Weeks 12-15: #itsgoingdownatphx

Welp, looks like I’ve gotten a little behind on these recaps, lol!! To catch you up, training has been going really well. Which of course, makes me nervous.

I’ve had some pretty amazing workouts at paces I never thought I could do. So far, I’ve completed an 18 miler, a 20 miler, and an 18 miler, with my last 20 coming up this weekend. The last two long runs were super tough leaving me wondering if I can really do this thing, but let me tell you something, besides running these past few weeks, I’ve been working on my mental game LIKE WHOA.

I’ll do a full recap on the reading I’ve done (and podcasts I’ve listened to <—finally catching up with the times!) after the race, but I do want to say that immersing myself with positivity has been such a help for me this training cycle.

I wouldn’t be able to have hit these paces without believing I could

Of course I get nervous, will I have had a great training cycle but an abysmal race? But as soon as those thoughts start creeping in, I shut them out. 

And if for whatever reason, things go to shit and I don’t BQ, I’m guaranteed a fun time because… my friends are getting married at mile 26!!!!

follow the fun at @rundrunklove

Love them!

the bride-to-be and meeee!

Yessss!!! How awesome is that? So I “met” Scott through his (now defunct) blog and then met him in real life when we both ran Chicago Marathon 2015. That’s when I met Marsha, the girl he’ll be marrying. We hit it off and now we’re the best of friends ❤ They came out last year for Phoenix Marathon when Marsha was trying to BQ (she did) and then came out again to baptize my son.

I ❤ this pic.

Hoping to ring that bad boy again this year!

Regardless of the outcome of the race, I’m so glad these two will be there. I know that they’ll be my tequila drinking buddies if I need to drown my sorrows or celebrate the good times 😀

CAN’T WAIT!!!

–Have you seen a mid-marathon wedding?

 

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How I Ended Up In Women’s Running Magazine Online

I shared last week on my Facebook and Instagram accounts an old blog post that was published on Women’s Running online.

Well, it’s actually a funny story how that all happened.

Last month, I went to my coach’s holiday party. I was super apprehensive about going because I don’t know many of her athletes and had only been running under her guidance for a few months. But, I wanted to show my appreciation for her by attending so I mustered up the courage to go….alone.

Sure enough, I found myself standing all by myself, just kinda hanging around waiting for at least one of two people I knew would be there to arrive.

A girl who I had met briefly on a run remembered me and seeing that I was alone, walked my way and made conversation. She introduced me to a few of her friends, others who have trained under Susan, my coach.

One of them asked me what I did for a living to which I replied, “Well, nothing.” Talk about awkward! LOL!

I mentioned that I used to teach English, and now get my writing/reading fix through blogging and then turned the conversation to her and asked what she did. She said she worked for Competitor Group. I knew the company once owned the Rock and Roll race series because I’m an ambassador so I asked her if the sale to Ironman affected her at all. She said that she worked for the Women’s Magazine division so not so much RnR.

Then she said, “You should send me some of your blog posts and I can submit them to our web editor.”

Say what?!?

I immediately became self-conscious and said that my writing wasn’t any good and probably not what they were looking for. She was so sweet though and told me to think about it. We exchanged contact information and that was that.

A couple of days later she contacted me and told me to just give it a shot. I decided, why not? So I sent her a few posts…I didn’t tell anyone about it, and didn’t tell anyone when the web editor approved them, and didn’t tell anyone when she told me the first one would be published late January.

But when I got the e-mail that it went live, I still couldn’t believe it. There was my blog post for all the world to see.

Not gonna lie, I was super nervous. I’ve been very comfortable in my own private, small corner of the internet blogging world. I’m not a “big” blogger nor did I start blogging to “get big.” I know that the more exposure my blog gets, the more criticism and not-so-nice opinions come with it.

Sure enough, the first comment on the Facebook page was:

And that’s okay. I know that it’s tough to “get me” or understand the context of the article without having been a reader of my blog for a while. I know, or hope, you guys know, that I’m very grateful to be able to stay home with my kids while at the same time, struggling to let go of a career I studied for and worked at for a long time. And I’m choosing to use this time to put my energy into training and making things work for where my life is currently.

I picked that particular post as the first one to share with Women’s Magazine because it was a vulnerable one. I remember when I first wrote it, being worried then of how it would be received by you guys. It was me being honest. And that’s the Helly I wanted to introduce the rest of the world to. ❤

 

 

Rock n Roll Arizona: Race and Half Marathon PR!!!!

I previously wrote about how my pre-race jitters going in to this race were at an all-time high. I didn’t have my fuel, and I was a nervous wreck about breaking a cardinal running rule: Nothing New on Race Day. But, I figured a Huma gel was better than no gel, and I just had to deal.

Luckily, my husband and training buddies Ashley and Dallas were with me at the start. A calming presence for sure. Dallas and my husband planned to run together and Ashely and I would see how long we could last with each other. We’ve yet to finish a race together, ha!!!

My coach had given me a plan. Start miles 1-4 conservatively. And like a good student, I followed direction, holding my pace the first couple of miles. But when we turned the first corner, we were met with a head wind that all of sudden, made staying at half marathon goal pace difficult.

Seeing that 7:55 bummed me out, but I told myself to keep to the plan. Coach had said miles 5-8 needed to be slightly faster than goal pace and to move by effort up the big hill at mile 9. I slowly started to separate from Ashely as I tried to pick up the pace.

It was shortly after mile 5 that I found a buddy who is also under my coach’s direction. He was seriously a Godsend! I took the Huma gel and tried to just swallow that thing down. I could taste the tart strawberry and feel the texture of the chia seeds (way too healthy for me. Give me GU any day). But I was feeling okay.

We coasted along as best we could with the wind and slight upness when we finally reached it.

The hill.

I told myself not to freak out. Stay with Alex as close as I could. It was a short hill. I would be fine. After the hill, it’s down the rest of the way.

JUST GET TO THE TOP.

7:49!!!! Y’all have no idea how insane that looked to me. It was such a confidence booster seeing that split considering how awful I am at running uphill.

But my happiness was short lived once we turned to go down because WHAM!!!–headwind!!! I let out an expletive as I ran, so angry that I would have resistance going down hill.

But I had to deal. Nothing I could do.

According to the plan, once I reached mile 10, I was supposed to “Last 3, fast 3” as I’d been practicing during training. I wasn’t sure I could muster “fast” at the end of this long race, but I knew I had to give it a shot. I was cutting it close.

Mile 11 was a blur as I tried to concentrate on my form and moving my legs. I was expecting my coach and teammates after mile 12 but instead caught them right at the mile mark. My coach yelled out words of encouragement and I felt a rush of pride at how well I was doing–I wanted to show her I COULD DO THIS.

Her instructions had been to ignore the watch the last three miles, so I didn’t know at the time what paces I was hitting. All I knew was that I. Had. To. Move….FAST.

When I turned the corner at mile 13 and saw the time clock at 1:39 (I started about 30 or so seconds behind it) I gave whatever kick I had to the finish.

I was NOT going to let this opportunity pass. I ran knowing that it all came down to those final seconds and if I didn’t do it now, the chance would be gone and I would regret not giving it my all. Close but not succeeding wasn’t an option. I needed to get it done NOW.

I sensed two men increase their speed as I passed them and I hit turbo. NOT TODAY. NOT RIGHT NOW. This was MY time. I was going to be the fastest one to the finish these last few seconds.

I don’t know who this person is.

There was no picture of me stopping my watch. I ran that thing all the way through like a maniac. As evident by that 5:10 pace, lol!

Oh man, I was so happy. I was so happy when I finally looked down and saw 1:39. 1:39. I never, ever in my life thought I would be in the ’30s, that I would run a half marathon averaging 7:30 something. Sometimes it’s hard for me to accept reality–that I really am running the way I’m running right now.

I don’t take progress for granted. I don’t forget the long journey it’s been to this moment. I’m not sure how much longer the desire to continue to improve will last, but I’m so proud of how far I’ve come. I’m so proud of how I’ve overcome negative thoughts, feelings of insecurity to get to this point. I am fast. I’m not bragging, but I need to tell myself that so I can accept this craziness that’s happening. That it’s not a fluke. It’s not luck. It’s freaking hard ass work I’ve done.

This was a hard race. But I know the real hard is coming next.

And I’ll be ready.