Wednesday, March 2, 2011

We did it!

Still trying to live down one of the best weekends of my life...

It started on Friday, February 18. I picked up Kelsey from the airport and we had lunch on the beach at a nice little place called Lulu's. Right after that, we made our way to the Health & Fitness Expo for the race. It was super exciting to get our official bib and number and t shirt...the expo also had some pretty cool running-related freebies. That's when it started to feel real. We were really about to do 13.1 miles.

The morning of the race was that Sunday, February 20th. We woke up at 4:00am in anticipation of arriving in downtown Fort Lauderdale by 5:00am as indicated. We were out of the house by 4:30 and were on our way, making great time. And then. The traffic. Right as we got off the expressway it was almost instantly at a standstill, and I had 2+ miles to go before the parking garage. Well, crap. It took us right until about 5:40 to get to the garage, meaning we had 20 minutes to get to the start line and prepare. Yikes, I thought I would have more time than that. To top things off, we were trying to find a port-a-potty, to no avail. So we made our way to the start line, Kelsey still having to pee, but we couldn't do anything about it.

Almost immediately, the runners started! I didn't even have time to get nervous! And we were off....

The first couple of miles we ran through familiar streets of downtown, pointing out bars that I had been to and remembering times I had been there in a much different state of mind. It was still dark outside, being 6am, so it was rather eerie. We passed over the Las Olas Bridge, literally the only hill on the course. It wasn't too bad at all, it couldn't have been, I was singing along to my ipod which was playing "Bad Romance" at that time.

At that point I was feeling amazing. We went into a state park around miles 4-6, and it was beautiful. Well-shaded and full of nature. Nothing hurt yet, we were keeping a steady pace, and we were having an amazing time.

We exited the state park and headed right for A1A, where we would spend the remainder of the race. The sun had risen and there was a nice cool ocean breeze.

Miles 7-9 I was still feeling really good, which I was actually surprised about because my last 10 mile training run was awful.

Mile 10-11 was when it started becoming challenging. I was playing mind games with myself, figuring out how many laps around a track I had to go before I finished....Don't do that. 12 laps around a track sounds a lot more daunting than 3 miles. My body kind of just felt numb at this point, but we were still keeping pace. I was ready to see that finish line.

Miles 12-finish (13.1)....At this point I had talked myself into finishing and I kind of let my brain go into a haze and just let my body keep doing the work. We had come this far, there was no way I was going to stop now.

Stepping over the finish line and receiving my medal was an amazing feeling...We finished in 2 hours and 19 minutes, upright and healthy. I couldn't have asked for a better experience, especially having a great friend by my side the whole time. It was a beautiful sunny day and we hung out at the after party for a bit and enjoyed some beer and other refreshments.

Will I do it again? Absolutely, just give me the time and place!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A New Hobby

Anyone that has been around me lately has probably heard me talking about my "new" hobby: running. I put the "new" in quotes because I have always enjoyed running, whether it was collecting popsicle sticks for each lap at recess in elementary school or warming up for cheerleading or gymnastics practice...not to mention the year I joined girl's middle school cross country and track.

However, this is different. At 25 years old, I am running in races and actually choosing when I run and what I do. I did my first 5k (3.1 miles) on Thanksgiving 2010, thanks to an active coworker that encouraged me to register and ran it with me. I finished in 34 minutes and some change. From there, I was already thinking about when and what my next race would be. I knew it was the start of something life-changing. Within the next 2 months I participated in 3 more races, 2 more 5ks and a 10k (6.2 miles). Over those 2 months, my 5k time improved by 6 minutes. It's official, I am hooked.

From the beginning, I knew I wanted to do something bigger. A half marathon. This was a goal of mine, mostly on some sort of 'mental bucket list' and never really came into fruition. Until now. I am registered for the A1A Half Marathon in Fort Lauderdale on February 20 (that's right...less than 2 weeks away) and training for it has been pretty interesting and invigorating. I have never been more nervous or excited for something in my life I don't think. I think about it every single day.

I knew I didn't want to run this one I messaged up a fellow active friend, Kelsey, who lives in Michigan and I figured she could use a weekend of sunshine :) She immediately accepted the offer to run our first half marathon on Feb 20 down A1A. I definitely needed that extra motivation to sign up, so thank you Kelsey!

One of the things I have noticed is that signing up for a race gives you a concrete reason why you need to exercise. You have to be in shape for a race or it could be very dangerous, so it forces you to exercise. I feel like I am always going to need a race in sight to stay motivated, which is fine...whatever it takes I guess. I never thought races would be so addicting and fun. I highly recommend everyone does at least one 5k in their adult life!