Sunday, December 12, 2010

Journey to my First Marathon- ThunderRoad 26.2

The day I began training for over 8 months ago, finally arrived Saturday the 11th at 7:45am sharp. It was around a brisk 30-35 degrees which was a vast improvement over the week temp's we had been having (around 18 degree mornings).

The week prior I was tapering (mileage is cut way back) and I began to feel like a small hippo. It felt strange to run a few short runs and eat carbs. I felt sure there was no way this was going to get me that 6.2 extra miles that I would need on Saturday. I felt so many different things- I was anxious of the unknown, nervous, excited, emotional, hungry...I was hungry all the time.

Training for a Marathon really does consume your life. So, if you ever hear someone talk about it ALL the time...its not that we really mean to, its really all that is happening right now. We eat, sleep, work and run. Thats it. There really is no time for anything else. When we aren't running, we are thinking about it. When doing other activities we are thinking, now- will this affect my run? Ie- going out with friends the night before a 15miler, playing basketball which could irritate my ITband, etc. Sounds fun, right?

Back to the story:

We wait in the warm convention center in anticipation. My running buddy- and our husbands/coaches/superfans were there with us too. We notice its 10 minutes til GO TIME, and we wanted to make one last "pitstop" before we headed out...but apparently everyone else felt that way too. I would like to thank the gallons of water I was consuming that week for this moment. So, we left without our stop, knowing it was going to be something that had to be taken care of soon.

The start was a cluster. We were herded like cattle around a gate- to then finally begin our long journey. They (as in the organizers have got to get better about this) I believe we started 4 minutes after the gun time. Eventually we got started and settled in. Here begins the count of the miles...

1-6 My running buddy and I ran together. She has a faster pace than me, but we stayed together for the first half. I think she stayed with me because I keep a very even pace and she was staying true to her word. She tends to get excited and go bananas in the beginning of races, so since we refer to me as "Turtle" I can lend her that support. Though we ran together we really said nothing. We listened to others (most half-marathoners) chatter amongst themselves. We pass a girl who is sobbing at Mile 4. My heart hopes that she was only a halfie, because if not- she has a long way to go. I feel awesome, but am searching for a portapotty.

7-10- I am finally warming up and still feeling good. I have had one "feeding time" by now and am good. I am by myself now...just trotting a long, still listening to those chatterbugs. At mile 8 I stop by a potty at a construction site as there was no wait. I know, right? Add another thing to the list of improvements- more bathrooms.

11-13 - Doing well. Since I haven't mentioned the amount of hills Charlotte is blessed with, insert that here. Thinking back, the hills didn't bother me one-ioda. In training, we ran some SERIOUS mountains of hills on the backroads out in the country- where we live. Shout out to the RB- Maghan- thanks for the Peach Orchard Road, Pine Grove Church and the Death Hill runs in your neighborhood. At mile 12.5 or so, the halfies head out to their party that I can hear. For a moment I am jealous. My time at this point was 2:19 (11 minutes faster than my half in VA Beach in September). It gave me a boost knowing that I would have PR'd if I would have been only doing the half.

14- This was where my demise begins. After being handed a coupon from the Chik-fil-a cow for a free sandwich ( What the heck am I supposed to do with that right now?) I began to notice my right IT band wanted to make itself known to me. I have NEVER had an issue with the right one. Its always been left. ALWAYS. Well, apparently all of my doctor appointments and foam rolling did nothing for the side that was "fine". Because here I was, 14 miles in with an IT band that began to hurt. It was at this point, I began therapy with myself. Telling myself that this is when the months of discipline and motivation come into play. That yes, even with a throbbing IT band I will run and finish this marathon. No matter what.

15-19- I am pretty much alone at this point. I have no clue where, I just follow the cones. I stop to stretch every mile and try to ignore the throbbing pain. I find comfort in my headphones. Sending another shout-out to DiddyDirtyMoney (or whatever the hell P Diddy's name is this week) and his new Coming Home song. I cranked the volume and was mouthing the words, eyes closed at some points and literally just running along. I am sure people driving by thought I was crazy. But what did I care? I left my self-consciousness at mile 10. Despite the pain- I was really happy. I am pretty sure this is as close as I get to a runners high. I was eating and drinking on schedule and checking that I was on pace, even with an issue.

20- I had been waiting for this mile since the race started. My friend- JW- was waiting for me, as expected , all smiles -to support me to the end of this 26.2. She donates one of her knee braces to my hurt ITband foundation and I roll it up to concoct some sort of pressure to put on it. It seems to help. A little. Stop and stretch.

21-24 She chatters along, which helps me forget that at this point...I'm kind of over running. I haven't really mentioned the lack of crowd support or entertaining things during this race. Lack was the operative word there. I could be spoiled by big races like the Rock N Roll series...but I knew going into this that there would be a lack. We are now running through Noda- a cute part of town, with friendly gatherings who cheer you on- and call out your number. I do love the fact that my name is on my bib- as I pass water stations- the volunteers are saying "Sheena, you look awesome!" That was nice. My body is now aching. I feel everything. I thank the officers for keeping us safe as one of them looks at me as we are going through an intersection and says "I hope your legs don't hurt as much as my arms." I say, "Seriously??" I get it was an attempt at a joke- and at one point may have gotten a chuckle out of me. Thankfully he didn't hear me call him a jackass, as I started up the next hill with my poor aching body and hurting IT. We pass a cute little neighborhood party- and my buddy grabs me a banana. Yum. For a moment, I revel in the fact that I didn't hit the "wall". The wall that sometimes shows up and shuts down your run. Stop and stretch.

25- The longest mile of my life. It is here that I have a major moment of weakness. My breathing- which has been steady all day- becomes short and ragged followed by crocodile tears. I can't explain why. I am guessing the inability to see the finish line, the new & unexpected injury and the journey in and of itself. That here I am, a girl who used to loathe running, on the way to finishing my first marathon. As I turn my final corner, I see my #1 fan- in running and life- standing at the top of the hill- camera ready. I try to pull myself together, while climbing hill #543 and I manage a smile to my camera-man. My friend leaves me and meets me at the end.

26.2- There is that line. The big one I have been searching and waiting for. And there is my running buddy- cloaked in her silver blanket, medal around her neck and smiling ear to ear as she joins me on my final quest. We are delirious. Chattering and exclaiming that we cannot believe we just did a marathon. I really can't feel my body at this point, so I push through to the finish line- my arms are up and my smile is huge. I have my medal, my silver cape and a smile. I, dammit, am a marathoner.

Saturday night my body was angry. My toenails, feet, ankles, calves, shoulders, legs- do you get the picture? My muscles would spasm and I was so uncomfortable. The next 2 days, I waddled around very slowly. Stairs were a 10 minute ordeal. Add in the fact that I think I am losing a toenail.

I finished my first marathon in 5hrs and 28minutes. Truthfully it was 29 minutes longer than I had hoped, but barring the issues I had- I feel okay about it. I am not fast but am improving. Thats all I can hope for.

I've enjoyed resting this past week and am looking forward to putting on my shoes again. No big plans yet...just taking a small hiatus from training.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

4 days and oh-so-counting.

I know its been awhile. Here I am, 4 days away from running my Marathon. My 26.2 mile journey is almost upon me. I can't believe it has come so soon. When I remember thinking about this week, it felt so far away. I am anxious, nervous and excited. Fingers crossed that everything goes okay as a lot can happen in 26 miles.

Other than that, we have been busy little beavers over here! We have finally finished our wet bar upstairs ( 4 years later- pics to come). It was originally a room that was an extra storage closet. J knocked out the door way, arched it, made a countertop and we installed hardwood floors (which we got for a great deal on Craigslist), did our own wood countertops and bought the sink from Ikea. I promise to post pics soon!

My parents are coming down for Christmas (which makes me so happy) and makes me miss my Alaskan halfs even more.

So for now, I leave you with this. One of my sweet bebe's that I adore. Love ya B!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Second time around...13.1

So here it is. My take on the past 4 months leading up to another Half-Marathon.

If you were to scroll through my blog and find my last re-cap, it will be a stark difference to what I will post today. My last half-marathon was October 17 of 2009. Training was tough and there was a lot of pain, and many tears. The race itself was hard, hilly and painful. Coming off that race, I took a 6 month hiatus from running all together. I didn't want to see it, talk about it, or be around anyone who did it. I am not a "natural" runner. I have to really, really work at it. And when training like that, you can really hit a wall which is right where I was.

So, around the spring time I started thinking about things again and talking with my Running Buddies. I would occasionally meet up for a 2-3 mile run. I still had no plans to run any distance. Around May I really started feeling like my life needed a goal. I was getting caught up and depressed about the fact that all I did was work, workout and sleep, repeat times forever. During my hiatus, I completed both the P90x and Insanity workout I really think that gave me a nice break from pounding the pavement.

In June, I paired up with my running buddies again and decided that I was going to do another Half. It was time to set a goal, and since I had such an undesirable first one, I was determined to have a great experience.

This time, I was much smarter about my training and taking care of myself. I already knew that my IT Band on my left leg was going to get ugly, unless I did something to help it. *Enter Josh Kollmann* Meet my new Sports Doctor. I saw him weekly for months and he worked with me and my issues until they were pretty much non-existent. Though the sessions were painful, and I often cursed him, he is truly a miracle worker. I ran my entire Half with NO pain in my leg at all.

This year, I knew what I wanted out of a race. I needed people and a lot of them. I wanted supporters and the location to be a great city that we'd never been to. I needed a race that was a big deal. So, after some research it was decided we would run the Virginia Beach Rock N Roll Half during Labor Day. The Rock N Roll series is a big series of races that travels throughout the US.

Training was so much different this time. There were no tears. There was really no doubt. I had a great doctor, a great family and great running friends. Yes, I was sore. Yes, I was tired. But I was so happy to be back...improved...stronger.

Labor Day came quickly and we were off to Virginia Beach a few days before the race, to get in a mini-vacay and just relax. We've had a busy year this year so technically it was our first chance to really get away somewhere. Saturday night we met up with my RB and her hubbie and we carb-loaded. I seriously ate like it was my job. Salad, french fries, shrimp, bread, pasta. Oh yes, it was awesome.

5:00am Race day. Its funny how people think all you need to run is a good pair of shoes and shorts. Though those 2 things are vital, there is so much more to it. Body Gliding your whole body from head to toe, biofreeze, blister preventers, Garmin, Zune, sport beans for energy.

We take the shuttle to the convention center/start line. Here are all of the people I wanted. All 20,000 of them. I'm nervous and ready to go. I'm ready for it to be over. We stood in the line for the port-a-potties twice. This is where I will not explain to you the things you experience in there. 95% of what happens in port-a-potties really needs to happen at someones home or hotel. To survive, one must take a large deep breath and get in and out in 1 minute flat.

The race starts and we are now standing in our "corrals" that are organized by your estimated finish time. Finally it was my time to go...Here goes nothing.

At this race there are bands and cheering squads/people at every mile marker. Though it was nice, it only last 20 seconds as I ran by.

Miles 1-8 were great. Nothing hurt, I felt great, I had a good pace. Miles 9-10 got harder. I start to feel blisters forming which is extremely annoying as I took extra care that morning to assure I wouldn't get any. Its now pretty hot out. I trained during an extremely hot summer and though I was used to it, it still can take a lot out of you. Miles 11-12...I was ready to be done. I knew the boardwalk was there...but where was it?? I see my favorite guy at 11.5m and am so thrilled. I fill a boost of energy that I desperately needed. I finally turn the corner and am now on the boardwalk...why did no one tell me the finish line was light-years away? I can't even see it!! But alas, there it is. There are the people and there is that line. I finish my second half-marathon 8 minutes faster than last year and with no knee or ITband pain at all.

It was a great race..and a truly great experience. I have learned so much more about myself.

So off I go... another great goal and a lot more miles. I am now hunting that decal that boasts 26.2. Wish me luck.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Its pretty embarrassing that I haven't blogged on here in so very long. Everytime I think about it, it seems overwhelming to come here and do an "update". I don't know the last time I blogged- I should probalby go ahead and check. Mmmmk. It was APRIL when I wrote last. Seriously?!?

I really don't have the energy to go through a detailed synopsis of everything that happened. But here it is in a nutshell:
*We celebrated our 6 year anniversary May 2...
* I turned 26. Kind of depressing as I am now another year closer to 30.
*I went to Kentucky twice- to meet the newest addition to the farm- a sweet colt named Cooper and again in July to spend time with my momma and my sister who flew in from AK.
*Sweet baby Caris and Bella are now BFF's and play all the time with eachother. It warms my heart.

Other than that I have just been working and running. My half marathon is about a month away now and things are going really well.

So, thats a VERY short version of everything that is going on. I will try to write more soon.


Thursday, April 22, 2010


I've been looking back through all of my previous posts and have to laugh at myself as almost all of them start with some line like "I'm a blogging slacker"...SO, although that sentence would once again be true, I won't say it. :)

How is everyone? We are doing well. Spring has finally shown its beautiful 70-80degree face to us...and I am loving every minute of it!

The Racing season is underway and has gotten off to a rather rocky start, but a start nonetheless. Fingers crossed that things start looking up.

I've really just been "livin' the dream" ... work, workout, run, sleep repeat over and over. My mom came to visit me last weekend- which was such a great time- we had an awesome girls weekend...spent some time at the spa, shopping, eating and just catching up. I love her.

The beginning of March we did adopt a new baby kitten which I am sooo thrilled about! I had been wanting another Bella but J really didn't want one, so I said either a small dog or cat...and voila! We got a cat. Her name is Caris (pronounced Care-iss) and she is literally the sweetest baby ever. Bella is getting used to her and they are finally starting to romp around together.

Other than that, we have really just been moving along. We have been doing a lot around the house...yardwork, pressure washing...etc. And finally we will be starting to finish our bar- which I cannot wait for!
I hope everyone is well...Until next time,

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Much needed...

I know, I know. I haven't blogged in about 3 months or so...I just haven't felt like nor had the time to sit and think and devote a good time of typing to talking about things. So, its 12:32am and here I am. Ready to update and just write about stuff. I don't really think there are that many followers out there who read this, but I don't really care.

I didn't even write about our amazing trip to Costa Rica, December 3-10. So, lets start there.

We (really I) chose Costa Rica for many reasons. The wildlife, the rainforests, the adventure...It truly was our best vacation thus far in our journey together. It had been about 3 years since our last "big" vacation (we went to St. Thomas, St. John and the British Virgin Islands) so it was due time to get away and see another part of our amazing world.

Arriving in Liberia, Costa Rica was an adventure in itself. It is not a main airport, kind of resembles a barn. Once we got our bags, we walked outside and the craziness started. Picture about 100 Costa Ricans yelling at you, trying to get your attention to take you wherever you wanted to go. I remember just laughing, because it was so crazy. Being the planner I am, we of course already had booked a driver. I was just scanning the signs for my name- and there was Leo- our wonderful guide for the next 5 hours- who was as thrilled to see us, as we were him. Leo quickly learns I love animals and we had only been in our van for about an hour before he pulled over on the side of the road to show me my very first monkeys. There they were, calling out to eachother- leaping from tree to tree. Amazing. That marked the first of many stops to see animals. Which thrilled me. We arrived at our hotel, which was not disappointing in the least. We had hot springs (which are kept warm by the volcano) on the property and we did get in there once. I really enjoyed them, until I saw a very large creature appear from under the water and scamper away. I promptly removed myself from the hot spring and went back to our cottage to shower. :)

The next couple of days were spent in Arenal (home of the glorious rainforest and volcano). We hiked A LOT during this trip- and it was very hot and very humid. Living in NC we are used to the humidity- but NC has got nothing on Costa Rica- this humidity was serious! Arenal is where we ziplined for the very first time (250ft above the ground) which after I got over the initial shock, was awesome. The people were gracious and the land was gorgeous. A truly great start to this trip.

We then left Arenal to go to Manuel Antonio- the land of the gorgeous beaches. It was about a 5 hour ride- and was very memorable, as we were able to stop to see the crocodiles who lived underneath a bridge we were traveling on. It was surreal to see them below you thrashing around, just waiting...These cute little german ladies sat behind us- speaking german to eachother. (Europe is hopefully our next BIG this lit a tiny fire underneath our tails to start learning german. ) Our first night in Manueal Antonio was gorgeous..the sunset was beautiful. I will post pictures underneath here...if possible. Blogger sucks about posting pictures. :(

For the next 3 days, we hiked, saw sooo many animals (monkeys, sloths, etc.) and just truly enjoyed time together. We found a hidden beach that was so quiet and serene and just stayed there chasing crabs and taking photos.

After being married for 6 years (this May!) and being together for 10 years, things become very comfortable and if you aren't careful they can become boring and old. Thinking back to this vacation gives me so much joy. From jumping into waterfalls, hiking down paths that probably weren't meant to be hiked on- and thankfully having a partner who braced himself as I tried my best to be an advanced hiker, to ziplining, to feeling the air move as monkies ran between our legs, seeing the sunset, meeting new people and remembering why we got married in the first place. I wouldn't trade anything for those times.
We ended 2009 with a trip to Kentucky for Christmas to visit my family and enjoy my sister and her hubby that flew all the way from Alaska. It was a great Christmas. New Years was spent in the mountains with our friends- we did this last year as well (could this be a tradition forming??) We rented a condo in hopes of spending some time just having fun and playing in the snow. Fun was definitely had, but playing in the snow- not so much. It was literally 2 degrees that weekend and we got snowed/iced in. We have had the craziest winter here, but it was still a great time. So, this just meant a lot more Catchphrase- which when mixed with wine and other alcohol can be a crazy game of battle of the sexes. Ahh yes, we laughed and argued pretty much everytime that stupid buzzer went off. J calls it the hot potato game- makes me smile.

Christmas Time

New Years

Moving on into 2010...things have been going pretty well so far. We were able to take a great trip to Alaska this February to see Sarah and Paul- I know, Alaska in February! But surprisingly it was no colder there than it was here so it made for a really great trip. We went on glacier hunts, went on a dog sled ride, and J finally got to break in that snowboard. Yes, we took that thing all the way to Alaska!

Other than that, I'm slowly starting to re-introduce running back into my life after running my half marathon back in October. No plans to run another one that long- just to do some smaller races and to really finally get myself where I want to be fitness wise.

James' season starts in 2 weeks and is once again packed full of travel- no surprise here. I can't believe its already the middle of March.

No big resolutions for the New Year, just goals and hopes. Here is what I am after this year: 1)Finishing what I started last year and finally get to where I want to be, fitness wise. 2) Doing another big leap to getting out of debt- woot! 3)Taking my puppy more places in the car besides the vet and groomer. 4) Go to Arizona for Thanksgiving as a couple...we have yet to go back home together. 5) Blog more.

These are just a few goals and really the only ones I can think of right now.

I hope this finds everyone well-

Until Next time....