Saturday, April 18, 2009

1/2 Marathon & Our Hike Presentation

It was a busy day! Woke up this morning and ran the Oshkosh 1/2 Marathon, then got home, showered up and did a presentation at our church, Trinity Lutheran in Oshkosh.
1/2 Marathon
I was pretty excited to run the Oshkosh 1/2 today. My mom and dad were in town because mom and I were doing an "Our Hike" presentation at our church after the 1/2 marathon... Adam had class this morning, so mom and dad brought me to the start line and drove around and cheered me on in a few spots as I ran. It was really nice to have them here... I wish Adam could've joined us, too. Mom and dad did a great job finding me, and each time I saw them I got a little burst of energy and ran a little faster for a bit.

There were a TON of people at the start line, and that was awesome. I love the adrenaline rush when I get into that group of people all there for the same purpose. It's an amazing time. If you've ever even thought of doing it, you should! It's SO much fun!!

The run went well. I ran strong pretty much the entire race, except for... get this... the last mile! I think my mind recognized that I was almost done and started to shut down my body a little early. I felt like walking... but I resisted and kept chugging along to the finish. So my last mile was the hardest, but I still reached all the goals I set. I even smiled across that finish line!

It turned out to be a gorgeous day for the run. Last year is was cold, rainy and windy. This year it was 50 degrees at 6am! It was a gorgeous day, in fact, it was a little too warm for my taste while running... I sweat a lot, as I usually do, and afterwards felt like I was covered in a thin layer of dust... it was salt! Around my ears and neck was actually white with salt lines from all the sweat. But really, I'm not complaining. It was a good run.

I'm really proud of myself... I'm very happy with my time and how I felt during the run... and after. I recovered pretty quickly -- way better than last year! So what's next... well, I plan to transition into training for the full marathon, now. We'll see how that goes. After I got done today, I had a really hard time imagining doing that twice in a row in one day. But I suppose with proper training, it's possible. So I'll give it my best shot.

"Our Hike" Presentation at Trinity Lutheran Church

Mom and I were asked by the Time Out Group to present our story about our hike across America. so after the 1/2 marathon, we came home, showered up and head to the church. It was a busy day, but it all went really well. The presentation went smoothly, and it was great for mom and I to get together once again to share our story with a crowd of people. There were even a couple of Aplastic Anemia patients there! It was really nice to meet them and talk with them, comparing treatments and our experiences.

Adam and my dad were there, too, so it was all 4 of us, and that was really nice. They were a huge part of that hike, so it's always nice to have them both there to point that out. Mom and I were obviously the center of attention through that hike because we were hiking it, but it wouldn't have been possible without the guys. They rock -- really they do.

We set up our booth with pictures and stuff, spread out brochures about Aplastic Anemia along with our business cards, and then we went through our story with our powerpoint presentation. Mom and I could've reminisced forever. So many stories come back to us when we get together and start thinking about all we'd been through on the hike.

So that's the rundown of my day so far! I feel great! I was pretty stressed about it because it was so packed in, but it went really smooth, and I couldn't be happier about that.

Now we're expecting company for a UFC Pay per view. I'm getting tired, though... starting to wear down a little bit, so we'll see how long I last. Adam's makin' coffee and ordering pizza later, so I'll have to stay up for the food at least! :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ready for the Oshkosh 1/2 Marathon!

Well, it’s that time of year again. I have been meaning to blog about this for about the past 4-5 weeks, but just haven’t gotten to it… I am SO far behind in writing!

Before the new year, 2009, I decided I was going to properly train for the Oshkosh ½ Marathon. After that, I was going to continue running, following a new training program for a full marathon. Running a full marathon is on my list of things to do before I die, and I hope to check that off my list this year.

The first thing I did was print out the training logs and write it all into my calendar, and the two fit perfectly. If I started training in January of 2009, I’d be ready for the Oshkosh ½ marathon on April 18. Then I take 3 weeks of post-race recovery time, and the 3rd week is actually the same as the 1st week in my marathon training, ending on the Fox Cities Marathon on September 20. So I could transition right into it without a hitch (or lets hope!) So far so good!

On this Saturday, I will run the 13.1 miles at the Annual Oshkosh ½ Marathon. I did it last year with poor training, and I really surprised myself (and I was lucky I didn’t get injured!). My goal was to finish, and I really wanted to actually run the entire distance… not walk any of it. So I did that, and when I crossed the finish line with cramped stiff legs, the big digital clock read something like, “2:02:36” or something like that. I was hoping to finish under 2:30, so I was thrilled – to say the least. But… that 2 minutes over the 2-hour mark kind of ate at me. I was super-proud of myself and what I’d accomplished, but those 2 minutes set me off on a new challenge. I had to get it under 2 hours.

This is what I LOVE about working out and endurance sports. Once you do something, you can always improve… you can always set new goals, or create new challenges. So on I go. This year, I plan to finish that ½ marathon in under 2 hours. And I will. The only way I won’t is if something goes terribly wrong. I have been averaging an 8:30 minute-mile on my last few long runs, so that would put me at a finish time of 1:51:26 – plenty of time to spare to keep me under the 2 hours. It's amazing to see how proper training helped me improve! So all I can do now is hope for decent weather, and pray for a good run.

The training for this has been pretty challenging -- finding time to fit it all in can be tough. I have so much going on all the time that I was squeezing in runs whenever I could. Early morning, late at night, any open windows on weekends, different towns depending on where I was… but I got it done. I missed a couple of weekly training runs or cross-training days, but I never missed a long weekend run. So I actually feel ready for it. I don’t want to get too confident, though. I like to always think of worst-case scenario, and then I usually end up thinking, “Well it could’ve been worse, so this is okay” – no matter what happens. I’m excited.

One important lesson I learned – shoes matter! I always tried to get shoes I could wear for running and working out -- mutli-purpose, of course... save some money. I had a Nike trail runner that I grabbed at Shopko. It was alright. I got little blisters on the tips of my toes, and some aches and pains in my hip joints and knees, but I figured I was running a lot, and this was all normal. Then one day I got done with my run and noticed a blood blister on my toe, the next day my toes on both feet were all cramped up, and my hip was really sore. I decided my 1-1/2 year-old shoes had to be replaced. I coughed up the $100 and went to a running store, where they measured my feet and checked my running gait. They put me in a shoe that was a whole size smaller than I had been wearing, and a normal width (I’d been wearing a wide size). I was nervous about these new shoes, but I put my trust in the running shoe experts. On my next few runs after that, I felt like I was flying. My times improved, I had no more blisters on the tips of my toes, no more toe cramps, and my hip and knees weren’t hurting. WOW. What a difference!!! People have always told me that the shoes matter, and I know that from all my hiking experience… but I didn’t know I was in completely the wrong size!!

I’ll give an update as to how I do on Saturday. It’s going to be a crazy day, as I have a presentation after that, and Adam is having people over for a UFC Pay per view in the evening, too. It will be a quick and busy day, but at the end of it, relaxing with a single beer and falling asleep on the couch will be my reward.

Goals for the Oshkosh ½ Marathon 2009:
Finish the same day I start
Run the entire race
Finish under 2 hours
Smile as I cross the finish line!

I plan to accomplish all these goals. As I said earlier, something would have to go pretty wrong for any of these to fall through. So it should be a good day!