Thursday, August 30, 2012

Let's Be Honest

Football season started today!!! Yeah, yeah, I know NFL football started up last week (or was it the week before?), but the REAL season started today: College Football!

Terry and I got home right as the game started, threw on our Bruin gear, and--realized the game is on a channel we don't get.

Sad Terry

Cue violins. We tried "watching" on the GameTracker thing, but it was less than exhilarating to watch the little cartoon guys run around the screen. So Terry switched to the radio while I got to work, and he yelled updates from the bedroom. (I wanted to listen, too, but the static on the radio was ridiculous, and I had plenty to keep me busy.) Hopefully future games will be broadcast on accessible channels so that we can actually see them.

Oh, and while we sorta-kinda listened to the game, look what happened:



Three days. That's all it took. And you can bet I'll be sending Terry to the store tomorrow to get more!

I have Colleen to thank for inspiring today's post. She writes over at The Lunchbox Diaries (her blog is so funny!), and her post today talked about how reaching health goals is not easy, despite the fact that people often put a super-positive spin on things.

Well, I discussed this topic with Terry on the way home today (yep, we're still carpooling!), and I think I'm actually pretty honest about most topics. I'll admit when I'm just not feelin' a workout (like the run from hell), I share my frustrations when I'm exhausted at the end of a long day, and you know I have no qualms about complaining about traffic.

But I'm not sure I've been as honest as I can about this half marathon we're doing on Sunday. Let's remedy that, shall we?

The Training
It was hard. Really, really hard. I struggled to motivate myself to want to run, and I hated the midweek "short" outings when they boosted up to 5 miles twice a week (in addition to the long runs). As for the long runs, actually, I enjoyed those more. I think I looked forward to them because I knew that, at the end, we would have completed a new PR for distance. Then again, the during part really sucked at times. The first mile was rough, the middle part was okay, then my feet would make me want to quit, and then I would push through the last mile.

After 10 miles

But at the same time, I was so proud of myself during every run. I remember (not too long ago) when running half a mile felt like certain death. Slowly--SO slowly--I built up my endurance. I didn't have to walk as much, I ran faster, and I felt stronger. Difficult, yes, but not impossible. Now, on our long runs, we hit four or five miles, and I smile to myself. I think, "Man, I remember when running that far seemed crazy, and now I'm running twice that distance!" It showed me that I really can achieve some pretty intense goals. I should have acknowledged my accomplishments along the way a little more.

My Body
If I'm being 100% honest, I shouldn't have done it. I consider myself a very fit and able-bodied young woman, but I should not be running long distances. My foot is really not up to the task. It held up alright for the "shorter" runs--6, 7, 8 miles. But the last four or five long runs really killed me. After about seven miles I would have to stop and stretch my foot because I couldn't take another step. And then I kept going, stretching when necessary. But I probably shouldn't have, and I probably won't again. I'll gladly stick to 10Ks if I feel the need to pay money and wear a bib while running with tons of other people.

In a word...OUCH. Every part of me hurt. My hips tightened up, and I had a hard time foam rolling them, but stretching helped. My Achilles tendon got sore. My IT band hates me, and foam rolling it makes me hate it right back. And then, of course, my foot.

Something I was really curious about was whether I would gain weight, lose weight, or stay the same. I've heard that some people gain 5-10 pounds while training. I'd say I've gained a few pounds (I don't weigh myself), but that could be attributed to any number of things, so I won't blame running. I'm curious to see how my body reacts when I shift back into circuits, yoga, HIIT workouts, and strength--with minimal running.

The Countdown
I. Am. Stressed. Granted, I have a lot going on right now, between starting a new job, beginning a new school year, and a few other things. Luckily, the timing worked out perfectly so that we've been tapering during the start of school, and we've only had to dedicate a few 30-minute blocks of running time here and there over the last two weeks.

But honestly, I'm incredibly nervous for Sunday. I've never done any kind of a race, and I really have no idea what to expect.

I know we're in the second-to-last corral. I imagine that's not the ideal place to start a race for someone who's claustrophobic and has panic attacks when standing in crowds of people for extended periods of time.

Based on other bloggers' post-run recaps, I'm imagining there's a solid chunk of time before you even get to the start line--how does that work? Do you walk to the start line? Run? Will I be trampled? Does the pre-start line time factor in to our overall race time? I guess I should have asked these questions awhile ago.

Any words of wisdom from race veterans out there?

Also, as I look forward to my retirement from half marathons before I've even run one, I'm thrilled to be done with long distance running for awhile.


  1. You are going to do awesome girl. The biggest advice I can tell you is don't start the race full force.. take it easy the first couple miles & than break loose :)

  2. julie - i loved this post so much because i feel like it is exactly how i feel about my marathon training! i feel awesome in theory about the fact that i'm doing it, but my body just isn't up to the task. i too am looking forward to my retirement, and i appreciate your honesty.

    take any race advice i have with a grain of salt, because i haven't run THAT many races (i just ran my first one about 2 years ago at this point) but here's what i'd say -

    i always start in one of the further back corrals because i am pretty slow. i don't like to run to the start because i want to save any juice i have in my legs for the actual race. that being said, some people do jog/run, but you should be fine in terms of being trampled if it's a well-organized race at all because there shouldn't be THAT massive a pack in your corral. i think it's up to how you feel on race day.

    the only other advice i have for you is this - if this is indeed your last half (which i though after i ran my first, but now i really love halfs and can't wait to go back to that distance after my marathon), have a good time. it will feel SO different than all your other runs because of all the people and (hopefully) crowds cheering you on. just enjoy spending the morning with terry :)

    OH and then get your ass a huge burger afterwards to celebrate. that's the BEST part about running races in my mind.

    wow, that comment was way too long. i should have sent you an email, lol. GOOD LUCK and i cannot wait to hear how it goes!

    1. You had better believe I'll be on the hunt for a burger after the run! Thanks for all the advice, info, and luck!

  3. No advice as I have yet to run anything longer than a 5K, but I wish you a great run!

    1. A 5K is more than me! Thanks, Janet!

  4. Great post and great questions! I forget what it feels like to be going out for the first big race! My advice might go as long as Molly's, but here goes -

    Your corral will be people with similar finish time expectations as you, and you'll gradually walk to the start. Talking to others in the corral will help alleviate any raceday jitters :)

    Your chip will time you, so once you cross the start line, you're on the clock. Ignore the clocks along the course - they're set for the first wave of starters.

    Go to the bathroom as close before crossing the start as possible! Every minute counts on your chip, and there are lines at porta-potties on the course.

    If you're claustrophobic, stay along either of outer sides of the corral, and when you start don't panic with the cluster of people, just go with the flow but at YOUR pace, not too fast or too slow. And keep aware of your surroundings - I've seen people wipe out on curbs and traffic cones immediately after crossing the start line.

    Enjoy the course - take it all in! One of my favorite things about running halfs and fulls is being able to experience the city from a whole new perspective.

    Reward yourself with a great lunch afterward!

    I think in a few weeks after it sinks in that you've run a half, you may rethink your "retirement". I said the same thing going into my first half, but had signed up for my 2nd within a month afterward. Now I've done 9 halfs and 3 fulls :)

    1. Thank you so much for all this detailed information!! I'm getting excited!

  5. I am sorry about the foot, some people just don't thrive with distance. Totally ok. I think you will rock the race though. I am dying to try that dip, I swear everyone and their mom has it.

    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement! And you should definitely try the dip - YUMMY!

  6. Hi Julie,

    I've been reading your blog for awhile and I love it! I can relate to you on so many levels.

    My first half was the Disney Tinker Bell and I was in the 3rd corral (I think you're in the 4th).

    Don't worry too much about the crowd - the street they block off is so wide. I was able to hang toward the back and move to the side and sit on the curb while I waited (no use putting unnecessary weight on my feet). If you're feeling nervous about the crowd, just hang out longer in the family reunion area where there is a ton more space.

    They do a gun start for the beginning of each corral, but as others have said, your chip doesn't start until you personally cross the start. Everyone walks really slowly to the start line so no worries about getting trampled :) I found that my first mile split was a little slower than I planned because the group is a little slow moving at first and there are so many people to get around. But it is so fun! It feels like you're in a big army on the move!

    I was really worried that I was going to be super slow and toward the back the whole time, but because there are so many thousands of people - you're passing people the whole time. I felt so epic :)

    I totally feel ya on the foot issues (I've got a bunion that I'm trying to avoid surgery for) but I found that I didn't feel my normal aches because of all the adrenaline, excitement and distraction. There is so much to see on the course. They have bands and dance teams and so many people are cheering - it's great!

    You're going to have so much fun - I agree with rnrkim2010 that you may rethink retirement after such an exhilarating experience...

    But either way - it's going to be a lot of fun. I'm going to try to go down just to be part of the crowd so I'll look for you guys (I went to high school with Terry - that's how I heard about your blog) and cheer extra loud if I see you!

    1. Thank you so much, Gabby! I would love to meet you if we see you at the race! I can't wait to get there and feel all the excitement before and during the run - I think that'll be the best part. Have a great weekend!

  7. Thanks for all your tips, everyone! I'm really looking forward to the run, and I know these suggestions will help Jules and me!