Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thirteen.One

So I did it. It's done. Second half marathon is in the books!

Nathan and I flew out to Arizona on Thursday afternoon to prepare for the Rock n' Roll Series Arizona Half/Full Marathon. Needless to say, the week we left Nashville, school had been out all week due to snow, ice, and other winter weather and we were MORE than excited to see some sun and spend some time outdoors in 70+ degree weather rather than 20 degree weather. A very welcome change indeed. We landed that afternoon after a long flight and it was so warm when we stepped out of the airport. I believe it was 5 pm and it was still 70 degrees. A-mazing, to say the least. We headed to dinner at one of our favorite local joints, Stax, and then did a must stop at Sprinkles for a nice half dozen lovely treats! Man, I love that place. We headed out to the house we were staying at in Troon, which is North North Scottsdale and a great area set up a little higher than the cities below. It makes for some spectacular views!

This is Pinnacle Peak. It's about 2 miles from the house we stayed in.

The Ward's House. Lots of cactus! 
The back deck - where we spent all our time! 

The sky at dusk. So beautiful!

We were sad to be away from the kids, but knew they were in good hands with Mimi, so we slept great after a long day of traveling and woke up to do an easy four mile run together to Pinnacle Peak and back that Friday. It was awesome not being cold or having to wear 10 layers to go run! What an awesome thing in the middle of winter! Afterwards we headed to lunch and then downtown to the convention center Expo to pick up my race packet, shirt, and information for race day. Wow, what a huge event this is! It was so awesome to walk around and see all the vendors - from food, to shoes, to sunglasses, to beer. So much stuff! It was a great Expo and provided some fun entertainment. We tried on a pair of Newtons and just might throw down on a pair for ourselves when our current shoes need replacing. I think I'm sold after running/walking around in these things for a while.

Took it easy Friday night and tried my best to stay off my feet all day Saturday, but man, my nerves were working overtime in preparation for Sunday's race. I mean, when you know there's going to be at least one Olympian (read: Kara Goucher) in the race you are running, it kind of intimidates the crap out of you even if you know you don't stand a chance of even running with her for a second.

Arrive at Sunday morning...and I felt like I was going to throw up! The good kind of throw up, that is, the kind that means you're so excited you can hardly take a step or breathe. It's the best kind. Nathan and I headed down to the race area and by the grace of God found a purple bracelet on the street that allowed me access to a heated tent with food, stretching areas, and porta potties that were not only clean, but had toilet paper! All the ones on the street for common use were spent and had NO toilet paper. (So, lesson learned for next time is bring my own!) After watching the marathon kick off, we headed over to the half starting area and I got warm while NT took pictures of the other Kara!
The Marathon start line.

Kara Goucher stretching. (I think she was on to Nate spying on her)

My corral. Kara G was in E! I was only one behind. 

Starting line.

Before I knew it, the gun was going off. Since we were in corral two, they held us back for a minute or two before letting us start our race to give the Elite runners some space to work out their legs and get their distance. The first half of the race felt great and I was kicking out 7 minute miles pretty consistently, but around mile 8 my knee started to bother me, so I slowed about 15 or 20 seconds to give myself some room to work it out. So my second half was slower than my first half and I didn't finish in 1:30 or under like I'd hoped, but I did beat my other time by nearly 4 minutes, finishing at 1:36. It was a good run and I will definitely seek to improve upon that time and be back next year to see if I can't do it here if not before. I felt really good about the race other than the aches and pains, and was fully recovered in just a few minutes. It was truly awe-inspiring to be in the presence of so many runners. So many that love it, so many that do it well, and so many that just have fun. It was a fun, fun time.  My little cheerleader, Nathan waited for me and gave me lots of kudos afterwards despite my disappointment. There is always room to improve!  So the rest of that day we just hung around Scottsdale, ate some dinner, sat by the pool, and then I got a fabulous 90 minute massage to work out all my kinks. It was a fun and full day filled with amazing memories.





We headed to The Fairmont where we stayed for our last night and enjoyed a nice evening and day at the resort before heading to the airport to see our kids (and embrace the cold weather) back in Nashville. I wasn't looking forward to the weather, but I was so excited to see my babies.

It was a super fun long weekend and one I hope to re-live again sooner than one year from now. After returning from the race and running again, it feels strangely peculiar to be running without something to train for...without a goal. So where that leaves me I'm not quite sure, but I'm eyeing some races in the near future, I just need to figure out what distance I want to do now that my legs are tired. Give me a week and maybe I'll say I'm ready for another half. Maybe not, but just maybe. What I do know it that it won't be nearly as fun as running in 70 degree weather in January! That beats it all! :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Well the new year has come and gone and taken with it any hope of warm days here in Tennessee. That said, it's been an attitude adjustment to determine to be happy despite the gloomy, snowy, icy weather that has become our "normal" here in Nashville. It's a normal we don't like but one we have to accept for a time, or so it would appear. So our welcome to the new year has been plagued with ice and snow and temperatures below freezing. Not ideal for a girl (me) who is training for a half marathon in a climate that promises to be around 70 degrees on race day. If you don't believe me, too bad, but Phoenix is the hope of my new year! :) It's 16 days away and my nerves are already on edge as I line up mentally in my head each day for my training runs in bitter cold and wind. Hopefully the finish line will be worth the pain.

The other fun way to start out the new year was with work. (And by fun I mean awful.) After a low-key last few weeks of 2010 with lots of PTO, baking, eating, and family time, heading back to work wasn't on my fun list anyway, but January 3 all that was confirmed. I got a lovely phone call from my manager who let me know my employment was out of compliance with a policy and somehow I had been overlooked in the program process. I am 6 months in to an 18-month role. Anyway, it's too much to go into here, but basically I show up at work on day one of 2011 only to find out I'm days away from being job-less, when I thought I was months away. Eleven months to be exact. Not the way I was looking forward to starting the new year.

So all these "bad" things can leave one feeling pretty hopeless and full of self-doubt and other emotions, but I've had to rely solely on my Father to pick me up, change my attitude, and remind me of all the times in my past when He has come to my rescue. And believe me, it's been a lot! Each and every time He came, not with warning, but with provision. Not in my timing, but in His. So my hope, my rest, must come from the history WE have together, just me and Him. I'm confident He will supply all my needs and fulfill all my hopes and dreams in the meantime. It's just what that looks like that's scary. And by scary I mean exciting. :) So, here's to a frightful and eye-opening year. My prayer is all of you have HOPE in more than just what we see every day but also what we don't as it's hope that gets us through and hope that makes us stronger. "Be strong and take heart, all you HOPE in the Lord." (Ps. 31:24)