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My First Half Marathon!

My First Half Marathon!

I’M OFFICIALLY A HALF MARATHONER! I couldn’t be more happy or proud of this fact! After running 115 miles during 8 weeks of training, I ran my “victory lap” at the Urban Cow Half Marathon with 13.1 miles!

In last week’s post, I told you how I was having some serious hamstring problems in my right leg. My 8 mile long run was cut down to 3.5 and all my efforts to release the tightness were unsuccessful. Thankfully, a few days before the race, I tried a lying down hamstring stretch and felt it release! I was excited but still worried about it affecting my performance at the race. I continued doing this stretch a few times a day along with my usual rolling and stretching.

Because I was part of the Moms Run This Town HERD (team) I was invited to a special, early VIP packet pickup! On Thursday, I headed down to Fleet Feet Sacramento for this event and it was fun getting first access to all the special apparel and goodies created for this race! Plus, I got to bump into my friend Lisa who was there to pick up packets for almost our whole MRTT chapter!

Here we are with Howdy the cow!

After getting my bib packet and stocking up on gels and hydration powder, it was time to rest up for the race. On Saturday, I gathered everything together and laid out my Flat Christa.

Sunday morning finally came and although I was nervous, I was so ready and excited! My dad and I rode down to Sacramento together while my husband and son were going to meet us later.

Walking up to the event, the first thing we saw was the big She/Moms Run This Town tent! 12 Sacramento area chapters were represented at this race! We gathered for this awesome group photo.

I also found some ladies from my chapter and we all walked around sharing our excitement for the race.

Lisa, Kitty, Francine, and Gail – just a few members of my awesome running tribe!

We made our way to the start line but stayed aside while the first wave of the half marathon started. The first wave was for runners who could complete the race in less than 2 hours. While we waited for the second wave to line up, my friend Stephanie surprised me! She wasn’t intending on running this half but joined at the last minute. I was so happy to see her and feel her support!

Follow Stephanie on Instagram! @runstrongrun

Wave 1 finally cleared out and our wave lined up. My MRTT ladies all stood together and exchanged “you got this!” cheers and then they sounded the horn. It was go time!

Lisa and I ran together for the first 7 miles or so. We had so much fun chatting and checking out all there was to see! Costumes – like a man in a multi-color spiky wig and yellow legwarmers and the people running in full cow costumes! How did they not pass out from heat stroke in those things? Live bands jamming every few miles – we would dance, cheer and clap! Sights – like the famous yellow Tower Bridge and the Sacramento River!

My legs started to feel really tired around the 7 mile mark. I blame too much rest trying to avoid aggravating my hamstring before the race. I told Lisa to go on ahead because I was going to take an extra walking break. At that point, I honestly thought I’d rest a little and catch back up to her. Unfortunately, my legs never recovered and I started feeling a lot of pain in my feet, particularly on the soles. Lisa slowly crept further and further into the distance until I didn’t see her anymore.

But it was fun while it lasted!

I was kicking myself for sure but tried to remember everyone’s advice to me to just have fun at my first half. I did walk quite a bit more the last half of the race because my feet were in serious pain. Around mile 10, I had that thought that I think most runners get during a race like this, “Why did I do this to myself?” There were also some thoughts like “How do people do FULL marathons?!” haha! I just kept pushing on the best I could.

Howdy greeted me at mile 10!

During the final mile, “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga came on which ignited a small burst of energy that had me running more. I came around a corner and was met by this arch with a great cow pun and the excitement of knowing I only had a half mile to go.

That last half mile was quick, intermittent spurts of running – walking – running – walking. My feet were screaming stop but my will to reach the finish line kept me moving! I finally got to where the end was in sight and I pushed harder. Lisa had already finished and she came back to run me in. I sprinted as hard as I could and raised my arms in victory as I crossed the finish line with a time of 2:52!

Words can’t properly describe the feeling of accomplishment that washed over me. I was handed my awesome cowbell medal and then looked for my family. My dad found me first, gave me a big hug, and I started crying. While we were hugging, I saw my husband pushing my son up in the stroller with a big smile on his face. My son gave me a big kiss and my husband gave me a hug and said “You did it!” Seeing my family proud of me felt so good!

That’s Alex’s proud face

I went to the beer garden to enjoy my complimentary Lagunitas beer but, sadly, I had forgotten my I.D. My dad then told me he’d buy me a margarita at lunch. Thanks Dad!

I could barely walk so I sat down to change into my OOFOS recovery sandals. I took off my shoes and found one of my Pro Compression socks had a small spot of blood on it. I was cracking up and making jokes about being a “real” runner now. I took my socks off and found 9 blisters on my feet. This was weird because I didn’t get blisters on any of my training runs and I wasn’t wearing anything different. Also, my foot pain started at the 7 mile mark so it wasn’t because I was running further than I ever had. It’s a mystery.

We slowly shuffled back to the car and went to the Mexican restaurant El Papagayo. I wanted to give them a shout out because they have a whole page of vegan options on their menu AND their food is really good! Maybe it was because I had just run 13.1 miles, but I’m pretty sure I had the best margarita I’ve ever had there!

After lunch, we headed home and I prepared my first ever ice bath. I was scared and for good reason. It was terrible haha! I dunked my lower half in the water, lasted one whole second, said NOPE and got out. It was wayyyyy too cold! So I swapped it out for an epsom salt bath instead. That was much more relaxing!

On race day, I thought “I’m not doing another half for a long time!” The next day, I was looking up half marathons in Germany haha! It’s seriously an addiction! I’m not sure when my next half will be since it will be cold and snowy over there but I’m looking forward to the next round of training and the fun journey that will come with it!

Runner Rebooting

Runner Rebooting

Happy Sunday! I’m a few days behind on my weekly post so apologies! Things have been hectic in our household because the Germany move is coming up fast and we had a few appointments. Juggling those, regular mom duties, and running took all of my time πŸ™‚

I’ll start by talking about how on September 4th, I celebrated my 1 year running anniversary! I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity and encouragement to start running last year because it has changed my life immeasurably! Long story short, I’m healthier, more fit, more self-confident, and more ambitious. I feel so fortunate that I’m able to run!

In my last post, I talked about how my 7 mile long run hadn’t gone all that well thanks to tummy issues. My week 4 long run on Saturday Sept 2 went much better! I skipped my morning coffee and ran 8 miles fueling with a peanut butter GU gel. I did 4:1 intervals (run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute) and it helped a lot! I was able to run more consistently with set walking breaks. I ran it with my Moms Run This Town group and I was able to pull a 12 minute per mile pace so it was a great run through and through.

I love these ladies!

I also used this run as my #RunForTexas Virtual 10k! The ladies who started it (Follow them on Instagram! @moremilesmorefun and @live.love.run.repeat) did so hoping to raise a few hundred dollars and ended up raising over $50,000 to help victims of Hurricane Harvey!

Here is a rundown of my workouts for Aug 30 – Sept 9:

For my short runs this week, I had a really random mental block. The thought of running 5 miles was overwhelming and I struggled with both runs. I still don’t understand where it came from but thankfully I was able to muster up the mental fortitude for my week 5 long run. I had 9 miles on the schedule so my strategy was to set my Garmin watch for intervals and then I wouldn’t look at my watch again until I thought I was at my halfway point (to turn back). I ran totally based on feeling and my strategy worked! I had some toe pain that I had to keep stretching out in the last 2 miles so that slowed me down and I ended up with a 12:54 average pace. I’m glad because my goal is to keep my pace under 13 minutes for my half. I’m feeling confident that I can do that!

I had done a couple of test runs in the Asics Pursue-3 shoes I’d gotten but the toe box was definitely too small so I returned them. An employee at Fleet Feet Sac re-measured my feet and we tried several pairs of shoes and I finally ended up with the Brooks Addiction 13’s! The difference is amazing and nothing beats having the right pair of running shoes.

After slacking on my eating this summer, I was finally able to summon the motivation to crack down and get my nutrition back on track. I’ve been doing well for about 2 weeks now so I’m hoping for some weight loss soon. After my half marathon (I’m running my first half at the Urban Cow Half Marathon!), I’m planning to reduce my mileage, cross-train more, and really zone in on fat-burning and weight loss!

What goals are you currently working on? Leave a comment below and be sure to subscribe as well! Have a wonderful week!

Run Y’all

Run Y’all

Happy Wednesday! I left you last week with the goal to actually cross-train on my scheduled cross-training days. (I’m training for my first half marathon at the Urban Cow Half!) I’m walking on those days for now but I may try some strength training at home this week.

Here’s a breakdown of my workouts this week:

On Thursday, I met with my Moms Run This Town group for 5 miles. This run was awesome in that I ran more without walk breaks than I had in almost 2 months! That was definitely a result of running with my MRTT friends. They always find ways to push me past what I’d do on my own! (Find a chapter near you at momsrunthistown.com!)

On Friday, I got to go on one last walk with my mom before she headed home. It was so nice being able to exercise with her! Plus we got a quality 2 week visit with her before we move to Germany later this year. It’s going to be hard to be away from our family, especially with Alex!

AND THEN…it was Saturday. Long run day! I was feeling really good for my scheduled 7 miles.

The first 3 miles of my run were great. I’d headed out with my MRTT group to run on a nice, paved river trail and it was really pretty. I’ve been testing different energy gels to fuel my runs in order to figure out what flavors I like for my half marathon. I tried the GU Pineapple Roctane and my run very quickly went out the window. It didn’t agree with my stomach and I couldn’t really run without pain. So I walked…a lot. When I walked, I felt okay so I’d try to run again but my body said no way. I was upset after I finished the 7 miles but as the day went on, I accepted that it’s just part of the journey. People have bad runs all the time and I’m no exception. I have 8 miles on the schedule this Saturday so hopefully it will go smoothly!

Speaking of Saturday, I’ll be using my long run to run in the #RunForTexas virtual race! This race has a 5k or 10k option and 100% of the cost is going straight to the American Red Cross and Texas Diaper Bank to benefit those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Please take this link and register or donate!

On Monday, I hit up Fleet Feet Sacramento and got some new Asics running shoes. I tested them on a 4 mile run Tuesday and then felt good except I think the toe box may not be wide enough. I had some toe pain on my left foot halfway through my run so I’ll be testing them again tomorrow. Thankfully, Fleet Feet has a great return policy so if they’re the wrong shoe, I can simply exchange them!

My goal this week is to keep up on self-care with stretching and rolling like I have been. My shin splints have barely bugged me since I kicked that up an extra notch. What’s your goal for the week? Comment below! Have a wonderful week and don’t forget to register for #RunForTexas!

Race Recap – Women’s Fitness Festival 5k

Race Recap – Women’s Fitness Festival 5k

I had been patiently waiting for this race to come around. I was excited because I had heard it was a pretty huge event and it was called Women’s Fitness Festival. I love female empowerment and women supporting each other so I was ready to be surrounded by that kind of energy! Added bonus: my good running friend Stephanie from runstrongrun.com was running the 10k! I always love getting the chance to meet up with her, especially at races.

This event was created by Fleet Feet Sac and supports a very important cause. The proceeds benefit a local program called WEAVE (Women Escaping A Violent Environment) that helps women suffering from domestic abuse and sexual assault. You can read more about this program here. The Women’s Fitness Festival also has free health screenings for all participants and provides awareness and education on women’s health!

The night before the event, I made my shirt and laid out my #FlatMe per my usual pre-race tradition!

I got up at 4 A.M. to get ready. First things first? Coffee. I sipped it while I got dressed. This was my first time trying out Pro Compression socks. I looked in the mirror and felt a little silly wearing such tall socks but I think they are so cute so I was just gonna roll with it. I asked my husband Chris “How do I look?” and he let out a chuckle. He said I looked like a caricature of myself and that I looked cute haha!

Once everything was together, I hopped in the car at 5:30 for the trek to Sacramento. I feel like I beat the crowd heading down that early because I was able to park right across the street from the capitol building. Speaking of which, what a great backdrop to a race!

I slowly made my way over toward the event while enjoying the scenery and cool morning air. Then I met up with Stephanie!

She was hanging out with her awesome #runsquad of 6 other women! I introduced myself and we chatted while waiting for start time. Everyone was sharing their goals for the race and Stephanie asked what mine was. I told her that I just wanted to have fun and enjoy my run with no expectations. She responded “You’re going to set a PR. It’s just what you do!”

Eventually we realized we were all wearing Pro Compression socks and needed an obligatory sock circle photo!

We honestly did not plan this haha

After that we headed for the Start line!

This photo captures the spirit of this event. Over 4,000 amazing, strong women came together to celebrate each other and our love of running!

This was my first race where they had different pace times divided up. A few of us stood together near the 10:00 min/mile sign.

I knew I couldn’t run a 10:00 mile for 3 miles but I decided I wasn’t going to let the pacer out of my sight. This race was women only but the pacers were mostly men. They dressed the part and paced in drag! πŸ˜€

I figured if I could still see him, maybe I would get that PR Stephanie was predicting.

The cute girl in the pink glasses to the right of me is Alandrea AKA Mrs.motherrunner on Instagram! Go follow her!

The race announcer did our countdown and we all slowly shuffled through the Start line. It was very crowded so it took a while for everyone to get a little breathing room. Once we did, Stephanie and the other ladies took off like the speedy runners they are and I just kept my eyes on that 10:00 pace sign.

Like every race, I wanted to go fast but told myself go slow. It’s kind of funny how hard it is to do that! The course took us in a loop through the city streets. On almost every corner, there would be a big group of people, most of which were in costumes or had big signs cheering us on! At one point, I heard a girl on the phone telling her mom “I’m behind the girl with the black and white tube socks.” haha!

While I really enjoyed myself during this race, I ran harder than I had ever run. I only took a few very short (we’re talking less than 15 seconds) walking breaks. That last mile was tough but I could see us getting closer and closer to the capitol and that helped me push myself. I sprinted through the finish line and then I was so relieved when it was over! I have proof…look at this picture!

There were firemen waiting with our completion medals which I thought was really cool! After being handed my medal, someone handed me a water bottle and I found a grassy spot to sit and rest for a minute. After I hydrated and caught my breath, I headed for the Results laptops to check my time. Stephanie had called it. She had gotten in my head and manifested a new personal record for me! At 32:35, I had run this race a whole minute and a half faster than my previous PR set a only month before.

After reading my results, I decided to hit some booths before the crowd got too big. I loved being able to shop for running apparel and accessories after my race! I went straight to the giant Fleet Feet Sports Asics tent and got myself a running tank. Then I saw the Whole Foods tent across the street and walked that way. That’s when I bumped into a few of Stephanie’s friends and we decided to eat all together. We were served the tastiest granola I’ve ever had on top of some greek yogurt with fresh fruit on the side. For the next half hour, I got to know these ladies a little bit and they were so wonderful! I was just a mutual friend of Stephanie’s but they were taking the time to ask about me and share about themselves. They were incredibly nice and interesting women and it was so refreshing getting to know them!

After devouring that seriously delicious granola and seeing a few more booths, we were finally ready for our ultimate race reward: The Mimosa Garden.

Just imagine the sound of angels singing here

We went through the line, got our drinks, and found a table where we continued to enjoy each other’s company.

The mimosa was pretty small but it was SO YUMMY. I was bummed I couldn’t have another!

Stephanie had been enjoying the booths but caught up to us when we finished our drinks. We had to get a picture together with our beautiful medals.

Alas, it was time to part ways. Chris and Alex were waiting for me at home. I told everyone how nice it was to meet them all, said goodbye, and headed home. Also, my socks? They were great! My legs didn’t burn and my toes didn’t go numb. These were issues I’d been having when running 3 or more miles. They’re really comfortable too, not constricting! I always wear them on longer runs now!

I recommend this race to all women! If you can’t attend this race, I encourage you to find an all-women race near you! I absolutely loved participating in an event that celebrates females. I’ll be moving to Germany at the end of this year so unfortunately I won’t be able to attend this race again. It’s a huge bummer! So I need you all to go for me so I can live vicariously πŸ˜€

My Perfect Runner Mother’s Day

My Perfect Runner Mother’s Day

I’m starting Motivation Monday by appreciating my calf muscles in this photo! I’ve always been very self-conscious of my legs. It feels so good to see them getting leaner and getting stronger!

It was week 1 of my accountability group on Facebook. These ladies have helped me immensely for the past 7 days! I was really struggling to get back to good habits after my super feastΒ but my accountability buddies turned me around. I had the same usual temptations: Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer, bag of chips on top of the fridge, uneaten portions of my son’s meals, etc. Knowing that I was telling other people everything I was eating helped get me back to healthier eating and I lost 2 lbs for the week!

I’m SO thankful for the women who joined πŸ™‚

I didn’t run muchΒ this week thanks to my old Asics running shoes. My (still)Β sore knee and occasional foot pain (think bone-hitting-pavement level ow) made me less and less inclined to get out and run. I didn’t want to make things worse before I got new shoes for Mother’s Day.

Here’s my workout rundown for the week:

Speaking of Mother’s Day, I hope you all had a great one! My husband and son treated me to a nice day πŸ™‚ When I woke up, the house was totally cleaned and they had made me breakfast and a homemade card. The card was even interactive with coloring pages for Alex to color as we read it. After breakfast, I got a quick 1 mile run in, then we all got ready and headed to Sacramento to Fleet Feet Sports to buy my new shoes! I had been waiting for this day for about a month so I was very excited!

This store was everything I had been dreaming of! Walls filled with shiny new running apparel, shoes, and accessories.

They also had a kids table full of toys to keep Alex entertained. What a great idea! He absolutely loved it and my husband didn’t have to chase him around to keep him from making a mess of the store while I was getting fitted.

An associate named Garrett helped me and he was so friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful! If you have a Fleet Feet store near you, I highly recommend them. Unfortunately, they didn’t have my size in stock in the color I wanted so I didn’t get to take a pair home. Luckily, though, they were able to order them from their website and ship them directly to my address. They should be here in 3 or 4 days!

After Fleet Feet, we went out to lunch and then headed home and played in the back yard. It was a perfect Mother’s Day πŸ™‚

This morning I walked out the door at 5 A.M. and ran my One Awesome Mother Runner Virtual 5k. I had never run a virtual race before but it was kind of nice to do it on my own time! I was able to participate because I’m part of the Moms Run This Town community. I ordered my bib packet on goneforarun.com and it came with a cute medal! After my run, I posed with Alex because without him I wouldn’t be a Mother Runner and he’s the reason I keep going on my fitness journey!

With the prospect of new shoes and no pain, I’ve been getting the itch to increase my running distance. First, I was looking into what 10k races I could do but then I happened upon a link to a review of The Golden Gate Half Marathon. The idea of running The Golden Gate Bridge instantly appealed to me. The entire 13.1 miles would be beautiful! It would be quite a challenge, especially because there are a lot of hills, but it wouldn’t take place until November 5th giving me plenty of time to train. It just seems like a dream race that I don’t think I can pass up!

In the meantime, I’ll be running the Run Around the Rice 5k this weekend! Check out my Races page to see what other events I’ll be running! What are you looking forward to this week? Comment below and be sure to subscribe to my blog via email to see future posts! Have a great week!

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