Final preparations are underway for Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans. As I finish making the short list of items I need, I glance at my handful of medals lining the wall. It is hard to believe where I am today compared to where I was a year ago.
It was about this time last year that I was five weeks into training for my first half marathon. Little did I know my five-mile run would be the last I would make before attempting a distance I could not wrap my head around running. I was dumb, I knew nothing about running distance and logging five miles in a pair of cross trainers was more than my ankle could handle. Nine weeks, sans running, later I found myself in my first corral. While I wanted to finish the 13.1 miles in less than 2:30, my only REAL goal was to run the entire way.
The countdown began and I became nervous, only thinking about how I was going to make it to the finish line. There was an epic battle in my head starting at around mile eight and it lasted until mile 13. It was not until I could see the finish line that I knew I would finish without stopping. The rush of pure emotions, happy, tired, proud, mentally drained, accomplished and physically spent. Running another one was not on my radar.
Now, 10 months later, I am preparing to have my busiest month to date. I no longer worry if I will make it to the finish line, in fact, I have already gotten to the end faster than I imagined was possible for me. Now I have visions of a sub 1:30 finish and a full marathon at some point.
You already know about #RnRNOLA this weekend. After a weekend off, and I still may run the Hot Chocolate 15k that weekend, I will travel down to Austin for the Austin half marathon and round out my month of running adventures, with the Cowtown half marathon. Busy month, lots of mileage.
The most important event of my month is not a race but rather a ride. Immediately following Cowtown, I will drive back to Dallas to ride in the Wheel to Survive.
I will get into the Be The Difference Foundation and its fund raiser more next week, but if you want to get a glimpse of the work they are doing for ovarian cancer, I highly encourage you to check out their website. If you would like to make a donation to my ride, click here.
I am very thankful I am able to run and if I can use my running to help out a terrific cause, that is what is known as a win-win.
It is race week! I still get excited when I know I am going to run a race in a few days and this weekend it is the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans. This will be my first time to The Crescent City for a run and everyone tells me it is going to be a blast.
Before I tell you about my plan for this weekend’s race, I want to flashback to December for a second.
I had just completed four half marathons in a 42-day span, including two in one day, and felt like my legs were strong. A former boss was going to run his first full marathon at the Metro PCS on December 8 so I told him I would join him and run my first as well.
Insert Polar Vortex No. 1.
A rare ice storm forced the race to be cancelled which was probably a blessing since I was rehabbing a foot injury leading up to the race. There was a failure to launch on my first attempt at a full.
Speed up time to last Thursday night’s social run where fellow #sa2lv crew member Nancy and I are eating pasta and talking about plans for RnRNOLA. The conversation went from the carb-loading dinner on Saturday night to how she and Kelvin may, or may not, have been plotting a sneak attack on me to get me to run the full.
I have run two halfs so far this year and am coming off an 11-minute PR at Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona last week. I have the goal of completing 14 halfs before the clock strikes 2015 but I also know at some point I would like to attempt the full again.
While I am not opposed to attempting the full this weekend, I do not think it is going to happen. The only real issue I have with trying my hand at the 26.2 distance is the time. I have a flight to catch at 1 p.m. and I HATE rushing to get to an airport.
I still have a few days to kick this around in my head but running a full and racing to the airport to sit on a plane does not sound like a smart plan.
So there you have it. This weekend’s race is going to be about having fun. It will be my third half of 2014 and I will have already earned my Rock Encore Heavy Medal.
All that being said, stay tuned as I reserve the right to change my mind.
Sitting down to write this, I am so excited! As today, I am officially launching my running blog. My hope is that everyone who reads this will take something from it or, at least, feel like they know me a little better than they did before. With that, I bring you my Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Recap.
I arrived in Phoenix late Friday afternoon. I did not have a plan for how to get to my hotel from the airport but the $2.00 light rail was a perfect solution. While waiting on the train, I struck up a conversation with a lady who was in town from Chicago to run the race. After boarding the train a third person joined in on the conversation which quickly drew the attention of several locals riding home from work. They just shook their heads at our stories of where we had run and how running for 13.1 miles could possibly be a form of entertainment. A few stops later I was at my hotel and wished my fellow runners good luck. A couple of friends from the #sa2lv crew were already looking for something to do so we met up in the lobby to discuss our options. Stepping out the front door of the hotel I notice we are across the street from US Airways Arena and the Suns just happen to be playing the Dallas Mavericks. That was all I needed to know and my Friday was booked! The Mavs won a tightly contested game and I mixed it up with the locals.
The Expo I went over to the expo early in the morning to pick up my race packet but knew I would be headed back later that afternoon for the big social media tweet-up. Everything went smoothly at packet pick up and after lunch and some laying out by the pool, it was time for the #sa2lv crew to reunite. I had already met up with a couple of the people with whom I ran with last November and as we walked around the expo we quickly spotted others from the group. One person who we bumped into was @andreabarber aka Kimmy Gibbler from Full House. She was super nice and allowed me to snap a quick photo. Photo bomb courtesy of Daniel.
At the tweet up, @pavementrunner and @runemz discussed social media’s role in the sport of running. Lots of good information was dished and they were so popular, it was standing room only around the main stage. Immediately following the Q&A session, the #sa2lv reunion was on! We laughed, we talked about what we had been up to in the two months since our Epic Feat and pondered if we could repeat something like it this year. And of course, there were photos.
The Race After tying my PR of 1:56 at the New Year’s Double on Jan. 1, I felt like I could still lower that time at some point this year. When John suggested I should run with him and his goal of a 1:45 finish, needless to say, I was not quite sure that was a time I was ready to chase. Nonetheless, I started in corral #1 with him and figured I would hang with him as long as I could and see what happened.
John was off and going well faster than the 8:01 pace he was planning on running. I figured that would happen but there was no way I was going to fall into that trap and struggle to finish the race. Instead, I kept him in my sight and used my watch to make sure I was sticking to the game plan.
Mile 1 – 8:03
Mile 2 – 8:02
I was running the pace almost to perfection and felt really good doing so. John was still in my sight but the starting-line rush was starting to fade and I was left to myself for pacing. Which I did not maintain very well.
Mile 3 – 8:11
Mile 4 – 8:30
John was way out in front of me and I was significantly off the pace needed for a 1:45 finish. I made the goal of catching up to John by mile six, which did not happen.
Mile 5 – 8:07
Mile 6 – 7:56
Mile 7 – 7:56
Finally at mile seven I had pulled back even with John who immediately informed me we were off his goal pace. I had not looked at my watch for several miles and was not about to try and do the math so I took his word for it. I did tell him that I felt really good still and if we were close come mile 12 I wanted to go for it.
Mile 8 – 8:08
Turning the corner at the end of mile eight was the lone hill on the course. Although not a long hill, it was not a welcomed sight. The top of the hill provided a spectacular view of downtown Phoenix and had I not been running after a time, I would have stopped to snap a photo but now was not the time and back down the hill we went.
Mile 9 – 8:06
Mile 10 – 8:06
Closing in on 5K left in the race, I still felt really strong. In fact, I felt stronger than I had at the start of the race. I told John, “I’m going for it!” and off I went.
Mile 11 – 7:59
Mile 12 – 7:39
I was ready to stop. I was tired. What little form I had was falling apart. I had peaked too soon and was going to falter to the finish line. At least that is what was going through my mind. Then I caught glimpse of a lady who was just cruising along. She looked strong. She was going to eat up the last mile. I told her, “I’m finishing with you. Do not let me fall behind.” She told me to come on. So I did.
Mile 13 – 7:27
Total time – 1:45:13
An 11-minute PR!!!
This race saw my fastest mile, 5k, 10k and half marathon times. Ever! I honestly had no idea running a time like that was even possible for me. Now its in the bag and I am already starting to think about when I might try to go lower.