This weekend I completed the Rock ‘n’ Mud Chicago Challenge. The challenge was to run the Columbia Muddy Buddy:Buddy Run on Saturday and run the Rock ‘N’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday.
My dear friend Katherine Davis and I ventured out to a farm to run the Muddy Buddy. I had never participated in the event before, and had no idea of what to expect. The two of us wore matching cut-off WalMart hunting t-shirts and headed up to that start line. It started us off on a nasty hill which had us laughing from the start. We completed obstacles, as Katherine would put it, like we were on Survivor. It was a fun race,because the challenges weren’t too hard, but just hard enough you had to try twice to complete some of them. We really enjoyed ourselves. The miles were not marked very clearly, so by the time we thought to ask where we were on the course, we only had half of a mile left to go! We, of course, got real dirty crawling through two big mud pits, but it was so fun. I didn’t expect to be as wiped out as I was afterwards.
This morning, my BFF Smalls and I woke up at 4:15 to get dressed and stretched and fed for our big half marathon. Both of us had our sparkly Sweaty Bands and our Fellow Flowers flowers in our hair ready to go. We arrived to the race, snuck her into my corral, and got a move on. I had been noticing a pain in my right leg, I was assuming was some sort of inflammation. Limped about a mile and a half but eventually hit that point where you can’t really feel your legs anymore. We were both so lucky to have such wonderful mom’s come cheer us on at miles 6 and 7. We snapped a couple pictures and really just had a blast seeing all of the other spectators cheering us on so loud. After mile 8, though, there was a lull in spectators and that high begins to wear off. At mile 9 Katy Perry’s Firework came on the IPhone while we simultaneously saw Smalls’ boyfriend screaming and cheering us on like a lone wolf on the sideline. We thanked God for Cam and Katy Perry for getting us to mile 10. It was at that mile that I knew beating a PR wasn’t in my future, but I got over it. We got to the finishing stretch with the finish line in sight and Smalls kept saying “we’re almost there, almost there, almost there” to keep either one of us from taking a break to walk. I finished the race in 2:37:39 which is 6 minutes slower than my personal best. That’s a small amount of time, in my opinion, considering the race ran the day before.
It was SUCH a blast and I am SO proud of myself for finishing up that bad boy. I have THREE more medals to add to the collection!
The hard thing to believe is that I still have training up until October for the full Chicago Marathon. It’s going to be an intense few months.
So I know I have been M.I.A on here for a while, but I’m back to business. I am a good month and a half into marathon training and feeling GOOD. Here are a few things I have learned and would love to share with any fellow runners out there:
1.) NEVER EVER underestimate the value of nutrition. I have learned very clearly how different a run is when you are focusing on your 25.25.50 runner’s diet and when you are eating what you have left at home so you don’t need to grocery shop. GROCERY SHOP! Your body will not thank you for a run if all you had to eat was an egg and a bag of SmartPop. Your body wants fuel, and water, and then to go on a run. I have always known that it was important to have protein and to “carb up” but this year I committed to using MyFitnessPal to track my calories and get the 50%Carb 25%Protein and 25%Fat system down-pat. When funds are running low, however, I fall off that wagon and try to eat what I have in the apartment to avoid a trip to Trader Joe’s. Runs on those weeks really suck. Give your body the fuel it needs!
2.) COMPRESSION SOCKS! Oh my god, compression socks. It is like an angel fell onto this Earth and graced me with its presence in the form of compression socks, furreal. For those of you who do not know what I’m talking about: Ever seen someone running and it looks like they’re wearing one knee-high sock or one sleeve? Ever wonder what the hell is going on? Well I finally asked, and learned that these are tools runners, as well as other athletes, use to assist certain parts of their body with circulation. I have always worn socks that were made for running that had that fancy tight part around the arch of the foot, because I knew that helped the circulation in my feet, but I never thought about what was happening in my calves. I recently started running with the compression socks on, and have compared it to days that I run with them off. The difference is spectacular! I noticed that I get certain pressure-points in my calves as I run that I have to kneed out or stretch out or heel-walk out throughout my run. I have since learned that these are somehow related to the circulation in my legs, and that by wearing the compression socks I have officially eliminated said pressure-points. I highly recommend these bad-boys. I cannot wait for the Rock ‘N Roll Chicago Half Marathon Expo to get myself some super cute ones. =]
3.) I LOVE TO RUN. Let’s be clear, I already knew this. I already knew that running could give me this intense high that can last hours. I knew that running pushed my body to be the best. I already knew that an entire day feels more productive if you run first thing in the morning. I got my IPhone for Christmas, and have had the Nike+ running app since January. I started off the year with the P90x2 program, and ran one long-run a week to prepare for a half marathon in February. Though I learned the hard way that one long run a week, even with strength training, is still enough to be considered “trauma” and can still cause injury such as tendonitis, I definitely built up a good amount of strength to go into the running season. I have since ran a total of 119.4 miles my records are:
Fastest 1K: 5:26
Fastest Mile: 9:16
Fastest 5k: 34:51
Fastest 10K: 1:12:00
Fastest Half Marathon: 2:31:57
I could not be more excited and proud and ready to head into these upcoming races. I have learned that my body is capable of the most incredible things so long as I keep a strong mind.
Remember: “The only workout you regret is the one you don’t do” “the hardest step for a runner is the first step out the door”
To anyone who thinks they want to try running but they don’t think they can do it: YOU CAN! You totally can. You have to trust yourself. Start small, and you can ultimately reach GREAT distances.