Tag Archives: 5000plus13.1

What Learning to Run Thirteen Miles Taught Me About Life

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I’ve been feeling like writing something graduation-speechy (after having to endure some truly terrible graduation speeches) lately. Inspiring the masses with some token advice is totally a skill I’d like to develop.

So, I thought I would tie 5,000+13.1 up with a nice big red, sappy bow: what I learned about myself during those 5 or 6 months that I ran for hours at a time on the weekends, tracking sweat all down the North Oval and questioning why I keep doing it. It’s distinctly different than what I learned about running, and it needs to be said. Because I think it will help someone who was just like me. 

Here it is: my big piece of advice in one neat line…

…dreams don’t always find you.

Sometimes you have to find them. Sometimes you have to do something insane to realize what you’re really made of. Sometimes you have to just randomly select a goal out of the ether, and see if it works for you. You have to decide to go run three miles (?!?!) with your best friend through Dallas even though you’ve never done it before. You, the girl they shouted “Run, Forrest, Run” at during soccer practice. You, the one who always copped out of working as hard as the other cheerleaders because you were fatter and “couldn’t do as much”. You have to decide to do something you’ve never done before.

And then, of course, you have to see where it goes. You might end up hating the thing you choose to try out. I’m sure if I had decided to take up fly fishing or calculus, I wouldn’t be feeling so fulfilled at the moment. Don’t consider yourself a failure if you don’t know what you want. Figure it out, and don’t beat yourself up about it.

After that 5k, I decided to run one mile a day for a year. That was my 2012 New Year’s resolution. And then I did more. And then I watched “Spirit of the Marathon”, came out of my boyfriend’s room into the living room, and announced to three other people that I was running a half-marathon.

And so goes the growth of a dream.

If you could have gone back to January 1, 2012 and ask me if I would ever run a half-marathon, I would have shamelessly laughed in your face. “Me? I’m a terrible runner. I’ve never been good at running. What a joke.”

I have always dreamed of being strong. To have toughness, both mental and physical. Most of the time, I feel very weak. I cry a lot, over silly things that shouldn’t get to me, but do. I don’t feel strong during most of my daily life.

The half-marathon made me feel strong. I never felt weak, never felt like I wasn’t good enough, never felt like I wasn’t achieving something great each time I trained or talked about it. Now that I’ve technically achieved my dream, I’m going after more. A two-and-a-half-hour half in the fall, then maybe an even shorter one after that. I want to always feel this strong.

I beg you to try something new. If you feel like I did, like you have no real dreams, like you are weak, like you have never truly achieved anything great, do something you’ve never done before and do it with your whole heart.

There was a time when I thought I had no dreams. Now I know that I was wrong.

Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon Race Recap, Part 2

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So, when I left you last, I was heading out for the race, correct?

Good. Let’s get caught up.

My family and I headed down towards the memorial, and, after narrowly missing the start of the race because I thought some random mass of people was the corral, I made my way through the (real) massive corral and found my friend Wesley at the 9:30 pace marker! While I knew I couldn’t keep this pace for the whole race, I didn’t want to be alone so I hung by him while we listened to the prayer, the seconds of silence, and the horn that signaled the beginning of the race (!!!!!).

It took me 7 minutes to cross the start line, and I began running to the tune of Sweet Caroline. Mile 1 was nothing short of magical. I ran by my hotel, by the firefighters completing the race in full gear, by the arena, and over the first hill of the race on the Bricktown bridge. I went out too fast (shocker) and had a 9:45 first mile. I continued at a pretty good pace until, unfortunately, my right foot started going numb at mile 2. While I thought my shoes were loose enough, they weren’t. (I still haven’t found a solution to this problem.) Luckily, I had trained through this, and knew that if I took off my shoe for about 15 seconds, the numbness would go away. So that’s how I ran miles 2-4, stopping about every half mile to un-numb my feet and then pushing forward again.

I didn’t tell anyone I was having foot problems because I didn’t want them to worry (sorry, family), and when I met K at mile 4, I didn’t stop to un-numb myself until after I saw her leave. (Let’s talk about how awesome K is, she walked a 10k’s worth chasing my butt all over Oklahoma City.)

Mile 5-6 started our journey through some really pretty neighborhoods, and it brought the epicness of Gorilla Hill!image

Unfortunately, it was also at this point that I realized I was developing a blister on my left foot, right where the upper and the sole of my Mizunos met. I messed with my shoe for a bit, but then resolved to just keep going and try to ignore it. I was too scared to take my sock off and see how big it was because I didn’t want to give myself a reason to slow down or give up. I knew there were medical tents coming up later, and I resolved to stop for a band-aid if it got super unbearable.

At this point in the race, I had a moment of discouragement. I saw the race clock at mile 7 and thought I was moving way below my goal time. My left foot hurt. My right foot was numb. It was getting hotter. It took all the strength I had to power through. I resolved to quit walking so much, make up the time I had lost and ignore all the pain. “Only Way I Know” by Jason Aldean came on my iPod, and all of a sudden, I had my second wind. I remember literally singing the song through gritted teeth as I made my way toward the half/full split.

The half marathon course then took a turn down Classen Boulevard, and, since I had creeped on the course so hard, I knew that the end was coming. It was a straight shot down Classen for 20+ blocks until it wound through Mesta Park and then across to Broadway. I was so thankful for my “second wind” because, quite frankly, this stretch of the race was boring. I was going straight for so long, it felt so hot outside, I had started getting awful stomach cramps, and I just wanted it to be over. Luckily, there were some great water stops with yummy snacks and drinks that kept me going. I did not, however, indulge in the free local beer being passed out.

K was meeting me on this stretch of the course, but I was having trouble remembering what she had said in her text (blame it on race brain). I expected her at 33rd Street, but she wasn’t there. So I thought, “maybe it was 30th Street!”. Nope. It was actually 23rd Street. Oops. That was a little frustrating.

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When I finally saw K, I remember grabbing her arm like it was a life raft. I said (I think), “I’m so tired. I have a huge blister on my foot.” She responded “There’s only a 5k left!”. And she was right. It was mile 10. I had reached my personal distance record.

It was also right around this time that I realized I AM SO BAD AT MATH. I wasn’t running slower than a 3:00 pace, I was running way faster! At this point, I was ahead of the 2:30 pace group.

Yeah. I suck at math.

I was so happy after that. Everything was awesome. I was running through a gorgeous area with historic homes, everyone on the course was so supportive, and I had adopted an attitude of “it’s not going to hurt anymore than it already does, so keep running”.

That attitude got me all of the way to Broadway.

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The finish line was rocking. I ran my hardest down Broadway. I knew my mom and family were waiting for me. I blasted Florence and the Machine’s “Shake It Out” and heard the crowd roaring even over that music. (That song got me through that race, hands down).

I can’t describe the feeling that crossing that finish line gave me. I know it’s a moment I’ll never forget.

I heard my mom’s iconic horse whistle and saw her and my other family members in the finish corral. I stumbled over and we hugged. I remember saying, “I’m so tired. I’m so glad it’s over. I’m so tired.” I started crying tears of joy and my parents were super concerned that I was injured. I left them to go get my medal and take my picture and then they met me outside the medical tent, where my huge blister was patched up.

It was over.

Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon Race Recap (Part 1)

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Much like the deranged sorority girl email, y’all better buckle in. This might be a long (but ultimately fulfilling) post!

When I drove into Oklahoma City for the race expo on Saturday, the whole city was buzzing. People were swarming everywhere, armed with their clear gear check bags and expo swag. Traffic was terrible. As K put it, “this city [was] crapping itself”. It took me 15 minutes from when I exited off of I-40 and finally pulled up to the valet station at the Colcord Hotel, also known as paradise.

I felt so fancy as I handed the valet my keys, checked into my room, and ascended to the 11th floor. My room was nothing short of fantastic.

Fabulous, right?

After I squealed a little, I headed to the Cox Convention Center for the race expo. The line appeared to be ridiculous, but it was because they only let a small number of people into the packet pickup area at once, which made that line nonexistent. I was also able to pick up the packets for my family with no wait!

After I got my bib and such, I headed to the real expo area where I bought all my 13.1 swag. I got a sticker for my car, a RUN OKC tech tee, and a fuel belt for my race fuel (more on that later).

K arrived shortly after I got back to the hotel, and we walked over to a Subway because she skipped lunch. Then we watched some trash TV until it was time for dinner at Iguana with my entire family! Best pre-race meal. I was even able to resist loading up on chips and salsa (mostly due to nerves).

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel, where I perfected my playlist and waited for my last roommate to show up, Kristen! She was running the full marathon so I offered her my floor so that she wouldn’t have to drive up from Norman at 4 am. We hit the sack at 10 pm to prepare for our 5am wake up call. K gave me a melatonin pill which made me sleep beautifully, and I woke up only slightly annoyed at the world. 

Me!

Me and K!

Kristen!

Part 2 coming soon.

Memoir of a Long-Distance Relationship

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My race report is coming after finals, I promise! This post is not as happy, but you should read it all the same. It’s been in the drafts folder for a bit. Still having the nightmares I write about, by the way.

In the past week, several people have told me they’d like me to write a post about what it’s like being in a (temporarily) transatlantic relationship.

I responded to one of them by saying “it would be too sad”.

Because it is really sad sometimes.

The nights are the worst. After B has long since gone to bed, after all of the day’s distractions are done with, I am alone in the silence of my bedroom. Every creak in the floor is a robber. Every light outside my door is a fire creeping up to my room. My pillows never line up the right way. I’m too cold or too hot and it’s too quiet and it’s all too much and I panic. God bless B for not dumping me when he got the first panicked text at 4 am. And God bless him for not dumping me for all of the panic since then.

Lately it’s been the nightmares. Extremely vivid and creepy nightmares that rocket me awake in the middle of the night.

It gets routine after a while to not see B even through a computer screen. We’re both busy, social people. I still get a twinge when he goes out because I am so disgustingly jealous that other people can be in the same room as my boyfriend. I realize that I am completely ridiculous in this feeling. I also realize that B feels the same sometimes.

I spend a lot of time alone, but also a lot of time with new friends. I’m glad I took on the half marathon battle this semester because it gives me a new way to kill time, but it kills me that B won’t be there to see me complete what I have worked so hard for (and what he has unfailingly encouraged me to do since I began). I offered to have my mom Skype him in on her phone, but he said that would be too painful.

Soon, this time apart will end, and we are lucky to be able to reunite in a few short months. But sometimes every second is a battle.

When I read that North Korea was pointing nuclear weapons at us all I thought about was dying without seeing B again.

I know I’m crazy. You don’t need to tell me.

But these are the things I think about when the silence is too loud.

When B is asleep and no one responds to my panic messages and I see kidnappers at my windows.

We both know that flying home tomorrow is not a possibility, so we persevere on, on to the next Google Voice message, the next Skype call, the next panicked text begging him to tell me he loves me just one more time, the next plane ride to a country that is not our own, and the next part of a journey that will eventually lead to our future.

It’s just the middle of the journey that hurts.

What I’ve Learned About Half-Marathon Training So Far

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  • Don’t eat sport beans with caffeine.
  • Long run on the weekend, keep your base up during the week.
  • Don’t stress if you miss a midweek run.
  • Cross train when you’re not running.
  • Yes, you must cross train.
  • Don’t buy new shoes too close to a race, but….
  • Don’t race in too-worn shoes.
  • Take it at your own pace.
  • Try and find time to run or workout with friends. They might be faster than you, but treadmills go at anyone’s pace. And you always need a helper to count crunches.
  • Make this battle personal. It’s the only way you’ll find the strength to train for so long, to skip going out with your friends in order to hit the gym, to get up on race morning and pour yourself into shoes and hit the pavement.

Feeling Fine at 9 (+1)

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This post is super late but it’s been in the drafts folder for two weeks! My bad.


I ran 9 miles today.
I ran 10 miles today!

Don’t you love it when you’re bad at calculating distances? Or does that just happen to me… Read on for the full story.

I made a huge mistake during this run: leaving at 11 am so that I could get the run out of the way and see my friends later that evening. By the time I was in the “please, God, strike me down anytime now” portion of my run, it was almost 80 degrees and the hot Oklahoma sun was beating down on my poor little frame.

I did my two mile loop twice to get 4 miles out of the way, but then I realized that due to the heat, I couldn’t wait 20 minutes in between water breaks. So, I switched to a one mile loop. I’m sure everyone who was doing yardwork thought I was literally insane running around in a circle 5 times. Such is the life of a distance runner.

So, I get home, thinking that I’ve completed my 9 miles at a somewhat slow pace for me, but that’s alright. Then I get the itch to check mapmyrun.com…

Turns out each of my loops was about .1 over what I thought it was. (So my 2 mile loop is really 2.2 miles, my 1 mile is 1.1) Not that much, right? But when you’re doing it 9 times, it adds up. So I wasn’t incredibly slow! I was just running more than I thought I was!

10 miles/ 2 hours

A Letter to Boston and A Story About My Feet

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My feet are large (for a girl).

My feet are pale and bony.

My feet are relatively nice looking when I’ve had a pedicure.

My feet are not nice looking at other times.

I’ve trained my feet to land at the ideal spot when running through a year of practice.

I’ve bought my feet cheap shoes, expensive shoes, ugly shoes, pretty shoes, and shoes that they’ve never worn except when trying them on in the store.

My feet run occasionally.

My feet race against other sets of feet, all barreling down a trail or street towards a finish line.

But my feet have never stood in line for water and blankets and the chance to call your loved ones.

My feet have never paced the floor wondering if my friends would come home that day.

My feet have never been shaken from their stance (except during rogue Oklahoma earthquakes).

My feet can’t bring you healing, and they can’t bring you peace. They can’t bring your family and friends back.

But my feet can carry you across a finish line.

Two for Tempo

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After taking a nice week off of running (oops), I hit the treadmill for some fast tempo miles. I was channeling Ricky “I wanna go fast” Bobby the entire time. I probably should have pushed more, seeing as tempo miles are really supposed to be speedy (read: painful wishes for death), but I felt good about them. Running 9 minute miles has (thankfully) gotten easier. I never thought it would.

Nine Miles and a Sunburn

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Saturday, I got a sunburn.

If you’re currently in the OKC area, you will find this unconscionable due to the mass flooding going on. The OUProblems Twitter aptly described it as “our sidewalks being at high tide”. 

I got a sunburn because I was out pounding pavement with my flat feet for 2 hours. 120 minutes. It’s hard to imagine what running for 2 hours is like. I’m not even sure I can give you an accurate description because I took approximately double the number of walking breaks I usually do, due to the whole heat-so-blistering-I-have-a-sunburn phenomenon.

After mile 3, my legs felt great. I felt like I had a great run in me, but my heart rate was like “No, thank you, too hot, try again next time”. My heart rate reached 180 at one point when I pushed myself particularly hard.

I wanted to run 10 miles in 2 hours, and I still think I can do that. Just on a different day. One with more water stops and more sunscreen.

For now, my sunburn and my umbrella are going on a really awkward date.

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