Fiesta Bowl 1/2 Marathon Recap!! YAAAY!!!

I GOT A PR! I GOT A PR!

Seriously guys, I ran the race of my life on Sunday!

Okay, first, and I’m being completely real here, I did NOT think what happened would happen.

Leading up to my last race of the year, I’d been feeling tired, exhausted, and fatigued. Yes, all three mean the same thing.

I’d eaten like crap the week leading up to the race because I just wasn’t feeling actually trying. My running mojo was lost and I was….tired. I can’t really think of a better way of explaining it.

My husband and I caught Mockingjay Part I at the theatre on Friday and we binged on popcorn and nachos. Not a care in the word about having a race that Sunday.

Saturday morning we went on a short 2 and a something miler to get our legs ready but then we binged on finger foods at two holiday parties that evening.

We didn’t even go to packet pick-up and figured we’d just get it on race day; we were that unmotivated.

Sunday morning our alarms woke us up (aka: kids) and we got ready to go. My mom was a champ ready to baby sit while we went on with the race.

We got there early since we knew we had to get our bibs and I’d come prepared with a jacket and gloves–it was cold!! Like always, I have to add the “for Arizona” as I know that it’s a lot more colder in other parts.

After picking up our bibs, we hung out at my run club’s tent; there were 65 members running the race that day! Many of my friends were gunning for PRs. Fiesta Bowl has the reputation  for being PR friendly. Yet, even with that knowledge, I wasn’t going into it with a PR mentality and simply hoped to sub 2–an accomplishment if I achieved it.

My husband was in the same mindset in that if he was near his PR (1:48) he’d be happy–he hadn’t trained at all for the race having been out of the country for a month.

When it came time to line up, we stood near our friends. There were no corrals so you could put yourself wherever. I was near the front but not close–actually with the crowd gunning for 1:50 and under (ha!).

I’d decided to keep my gloves on but ditched the jacket. All I had on me was a salt tablet–I’d decided to utilize the water and fuel stations, a first for me.

There was a countdown but no horn! When the announcer reached 1, nothing sounded! People continued on as, well, he’d reached 1 lol!

My husband kissed me good luck and I never saw him again til the end. I saw many of my fellow run clubbers pass me as I’d started with the speedy crowd.

I was on my own but I was fine.

The first mile chimed away 8:57 and I was pleased. I hadn’t started off fast (which I’d stupidly done in the previous half I’d run) and I also wanted to make sure I hung out as close to the 9s as I could.

I felt myself settle in and mile 2 chimed 9:11– a little too slow for my liking.

I adjusted, and miles 3 and 4 clicked away at 8:59 and 9:03. Much better.

Approaching mile 5, I took my salt tablet and saw my watch chime 9:24.

And then a mini panic set in.

I was very bothered at having seen such a bad split and was very close to throwing in the towel at that point. I felt like I was doing well and to see that mile really messed with my confidence. I worried about trying too hard to compensate in the next miles. I started blaming myself for not taking the days leading up to the race seriously. I began to really doubt my ability to sub 2 again.

Things were not looking good.

I ate half a Gu at mile 6 and saw 9:08. Better, but not as close to 9 as I’d like.

Mile 7, 9:03. I felt like I had to work reeeally hard for that one.

It was at this point that my legs felt heavy and I started making all the excuses on why it would be totally okay to not sub 2. My birthday was coming up (it’s tomorrow!), my daughter had gotten sick again the night before, my diet had sucked all week. I mean, I thought of so many “reasons” why it would be perfectly fine not to meet my goal.

Then, two members of my run club passed me and said, “Good job!” I saw them go by and I thought to myself, you’ve got two choices: You could let them go and wallow in self pity or you could join them and finish the race strong.

I don’t know what compelled me in those quick seconds to choose the latter.

Mile 8 chimed in at 8:37!

Mile 9, 8:35
Mile 10, 8:29
Mile 11, 8:39
Mile 12, 8:21!

WE WERE PASSING PEOPLE. *I* was passing people!

I didn’t know what the hell was happening to me but I was running and I was running fast. My two friends probably said two words to me the entire time but they kept me going and pushing and you know what the funny thing was? I didn’t feel tired! I didn’t feel like I’d felt at mile 7 when I felt like I was working so hard. No, these last 5 miles had gone by so quick, literally, that I didn’t even have the chance to think about how I felt.

I told Stacey and Lori at mile 11 that if I crossed the finish line with them, I would seriously cry. I had done the math, I would kill my PR if I stayed at their pace.

At mile 12, we saw another one of our run club friends, and Stacey announced that we should catch him. At that point, I was just following the leader so if that’s what she wanted to do, well then by golly, that’s what I was going to do.

We reached him at about 12.5ish and he encouraged us to finish strong. We all begin turning the corner to the finish together.

I always like to (or try to anyway) end with a “kick” and it was when we turned that corner that I mustered up whatever energy I had left to cross that finish line as fast as I could.

I gunned it, passing my two friends and the third one we’d met near the end.

My last mile was 8:13.

And my official time….

1:55:37!!!! ONE FIFTY FREAKING FIVE!!!

You have no idea how happy I felt crossing that finish line. I grabbed my medal and went straight to meet up and hug the hell out of Stacey and Lori–I knew there was no way I would’ve done it without them that day.

My husband was waiting for me with a huge grin. He knew that I had blown my PR away (for me, an almost 3 minute improvement is HUGE).

I asked him his time and he’d killed his own PR at an insane 1:42:05!!! A 6 minute difference!!!

We had just run the race of our lives.

I don’t think I stopped smiling all day yesterday or thinking about the race. I’ve replayed it so many times trying to understand how it happened. I don’t know what made me decide to just go for it, to just try and give going faster a shot. I never thought I could maintain an 8:30something pace in a half marathon–or at the back end of one no less!! My husband would often tell me that I keep myself from reaching my own potential. And it’s true. I totally psych myself out. This race showed me that I can do it. That hey, maybe with more training, I can do it for an entire race!

I couldn’t think of a better way to end the year and my last race in my 20s. Tomorrow I turn 30 and all I’ve got to say is, “Bring it on, new age group!!” :D

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I hope you all had a fabulous weekend! Did anyone else race or long run? I hope it was awesome!!

–Do you ever psych yourself out? How do you tell/convince yourself that you can do something?

 

And the award goes to….

MEEEEE!!!

I was nominated again for the Liebster Awards by some fellow awesome blogging friends

Sara @Life Between the Miles
Hailey @Striding Strong
Ali @Hit The Ground Running
Sarah @Running on Healthy

To have been thought of by these four is truly an honor as they are people I’ve come to respect and trust as I’ve grown to know them and their blogs. Make sure you check each one of ‘em out!

liebster

While I’m not entirely show what constitutes someone deserving of this award or what it really means, I do know that I have to answer some questions…so here ya go!

1. What is my current health related goal?

I’m really focused on marathon training right now. I have my next one in late February and really, really want to PR and maybe even get a sub 4:30 (that would be the ultimate goal).

With this one, I’m hoping to really nail my fueling. I’ve struggled with fueling during my long runs and previous marathons and think that’s the biggest component I need to focus on. So we’ll see how it goes!

2. What is my biggest irrational fear?

Besides freaking out if something happened to my husband and kids, my irrational fear is similar to Salt’s actually.

I hate the water.

I hate pools, lakes, streams, ponds, oceans and any type of body of water. I refuse to get in them.

I just think of all the unknown that’s involved–germs, animals, creatures, things/people who have been in them that I have no idea who or what they are or where they’ve been. It just majorly grosses me out.

3. Do I enjoy wrapping presents?

I do! I’m old school and actually buy paper and wrap gifts :)

4. What’s your favorite cross training activity?

Salt introduced me to Blogilates which are pilate-esque videos on Youtube and I kinda sorta have become obsessed with them. The girl who does the videos, we call her crazy Cassey, is so hardcore. She talks the entire time she doing the moves and I’m barely breathing.

5. If you came to visit me, what would we do?

We’d hike Camelback Mountain!!

You know it's a steep climb when they add a pole to help you up.

You know it’s a steep climb when they add a pole to help you up. So much fun!

6. You have 2 weeks off work and 2 round trip plane tickets to ANYWHERE. Where would you go and who would you take?

Hmmmm…I’m not sure where I’d choose to go but my husband would most definitely be with me. Maybe South America to explore the ruins….

7. What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you during a run or race?

Ummm….well I mentioned awhile back a training run where I passed by a whole bunch of cows (basically a farm) and the smell really made me want to go to the bathroom. And I didn’t have toilet paper. Yeah………

8. What are the 3 best days of your life?

In order in which they occurred in my life:

Graduating from college. I was the first in my family to go to and graduate from college. I honestly never thought I’d be able to go and to have gone and finished in 4 years–it truly is one of my most proudest achievements.

Marrying my husband. If you’ve been a regular reader you may have noticed how obsessed I am with this guy. I seriously scored. <3

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Having kids. I never really saw or thought of myself as the maternal type but my kids have brought it out in me. I love my little munchkins so much; they truly fulfill my life.

9. You HAVE to eat a fast food meal. What restaurant would you choose and what would you order?

JAJAJAJAJA!!!! I love how this question implies you wouldn’t like having to eat fast food LOL! You guys know I’d choose McDonald’s and I’d order my usual: Quarter Pounder w/Cheese :)

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Lately, I’ve been eating my cheeseburgers at In-n-Out though so maybe at this moment I’d choose there.

10. Have you ever met a celebrity?

Yup. I used to work at a high end retail fashion store and would see/meet a few celebs. Rihanna came into our store once.

11. Share a pic of yourself in non-workout clothes.

I shared one in my last post where I got all cleaned up for my husband’s work party so I’ll re-use that one :)

All cleaned up

All cleaned up

I love dressing up! I’m a total girl.

12. If you could choose to do a ‘do over’ and switch careers, what would you choose and why?

Nope. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I went to college and was in and out in 4 years. There was no need to think of a major or switch because I didn’t like it. Teaching was made for me.

13. If you won an Olympic Gold Medal how do you think you’d react?

I’d for sure cry. Absolutely, without a doubt.

14. What do you want for Christmas?

I’m going to be a complete cliché and say that I have all that I want. I truly do. Honestly, sometimes I get scared of how truly happy and blessed I am. Like there’s no way my life can be this perfect–something will have to go wrong. (I guess that would be another irrational fear lol!)

15. What skill do you lack?

See Salt’s answer for this question.

(P.S. Can you tell why me and Salt are BRF’s?!?)

I’d love to see answers to these questions from some other blogs I enjoy–

Kristina @Blog About Running
Jeremy @Confessions of an Amateur Athlete
Jennifer @We’re Running a Marathon?

Check out their blogs and tell them Helly sent you over :)

I hope you all have a great weekend! I have my last race of the year on Sunday–a 1/2 marathon. Anyone else racing or long running?

Pick one of the questions I was asked and answer for fun!

Hot Chocolate 15k Recap

There really is no better motivator than chocolate.

My expectations for the Hot Chocolate 15k were not very high because my husband’s company party was the night before (and hello finger foods and open bar!) I’m not a big drinker but because my husband had been out of town for so long (an eternal month!), I wanted to enjoy the night with him and eat, drink, and be merry–not worry about what I ate because of a race the next day.

All cleaned up

All cleaned up

So I indulged and had two cocktails and paid several lengthy visits to the other bar, the cheese bar :D

We still made it home early because, well, we’re not much of the party type. Seeing 9 o’clock before my head hit the pillow made me at least feel like I’d get a decent night sleep.

I woke up, er, my son woke us up at our usual 5 a.m. time and I began getting ready. I wasn’t sure whether to go with shorts or leggings as the weather in Arizona is still pretty mild (don’t hate me). I decided capris because I’m a wimp to even the smallest drop in temperature.

I had a ton of friends doing this race so I made sure to get there early with enough time to take pictures and chat. There were 3 running groups that I was meeting up with–2 before the race and 1 after–and two co-workers who were also running. Trying to find everyone proved to be an awesome warm up :)

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My AZTNT crew <3

 

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Several MRTT chapters :)

 

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Teachers on the run!

The race had corrals which I liked and was happy that I was in the first one with several friends from my running group. We all run similar paces so when the gun went off, we all stayed together at the beginning.

We were chatting and not really even paying much attention to our pace which was great considering I hadn’t wanted to anyway.

The first mile beeped a 9:00 flat and I was pleasantly surprised as I felt great and had been talking the entire time. We kept running, keeping up our conversation, giggling, and just having fun. The second mile beeped 9:06 and again, we were happy to have maintained our pace talking the way we were. The third mile beeped, 9:07. Now I was starting to get a little competitive with myself and figured if I had been keeping such a steady pace, I might as well try and keep it that way the rest of the way. One of my friends began distancing herself and sped up her pace, another friend began to slow down a bit. I kept it steady.

I checked off miles 4-7 at

8:58
8:53
8:54
8:58

Yes, please congratulate me for those beautiful splits! :D I was feeling so good and felt like I was on total cruise control.

Part of the credit does go to my husband though– he had not signed up to run the Hot Chocolate 15k because he thought he’d still be out of town. Since he’d made it, and needed to get some mileage in anyway, he decided to run part of the course with me :)

Mile 8 was part of an awful long out and back and I beeped it away at 9:09.

The last mile was all about finishing strong and getting to the chocolate as quick as I could.

8:48!

And the end result was a brand spankin’ new PR!!!!

Almost a 2 minute improvement!!

Almost a 2 minute improvement!!

I was so incredibly thrilled! I wished this would’ve been a half marathon because the way I felt would have earned me a new 1/2 PR lol! I was so happy with my splits and felt that this was by far one of the best races I’ve ran this year. Such a good way to start to close out the season (I do still have one more race, a 1/2, on Sunday!).

Having such little expectation and going into it with purely fun in mind I think allowed me run such a good race. I want to remember all of this for future races! All stressing out does is make me overthink things and lose focus on why I do this in the first place–to have fun!! :)

After the race was more socializing. Seriously, this race just had good vibes all around.

One of my friends I’d started with finished just behind me and we met up with some others in our group to pose for pictures.

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My AZTNT girls

 

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Mandatory podium shot!

 

I was also finally able to meet up with another one of my running groups to take a fun group pic

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#RunEatTweetAZ (follow us on Twitter!!!!!) :D

 

And then best of all, several co-workers had come to cheer me and two of my fellow teachers at the race.

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Love my job and co-workers <3

 

I must have stayed a good hour post race just hanging out. It was so. much. fun.

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Oh, look who I ran into!

 

I can’t forget that along with an awesome race, the swag is what makes it even better. Along with a sweet jacket, finishers received this awesome medal

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It didn’t melt!

 

and of course, chocolate!!!

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Nom!

 

If you’ve never done a “fun” race, this would be the one to do. It’s still a race you can be competitive at if that’s your style (the top finisher ran it in 49 minutes!), but it’s also one that’s all about having a good time.

Having done it two years in a row, it’s become a yearly race that I will for sure always have on my calendar :)

–Have you ran for chocolate?

–What would be your favorite food to “run for”? (mmm, pizza)

This post was written by me and contains my own honest opinions. I was not compensated in any way by Hot Chocolate 15k organizers. (But if you guys wanna hook me up next year, I’m all for it!! ;) )