“Sometimes the stars don’t line up”

I heard the title of this post a lot this past weekend.

Last weekend was the Bayshore Marathon.  It was supposed to be my second marathon.  After 18 weeks of training, trading in nights out with friends (for early morning runs), and other “sacrifices”, I did not finish my marathon.  Instead, I stopped after reaching 13.1 miles.

I made sure to “eat right” during the days preceding the race.  I tried to maintain my usual diet, while slowly increasing my daily carb intake.  Unfortunately, sometimes our systems just decide to be goofy anyways.  That’s what happened to me.  (Don’t worry, I won’t share every detail in my story)

Long story short, I became sick the night before the race.  I slept for maybe two hours- combined.  It was terrible.  I woke up at 4:30AM to start getting ready for the race.  I like to wake up early on race days (or long run days) so that I can eat as early as possible.  The last thing you’d want on a race day is a crampy stomach because you waited too long to eat.  Except on this Saturday, I knew I would have a crampy stomach throughout the race.

After debating internally, and with my mom, I decided to run.  My thoughts:
If I run one mile, cool
If I run three miles, awesome
If I run five miles, that’s great
If I run 13.1 miles, that’s awesome
If I run the whole thing, that’s unbelievable and amazing.
(I know, I know my thoughts aren’t ingenious.  But it was 4:30AM and I didn’t sleep- okay?! give this girl a break! 🙂 )

So I started.  The course was beautiful.  I was surrounded by beautiful homes, trees, and (of course) the bay.

around the five mile mark

The bay is a little hard to see in this picture, because it blended in with the beautiful blue-gray-lavender sky.  Looking at the bay, listening to John Mayer, and looking for my family and boyfriend helped make this run a lot more enjoyable.  It wasn’t quite “fun”, but it was definitely a challenge I will always remember.  And although I didn’t finish, I am still proud of myself for making it 13.1 miles.  Will my time ever show up in the record books?  Nope.  I didn’t PR.  And according to the Bayshore online results, I never even ran the race.  But I know I ran.  And at the time, I knew I needed to run.  I couldn’t stand the idea of giving up completely, so I didn’t.  I ran.  And ran.  And ran.  And then I listened to my body and stopped.  Could I have finished?  Yes.  Would I have hurt my body?  This one I’ll never know for sure.  But my body was telling me to stop, so I knew I needed to listen.

As much as runners like to plan, sometimes the unforeseeable happens.  Sometimes, the stars don’t line up.  Maybe we won’t be able to run the race at all.  Or maybe we’ll start, and not finish.  But either way we learn.  We learn to listen to our hearts and our bodies.  We learn to be thankful we can even run at all.  And then we spend all day looking up future races.

running with my heart

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Four Days Till M-Day

Hey there!

I cannot believe I will run my 2nd marathon in 4 days!  Whaa?!  Glad it’s finally here, but training definitely went a lot faster for the second marathon than it did with my first.  As I mentioned in my last post, tapering kind of throws me off.  I’ve been looking for things to do and have been pretty productive throughout the past couple days.  I have successfully unpacked all of my clothing (I just moved back home after graduating).  I also donated too-many-items-to-count to Goodwill.  It feels good having less stuff in my closet!  It also feels good knowing my stuff will hopefully be enjoyed by someone else- whether they actually like it, or it’s for some kind of joke.  Like a 90’s/00’s party.

these shoes were all the rage in 7th grade. so much so that my friend Liz had a matching pair.

Now that we’ve gotten that embarrassing picture out of the way…

I’ve had a lot of fun besides the excitement that comes along with reorganizing my closet 😉 – I’ve hung out with friends, spent time with the fam, and also have done some arts & crafts.  Hellooo why can’t every day have designated arts and crafts time?  I think I’ll need to incorporate that into my usual schedule.  But really, making t-shirts for my family and boyfriend was just too much fun.  Is it pathetic that I made the shirts for them to support…me in the marathon?  Or is it just me being prepared to find them in the crowd?  Uhhh… don’t answer that.  In my defense, it was nearly impossible for me to find them during the Chicago Marathon.  The Bayshore Marathon crowd will be approximately a million times smaller, but there’s no harm in being overly prepared, right?  Plus, they’re so cute…they’ll probably want to wear them all the time.  Especially my brother.  He’ll refuse to wear it for sure love it.

Here’s a sneak peek (it was taken on my phone, so it’s not the best quality)…I’ll put up another one after they’re finished:

paintin’ t-shirts = perfect afternoon

I’d love to keep working on them tonight, but gotta let those puppies dry!  Tonight will be filled with looking up carbo-loading tips and post-marathon recovery tricks!

Questions for you:
How do you carbo-load? Do you usually start 3 days before the marathon?  What are your favorite ways/recipes to get in those carbs?

Hope you have a great night!

Long Run Essentials

Is it possible to have a “leisurely” nine mile run?

…yes!  I made my mid-week long run enjoyable by allowing myself to run slower and just have fun.  The weather was absolutely beautiful.  Temperature: low 70s.  Wind: a little high as it was over 14 mph, but that’s a better problem than having no wind!  With conditions that were near-perfect for a run, I was determined to make my run perfect too!

Including my breaks at red lights and a dash to grab my hat that flew in the opposite direction (stupid wind), I was averaging 8:34min/mi! This made me extremely excited because I truly felt like I was running slow – which compared to my 7:32min/mi yesterday – I was.  But what made me excited was the fact that my now “slow” run is about 60+ seconds faster than my normal runs were in October! Yippee!

Although not all runs are relaxing as today’s was, there are some essential items that can make it more enjoyable bearable.  These include:
1. GU
2. Bodyglide
3. Running Clothes
4. iPod/iPhone
5. Watch with  a timer

GU:  probably one of the grossest things a long distance runner eats- but without it, our long runs would be much more difficult.  It’s basically gel in a small pouch that you squeeze out into your mouth while running (and then you drink a lot of water so it absorbs into your body quickly).  Why is GU so important?  It provides you the energy need to complete your long runs.  When should you use it?  For runs lasting over an hour.  They have many different flavors, and my favorites include: Chocolate, Lemon-Lime, Vanilla, and Strawberry Banana.  Although I’m obsessed with coffee, I do not recommend the coffee flavor.  Here’s the website if you’d like more information: https://guenergy.com/

Bodyglide: helps prevent blisters, chafing, and irritation.  You can put it everywhere and anywhere.  Enough said. http://www.bodyglide.com/

Running clothes: so, so comfortable (much more than the Soffe shorts I used to wear).  Not only are they more comfortable but they make you feel like a runner.  I know this sounds silly but… when you’re dressed like a runner, how can you not feel like one?

iPod/iPhone: music is essential for me on my runs.  Without it, I would probably be bored to tears after about…5 seconds.  I personally use my iPhone as my iPod.  This not only helps with safety (I can make “save me, Mom” calls if necessary), but also allows me to complain to my friend Elise about how much I just hate love running sometimes.

Watch with timer: this is similar to the running clothes section.  Using a timer on your run makes you feel as though you’re a “real” runner in a competition- even if it’s just against yourself.  I am extremely competitive, so I love trying to beat my old times.

Hopefully these long run essentials will help you out on your next run!

Questions for you:
What are your long run essentials?
Do you listen to music on your runs? Or do you prefer running without it?

Hope you had a relaxing day, too!

First Post!

Hey friends!

I never imagined that I would have a blog before- this is so exciting!  I’m creating this blog to share tips and tricks I’ve learned while training for half and full marathons.  However, there is more to my life than running and eating so I’ll share other things, too! 🙂

Hope you enjoy your run with me!
Sarah