Is It June Yet??

HUGE news from runDisney for us princesses today.

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It’s been rumored for several weeks, at least in my online running communities, that Disney would be adding something to Princess Half Marathon weekend next year. Last year they added a 10k to the Disneyland half marathon, creating the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge(which is totally on my list next year). After that, they announced a 10k added to the WDW Marathon weekend, creating the Dopey Challenge(a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon and a full marathon in 4 days, too much playing). With PHM weekend being so huge, it only seemed logical that they would capitalize on that popularity and add a 10k to the mix, and Disney did not disappoint. Today it was announced, the new Glass Slipper Challenge, a 10k and the half marathon. I’m beyond thrilled. I’ve been wanting that extra challenge and this is perfect. The best part? Extra bling. Do the 10k, earn your medal, do the half, earn your medal, do both, earn both AND a 3rd medal for completing the Glass Slipper Challenge. This is how I feel right now…

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Seriously guys, June 11 registration can’t come fast enough. Hopefully, since we have a Disney Visa, they will give us a little early registration like they did with the Dopey challenge and WDW Marathon weekend.

But wait, it gets better. Well better for some people, it just creates an intense longing for me. If you run one half marathon at Disney World and one half marathon at Disneyland, you earn a third medal(do you sense my affection for more medals?), the Coast 2 Coast challenge medal. It’s pretty sweet, my BRF Patty earned one this year and I got to fondle, er see it. Next year we will see a slight change in the C2C medal, for some people.

C2C

It’s pink. PINK!! For those who accept the C2C challenge and choose the PHM and the Tinkerbell Half Marathon, you earn the special pink C2C medal. This excites me. This also bums me out. We travel for Christmas, we’ll be traveling for Christmas, then traveling for PHM in February, so me traveling from NC to CA in January just can’t happen. Not to mention I had to go and have a bunch of kids in the month of January and apparently my husband frowns on the idea of me skipping out on my child’s birthday party to go to Disneyland. Kill joy.

Disney certainly dropped some big news today. Maybe it is the extra shot of espresso I had in my latte, but I’m bouncing off the walls excited for this.

Marti Estes 5k Race Report 4/20/13- #Run3rd For Boston

I’ll admit it. I’ve become a bit of a running snob, more specifically a distance snob. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said or thought to myself that it’s “only a 5k”. It brings me back to last summer, when I was thrilled to do a 5k. I remember getting excited watching my times drop, from 40 minutes to 33 minutes. I wondered if I could get myself under 30 minutes. I did this last year, in November, when I finished a 5k in 29:54. Even though I’ve become something of a distance snob, it has been a desire of mine to defeat my 5k PR. I wanted to get in under 29 minutes.

This was still a goal of mine about a month ago, after I completed an 8k in 51 minutes and some change. But my ITBS was still a thorn in my side, and I was doubting being able to run this race at all. To add to it, last week I realized this morning was going to be quite busy. My 4 year old had a soccer game, her last soccer game of this year. My husband was going to take her because I was registered for this race. He would bring our 8 year old son with him, but I didn’t want him to have to take our 2 year old along, as she very much loves to chase her sister and the soccer ball. For my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I got a BOB stroller. I’ve been drooling over one for months and finally was able to score a very good deal on one locally, so we picked it up. I wanted to be able to walk or run during the week with our youngest. Since I’ve gotten it, I’ve taken her for a walk a few times, but have never run with it. With my knee still sitting nowhere close to 100%, I volunteered to take the baby(yes, she’s 2, but she’s the youngest, she’s my baby) with me to the race. I figured she would help slow me down so I wouldn’t push my knee too much.

To be honest, I really liked the idea of the extra challenge. I psyched myself up for it all week. I had somebody offer to watch the baby instead of me having to take her, but I declined because I actually wanted to bring her with me. It just happened to rain all day Friday and by Saturday morning, my 4 year old’s soccer game was canceled. I had every chance to leave the baby home with my husband, but again, I declined and decided to bring her with me.

I headed downtown. The race was local to me, in fact it started in the parking lot of where my middle daughter attends preschool. I met up with an “old” friend. By old friend I mean someone I met when we first moved to North Carolina 4 years ago. We both have 4 year old daughters, born 8 days apart. I haven’t seen her in a few years but she recently started running and we’ve signed up for a few races together.

ME5K2 Jessica and me getting ready for the start. It was only in the 40s, so cold for us southern gals!

I had made the decision to try running. I have kind of gotten to the point in my injury that I am just dealing with it. I’ve been told numerous times to stop running, and I have quite a bit, it’s not working, nor is the PT, the massages, the muscle stim and adjustments by my chiropractor. Completely cutting out all activity for weeks upon weeks to see if it gets better is not something I can bring myself to do, not to mention I’ve heard from quite a few people that even that didn’t work. I figured, with the stroller, I couldn’t go too fast, so as long as my pain level remained low to moderate, I would run. I was hoping to finish in under 40 minutes. We were ready to go.

ME5K

I can’t say this race is super organized. There was no official timing and everybody was just kind of milling around at the start. But it’s a popular race in my town, and I joined a pretty large group registered through the fitness center where I do Zumba. My favorite instructors were there, including the lovely Molly, who I like to try and keep up with. She’s a wonderful woman who really connects with the people who take her classes, she’s so encouraging and motivating. I chased her during my 8k and blew my goal time out of the water.

So we are there, at the start, waiting. Well actually to the side of the start, on the sidewalk. I wanted to hop in with the runners and not go to the back of the crowd. This is a big community race so there are lots of people who don’t run and are just walking it for a good cause and for fun. I didn’t want to spend my time attempting to run and dodge a sea of walkers, especially on a rather narrow road way and because they typically don’t understand race etiquette of slower to the right, pass to the left(pet peeve of mine).

The horn goes off and we jump in and start running. So far, so good. The BOB Revolution is a dreamy stroller, it moves with little effort. At least that’s what I thought until we hit the first uphill climb. I’m not going to lie, it was rough. It was a pretty long hill and halfway up, Jessica said we could stop to walk if I needed to. My arms were starting to ache a bit. I told her yes, but we never actually stopped running. I hadn’t looked at my Garmin watch, but I figured we were somewhere around the 11-12 minute mile pace. I was ok with that. I was hoping for somewhere around that with me pushing the stroller. When we hit the first mile, I was pleasantly surprised to see we were under 10:30 for that mile. We kept going. I was even more thrilled to see our second mile at the same pace. I am notorious for slowing with each mile that passes. I normally do under 10 minute miles for the first 2 or so miles, slow to over 10 for miles 3-4 and then drop over 11 minutes a mile after that. Even in past 5ks I have slowed as time and distance go on.

Around mile 2 I got to the point I always get to during a race. The reminder of how much I hate running. I’ll admit it, I have a love/hate relationship with running. I hate it while I’m doing it, but love it any other time. I don’t hate it enough to stop though. I couldn’t wait for the race to be over. We were closing in on mile 3 and although I was wishing for the end, I was still moving well. I was pleased to see that mile 3 was actually a bit faster than mile 2. I was staying steady, at a decent pace(for me), even with the stroller.

We crossed the finish line, and my Garmin read 31:55. I was so happy. I wanted to be under 40 minutes, but was hoping to be anywhere as low at 35 minutes. My personal best is 29:54, and that’s without pushing a stroller and the 25 pound 2 year old it holds. Jessica crossed the finish line with me, she stayed with me the entire time. She is in a different age group than me, and she actually came in 3rd in her age group.

My knee held up the entire time. Yes, it did hurt a bit, but it wasn’t slowing me down. Neither was the stroller. I have had pain through the day, but I’m just to the point where it is what it is. It’s not horrible pain, and I’ve made stretching and my foam roller my friends through the day. I know my physical therapist will only shake her head at me when I see her this week, as this past Wednesday she told me no running this week. Oops.

I’m very happy with my splits. As I mentioned above, staying at a steady pace is something I have always struggled with, whether I’m running a 5k or a half marathon.

Splits

Another thing that helped me along the way today was who my run was dedicated to. My #Run3rd dedications were for the people killed in Monday’s terrorist attacks in Boston. Each mile was dedicated to each person who died. I brought them with me, and I ran for them. I think I ran pretty darn well for them.

Running For Boston

Yesterday, much of the running community around the country got together, wearing race t-shirts and running in honor of the victims of the Boston Marathon attacks. Many people in my running groups online took part on their own, my local Moms Run This Town group met up to run. Due to timing issues and my knee injury, I had to miss out on that meet up. But I wasn’t going to let the day go to waste and at nearly 9 pm, I hopped on the treadmill.

I’ll mention that when I use my treadmill, I usually watch some kind of tv show online, on my laptop. It helps to pass the time. But last night, I couldn’t get the shows to work correctly, so I was stuck. I was already going to be walking the majority of the distance so I didn’t hurt myself. I tried to surf the net, but it’s hard to do while walking quickly. I put on music, which helped a bit. I ran here and there for short distances but didn’t want to push things, so I kept walking. I got bored and instead of the 4.09 miles I set out to do(4:09 was the time on the race clock when the bombs went off), I decided to stop at 3 miles. I kept looking around online and came across an article about the little boy, Martin, who was killed in the explosions. There was his picture, his smiling face. Between Two Lungs by Florence and the Machine came on my shuffle. There is a line in the song that says “And my running feet could fly, each breath screaming, we are all too young to die.”. With this song on, and this sweet little boy’s face smiling at me from my laptop screen, there was no way I could stop at just 3 miles. I wasn’t in any pain, I certainly wasn’t out of breath, just bored of the treadmill. Thinking of him, and the other people who would never have the options of giving in and going with “just 3 miles”, I kept going. I felt good, I felt stronger, and I cried. I finished my 4.09 miles, it took me an hour, most certainly not fast by any means, but I finished.

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Through the day, and for my run, I also wore one of my race shirts to support the people and the runners of Boston. I chose to wear my 2013 PHM shirt.

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Many others around the running world did the same as I did. Here are just a few examples of runners all over the country, coming together to support Boston.

CrystalCrystal

Elizabeth Elizabeth

Jacquelyn Jacquelyn

Julie The fabulous Julie, you can find her running blog here: http://www.runwalkrepeat.blogspot.com/

Laura Laura

Melanie Melanie

Patty My BRF and jedi master, Patty (you can find her running blog here: http://margaritasmilesandmouse.blogspot.com/ )

Sarah The lovely Sarah. Hung with her at PHM, sweetest person on Earth!

Shara Shara

Stephanie Stephanie

This is just a very small group of pictures. In my online running groups, the response and support was absolutely overwhelming. It makes me so proud to be a member of this community, this group of people called runners. We will not stop moving, we will not slow down, we will keep going forward. Oh, and this…

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Our Biggest Supporters-Our Families

As information on one of the victims of yesterday’s horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon is released, it’s caused me to think of how much goes in to running.

We all know the key parts to running. Good shoes, clothes, proper nutrition, lots of water, training, there are a lot of different pieces to the running puzzle. But there is one key piece that often goes overlooked, and that is the support system.

Personally, without the support of my husband, my children and other family members and friends, I would never have made it to where I am today. I might not have even made it off the couch in the first place. It’s not as simple as lacing up my running shoes and heading out for a run. I have a house to manage, a husband and children. During my half marathon training, my husband was there to support me. He helped get the kids ready for bed so I could be starting my evening runs at a decent time. Some evenings he got the kids ready for, and into bed, by himself, giving baths, helping with homework, brushing teeth and reading books to all three kids, to make sure I could get to my cross training classes or out for a run. When my long Sunday runs started, he got up in the morning before me, started the griddle, and cooked my favorite pre-run food, bacon. As I got ready, he got the kids up, changed diapers, cooked, cleaned up dishes. My kids missed Sunday breakfasts with me, they missed bed time with me. All of these sacrifices made by my family to put my training first. They supported me through races. My husband nodded and smiled through clenched teeth when I came home with yet another pair of running shoes, or when I new piece of running clothing showed up in the mail. He simply said “Yes, dear.” when I talked of race fees. He knew how important this was to me, and he backed me up 110%.

We tend to forget the supporters in the background. Yes, it’s an amazing feat for someone to train so hard for, and complete races, especially races like half and full marathons. It’s a huge accomplishment for the runners, but most of us have others to thank for carrying us through.

This brings me to the sad part. A picture of a little boy has been circulating the internet today.

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This is Martin Richard. He is an 8 year old little boy. I have my own 8 year old little boy, and in many ways, he reminds me of him. Martin, his sister and his mother supported his father through his running. His father was entered into the Boston Marathon, and was running yesterday. As his supporters, Martin and his family were spectators yesterday, waiting to support their father and husband as he ran such an important race. In a cowardly act of terror, Martin made the ultimate sacrifice while supporting his father. He gave his life. Most certainly not willingly, but while cheering his father on, he was taken too soon. His mother and sister sustained injuries. He did nothing wrong, and was simply there to support the runners and his father, to push them across the finish line. His father will forever live with the pain and the questions. I imagine he will pour over his race, wondering if he had just run a bit faster, or not stopped for water, if he would have made it sooner, saving his family. The parents of lost children are not only left with the pain of their loss, but the mountain of “What If’s”, and those what if’s are almost worse than the pain itself. They eat at you.

This terrible loss, it only makes me more aware of how huge our supporters are, how vital they are to our success. It makes me appreciate my family more. It makes me appreciate my friends more. It makes me appreciate my running groups more. It makes me appreciate the volunteers of races more. I just hate that it’s taken the loss of an innocent child to make me realize how important they all are to me.

My Heart Is Heavy

First, stop reading this. Ok, not quite yet. But stop for a minute. Stay quiet. Think about those affected by the unspeakable act of violence in Boston today. Just observe a moment in their honor.

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Ok. I know everyone is talking about this. I won’t be any different. I am a huge mix of emotions right now. I was not directly affected, and only know a couple of people through running networks(not personally) that were affected and injured. So I can’t begin to actually imagine the pain that those directly involved are feeling. I won’t act like I do. But I am a runner. Today is not about slow or fast, distance runners or 5k runners, those who work for years to achieve the big dance at the Boston Marathon or those of us(like me) who will never stand a chance. We are family. I feel like I’m waiting for word on someone, I feel like someone hurt my friends. I’m lost, I’m hurt, and I’m angry.

I know what it’s like to lose a loved one, I’ve lost a child. After all that I went through over my first 21 or so years, I consider myself pretty tough emotional. It takes a lot to shake me, let alone make me cry. I don’t think I’ve cried since the Newtown shooting in December. That broke my heart. I cried on and off for three days. But I’ve stayed solid since then. Until today.

The Boston Marathon is the mecca of races. People train for years in hopes and dreams of this race. Runners have to qualify for entrance. Runners and spectators come from around the world. Somebody took advantage of that, and this breaks my heart. Information is scattered right now, and we don’t have any real answers, except for the fact that people are dead, maimed and injured, children included. Many of the runners had the race of their dreams cut short, unable to cross the finish line. So many affected, and our nation in shock.

In memory of those who lost their lives today(early reports say an 8 year old child was killed, the age of my oldest child), tomorrow I will be wearing my PHM race shirt. I will hop on my treadmill, and I will pound out the miles, whether walking or trying to run, because there is now a group of people who are unable to run. I hope you will join me.

IRL. No, not In Real Life, the Injured Reserve List.

Buying Running shoe after running shoe to find the best one for you-$300

313711_10200430996317840_1405263277_n ANB14W2-1 Two pairs down, still looking.

KT Tape- $20

Multiple chiropractor visits-Lost count of how much I’ve spent

Visit to an orthopedic/sports medicine doctor and a cortisone injection-$240

Weekly physical therapy-$15 a week

Massage therapist- $75 and counting

Being able to run for a decent distance, at a decent pace, completely pain free-PRICELESS

Except I haven’t gotten to the last part yet, and I’m pretty bummed and frustrated. My troubles started last December when I bought a pair of new shoes. I finally went to a “professional” to be fitted, and they put me in a neutral shoe. Almost immediately pain started on the outside of my right knee. It got worse over the course of 5-6 weeks and long runs left me limping, unable to do stairs. My IT band was not happy with me. The IT band is a long band that runs from your hip down the outside of your leg and attaches right below your knee.

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Before I started running and even after, I’d never once heard of the illiotibial band. I had no problems running, no pain, no injuries. I pitied all of those poor people who had to foam roll, stretch, take ice baths, etc because of pain. I was young, I was invincible. That was, until I got injured.

After my knee pain started when I bought my first pair of new shoes, it took me a bit to realize it was the shoes. I went into a different running store and they told me in no way should I be in a neutral shoe, I over-pronate, I need different shoes. Return the first shoes, run a long run in my old shoes and voila, pain gone! But I still needed new shoes. I was less than 4 weeks from my half marathon, my old shoes would not take me through that, and they were a bit too small(did you know you should always go 1/2-1 size up in running shoes? because I didn’t!). I got put into a second pair of shoes, a pair of stability shoes to help control my pronation. I did a quick run in them the day I bought them and they felt good. The following day I went out for 8 miles, still no pain in my right knee. Ah but what’s that? What’s that twinge? Pain? Yes, pain, in my left knee. Same pain as I had on the other side. All of this time I had no issues with my left knee, and 3 weeks before a half marathon is starts to hurt. The pain only got worse between then and the half marathon. I did my long runs on Sundays, and they left me hurting in a bad way. I could not walk up or down stairs, I could barely walk at all. Each Monday I saw my chiropractor, he worked magic, and got me feeling better, until the following Sunday. I had no time to rest, as the race was quickly approaching. I knew what I was in for during the race. I knew if I took Ibuprofen I would at least deal with a low level of pain, not enough to stop me(for the record, Ibuprofen and running is a huge no-no). I also knew that I had to run or jog. If I stopped for pictures, stopped to walk, stopped to go to the bathroom, starting running again would be extremely painful and there was a chance I’d be walking(another for the record, if you are hurting and an action is painful, don’t do that action, and don’t keep doing that action for 12 miles). But I had no choice. Too much time and money invested into this race and this trip. I pushed through it.

Yes, I’m proud of myself in a way for doing that. It wasn’t all that smart to ignore my body’s pain, but normally I’m a big wimp. First sign of pain, take the easiest way out. It’s why I have epidurals during child birth. But I resolved to finish the race and push past the pain.

Post-race was rough. I could barely walk. I was in a lot of pain. Normally the pain after would go away in a day or two, but it didn’t this time, and 8 days after my half I was at the orthopedic doctor. He checked my knee out, did X-Rays, and diagnosed me with what I already knew I had, ITBS, or Illiotibial Band Syndrome. The band got super tight, formed adhesions around my muscles, got even tighter and rubbed on the tissue under where the band connects at my knee, making that tissue extremely angry. He gave me a cortisone injection(ah relief!) and suggested I start physical therapy. I could start running again, slowly.

I took in very easy when starting PT. 1-2 miles a couple of times a week, mostly walking, with the exception of an 8k race a few weeks after starting. Thanks to KT Tape and lots of stretching I had very little pain while running that race. But it was still there. I wasn’t sure whether I should be thrilled that I had so little pain or worried that I did have some pain. The physical therapist said my issue is most likely core issues. I have very weak glutes, hips, abs, back, etc. You’d think all of the exercise I do would help, but no. Add to that having 4 babies, and everything in that area is all kinds of bendy and twisted up. My right hip doesn’t have the mobility my left does, I actually lean to my right side when I run, my gait is horrid, and I’m all kinds of off balance. This looks to be putting a lot of stress on my left leg as it overcompensates for the lack of core muscles and everything going on with my right side. So we start building up these areas and stretching. We try a lot of different things and I’m still having some pain when running, and I’m most certainly not running long or hard.

On a whim, last week, I wonder if it could be a shoe issue. Again. After all, the left leg went bad as soon as I got the 2nd pair of shoes(you know, the ones I bought to correct the problems my first pair caused). So last week my PT agreed that I should try another pair of shoes. I put on the old trusty pair again(the worn down, too small pair), and hopped on the treadmill. I alternated 1/2 mile of walking with 1/2 mile of running, for over 2 miles. No pain. None. I was thrilled, but also kicking myself because I’ve spent so much money on medical treatment, when it was simply a shoe issue again. I decided to put myself to the test(in the old shoes again) and attempt 5 miles, running, this past Sunday. In hindsight, this was a bad idea, shoe issue or not. A mile or so in, my knee started hurting. Like really hurting, not the low level of pain I’d been dealing with since I started treatment. I ran for the first 3 miles, in some pain(bad April, bad bad April), stopped to stretch, I felt better but it wasn’t long before the pain returned. I cut things short and walked the rest of the way back to my car, managing 4 1/2 miles. I felt defeated.

I’m an impatient person. When I want something, I want it immediately. So when I want my knee fixed, I want it done immediately. When it does not happen, it frustrates me. Running has become part of my life. Taking time off and figuring my body’s issues out and correcting them, while letting my leg settle down, is not my idea of fun. I hopped on my computer and consulted with Dr. Google. I came across a certain kind of massage, called myofascial release. Lucky for me, one of the ladies in my local Moms Run This Town group is a massage therapist and works with this technique, and she also has issues with ITBS, so she feels my pain. I was in her office Monday morning(told you, I’m impatient). Ohhhh a massage you say, how nice you say. No-Kitten There is nothing relaxing or comfortable about this kind of massage. There is pressure, there is pain. Add having to bring your two year old to the mix, and well it’s not as relaxing as one would think. But it helped. I’ve got lots of knots and adhesions along my band. After our session, she recommending I visit my chiropractor. I scaled back my visits when I started physical therapy, and he wasn’t pleased to see me back with him again, still dealing with the same issue. He decided to take a different approached. I like to call it controlled electrocution. He attached two paddles to my leg to stimulate it. It was a very odd feeling, but after I got home, my leg felt a lot better, aside from the bruised feeling the massage left me with, which is very normal. I went back for round two of the leg electrocution on Wednesday and back for another massage today. We will go through that routine again next week.

I also saw my PT to report back to her. She does think it is an issue with the shoes, but that I’ve also reached a point in my injury where it isn’t going to magically or immediately get better, allowing me to jump right back in to long runs. So we continue on. I’ll keep going with the PT, the massage, the stim. Next week I’ll start back in slowly. Aside from not being able to actually run, the next hardest part is the idea of easing back in. My body is conditioned for long distance running. I ran a half marathon less than 2 months ago. 1 or 2 miles is a warm up for me now. But not according to my knee. I have to go slow. Next week, while I can do plenty of walking, I can only run for a few minutes, at a very slow pace. That’s it, until the next week. It’s like I’m starting all over again, and I’ve worked so hard. It almost feels like I’ve erased all that hard work. Now I have to build myself up to being able to run a mile straight, not working on endurance, but simply being pain free. It’s a very frustrating and helpless feeling. But I know if I have any hope of running 2 half marathons in 14 days this fall, I need to be as close to 100% as possible, so it’s a necessary evil.

The Benefits of Running-Part 2

I discussed the first perk of running in my last post, the weight loss! Next up, the sense of accomplishment.

Last summer, I decided to make the Princess half my goal because I was turning 30 in April(which I did, on Tuesday, and I didn’t die! Officially 30 and fabulous ladies and gents!). I wasn’t having so much of an issue with turning 30, what I was having an issue with was my lack of accomplishments coming up to 30. I really hadn’t done too much. I did get an Associate’s degree in college, but put my big 4 year degree on the shelf when I got pregnant with my (surprise) middle child, and my husband took a job that relocated us halfway across the country. I’ve been a stay at home mom/work at home mom for years now. So I haven’t done much more than have a bunch of kids in my nearly 30 years of life. Don’t get me wrong, my family is wonderful, I’m so blessed to have such an awesome bunch, but it didn’t feel like it was something I worked so hard for, if that makes sense. The half marathon was going to be my big accomplishment before I turned 30.

I’m going to be honest. Training over the months was hard. It took awhile to really find my steam and my groove. I have my stay at home mom gig, the kids, the appointments, the cooking, the cleaning, the school work, then I have my work at home job as well, which takes up several hours of my day. In the summer, with lots of hours of daylight, it was easier for me to get out and run, but when fall and winter rolled around and it got dark earlier, I hit a wall. My husband doesn’t get home from work until 6pm, sometimes later. Going out in the dark and the cold was no something I found easy to do and my training suffered. I ended up getting a treadmill and was able to get into a good running pattern, twice weekly inside for around 3 miles, then a long run on the weekend outdoors. They call it a dreadmill for a reason, and no matter what kind of distractions I set up for myself, I found the treadmill so boring. I could managed 30-45 minutes on it, but not much more. Even though I hate the cold and I hate getting up in the morning and running(I’m not a morning person and prefer to run at night, I’m an oddball), I would still get up every Sunday morning and head out.

Sticking to training was my first accomplishment. I am the queen of grand ideas and then not following through. Blame my mild ADD, but I’m constantly going “Oh look, a cool thing to do! I’m going to do it! Look a squirrel! Do we have an ice cream?”. The old me would have thought the half marathon was an awesome goal, registered, run for a couple of months and drifted on to something new. But I didn’t do that this time, I kept going and made myself keep working. I’m sure the fact that I spent so much on race registration and was earning myself a Disney trip helped, but my own flame and desire to finish this was the driving factor.

My biggest accomplishment was finishing. I’ve come across a few people who didn’t finish this race, or who just flat out didn’t bother going. I saw the excuses, work, kids, illnesses, they go on. People blaming life. Well all of us deal with life. I don’t know anyone who trained and finished this race who doesn’t deal with life, who doesn’t have a job, who doesn’t get sick. Many of us have kids. I didn’t let those excuses get in my way. Normally I would have. I remember having nights, after putting the kids to bed and knowing how much work I had ahead of me, after a stressful day, and I had no desire to get on that treadmill. I wanted to sit on the couch. But each of those nights, I told myself that those were excuses and I was done with excuses, that so many others managed to get their runs in. It all paid off and I finished in good time. I am a mother, I am a wife, I am an employee, I am busy as all get out and I ran a half marathon. The sense of accomplishment the journey itself and the changes I made to me gave me is worth every step I’ve taken and every mile I’ve covered.

 

The Benefits of Running-Part 1

I want to break this up into a few different posts since my list goes in a few different directions.

So what kind of difference can running make in your life? I’ve had time to reflect on this and it’s really hit me how much running has done for me. It’s changed who I am. I am currently going through physical therapy thanks to another shoe injury(I’ll touch on the huge importance of shoes some time soon), and it hit me today. I am a runner. Yes, I’ve trained for months, yes I ran a half marathon, but for some reason I still didn’t feel like an actual runner. I have no idea why. This week marks my fourth week in PT. I had a visit tonight, and the whole time I’ve been begging my therapist not to tell me to stop running. I have cut back a lot, only running 1-2 times a week, for 1-2 miles at a time, with lots of walking involved. The cut has made me kind of anxious and I couldn’t stand the idea of not being able to run. Today my therapist told me that our goal is to make normal activities in my life free from pain, and then work up from there. I looked at her and told her that running is part of my day to day life. There is walking, picking up my kids, going up stairs, running. These are normal activities in my life, they are a part of my life. That’s when it hit me, that I’m a runner. Running has become part of my life and is as normal to me as walking from the kitchen to the living room, it’s a required part of my life. It was a great “A ha!” moment.

That brings me to the positive changes I’ve had in my life because of running. The first one is pretty basic and expected. Weight loss! After I had my last baby, just 2 years ago, I was at my heaviest. I’ve had 4 babies and have always rebounded pretty nicely. I never lost all of the weight, but even after my 3rd baby was born, I was back down in the 120s within 6-9 months. This changed after my last baby. I gained about 30 pounds during my pregnancy, not horrible, but enough. Here’s where things changed for me though…after I had her, I didn’t start losing weight. I was nursing, and everyone tells you nursing helps you lose weight. This is a lie. I gained weight after having her. By the time she was 4 months old, I gained 8 pounds. I was 17 pounds heavier than when I got pregnant with her, and the scale was moving up. I was horrified.

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Now I wasn’t terribly heavy, but it was for me. I was close to 30 lbs over my preferred weight, and over 30 lbs heavier than I was when I met my husband. I was in a size pants I’d never worn in my life. I was gaining weight after having a baby! I got up to 147 lbs and a size 10-12. I was battling postpartum depression and anxiety as it was, and the shame I felt about my weight made it so much worse. Towards the end of the summer of 2011, I tried running and exercising but it had a negative effect on my milk supply(I was still nursing) and my nursing relationship with my daughter came first, so I stopped. I cleaned up my eating and did lose a little weight, 6 lbs, but when she turned 1, I was still 2 lbs heavier than I was 2 weeks after having her. This is about the time she started to wean. I started going to Zumba once a week and didn’t need as many calories since she didn’t rely solely on me for food, and the weight slow started to come off. By the summer of 2012, I’d lost another 10 lbs. I was getting close to where I was when I got pregnant with her.

This is the point that I decided to register for, and subsequently start training for, the Princess Half Marathon. I was running 3-4 times a week, I was doing Zumba once a week, I was eating better, and the pounds kept coming off. By this March, a year after my fitness journey began, I was down to 122 lbs, for a total of 25 lbs lost since I realized how unhappy I was with my weight. This is actually 8 lbs under the weight I was when I got pregnant with the baby. I’m wearing a size 6, and these days those are starting to feel not so snug.

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I look good. I still have some areas to tone up, but I’m thrilled. I don’t feel ashamed of my body anymore. I’m not hiding myself anymore. My husband actually gets to see me naked every once in awhile(hey, we’re all adults here)! The best part is, I feel good. I feel proud of myself. Running has given this to me. It’s given me health, it’s given me confidence in the way I look and it’s given me a sense of pride, because I worked darn hard to get to this point. Considering I’m 30 years old now, and have carried and given birth to 4 babies, I think that’s pretty awesome.