A Lovely Muddy Time

Recovering from my marathon two weekends ago has basically consisted of no running. That’s probably not the smartest way to recover, especially since I plan on continuing running, continuing running long distances at that, and especially since I had a race on Saturday.

It was no marathon, but an extremely challenging 5K nevertheless.

That required face paint…

…and muscles…which are for the most part lacking on me. (Oh, did my neon bright white skin blind you? I’m also lacking any semblance of a tan. Sorry about that.)

My hubs and I along with two of our friends, a.k.a. the Ultimate Warriors, ran the Warrior Dash in Kansas City!

We met up at one of the guys’ houses where we found his beautiful wife diligently painting his face. His wife continued to paint our other teammate’s face while I sat my own hubs in front of me for his makeover. Apparently there is a famous wrestler (dead or alive, I don’t think anyone was sure) named the Ultimate Warrior and all of the guys wanted to “be” him for the race.

I, myself, chose to just go with a little multi-colored eye-black.

After everyone was made-over and arm-tassles and headbands were created, we headed to the race. Again, the boys all listened to the opening theme music for this Ultimate Warrior wrestler the entire way there. Oh the joys of a thirty minute car ride with three boys, err, men. Grown men who apparently love professional wrestling.

Once at the race site we had to take a bus over to where the race actually took place. We proceeded to initial and sign our waiver forms, pick up our packets and t-shirts, use the port-a-potties (always a definite must for me), and head to the start line. We were very early, so we were at the very front of the start line for our heat. After thirty minutes of nervously waiting for the countdown to start we were finally off and running!

I knew I’d be racing with the boys, and while I trusted in my running ability, I was worried about keeping up with them on the obstacles. Right out of the gate, though, the course was very downhill, and I warned them all that we were probably running at a sub-8 minute pace. I definitely knew that I couldn’t keep up a pace like that, and I secretly (so not to harm their egos) questioned the boys ability to keep that pace, too.

After three quarters of a mile we approached our first obstacle which required crawling under barbwire. Fortunately, I was short enough that I could crawl regularly without having the put much effort into lowering myself closer to the ground. My hubs, on the other hand, had to army crawl the distance of the wire. Once the four of us completed this obstacle our pace slowed drastically as we were hit with our first (of many) uphill climbs to the next obstacle.

We proceeded to crawl through trenches, climb up walls, slide down poles, swim through nasty, muddy, swampy water, hoist ourselves over walls, cross a balance beam, run through a field of tires, climb up a cargo-net, and finally leap over fire…all the while running uphill through a muddy field between obstacles.

Just a little over three miles later we crawled out from under the last of the barbwire through the last muddy water pit, all four of us hand in hand, and crossed the finish line together.

Mud and all, I had an absolutely lovely time.

ang, the only female member of the Ultimate Warriors ;)

Two Thousand and Eleven, It’s Been Lovely

In two thousand and eleven I…

…started a blog! Never before in my life did I have the intention of writing and then sharing my writing with anyone and everyone on the internet. However, I’ve ended up absolutely loving it, and I credit my blog along with other blogs I read for being the fuel behind two thousand and eleven’s greatness!

…started out the year with a four mile race, Love 2 Run, in February. My blog wasn’t born yet so I wasn’t here to tell you about it, but I did PR (it was only the third race I’d ever done before in my life, and the second time in this race) with a time of 35:15.

…ran my first 10K…then my second 10K…then my third 10K…each one with a PR!

…trained my dog to give high-fives.

won a local race! It was a small 5K race…a very very small race, since I won with a stopwatch time of 25:09. Nonetheless I won an awesome trophy, and it was for a super great cause to support a local little girl with osteosarcoma. The same little girl who happens to be my Make-A-Wish wish kid and who is a huge inspiration to anyone who knows her.

…greatly improved my body image.

didn’t get into nursing school.

got into nursing school!

…ran my first half marathon, which happened to be my one really big goal that I wanted to achieve this year! I also had a secret goal of running it in less than two hours…which I also achieved with a time of 1:59.10!

went to Mexico with all my amigos!

…was a blonde for awhile. Literally, not figuratively. Well, maybe both.

…ran my second half marathon and PRed with a time of 1:52.52.

…got my husband to run a 5K with me…and my mom, sister, and stepdad! It was for the Susan G. Komen race in Kansas City, obviously a great cause, especially considering my mom kicked breast cancer’s booty.

…coached middle school volleyball with some of the sweetest girls I’ve ever met!

tried mushrooms…grilled…and liked them.

…raised money for Girls on the Run as a SoleMate!

…ran a marathon. A MARATHON! A ridiculously hilly but beautiful nonetheless twenty-six point two miles all over Kansas City, Missouri, and I loved every single second of it…all four hours and fifteen minutes! I set out the year with hopes of finishing a half marathon…what I didn’t know was that I was going to fall in love with running. Once my half was completed in April I knew I needed more! Never before in my life did I imagine I’d run a marathon, but crossing that finish line was the proudest moment of my life.

This year has been amazing. However, it wouldn’t have been nearly as great had I not walked into the women’s restroom back in February and discovered a little post-it note on the mirror that said, “You are beautiful.” That’s when I discovered Operation Beautiful and the entire world of blogging…a world of inspiration, motivation, and support from some pretty amazing people.

Two thousand and eleven, it’s been lovely.

ang

Racing Spur of the Moment

I’m not usually a spur-of-the-moment kind of person.

But I did just register for a 10K on Sunday. Yes, this Sunday!

That’s just four days away. Or, um, three days, twenty-three hours, nine minutes and twenty-seven seconds…according to the countdown ticker.

Have I been training? Well, kind of? (It’s probably not a good sign when my answer to that question has a question mark behind it.)

Have I been training enough to reach my new 10K goal of sub-50 minutes? Uuuuuhhh…probably not, but I will surely try my hardest! Since I haven’t had this goal in sight for all that long, I’m not going to be too hard on myself. If I achieve my goal, then it’d be amazing (and I’ll have to treat myself to some sort of frozen yogurt treat!), and if I don’t, well, I’ll have a great time regardless (and hopefully talk someone into getting a sweet treat with me anyway!)

What better way to jump start my motivation again, cross off one of my September goals, and prove to myself that life does go on after my marathon. Hopefully this is the start of a new race season that will include at least two other 5Ks (I have my sights set on this one…sub-24 minutes?) and my second marathon next spring (anyone in?!)

Now, speaking of the motivation…it’s time for me to go hit the gym for some strength training (and now, maybe some speedwork…)!

ang

Did I Really Do That?

I can’t believe it has been almost two whole weeks since I ran my first marathon.

I think back to that day and have to question whether or not it actually happened.

I mean, I remember running it…I remember waking up in the morning, meeting up with all my friends, and arriving at the race sight. I remember starting the race, running alongside Dean Karnazes, meeting some amazing people, seeing my friends at the transition points, and seeing all of my family along the course. I remember my sister screaming, my mom crying, my dad running, and my husband providing me with fuel and water. I remember crossing the finish line, and I remember crossing the finish line for a second time with all of my girlfriends.

I remember hugging all my family at the finish line, drenching my mom in my own sweat, and eating strawberries and blueberries after the race. I remember sitting in the grass cheering on the final runners as they neared the finish line. I remember being too sore to climb a staircase without using all four of my limbs.

But did I really do that?

If it was actually reality (although I’m still unsure at this point) then it was one of the most amazing feelings in the world. It was a feeling that I wish every person can experience at least once in their life, and it was a feeling I want to seek out again.

I’ve been scouring race sights all week trying to pick a race that fits into my work schedule, volleyball schedule, dinner club schedule, and budget. It’s not the easiest task in the world, and I’m going stir crazy not knowing the next time I will get to challenge myself. I have a few races in my sights…maybe a 10K soon…a half marathon before the end of the year, and I definitely need to find a 5K so that my hubs and I can actually finish our bet! I have my eyes set on another marathon for beginning of next year.

It has been interesting working out this week without a set schedule or training plan. I’m such a goal-oriented person and I miss having my training plan stuck to my refrigerator, but it has been kind of nice to just go with the flow this week and enjoy the magnificent weather!

My first post-marathon run was Saturday and I ran three easy miles and walked an additional mile. I was definitely nervous as I was leaving my house that my legs might have forgotten how to run, but somehow they started moving on their own!

On Tuesday I ran four miles on the treadmill (a shame, I know, since it was beautiful outside) and did some strength training. (Yay for biceps!)

On Wednesday I decided to try some Yasso 800s (don’t worry, I didn’t know what they were either until just recently). I learned about this track workout on Emily’s blog last week, and I was very intrigued! I’ve been very inspired by reading about Emily’s running (and swimming and biking) experiences on her blog, so I thought this workout must be legit! Basically you run timed, speedy 800s on a track with an un-timed cool-down 400 in between. You start by doing four 800s the first week, and then you add another 800 each week until you reach ten. Your time during your 800s should (possibly…) reflect your marathon time. For example, if you run an 800 in three minutes and forty seconds, you should be able to run a marathon in three hours and forty minutes (I really hope I’m explaining this correctly!)

Yesterday consisted of some random crosstraining, and today I set out bright (well, it wasn’t actually bright yet) and early for a nice four miler with some of the girls from the WOW running group. It was refreshing to get in another easy run with some awesome company!

While I may not know the next time I will be racing, I do know that these shoes aren’t ready to retire!

ang

More Than Just A Race Recap

Thank you for all the support and prayers regarding the tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, and now also in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas. It looks like today is going to be another difficult day…as I am writing there are warnings all around Kansas City…even closer to home.

But as I had mentioned, something really great happened to for me this past Saturday, and I’d like to share it now…

A few weeks ago I was searching the internet for races. I found a 5K race that was in my town, and I thought it’d be a great race to sign up for since I’ve recently become a new resident here.

I decided to register for it.

Also a few weeks ago I got my weekly e-mail from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Kansas City with a list of all the local children who needed Wish Granters. I typically never even open these e-mails because I am too afraid that I won’t be able to devote enough time to do everything I could to make a child’s wish come true. I was trained in wish granting and volunteering almost two years ago, and although I have volunteered at some events for Make-A-Wish, I had yet to sign up to actually grant a wish.

Something told me to go ahead and open this e-mail.

I first skimmed down the column that said where the children were from. Then I noticed that there was a someone from my new town. Then I skimmed over and saw her name and condition.

Gabrielle S., 9 years old, Osteosarcoma.

I had this meant-to-be feeling about her, so I decided to sign up to be one of her Wish Granters.

Little did I know that these two decision I made would relate to one another! A few days later I realized that my 5K race was created to benefit little Miss Gabi!

The Race T-shirt

I was able to meet Gabi on Friday to talk to her about her wish. She is seriously an amazing little girl…and she is beyond precious. Since I now knew I was running for her, I made sure I got her autograph on the t-shirt that I was going to where for the race!Saturday morning my hubby drove me to the race. This is the first race that he has been to, and since the race was pretty small and had no timing chips, I had him time me because of our bet. I didn’t think I’d run the 5K in 24 minutes or less, but I wanted him to witness it, just in case I actually did.

We got to the race a little bit early, so I drank some water and stretched a little bit in the hub’s rusty ol’ truck. There were a few people warming up for the race, and one looked to be a seventy-year old man. The hubby looked over at me and said, “You better not let that guy beat you!”

Gabi’s oldest sister was going to sing the National Anthem before the race, and I didn’t want to miss it, so the hubby and I left the truck and headed over to the crowd. We got to the start area with perfect timing as Gabi’s dad gave a speech thanking everyone for their support and saying that today was a good day because Gabi was full of smiles. A good day indeed. Then their priest said a prayer. We prayed for Gabi and her journey ahead, for Gabi’s family, and we even prayed for the rain to hold of until the race was over! Then we all said the Lord’s Prayer together. This was very touching moment. Then Gabi’s sister sang beautifully, and it was time for the runners to head to the start line. As I made my way to the start line, I stopped by Gabi’s wheelchair and stole a hug from her! :)

Before I knew it, I was off and running! I ran fast, passing and passing and passing people until I fell into my pace. Pretty soon I was huffing and puffing, but I tried not to slow down. This was my first 5K in a long time (almost a year) so I wasn’t used to running the shorter distance. I told myself it was okay that I was breathing so hard because the race would be over before I knew it. I was keeping up with some men, so I just told myself to stay with them. A little ways in I came to the realization that I was following a bunch of men…not women. I didn’t see any girls up ahead of me.

After about two miles I ended up passing one of the men I was keeping up with. I rounded a corner and just went on by him and it felt great (sorry guy). But soon after, I was passed by another woman.

Nnnnnooooooooo!

I told myself, it’s okay Angela…you are doing your best. Just don’t let her get too far ahead!

Then I was passed again…by a man…by that old man who was warming up in the parking lot! That seventy-year old man!

Nnnnnoooooooooo!

But I just kept going and running the fastest that I could. Once I knew I was at the home stretch I felt a little inspiration. I picked it up a little bit, and guess what? I passed that woman back up! I didn’t know if there were more girls ahead of me, maybe just beyond where I could see, but when I came to the home stretch, one of the volunteers informed me that I was the girl in the lead! I was so excited that I ran a little bit faster!

I was the first female to finish, and with a time of 25:09. It wasn’t under 24, but I was still ecstatic to have won!And even though the bet was initially that I had to run a sub-24 minute 5K for my hubby to run a race with me, I must’ve sparked a little somethin’ something’ in him, because afterwards he said, “What do I get if I run a 5K under 24 minutes?” After a bit of talking (and some playful trash talking), our conversation turned into, “You can’t be sad when I beat you at the next 5K!” So, he’s going to sign up for a race anyway, and we have a small wager on who’s going to win! :)

Since my hubby was only spectating (and timing), he told me that Gabi had been pushed in her wheelchair with the start of the walker’s for awhile, and when the winning male runner rounded the corner for the final stretch to the finish line (after only about 14 minutes!) Gabi was pushed back through the finish alongside him, and that he slowed down so that she could win! What a special moment for her!

All in all, this was an amazing day, an amazing race, an amazing run, for an amazing cause. Beyond my happiness for having a great run and winning, it was more amazing to see the support for this precious jewel of a little girl. I am positively sure that her autograph and hug were good luck for me and probably the reason I won. :)

ang

Score!

I’m trying to use that power of positive thinking mantra to get me going today. Do I actually feel motivated today? Honestly, not yet…but I’m going to keep talking about being motivated, so that hopefully by the end of this post I will be!

My mini goal was to wake up by 8:30am everyday this week. I woke up at 8:39am today {deduct one point for being nine minutes late}. Still, I consider this morning a success. I have a cup of coffee next to me {I don’t think this counts as hydration, but there is water in coffee…no points, just a wash}, some toast toasting away in the toaster {score one point for using some form of the word “toast” three times in one sentence}, Tia has taken up post in her window, and the sun is actually shining so I may go for a run! {One point for Angela!}

Go for a run?! But that wasn’t on your training plan for the week {and one of your mini goals was to stick to your training plan!…minus one point for Angela.}

I love having a plan, I need plans, but I also know that something always comes up or life throws in a curveball. Life threw me a good curveball for this week…I’ve signed up to run a 5K on Saturday. {Add one point for signing up for a race!}I haven’t ran a 5K yet this year, so I am really excited…and it is actually right here in my town…AND it’s for a wonderful, super amazing, awesome cause! {Score three more points for me!}

(I probably won’t get close to my sub-24 minute goal, but I think this race will give me a good idea of how I should continue my training to meet this goal!)

Even though I am not completely sticking to my training plan, I am still going to go to yoga today, so I will get in a good stretch. {And another point for Angela!}

Overall I ended up the morning five points on top (whatever that means!) Woohoo! How many points did you earn this morning?

On another note…tomorrow is………dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn…

…my first book club post {score a point for fun, fancy, cute lettering…that brings me up to six points on the day!} Remember, we read the introduction and the first chapter The Girls in the Photos. Here is one questions to ponder for tomorrow…

Based on the small amount of information that you’ve read about the girls so far, which of the eleven do you relate to the most?

I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

ang