Back to the Track…

I thought I should share my latest decision on the fitness front….

I finally picked my next half-marathon!

After debating between returning to Nashville for the Country Music Half-Marathon (my 2nd half-marathon), heading down to Atlanta in March for the ING Half-Marathon (my first half-marathon), or even possibly enjoying warmer weather for the Disney Princess Half-Marathon, I decided to keep it local and train for the Knoxville Half-Marathon at the end of March.

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I already wrote out my training schedule – starting at the new year… it will give me 3 months to get ready!

This will be the first year that I won’t be training with The Leukemia and Lymphoma’s Society “Team for Training” Program. I’ve worked with the Athens, GA team through the winter of 2007/2008, and then as a team captain for the Nashville walkers the next year. Looks like this year I’ll be training all on my lonesome :(

Good thing though? I won’t have to wake up before 6am every Saturday this winter!! And Sheff will have to become good at distance walking… because I don’t want to be doing these long trail walks by myself!

I am slightly concerned about the hilly course, but we’ll see how it goes, right?!

So… here’s to a fun 3-4 months of training, and hopefully a mild winter here in East Tennessee!

I made it!!!

I finished!! Yay! My second half-marathon, completed. A quick recap:

  • 6:15am: arrive at Centennial Park (likely just 3/4 mile down the road from my apartment) to find thousands upon thousands of people all over the place. Checked my gear bag at UPS truck #18 and set out to find my friends. Not an easy task
  • 7am: race is starting… and guess who’s still in the line for the portapotties? 
  • 7:50something: finally cross the starting line. Worked our way through downtown, actually ran a good chunk. Loved having my name on the jersey so I could hear things like “Yeah Elizabeth!” and “Look at Elizabeth… there ain’t nothing stopping her!”. How lovely
  • Miles 1-5: having lots of fun. My 2 friends ditched me around mile 3 to go run (I still love them though). The heat was already out in full force, and I was not enjoying that part. But overall, everything was going great. My 5K time was 40mins, which is the fastest I’ve ever done it, so I was pumped. Already thinking about my next half marathon!
  • Mile 6: noticed that my face was caked in salt, and started to wonder if I was adequately replenishing it (since I refused to take salt packets). Started drinking cytomax instead of water at the stops. Took a pack of sports beans. Also noticed that my inner thighs and hips were really feeling it.
  • Mile 9: saw one of the interns on the side of the road and got psyched to have my supporters out there! Thanks Krystle! Also realized by this point that it would be possible for me to get under 3 hours if I kept my pace up!
  • Mile 10: I don’t know what it is about hitting the double digit mark, but at this point I’m thinking “I hate this. I’m hot, my hips and thighs hurt, and I want to be finished”. Not doing much running anymore – my arches hurt if I do. I kept thinking – it’s hot, I’m sweating and de-salting astronomically… maybe I should slow down a bit.  But no, I was determined to beat 3 hours. So I kept powering through.
  • Mile 11-12: Really in pain now. My left leg hurting with every step. But I kept walking as fast as I could. Of course this is when all the “Go Team!” “Come on Elizabeth!” comments from the side of the road really helped. 
  • Mile 13: Now, with only 170 yards to go (thanks to a TNT coach who walked with me towards the end), I thought I could job to the finish line. You know, make a big ta-da. I was pumped because I knew I could finish under 3 hours. So I start jogging…. well my calves said no. They started cramping (a totally new and unwelcome experience for me) which caused me to misstep, and I was afraid I was going to fall flat on my face just short of finishing. So I took it back down to a power walk and made it to the finish line at 2:59:09!!
  • Got my medal from an older man who had done TNT back in 2002 and loved it
  • Proceeded through the finisher’s area. Lots of free food and drink. I downed a bottle of water in no time. But food didn’t really appeal. I picked up the banana and pretzels… but when I saw oreos in the distance, my eyes lit up. But just one… my stomach was still trying to regain consciousness. 
  • Found my friends, who had all done amazing jobs. A few photos together, picked up my race bag from UPS Truck $18 and some PBJs from the TNT tent (thanks guys, GO TEAM!) and then hobbled over to the grass to stretch.
  • Made it home safely, thanks to a helpful roommate who came and picked us up. Prepared a 20 minute ice bath (which wasn’t as icy as it should’ve been, but my fridge’s ice maker is sad) and then showered.

So now I’m home and pooped. I don’t understand why my left leg is in such bad shape – I can’t put hardly any weight on it at all. So sad. But at least my feet are fine. Last year they were the poor victims with blisters and all sorts of issues. So now it’s on to picnic-preparation back at Centennial Park to listen to the Dave Matthews concert. I hope the smell of all those portapotties hasn’t permeated the whole area…..

T-2 Days Until Half Marathon!

I just got back from the Expo for the Country Music Marathon, and it’s finally starting to seem real. I’m getting so excited! I didn’t realize this is the 2nd largest half-marathon in the country – wow! I can’t wait to hit the starting line (an hour after the official start… that’s what happens when 30,000 runners enter the same race) and get moving!

Carb loading this week has been especially fun. It’s basically been misused as an excuse for all my junk: Ben & Jerry’s twice (carb loading!), dairy queen last night (carb loading!) and multiple cookies found in the interns’ room today (carb loading!). hahaha. And to complete the week of carb loading, I’m hosting a pasta party at my place tomorrow night for a bunch of the interns. Should be fun. I’m making vegetable lasagna (my first experience with baby eggplants… so cute!), and the others are bringing pasta with meat sauce, gnocchi, salad, garlic bread, drinks, cupcakes and cookies. An early dinner with great friends, maybe some board games, and then an early bedtime! 

Breakfast for race day is already planned (this is the sports nutritionist in me): bagel with peanut butter and powerade. Chocolate milk will be checked in my bag, to await me when I finish the race (don’t worry about refrigeration, I buy the UHT chocolate milk tetrapaks that are aseptically packaged and are shelf stable for months without refrigeration). And of course, the ice bath will be ready for me when I get back. 8 minutes of torture is better than days of pain!

Other random notes from today:

  1. I witnessed the death of a seahorse this morning. Very sad and traumatizing.
  2. In the last few hours, laughter has caused great abdominal soreness, thanks to a 15 minute “Ab Blast” class I took yesterday taught by a woman in her 60s. To give me credit, it was bosu abs, which I’ve never done before… and may very well never do again. 
  3. The Office tonight was wonderful – finally Michael and Pam can come back to work and things will all be right again. It was making me anxious with all things messed up. Plus, if Pam lost her job, how would she pay for the wedding? She couldn’t even get a job at Wal-Mart! Oh… I hope that’s not me in a few months…
  4. Top Chef is coming to Nashville tomorrow… and us interns are pretty psyched. I’m hoping to stop by their cooking demo/show sometime tomorrow and see what’s going on. Should be fun!
  5. Lots of exciting stuff planned for the weekend ahead: half marathon, Dave Matthews concert (which = picnic and listening from nearby Centennial Park), hopefully going to see The Soloist, and maybe visiting a condo in East Nashville which we really like!

Hope everyone is having a great week and has a wonderful Friday/weekend ahead!

10 Miles and Feeling Good

I finally got in 10 miles this morning. I don’t think I’ve done 10 miles since my half-marathon last year. How sad is that!? I’ve been missing a lot of my TNT Saturday morning training sessions due to work and travel, but I finally set up a 10-11 mile route for this weekend with my Dad. 

Time was slower than my usual training pace – ended up taking about 2:47 to finish the route. However, it was a trail route, so a) I think my calculations on mapmywalk.com were a little off, and b) you can never walk as fast on trails when you’re having to dodge puddles, fallen trees and quicksand-like mud. Overall, it was a good walk, and my legs were definitely feeling it at the end!

To reward myself and the 1,000 calorie deficit I had just created, I feasted on my favorite bagel of all time: Panera’s Cinnamon Crunch bagel, topped with their low fat hazlenut cream cheese. Mm mm mm!

My early breakfast was one of the new Fiber One Fulfill bars. I hadn’t seen these before – they’re not with regular cereal/granola bars, but rather with the protein/energy/meal replacement bars. It’s basically a fiber one bar, but with added soy protein, so it ends up giving you 12 grams fiber and 6 or 7 grams protein. Not bad at all! And luckily it wasn’t too heavy on the soy protein taste, which I can usually detect a mile away. During the 10 miles, I took a packet of Sports Beans with me, which I love to give me energy after 90 minutes or so. I used my new SPIBelt that I got for my birthday – the perfect race belt that fits everything, stays put, and isn’t bulky at all! Highly recommend it.

Now I have about an hour left to eat my leftovers from last night’s dinner (A veggie wrap from a new Turkish restaurant) and get everything ready to head to the airport and travel back to Nashville. So much work awaits me, it’s not even funny, so we’re just not going to think about that….