On October Seventh…

…at 4:30 in the morning I jumped out of bed, put two long french braids in my hair, and applied two coats of waterproof mascara.

…at 5:30 in the morning my husband dropped me off somewhere in the middle of downtown Chicago and I nonchalantly followed a group of strangers in running shoes who looked like they knew where they were going. As I walked the sidewalks of Chicago I felt so small between the seemingly never-ending streets of skyscrapers. Butterflies filled my stomach, not because of what I was about to do, but because I was here in this big city for the first time in my life.

…at 7:10 in the morning I nervously waited in line with hundreds of other runners waiting to use the oh-so-delightful porta-potties.

…at 7:20 in the morning I made my way to my corral and held my head way up high for having the privilege to be in corral C. Everyone around me looked like pretty serious runners…and there I was…right there with them. And then I started to tear up (cue praises for waterproof mascara). I looked all around me at the people, the runners, the buildings, the skyscrapers. How lucky was I to get to be right there in the middle of Chicago about to run one of the biggest marathons in the world.

I quickly blinked those tears away. I needed to look serious. Focused. Hard-core. (Because hot pink nails, shorts, headband, and shoelaces emit hard-core, right?)

…at 7:30 in the morning I was off! I was running my third marathon in a beautiful city that I had never seen with my own two eyes before.

And this is where my minute-by-minute memory seems to fail me. It’s hard to put this race recap into coherent words in a time-wise sequence. The entire twenty-six point two miles were quite a blur of events, emotions, thoughts, and googly-eyed smiles.

What I do remember is the hundreds and hundreds of spectators screaming, ringing bells, snapping photos, and cheering us all on…from the very second the race started. At the one mile mark I saw one spectator holding a sign that read Only Twenty-Five More Miles To Go! I remember thinking that he must be a real mean guy. I also remember at one mile my Garmin ticking at eight minutes and five seconds. That’s when any strategy of going out slow, conserving energy, or running smart flew right out the window.

That morning when I was getting ready I had plastered the pace tattoo on my right forearm for a lofty finishing goal time of 3:45. I remember as each of those beginning miles passed coming in thirty seconds…one minute…two minutes under pace for that goal.

I remember crossing over each timing mat, thinking about my friends and family who were keeping track of me. I could picture my dad’s proud smile and my mom’s worried face. I wanted to push on to make them proud. And then I remember PRing my 10K time.

I remember running past Elvis singing on stage.

I remember the spectators that had a table set up with cups, orange juice, and champagne. They had a sign that said Stop For Mimosas. I remember really wanting a mimosa.

I remember beaming when I PRed my half marathon time.

I remember one spectator yelling, “Go braided hair girl!” I remember high fiving a row of little kids. I remember all the signs that read Run (insert name here) Run! and thinking that they were all intended for me. I remember running way too fast, but before I could convince myself to slow down I told myself that this could be my last marathon for awhile so I’d better not run with any regrets.

I remember passing the 3:45 pacing crew. Then, somewhere around mile twenty, I remember them passing me back up. Before I let any negative thoughts enter my mind, I reminded myself that I truly was giving it my all.

I remember my pace faltering, ever-so-slightly during those last five miles. But I also remember the energizing salsa music, the smell of deep-dish pizza, the band blaring Lady Gaga, and all the wonderful volunteers eagerly waiting to give me water. And I remember willing myself to continue on.

I remember thinking of my girlfriend who was also running the race. I remembered her telling me that she sings Little Nemo songs in her head as she runs. “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

Just keep running, just keep running

I remember counting down the last mile. Eight hundred meters. Four hundred meters. I remember that hill, the only hill as I rounded the corner with barely a quarter of a mile left. I remember thinking that it was pure evil. But then I remembered the crowd…the bleachers full of spectators…the fact the my husband was waiting somewhere in the runner meet up area for me.

And I pushed on.

I remember crossing that finish line. My third marathon finish line…on October 7th at 11:23 in the morning. A feeling indescribable. Unworthy of complete sentences.

…and at 11:35 in the morning a nice lady poured my a beer. She said, “Honey, you just ran a marathon and your mascara isn’t even messed up!”

Three hours, forty-eight minutes and thirty-four seconds of heart-filled, gosh darn hard work.

On October 7th, 2012, all the early morning wake-up calls, all the long runs, all the hot pink nail polish and waterproof mascara sure became worth the feeling of 3:48.54.

ang

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So Shiny

It’s been over two months since I’ve sat down to write a blog post. My time seems to belong to other things these days…school, little volleyball players, work, my running shoes. However, with the amazing weekend I just had, I’m definitely going to have to make some time to write it all down.

However, right now my thoughts are still somewhere on cloud nine. A finish line has never felt so sweet, a medal has never given me so much pride, and a PR has never been so shiny!

But, you’ll probably have to wait until next week to hear all about it!

ang

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

Just Maybe if All the Stars Aligned

I’m not even sure where to start this recap, so I’ll just start with my time leading up to race day. My thoughts are so scattered and random and I still feel like I’m riding on an endorphin high.

…definitely a high I don’t want to end.

As you know, one of my wishes this year was to run a sub-4 hour marathon. I knew I wanted to run a spring marathon, but I didn’t have high hopes that it’d be my sub-4 hour goal marathon. I put a lot of effort and time into my training, but not as much effort and time that I have put into nursing school. I knew that at the very least I wanted to PR…and to PR I’d have to get faster…and to get faster I’d have to do some speedwork…and I maybe did speedwork once a month. (Although, I have to give some credit to my lovely W.O.W. running gals…you three pretties dragging me along all those mornings definitely helped my speed!)

But…three weeks ago I set out for a twenty-two mile run. It was going to be my longest long run of this marathon training, and the longest training run I’d ever done in my life. I was terrified to tackle this, but excited to slaughter yet another seemingly impossible task. I started the run nice and easy…and mile after mile passed by…and pretty soon I was seeing some “8:XX’s” on my little ticker. I finished that run with an average pace of 9:12.

…and then I got this little feeling that sub-4 hours was maybe-just maybe-if-all-the-stars-aligned-possible.

The week leading up to the race was perfect. I didn’t go taper-crazy, my little runs seemed effortless, I drank lots of water, ate lots of carbs (like that is something new), and I actually stretched. I finished all my homework early so that I could have a clear mind on Friday, rest as much as I wanted, and have plenty of time to prepare my gear. I wanted to do everything that I did last August on race-eve that I felt was beneficial. I leashed up my little princess Tia and went out for a short two-mile run/walk. As we were strolling along a pretty little redbird crossed my path.

That’s when I knew I’d have someone looking out for me on race day. It didn’t matter if I subbed-4 hours or even PRed. I knew I’d have an amazing time.

And that I did.

ang

Just Got the Butterflies

I’m running a marathon the day after tomorrow.

I feel like I have been so nonchalant about this whole training process. With nursing school consuming so much more of my life than I’ve ever been used to, I just never had time to sit and think about what it is I’m going to be doing.

But it has finally hit me. I am running twenty-six point two miles in less than forty eight hours.

I just got the butterflies!

ang

What Better Way

I love to travel. I don’t travel very much, but when I get the opportunity to travel I try to live it up as much as possible. I’ve been to Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Colorado, Mexico, and even Jamaica.

I’ve never been to Chicago. I think it’d be wonderful to see the Windy City someday.

What better way to see the city by running twenty-six point two miles through it!

That just happened!

ang

2012 Wish List

  • Run two marathons.
  • Run a sub-four hour marathon.
  • Run a race that is not in Missouri or Kansas.
  • Eat breakfast every. single. day. no. matter. what.
  • Change my eating habits for the better…one small change per week.
  • Raise money for a charity.
  • Drink lots and lots and lots of water.
  • Cook a new meal once a month.
  • Pray everyday.
  • Do an unassisted pull-up.
  • Run a sub-twenty-four minute 5K.
  • Keep up my blog.
  • Take a road trip somewhere…hopefully Florida.
  • Try zumba…and hopefully fall in love with it.
  • Take a hot yoga class.
  • Rock at nursing school.
  • Stay in touch with friends and family.
  • Make new friends.
  • Smile, and not worry about these darn laugh lines.

Happy New Year!

ang

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

Toes

You know you are a runner when you are going to dedicate an entire post to your toes.

I know what you may be thinking…the name of your blog is My Pinky Toes…so, in a way, shouldn’t we expect to see toes in your posts? Well, the answer to that is no. The name of my blog actually doesn’t have anything to do with actual, real-life toes…they are more metaphorical toes.

Metaphorical pinky toes, of course.

If I am totally confusing you, which is quite likely, just catch up here.

The reason I am going to talk about my toes dates back to August. August twenty-seventh to be exact. My favorite day, aside from July nineteenth. It dates back to the day I ran my first marathon.

It still feels awesome to say that.

And I have to put the word “first” in there because there is definitely going to be a “second” coming next spring. But back to the toes…

One of my biggest fears about the marathon was not the fact that I was going to be running for over four hours across an entire city. No. I was terrified of losing my toenails. I heard it from runner after runner…don’t expect to have pretty little toenails after running your marathonexpect blacks onesexpect them to fall off…I’m not sure which is worse.

Obviously, my toenails were painted hot pink when I ran those beautiful twenty-six point two miles…and they remained that hot pink for a week after the big day. I was too afraid to look what was underneath that delightful color. But eventually I looked, and I was pleasantly surprised to not see anything black and to see that they were all intact.

Soon after, I repainted them a new shade…most likely a different shade of pink.

Then like clockwork, a couple weeks later I took the polish off…only to reveal…one toenail a light shade of gray. Tear. Quickly I covered them back up with a brand new color, and two weeks later I took it off again. This time the toenail was slightly lighter than the rest…like a brighter white. This became routine, and each time that particular toenail seemed a little bit different.

And yesterday I took my nail polish off again, three months and one day after my first marathon, and that poor little toenail came off. Part of me felt really sad. What an ugly little toenail. Poor me. Who’s going to love a girl with (or should I say without?) an ugly toenail. Overly-dramatic? I don’t think so.

But part of me also felt accomplished. I’m a real runner. I lost a toenail. I think it’s time to register for marathon number two.

All very rational thoughts, I know.

Luckily enough time had passed by that a new nail had grown beneath it…and I covered it up with a new color this morning. A holiday red with dazzling sparkles combo. I guess you can love me again now. 🙂

ang