps and I failed miserably. The pool just makes me feel so out of place. I know “how” to swim but I have not done formal swimming in years upon years. I have two swimming sessions planed out per training week and thus far I have left the pool feeling weak and defeated. Ugh I hate that feeling. On the bright side my blogger buddy KC sent me a copy of a blog she had done when she first began her swimming and was going through similar feelings. This helped to lift my spirits and I find myself eager to get back into the water and try the things she used to help her.
I was able to take part in the Gate River 15K during week 2. I was very happy I was allowed time off work to take part in this race. The first time I ever ran more than a 5K was in the Gate River 15K in 2010 so this was my second year in the event that sparked my desire to run for distance. In 2010 I ran the race in 1:55 and this year I got it in 1:26. So needless to say I was very excited at my progress! A new 15K PR that I can’t wait to break in 2012 =)
Week three was just not a good week at all. I missed both swimming sessions due to work related issues. I did however get to do more running, cycling, and even a brick day.  I did another bike ride during this week with my Hubby. It was one put on in Dublin, Ga for St.Pats day. A 25 mile ride, though the county. Let me tell you it was ROUGH! Nothing but up and down hills, large nasty hills. I know I needed the extra hill work but it felt like the longest 25 miles ever! It was just one of those weeks where everything was hit or miss.
 
Since last week was so disappointing in the amount of training I actually got to do I plan on making sure this week goes smoother. It does not help much that it is raining outside today, I have to be out of town one day, and I have court one day. Sigh I will MAKE it happen!
I will try try try to do better about updating everyone as the date gets closer and closer. I do have a “special” race I am doing this Saturday and I plan on doing a write up on it because it has a special meaning to me.. Stay tuned. Happy training!

A new Plan and The Azalea Century Bike Ride – 28 Miles of road.

I’m a Runner. However, I am always looking for new ways to challenge myself. SOOOOO I have been following the training plans of two fellow bloggers, KC and Heidi, and let me tell you these two women ROCK when it comes to endurance! (I hope you two don’t mind me calling you out) But seriously just reading what all they do wears me out and I’m not even doing it. They are BOTH triathletes and reading their training journey has inspired me. So here we go about a month ago I sold my motorcycle aka, my baby, and bought myself a beginners tri bike in the hopes of completing my first Olympic distance Tri on May 21 2011. I decided to buy a brand new lower end bike, Gavin Tri Bike, rather than pay a ton for a used higher end bike just till I figure out if this is for me. The only form of exercise my husband actually enjoys is cycling so I was also happy that getting a bike would allow us to exercise some together. He was planning on doing the Azalea Century Bike Ride on March 5th so I figured I could also attempt my first 28 mile ride for the same event with him. I had about a month to get acquainted with riding. Most of my rides were done on a trainer in my garage due to weather and when I say most I mean all my rides other then one which Matt and I rode 21 miles the Sunday morning a week before the organized ride. I learned then that I am having some issues learning the clip in shoe to peddle thing and have a nasty blue and purple bruise on my lower left leg to prove it…not that big a deal but I could not wear my backup weapon to work for a week. Good thing is I did not need it anyway =)
Saturday March 5th started off cold and windy and did not get much better. The ride started at 8am sharp and I was freezing but once we got started I did not even notice it was cold out. It was not what I would call a flat course at all the hills just about killed me towards the end. However, I learned that riding in such extreme winds, just like running, sucks! We did the full 28 miles side by side in 1 hour and 43 mins. I don’t know if this is a good time or not since cycling is new to me but I will say it was a challenge on my body and just completing it felt great! Funny thing is when we went to pick up our swagger bag, pre ride, Matt took out his race number and had this evil large grin on his face so I took mine out and realized he was #1 and I had #2. We spent a large part of the ride teasing each other on this, what I like to call unacceptable mistake, random number selection. ( I think he paid the race director to do this on purpose). Regardless of our numbers the ride was beautiful and I am glad I got to ride next to my best friend and wonderful husband!

March 7th 2011 marks the first day, of a 12 week self made schedule, of triathlon training. Before I could start my training I had to go to the YMCA and make sure my membership went through since I paid for it online through my insurance company. I packed up all my gear and drove to the Y about 8 am a bit nervous about today’s swimming session. Don’t get me wrong I know how to swim but I have not done any formal swimming since I was about 8 (20 years ago). I was hoping the proper form and technique would still be a resident in my brain somewhere. Anyway, there was some issue with the Y not knowing what they needed to do since the plan I had signed up for was new. So needless to say the pool closed while I was waiting on the staff to figure out what forms I needed to fill out and such. But being an officer I have learned to  Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome in most situations. So I drove back home and started cleaning up my house till 11 then drove back to the Y in order to get in the pool at 11:30. The staff had contacted my insurance company during this time and had figured out all the forms I needed to fill out for them so that is now taken care of THANKFULLY! Time for my first swim. The plan was to not drink all the pool water and drown swim 10×50 meters (20 laps) with a 10 second break between each 50 meters. I had decided on using the freestyle stroke prior to my arrival since I felt like it would be the most efficient. I swam the first 50meters (down and back) and felt like I was out of shape. My arms felt like 50 pound weights and rotating them was more difficult than I had thought. So I had my second Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome for the morning. I decided I would do the Freestyle stoke down and then do the Breaststroke back. That seemed to be a little better. I have a long way to go in terms of swimming and the plan I made has me in the pool twice a week which I may end up increasing if I feel the need. But day one is done. Here is what the rest of my week looks like in terms of training. Stay tuned I’m sure there will be plenty of lessons learned on my part. Today’s lesson don’t underestimate the swimming portion. Oh and any advice you want to give me is welcomed! Till next time Happy Training. 

Monday: Swim; 10×50 Meters (20 laps)Done
Tuesday: Run; 4-6 miles
Wednesday: Weights, Bike 45 mins
Thursday: Weights, BRICK Bike 30mins – Run 5K
Friday: Swim: 4×100 Meters (16 laps) short rest then 6×50 Meters (12 laps)
Saturday: Gate River 15K (9.3 miles) in Jacksonville FL !!!
Sunday: Day off

Sweetheart 5k

I am so sorry for my posting delay. Here is a quick recap of the St. Johns Sweetheart 5K that was held on February 12th 2011 in Valdosta, Ga. I had taken 1st place the weekend before in the Pine Grove Run for your life 5K so I went into this one with the hope of busting my PR of 25:54. Mission accomplished I ran this 5K in 24:19. A new PR with the added benefit of getting 2nd in my age group. The course was mostly flat with very few hills. It was COLD outside which I can’t stand but I think it helped me with my time. There is not much to say about this race it was just one of your normal area weekend 5Ks, lots of fun! The plan was to run the following two Saturday area 5Ks but I was unable due to a very sore right Calf muscle so I decided to take some time off of running and focus on cycling since I had a 28 mile bike ride on March 5th. Stay tuned I want to set a new PR on my next 5k =)

Run for your Life 5K

The first Saturday in February marked the first of four 5K’s in the Valdosta area. I love this time of year when the races are starting to take up each of my Saturday mornings. Honestly, I really don’t mind at all as a matter of fact I live the rest of my week waiting on the next race. I enjoy these “fun runs” because many of them have a good charitable reason behind them. Take for example The Run for your Life 5K. The race was run in honor of Elizabeth Pitts a local child who lost her battle to cancer in July 2010. A portion of the money collected was donated to the Hugs of Hope Foundation which was founded by the Pitts family. The foundation supports families facing pediatric cancer by providing educational resources, emotional support, sibling/school support, and financial assistance for other families who find themselves in a similar situation. 

I look at the run as a privilege, an opportunity of giving back in a way. Elizabeth’s mother spoke to the runners, over 100, before the race and I was taken back at how focused she was on providing aid to other family’s that have or are facing the same thing her family went though. I don’t have children but I can’t imagine what it would be like to loose one to anything at such a young age. She talked about how no matter what Elizabeth always had a smile on her face. I thought of this many times during my run. I don’t know what it was about that particular statement but It was my focus for the whole 5k.

The race was held at the elementary school where Elizabeth attended. I did not know it till I got there but the course was mostly on dirt/mud. There was very little pavement running which is what I train on so it was a little different for me. It was cold and raining but just a few moments before the race stated it stopped raining and the sun starting to peak out from under the clouds. I tossed Matt my running jacket just in time and I am glad I did because by the end I was a puddle of sweat. I had even pealed my fleece lined arm warmers down to my wrist. I made one change in this race that I must admit I was slightly nervous about. When the race director started calling out “expected” finish times to line up I chose to get into the front which I NEVER do. I am not even sure what I was thinking but I took the steps and found myself up in the front. Well I must say it turned out better for me than I could have anticipated. The “slight” competitive edge came out in me and I mostly kept up with those that were in the front of the line with me. Like I said before I went to the run for the simple fact that I enjoy running and I enjoy running even more for a good cause but I ended up with a shock. I came in first for my age group 25-29 with a time of 25:56.

I came in 17th overall and there were over 100 runners. That in itself made me happy. I did not go expecting to win or even come close but I will admit it felt good to hear my name called out during the awards ceremony. I felt like I was back in High School all over again. I remember looking at Matt and saying ” I just got 1st in my age?”. He laughed at my state of shock. I was just not expecting it. Anyway I won a $65.00 gift certificate for a local salon and spa for highlights. Which works out well since I just had my hair cut off. A great race for a great reason with the added benefit of winning. Till next Saturday – Happy Running.

The Boston Mini 1/2 Marathon

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You know that childlike excitement you once felt? The kind that kept you lying awake in bed long after your parents tucked you in the night before a big field trip. That’s how my day started on October 30th, 2010. More precisely I woke up at 4:30am with a mind full of questions, thoughts, and excitement; its race day. The day I have been looking forward to for months. The day I attempt to run my very first ½ marathon. I lay still for a little while going over things in my head but really I was nervous about trying to stand up since I had been nursing a hurt leg for a little over a week. I knew that if I stood up and was not able to put my full weight on my leg I was never going to make it to the starting line. But I also had a time line I needed to stay with so I got up long before my alarm clock sounded. My leg felt ok still a little stiff in the left calf but manageable. Off to shower, yes I shower before I race, I have to wake up somehow! I had all my gear laid out the night before so it did not take me long to get dressed and ready to go. Being that I was ready to go at roughly 6:00 and I did not have to leave my house till 6:45 I had a little time on my hands.  So I made some coffee for myself and my husband who by this time was slowly making his way out of bed only after giving me the one eye open look after seeing the time on the clock. You know the look that really says “its Saturday and I’m up way to early wouldn’t you rather take up a sport that starts later in the day”? But being the wonderful man that he is he never verbalizes this and begins to get himself ready to be my biggest fan!
I know I need to eat something but I have such a mix of excitement and nerves I am not hungry. I drink one small cup of coffee and grab a pack of crackers along with bottled water and a banana to munch on in the car. We left the house around 6:50 as planned and drove the 45 minutes to Boston. The run was set to start at 8:05 and we were there by 7:40 so I had plenty of time to get my packet, drink some water, and have my first GU Gel for the day. I have to say the consistency of the GU Gel is just nasty! I have some of the GU chomps at the house but I decided to go with the Gel and I can’t even recall why.. The weather was perfect! I was afraid it was going to be very cold and I had opted to wear my running shorts rather than my long running pants. But there was very little wind and it began warming up rather fast the later it was getting. About 10 minutes before the race began I told my husband and my second biggest race day fan Blue, my black lab, that I would see them in hopefully about 2 hours and off I went to stand with the other racers at the starting line. The congregation at any starting line is a story all to itself; they are just crazy esp. if there are thousands of runners. And then just like that the race started!
I have learned my lesson about allowing the initial desire to “run like hell” right out of the gate is not the best thing to do in any race of distance so I settled down the desire and set into a slow comfortable pace. It’s funny the way the mind works and the thoughts that run though your head at seemingly random times. Around mile 2.5 there was a cattle pasture to my left. There were roughly 50 or so cows standing in group and they all started running at the same time in the same direction the race was going. I immediately began thinking of my grandfather who was a cattle farmer. This lead to thoughts of my grandmother who was and will always be one of my favorite people in the world. I will admit I looked up towards heaven and smiled because I knew I could feel their presence. Now if I had been at about mile 12 I may have thought I was delusional but I was still feeling super strong. A lady that had been in front of my for a while panicked when she saw a police car approaching towards us and cut right in front of my causing me to stutter step a little. She kept turning around saying she was sorry so I took my ear buds out and ran with her for a while. We chatted about running and our goals and occupations.  She was a teacher in Fl and was running in her 2nd ½ marathon. The thought crossed my mind once again that my grandmother was cheering me on of all the occupations in the world I find myself talking with a teacher which just happens to have been my grandmothers occupation. I’m just saying I know Im not crazy!
I had my second GU Gel on the run around mile 5. Next time I will make sure to take it near a water station. I had to deal with the taste for longer than I wish I had to. I lost the teacher at the turnaround. I believe she stopped to drink her water and I have gotten good at drinking and running. My mom called me just after the turnaround and I spoke with her briefly without ever missing a stride. If you’re wondering why I have a phone on me it’s because I got lost in the 15k I was in last year. I searched for my running group and husband for about an hour before Hawk, my running partner, spotted my hat. They will never let me live that one down. I still felt good around mile 7. My leg was holding up very well! My stride was off a little because of the soreness to my calf but I somehow forgot it was even bothering me. At some point you don’t even feel your legs anymore they are just there moving on cue. A youth minister from Thomasville caught up with me around mile 7.5 and we chatted for a while. I had my third GU Gel at mile 10. This one was a lime flavor and SO much better than the others I had. I sort of needed to Pee and there was the dreaded port-a-potty at the 10.5 mark. I thought it may be best I stop and pee since I knew the last three miles were going to be hard on me but as I simply started to slow my stride I could feel my muscles burning. It honestly felt better to keep on running at my pace than to slow down so I kept running.
As I had predicted the last three miles were the hardest for me. I had never run more than 10 miles EVER! I simply did not have time to expand my distance when I was training for this race. Most days I got in a minimum of 4 miles and some days I was able to do up to 6. Now if you count the biking I did then there were a few days I ran 5 miles and did a 5 mile bike ride. Needless to say I was starting to hurt a bit. I never allowed the option of walking to enter my mind. I tried to focus on any and all positive things I could. I pushed through the pain and crested the last hill which offered a view of the finish line. I knew my tank was about out so I held my pace rather than kicking in the afterburners. I was almost exactly ½ a mile away from the finish when I felt a funny pain in my right calf muscle. I did not know what it was at first it felt like someone had just slightly squeezed my leg. It was gone as quickly as it came on and I thought for a moment I had only imagined it. Then it happened; a full lock up of my right calf muscle that stopped me in my tracks. If I had even thought about taking another step I would have fallen on my face. I have never experienced a leg cramp before but I let me say they SUCK.  The cramp subsided enough that I was able to get running again. I knew I needed to get to the end fast before It locked up on me so I “ran like hell” just hoping it did not come back and send me airborne. 
I was able to finish without any more cramps thankfully. My husband and lab met me at the finish and helped me to the truck where both my legs went into fits of convulsions. They hurt but are funny to watch at the same time. My only guess is that I got dehydrated and that is what was causing the cramps. More water next time.  
My time was 2 hours and 23 minutes. Not what I was wanting but in the end I was okay with it. Not to bad for my first ½ marathon I don’t think. Now if I can just work up my mileage and add tempo runs as well as some hill work I think I can take a good bit of time off my next attempt. Till then I will own the feeling of the race finishers exaggerated enthusiasm that gives you a sense of superhuman strength, unreasonable optimism, and unbridled genius!