Five half-marathons, two 8Ks, and five 5Ks later, I have found my inner #fitfemale. I have challenged myself in ways I never thought possible. I didn’t start running until I was 36 and that was only for a bit. I played tennis and softball when I was very young, but I never ran in school. I was in band which meant I didn’t have to take PE, which thankfully meant no running. I used to joke that I would only run if being chased and I bet even that would not have been very fast.
That crazy idea I had at the end of 2011 to run a half marathon changed me. I thought I was crazy for wanting to do it, it would be a one-time thing and that would be it. Running my first half marathon at age 40 in February 2012 just seemed like a fun thing to try. I never imagined it would be the experience that it was and that of all things, I would go and run for fun. Every race since then has been just as rewarding.
Running has become a necessity. Of course there are days where it’s the last thing I want to do. But I know that it’s exactly what I need to do. As much for my well-being and my sanity as my waistline and health. It has made me stronger in so many ways. It has become a huge part of my most recent Weight Watchers journey.
When you run a half marathon, or challenge yourself to run every day of the month, or do bridge training week after week, you realize how strong you really are and how bright that fire is inside of you. You realize that anything is possible. In a world that is full of drama, chaos, and uncertainty, it is one of a handful of things I can control.
I take away something good from every single run, even the hard ones. It’s an instant mood lifter, a huge boost of confidence, and it has the ability to calm my anxiety and nerves. If something is bothering me and has me feeling overwhelmed, a good run will suddenly make anything seem possible and manageable. I wish my inner #ftifemale was around several years ago when I had to take an anti-depressant, but that was another time.
Yesterday, I had a first. I went for my afternoon run, 2.06 miles. And this happened… I ran a 9:48 mile. I have never run that fast. I may not run that fast again tomorrow or the next day, but it’s just another reminder that anything is possible.
If you think you can’t run, you are wrong. I am proof of that. Throw on those shoes and go for a run and see how it changes your life. It has changed mine.
Have you celebrated your inner #fitfemale? Or is there an inspirational #fitfemale you’d like to share with me? Also, be sure to visit the Fit Female Campaign over at WomenRaces.com to read posts and share your own!
I am 6 days late on this post, but in WW world, the month didn’t end till yesterday and I had to wait until my weigh-in to see if I met my goal for April. And the answer is, YES!!!
As a reminder, my goal for April was to hit my 10% goal at WW and hopefully say hello to the 150’s.
If you read my post yesterday, of course you know that I did just that. I am so excited to have met my goal, 18 weeks after going back to Weight Watchers. I can absolutely feel and see a difference. Here are pictures of me in November of last year (2012), at Pretty Muddy and the Women’s Half Marathon. This was my heaviest ever.
I was so not comfortable in either of these pictures. The Women’s Half was my slowest half marathon to date. Granted, I was coming off my bout of sciatica, but I was also 20 pounds heavier and that is so much more to carry when you’re trying to run. This next photo is my before photo taken Dec. 31, 2012, the night before I went back to Weight Watchers. Still not comfortable…
And this was taken yesterday…. 20 pounds make such a difference on my short frame. I am a muscular girl and will always look stronger than skinny. But I am so much more comfortable in my skin at 157.8 lbs. than I am at 178 lbs.. Every bit of hard work on meal planning, running, and working out is worth it for how I feel. Every. Single. Bit.
I am more than halfway to my goal of 138 – 140 lbs. I don’t think I can be that 130 – 135 lb. girl I used to be, but 138 – 140 lbs. sounds pretty darn possible to me.
Would you like to take part in the #goalgetter2013 challenge? It’s pretty simple….
Goals are most successful when broken up into smaller goals! Post a picture on Instagram on the last day of each month to show how you are working toward achieving your goals! Use the hashtag #goalgetter2013.
If you’d like to take part in this challenge and have another way to keep yourself accountable this year, you should definitely join in! Visit the #goalgetter2013 Facebook page today!
For more inspiration, visit these blogs… These are the gals who put this challenge together:
- Mom Running On Empty
- Back At Square Zero
- Noshing On Asphalt
- Sneakers and Fingerpaints
- Mindy’s Fitness Journey
- Run With Kate
- Road Runner Girl
- Rebecca Roams
How did you do on your March goals? Share with me one goal you accomplished!
I am greatly saddened by the awful events at the Boston Marathon yesterday. I have never run an event as big as that and I never will. But I’ve done enough races here in my little piece of the world to know that this will forever change every single person involved with the marathon. The runners, spectators, family, friends, loved ones…. Everyone.
Yesterday afternoon, I first heard of the explosions on Facebook. I follow a lot of runners and I am also friends with runners. Many who had friends in Boston for the marathon. I hope that everyone who knew someone there got word that their loved ones were okay.
This is really what I want to say…. There is no feeling like crossing a finish line after you’ve run your heart out. No matter the distance, if you worked hard to get there, you will relish that very moment. And if you’re lucky, you have family and friends there at that finish line waiting for you, waiting to celebrate with you, and cheer you on for your accomplishment. You are only focused on yourself and what you’ve done. It is a moment you will never forget. And that was taken away from so many yesterday.
Watching the news, I was in tears seeing the footage of people running, crying, in shock, and injured. And to hear bystander’s accounts of what happened….. So awful.
I am sad at the thought of the runners who were injured for crossing that finish line at the wrong time. I am sad for the runners who saw the explosion as they approached the finish line. I am sad for the family and friends who were inured for being at that finish line. I am sad for the runners who didn’t get to finish. I am sad for the people who lost their lives, including an 8 year old boy. I am sad for what this has taken away from the Boston Marathon, for turning a historical event into such a sad, heartbreaking, and frightening situation. I am sad for everyone involved.
Whoever did this, once again will prove that this will not stop this country of ours. It’s sad that this will change how these big races are held and overseen. But, what it will not do is stop runners from participating. It will not stop them from giving their all, heart and soul, into these races that they work so hard to get into. It will not stop runners from organizing races, and it will not stop them from being the welcoming and gracious community that they are.
My heart goes out to Boston and all those involved….
On Saturday, my friend Corinna and I went to the Iron Girl Expo to pick up our race goodies. Picking up race stuff never gets old…
What a great day yesterday was, even with the alarm going off at 4:30 in the morning. Even though I live close to this race, I still wanted to take time eating my typical race morning breakfast (English muffin with peanut butter, and a banana). I also knew I need to drink water early since it was supposed to be warm and humid. How many of you customize your iPhone alarm for clever sayings? So fun…
I parked not far from Coachman Park and walked over. It was still dark and I got a great picture of Memorial Bridge all lit up….
I met up with my friend Corinna and then we found some of the lovely ladies of Tampa Bay Bloggers for a quick group picture. We were missing a few but we it was still fun to get a picture.
Tampa Bay Bloggers
One of my blogger friends, Xi, wanted to start with me and run over the Memorial Bridge so she waited with us at the start line, in the back. One thing I have learned is that it’s best to start in the back because it’s going to be crowded anyway. Starting in the back lets the crowd thin out some.
Before we knew it, it was time to start and we were off! Just past the start line, I passed Janet and Patti, two fabulous ladies from the 3 Day crew. A quick hello and a hug and I kept on going. Around the corner, past the courthouse, and there it was… Memorial Bridge, my old friend. I was determined to run all the way over it. And I did.
After we made it over the bridge, Corinna and Xi went on their way and I got into a pretty good rhythm. Just after Memorial Bridge and Mile 1, I spotted pink at the first water station and saw the 3 Day girls. Carol was a welcome site with Gatorade and cheered me on as I ran by.
The run over the rest of the causeway, around the round-about, and along Gulf Blvd. went by pretty quick. I caught up to another blogger friend, Jina, and her friend Lori and we chatted for a few. Just after Mile 3, I got ahead of the 3:00 pace group and I was determined to stay ahead of them. As I approached Sand Key Bridge, around Mile 4, I walked for a minute, knowing that beast of a bridge would be harder. And it was, but I ran all the way to the top of it, walked for a minute, and then ran down it. Two bridges done.
I was not really a fan of the run through Sand Key Park, I much more preferred running along Gulf Blvd., so I was happy when I finally made it back out there. We continued to head south for awhile and then turned around to head back again just before Mile 7. I made a pit stop at the porta-potty knowing I would be better off if I did, not having to think about it anymore. Around Mile 9, we approached Sand Key Bridge again. Again I walked for a couple minutes and then started to run up it. I gave it everything I had running up it but I only made it up about 3/4 to the top and had to walk, otherwise I was going to not make it at all. That really is one beast of a bridge. Finally to the top, I ran down and got back into a good rhythm of running with short walk breaks as we worked our way back towards Memorial Causeway.
At Mile 11, I hit a wall and it became a mental challenge as much as a physical challenge. I was already thinking about going back over the Memorial Bridge and I ended up walking a lot of the causeway. I knew I was still ahead of the 3:00 pace group and would finish just under 3:00.
Just before Mile 12, I spotted the wonderful 3 Day crew again, and again took a cup of Gatorade from Carol. She told me I was doing great and that was a nice little push to finish strong. I was hurting at this point but I was going to try my best to run up one last time. I hit the bridge running and made it up about a 1/3 of the way and had to walk. I was swearing at that damn bridge. I ran a couple more times as I worked my way up it, remembering all the times I went out there for bridge repeats and never gave up then. FINALLY, I made it to the top and then ran all the way down, not finishing until I reached the finish line.
My mom was ahead of the finish line, cheering me on. It’s always nice to see someone you know out there supporting you. Thanks Mommy!
I tried not to look at my watch the last mile but when I crossed the finish line, I knew that I was really close to my time for Sarasota Half Marathon last month. And for the first time ever, I didn’t cry crossing the finish line. It’s only taken me 5 times for that not to happen. I was happy, tired, sore, worn out, and very proud of myself. And I was wondering how close I was to my last time.
Corinna found me, she had finished a few minutes before me, and we drank water and took photos. As we were leaving, I checked the cool Iron Girl app for my finish time and it finally showed up… I finished 20 seconds slower than Sarasota. 20 SECONDS! This was amazing to me. Sarasota was a clear, cool morning and only one bridge. Iron Girl was a warm, humid, windy morning with 2 bridges and I still had a great time. I can’t even explain how proud I am of myself. I was also wondering what my time would be if it was a flat course… Thank goodness my next half is almost flat, I can’t wait to see what my time is then.
This one was HARD, the hardest I’ve done to date. If I had not done bridge training, I’m not sure how it would have played out. But I was ready and excited for those bridges… I was fine going over them the first time, the second time was significantly harder. I did the best I could. And now, I am an Iron Girl!
My split times are pretty good. Bridges in Mile 1, Mile 4, Mile 9, and Mile 12 didn’t affect my times too bad… It sure felt harder than it appears in numbers.
Even more exciting? Completing the Iron Girl qualifies me as a Half Fanatic for completing 3 half marathons within 90 days. See, I am crazy!! More on Half Fanatics once I get that all squared away…
Don’t ever think you can’t do something. I am living proof that you can do whatever you set your mind to. If you had told me last year after completing my first half marathon that I would keep doing them and even do 3 in 3 months time, I would have told you that you are crazy. Believe in yourself and you can accomplish anything!
What is the hardest half marathon or race you’ve ever done?
I don’t even know where to start! Yesterday was such a great day, one that I will remember for a very long time.
It was just a three weeks ago that I registered for the Sarasota Half Marathon, all because of the picture of the amazing medal that was posted online. Seems like a good reason to run a race, right? I will also admit that I loved the idea of the course because part of it went around St. Armand’s Circle, which is a favorite of mine.
Last week, hubby and I ran Memorial Bridge twice in preparation for the Iron Girl half marathon, which is next month. I’ve been worried about that one because of the bridges. I also knew that there was a bridge for the Sarasota Half Marathon. I figured it would be good practice for the Iron Girl.
So, yesterday morning I got up at 3am to get ready and eat breakfast before driving the 50 miles from my house to Sarasota. My mom and sister made the drive with me, which I am very thankful for. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is not my favorite in the dark…
It was still very dark when we arrived, and a chilly 52 degrees. We found a great parking spot (which by the way I love that they did not charge for parking!).The start and finish line were in the same place (love that!), right on the water. I also saw the medals all shiny and ready to go for the finishers. I could not wait to get my hands on that medal!
The John Ringling Bridge was all lit up in the distance and it was a reminder that this would be a challenge, my first half marathon with a bridge.
My mom took this picture of me waiting in line for the wonderful porta-potties, waiting to “go” before it was time to go! I happen to love this picture, because I look tall and strong.
I met up with my blogging friends Caroline and Beth and we started the race together…. It’s always fun to see fellow bloggers at races. I look up to these women for their racing and how active they are.
The race started at 7am, and we were all the way in the back. I knew that I would run when I could and walk when I needed to, and we held a nice pace leading up to the bridge. We all agreed that if any of us wanted to run ahead, it was fine. When we reached the bridge, Beth suggested I run it, since I had run the memorial bridge a couple times last week. I decided she was right and I went for it. I ran all the way to the top. I don’t think that bridge is as tall as the Memorial Bridge, but it was still a nice incline. When I got to the top, I stopped to take a picture of the beautiful sunrise happening behind me. Thank you, Beth, for the little nudge to run the bridge!
Beautiful picture taken, I ran down the bridge, towards St. Armand’s Circle. This set my pace for the entire race. I was feeling really good and as I ran around St. Armand’s Circle and hit the 3 mile and then 5K mark, I knew that I was doing good and assuming my Garmin time was correct, I had a great 5K time. I loved running around the circle, of course thinking of my dad and how much he liked it down there, and the times we had been down there as a family…
Heading back to the bridge, I knew I was going to run it again, thinking about how once I got over the bridge and back around to where we started, I would be almost halfway through the race. The miles seemed to be passing quickly. See the bridge there in the distance?
As I approached the bridge, one of the songs I just added to my half marathon playlist came on – Catch My Breath by Kelly Clarkson. I love this song! I was feeling great, loving the cool morning, and enjoying the run, and this song just added to it.
I ran halfway up the bridge, took a quick walk break, and then ran the rest of the way to the top. I took another walk break and then ran all the way down. Checking my Garmin, I saw that I was still doing great on my time.
Rounding the corner, I headed north and mile 6 passed pretty quickly. I passed by the relay area and enjoyed all the cheering that was going on. The speedy runners were already passing by to finish the half marathon. Always amazing to me!
Around Mile 7, Beth passed me by with an encouraging “if you keep up this pace, you’ll come in under 3!”. Just what I needed to hear to keep me going! Just after that, I finally got the runner tracking texts I had signed up for. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it…
Estimated finish time of 2:46:25? How was that possible? I actually had a chance to come in under 3 hours, which has been my goal since doing my very first half marathon in February 2012. And of all races for it to happen on, when I least expected it. This was where the race really started, where I had to dig deep. I kept a close eye on my Garmin from here on out, doing my best to keep my pace around 12:40. I was going to give it my best shot!
After running north for what seemed like forever, we reached the Ringling Museum of Art and turned west for our turnaround. From here, we ran through a nice residential area, passed a little park, and ran along the water a time or two. It was a beautiful day.
When I hit mile 10, I told myself I just had a 5K to go. I could do it. I could cross that finish line under 3 hours. I tried not to look at my Garmin too much at this point, mostly because I wasn’t sure how close my watch was. This was the hardest part. I wanted to slow down and take longer walk breaks, but I knew I couldn’t. I had come this far and had to make sure I gave it everything I had. I could rest when I was done. I just needed to cross that finish line.
When we reached Tamiami Trail again, we had just a mile to go. There were people lining the streets and I could hear cheering. I was SO close!!! At long last, I made the turn towards the finish line. I knew I was under 3 hours but I wasn’t looking at my Garmin. I saw my sister and my mom and I kept running. When I crossed the finish line, I was so excited – and once again, emotional. When the text came in that I had finished in 2:48:12, I started crying. A new PR!!Will there ever be a time I finish a half marathon and don’t cry? I couldn’t help it. I had come in under 3 hours by a solid 11+ minutes. I have joked that coming in at 2:59:29 would make me happy, and I killed that. And, I finally got my hands on that medal.
My mom and sister had both caught me approaching the finish… My sister took a picture and my mom got it on video. Thank you both for this! You can tell in the video that I was so ready to be done…
After the finish, we went to St. Armand’s Circle for lunch. We ate at Cha Cha Coconuts, sitting outside and enjoying the beautiful weather. I had fish tacos with black beans and rice, and fried plantains. Holy yum! It hit the spot after all that running. The only thing that would have made it better would be if it wasn’t too early to order beer…
My day would also not have been complete without Starbucks. Funniest thing ever, the girls that worked there were quite excited about my medal and one of asked if she could touch it. My sister actually took a picture of this moment because it was so funny.
As if the day couldn’t get any better, we also went to Trader Joe’s before we headed home. It was so nice of the race to be just 3 miles north, so I had to go there. My shopping included wine, hummus, some produce, and more. And a special treat for myself… A dark chocolate bar with cookie butter. It was scrumptious!
I felt really good when I got home, especially after a hot shower. For once, I didn’t have to soak in an epsom salt bath afterwards. This morning I am a little sore, but nothing like I’ve had after others.
I am so darn proud of myself, amazed that I beat 3 hours and set one heck of a PR for myself. This one will be hard to beat… Next up is the Iron Girl half marathon in Clearwater next month. Even more exciting? Once I complete that I will be eligible to be a member of Half Fanatics for completing 3 half marathons within 90 days. Who am I?!
Here’s the exciting stats from my Garmin… Look at all that running I did! And do you see what I see? There are some negative splits in there… Mile 8 was much quicker than mile 7. That was when I realized I had a chance to beat 3:00 and pushed it hard!
Here is a close-up of the medal. This is my favorite medal of all. I love dolphins and it has the bridge on it. So pretty….
I want to leave you with this video this morning… This was my theme song for this race, if you will. I listened to it several times and it got me through those miles and reminded me how strong I am…
How do you set goals for races once you have a new PR? Does music play a big part in your races?