Friday, October 15, 2010

A month of no blogs...but a lot of training

Wow...i didn't realize it had been a month since I'd posted anything.  I guess I've been too busy biking and running to think of writing.  This weekend is the weekend of the Moab Other Half Marathon.  It's a 13.1 mile run along the Colorado River in Moab, UT.  The red rock formations and cliffs, along with the river, should give us plenty of awesome views as 2500 of us runners trudge down the road to Sorrel River Ranch and every runner's favorite prize:  beer.

I never thought I would be a runner.  Seriously.  Running was not one of those things I ever planned to do.  I wasn't good at it the one time I had to do it in college (just ask my roommate!).  I loved mountain biking, hiking and skiing and thought those would suffice.

Last fall I was looking for something that I could do in the winter.  Skiing was fine, but it was only 1 or 2 days a week.  I had to find something to combat the winter laziness.  My friend L, at work, asked if I would run the Moab Winter Sun 10K (6.2 miles) race with her in December 09.  I thought, well, I could walk that if I had to...  So I agreed.  The date that she asked me was about 1 year ago today.  Maybe a bit longer.

I started running 2 miles...then I went a little further.  Then L tricked me and took me on a four mile run that I thought was only 3 miles!  We ran our first race together (not L's first, but my first and her first with me), the Harbert Lumber Girls on the Run 5K.  Girls on the Run is a fabulous organization that works with young girls to get them interested in running, good health, and postive body image and self esteem.
Here we are at the finish:  Not so bad huh?  My face isn't flushed, we're color coordinated...we look great!  Time to keep training...soon I was running 4 miles with no problem, then 4.5...then 5.  Near Thanksgiving we ran a local prediction race.  These are awesome races because the fastest person doesn't win!  You predict, ahead of time, your race time and whoever's actual time is closest to their prediction wins!  (No watches allowed on the race course).

Finally it was time for the Winter/Sun 10K.  We goofed around with Lynn's fiance, posing for pics before the race:

It was cold out!  Still, those warm-up pants were tried and true and I knew I could race just fine with that hat and gloves tucked in my sports bra ;)

Lynn hopped up around the "10 minute mile pace" marker while I stayed back at the "12 minute mile pace" marker.  Everyone around me was laughing and joking.  The atmosphere was so relaxing!  We took off, jostling for space, watching for baby jogger strollers, and heading downhill towards the town of Moab.

The Winter/Sun was an amazing race.  The views around were of red rock, the sun peeking in through the clouds, and a wave of people in front of me.  I ran all but about 20 yards (up a really steep hill) and made it to the finish in 70 minutes--2 minutes faster than I expected!  You can tell though, that that race wasn't so easy towards the end:
I was tired!  The last .2 miles, around the track, I tried to speed up to beat 70 minutes, but I ran out of steam.  Still, we did it, and it was so much fun.

This past week has been a bundle of emotions.  I haven't slept well, L has been missing her son (he just left for college) and we have both been agitated and grumpy.  Finally though, the weekend is here!  We are leaving tomorrow afternoon to head to Moab to pick up race packets, check in to our hotels, and eat our pre-race Mexican dinner.  (that's really L's superstition, but I'm happy to oblige).

I am still anxious.  Everyone keeps saying, "It's just a run."  But it's not just a run.  I've spent the past six months working towards this goal.  I got to 8 miles and stopped to rest for a backpacking trip.  I came back, got to 8 again and sprained my ankle.  Now I've made it to 11.5 trail miles which, to me, has to equal 13.1 road miles.  Most of this I've run by myself.  Even when L and I run together she is usually a football field ahead of me.  Running is a solitary sport and the thoughts in your head will either propel you foward or push you to the ground.

I've learned a lot while training for this race:  Biking is still the most amazing sport ever.  It's a recovery sport, a low-impact sport, a confidence building sport, and a sport that is made better by long runs that make you even more confident!  My biking has improved 100% this year.  Just ask my friends who haven't seen bloody legs from me this year!

I've learned that I am capable of things I never thought possible.  Last week I ran a route that, 2 years ago, I had trouble biking without being absolutely exhausted.  I've learned that I am not the same person I was in 2007.  Then I was a smoking, junk-food-eating, maybe-once-a-week-yoga-doing girl.  Now I am a mountain biking, trail running athlete!

I've learned that good shoes, good surfaces, and ice make all the difference.  Then again...if you have good shoes and a good surface (Not asphalt and concrete) you don't need ice ;)

I've learned what fuels my body best at 7 a.m. and when to refuel with PowerBar powerbites and electrolyte tablets.  I've learned that it IS possible to run in 100 degree weather in the desert.

If I can do this, you can too!  Or not this, but any goal you have.  You can do it!