Something In Training

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What it feels like to run a half marathon…

My half marathon was Labor Day weekend in northern New York. I’d tried to run as much as I could all through the Summer no matter how hot and humid it was. I was hopeful that the Genesee Valley would be kind to me and have some decent weather. I was wrong. I woke up at 5am, showered off, grabbed my bag and my sneakers, shoved a bagel in my mouth while trying to chug water, and hopped in the car. We trekked an hour and a half past the things I’d just driven by the day before and kept getting detoured to make it to the starting area with less than 30 minutes to spare. We checked in and dropped our stuff at the car and ran to the bathrooms while the announcer was calling half marathoners to the start line. It was sunny, warm, and humid, but didn’t seem awful–I’d run in this crap all summer!

Then the race started. We had chosen a spot near the middle and I quickly saw this race was not a bunch of noobs. Mile 1 was an out and back up Main Street. As my brother and I headed towards town the leaders of the pack were coming back in. “6:11, 6:15” the guy at the mile marker called to the leaders. I felt good though! I’ll never run that pace in my life! Meanwhile my brother by my side, who has been a lifelong distance runner, could have run that fast. When we finished mile 1 the guy called out “10:30”. Whoa whoa whoa that’s wayyyy too fast. I could maybe do a 5k at this pace, but no way keep that up for another 12 miles.

So I started to slow down…as the sweat started to pour off me and the sun kept getting hotter I just kept slowing…and slowing…and slowing…. Around mile 5 the leaders were on their way back…already 9 or 10 miles under their belts. They were sprinting! I later found out that the winner had set the course record the year before…a startling 1:08. I still was feeling pretty good. It was hot, but the views were beautiful. Not to mention we’d been going downhill for 2 miles straight. During mile 5 my brother said “peace out” and went ahead at a pace more comfortable for him. I found myself nearly alone on the dirt road nearly at the back of all the racers.

Mile 7 I started getting really hungry. That bagel definitely was not enough. I had planned to bring some snacks (like skittles!) to pop in my mouth while running, but I’d forgotten to purchase them. I deeply regretted it. I was even wishing that I had some nasty Gu on me to choke down. Twice a guy in a Gator came by and handed me a water bottle. I was so grateful to chug half of it and pour the rest on my head. The temperature was getting brutal. At one point I passed a house with beautiful gardens. There was a sprinkler watering them and if it the owner hadn’t been outside I probably would have run right up her driveway to use it. How could I still have 6 miles left?

The next couple miles I tried to keep pace with a man three times my age. Slow and steady. Right behind him. Totally creeping. We finally made it to where I’d see the leaders coming back…OMG ONLY A 5K LEFT!!! I thought YESSSSS!! But it was a steady uphill for that mile 11 and 12. And it was rough. I had to walk. I don’t know how I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I couldn’t tell if I was wet from sweat or the water I’d been dumping on myself at every water station. I finally made it up the hills and was back on the main road. Only a mile and a half left. I could do it!

When I finally was getting close to the finish line I was so excited. I passed people long finished and got a few high fives. The last 0.1 mile was around a high school track. As I came into the stadium I heard the announcer “Kaitlyn is here from Philly! This is her first half marathon. She sure picked a tough one.” Apparently my brother was nearby giving her some info…

I quickly stopped my run…jog…shuffle… once I crossed the finish line. All I wanted to do was sit down. Go to sleep. Be hydrated. I could tell I was super dehydrated from how tight my face felt. I had stopped feeling hungry, but I knew it was so important for me to drink some water and eat food. I forced down some oranges and half a bagel. All I wanted was to shower. We didn’t stick around and just drove back home. The shower felt amazing and so did bed when I took a short nap after.

To celebrate I ate ice cream twice along with trying wings from the place the invented them. We walked (ok ok I waddled) around Buffalo checking out the sites. It was a long day, but now I can say I completed a half marathon. I can’t really say I desire running for hours on end again any time soon, but you never know 🙂

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Half Marathon coming at me

In FOUR very short days I’ll be running my first half marathon. There’s a lot of thoughts going through my head. Mostly dread, exhaustion, craziness.

Here are some thoughts:

  1. What was I thinking? 13.1 miles? That’s really far. I don’t even like running
  2. I suck at training plans. I’m just really really bad at following them. Like I said I don’t really like running so finding myself with a schedule for 5 runs a week is crazy to me. I like my rest too much. And don’t even get me started about weekends.
  3. Training in the summer is probably just as bad as winter. The heat and humidity this summer have been brutal. You can’t escape it no matter the time of day. Most of the time I sucked it up, but it was a very sweaty event.
  4. It’s all gonna be ok. So I’m not gonna become some amazing distance runner. This isn’t really news to me. But you know what? I am gonna finish a half marathon this weekend. I may walk a bit. I may average well over 12 minute miles, but I’m going to do it. For me.
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Just keep swimming

My 15k was a success! Sarah and I had a ton of fun and stopped to use the bathrooms when we needed to because WE WERE JUST HAVING FUN. During it I told her “I think I could do a half” and that’s just what my brother asked me to do with him. So Labor Day weekend I will be joining my brother in New York for my first half marathon. It’s about 11 weeks away now and I’m trying to keep up with training during this busy summer.

Last week I PR’d a 5k with 3 sub 10:30/miles. It felt great! I don’t plan on running that fast for the half, but it is fun to challenge myself regularly. I’m trying to work on running AND strength at the same time which I think is helping me sustain a quicker pace.

Updated goals:

-Run a mile in 10 minutes

-Run a mile in 9 minutes

-Run 5 miles without stopping

-Run 15K without stopping

-Finish a half marathon

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Goals goals goals

Training for this 15k less than a 2 and a half weeks away has been tough! There’s been lots of ups and downs, but I’m feeling really proud of myself. A few months ago I figured I’d never see a mile with a pace of 10 minutes. 11:30 seemed like the best thing my body could produce, but I was wrong! This week I completed 2 consecutive miles with a pace of 10 mins/mile! No I couldn’t sustain that pace much longer, but I did it! 9 minutes doesn’t seem that far away any more. I don’t think my race will be a pace that fast, but I’m still feeling good about it!

-Run a mile in 10 minutes

-Run a mile in 9 minutes

-Run 5 miles without stopping

-Run 15K without stopping

Just gotta keep going! I have some traveling next week which stinks. And I’m sore, but I’m going to listen to my body and going to keep chugging.

I’ve got this.

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15 K training and travel

I’m technically in week 3 of 15K training and I haven’t been great. Work travel always gets in the way! I only made it to the gym once while away for 4 days. Don’t think that means I was lazy! I averaged 12000 steps/day.

That being said I wasn’t sure if I should go back and do the stuff I missed or continue on where I was supposed to be. I opted for the latter. Not sure if that was right, but we’ll see.

I scheduled myself 10 weeks for Hal Higdon’s 15K novice training with a mix of PiYo (to stretch and strengthen). I’m finding the combo a little difficult because some days I need to do a home and gym workout. It’s hard to do both and not just one! I hope to try both today!

8 weeks out…

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Next training for…..

A 15k! This will be my first long race and it may be pretty cold as it is the first week of April. I really haven’t been keeping my cardio up, but I still have quite a while to train.

I’ve never been much of a runner and I’m very slow which gets me down, but I’m determined to work on endurance so I can keep pace with my pal for the race! Our goal is low 11’s/mile–slow and steady. I tend to do HIIT and not just run so that’s my challenge. We’re also doing PiYo to work on our strength! I can’t wait to see how this goes. I know I’ll have my ups and downs, but I’m keeping this quote in mind.

Image found on pinterest:


New Routine

I’ve been struggling to fit everything in recently. Normally I wake up around 6 , work from 9-5, then go to the gym, dinner, relax and still try to be in bed by 10pm. But this routine makes things as small as going to the grocery store difficult. In order to free-up some time in the evening I’m going to try (again) to workout in the morning. Last time I tried this it was difficult. I just wouldn’t feel awake enough so I’d preform slowly and I was constantly worried about being late. Any one have some suggestions for how to get going quickly in the morning?

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Some days are tough. Yesterday just a short run was a struggle. My hip was hurting and I got a cramp almost immediately. But today I saw this:

And I felt ridiculous complaining.

Noah has turned his life around even with his physical handicap he’s succeeding! He broke through his depression to become strong physically and mentally. So strong that he was selected to grace the cover of Men’s Health magazine. I am grateful to him and the many others out there that inspire me as they overcome all odds! We all have our struggles, but we all can do what we put our heart to.

No complaints here. Just going to keep trying.

Stay positive y’all!

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So I did it again….

I did another Tough Mudder! This time I did the Capital Region mudder in WV. It turned out to be a beautiful day and a nice course. I had a great crew with me and we met some awesome people. It was difficult, inspiring, fun, challenging. I hope to do another one!

I certainly still have a lot of strength to work on. I wouldn’t have made it through without the help of my boyfriend, strangers and my teammates. We all depended on each other. Upper body is definitely my weakness. I want to work harder on my core and arms for the next one….

For now I’m going to focus on running. Strength will still be super important, but I’ve decided to sign up for my first 15k. It is in April so I have a long time to train. My current pace is laughable so my expectations aren’t high. I just hope to keep putting one foot in front of the other. The idea of training in the cold sounds really terrible to me so this will be a challenge! Maybe even more than Tough Mudder!!



tough mudder 2014

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New England Tough Mudder 2014

New England Tough Mudder 2014….it’s time to sign up again. And I can’t decide if that’s what I want to do. I’ve still been good about going to the gym and I HAD SO MUCH FUN, but it’s expensive. Right now it’s the cheapest it will be–about $90. But I have to add to that a long drive and a 2-night hotel stay, food and any training supplies.

I really love the motivating factor of having something to train for. The NETM is in May next year. That could be horrible. August was awesome. The weather was not too hot and not freezing. It also provided a wonderful summer of time to train.

At the same time I’m trying to be motivated to promote my etsy shop, Pieces By Panda ( Spending time on that could take away from training. It also can take money.

I may just wait to see when the TM dates closer to me are….

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