Monday, December 5, 2011

Dallas White Rock Marathon Recap

Yesterday was the big day. After 25 weeks of training with Luke's Locker in Allen, I ran my first 26.2 marathon. I can honestly say that it was the HARDEST thing I have EVER done.

Back Story: Saturday night we went to our Sunday School classes Christmas party. The hosts from our class are also the ones that encouraged me to attempt my first marathon. Amy has run several marathons and decided to sign up with Luke's Locker Marathon Training Group and told me about it. I knew I couldn't tackle this endeavor on my own so I too joined Luke's training program. Let me just say it was awesome. The coaches, training and support have been invaluable. Amy has been a huge cheerleader and encourager for me during this process. At the party she let me borrow a copy of the movie "Spirit of the Marathon" to watch that night before the big day. I did just that and it was so inspiring. I recommend to anyone considering a marathon to watch it. Amy also asked if I had any good luck items that I would be bringing with me to the marathon. I didn't, she walked back to her room and came out with her good luck charms for running her marathons. A beautiful pair of silver 26.2 earrings. She let me borrow them for good luck. I proudly wore them yesterday during my marathon. Thank you, Amy!

So, I set the alarm for 4:45 a.m. to give me time to prepare for the race. I needed to eat and make sure I had all my gear, which had been laid out the day before. We were on schedule and headed out at 5:45 a.m. Plenty of time to get to Fair Park. WRONG! It took 2 hours and 10 minutes to get there when it should have taken 40 minutes. The rain that stayed with us the entire day caused gridlock on the way. It took us 40 minutes to go 1/4 mile. We were making great time, we got to the 75 and 30 exit and sat on the bridge barely moving for 40 minutes. Once we finally got on 30 every exit was backed up forever. When we finally got off at our exit the traffic was backed up at every light. A police officer was redirecting traffic to another route which we were unfamiliar with and at this point we had no idea where we were or how far from Fair Park we were, plus there were no signs and no more police officers directing traffic. Finally at 7:50 a.m. I could see where we needed to park but traffic was inching along. At this point I burst into tears. Keith had missed the bus that was suppose to take him to his relay point, I was going to be late for the marathon and there would be no time to find my running partners from Luke's. I was completely FRAZZLED! Keith pulled into the parking lot, ignored all the people directing traffic and rushed me to the front gate so I could run in and find the baggage drop and the corral to start.

I was dropped off at 7:56 a.m. The race started in 4 minutes. I started following a lot of other runners who were trying to get to the bag drop off and the start line. I found the entrance to the corrals but didn't see the bag drop off spot. I started asking people. I found a lady who looked like she worked there and asked her where the bag drop was. She pointed in the opposite direction and said it was a 10-15 minute walk to it. The gun went off to start the race. I freaked! I HAD to drop off our bags. The bags contained dry clothes and shoes for after the race. We would need them. It was cold and rainy. I ran to the bag drop and checked in our stuff. While dropping off the bags I ran into Johan, the first runner for the relay team I had encouraged being put together so I would have someone new to run with every 5 miles or so.

I also had to stop in the bathroom. When I came out I didn't see him so I figured he went to the corral to start the race. I headed that way too. I could see the corral but couldn't find the entrance gate. There was a chain link fence between me and the corral. The race had started I wasn't sure which corral was left waiting to start, I got frantic again and climbed the chain link fence and jumped over. At this point I see Johan heading my way from the bag drop so I wait for him and we start the race together. I run with Johan for about 2 miles and realize I'm running a sub 10 minute pace and decide to slow it down. He goes on ahead to his relay point, Keith is waiting there for him.

When I pass the 5 mile mark I start looking for signs on where the relay team will enter. I'm hoping to find Keith and run with him for a bit. I've been running by myself since mile 2 because of the chaotic start. The miles are not marked very well between miles 5 and 10. I finally see Keith ahead of me and catch up to him. We run together for a few minutes. He has just realized he is running a steady incline. It happens to be the portion of the course with the biggest incline. I didn't tell him this ahead of time in hopes of not psyching him out. I end up leaving him behind when he decides to take a walk break.

Onto point two. Kim is to join me for this leg of the race. I was really looking forward to it since I had been running solo for the majority of the race until this point. I pass her relay entrance and keep going because I know Keith is behind me but I'm not sure how far. I try and take it slow, one to conserve energy because I know I started out to fast and two to allow Kim to catch up. Finally, as I'm entering the White Rock Lake trail portion I see some porta-potties. I decide to stop and luckily Kim catches up with me. I was so happy to see her. Around mile 12 I start to hit the wall. Way to early in the race for this to happen but with all the drama of trying to get to the race, my start being too fast, the cold and rain were taking a toll. I pulled out one of my mini payday bars. They work better for me than GU. I knew I needed to eat something because my vision was getting blurry and I'm also thinking I just want to quit. My left hamstring is hurting, my hands are freezing (I steal Kim's running gloves and never give them back) I have no energy, blurry vision and I feel really stiff. I don't quit though because I have told everyone I know, people on Facebook and complete strangers. I can't tell them I just gave up so I keep trucking along with Kim's encouragement.

I guess it is around mile 15 I run into the Jane's (Jane Burk and Jane Wilson) from my Luke's Running Group. Jane W. is doing awesome and is like the energizer bunny and just runs on past us. Jane B. is running this as a 22 mile training run because her marathon is in Houston in a couple weeks. Jane B. stays behind and runs with Kim and I. She is a huge blessing to see. Very supportive and encouraging! I have to make yet another porta-potty stop at mile 16 so Kim runs on ahead to pass off the timing chip to Derek who is running the next leg.

Jane and I run/walk together to mile 16.5 where we pick up Derek. Derek ran with us until the first water stop where myself and Jane B. grab some water and walk and Derek keeps on going. So proud of Derek!!! Jane B. and I run/walk (I did more walking than I wanted to going into this race) I'm still having a lot of stiffness and my hamstring is killing me. But with Jane B's encouragement I keep on trucking. Just over the Dolly Parton hills is the last relay point. It is mile 21 and Jane B. and I pick up Sam.

Sam is a ball of energy. Great person to have bring me in the last 5.2 miles. She use to be a track coach and has one of the most positive and enthusiastic personalities. I told Kim at packet pick up on Friday that I was afraid Sam's enthusiasm at mile 21 might irritate me because I would be so tired at that point. I'm happy to report it didn't. Sam provided the encouragement both Jane B. and I needed to finish. Jane B. decided to do the whole marathon and not stop at mile 22 as she had planned for her training run. Jane B. got a second wind around mile 24 and I didn't see her again. Sam was great at keeping me going....we would run to mile markers she picked out along the way. I'm so glad she was there or I probably would have walked the last 5 miles. Sam was singing, dancing, encouraging all the runners and her liveliness kept me going. She encouraged one guy to stop walking and run along with us. She is an awesome encourager. I'm not going to lie. This last stretch was difficult. Sam would tell me we were going to run and I would role my eyes, but I did it. My stomach was getting very upset around mile 24 and I made my last porta-potty stop. I also had Sam feeding me pretzel sticks for the salt. When we finally started to head into Fair Park and passed the mile 26 banner I knew there was only .2 to go. Sam really encouraged me to pick up the pace and finish strong. It was so hard. I just wanted to be under the yellow "Finish" banner. I was never so happy to be done. Kim and Derek greeted me, Keith had been getting pics of me finishing and caught up to us as we walked to the finishers building to get my medal and change clothes. It was a huge feeling of accomplishment and I was sooooooooooo happy to be done and get out of the cold and rain.

We headed into the finishers building where I received my medal and finisher shirt, took some photos and grabbed a bagel and banana.

I got my clothes and changed. I've never been so happy to get into dry clothing. Then we got to walk another 2-3 miles to the car in the cold and rain.

Kim, Sam, Derek, Keith and I enjoyed a celebratory lunch at Chili's. I left the house at 5:45 a.m. and got home at 5:45 p.m.. It was a long day and one that I am proud of!

P.S. Huge Congratulations to my husband. He has never even run a 5K and came out on a cold, rainy day to run a 5 mile leg of the relay to support me. He is the BEST! I am so proud of him. I love you, Keith!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I did it...You CAN too!

So, I ran across some photos recently of my "Fat Days". I know I've lost a lot of weight over the past year but to see it in pictures really makes it REAL for me. If that makes any sense. I'm not proud that I had let myself get so overweight but I am happy to say that through a lot of hard work I've lost it.

Just a year ago at this time I was training for my first 5k and beginning to lose weight. A year later and I'm training to run a full marathon in less than 70 days.

I'm printing the pictures below and hanging them up in my bathroom as a reminder to myself that I NEVER want to be that overweight again.

A little back story. My doctor is also a friend from Church. So I see him at Church on Sunday and different events that the Church puts on. I was in to see the doctor last week because I was having some back pain (as mentioned in my last blog post). It is a pinched nerve. On Sunday, our Church hosted "Taste Of Cottonwood". All the Life Groups (Adult Sunday School) put up a table with a featured dish. I'm our classes social director so I orchestrated our classes theme (Breakfast Casseroles) and was at the event helping to serve samples. Keith did his normal wandering around and talking to everyone. He is so shy! He saw Doc and asked him if he had finally fixed me so I would quit complaining. He is so sympathetic. Keith also asked him what he thought about the 83 pounds I lost. Turns out Doc said I had lost A LOT more than that.

Let me backtrack a bit....when I started running in May 2010 and changed up my diet in July 2010 I "guesstimated" on my weight. We didn't have a scale at the time and I did not want one because I could look in the mirror and see how overweight I was. It is a good thing doctors keep a record of your weight when you come in or you may never now the real number. Back to today....I called the Doctor's office to get my official "High" weight and to my AMAZEMENT I have lost 131 pounds since October 2008.

131 POUNDS! That is a small adult or teen. I am flabbergasted! I now realize why I get the reaction I do from people I haven't seen in a long time.

So, I say to those of you who are struggling with weight loss, IT CAN BE DONE! Take baby steps, start out slow but know that YOU can do it. Find what you enjoy and stick with it. I'm a real example of someone who did it!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, September 22, 2011

TDF '11

I ran a 20k race known as "Tour des Fleurs" this past Saturday with my Luke's Locker running group. The race is included as part of our Lukes Fit Marathon Training. It began at the Dallas Arboretum and followed the White Rock Lake trail and veered into some of the beautiful older Dallas neighborhoods. This is part of the White Rock Marathon that I will be running later this year.

The Arboretum is all decked out for fall and beautiful. I'd like to take the kids back to see it.

The race started at 7:30 a.m. and the night before it had rained. It was VERY humid out. The humidity was disappointing since the weekend before we were spoiled and got to enjoy cool, fall like, weather. I was not pleased with my time of 2:32:51. However, I was thrilled to get an email from our coaches recapping the race. I wasn't the only one complaining about my pace and several other runners commented that their time was slower than their best half. The coaches had the following to say:

* The weather-need I say more. November and March are far better Half Marathon months than September.

* You are not currently optimally trained for THIS distance. Our current focus is a race more than twice as long as this 20K. We have just completed hill training which has stressed our bodies and we did not taper (rest and recover) for this race.

* This race really wasn't a 'race' for us, it was a training run to practice a distance at our marathon goal paces-faster than what we have been doing our long runs, but not as fast as I know most of you could run this distance under ideal conditions.

So, personally I felt great the first half of the race. As we veered off the lake path and into the neighborhoods it got really HILLY. I was doing great until I got to one hill that never seemed to end. I don't know which street this was but I decided to walk the hill. It was after this that my toes started to bother me. I think this was around mile 8.

The last .4 miles seemed never ending. I was dog tired, my foot was killing me and my back was bothering me which I found out today is the result of a piched nerve. My lower back has been bothering me for a couple months, I've had trouble sitting because of the pain so I finally went to see my doctor. He said it was a pinched nerve and put me on a 9 day steroid regimen. I'm hoping this helps clear it up.

But I FINISHED and am mentally preparing for this Saturday's 16 miler.


Me along the trail.

About to cross finish line with running coach, Kristen.

20K Results (click to enlarge)

LIVE 80 – The Ultimate 80′s Experience – played 80′s hits on the Martin Rutchik Concert Lawn

Have a blessed week!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A visit with my Grandparent's

Early Saturday morning I headed out with Kim and dad and we drove to Minnesota. Nothing like a 14 hour drive to kick off the holiday weekend.

We arrived in Pine Island, MN around 8:15 p.m. that evening and were greeted by my grandfather. The last time I had seen my grandfather just over a year ago when he moved from Sherman, TX to Pine Island, MN. He didn't recognize me at first. I've lost 82 pounds since I last saw him and if you know my grandfather then you know he says exactly what everyone is thinking. There is no sugar coating his remarks and you need to have a thick skin around him. Once he realized it was his eldest granddaughter he had to share that the last time he saw me I was for a lack of a better word, huge. He held his hands very far apart to emphasize how wide I was when he last saw me. And for the remainder of my visit asked everyone we encountered who knew me to "guess how much weight I'd lost?" Gotta love that old man. That is just the way he is and in his own way was expressing how proud he was of me. Our family certainly gets our sarcasm from Grandpa Jackson.

Sunday morning after Kim and I woke up...around 9:00 (nice to get to sleep in) we ate a little breakfast and chatted with dad and grandpa at the breakfast table then headed out for a run on the Douglas Trail. It was a beautiful morning, in the mid 50's and I actually enjoyed my run. Amazing what cooler temperatures will do for your endurance during a run. The 6.5 miles flew by with beautiful scenery, cool temps and a flat trail ;-)

After our run we enjoyed a little lunch and headed to the nursing home to visit Grandma Jackson. It is hard to see her in this enviorment. All my memories of Grandma are of a very active and healthy older woman. It saddens me to see her frail and needing assistance to accomplish everyday tasks. I certainly treasure the time we spent visiting with her and it's great to hear all the stories she and grandpa share. They have been married for 66 years and first met when they were 13 years old. Her mind is sharp and she can recall details from 60+ years ago as if they were yesterday.

My cousin, Troy, stopped in to drop off a gift for grandma the first day we were there visiting. He had been on a business trip in Paris and brought her back some chocolates. Kim and I looked at each other and said that he was trying to one up us. After we left the hospital we stopped at Aunt Low & Uncle Joe's home to visit a little more with Troy and his precious daughter, Lizzy. Afterwards, we went back to grandpa's to heat up a homemade lasagna Aunt Low had left for us. Guess who had been by grandpa's? Yep, Troy. He had left grandpa a bottle of cognac from none other than Paris. What a brown noser! ;-) In the picture below you can see Kim, dad and grandpa enjoying the cognac as we waited for dinner to finish cooking.

Monday we headed to Aunt Low and Uncle Joe's home for a nice steak lunch. We were spoiled this trip by Aunt Low's generosity and delicious cooking. We had a nice visit with them before heading to the nursing home.

After our visit with grandma at the nursing home we headed back to grandpa's and Kim and I took an evening run. We went on the same Douglas trail and enjoyed the 60 degree weather and smell of the fresh outdoors. We ran 7 miles that evening and then returned to grandpas where we had a entertaining game of scrabble.

Tuesday morning was our last day in MN. We woke up and headed over to Aunt Low & Uncle Joe's to borrow their bikes for a bike ride. Uncle Joe went with us. A little side story, back in the early 80's Uncle Joe took Kim and I on what was suppose to be a little ride around town. That little ride ended up being a 30 mile bike ride. I don't remember our exact ages but if I had to guess I would say Kim was around 8 which would make me 13. After returning from this bike ride Kim got sick. To this day Kim claims that her getting sick was not a result of the long bike ride but rather a poorly timed bug. The rest of the family believes she got sick after being forced to ride 30 miles. Anyway, Uncle Joe agreed to go on a bike ride with us and we headed to the trail and had a relaxing 10 mile ride. We were much kinder to our Uncle than he had been on us many years before. It was nice visiting with him and enjoying the beautiful fall weather. It was in the high 50's when we headed out on our ride. Pine Island has a borrow a bike program and we passed by the building while we were out.

Soon after passing this building Uncle Joe was trying to get my attention to take another route. When I looked back at him his bike had hit a lip in the road and he flew over his handle bars, tucked in a shoulder and did a somersault on the pavement and then jumped up like a jack-in-the-box. Thankfully, he wasn't hurt and there was no blood, but it now gives us a new story to replace the one we created 20+ years ago when Kim got sick.

After returning the bikes to Uncle Joe's we walked the 1/4 mile back to grandpa's to shower and have lunch before heading back to the nursing home for one last visit.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to visit with my grandparent's for a few days. Tuesday's visit my grandmother looked her best. The two days before she had been in her bed during our visit. I'm glad my last memory of this visit was of her up and out of bed.

Kim and I then headed to the airport. My dad and grandpa drove us into the city to catch our flight and luckily everything was running on time. We even made it back to Dallas 30 minutes earlier than planned.

Thank you to my MN family for your generous hospitality!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Week 8 Day 1 of marathon training - Torture at Hoblitzelle Park!

Sorry, I haven't posted in a while. Nothing real exciting was happening in the marathon training. We have been increasing a mile each Saturday and today was the first time we added in "hill repeats" to our 10 mile run.

We started off running 6 miles of very hilly terrain. This is the first time we took our new route and to say it was hilly was an understatement. When we arrived at Hoblitzelle Park in Plano we ran for a while on the running trails to a horse shoe area with a gradual hill that is about a 100 yard incline. We ran up and down the hill 3 times. We focused on working on our form and keeping our pace steady and not speeding up while running the hill. It was a COMPLETE beating! I felt muscles in my legs that I have never noticed before. I was completely spent at the end of the hills. I left my Garmin on during the hill repeats and it added .90 miles to our mileage.

After the hills we walked a short way to the next water stop, refilled and started back running on the trail in the park. Upon exiting the park we returned to the hilly terrain for our trek back to Luke's Locker. I had zero energy left and had to dig deep to make it back. We walked several times and the last two miles my foot pain returned in my toes. It was miserable! I've never had to dig so deep to finish a run. I felt bad for the running coach, Kristen, that was with me. I had nothing positive to say and have never been so happy to see Luke's and the end to my nightmare.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Week 3 Day 2 & 3

So, Sunday called for "20 minutes easy". I ran at 9:00 p.m. because I knew there was no getting up early on Sunday after such a long day Saturday. I ran 2 miles at 11:11 pace. It was a good run in the dark despite the heat.

Today called for "45 Minutes or Cross Train". I went to boot camp but had to leave 15 minutes early. Kinda glad to leave because it was a butt kickin. I rushed home, showered and took Connor in for a over due 11 year check up. He turned 11 in March. He is just under the 5 foot mark, 59 1/4 inches, much to his disappointment and weighed in at 93 lbs. As he was sitting on the exam table I couldn't help but notice how big he is getting. He had just returned yesterday from a week long trip to Branson with Kim and her family so I don't know if it was that I hadn't seen him in a week but as I looked at him I noticed he looks older and is filling out. He and his sister are growing TOO fast! He also got two shots which he wasn't thrilled about but at least can handle WAY better than his sister.

Courtney is off to Hawaiian Falls with friends and I'm headed out to show homes in a bit.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Week 3 Day 1

I was up and going at 4:45 a.m. and headed to Luke's for my 5 mile run. It was hot but not near as bad as the weekend before. I felt really good on the run. I managed 11:54 pace.

After the run we did some stretching and then I headed into Luke's for a clinic on Hydration. They talked about the importance of drinking enough water before, after and during a run and to test out the different type of sports drinks to see which work best with your digestive system. A good tip I picked up was to weigh yourself before a run and immediately after. If you lose more than 1/2 a pound then you not hydrating enough before running and if you gain weight then you are over hydrating. Both scenarios can result into problems.

Saturday night we went to a concert with friends. It was Jack FM's Throwback Concert (4-80's Cover bands). My favorite was Back in Black (AC/DC) then Fan Halen (Van Halen), Queen Nation (Queen) and my least favorite Guns 4 Roses (Guns N' Roses). The first three bands sounded just like the originals but the last...not so much!

Fan Halen

Back in Black

The concert was a lot of fun until we left. It was at the Gexa Energy Pavilion (Starplex) by Fair Park and when we got to Keith's truck the stereo had been stolen out of the dash. It was a aftermarket stereo that was touch screen and had a GPS. That really caused the evening to end abruptly on a bad note.

It was a long up at 4:45 a.m. and went to bed at 1:30 a.m. I was's rough getting old.

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