Five Sullivan Brothers 5k/10k, Waterloo, Iowa

Five Sullivan Brothers 5k/10k, Waterloo, Iowa

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Completed the Half!

Well after much worrying about the decision to sign up, dealing with the IT injury, weekly visits to the PT, and analyzing each and every run as a motivator or deflator, I COMPLETED A HALF-MARATHON!  And boy did it feel SUPER.  Official race time of 2 hours 15 min and 8 seconds. .

Tina and I left for Emmetsburg at about 2:15 on Friday while our friend Carrie (our super cheerleader) met us up there at about 7:00pm.  The drive to Emmetsburg was long and uneventful with the race day excitement keeping the smile on our faces.  We promptly picked up our race packets :-) with the coolest green shirts and the race numbers #1 for me and #10 for Tina.  I thought the numbers were slightly ironic for some reason and very fitting that Tina got a #10 and was running her 10K.  We then checked into our hotel room and got semi-settled in and I opened the most wonderful gift that made me cry.  We waited for Carrie to arrive and then decided to drive our race routes to see what it was like.    We had a quick Subway sandwich and went to bed fairly early--10ish.  :-)

The alarm promptly woke us up about 6 and Tina and I calmly showered and got race ready.  Putting on some make-up!  Some may think that's a bit vain, but I know I am not going to take a great picture after the race, so I might as well look half-way decent for the pre-race ones.  We arrive at the Iowa Lakes Wellness Center and take our last 2 potty breaks before the race start. 

I ran down a couple of blocks to the start of the half-and felt surprisingly calm.  Only a bit nervous, but nothing too bad.  I talked with a couple of girls waiting and asked them if this was their first.  It wasn't and they were hoping to break the 2:00 mark.  I guess I wouldn't be keeping pace with them.  :-( 

The race started off fairly relaxed and I kept watching my GPS to make sure that I wasn't starting off too quickly.  My legs felt SO relaxed and I didn't have any of the hip tenderness or calf tightening that sometimes happens until my body relaxes into the run.  There was a slight fog in the air with the air temp running at 30 or a little cooler.  It didn't take long for most of the runners to stretch out and get some distance between them. 

I followed two friends talking, yellow shirt guy, and black jacket lady for the longest time.  At about 3 miles I walked at the first water stop for I'm guessing 20 seconds or so and was trying to decide whether to carry my water or toss it.  (unfortunately tossed the half-full bottle)  Between miles 3-6, I pass the friends talking. 

At mile 6 the girl just ahead of me snagged the last water (which kinda irritated me cause she had a gatorade stashed less than a mile up the road) and I was wishing I had decided to carry my water from mile 3.  Shortly after that the yellow shirt guy started to walk more often and I was able to pass him.  I did notice at this point there was a different guy not too far behind me.  He must have continued to lose pace, because he wasn't in my shadow for over a couple of miles. 

Miles 7-9 were on gravel, which wasn't all that terrible to run on.  It was easier on the legs than the pavement actually.  I was trying to decide if I should eat one of my gels (with no water), but was worried it could upset my stomach and having passed the porto potty at mile 6, I was slightly worried.  I decided I would hold off as long as I could, but kept worrying about whether I would get water at the next stop.  I kept trying to relax and was getting kind of emotional out running by myself knowing that I was over half-way there.  I tried not to look at my garmin too much. 

9-10 Yeah for water!  I walked to swallow a gel and some yummy water.  Now realizing that I am on the home stretch with basically a 5k left to run.  I kept thinking about Tina at the finish line and wanting to see her reaction to her husband driving 3 hours just to watch her cross the finish line.  At this point the wind is blowing a bit, and is kind of chilly.  It wasn't exactly a head wind, but not at my back either.  It definitely didn't help me go faster. 

Miles 11-13  I tried to put the miles into perspective of things I could relate to.  I know 2 miles is up to Poyner and back, so I could definitely do that.  Also interestingly enough, there were stamped numbers on the highway that kept me focused on knocking down the miles.  Getting slightly emotional at this point, but trying to keep my mind on the run.   

Miles 12.6--MY FAVORITE MOMENT!  I am coming close to the end and see Tina on the side of the road and I literally break into a sobbing mess!  I was so happy to see her and at that moment, I had realized how far I had come and how wonderful this journey is.  She ran the last few tenths with me until I noticed on my GPS how close I was to 2:15 and sprinted to the finish line. 

After crossing the finish line, I was SO happy and elated.  It was so emotional and so unbelievable that I actually completed the half and made my goal.  My friend Carrie and my brother Jon were there to share my joy.  Hugging my brother at the end, and knowing how proud he was made me feel really special.  I don't care how many people were behind me or how many people were ahead of me, this was my journey and I did it. 

This truly was a GREAT race day!  I was so happy to be there for Tina and share in her wonderful accomplishment in completing her first 10K completed in 1hr 4min :-).  She did an amazing job and I was very proud to share in her joy.  I hope she always knows how special she is to me and how proud I am of everything that she has accomplished.  Such an amazingly perfect day and I am so happy we were all able to share it together.  --steph

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Two weeks away!

Todays run of just over 11 miles went super great!  Tried to keep my pace relaxed and just wanted to make it through the run.  A little bit of a twinge in my hip, but I adjusted my stride slightly to try and manage it.  It never did get very bad so I was super glad about that.   Got approval from the doctor for another 4 physical therapy appointments, just to get me through the half!  Things are going well at the moment and I want to stay on top of the healing!  :-) 

Ran the first part of the run with Lisa and the second half with Tina!  I definitely wouldn't have made it without being able to run with the girls, it's amazing how much I rely on them to keep me going.  I am so impressed with how well they do!  :-)   

A couple of times during the run, I had to focus on things other than running and tried counting really slow to refocus my energy.  It helped, though I never really did make it past counting to 15 :-).  

I am super excited right now for the half, even though having not run 13.1 has me slightly worried.  I am hoping that the excitement of "Race Day" will get me through the extra 1.75 that I will need. 

Tina today did her full 6.2 miles today!  She did sign up for the 10K and I have the utmost confidence that she will do GREAT!   --Steph 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Taking in Semi-Easy

Well after my last two "long" runs, I had been having some super intense hip pain that felt like a burning sensation.  Last Sunday after my 11.27 miles (training for the half), I couldn't walk without limping the next day and the pain didn't dissipate after a while.  I decided to give the doctor a call (paranoid) about not being able to run for the half and see what is going on.  Referred to a physical therapist for some exercises and such.  My first visit confirmed that I have an IT band issue.  Apparently after doing some research on the internet, this is fairly common in runners.  Caused by a few things some including:  running the same direction around a hard surface track (yep), increasing your training distance too quickly (yep), and overpronation (yep).  The PT did a few stretches with me, a deep tissue ultrasound that I didn't feel, and DIDN'T tell me not to run (thank goodness).  But disclaimer inserted--rest is the best cure. 

I did take a day of rest on Monday.  Decided to do a short 2.5 on the Treadmill to see how it felt on Tuesday.  (not too bad-only a little bit sore) And Today (wednesday) went for a nice 3 mile run outside with Tina to test out some things.  Felt pretty good once again, but could tell there was still some tenderness.  Made sure to stretch REALLY good about 5 min into our run and again after getting home.  Also did some foam roller exercises concentrating on the IT band on my left side.  Tender at first, but it did improve! 

My major worries ARE/WERE 1.) that running would now be painful (which wouldn't be much fun) 2.) that I wouldn't be ready for the half and 3.) that I would hugely disappointment myself with all the hard work I have done. 

I am seriously taking it EASIER than last week and listening to how my body feels.  If it hurts too bad to run longer distances, I am going to stretch it out and slow it down as much as I can.  This weekend is kind of the DO or DIE weekend.  I am going to COMMIT for sure to do the half. I truly can't see myself quitting now, even if I have to modify my goals. --Steph 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

10 down 3.1 to go!

Ran 10 miles yesterday with one stop at 60 min for less than 2 minutes for a drink of water!  It was really difficult and for sure wouldn't have been able to continue without Tina joining me for the last 4 miles.  Got home and was having a little bit of a muscle ache in my hip, but took some ibuprofen and all is well this morning.  There were a couple times I wanted to stop (not walk-STOP), but I trucked through it with a pretty good pace of 10:25 per mile.  I did realize that I HATE out and back routes.  We went around the lake 3 times and was supposed to go a fourth, but I realized that I didn't need to go that way to get my mileage in so I turned and took a different path.  At the end of the run, at exactly 10 miles, I stopped and walked the last couple of blocks home.  I must have been tired, because normally I would just finish the whole way home and then stop the GPS.  Next week is 11 miles and I am hoping that it is a bit easier. 

Hubby goes to Wyoming this week and the weather should be GREAT for runs outside!  I am hoping that it works out to complete mostly outside runs this week so I don't have to run on the TM! 

VERY optimistic about the half on March 19!  whoot hoot! --steph

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Feeling like a Rockstar!

Today I ran 9 miles . . .but I feel that there should be a disclaimer (I did take a bathroom and drink break for a couple of minutes at mile 5).  Feeling like this half is SO doable!  :-)  I tried to keep my pace around a 10-1030 min/mile and feel like that is a super comfy pace for my long distances. 

I wouldn't be able to run that far without the support of my friends.  Today, Ashley, a friend from work joined me for the first 5!  She is a long time runner and has taken a little break because of an exercise class she is taking.  And Tina joined me for the last 4!  Running with the girls really helps to keep me focused on my pace and keepin on keepin on!  

I am starting to get less worried and more confident in how the half will go!  4 more weeks of increasing my distance and than in March the taper starts and distance gradually decreases.  I CAN SO DO THIS!  :-) 

Trying to keep my weekly running distance to about 25 miles with 1 long run per week!  Right now I try and take 2 days of rest per week with the other days running distances of 3, 4, or 5 miles.  This next week I will try and do one other day with 6 miles!  Things are going well so far!  :-) --Steph 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

8.75 miles Baby!

Wow!  I loved, loved, loved today's run.  My goal was 8, but just felt like I could go and go!  Tina and I had planned an inside run, but the weather was pretty nice temperature wise, so we decided to go for it outside.  I knew I would need at least an hour and a half in order to make 8 miles, so we decided I would do a 45 minute loop and do the first half by myself and then pick Tina up on the 2nd half so she could get her run in and keep me going for my miles. 

About an hour after we decided to NOT run inside, it started to snow.  The flakes were coming down pretty steadily and I was slightly starting to regret the decision to run outside, but unfortunately time was too short to get a long run inside at this point.  I left an hour earlier than we had planned for our outside run to beat some snow accumulation and hopefully make the run not too difficult.  The temp was GREAT, but the slight wind and snow made running to the west a little bit irritating and I had to kinda keep my head down. 

I was so happy to finally meet Tina and basically take the same route around the lake again.  It was so nice, but honestly I was worried at sometimes that I would have to slow her down so I would be able to keep up the pace for 8 miles. 

We decided to stay on mostly trail and avoid as much west running as possible.  We ran past our houses and kept it up for another half mile, before we finally said that we had had enough and stopped!  We were both on a super runner's high with icy eyebrows and eyelashes.  It was the best EVER!  :-)  I love it when you feel like you can run ON and ON! --Steph

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Running Fool!

I have been running about 20 miles a week for the last 3 weeks!  I feel SUPER good about this, considering my weekly mileage was about 12 before.  The half is approaching fast and I still feel a little big nervous about it, but will NOT worry about my speed as long as I can keep increasing my distances.  I am trying NOT to get super bummed about not having my girls to run with on a regular basis.  I don't know why it has bothered me so much, but just having them there as really motivated me to keep going. 

I am relieved that the weather is finally starting to get a bit warmer.  I was able to get out tonight with Tina to go for a little run and on Monday for a little run that kicked my butt for some reason.  I seemed to dress too warm and was having difficulty with the snow packed trails.  It was a nice run of over 3 miles, but I had to keep encouraging myself NOT to walk.  Tonight was PERFECT!  The pace was nice and relaxed and I felt so proud of how Tina did!  :-) 

One frustration I am having right now is getting a friend to start exercising.  She is having difficulty with her feet hurting and just feeling yucky overall or just TOO busy and preoccupied with everything else.  I know that if she just started SLOW, she would feel better, but not sure how to encourage her without pushing her. 
And really maybe I should relax--not everyone needs to be a runner/walker, and I should lay off!  Hmmmm! 

I really have tried to get some other girls to start running on my days when I run inside, but only a few minimal bites.  Tomorrow my goal is to get 5 miles in AT LEAST and then hope for a long run of UGH 8 miles on Saturday or Sunday!  My last run of 7 miles, just sorta came easy and really hope that the "8" feels the same way. 

I am now thinking that running has leveled off and become something that I don't have to STRUGGLE at when I am going at a slow relaxed pace and that feels SO GOOD.   I have been trying to challenge myself more on the treadmill, increasing my speed at each 1/4 mile.  This has gone well and I will continue to do that when I can't run outside or hit the inside track. 

As far as the weather, I am NOT really looking forward to the hot days of summer and running outside.  It gets SO hot and running when it's cooler really seems easier to me.  As long as the weather is 15 degrees or so warmer with little wind, I am in heaven outside running.  It's easier for me to stay warm than it is to cool off!  So for now, going to enjoy the cool weather and be the running fool! --Steph

Thursday, January 20, 2011

7 miles! whoo hoo!

Ran my longest run ever tonight at Young Arena!  It was super fabulous except for the fact that I was SOLO!  boo hoo!  It was pretty busy, and I had to weave in and out of the walkers at times, but felt fantastic afterwords.  I was only planning on doing 4 miles, but after my shins stopped hurting, I felt like I could go on and on.  I probably could have gone farther, but Dad was watching the kiddos and I knew I had been gone a LONG time already.  Yeah for a long run!  I am feeling pretty confident right now about the half-marathon at the end of March!  :-) --Steph

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ugh to the WEATHER!

Lots going on the past week and unfortunately haven't been able to run as much as I have wanted, but I have enjoyed the wonderful/needed time spent with family.  A couple miles here and there has been okay, and a couple later night TM runs have kept me sane though! 

A couple of things are really bumming me out lately.  First, Lisa has joined a WONDERFUL program for the next 10 weeks, and unfortunately that is impacting her running with Tina and I :-(.  I am SO happy for her and know she is going to do great, but I do miss running with her.  Secondly, Tina has started up her Semester classes of college and has class most days until 8 or 9pm :-(.  I didn't think I would be so bummed NOT being able to count on them as partners, but I really am.  Even if we aren't running together around the Young Arena track, it is just really nice being there with them!  They are two excellent motivators and I really looked forward to time at Young running with them.  But I know these are just temporary and once the weather warms up, it won't be so bad running later again.  :-) 

Also, this WEEK, the weather is COLD, and as much as I like to run outside, I don't really feel like running with negative wind chills!  Last night, I had a fantastic slow run on "my new friend" the Treadmill!  (I should give it a name!  hmmmm...) Was only going to run about 30 min, but was feeling the groove and ran for about an hour!  Whoot Whoot!  I was SUPER happy with that!  Maybe a quick run with Tina tonight at Young if she gets done from class early enough! 

Hoping to do another long run on the indoor track on Saturday, if it works out!  --crossing my fingers

--Happy Running---Steph 

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year and New Starts!

Started off the year with a wonderful indoor 5K with Tina!  Felt so good to start the year off running.  I had a super GREAT week last week putting on LOTS of miles.  Christmas vacation made it much easier!  Hopefully this next couple of months will continue to be just as easy.  Committed to the half-marathon in March so I do NEED to keep increasing my mileage on my long runs or finishing in under 2 hours 30 min will be hopeless.  I recently joined the website and have been super impressed with the support and kindness of the people!  Lots of the people are putting on TONS of miles per week and have really impressed me. 

My Running Resolutions for the year are

#1  Run a Half-Marathon 13.1 miles in under 2 hours 30 minutes.
#2  Run a 5k in under 28 minutes
#3  Keep encouraging my friends to RUN and HAVE FUN!
#4  NOT be an annoyance to my Family and Friends as I try to make my Running Goals
#5  Keep having FUN with Running and learn to RELAX about times!  Realize I am NEVER going to be the fastest and realize that "THAT'S OKAY!" 

Happy Running to ALL!--Steph

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Great start to the New Year! :)

Wow what a great start to the new year! Ran a 5k with my sis Steph! It's great to have such great company when running keeps you moving , other than the fabulous music you listen to! We weren't able to run outside with the windchills as cold as they were , so we changed it up a bit and went to my sister's school where she teaches and ran thru the halls! I would also like to thank my lil cheerleader Becca for cheering me on when I passed thru she even made me a #1 runner award ! YAY! Thanks Becca your the best! Excited to keep running and hopeing to do a few more 5k's in early spring! :) ---- Tina