You’ll Get There, I Promise

I think I’m in the habit of trying to do the impossible…

Or at the very least, what might seem impossible to me.

In the midst of training for Chicago I got an e-mail from The NorthFace Endurance Challenge. I have a soft spot for this race, you see, a weak-in-the-knees adoration for this endurance challenge.

It was my first marathon ever last year.

So, you know it pulled at my little heart strings until I officially registered for a second round. Only this time I decided to go for the even more impossible.

The mini-ultra.

The 50K.

I just added a few more weeks of training after finishing the Chicago Marathon. I was tired, wornout, overwhelmed, scared and nervous…but I was stoked to complete another new challenge.

Come beautiful Saturday morning on November 17th, I had all the same feelings. I was tired, but excited. Overwhelmed but prepared. Nervous but amped. And when the race started I was off again on cloud nine. My feet, one after another, doing what they know best, my eyes on the road ahead, my hot pink fingernails waiting to give me my superpowers when I needed them. I know my mom thought I was crazy when I stayed up late just to paint my nails on race eve, but there was method to my madness. Superpowers, duh.

And I definitely needed them.

There’s no play-by-play for this race recap, just as there wasn’t for Chicago. I think what is happening is that I’m becoming so overwhelmed by emotions that everything seems to happen in a blur. I am so humbled by my running experiences, grateful for my capabilities, and beyond thankful for all the support I’ve received. I remember the race in moments, and these are moments I hope to remember for the rest of my life…

…all the runners lined up at the start, nervously chattering about how it’s “just five more miles.” Me, standing there in the middle of it, smiling like a kid in a candy store.

…reliving all the sites of Kansas City and remembering running the same streets last year and how magnificent I felt when I finished my first marathon. The same hill, the same bridge, the same buildings…they all felt so nostalgic.

…my friends who were running the half marathon catching up with me and giving me words of encouragement. Then watching them as ran ahead, finishing a great race of their own.

…coming to the first aid station that offered sliced oranges. An orange has never been so delicious.

…the stairs. Four flights to be exact. At least they were going down.

…splitting away from the marathon runners and beginning the out and back route that added those no-big-deal five more miles.

…looking down at my pink fingernails and summoning them for some of those superpowers now.

…the smiles, waves, thumbs up, nods, and words of encouragement as the leader 50k-ers passed back along the out and back route. Those small gestures meant oh-so-much.

…seeing my dad at mile eighteen. I knew it was him from half a mile away…pride just beaming out of him.

…wanting to stop around mile twenty. I’ve never wanted to stop so bad. I decided to walk and eat another orange…then dug deep and found some way to keep going.

…seeing my sister. Her voice screeching as she cheered me on. Then seeing her again, driving in her car, yelling out her window. And again.

…coming to terms with the fact that I needed to walk again. So I did. And at the encouragement of one of the wonderful Kansas City Police Department officers, starting to run again.

…striking a conversation with another runner. Come to find out the only race he’d ever ran was a 5K, and here he was running a 50K right next to me. I told him he was doing great, and he admitted that it was only because he knew I’d been behind him for awhile and he didn’t want me to pass him.

…a mile later, passing him.

…walking for a third time up the longest and hardest and steepest hill, probably in the world.

…the feeling of knowing I only had two miles to go. I was actually going to finish this.

…the little girls who were cheering and told me that the finish line was so close.

…coming around the corner…the same corner that I rounded on August 27th, 2011…hearing my sister’s voice again…trying to hold the tears back and myself together long enough the make it a few more yards to the finish line…seeing my dad standing there…hearing the announcer call my name…

…and crossing the finish line after four hours, forty-seven minutes, and thirty-three seconds. Another seemingly impossible task…finished.

If there is one thing I can tell you, it’s that you can really do anything you want to in life.

My heart is so full of pride and gratitude and thankfulness. For everyone who has given me so much support through everything, I can’t thank you enough.

ang

Advertisements

Moments

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.”

I have that quote framed in my bedroom – a gift from my mother-in-law for the husband and my first married Christmas. I have been a fan of that sappy-love-story quote for quite some time, and as I wake up and see it every morning, I continue to try to make it a part of my daily existence.

I haven’t written very often this summer, even though, ironically enough, my last post was entitled I’m Back. However, in my literary absence, Mr. Six Eight and I did take a two week jaunt through five states…enjoying every moment along the way.

Joplin, Missouri…talk about taking your breath away.

Somewhere between Missouri and Alabama…the midwest makes for the longest alphabet game ever. But, I love it.

New Orleans, Louisianna…where we celebrated four years of marriage and ten years together.

Gulf Shores, Alabama…where each morning when I woke up I was reminded of what God’s beauty truly is. Somehow sunshine, sand, ocean waves, and my husband constantly reminding me to apply sunscreen have the ability to bring peace to my heart.

In just a couple weeks my life will be bombarded again with school, coaching, and work. And as grateful as I am for all my opportunities coming up in the future, I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to spend such precious moments with my happiness.

ang

 

 

I’m Back!

No, I haven’t left town or gone anywhere exciting, not yet at least.

I’m back to the pavement! After several weeks away from running, trying to give my pesky knee some time to heal, and working on increasing my strength (soon-to-come: unassisted pull-up), I’ve finally been able to officially start training for the Chicago Marathon!

I’m a week and a half in, and I’m absolutely loving living by my beautiful, colorful training calendar. Obviously having not run very much the past month, I’m starting out pretty slow with low mileage, but I hope to be working both (speed and miles) up in the very near future. I also want to keep focusing on strength training and incorporate a lot of speed training!

Last night the tall man (a.k.a. husband) and I hit up the track for some speed work. We did several 100 meter sprints, a few 200 meter sprints, then we split up and I continued with an 800 hundred sprint (um, can you call that a sprint?), and my fastest ever mile run…seven minutes and twenty-one seconds.

To some, that might not seem all that fast for just one mile, but when I pressed the lap button on my pretty little Garmin and saw 7:21 flash before my eyes, I was ecstatic! After watching the Olympic track trials on television, witnessing 200 meter times in the 20 second range, and then running my own huff-and-puff-tastic 200s in 43 slow and agonizing seconds, I thought I’d lost any resemblance of speed I might have once had. However, 7:21 is at least 15 seconds off my mile PR, so I guess somewhere in these quads of mine is some super-duper-fastness waiting to get out.

I have to give credit to my precious little dog Tia. We took her to the track with us so she could get some fresh air, and after Matt was finish with his workout he took Tia off her leash to play. I was halfway around the track into the first lap of my mile when I heard some cute little footsteps chasing behind me. After nose-diving in a hole in the grass and flipping three times, little Tia eventually passed me and stayed a few steps ahead of me the rest of the mile.

What a good little pacer she is. 🙂

And what a wonderful husband this guy is…

On Sunday he woke up at 5:00am (a huge accomplishment in itself), drove us an hour to downtown Kansas City, and ran the All Star Game 5K (third race ever) in the crazy midwest heat with me. #proudwife

I think I’m turning us into a cute little family of runners! Maybe. 🙂

 

Wanting and Wishing

My little sister has naturally curly hair. Beautiful curly hair. She has always had this curly hair…quite unruly at times, as evidenced by her third grade school photo in which my fifth grade self attempted to french braid it for the picture day.

She always wished for straight hair.

When I was little I had the straight hair, and wouldn’t you know it, I wished for it to be curly. My hair was long and boring, and all the cool kids had perms. Sure my mom fixed it beautifully everyday, curled bangs with a headache-inducing side ponytail, but I wanted more. This just goes to show that we all wish for the things we don’t have.

But, I’ve learned that it’s important to be careful what you wish for…now in my adult life I have this wavy/curly/straight/frizzy combo hair. Hair that doesn’t go out in public unless a blowdryer and straightener or curling iron has been put to it.

What I wouldn’t give to have my childhood hair back.

A few months ago, near the end of my spring marathon training, I told a friend of mine that I wished it was after my marathon and I could run shorter distances, less mileage, and strength train more. Long runs are hard and time consuming, and marathon training in general takes a toll on a person. I wished for the night I could drink a glass or two of wine and not worry about it hurting my long run the next morning.

And now that I can’t go on that long run…that’s all I want to do!

I vaguely scratched out a training plan for Chicago that started last week. By vaguely scratched out I just mean that I planned my long run schedule for each weekend. This past Saturday has an “8” written in the box.

I didn’t run eight miles. I didn’t run one mile. Girl, be careful what you wish for.

This morning I went out for a short “test” run, and fingers crossed, I think my knee is on the up-and-up. I made it a mile and a half, stopped for thirty minutes of a bootcamp workout in the parking lot with four other lovely ladies, then another mile and a half back home. All pain free.

The moral of the story friends? Be grateful for what you have going on right now. Today. I’m excited for my long training runs to come, but today I enjoyed running short, squatting low, and lunging forward.

And, I guess I’ll be grateful for this pile of frizz I have knotted on top of my head, too.

ang

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 😉

Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz Race Recap

In true fashion of this training cycle I debated with myself today…write my race recap or study for my finals next week? Typically school would beat out training, although I’d usually still find time after schoolwork to lace up my running shoes. However, the endorphins have been slowly declining since last Saturday, and in an attempt to keep them alive I’m forcing myself to sit down and recap the day I ran the Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz…the day I ran my second marathon…the day a ran a sub-4 hour marathon…the day I kind of got this feeling that I can do anything…and the day I couldn’t stop smiling.

I arrived at Garmin International where the race started and finished with enough time to make my final decisions on what to wear, pick up my packet, pin on my race bib, and dance in my car to a few songs.

I headed to the port-a-potties where I came upon a familiar scene. One year ago this is where I ran my first half marathon ever. And, one year ago I pretty much started my race from the port-a-potty. Luckily, I left myself with plenty of time to actually start this race from the start line.

Soon enough the race began and I was running. I didn’t have a detailed plan of how I wanted to run this race, I just knew that I needed to go out nice and easy, not too fast, and that I wanted to be under two hours at the halfway point. Before I knew it my ticker notified me that one mile had already passed…and at 9 minutes and 2 seconds. I had held back a little bit, but I was definitely worried that I hadn’t held back enough. However, I felt good, and plan or no plan, I just like to run how I feel.

The second mile…8:41. The third…8:38. Fourth…8:46. Fifth…8:37. Angela, you are running too fast. You are going to get too tired. I ate my first mocha Clif Shot at mile five, and I clocked in mile six at 8:37, and then mile seven at 8:27.

8:27…Angela you are seriously running too fast.

I was worried. I never trained to run this fast for this long. But my legs felt great and it was a gorgeous morning, so I just kept running. Mile eight…8:35, mile nine…8:30. Mile ten came in at 8:42 and I ate some delicious Clif bites. Around this time I was running near these two men who were very entertaining. I just listening to them cheer on each other and every runner that they came across. They seemed so full of energy I just thought to myself if I can stay near them then I’d be doing well. Mile eleven…8:38, mile twelve…..8:31.

Mile thirteen…8:26. Goodness gracious…that’s fast for me…especially at mile thirteen…especially since I had thirteen more to go. I reached the halfway point around 1 hour and 52 minutes. I just may have PRed my half marathon time, too.

As I was running too fast, but feeling amazing at the same time I was literally smiling the entire time. I even heard one spectator say around mile 20, “Why is that girl still smiling?” I knew a sub-4 hour marathon was definitely within reach which motivated me to keep going.

The second half of the marathon was an out-and-back on a paved trail. The trail was beautiful, and it was so lovely to be able to run for so long through the pretty trees and scenery. However, I knew that my family would be trying to find during the second half of the race, and running this trail was not going to be conducive to them finding me. My family was such a big motivator for me during my first marathon, I tried to prepare myself not to see them until the finish line this time around. Mile fourteen came in at 8:30 (you’re still going too fast), mile fifteen at 8:40 (downed another mocha Clif Shot and thought you are still going too fast), sixteen and seventeen both at 8:43, and eighteen at 8:50.

I reached the turnaround point and I knew I was on the final stretch. I was still feeling ridiculously amazing, but I knew the last part would be difficult. I kept running along, and as I passed a water station I heard the best sound ever. “ANGELA! It’s Angela! There she is!!!” my sister screeched as I ran past her. Somehow her and my dad managed to find me along the trail. I’d given my dad a map and my potential splits to help him navigate, but after being on the trail for so long I just didn’t expect to see anyone. Later they told me they had been close to leaving that spot because according to the splits I’d provided them I should have been coming from the other way. Little did they know that I was running like crazy that morning.

I saw them once again…I can’t explain the excitement I felt as I heard both of their voices. Later I saw that my sister had posted this…

Mile nineteen…8:48, mile twenty (and more Clif bites)…8:53.

About this time I had another very welcome surprise. I saw the most gorgeous six foot eight inches walking toward the trail as it passed along a main road. My beautiful husband also managed to track me down and give me some encouragement…he also added in there, “You are way ahead of your splits!”

After mile twenty ended my rein of sub-9 minute miles. Mile twenty-one…9:01, twenty-two…9:12 (I knew I had been running too fast), and mile twenty-three…9:20, I was slowing down quite a bit, but I knew without a doubt that I would be coming in under four hours. After mile twenty-three I felt really exhausted. To make matters worse, I had noticed that my Garmin had been ticking anywhere from a tenth of a mile to three tenths of a mile before I passed the actual mile markers along the course. My Garmin would notify me that I’d completed another mile, then two minutes later I’d pass the course mile marker.

Mile twenty-four…9:33. Come on Angela, you are almost there…less than thirty minutes more of running. When you are running for so long, it’s definitely okay to talk out loud to yourself. Keep going!

Twenty-five…9:34. Hold on girl. Keep running! Twenty-six…9:37.

I saw the twenty-six mile marker. I could hear the crowd at the finish line. I rounded the corner…I heard them announce my name, “Angela Habermehl, twenty-six point two miles…!”

I saw the timer…I saw the “3”…

3:54:01.27. Sub-4 hours.

And that’s when I knew that anything is possible. It really, honest-to-goodness, is. This whole training cycle I questioned my ability…my ability to actually train for the marathon, my ability to get faster, my ability to sub-4 hours. But I did it. I did it all.

I know that I had so much more than just my two feet moving one in front of the other working for me leading up to and during the race. My husband, dad, and sister who all came out to support me…my family and friends all thinking about me from home…people sending up prayers for me…that little redbird I saw the day before…all kept me going. So much more…thank you.

much love, ang

A Favor To Ask

With the new year comes resolutions. If you’ve read my blog at all this week, or any other blog in the world for that matter, this is quite obvious. Any excuse to come up with some extravagant goals…I’ll take it!

I want to be honest here. I may not have made it known to everyone over that past few years, but losing a little bit of weight has always, in a little-tiny way, been a secret resolution of mine. Since recovery from my eating disorder I have never thought of doing anything drastic…I just maybe wanted to drop a few. Did I need to lose weight? No way…but I just thought what the heck, it wouldn’t hurt.

This is the first year in quite a long time that I’m not even secretly making that goal.

This week as I’ve joined my running gals several times at 5:30am at the local community center where we meet up for runs, the parking lot has been nearly packed full. I think that is great! It may not be the most desirable situation to have to wait for cardio machines or make your way through a crowded gym, but isn’t it great that so many people are there to make a healthy change for themselves? I think so.

With the new year I know that there are a lot of people hitting up the gym with the goal of losing weight, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing…if you need to lose weight to be healthy. However, my concern lies in the motive behind the goal. Are we seeking to shed a few pounds because we think it will make us happier?

Because I will tell you right from my heart…losing weight will not make you happier. It just doesn’t work. (Please note, I’m definitely not a doctor or a psychologist or a nutritionist or any kind of medical professional. I am only sharing my opinions based on personal experience.)

With that being said, I have a favor to ask.

In two thousand and twelve, as we seek to live happier and healthier lies, let’s not focus on the number on the scale, but rather ways in which we can truly make ourselves happy people. Like by …

…finding something you love to do. This can be anything! If you love to run (like me!), run! If you hate running but love to cook (unlike me!), find new healthy recipes to try…or even make up your own. If you love to be around your friends and family, try planning get-togethers, and better yet, plan get-togethers where you all can do something active together. Who doesn’t love a good game of bowling?!

…ditching the scale. That silly thing can be evil. Weight is not the only way to measure healthiness or if you’ve slimmed down, and it’s definitely not the way to measure happiness. It may not be an easy task, so take baby steps. If you are a daily weigher, try every other day or once a week. If you are a random weigher, just ask yourself why you are weighing yourself (a tip I need to listen to more myself). If your goal is to slim down, there are other ways to measure your success. How do your clothes fit? Have you lost inches? A number on the scale can be deceiving, especially if you are getting healthier by fitness or strength training.

…eating breakfast. I know this is my specific goal, but I highly recommend it. Eating a good breakfast makes a great start to the day, and by golly, I feel happier!

…giving yourself positive affirmations. You didn’t think I’d forget to give you your first Friday affirmation of the new year, did you?

…finding a reason to smile every day and take note of it. Did your dog just do the cutest thing (Tia always makes me smile!)? Did you finish a great run at a great pace? Did you laugh at someone’s joke? Did you make a delicious meal? Whatever the reason, remember the little things that can make you happy each and every day.

…eliminating the word “fat” from your vocabulary. You are not fat, you don’t look fat, so please stop saying it (or any other word that has the same negative meaning). It is a mean, mean word, and it should definitely not ever be in the same sentence as the word “happy.”

…being silly. Sing in the shower…or obnoxiously in your care at stoplights without worrying if the car next to you is watching. Dance. Leg-wrestle with someone. Do cartwheels. Have a food fight or throw a pie in someone’s face (as long as you’re sure they will think it’s funny, too!)

…donating clothes that you don’t feel comfortable in. Whether they are too big or too small or just don’t hug you the right way, get rid of them. Donate them. There are not many things more daunting than a pair of “skinny” jeans hiding in the closet. Why not just wear the jeans that make you feel sexy and confident and comfortable right now? Right? So do it!

…reminding yourself that you are beautiful just the way you are. You probably get tired of hearing me say this at least weekly. But it’s true. And if you tell yourself it enough, you will start to believe it. I promise…both that you are beautiful and that you will believe it soon enough.

ang

Happy Holidays Indeed

I’ve spent a week filled with family, friends, a lot of working (you gotta love retail!), and cookies by the dozens. I may or may not have eaten approximately twenty cookies yesterday alone. I’ll leave that up to your imagination.

It has been an absolute blast, and when I have the opportunity to spend time with family I often walk away from it wondering why we don’t spend more time together. Seriously, when a Giambalvo met a Daleo magic happened.

Now I know why I’m getting those wrinkles…err, laugh lines.

Cutest Mamaw ever. She is pretty much the queen of this beautiful family.

Twins! For real, though.

Aunties, uncle, and momma…

I might have forced my sister to take this photo with me. Handwarmers are back baby!

Notice anything odd here?

This was one of the most famous pictures of the night…the tallest member of the family with the shortest members. My family gets a pretty big kick out of my husband’s tallest…which makes sense since our average adult height is probably around 5’0″!

Some dancing ensued…

Too much fun!

This was only the beginning of my Christmas gatherings, but unfortunately there were not eighteen italians running around with cameras at all of my other festivities. I am so blessed to have such an awesome family. I love each and every one of you! And before any of you (family) calls me and asks me to take one of these pictures down (because I know what you might be thinking)…my answer will be no (well, except maybe the shake weight picture!) You all look amazing and beautiful and gorgeous in each and every one of these, so I don’t want to hear otherwise!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, too!

ang

Crazy, Stupid Thoughts

I love it when my husband reminds me that I’m being stupid.

If you know me at all, you know that I write just like I think. Looking at the first sentence of this post I can see how it can be taken the wrong way. Very wrong. You know when you are texting someone and they text you back with a response, and to you that response sounds really malicious? When, in all actuality, their response was innocent. Without a tone of voice, many things can become misconstrued. Case in point, my first sentence.

My husband doesn’t think I’m stupid. He just reminds me when I am being stupid.

image

Still not working. Let me set up the scene:

The husband and I are both getting ready to go somewhere. I’ve already fixed my hair and put on my makeup and I’m in the process of getting dressed. I put on a pair of jeans, then change them. I do the same with my shirt, and then with my shoes. I then make my way into the bathroom to check everything out as my husband does his finishing touches in the bathroom mirror.

“Do I look okay?” I say.

“Duh, you look beautiful,” he responds.

“You didn’t even look at me!”

He looks. “You always look beautiful.”

I push my way to find a spot in front of him to see myself in the bathroom mirror. I check out my behind. I leave. I go to the kitchen to check out my gooloo in a different mirror from a different angle. I sigh.

One minute later I return to the bathroom, shove my way in front of the husband again, and check out my behind…again.

“Why do you keep looking at your butt?” he asks.

I sit down on the toilet…not to use the toilet, but just as a place to sit. “I haven’t been working out as much, and I think my butt’s getting bigger,” I confess.

“You’re crazy.”

“I know, but I really do think it’s getting bigger.”

“Well, it’s not. Lots of people don’t work out all the time and their butts don’t automatically get bigger. You look beautiful.”

“Thank you. You’re pretty sweet. And smart.”

End scene.

I’m not dissatisfied with my body in any way, but crazy, stupid thoughts like that come creeping in my mind every now and then. It’s awfully nice having the perfect person there to remind me when my brain is being irrational.

Now does my first sentence make sense?

🙂

ang