Tag Archives: half marathon training

The Comeback Kid

26 Jan

Dear readers,

After an extremely long hiatus of nearly 8 months, the Skinny Pink Ninja has returned. It’s been a super rough time on my end, and I have to admit I just shut down for a while. The love of my life is James Bond. No really, he is. He has a secret government job that sends him away on long assignments with very little to no contact with me. 

I’ve always considered myself fiercely strong and able to overcome just about anything, but my guy is my Kryptonite, my Achilles heel. Living without him and only getting a 3 line email every 2 months was agony. I tried to keep going, but I was definitely in a depressed funk. My fitness level dropped tremendously during that time and I was just focusing on getting out of bed and trying to live my life. I also got mono during that time and was sick for about 2.5 months. Then there was family drama with my dad having emergency back surgery and some other health issues. 

So between all of that, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I gained almost 10 pounds and was barely keeping my toes in the water at the gym. I still ran and worked out, but it was only about 2 days a week instead of my former 4 – 5. I didn’t really care about keeping track of my food intake or anything, because that was my comfort during a hard time. I was mad at myself for giving into the sadness, but I just couldn’t help it. Worrying about someone you love, who is halfway around the world and in extreme danger is a full time job. 

He was supposed to be home permanently this month, but sadly the government took him from him again for another 2 – 3 months. Luckily he came back for a visit last week and we had a great talk that helped alleviate some of my fears and neuroses. The bad news is he’s got to do this another few months and then he has to move to Washington, DC. The good news is his contract is up in December and he is quitting. He is done and tired of being James Bond. He plans to move to Colorado after his contract is up so we can attempt a normal life. So in the meantime, once he’s back from other continents, we have to travel back and forth to see each other, but after all we’ve been through that seems so easy. 

I felt better after our talk and have decided to pick myself back up again. I can’t let the PInk Ninja get down. I’ve gone back to writing down my food and making smarter choices about what I eat. I started a new workout regiment this week with a new trainer and actually got 3 solid days in. I’m going to start distance running again tomorrow. I’m signing up for the Denver Colfax Half Marathon in May. 

I did manage to complete my third half marathon two weeks ago. When my guy left in May, I signed up for the Disney World Full Marathon. Unfortunately, thanks to mono taking me out for about 3 months, I had to downgrade my registration to a half marathon. I had a lot of trouble training due to the fatigue that held on from mono and my overall depression. Nevertheless, I finished the race. The conditions were fierce—85 degrees and 75% humidity. It was brutal and I barely finished in a tragic 3:40:43. But, in all honesty, I was most proud of finishing this race than my other halves. It took everything I had to overcome the heat, the mono, the sadness, the stress in my life and pull out that finish. 

Completing the race helped me a lot. I feel like my fighting self again. I know I’ll get the 10 pounds off and I know I can finish my next half marathon. Not only is my goal to finish, but I want to PR and finish under 2:57:03, which is my best finishing time. I’m still scared to death about my love’s safety and it’s going to be a long 2 – 3 months waiting for him. But we’ve overcome the worst and have made it through. Now it’s up to me to pick myself back up again and return to my former self. 

It’s a long road to the next finish line, but I have done much harder before, I know I can do this. 

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Out of Limbo

20 Nov

Since the marathon, I’ve been in a state of limbo. After running double digit miles every weekend since January, I suddenly had no obligations anymore. Additionally, at exactly the same time the marathon ended, I became short-handed in my department at work and started putting in 10 hour days ever since. All the stars came into alignment for me to cool it for a while on running. I didn’t stop or anything, but I wasn’t putting in 10, 15 mile runs either.

However, without any definite goals or any immediate races, I have begun to feel stale and lazy. I’m still working out, but it’s more like why should I run 8 miles when I can run 4 and be good? Even the latest issue of Runner’s World suggested people really take a break during the holiday time from running. They suggest incorporating more cross training, shorter distances and slower paces to get recharged.

Last year I trained hard for my two 5K races and then took it easy in November and December in preparation for the fact I was starting marathon training in January. I’m already planning on doing the Colfax Half Marathon again in May and maybe a few others, but that doesn’t need to be dealt with until January either.

However, I need something to keep me interested and motivated, even if it’s a small, immediate goal. So, last night I signed up for the Stocking Shuffle 5K on December 10. It’s a small distance, but I now have the immediate goal to beat my previous PR (39:40). It’s simple and can easily be accomplished, but I feel re-energeized now that I have something to work towards. A goal makes all the difference.

I finally feel like I am getting out of my holding pattern rut and will start pushing myself again. Granted, I’m exhausted from working so much and the holidays are a super busy time for me, but my body needs this to stay sane in the chaos. It’s the perfect time to start working towards something again. Come January, I will start training for the half marathon again, but I’m glad I have something to keep me occupied over the next couple of weeks.

3 Seconds of Glory

26 May

My finishing time for my first half marathon was 2:57:03. I tell everyone that those final three seconds was my crossing the finish line. In reality, it probably took half that amount to cross the finish, but I like to stretch it out. After all, you kill yourself for 13.1 miles just to get to it, better make it last.

There was a recent article in Runner’s World asking if runners like pain. I don’t think we like pain at all. I think we see it as something that makes us stronger, and it’s a means to an end. We have to experience pain to get the three seconds of glory–crossing the finish line. My final miles were horrifically painful. My IT band, foot and adductor muscles were on fire practically they hurt so badly. Yet, I had to keep pushing through. It wasn’t because I liked the pain, it was that I loved the three seconds.

Crossing that finish line was one of the most exhilarating moments I’ve had in life, and I’ve had a really great life. I was on such an incredible high, something I had never quite experienced. There was a rush of such pure joy with truly happy tears, it was unlike anything else. I suppose it’s the same type of high other adrenaline junkies experience when they skydive or bungee jump.

When I was done with the race, I was miserably sore and began to wonder how in the world am I going to do twice this distance for my full marathon in October? I can’t even fathom it right now, but I know I’ll get there one mile at a time like I did for the half.

Training for the full is a long, tedious, exhausting process, but what keeps me going is the promise of the three seconds of glory at the end. I want to keep chasing that high no matter what the pain is. It may only be 3 seconds out of a 6 hour race, but is worth every painful minute it took to get there.

2011 Colfax Half Marathon: The Amazing Race

15 May

Today was the Colfax Half Marathon, my first official half marathon (13.1 miles) in Denver. I was awake most of the night, a bundle of nerves anticipating the long road ahead. I woke up to 37 degree weather and misting rain and dreaded what lay ahead. I was ready to conquer the race, but scared at the same time.

I was standing in my anticipated finishing time slot talking to my gal pal who came out to support me today when I met someone who I swear was an angel. She was a mom with 6 kids and on her 6th half marathon. When she found out it was my first, and I was nervous, she offered to run it with me. A complete stranger offered to run an entire race with me just to help me out and make sure I finished. I was so touched by her unbelievably kind spirit and generosity. I told her how I was very slow, and do the Galloway Method (4min run, 1 min walk), and that I was going to slow her down. She didn’t care about her time and just wanted to experience the journey together since her fiancee, who was supposed to run it with her, was injured and couldn’t.

I made a wonderful friend running that race today. She encouraged me every step of the way and kept pace. I had a glorious time on the race overall. The volunteers, police and event staff were fabulous. They were all so kind and encouraging, especially in the final, brutal miles. People who lived along the race route came out with tissues, water and posters to cheer us on in such hideous weather. It really brought this little section of Denver and the runners together. There was so much positive energy and encouragement out there today, I felt so honored to be a part of this group.

I had a tee shirt made to document this day and milestone in my life. On the back it said “11.16.07 Reconstructive foot surgery following a car accident. Doctor says I will never run again, 08.02.10 Took painful first steps as a runner. Distance complete: 0.8 miles / 10 minutes, 05.15.11 Proving my doctor wrong for 13.1 miles.” I had so many people come up to me today to say how my shirt made them cry or encouraged them. They congratulated me and shared their own stories and struggles with me. There are some fantastic, brave people out there who were all on a mission today to conquer this race for their own personal reasons. One girl I met was told she’d never WALK again in 2006 and she passed me by as she ran. There is such an amazing camaraderie in running that I think is unlike many sports. No one was cruel or so competitive that they didn’t wish you well or help out someone in need.

I crossed the finish line in 2:57:03, an amazing personal best for me. As I was crossing, I was listening to the peak of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” and tears were streaming down my face. It was, by far, one of the most joyous moments in my life. I finished my first half marathon with the help of my dear friend Lara who came down to take pictures and the many, many kind strangers I met today. What an absolute high. I have never experienced such an incredible rush and feeling of accomplishment.

So, if you are contemplating getting off the couch to try a race or lose weight or accomplish a new goal, know you can do it. If you set your mind to anything, it can be done with determination and dedication.

13.1 miles of proving my doctor wrong

Posing with my finisher's medal


2011 Colfax Half Marathon Photo Album

To Block or Not To Block

13 May

About two years ago I went on beta blockers as a preventative against migraines. They worked wonders and took my migraine frequency and severity down. Being that I’m a graphic designer and not a science nerd, I was puzzled all this time as to why I was always so tired and why I seemed to hit the wall so early in my work outs. Once I started marathon training, I really became confused and frustrated with my lack of progress. Sure, I was completing the required distance, but at a horrible, horrible pace.

I wasn’t trying to be super fast, but I just couldn’t believe that given the shape I am in that I was actually that slow. I tried different things with my trainers to help build speed and endurance such as speed interval training and strength training. Nothing was working. Then I finally mentioned to my trainer I was on a beta blocker, and that I had heard they sometimes make it difficult to work out.

Apparently I had no idea just how difficult a beta blocker makes exercise. I figured it was a minor annoyance. My trainer was shocked I’d been training this whole time on this medication. It stops your heart rate from getting high, which in turn zaps your energy and endurance levels. He absolutely couldn’t believe I’d gotten as far in my training as I had with this medication.

I decided this week to see a new doctor to see if I could get off of the beta blockers, but find something else to combat my migraines. My doc was surprised I was on them in the first place given how young I am and the fact I only had 1 – 2 migraines a month. Beta blockers aren’t usually prescribed unless you get 1 – 2 migraines per week. And I was on too high of a dosage apparently too.

Unfortunately you can’t stop beta blockers cold turkey or else your heart rate can skyrocket to an unhealthy number. So I’ve spent this past week weaning myself off of them. Let me tell ya, I completely understand why drug addicts don’t get off drugs—withdrawal is a completely miserable experience. I’ve been wound up, jittery, shaky, unable to sleep all week. It has been awful. Every two days, I’ve had to cut down by a half pill.

I’m now down to just a half pill in the morning for today and tomorrow. By race day on Sunday, I will be beta blocker free. The interesting thing is that when I worked out on Tuesday, after only cutting a half pill for one day, I saw dramatic improvement. Yesterday, when I was down half of my total dosage, I saw an insane improvement. I set a new PR yesterday for the mile. Previously my mile was 12:40 (on beta blockers) and yesterday I breezed through at 11:40. Still a bit on the slow side for running standards, but for me that was insanely fast. I was able to do my run/walk intervals at 5.5mph for the full 4 minutes. Normally I die at 5.0mph.

So to block or not to block, that is the question. I say, not to block. There are million medications out there for migraine sufferers that don’t hinder your athletic ability, and for me, with all the time I’m devoting to training, it’s worth it.

I am going to rock the Colfax Half Marathon on Sunday!

Need Music!

11 May

Hey Loyal Readers,
My half marathon race is this coming Sunday, May 15th in Denver. I am running the Colfax Half Marathon. I need your help. I’m looking for some awesome new running music to download for the race. I like really fast, really upbeat stuff. Here’s a list of stuff I currently use to give you an idea of what I like.

• Club Can’t Handle Me by Flo Rida
• Dog Days Are Over by Florence and the Machine
• Stronger by Britney Spears
• Rocky Theme
• I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ by Scissor Sisters
• Born This Way by Lady Gaga
• Nobody But Me by The Human Beinz

Thanks in advance for your suggestions and thanks for reading! 🙂

Marathon Training: Days 47 – 52

8 May

Day 47: Treadmill, 2.5 miles in 33:30. Upper body weights*
*Started using 25 lbs dumbbells in my bicep curls, woo hoo!

Day 48: Treadmill, 1.0 miles, 12:30, plus a full upper/lower body strength program

Day 49: Monument Valley Park Trail, 13.1 miles, 3 hours
First time doing the half marathon distance!

Day 50: Treadmill, 1.39 miles in 22 min, plus upper body weights
Felt super exhausted, had a hard time

Day 51: Treadmill, 2.5 miles in 30 min plus upper body weights
Had an extreme runner’s high, felt marvelous

Day 52: Santa Fe Trail, 8.87 miles in 2:24:12
Felt hideously awful, really bad run