My First Half-Marathon

This weekend I ran my first half-marathon and it was SO MUCH FUN! Now here is a little recap:

If you have been following my Instagram account for a while you know a couple things about me: 1) I LOVE to run 2) I ALWAYS get injured running. So when I spontaneously signed up for a half marathon 5 and a half weeks ago (when I was only running 3 times a week for like 3 miles each time), I set some pretty achievable goals (for me).

GOAL 1: Finish the race without injury.

GOAL 2: Finish the race without walking.

GOAL 3: Finish the race in 2 hours 10 minutes.

Now before I say how I did with those goals (although, TBH, you probably already saw how I did on Instagram), I have to say this thing was exciting for me. I have tried training for a half about once per year for the last 7 years… each time ended with injury.

I will admit, I made A LOT of mistakes in that time. And I truly believe that some of those injuries were for the best- I had a lot of unhealthy habits/ mindsets around undereating and over exercising that a bad injury snapped me out of and lead to the adoption of the healthy, balanced lifestyle I maintain now.

Okay, enough of the serious stuff, back to how it went! With the help of my incredible physical therapist (who is the reason I came back from running after a year of being plagued with injuries), I accomplished goal 1.

I came up with a pretty great expedited training plan to accomplish Goal 2. The mantra being “Slow and steady finishes the race.” And I am proud to say, I did not have to walk at all.

Now for Goal 3 (you should know I have a big ole grin as I type this), I sort of blew that time out of the water. I know I set a goal time that was really achievable for me, I trained by running between 9:30 and 9:45 pace. But I had no intention of breaking 2 hours.

Then the race started and I felt this unbelievable adrenaline rush. Seeing all these people getting out and running for the sake of accomplishing a goal or just staying active is so beautiful to me. Then to see everyone cheering for their family and friends along the course gave me this unparalleled energy. Before I knew it, I was not just on pace to break 2 hours, I was on pace to break an average 9 min/mile pace.

I ended up finishing in 1:55:53. The happy high I felt throughout and after the race made it one of my favorite experiences. I cannot wait to get out there and do it again!

Thank you to the Phoenix Marathon for the best first race experience I could have asked for, I already plan on signing up next year!

Moral of the story (because I love those)- sometimes the odds get stacked against you, but that does not mean you need to give up.

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Moral of the story #2: my boyfriend, though awesomely supportive, is not great at action shots and therefore I have no presentable shots from the race… but I am not the prettiest runner so that is probably for the best.

 

 

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Building Foundations

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”

I posted about the importance of healthy foundations on my instagram a few days ago, but I feel the need to expand and emphasize exactly how important it has been for me to create a solid foundation on which to live your life.

Our foundations will all be created in different ways, but our foundations are what can stabilize us in the most critical conditions. The stronger you build your foundations, the more you can withstand. Never neglect your foundations, when times are good focus on strengthening yourself (body and mind alike) because that will contribute to those foundations.

Last year, I neglected all the positive things in my life and focused on all that was negative and as a result I let my foundations kind of crumble down, so when additional challenges were added to my schedule I sort of fell through the cracks (more so than I ever had before). Climbing out from that mindset was one of the hardest things I have ever done. My mentality caused me physical pain and suffering because I classified everything in the wrong way (for my post on how I try to reclassify my struggles click here).

The past three months have been a full dedication to being truly happy and healthy and focusing on all the blessings in my life. The combination of eating a healthy amount, working out to get stronger (not to get skinnier), smiling more (and meaning it), and taking time to look around and be thankful for all the positivity that I am surrounded by (everything from people to weather, my puppies to my education) have resulted in the strongest foundation I have ever built.

Exactly what does this mean for me? It means that when I spent all of my spring break working then got the news that I was missing two classes I needed to graduate this May—I didn’t panic (well not for long). I did everything I could to remain calm and find a solution. Did I handle it perfectly? No. But did I let it break me? Definitely not!

Now I am: enrolled in 21 credit hours (including one Master’s level course), completing my thesis, organizing a student leadership day for junior high student, working 5 days a week (I take two days off because I am at school from 7:30-5:35 on those days), and dealing with the never ending stream of tests, case studies, and miscellaneous other responsibilities. I am lucky to workout three times in a week.  But- I am still eating over 2000 (mostly very healthy) calories a day. I am still staying positive. My body is hardly changing. And I know that when my schedule opens up, I will get to go back to my beloved workout routine.

Until then, I am resting easy on my strong foundations.

 

 

It didn’t quite go as planned.

“I cannot always control what goes on outside. But I can always control what goes on inside.”

Today I woke up early, went to a group weight class at my gym at 5:30, went to my three back-to-back classes starting at 7:30, got out at 11:45, went to work, and I had planned to come home and run 6 miles.

Well that didn’t quite go as planned.

I tweaked my knee 8 days ago after my first 8 mile run in over 3 months. Since then I have worn my knee brace, slowed down my running pace, and taken it easier with my leg workouts. Last night when I arrived at the gym I realized I had forgotten my brace, but I completed my interval-training workout on the treadmill anyways. I tried to complete a leg workout after, but my knee was in too much pain so I left.

This morning, my knee was aching throughout the weight class even though I was wearing my brace, but I was still determined to run tonight. I got home from work and confirmed my plans to run with my friend. As the run approached, I asked myself why I was so determined to run despite the pain. I immediately thought “because I am eating so much.” And my reaction if I didn’t run? Eat less at dinner.

I kid you not, those were my immediate reactions. And I thought I was doing so well.

At 2200 calories a day, I am still eating below a maintenance level for my height, weight, and activity level (assuming my workouts are 60 minutes long I should be eating almost 2400, but in reality my workouts are usually at least 90 minutes and I am still working on increasing calories). I worked out for an hour already today. Yet I still felt the need to either run or eat less. Old habits die hard.

But if I have learned anything in the last few months, it is that just because I can’t control what goes on around me, doesn’t mean I can’t choose how I handle it. Last year, if I hadn’t been able to run, I would have had lettuce and salsa for dinner. Tonight I didn’t run and I thoroughly enjoyed my turkey tacos, rice, beans, and veggies all topped with a little bit of lettuce and followed up with a tasty treat!

Things will not always go the way we planned— whether they be small things like me not being able to run today or things with a greater impact—but we control how we handle those changes. I know now, we can choose who we want to be. I choose not to be a slave to calories consumed and calories burned. I choose to listen to my body. And I choose to be healthy, happy, and to properly love and nourish myself.

 

 

 

Post script: this is not my original draft. The first time I wrote this my computer deleted it all. I literally wrote a post called “It didn’t quite go as planned.” And it got deleted. I don’t like this version quite as much, but I am not going to let the little things get me down. I did my best with the rewrite and I hope you all enjoyed reading.