When in doubt, race it out

Hiiiii!!!!

Well, I certainly relished my post-marathon BQ recovery, lol!! It was a nice rest, but at the same time my lack of running was because …I was a little sad…

I know, you’re probably thinking: Helly–what the hell?! YOU BOSTON QUALIFIED!!!

3:29:33 BQ — Hells to the yeah!!

But the post-marathon blues are for real, my friends. I had worked for this goal for a long time and now … nothing.

Of course, I knew I needed to rest after my big race. Yet, even after a couple of weeks of no running, getting back into the swing of things was rough. I’m big on plans, routine, consistency…and because I didn’t have anything to work towards, running for fun took a lot of effort.

I truly enjoy the training process. That, for me, is fun.

The post-marathon blues hit its peak two weekends ago when I was supposed to pace 2:00 at Phoenix’s Pride Run Half Marathon. I went to packet pick-up excited, thinking maybe this is what I needed to get back into the groove of things.

But because I had done very little running up to that point, I was really nervous. The night before, I half heartedly set out my gear on the kitchen table. When my alarm went off early the next morning, I wondered why…

I was out the door just after 5 a.m. (it was a super early start time of 6:30)–plenty of time for the drive to the race. But as I was going along the freeway mentally checking off the list, I realized I’d forgotten my bib on the kitchen table!! I had snagged the pace stick that was right next to it, but not the bib!! I debated going back or continuing to the race and seeing if I could find the race director or someone to help me. I finally decided to turn back thinking I’d banked enough time by having left early….I underestimated traffic and closures in downtown Phoenix however, and when I was close to the start, I wasn’t close enough with no parking around. I parked somewhere, anywhere (likely illegal) and thought maybe I could run to the start–but a mile in, I had no idea where I was…or where the start was…I walked back to my car, defeated, knowing I was about to DNS and let the race director and everyone else down.

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I sulked for the next couple of days, wondering how I could get myself out of this funk I was in. I had another race, a 5k, the following weekend–one in which last year I PR’d. I knew that with my lack of running, bettering last year’s time was out of the question.

But it’s such a great race, and for such a great cause. The Diamondbacks Race Against Cancer is a 5k my two friends from high school promote in memory of their daughter who passed away from DIPG, a very rare form of cancer that currently has no cure. She would be the same age as my daughter.

So even if a PR was unlikely, I knew this race would be one that could lift my spirits up–I was running for Gianna.

Saturday found me with some of my Moms Run This Town friends and I was happy to have some of my favorite people around. I was excited, regardless of what the outcome might be. Ashley, my BQ training buddy was with me, and I knew I would try to hang on to her as long as I could. Unlike me, she had been running and was in much better post-marathon/post-BQ shape (having won a 5 miler the week before!). I knew I wouldn’t be able to hang on for long, but I loved having her there to push me.

Me and Ash twinning in red

 

And we were off!! I wasn’t sure what pace I would hold and went in with zero plan. I knew that I’d pretty much positive split the race and didn’t care. It felt good feeling the racing rush, the racing pain.

First mile– 6:51. Yeeah, whoa. No.

Second mile–7:04. I said good-bye to Ashley as she went on with her speedy self…

Third mile–7:13. I knew I had a PR chance if I pushed on this last mile and it took every ounce of will power to do it. I thought of Gianna’s parents–whose strength I admire so much. I hugged them at the start, but couldn’t bring myself to say anything…

Point one–6:01. A girl sped passed me just after the third mile and I had her within reach nearing the finish line. I knew I had a little left in me so I surged right passed her telling myself to make it hurt

My last second surge somehow made it on T.V.

I couldn’t believe I PR’d!!! You know how people say they didn’t expect to do well in a race and you’re like…yeah right…

Well, honest to goodness, I had NO idea I’d be able to pull this off!! But beyond having beat last year’s time, I’m happy to feel again those feelings that make me want to run.

Last year and this year

Sometimes you need a race with ZERO expectations, and bunch of awesome friends, to get you back on your feet ❤

We all ran away with a PR!!

 

–Have you experienced the post-race blues?

–Is it easy for you to run with no training plan?

–How do you get yourself out of a running funk?

–Ever unexpectedly PR?

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DBacks Race Against Cancer 5k: A Meaningful PR

I signed up for the Diamondbacks Race Against Cancer 5k sort of on a whim. A high school classmate posted on Facebook how her and her husband participated in it last year as part of a fundraiser/awareness for their daughter battling a rare type of cancer (DIPG). I remember when she shared that original post, the one where her daughter was present.

She wasn’t at this years.

For the 9 months or so that Gianna fought cancer, she did so with strength that I could never imagine. At 5 years-old, no little girl or boy should have to go through what she did. Her mom chronicled Gianna’s fight through her Facebook page, and there were times that I just couldn’t bear to see the posts. I would get so angry at the unfairness, so sad that there is so little treatment and research for what she was fighting.

Gianna the Warrior Princess

About two weeks ago or so, Gianna’s mom said they’d be back at the 5k event as part of the opening ceremony for the family fun walk portion of the race. She said they were organizing a team and that anyone who wanted to participate could join them. So I signed up knowing that the race would be done in Gianna’s memory.

The race is pretty popular and when I arrived, I didn’t think I’d be able to find Gianna’s mom. But as I was walking to the porta-potties, I spotted her. I gave her a big hug but I couldn’t say much.

I saw her again at the race start and when they announced why the parents were there, the tears began to flow.

Gianna’s mama in white

I gathered myself together because moments later, the race started and we were off.

There were no corrals but I positioned myself in the front. There were a lot of little kids who wanted to start right at the front but I didn’t mind because they were so excited. It was cool to see a lot of adults make room for them instead of grumbling that they were in the way (as I’ve seen in other races).

I ran unplugged, as I wanted to focus solely on Gianna’s bright spirit. I was running in her memory and wanted to be free of distraction.

My goal was also to PR. I didn’t know if I had it in me, but I was willing to try. At my first track workout last Wednesday with my coach, I did two 2Ks at 7:30ish pace, and it hadn’t felt too bad. So for the 5k, I wanted to shoot for a 7:15 first mile and then negative split.

When the first mile beeped 7:03 I thought I’d blown it. Way too fast and there was no way I could negative split with that as my starting point. But I didn’t let myself get too down or count myself out. I would simply continue to try and keep it under 7:15.

Mile two–7:18.

I was sooooo bummed. I really wanted to keep it under 7:15 and I felt like I was running fast (I mean, I was, but I thought it felt faster than 7:18, lol). I also thought that my secret long-shot mini goal of seeing a 6 was gone. If I hadn’t done it in the too fast first mile, there was no way I’d be able to have a six-minute-something mile 3

Well, wouldn’t you know it, my third mile was 6:57!!!! You have no idea how I freaked out when I saw that. And then I saw that I was very close to getting under 22 minutes so I ran the fastest I think I ever have in a race…

Sub 6 minute mile for 30 seconds!! Whoa!!

And finally entered the 21 minute 5k club!!!!

6th Female Overall, 2nd Age Group–I’ll be presented my award at an upcoming baseball game!

When you finished, runners/walkers were able to take a victory lap inside the Diamondbacks stadium. I don’t go to baseball games often (as you can tell by my Instagram, I’m more of a basketball girl 😉 ) but it was fun to see it in a way I’ve never seen it.

In the dugout–Put me in coach!

When I was done, I called my husband and told him how bittersweet this PR was. I was happy, but I was sad.

I was there because a little girl wasn’t.

It’s easy sometimes to avoid sad things, avoid them so that you’re not affected. I chose to be there. I wanted to be. I never met Gianna, but she touched so many lives, and my own, in her short time on earth. I’m a different person, a different mother because of her. Because every time I think of Gianna, I think of my own little girl–and I hug her a little tighter, a little longer…

–Do you know someone affected by cancer? I feel like unfortunately so many of us do…

–Do you have a meaningful PR?

 

Sweet ’16

What a year. 

I remember writing a recap for 2014 thinking there’s absolutely no way it could get any better. And while ’14 was unforgettable in its own special way, two thousand sixteen was pretty darn amazing.

Last year, 2015, was pretty difficult for me in terms of running. I don’t even think I wrote a recap for it, lol! I had my first DNF in Phoenix and trained hard for Chicago but had an abysmal race. I ended the year injured and frustrated.

But I was determined to make 2016 a good year and even though I started it still recovering from my stress fractures (and missing what would’ve been my first race of the year), I was ready to go at the end of January.

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Me in the middle holding a sign at RnR AZ–Had a blast cheering and spectating 🙂

He let me wear his medal <3

He let me wear his medal ❤

After cheering on my friends and husband at RnR Arizona, I slowly got back into the game and preparing myself for Phoenix Half–(I had dropped from the full).

My first race was FroYo 10k in February and I shocked the heck out of myself with a new PR–the first of many in the year ❤

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49:30

A week later, I ran the Nick’s Run Double Challenge–a 10k followed by a 5k. I ran the 10k with my friend Nadia and then raced the 5k finishing with an at the time, new PR!!

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23:55

And a week after that, I ran Phoenix Half Marathon and finished with a new PR there too!!! I swear, if February had had another weekend, I would’ve signed up for a marathon LOL #forreals

Ringing the PR bell :D

1:48:04

I took a much needed break and picked up swimming and biking again because it was this year in March that I completed my first ever triathlon!!! I seriously can’t believe that I did one–did I mention I was THE last one out of the pool?? Lol!!

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After Tri 4 The Cure, I rested for a long while taking it easy in April and then concentrating on trail running as we prepared for the Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim which was in late May.

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June marked the beginning of pre-season marathon training and I did not race at all starting here until New York City in November. I ran ALL the miles though…

101 miles, 176, miles, 152 miles

101 miles, 176, miles, 152 miles

198 miles, 184 miles

198 miles, 184 miles

And then you guys know what happened in November 😀

3:58:40

3:58:40 ❤

I ran my hometown’s last Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5k later that month and finished first female overall and with a new 5k PR!

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22:30

Finally, December was absolutely amazing as I was able to finish off the year with a new, incredible half marathon PR.

1:42:45

1:42:45

 

Just an absolutely insane year of running for me. It excites me to see what hard work brings and it really motivates me going in to the new year. I have a few goal ideas that I’ll share later, but right now I’m spending the last few days of twenty sixteen relishing the year’s accomplishments 🙂

–How was your running year? 

–After you reach a goal, do you automatically go to work on the next goal or relish in your glory for a while like I do? LOL

–This is likely my last post for 2016 and I just want to thank you all again for your support!! I hope you join me in my 2017 adventures ❤ HAPPY NEW YEAR!!