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New 1/2 Marathon PR! Review and Recap

When I initially signed up for Worcester, I signed up for the full marathon…I was 6 months pregnant with Mr. Man at the time and in my deluded state thought that my return to racing would be so easy that a full was well within my grasp.  Come March, when my return to running really got serious, I opted to drop down to the ½ distance.  I dropped down, not because I wouldn’t be able to run the distance, but rather because I wouldn’t be able to run it well.  I am a perfectionist and I demand the best out of myself, so why run a full and settle for a sub-par time when I could race a ½marathon and more than likely set a PR?

One month out of Worcester I ran an unplanned ½ marathon inProvidence.  I went in running it with The Hubs as a “fun run”—the first leg of a new event being held in Rhode Island—The Triple Crown ½ Marathon Series.  I went into that race with no plan or goal—no pacing strategy.  I PR’ed that day; I did it in the ugliest of manners possible.  My pace was all over the place from the start, which was too fast.  I found myself at the halfway point saying to my husband words that I have never uttered during a run before—I can’t do it. NEVER have I used the words “I can’t” before in any run—let alone a race.   So while I managed to squeak out a 20-second PR, it was not a PR with which I was proud.

June 3 rolled around and in the days leading up toWorcesterI was nervous—nervous that I would either fail to reach my PR or maybe more so, nervous that my performance would be a dismal as the last and those words “I can’t” would again be spoken.  I was very prepared for this race—the race I trained for.  I had logged the miles; I had done the cross training; I had taken the rest days prescribed by my coach.  “I can’t” shouldn’t be a phrase that needed to be uttered, yet I was still afraid of saying them.

Saturday late afternoon, me and The Hubs packed up the kiddos and headed out to Pam’s house where I’d be spending the night since she is relatively close by race.  Saturday’s weather was abysmal.  The torrential downpours  were projected to last into the morning of the race, though be a slow light rain.  With the weather a relative question mark I knew my potential to PR was no longer in my hands.  I could run the best race I could the next day, but if the weather didn’t cooperate there was nothing that I could do about it.  That might have helped me sleep that night—letting go of that self doubt.

The morning of the race turned out to be perfect—beautiful blue skies with white puffy clouds; perfect temperatures in the low 50’s, a slight breeze.  After meeting up with another of our running buddies, Christine, we opted to ditch the potty line and head to the start.  There were a total of 4-potties with a massive line—not nearly enough for the amount of people in the race.  Thankfully for me, I was able to ditch and know that it didn’t matter much because it was more than likely nerves and as soon as that gun sounded I’d be fine.  However, not having enough potties was definitely and issue for my friends, they had to stop on the race route and use the potty which ultimately was the deciding factor between a PR and not setting one.  Big fail on the race director’s part.

The race didn’t start on time—close to 10-minutes late, potentially due to the fact that there were so many people in the potty line.  For me that mean 10-more minutes of nerves and anxiety—I just want to run!!!!!!  Finally the gun was sounded and the racers were off; nerves went away and I ended up in a zone, so much so that I realized about ¼ of a mile into the race that I didn’t even wish my friends luck on their race.  The start was congested, as most races are, but with the road conditions (large pot holes) and parked cars my thoughts of PRin, despite the weather went on the back burner.  My goal was to simply run the best race I knew how and hope that it was enough.

The hills started almost right from the start, my goal was to focus on running them aggressively, yet holding enough back so that at the top my legs weren’t burning.  Mile 2 approached quickly and I was feeling strong.  By the time mile 3.5-4 came along I was ready for The Hill—I had viewed the course elevation chart a few times in the days leading up to the race and knew that it was fairly significant.  I simply put my head down and ran.  My pace slowed to a crawl (10:41 was what I remember seeing on my Garmin, Tim Gunn) but I was passing people.  My legs were on fire, but I started to bargain with myself—pass the girl in the pink shoes, get that guy wearing the black shirt…next thing I knew I was cresting the hill and on my way down the back side.

At the full/half split, the race volunteers were great, lots of signage indicating which direction you were to go and lots of course directors yelling and pointing half to the left, full to the right.  It was after the split that the course conditions started to get slightly more ridiculous.  I understand that not all courses can be closed courses but I would at least expect that there be a significant amount of cones clearly defining the running course from the cars speeding by.  There were a good number of police along the course at intersections which was great, however at one point I found myself on the wrong side of the course and needing to dart across two lanes of opposing traffic in order to make the turn on the course. The water stations were fairly regular, almost every 2-miles, but there were no gels being offered along the course (thankfully I never rely only on race course fuel so it didn’t affect me too much).

At one point I saw the sign for the 19-mile marker on the full and thought to myself, “thank god I’m not running the full today”…it’s not that I was hurting because I actually felt pretty great at that point.  My legs were on autopilot and my breathing was constant and not labored.  At that point I started to try and do some mental math to see how likely the PR was.  I couldn’t rely on watching my Tim Gunn Garmin pace due to the hills—the ups and downs were clearly showing that at one point I might be running a 9:30 but then at another point it might be a 7:30.  I knew based on some quick mental math that I was going to be close to a PR and that easing up was not an option.  I needed to continue to run the best I could and know that whatever the outcome I gave it my all that day.

With a little over 3-miles to go I saw a girl go down, and thankfully it was in front of emergency personnel because there was a stretch shortly after that were there was no one; no spectators, no police, no race course volunteers.  It was a little frightening to be honest.  To get my mind off of what I had just seen, the mental math started again.  Roughly 2 ½ miles left and it was close, close on the side of missing the PR.  I asked myself, “how bad do you want it?” and my inner response was “BAD—RUN and run hard.”  I started to chant inner mantras—“make it work,” “THIS it what tough looks like,” “nothing worth being proud of ever comes easy.”  Along with my inner mantras the perfect song came up on my iPhone—“Pump It” by BEPs.  I actually think I said, “Pump It” out loud when it came on because the guy in front of me kind of turned around and looked at me.  It was then that I decided to pick off every person that lay ahead of me.  One by one, I approached each person and passed them.  I had my eyes set on one guy that I had been following for about 4-miles and was going to “chick” him.  As I came up to his side he just stopped.  Stopped dead in his tracks—I was SO angry.  I looked at him as I passed him and said to him “come on—let’s go you’re almost there.”  He never caught back up.

My legs were flying and Tim Gunn was beeping at me that my pace was faster than the 8-minute miles that I had it set to alarm at.  My glances down to Tim Gunn to see my time kept my mental math going—I was close.  With the 13-mile marker quickly approaching I knew I was about to turn the corner to the final straightaway and see The Hubs and the kids.  This was what I was running towards—not the finish line, but my family.  I knew then that I had a PR, but I was running to my family, not the finish line.  I was running to show my children that “hard work, dedication” always paid off.  As I turned the corner, there was The Hubs with my kiddos along side Pam’s family.  I screamed and pointed at them and ran my butt off to cross that finish line.  THIS is what tough looks like!  I stopped Tim Gunn at 1:48:37—a PR by about 01:30-seconds and a 5th place age group finish!  To say I was elated would be an understatement—5 months post-partum and a new ½ marathon PR!!  I had sought out to run a sub 1:50 and I had accomplished that.  I felt amazing the entire race—my legs did not fail, nor did my lungs, nor did my mental game.  I grabbed my medal and walked towards where the family was waiting for me and saw Lil One running towards me with her arms outstretched cheering “MUMMY!!!!!”  I bent down and hugged her—she looked at me and said, “I’m so proud of you for running fast mumma!”  My heart melted—hard work, dedication.  She is the reason I run and in that moment, my success was her success.

We waited for Pam and Christine to finish not too long after and headed to the athlete recovery area, which could have been better.  There wasn’t much in terms of recovery food that was not prepackaged junk food—just some bananas.  I was at least hoping for some yogurt or oranges.  In the end, whileWorcesteris now my PR course, it’s more than likely not a course that I’d run again.  The police presence was great, but the lack of clear course markings or cones, some of the road conditions, the late race start, lack of potties, and issues with race packet pick-up and shirts (they ran out of size small—a size that I had clearly marked as being requested 1-year ago at registration) I will more than likely not be running it again.  It was a small local race and along with that comes associated glitches, but having run other small local ½ marathons with better overall experiences, it’s not a race I will likely scramble to include in my race schedule.

Next up—a couple weeks of rest followed up the start of marathon training.  It’s going to be a long summer of training, but again, hard work, dedication!!

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Missing In Action and 11 Things

I’ve been missing in action for some time now.  To be honest, I’ve had many things that I’ve wanted to blog about but when it came down to it, just like in the past I decided I had better things to do.  I love snuggling with my little man.  I love talking to my crazy little girl.  I love sitting with my hubby.  I thought that being on maternity leave would allow me a bit of time to get into the blog groove, but in actuality it’s made me lazier with my time. 

I’m going to start back up today on leap day, with the 11 Things Post that has been going around the blogging world.  I was tagged by Liz from Run, Bake, Race.  Liz—thanks for tagging me—I was actually really excited to be tagged and then I TOTALLY dropped the ball!  So here it goes!! 

The Rules:

Post these rules

You must post 11 random things about yourself

Answer the questions set for you in their post

Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer

Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them

11 Things About Me:

1. Like most little girls, I was a dancer.  However, if they had the show Dance Mom’s on tv back then I’d probably would have been on the show!  I was a really good dancer—my specialty was tap.  I actually competed in age divisions that were two above me because of my abilities.  I was also asked to audition for Star Search but because of the taping schedule my mom wouldn’t let me out of school for that length of time—missed my chance at fame!

2. Ever since I can remember I wanted to be an architect.  I used to draw buildings for fun as a kid.  I went to school and graduated with a degree in architecture but at that point I knew I didn’t want to be an architect anymore.  I ended up in graduate school for city and regional planning and I now work as a construction project manager.

3. I’m beyond frightened of needles and pass out every.single.time.  It’s so bad that at the dentist when I need work that involved a shot for Novocain, they actually Rx me something for my nerves.

4. When I was a toddler I refused to wear anything unless it matched my eyes (blue).

5. I have freak out when people mix up the colors in art supplies.  Seriously, crayons that are not in the Roy G. Biv color patterns are like nails on a chalk board to me.  And forget that I have a 2 ½ year old who likes to mix the Play Doh colors together or likes to muddy up the water colors. 

 6. I’m in love with the actors Gabriel Byrne and John Malcovich.  I went to go see Man in the Iron Mask when I was in college, not because of Leonardo DiCaprio, but because BOTH Gabriel AND John were in the same movie!

7. When I was in second grade I didn’t do my spelling homework and had a quiz the next day.  I got a 10 on the test (out of 100).  My teacher posted all the tests on the closet doors no matter your score.  I was so embarrassed by my 10 that from that day on I became obsessed with school work and getting good grades. 

8. My dream job is to be an Imagineer for Walt Disney.  I’ve applied twice for a project manager position and will keep applying for them as they pop up until I work for them.  So Mr. Mouse—please call!  I’ve wanted to be an Imagineer since I’ve been in 8th grade.  I’m 33 years old now—you do the math!

9. I first attempted to be a runner in high school but they wanted to make me a hurdler.  Being the klutz that I am, I quit the track team the next day.  I wish I had stuck with it.

10. I met my husband the same night as my cousin met her husband at a basket ball game.  It wasn’t even a double date!

11. I went to Catholic school from kindergarten through undergrad.  My first “public school” was my graduate school.  It felt odd not having to take a religion class each semester.

My Questions From Liz:

1. What song on your iPod are you most embarrassed by?   That would have to be a tie between “All 4 Love” by Color Me Badd or “Watch Me Do Me” from the Disney tv show Shake It Up.

2. What was your first concert?  I’m pretty sure it was Bryan Adams.  I forget though because my first three concerts were all in the same year—I also saw Tiffany and New Kids on the Block and The Cover Girls and Stevie B the same year.

3. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?  Washington, DC.  I went to college there and love it and miss everything about it.

4. What would your last meal be?  I really can’t even answer this because it depresses me too much!

5. What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?  Another tie—totally a toss up between Butter Pecan and Pistachio.  It’s a REALLY hard decision for me to make.

6. Do you still have a t-shirt from high school or college?  I have a ton!  I actually have wanted to make a quilt with them so that they are at least useful because right now they are in a box.

7. Is your computer a laptop or a desktop?  It’s a lap top.

8. What would your dream job be?  See Answer to Number 8 above.

9. What is your favorite holiday?  Thanksgiving—mostly because I get the day after off…I just really enjoy when you’re able to enjoy a holiday and not worry about work the next day.

10. Did you go to college in a different state than where you grew up?  Yes, I grew up in RI/MA and went to college in Washington, DC.  Best decision I ever made and I love everything about Washington, DC.

11. Do you dread going to the doctor?  Only if I need to get a shot or blood work.  Normally going to the doctor doesn’t get me worked up. 

 Here are my 11 questions for you—I’m not tagging anyone because I feel like everyone has done it already.  If you haven’t and want to be tagged please let me know and I’ll link you!!

  1.  If you could be on any reality tv show, which would you pick and why?
  2. What is your favorite kind of cuisine?
  3. Who was your first crush as a little kid?
  4. If money were no object, where would you travel to for a month long vacation?
  5. Who is your favorite Disney character?
  6. Have you ever been operated on and for what?
  7. If you had a theme song what would it be?
  8. What is your favorite Olympic event to watch?
  9. If you could change your first name to anything, what would it be?
  10. What is your favorite color?
  11. What is your least favorite food?

Tag! You’re it!!

The Beginning–For Real

With the first few days of 2012 upon us I have decided that one of my resolutions for this year was to hold myself accountable for all of my crazy ideas and plans through this blog.  I had the best of intentions to start this blog back in April of 2011 when I found out I was pregnant with my second baby so that I could document not only what was likely my last pregnancy, but also to document my journey through an active pregnancy so that my children could look back one day and see the feats that I was able to accomplish while growing a new life.

39 ½-weeks and newborn baby boy later, I have yet to document for my children any of my health and fitness accomplishments.  While I missed documenting my pregnancy as it happened, I hope that I can reflect and share some of my triumphs and defeats while pregnant. 

Since its initial inception, I’ve decided that this blog isn’t intended to solely be a running or fitness blog—though it may turn into that.  “My Mumma’s Shoes” is intended to simply walk along with me—whether it’s in my work shoes (pink Timberland construction boots and high heels), my fitness shoes (Asics Nimbus 12), or my mummy shoes (multiple pairs of tall boots).  I may not post daily, and I may not post about anything that you find particularly interesting, but in the end I’m not writing this for you the reader—I’m writing this for my children.  I hope that they can look back on this one day and really see their mother.

Starting again…

Not the first time i try and start a blog post for this.  I always have the best intentions and even write them in my head as I am walking to a meeting, sitting in traffic, or even am on a run–but when the time comes to actually sit down and write it out I fail miserably and decide that I’d much rather do something else.