Running and Other Things

I’ve spent much of my running career, if you will, comparing and contrasting myself to others.  Am I running fast enough? Am I running enough miles?  Am I signed up for enough races?  Why doesn’t my running form look like hers?  Why do I sweat more than them?  The questions and insecurities continued and continued, until they stopped…

It’s not that I have felt burnt out, per se, but I’ve either felt like I’m not doing enough, or not doing the right things, and I have been feeling stuck.  Over the first couple months so far of this year, I’ve done a lot of reflecting and thinking about my expectations of myself and my running, and have realized some things, and I feel like I need to get them out on the interwebs.

Don’t get me wrong, I love running, and don’t want to stop anytime soon.  Like, not ANYtime soon.  I want to still be running in my 60s. I want to be able to for years and years.  But I also like doing other things. I really like the cycle class I’ve been going to. I really like riding my bike, taking walks, lifting weights… I know everyone has the same 24 hours in the day, and some people can workout for hours each day, but I’m not that person. I can, and want to continue, to work out daily, or 6 days each week, but I don’t think all of those days can be running days.

My knee often doesn’t like running, and will tell about it for days after.  I’ve been running consistently 4-5-6 days per week for 5 years now; 5 years!  Over these last few months though, I’ve been taking more days off, and sure, some of that is adjusting to engaged life, adjusting to living with Chris, adjusting to more work at work, adjusting to wedding planning, and being sick for a couple weeks, or spraining my ankle… but some of it was also that I didn’t FEEL like running that day.

I’ve struggled with this, because I’m supposed to run.  But why?  Why can’t I be satisfied and fulfilled with being active? Running and being active?  I most definitely still want to be a runner, at my core. But I’m happy right now, NOT running a full 5-6 days each week.  I plan to go with my gut on this, and branch out and not push myself to run all the time if I don’t feel it.  I think it will make my runs more meaningful, my miles more fulfilling.

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I have 5 races planned for this year, and will probably add a couple 5k’s here or there.  But this is going to be the first year since I started running that I have less than 10 races on my schedule.  And I’m really excited for fewer races, and for my first full marathon this fall!

My knee is doing much better than it was doing last year, or even last month, and I’m continuing to make it stronger, and adding in other activities along with running, and not running so many miles will do nothing but help my knee.

This is a lot of rambling, but I felt like I wanted to get my thoughts out. I’m really excited to run, to bike, to hike, to walk, to lift, to see where my strong and awesome body will take me, without putting irrational stresses and expectations on myself for no reason except to live up to others’ dreams and expectations and goals.

Always with my brave wings, Renee  =)

2016 KC 13.1 Race Recap

Last weekend, I ran the KC Half Marathon for the third year in a row (see my 2014 recap here and my 2015 recap here).  As in previous years, I went downtown for packet pickup.  Chris and I checked out the expo for a bit, got our packets, and headed home for a spaghetti dinner.  After setting out my flat runner, it was early(ish) to bed.

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It was much warmer this year, compared to last year’s frigid temps.  It was warm enough for a tank top; I wish it would have been a bit chillier, it kind of felt more like late spring than early fall.  I went to the race with Chris and Amy, and after using the bathrooms and checking our bags, we made our way into the corrals.  The race started right on time, with fireworks going off at the start!

I started off and stuck to my paces, slower than previous halves, as I was trying to run the whole half marathon without walking.  The course was pretty familiar to me, having done it twice before. I made it through Hospital Hill, Liberty Hill, and Trinity Hill with no problems.  I was enjoying the race signs, listening to snippets of conversations as I passed people and as they passed me, listening to my music, and enjoying the course.

I knew by about mile 5 that this was not my race.  Since the start of the race, I’d not had any pep in my calves; my hips had been aching, my calves felt like rocks, and I just felt sluggish, overall.  I continued to watch my paces, trying to focus on something other than how my legs felt.  By the time I got to the Plaza, about halfway, I was feeling chilled, and had goosebumps on my arms.  I had the beginnings of dizziness, and at about mile 7, I stopped to walk.

My number 1 goal for this half marathon was to run it all without walking.  I felt so defeated, mentally.  I have had so many great training runs preparing for this half marathon, and I felt really confident that I could finally reach this goal.  My secondary goal was to PR, and my third goal was to finish the half.  When I started walking, I knew my #1 and #2 goals were out the window.  I honestly didn’t even really want to finish, I was just defeated.

I spent the last 6 miles walking and running, with more walking than running.  My back and feet began aching, because of all the walking. I continued my walk/run/walk/run until I was about a half mile from the finish, and ran it in.  I finished, and felt happy that I had finished, but frustrated and upset and disappointed in myself at my performance.  I got my medal, water, and heat sheet, and made my way to find Amy and Chris.

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Let’s just talk about Chris for a sec.  He finished his first half marathon, and killed it! He beat all of his goals, and felt awesome the whole time.  I am so proud of him, for training and achieving this, for pushing me to run longer, for being there for me after my bad race, and for signing up for another half, so we can keep running together.  He did so great, I can’t say enough.

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Overall, I’m happy I did the race, and I’m happy I finished.  I’ve reflected a lot this week about this half marathon, and the 10 previous halves.  I’m proud of myself every time for finishing a half marathon, because it is no small feat.  I know I didn’t have the day I trained for, but I know that day will come for me.  I’m going to keep running, to keep training, and keep making my mind stronger, because I know it is my mind that gives up far before my body, and I need to learn to be stronger than my  mind thinks I am.

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I love the KC Half, it’s one of my very favorite KC races.  I hope to continue to keep doing this race every fall.  Amy, Chris, and I made our way back home after the race, and now my medal is proudly hanging with my other half marathon medals.

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I have one more half marathon to run this year, the Longview Half Marathon, in 3 weeks. I’m really excited that Mom is coming down for Longview, it will be great to experience Longview with her – neither of us have ran this race before.  Longview Lake, here we come!

Diva Dash & Blacklight Run Race Recaps

Saturday morning, I ran the Diva Dash 5k, then Saturday night, I ran the Blacklight Run 5k!  I have 2 race recaps and lots of pictures from my double race Saturday to share!

Amy and I won entries to the Diva Dash 5k, so there was no better plan than to run it together! It was a relatively chilly morning, for August, and it was misty and overcast.  We started conservatively, and picked up the pace each mile to end up with perfect negative splits (each mile was 30 seconds faster than the previous).  We came across the line in my second fastest 5k time, so I was thrilled, especially since I wasn’t in the mood to race!!

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After the race, we met up with Sandey and Melissa, and ended up going to brunch after the race.  Side note, there was SO MUCH PINK and SO MANY TUTUS at this race.  Pink overload, for sure.  (Sidenote: notice how I’m the only one not in pink! Stand out people!)

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5k #1 of the day DONE!

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Saturday evening, I met up with Michelle and lots of her Y friends to run the Blacklight Run 5k.  We ate a quick dinner a coupe hours before the race, then headed out to Sandstone Amphitheater for the race.  (Sidenote: notice how I’m dressed differently than everyone else.  Stand out people!)

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I ran into Derek before the race, this was his 24th 5k of the year!

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The weather was beyond perfect.  The sun had come out Saturday afternoon and burned off some of the humidity.  It was cool, breezy, and perfect.  Such amazing and unseasonable weather for August.

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I ran perfect negative splits (this time each mile was 20 seconds faster than the previous) again for this race, totally unplanned – I was tired and didn’t want to run a second 5k on Saturday, but pushed and ended up besting my 5k time from Saturday morning to pull out my new second best 5k time, only 20 seconds away from my 5k PR, which I was really proud of, considering I had already ran a 5k earlier in day!

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We all got back together after the race and celebrated by watching the after party, complete with exploding color packets, blacklights, and loud music.  We headed home a little while later, and I promptly showered and went to bed.

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5k #2 of the day done!

Running 2 5k’s in a day was fun, but not really something I’m looking to do again anytime soon! It was a tiring day.  It was really fun to run with lots of different people at different races.

Have you ever ran 2 races in 1 day before? I’ve done 2 races in a weekend before, but never 2 in a day!