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Hey! πŸ™‚ Happy Monday!

I’m feeling like this weekend just flew by! I had a great time in San Diego with my sister and we actually managed to pack a lot into my 3 day visit – sun and relaxation, good food and a 1/2 marathon – I’d call that a good weekend!

Let’s jump right in and get to the 1/2 marathon highlights!

Always a highlight for me, my pre-race breakfast:

{oats, 1/2 banana, almond milk and sunflower butter + just enough coffee to get me going}

Riding the elevator in our neon Target sweaters (it was cold!)

We walked the quick 20 minutes over to Petco Park and lined up in our group. We were still a little sleepy from the time change but the energy from the participants and spectators was contagious. We ditched our sweaters and had time for a little pre-race stretch. Once the first wave took off everything seemed to go by so quickly and before I knew it we were off!

As for the race itself, much of it went by in a blur but here is what I do remember and here is what I think helped me:

I had experience under my belt. This was my second 1/2 marathon and third race (I ran the Phoenix PF Chang’s 1/2 marathon in 2009 and the Phoenix 10k in 2011) and having the experience of just those two races under my belt was invaluable. Although the PF Chang’s 1/2 marathon had it’s good points (I ran with my sister, looking forward to and preparing for the race was exciting), overall it was a pretty miserable experience. I was ill-prepared and I hit a wall a little over halfway through making the end of the race very difficult. I don’t remember my official time but I know it was over 3 hours and the last two miles were excruciating as I struggled to make it to the finish line. This time around, the last two miles were the quickest and most enjoyable by far. In fact, I nearly hyperventilated on entering Petco Park because I was so excited (and winded!) for the big stadium finish.

I gave myself little friendly competition. Shortly after the start of the race I noticed a guy running in front of me wearing a long sleeved green shirt, shorts and tights. Granted, it was cold out, but I remember thinking to myself, ‘I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a guy in tights beat me.’ We seemed to be running at a similar pace so I decided to use him as my speed gauge. Every time he would speed up it spurred me to pick up my pace a little. I lost track of him somewhere around mile 7 and truthfully I don’t know nor do I care which one of us ultimately came out on top but I credit him for helping me keep a decent pace for the first half of the race.

The weather was perfect. Having trained in sunny, temperate Arizona spring weather I had been a little concerned about the forecast of cloudy with a high of 62 but the overcast San Diego morning couldn’t have been more spot on.

I kept my playlist fresh. Good music helps me out so much during a long run but listening to the same old songs over and over also tends to drive me crazy. I had quite a few ‘power’ songs i knew i would want on my race playlist but I tried to avoid listening to them in the couple weeks leading up to the race. When it came down to making my playlist, I incorporated a few new downloads and some old favorites into my usual playlist. I also switched up the order so i would constantly be stimulated and looking forward to the next song.

I set multiple goals. When I ran the PF Chang’s 1/2 marathon in 2009 I didn’t run with any particular goal in mind because, frankly, I didn’t know what to expect of myself. My goal was basically to finish. This time around, I had a little better idea of what I was capable of. I set two goals for myself: My first goal was to finish in under 2 and a half hours. I had been completing my longer training runs at around a 10 minute thirty second pace which set me up to finish in 2:17 so I was pretty sure I could achieve this goal. Still, there was a part of me that was scared I was going to hit a wall and bottom out like I did the first time around at PF Chang’s. My second goal was to finish in under two hours and fifteen minutes. I knew I could probably push myself a little on race day and I figured, if all went well, 2:15 could very well be within my reach. Honestly, I would have been happy to achieve either goal but I was ecstatic to surpass both. For some reason, when I started off running, a goal of 2:09 got stuck in my head which ended up being my exact finish time.

I went at it alone. Now I didn’t entirely go it alone, as you know. My sister ran the race with me and, although we were never far apart, we had discussed before the race that we would basically each do our own thing. While I do enjoy company on my leisurely runs, when it comes down to race time running with someone else takes my focus off of my own pace and honestly psychs me out and makes me a little anxious. Doing my own thing helped me to stay in the zone and I still got to see my sister at the finish line. πŸ™‚

I stuck to the plan. Before the race started I had a loose plan to stop at roughly 6, 8, 10 and 12 miles to hydrate and refuel. There were definitely a couple times, especially toward the end, that I felt good enough to keep running but i forced myself to stop and walk for thirty seconds or so while I downed some water and popped a few honey stingers which I’m sure helped give me a mental break and keep my energy up for the duration of the race. I even stopped for a couple unplanned water breaks.

I never stopped.Β Now of course this isn’t entirely true. As I just mentioned above I took my pre-planned breaks but that was it. Somewhere around miles 8 and 9 the course led us up a steep hill for what seemed like a good half-mile or so. As much as I wanted to stop and walk I forced myself to keep running. It was probably entirely a mental thing but even though I trudged on at a snail’s pace and had other racers who were speed-walking past me I think my determination not to quit pushed me finish strong.

I broke it up.Β This one is probably a no brainer but distance running for me (as for most) is such a mental thing. If I had set out yesterday morning with a goal in mind to run 13.1 miles it would have sounded so daunting (even though that’s exactly what I did). Instead I broke it up into smaller pieces that coincided with my ‘rest’ breaks. I told myself I was running just 5 or 6 miles, Then two miles more. Then another two..and so on. Breaking it up in this way gave me mini-goals to reach for throughout the race and really helped me from a mental standpoint.

All in all, I finished in 2:09:11 with my sis close by (she didn’t even train!) We both agreed that it was by far a better experience than our first 1/2 marathon back in 2009. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and of course refueling

First, with a spit veggie pizza and salad:

then lots of sushi

and of course let’s not forget the chocolate.

{coconut milk ice cream + TJ’s dark chocolate + Starbucks instant coffee = a winning combo}

Needless to say, we were pretty happy.

This race recap serves as a nice segeway into my next topic….

Motivation Monday: Setting Goals

I don’t think it’s any secret that I like to set and achieve goals, my most recent one being this 1/2 marathon. I get so much satisfaction from completing a goal I’ve set for myself and, for me, there’s a great deal of confidence and happiness that comes along with it.

Now I’m not saying you need to go out and sign up for a 1/2 marathon (although I do recommend it!) As someone who struggled to run even a mile in high school and who never considered myself a runner until recently I truly believe anyone is capable of completing a 1/2 marathon (my sister saw a blind guy competing in our race yesterday). That being said, I know running isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

I would encourage you, however, to find something that motivates you and set a fitness goal for yourself. Whether it’s signing up for a marathon or 1/2 marathon, perfecting a yoga pose or just carving out 30 minutes of time to exercise a few times a week – set a goal for yourself and see it through. You’ll be surprised at how great it feels.

Well, that’s it for today! I’ll be back in the morning with a special post. (Hint: *someone* is turning a little bit older tomorrow… ;))

I hope your week is off to a great start!

Kristi

Question of the Day: What is your current fitness goal?Β I’m still recovering from mine but I wouldn’t mind checking out more 1/2 marathons in the near future. I’ve got my eye on *this one*Β 

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