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The Goals Which Remain

4 Jun

Happy National Running Day, everyone!!!!

Training-Overview-SFTSRuns


If life was one of those missing persons shows and this blog was the example they used of my behavioral patterns, they wouldn’t even file a missing persons report.  That’s why you should follow me on Twitter, duh.  @MichelleSFTS

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I’ve been watching a lot of true crime TV lately.  There’s also been a lot of boring, but clean food and a lot of sleeping going on.  Pretty darn exciting around these parts.  Between work being busy, personal crap, my monthly friend, and the humidity spiking: I’m pushing through.  Barely, but I am.  That’s all that matters really!

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What is the most effective trick for getting motivated?  Sign up for a race of course!  So I signed up for 2.  If you’re getting confused about what races I will actually be running for the rest of the season, don’t be alarmed.  I’ve been all over the place since the relay  😦  After Pittsburgh Marathon weekend, I would’ve signed up to run across the country.  I get race fever something serious!!!   But, I’m so strapped for time and energy and I need to set realistic goals.  I’m also really torn about running a half in the fall:  getting it in while I’m still 30 or holding out for the Pittsburgh Half next May.  I’ve got to follow my heart.  If I never run another half marathon in my life, I want to know that the one I finished was Pittsburgh.  Besides, I think it’s appropriate for all old goals to met before new ones…know what I’m sayin.’

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I have 3 remaining goals for the summer:

1.  Get pageant ready.  – Psssh.  Done.  Makenzie Myers is basically my spirit animal.

2.  Brentwood Firecracker 5K – July 4th

3.  Great Race 10K – September 28th

4.  Be halfway to my weight loss goal by August – 17 lbs. to go!

 

I clearly can get nothing done without being held publicly accountable for my actions so in that spirit, you will all have to suffer along with me while I give weekly recaps about my progress.  Sorry kids, but it’s the only thing that really kept me consistent last race season and I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED.  30 don’t play, yo.  Hopefully everyone agrees that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery because I will be “borrowing” (aka committing copyright infringement) a weekly template from Ethan at Spiritual Creaminess – go check out his blog, he just finished his 1st full marathon!!  I made a fancy new banner (at the beginning of this post), I’ve got my spreadsheet locked and loaded, and I’m ready to W.O.R.K.

 

GlindaWorkBitch

 

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The Biggest Announcement Yet!

9 May

2014 has been a strange sort of year for me.  I’ve got personal goals spewing out of my mouth like bottle rockets: upcoming races, books I want to read, writing goals, fitness ideas.

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It’s all becoming a bit of a problem.  When you’re an indecisive person like I am, the last thing you need is inspiration like firecrackers: excitement building, a big sudden bang, but then suddenly just smoke in the wind.

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This year (aka the year I turned 30), I knew I had to make a change in my attitude or I would forever be caught in a cycle of things left unfinished.  I told myself that I didn’t want to feel like that ever again.  So, I changed.  I stopped putting so much pressure on myself, I started using running mantras, I embraced flexibility as a means to success, I stopped comparing my progress and performance to the progress and performance of others, I starting being accountable for what goes in my body.  I started having fun with running and that changed everything.

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I took this week as a recovery week.  I’ve been reflecting on my work schedule, family obligations, etc. to figure out what my next move is.  Last summer, I was all wishy-washy about my goals and I ended up squandering opportunities to run 2 of the big races I really wanted to do:  The Man Up 10K and The Great Race.  Now that I’ve proven to myself that I can finish a 10K, I’m ready to make a big move.

So let’s chat goals.  There are a few 5Ks and 10Ks I’d like to run in the next few months, but one big fat race waiting for me in the fall.  I feel sick typing this, but here goes nothing:  I’ve made up my mind to run the Erie Half Marathon.  I’ve now said it out loud on the internet so that means I have to do it, right?  It’s a flat half marathon in an incredibly scenic state park that is spectator friendly.  Any races I participate in between now and September 14th are just preparation for that day.

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Oh, this is going to be a winding, lovely road built of blood, sweat, and tears.  In the back of my mind, the idea of running a friggin’ half marathon has been slowly gaining momentum for years and I’ve never felt more ready.  I am trading in my anxiety and self-doubt.  I’m trading them in for a really hard, elusive, demanding, difficult-to-explain thing that is the half marathon.  I can’t wait to suck every drop out of this experience, document it, and store it away here in this place that I love.

 

UPDATE (6/5/13):  I will no longer be running the 2014 Erie Half – it’s the Pittsburgh Half 2015 or die trying!  ♥  

 

2014 Pittsburgh Marathon Relay Recap

5 May

YOU. GUYS.

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I friggin’ did it!  I ran 6.1 miles in the 2014 Pittsburgh Marathon Relay!

This isn’t going to be as in depth as my previous race recaps because I just ran a portion of the relay, but let me start at the beginning.  I spent the majority of Friday and Saturday trying to do as little as possible except stretch and hydrate.  I was convinced that I would roll my ankle or Kevin Ware my leg at any given moment.  RISK NOTHING ITS MARATHON WEEKEND!  I went to bed super early and was basically up at 5:30AM when Christina left with her dad and sister for the start of the race.  My future sister-in-law started us off strong as our first relay runner!  I then managed to pace around my house, talking to my pets (and myself) and trying not to binge eat all of my anxiety.  I tried eating half an English muffin and literally could not get it down, I was so worked up!  Note to self:  running a leg of the relay that starts later in the day is THE WORST.  I managed to get myself redonk stressed by the time I headed to my exchange point at 9AM.  It was a tad chilly by the time I started running around 10:30, but for running purposes the temps were perfect.

Since the Race Joy app completely crashed the morning of the race, I relied on text messages from my team as people started/finished running.  No big, we are all pretty close so we were texting each other anyway.  When I got the call that the first 2 legs were done, I headed to my exchange point.  I didn’t run into any road closures on my way to Relay Exchange 3, so it took me all of 10 minutes to drive there and find a parking space basically at the corner of 5th Ave.  BONUS!

The exchange point was well coordinated but hectic with so many people hanging out waiting for runners, plus spectators just hanging out to cheer.

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I had to go to the bathroom, but I was way to nervous that my runner would come as soon as I got in line.  Instead, I ended up standing under a tree for 20 minutes in a nervous cold sweat.  There was a guy announcing the last 3 numbers on the incoming bibs and that’s how you knew when your person was coming.  It felt like he was auctioning my sanity off to the highest bidder.  Eventually I heard my number and saw my runner appear!  I put the medal around her neck, gave her a big hug and I was off!

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Clearly I didn’t remember to hit start on my Garmin until I turned the corner onto Penn Ave!  I also forgot to let Christina know that I was starting my leg, so that sent her into a scramble to get ahead of me.  (Not an easy feat with all the road closures!)  That would not be my last rookie mistake of the race…

My first mile was too fast.  I knew that was going to happen because I was all pumped up and I had Tom Petty singing American Girl to me, so I hit the bathrooms at mile 1 and forced myself to restart at a more sustainable pace.  People had told me the crowds on this leg were awesome, but I could never have imagined that they would be as amazing as they were!  There wasn’t a single block that I ran in Homewood or East Liberty where people weren’t lining the streets – standing, in chairs, under tents, outside restaurants, cooking out, hanging out with greyhounds, giving high fives, just an incredible turn out.

I have never given so many high fives to little kids in my life, it was awesome!!!!!  I tried to keep my energy high and positive the whole time and the crowds were totally feeding it.  I told myself that somewhere in the middle of my leg, I would try to take in Gatorade and whatever fuel was offered.  Frankstown Avenue was a very long, long stretch of road and I was trying to stay in my zone as much as I could.  That’s the only explanation I have for the fact that at some point I was handed Body Glide/Vaseline on a paper towel and absent-mindedly ATE IT.  Ok, I didn’t eat it necessarily, but I definitely put a big glob of it in my mouth.  When I realized that it had the texture of Crisco but no taste, I immediately spit it out.  I was laughing hysterically at myself (inner monologue style) when I noticed the woman running next to me looking horrified. At which point I powered up and ran the HELL OUT OF THERE and away from anyone who saw my hysterical faux pas.

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Thank God I didn’t swallow or chew or bite down really.  As soon as it hit my tongue I realized my mistake and saved myself!  I called my mom and told her about this afterwards – we both could not stop laughing at how typical that is of me!!  Anyway, thankfully there was a water station immediately afterwards so I could sort of rinse out my mouth and keep going.

Nothing else significant really happened after that until mile 5, where I got a sudden jolt of HOLY SHIT I’M RUNNING IN THE PITTSBURGH FRIGGIN’ MARATHON and managed to negative split on this mile.

Just before I crossed Relay Exchange Point 4, my phone was ringing and it was Christina!  She was living a nightmare trying furiously to get ahead of me and the road closures and wasn’t able to get where she needed to be.  Having her voice in my earphones instead of stupid music as I crossed that timing mat was seriously so cool!  I felt like she was really with me in that moment, almost more than if she had been off in the crowd cheering.  I immediately found my runner and wandered off to the side of the parking lot to try and hold my tears in.  I had done it – a PDR at 6.1 miles and my most significant running experience to date.  Not long after, Christina found me and gave me the biggest biggest hug in the world while I basked in all of the moment’s glory.

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I was emotionally and physically exhausted, so we decided to head home by way of Subway and just come back for my car later in the day.  I was seriously on cloud 9 all day yesterday and I basically still am!

Pittsburgh-Marathon-Relay-Finish-Stats

The rest of the day, I fielded phone calls of people asking what the heck happened with the Race Joy app and why our team’s numbers were so messed up on marathon’s website.  Turns out that our first runner didn’t wear her timing chip (aka because her dad and sister lost it somewhere downtown).  The real problem started when the runner who handed off to me decided to keep running to the finish line with her timing chip on.  Sooooo basically it looks like we were a 1 man relay team that started at leg 3?  Thanks for not reading handbook jagoff!  God I’m such a hall monitor, but seriously.  READ THE FRIGGIN’ BOOK.

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Thankfully I had my Garmin so I know my stats and that’s all that matters!  We signed up for the relay as a fun race, so I’m not really upset about the timing chip issues.  My only real goals were to finish injury-free with a medal and a PDR – and I accomplished all of it!  I am so ready to take on the next challenge!  Also, for anyone wondering about the Race Joy issues/refunds, see below.  They have been awesome via Twitter and other social media as far as communicating with users. For such a new company, I’m pretty impressed at how great their customer service has been with handling such a large issue.  Hopefully they work out the kinks, the app seems really great!

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It’s Finally Marathon Weekend!

2 May

It’s here.  Pittsburgh Marathon weekend is here.

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The last 3 days have been pure psychological torture for me.  Every time I think about the race, my stomach drops, I get a pit in my throat, my heart starts racing, and I feel just completely sick.  I think about the race about 300 times a day, so its been an interesting week.  Keep in mind that I’m only running a 6.1 mile leg of the marathon relay.  It will be my longest distance to date.

I feel mostly prepared.  I’ve been staying on track with nutrition and hydration, and I’ve performed well on my long training runs.  I’ve been building up to this since January, struggling through one polar vortex after another, and it’s finally here.  According to my training log, I’ve logged 103 miles over 4 months.  I don’t really know if that’s good or bad, but I have to accept it for what it is.  Each month, my mileage and frequency of activity increased, my pace improved, and my weight is somewhat decreased.  I would be lying if I said I did the best I could, because really I can always push myself harder.  I’m still struggling to fight the laziness in my mind.  But, I did what I did and now I feel mostly prepared.  I just have to believe in myself now.

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I will be heading to the expo tonight to grab our relay team’s stuff and then I have less than 48 hours to hyperventilate, have panic attacks, hopefully not binge eat, rest, and try to calm the fuck down.  On that note, I’m signing out!  The next time you hear from me will be post-6.1!

Checking In!

22 Apr

I was just testing you guys to see how long you would come here to stare at an indecent plastic humanoid before you quit reading my blog all together.

Glad you guys are committed!

I have been SUPER busy lately, but I am managing to stay on track with my training.  Easter Sunday was my scheduled long run – my longest distance ever y’all.  5 miles!  The point in my training plan where shit gets real.  I still can’t believe I did it.

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Shout out to Ron, the runner/2010 BM finisher/marathon coach/all-around good guy for randomly finding me and sticking with me for those 2 miles!  Despite the fact that your “easy pace” was more like a sprint to me, and despite the fact that I was super self conscious and tried to take a dozen walking breaks to scare you away, you stuck with me.  When I finished my run and got back in my car, I realized that the only reason my pace was so great was because of Ron and his ignorance of my awkwardness.  I finished strong – I felt horrible but great all at the same time!  I barely even had time to gather my thoughts or stretch because I had to high-tail it back home to get ready to drive to New Castle for Easter.  Phew!

Easter was very low key this year as we are all trying to eat cleaner.  The kids are finally old enough to enjoy Easter without the bunny.

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I’m starting to feel really nervous about the relay, but I also have something big to share with you in the upcoming weeks!

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