Conquering the Impossible (i.e. Training on Vacation)

I never thought it was possible, but I did it. I trained while on vacation at the beach. I only got in 3 runs during the week, as opposed to my normal 4, but I was just glad to have … Continue reading

Dopey Challenge: Week One Training

Week One Training Report

So this is truly my first training report; bear with me, I’ll try to make them better as I go along. That said, week one training for the Dopey challenge is complete. I didn’t really start training until the middle of the week on Wednesday so I didn’t get very many miles in, but I am getting my body back in shape for training season. This week really seemed like more “mental training” than anything. After taking time off from running, sometimes it’s hard to get your head to adjust back to enduring the pain, whether it be 4am wake-ups or struggling to finish the last mile. My pace has slowed down significantly, but I only see that as opportunity for improvement, which is always a good thing.

So here you have it:

Wednesday: 3.08 miles/Time 36:57/Avg Pace 12:00 per mile. Started this one at 5:45am.Weather was cool, overcast with a slight drizzle. I could tell I was out of shape on this run. Stopped and walked for about 10 seconds 3 times and then kept it going. My pace had slowed significantly but that’s what taking several months off does to me. I chose to not feel discouraged, and instead focused my whole run on thinking about how much better I am going to get over the next 8-9 months. Wore my Altra Torin’s originals (pink, not 1.5) and my feet were in heaven. I’ve had these babies waiting in the closet for a while; I have to say I prefer them over the newer model. In the last weeks the newer model has been causing foot numbness, but I didn’t have that at all today.

Thursday: 4.00 miles/ Time 47:02/ Avg Pace 11:46 per mile. This was just a rough day for running for me. Thankfully my friend, Larry paced me through this. Having someone talk you through a bad run is no doubt one of the kindest things I’ve experienced. I’ve had a hard time getting back to my daily running, but Larry was determined to get me through at least 4 miles. I could tell I was really dehydrated and the last 1/2 mile felt like puking. As we finished the last 1/2 mile Larry started telling me a story about a man who survived the Japanese death march; 6 days marching with no food or water. Nothing like a little dramatic motivation to kick your butt in gear and get you to finish, lol. So thankful for good friends who help each other thrive.

Saturday: 4.01/48:49/ Avg Pace 12:10 per mile. Took it a little easier today. Started out with my running club but I ended up going off solo. I had moments where I felt like I was flying, and could tell I was starting to get my groove back. Walked for a few seconds a couple of times because my foot numbness was starting to return (even with the pink Torins). All in all, this was a beautiful morning and I enjoyed being able to get out and run.

I’ll quickly say that my nutrition this week was anything but great. That’s the next big change I’m going to have to make in order to be successful in these next 8 months. Having said that, it’s important to remember to strive for progress, not perfection.

There’s a long way to go friends, but I’m taking it a day at a time and trusting in the process. I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to be able to experience joy in every run. I can say in all honesty that in every run this week I experienced joy. As I ran, though I was slower than I used to be, I praised God for blessing me with good health and the ability to run. Never take it for granted.

Until next time,

Mel

I’m feeling Dopey

Whew, that was a stressful 30 minutes!

Today I registered for Disney’s “Dopey Challenge”, a race I have been looking forward to for months! Half of the challenge is getting registered as it sells out pretty much within the hour. Users all over America were sitting on their computers at noon waiting for the event to open. The website crashed and froze multiple times from what I would assume was user overload.

I sweated it out for 30 minutes but finally got myself registered. So here’s the plan:

Thursday: 5k

Friday: 10k

Saturday: Half Marathon

Sunday: Full Marathon

Monday: Cruise to Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, and run a 5k there.

You’re probably thinking, “What the heck? Why?” For the t-shirts, obviously. 

Though in all seriousness, this is my way of easing into ultras. No, none of these races are true ultras, but the thought of running them all back to back both scares and challenges me, so I’m doing it. I want to go farther than 26.2, so in a way I consider this my kickoff.

At the beginning of the year I chose a theme word for my life: joy. During this training, I am going to try to incorporate this word into every run. I aim to be a joyful runner; I want to learn to love not the finish line, but the run itself. (This was pretty much the theme of my last blog post)

I invite you to come along this journey with me. I have never been good about logging my training on this blog, but my hope now is to do that. I would love for you to follow along with the ups and downs that these next 8 months will bring.

As always, stay strong,

Mel

Loving the Grind

There have been many days that I struggled to get out the door and go. But there has never been one day where I regretted going.

Is that not the rhyme and rhythm for so many of us? As the Dopey Challenge approaches (264 days to be exact) I am afraid. I am not prepared, but I hope that in the next 264 days God will equip my body to run those 48.6 miles. I hope to mark this event as the first of many ultras (even though I suppose this really isn’t an ultra since they are individual back to back races).

Over the last 4 weeks I have been down in the runner dumps. Those questions and negative thoughts that sometimes circulate, “Is this even good for me? Am I damaging my body? I don’t even like doing this.” They began to take my mind captive. This morning I was on the race website gathering info, and after a bit of planning and a good cup of coffee began to feel myself finally snapping out of it.

“If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

It’s important to remain consistent even when in a runner’s funk. I keep reminding myself of this. Despite the doubts and fears, I’m continuing to press on. I heard some great advice the other day; we need to not make the prize our main focus, we need to learn to love the process. Learn to love the training, the dedication, the day in and day out grind. Love it. The prize is just a momentary bonus, and as Corinthians says, the prize will not last. We have the prize of eternity in Christ, which is far more valuable than a medal.

I am learning to love the process. It’s hard, but with Christ all things are possible.

264 days. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do during this training time.

-Mel

2014 Achievements and 2015 Goals

Yesterday morning I went on my last run of 2014. It was an incredible year. I ran my first marathon, first half-marathon, found a new group of local runners that hold me accountable to 5am runs and push me to go further.

This year my husband and I also completed our home restoration that we began in 2013. It is so nice to no longer be living in a construction zone. In addition we gained a new family member, Molly, who is a black Labrador retriever and is such a joy!

The year also brought about many challenges as we learned that my mom had cancer in late May. This experience has humbled us and brought us closer to God, and closer as a family. She is doing exceptionally well as she continues to fight this disease. We believe she will make a full recovery!

As we welcome in 2015, I welcome in new challenges. This evening my husband and I sat down and wrote down our resolutions. Here are a few of mine:

1. Read the bible every day. I’ll be using this app to read the Bible in a year.

2. Lose weight. Sounds pretty general, but this is something that’s a work in progress. To be a better runner I’d like to continue losing. This is one step on the road to better health.

3. Run another marathon. I fully plan on running another marathon in 2015; it’s going to be part of my training for the Dopey Challenge that I’m doing in January 2016.

I feel that these goals are realistic, yet still very challenging.  I am so excited to see where this new year will take us, and what the Lord has in store. Next week I will be starting school back up and am looking forward to that challenge. Many of you know that theatre is my passion; this semester our school is starting a theater arts program and I am thrilled to be one of the first students participating in that.  Balancing college, running, and married life is always a challenge for me. I am praying that God will help me keep priorities in order and handle my stress in a healthy way.

Before I sign off, I thought I’d share one last resolution. I decided to choose one word to focus on for the year. A theme, so to speak. This year I have chosen joy, and will try to continue to choose joy every day. Only Christ brings true joy. In joy, we are free of all worries or cares.  Joy uplifts not only us, but others around us.

So that’s my piece. Here’s to 2015! May God bless your year and bring you great joy.

It’s official: I’m addicted to running

This summer marks one full year that I’ve been running. That’s so short compared to so many of my avid runner friends, but what a milestone it is for me. For years I tried to be a runner but could not run for more than 1 minute at a time. I tried the Couch to 5k plan countless times but just never followed through with it. I had convinced myself I would never be able to run for 30 minutes straight, so I never got past week 1 of C25k. I would finish week one, then repeat it the next week, then stop for a week, then get discouraged and just quit.

Looking back on the old me I think “what the heck?!” What was wrong with me? I had created a mental block and could not get past it. I was healthy, capable, a perfect contender. I just didn’t want to put in the effort. It wasn’t until one day when I realized that I had Christ strengthening me. If I had God as my helper, what is there that I possibly could not achieve? So I said I would run a marathon. I signed up for one having never completed a race in my life, and I started training. And I did it.

And I’m going to do it again. I just signed up for my second full marathon that I plan to run in February of 2015. Hopefully with a year of running and several races under my belt I will be able to improve my time a bit. I know what to expect this time around, what I need and don’t need (large hydration pack that got tossed at the WDWM at mile 20 was a lesson learned) and have become comfortable peeing in bushes…that’s already saving several minutes! Last year I had one goal: don’t die. This year I would like to put a little more “umph” into my training and set a time goal. Nothing too intense, but something to aim for other than just finishing it. Now that this blog exists I plan to record all of my training on here. It will be fun to post pictures, times, and watch progress unfold. It’s easy to forget how far I’ve come.

I am just in awe of the way God has carefully constructed our bodies and what they are able to do. I feel so blessed to be able to go out and run. I hope some of you will follow along this journey with me.

Mel