Monthly Archives: March 2014

More March Races…

This month I had planned to do a race each Saturday.  From the half marathon to several 5ks, a virtual half and ending with a 10k.  You can see my half recap here if you haven’t already read it.  I showed up to my 5k on the 8th only to find out it was postponed and I managed to not get any of the emails about that.  That was a bit of a bummer, especially since I was so exhausted and I contemplated sleeping in.  Oh well, I am supposed to get a refund so I will use that money for another race!
Between March 10th and 24th I did a virtual half through Joggermom.  I did it over a few days, and ended up running 20.90 miles.  Yay!
On the 22nd my sweet friend Anne and I did a Girls Just Wanna Have Fun 5k together.  Here is that recap:

Well I guess I should recap my last race since I have another one tomorrow 🙂
A few weeks ago I posted on my FB to see if any of my local friends would be interested in doing a somewhat local 5k with me. One of my friends & gym buddies responded with a YES! Yahoo! I was excited!

As race day approached I was a bit tired. It had been a long work week and I was up late most evenings. To add to it, the race was about 90 min away, so that meant a wake up call of 5 am on a Saturday! I know it was a sacrifice for myself and for my friend Anne as that was normally her only day to sleep in a bit. So THANK YOU ANNE!!
On race morning, Anne picked me up a little after 5:30. She was so sweet and made us both delicious smoothies to get us going! We had a nice chat on the way up to the race. It was lovely getting to know her more!
We arrived at the race and got our race packets pretty easily. It was great to have an easy packet pick-up. Unlike most races the only thing in the packet was our bib and a t-shirt. To me it felt like a waste of bags if that was all there was.

One part of the race event that we decided not to participate it was the costume contest. I really had no idea what to even expect, and both Anne and I felt we just wanted to do the race this time. After seeing some of the really cute and fun consumes, it might be something to look into if we do this race again next year. The costumes came in a whole range of fun. Flapper girls, 80s theme, Cruella Deville & a few Dalmatians with ‘101 Reasons to Run’ on their shirts, a group of minions, many Super girls, a few ninja turtles, old ladies, lots of tutus, biker chicks, St Patty’s day attire, princesses, prom queens, and even a Dolly Parton.
One thing they also encouraged with this race was that mothers and daughters run together. So there were girls of all ages running! I even saw a few lil tots running with their moms and rockin’ it! It was really inspiring to see that, and my heart was grateful that these moms are instilling in their daughters at a young age that being fit and healthy can also be fun!

Another bonus to this women only race was that all the volunteers were men. So the race route, the water stations, the finish line, and all in between had men dressed in tux shirts handing out what we needed! It was kind of fun, and it looked like the men were having a blast!
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Back to the actual race. After we got our race packets we hit the bathrooms then took the shirts to Anne’s car. Got our race bibs on and headed to the start line to get this party started.
Since Anne is not a hug runner (although she is in great shape and very active), and I had been dealing with my leg issues, we decided to go for a 2:1 run/walk cycle unless on of us needed to walk more. I was a little nervous and did not want to have any more issues. I know I have many more races coming up, and I don’t want this leg cramping issue to get in the way of me having a great time and also continuing to get back to my better race times.
IMG_3261We started off with a bang. Ran the first few minutes to get through some of the crowd and to settle into a pace. I was having a few issues with my pacing app, but I did finally get it to work. Once that happened we settled into the 2:1 pace. I felt pretty good doing that, and Anne said she felt great as well! The first mile seemed to go fast (for me) and I was hoping to get under 45 min overall. When I looked at Runkeeper mile 1 was 14:04, so I got a little excited.
It was pretty humid out, and that was a bit of a hindrance for me. It made it a little hard to breath, but I pushed along. It was so fun to see many of the little girls running along side their friends and moms. For about a mile we were back and forth with a little 3 yr old and her mom. She was such a trooper!
Mile 2 came in at 15:10. A bit slower than what I was hoping for.
The third mile had a nice long incline so I was guessing my time was going to be over 45 min, but was hoping for less than 47. We ended up passing mile 3 in 14:46. We ran into Anne’s daughter who was waiting for us near the finish line, then I crushed the last .10 sprinting. My Runkeeper time was 45:51 and my official time from the race was 45:49. I have never had a race time and my Runkeeper time/distance be so close before. I know that satellites are not always 100% accurate, but after the .70 miles it was off for my half it was nice to see a close comparison.
So I was a little over my original goal, but my average pace was under 15 min, so I will take that for now. My leg didn’t seem to really bother me that much, so I need to start pushing myself a little more with training now.
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It was so fun to have someone else to race with! I hope that Anne and I can do another race together soon! She did awesome and I am so proud of her 🙂

Once we crossed the finish line we got a rose from one of the many guy volunteers. I was a little disappointed there were not race medals. I forget that smaller races sometimes don’t have them. I now have 2 races this year with no bling.
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They also had chocolate fountains with fruit and sweets to dip in it, as well as champagne glasses filled with Gatorade. I opted for some water and grabbed some napkins to wipe the dripping sweat off my face.
We met back up with Anne’s daughter and went to have brunch together. I had a really amazing salad (spinach, chicken, apples, &nuts with a cranberry vinaigrette), and enjoyed great conversation with wonderful company. After brunch Anne and I headed back. The sun came out and it was a beautiful day!
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Virtual Race to Fight Against Cancer

If you are anything like me, your life has been affected by cancer.  And cancer sucks. 
In the past I have run several races that raised money to fight against cancer.  They have all been emotional as it has been a reminder of those I know who have fought and are fighting. 

I have been given the opportunity to create a team of Chocolate Runners who would want to do a virtual race to help with the fight against cancer!
If you would be interested in joining our team and running a race between now and the end of April, you can sign up here: http://relentless4raegan.pulsemob.com/team/17796/r4rvirtualrace
You can run any race distance 5k, 10k, half or full marathon, and it is $30! The money will go towards helping 1 yr old Reagan who is going through chemo for 5 brain lesions. The money will specifically going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

For more information look here: http://relentless4raegan.pulsemob.com/event/r4rvirtualrace/faq#faq

Come join the team and let’s BEAT cancer together!

Ali’s Story

Hello all! Happy Monday 🙂  I hope you all had a great weekend.  It was another packed weekend for me.  I was supposed to have a 5k on Saturday morning, and I had worked late Friday night so I almost just stayed in bed and skipped it.  I decided to get up and go, and when I got there I found out it was postponed!!! Ahhh I was not very happy in the moment.  I am feeling a little better about it now, but still slightly irritated.  Hopefully I can get a refund on my money since they rescheduled it for the day I will be running a Zooma race.
Other than that hiccup the rest of the weekend went pretty well.  The hubs and I were taking care of one of our favorite dogs, which is always fun, and I got to have dinner with a sweet girl who I have not seen in about 14 years!  Thank you facebook for helping this to happen!

Anyways, I know that Eating Disorder Awareness Week is over, but awareness should never end! I have another story to share that offers hope!  Just a reminder that no matter what you are struggling with, there is ALWAYS hope!! Here is Ali’s story:

I was born into a Christan family; the oldest of four girls.  I’m the daughter of a Pastor.  I was a very happy baby, according to my parents.  I smiled at everyone, and as I got a little older, I’d talk to anyone who would listen.  I was outgoing, bubbly and daring.
 
I was sexually abused by a family “friend” who worked for my dad, and by his brother, from the time I was four until right before my 8th birthday.  The child who was once bubbly and outgoing turned shy, sullen and depressed.  I cried at the drop of a hat.  The men who abused me threatened my life, and that of my family, if I told anyone.  So I kept the abuse a secret until I was an adult; even after the one man died, I didn’t tell anyone.  As a result of the abuse, I started pulling my hair out when I was six.  When I was twelve, I started skipping meals as a way to gain some sort of control in my life.  Overwhelming shame and guilt plagued my life every waking minute.  Depression weighed me down.  When I could no longer keep my body in starvation mode, I started binging and purging to maintain control when I was sixteen.  It would take me YEARS to realize that I was being controlled by the very thing I felt I had control over.  My parents were unaware that I was using food as a means to control the chaos in my head.  I was trying to get rid of the emotional torment of a trauma that no one knew about, and I felt all alone.  I blamed God for allowing the sexual abuse to happen.  At night, as I tried to sleep, I silently screamed at God in my head.  “Why didn’t You stop it?”  “Why didn’t You love me enough?”  “Why do You hate me?”  This went on for years.

I started drinking heavily at age 17 to gain acceptance amongst my peers, and to numb myself from the immense emotional pain I was in.  I managed to graduate from high school with Honors, and I was accepted into the Music Education program at a small, Midwest bible college.  When I went off to college, I went to the one in the Midwest because I wanted to run as far away from my issues as I could, and I figured leaving home was one way I could fix that.  I was horribly wrong; my issues came with me.  The first two months of college were okay, but things quickly spiraled out of control.  By early October of my Freshman year, I found myself in the Vice President’s office, with the Vice President and the Dean of Students.  The Dean told me that the college was sending me home because I was too sick, and the college didn’t have the kind of services I needed, which were specialized counseling and a psychiatrist/psychologist.  I was told I was a liability if I stayed on campus.  I wasn’t eating much of anything and I was sleeping even less.  The Vice President told me that they didn’t want me dying on campus.  I called my parents and they had to drive 1600 miles to come get me.  My secret life was out in the open, and I had to explain the starving and purging that I was doing.  I got home and my life continued to spiral.

I ended up getting admitted to a private psychiatric hospital in upstate NY.  My first inpatient psychiatric admission was when I was 19, and my roommate was a “cutter”.  Before this hospitalization, I had no idea what cutting even was.  After a horrible day while inpatient, my roommate had said, “Why don’t you just cut yourself?  You’ll feel better.”  The thought horrified me, and it never came up again.  After I was discharged and had a horrible day of college classes, the thought popped into my head to cut myself.  I was again horrified, but tried it.  I started cutting myself when I was 19 years old.  And that started years of scars that I’ll have for the rest of my life.  Starving myself and throwing up were no longer giving me enough control.  I had convinced myself that the deeper I cut, the better I’d feel.  But there was no long-term relief.  It was short-lived, and I had to cut myself more often.  Each cut left me feeling worse and worse about myself.  The worse I felt, the more I had to cut.  It was a vicious cycle.  I was living on my own, and I fell deeper into depression.  With that depression came an intense desire to die.  I was done living, and I wanted out.  I obsessed about death, and constantly thought of ways to kill myself.  I had carefully planned all four of my serious suicide attempts around times when I knew no one would be around and I’d be able to die without being found.  But every, single time, God intervened and I was found.  My life was spared.

After more than 35 psychiatric hospitalizations in six years for Anorexia, Bulimia, Self-Harm and Depression, I was labeled “Chronically Treatment Resistant”.  During one hospitalization, it was decided that I would do 16 sessions of Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT) or “Shock Treatment”.  I didn’t want to have my brain shocked, but I had already been in the hospital for 3 months at this point, and I wanted out.  I didn’t care whether that was being released from the hospital or checking out of life.  I’m thankful for God’s guiding hand over the anesthesiologist, doctors and nurses that did the ECT.  I was in the hospital for an additional two months for the 3-days-a-week ECT.  I did well for about 3 months after the ECT treatments, and spiraled downward again.  My therapist and psychiatrist didn’t know what else to do with me.  I was threatened with being put in a state-run institution, and my parents were told I was close to that point, but it never came to pass.  It wasn’t until years later that I realized God kept me from that fate.

By this time, I had not been going to church for approximately 5 years.  I had given up on God years previously.  I believed that He was the cause of my constant suffering.  All my life, I had grown up hearing that God loved me and cared about me, but here I was, tormented emotionally on a daily basis because of the abuse I had gone through as a little girl.  I couldn’t understand how a loving, caring God would allow a defenseless child to be hurt like that.  Despite my disdain for God, He STILL kept His hand of protection on my life.  I had applied to a program called Mercy Ministries because my insurance was running out, and threatening not to cover any more inpatient admissions due to the excessive number of inpatient hospitalizations.  By this point, they had shelled out over $750,000 in payments for my hospitalizations alone.  That didn’t include my outpatient therapy or my numerous psychiatric medications.  I had gone online and googled “free treatment centers”.  Mercy Ministries of America came up.  I wasn’t thrilled that it was God-centered, but I was desperate.  By the Fall of 2003, I had an admission date of January 7, 2004 for Mercy Ministries, and was going to the Monroe, Louisiana home.

I went to Mercy and even though I was terrified and had a rough start, I did a lot of work.  I made it to six months in the program, and things really started to get tough in counseling.  I had failed to put on my admission application that I had been sexually abused as a little girl.  It was something I didn’t want to deal with.  It came up one day in and it just couldn’t be avoided.  God has a funny way of making things like that happen!  I started talking about it, and the anger that came to the surface was too much for me to deal with.  Anger at God, anger at my parents, anger at myself, anger at so many things.  I felt there was no outlet for that anger.  I was too scared and too proud to ask the staff for help with the anger.  So it piled up and got worse.  I said some things I regret, in anger, to an amazing staff person, and I was sent home.  It was the right decision, on behalf on the staff, though I didn’t think it was fair at the time.

After I got home, I was still very angry at God.  My bulimia was wildly out of control again, and I was readmitted to the psychiatric hospital in upstate, NY.  While I was there, I sneaked into my room and purged my dinner one night.  I stopped breathing and my heart stopped.  I was found by one of the nurses who was doing the required every-15-minutes patient checks.  No one knows how long my heart had stopped beating, or how long my brain had been without oxygen.  CPR was started, and an ambulance was called.  I was brought back, but was lost again in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.  I was brought back again.  I spent a week in a medical hospital and was brought back to the psychiatric hospital.  God still wasn’t done with me.
 
As a young person, I never looked at the things that have happened to me as a blessing.  But I know that God will use the things I’ve gone through and experienced to somehow help others.  I’ve had the opportunity to help people by sharing parts of my past.  I have overcome ONLY through Him!  God has rescued me and shown me unmerited favor and grace.  I didn’t deserve any second chances, but HE sees something in me that deserves chance after chance after chance.  I don’t know how He’s going to use all of what I’ve gone through, but He does.

In March of 2009, I was blessed with a second chance that I never even dreamed of.  I was given the opportunity to go to the Nashville Mercy Ministries home to do a one-week “boot camp” of counseling to finish what I didn’t finish at the Monroe home.  I never thought this would be possible because I was past the program’s age limit, and I had messed up so badly while I was in the Monroe home near the end.  But I was given this second chance, and I took it, without even giving it much of a second thought.  I went, worked my butt off, and accomplished more in that week than I did in the 5 and a half months that I was in the Monroe home.  I went with an agenda, and I stuck to it.  I had assignments and did them.  I had chores just like the rest of the girls.  At the end of the week, right before I was getting ready to fly back home, I was told I’d be graduating.  I bawled.  God helped me through the week, which had absolutely drained me and left me in tears 75% of the time, and one of His rewards was something I had wanted for years; a Mercy Ministries graduation and ring; something I never thought I’d have.  I was able to mend the relationship with the staff person from the Monroe home that I was so angry with in 2004, which God totally orchestrated!  She was in Nashville for some meetings at the Mercy home, and neither of us knew the other would be there.  But God did!  He also gave me peace from my past.  God is just too cool, and He truly DOES give us the desires of our heart!
God has graciously blessed me with the opportunity to share this testimony (a life that is really HIS) with dozens of people, both in other states and where I live.  I am honored that He has opened doors for me to share His grace and mercy in a life that was so completely torn apart.  I have been able to see where He has been there with me in my traumas.  That has been the biggest and most amazing thing God has taught me thought all of this.  I should not be alive, yet I am.  I am grateful.

Thank you Ali for sharing your story!  It has been an honor to get to know you over these past few years!!! ❤

– Chocolate Runner Girl –

Review on Endangerd Species Chocolate :)

Happy Sunday!
As you know by my name, I am a lover of chocolate!  Anytime I can get my hands on quality chocolate I am a happy girl!  Several weeks ago I was contacted by Endangered Species Chocolate, and I am so glad they reached out! After several emails back and forth with Monica, the Communications Coordinator, I received a sample package with several flavors and the hubs and I had a great time test tasting these!

Endangered Species Chocolate began in 1993 with a mission: “to source natural, ethically traded chocolate as a carrier for an environmental message.” So not only do they make delicious tasting chocolate, they are also helping the environment! They donate 10% of their net profits to non-profit environment groups who are known for their wildlife conservation and habitat preservation.
One creative way that they display the animals they are helping is including a picture of them outside and more information inside each wrapper! I really enjoyed reading about the different animals as we went through the taste test. I learned a lot too about each of the animals.
You can find all this and more information on the website in their mission statement!
Not only does Endangered Species Chocolate help endangered animals, but they are also all about being excellent stewards of the environment!
They are also all about using quality ingredients, and have options in the bars that are certified rainforest alliance, non-GMO, USDA organic, OTCO Oregon tilth, gluten free, vegan and kosher! With all those options, there is chocolate for everyone (unless you are allergic). You can find out more details about each of these options here.

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It was a honor and privilege to bring you a review about some of the products from Endangered Species Chocolate!

Disclaimer: I received free samples by Endangered Species Chocolate and all thoughts and opinions are honest and they are my own.

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Sea Salt & Lime Crème Filled Dark Chocolate, 72% Cocoa (Fischer’s Lovebird) – This was my favorite of the group! It had a wonderful mixture of all three flavors. Each bit began with the taste of the dark chocolate with 72% cocoa and immediately the hint of sea salt and lime come to life! It is a good thing I had my husband to share this bar with, or I would have eaten the entire bar myself (and probably in one sitting)!

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Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Almonds, 72% Cocoa (The Owl) – Each piece of the bar has a subtle hint of the sea salt and almonds mixed in with the 72% cocoa dark chocolate. I really liked this over other types of chocolate bars that have almonds because these almonds are chopped really finely and spread evenly throughout the bar. Another winner in my book!

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Dark Chocolate with Cranberries & Almonds, 72% Cocoa (The Gray Wolf) – This bar also had a base of 72% cocoa dark chocolate. There were subtle hints of the cranberry and almonds in each bite. It was not too sweet like cranberries can be when mixed with chocolate. It certainly was delightful with the fruit, almond and chocolate mix.

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Dark Chocolate 72% Cocoa (The Chimpanzee) – Simply pure, smooth dark chocolate! It was a perfect blend for my taste buds! I already have plans in my brain about using this chocolate for trying out some new recipes!

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Dark Chocolate 88% Cocoa (The Leopard and The Jaguar) – This dark chocolate certainly had a higher percentage of cocoa, which has a slightly more bitter taste than the 72% cocoa chocolate. The taste to me is still very pleasant, however, the hubs preferred the 72% cocoa dark chocolate.

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Milk Chocolate 48% Cocoa (The Sea Otter) – Although I am not as much of a fan of milk chocolate as I used to be, this bar certainly was yummy! It was creamy and melted nicely in my mouth! The hubs was a big fan!! For you milk chocolate fans out there, this is the bar for you!!

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So what are you waiting for?? Time to get some chocolate! Right now there are a few specials going on at Endangered Species Chocolate for you to take advantage of!!

Take 15% off our new vegan Crème Filled Bars with coupon code FILL15 (expires 3/16).

Also there is an end-of-the-season sale on our Holiday flavors ($1.50/bar Peppermint Crunch, Pumpkin Spice & Almonds, Vanilla Chai).

Ps, you can also get the bars at your local Kroger grocery store!

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Thank you again Monica for all your wonderful help!!

Enjoy!

– Chocolate Runner Girl-

Woodlands Half Recap!

After my 10 mile training run last weekend I was feeling pretty good about the half. I worked on getting extra stretching in, staying hydrated and trying to get more sleep than usual last week for my final preparations. The only big thing that I wanted to do, but forgot to do was to update my running play list. Not earth shattering by any means, but I was a little bummed I forgot.
Friday night I attempted to leave work a little early, but ended up being there till 5:30. I headed over to the chiropractor for a pre-race adjustment. I had been a little stiff all week and I knew this would help me. I was right. I left there feeling a lot better. Then I went to the race expo to grab my race packed before I headed to grab some dinner and then home. It took me over an hour vs 20 min with the traffic and Pei Wei was so busy!!
I got home, ate some dinner, got all my race gear ready, took a shower, put KT tape on my foot and hit the sack. Then I could not fall asleep!! Ugh…I think I fell asleep close to 1, then had a dream that I missed the race and woke up in a panic around 3. Finally drifted back off around 4:30 and my alarm went off at 5:20. So needless to say there was not a lot of sleep happening.
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I got up, changed into my race clothes, grabbed a banana and some water and drove to the race. It was nice to not have to drive so far to a race for once! As I drove over to the race course it began to rain….NOOO, I was not looking forward to running a half in the rain.
I arrived shortly after 6 and silly me thought I would be able to find parking quickly. Well that was a huge mistake! I spent the next 45 min being shuffled from lot to lot with many other runners only to find out they were full. When I was finally able to break away from the crowd I headed towards the other side of the event site and found parking near the mall. I was originally going to park over there, as that is where I parked last year for the 5k. However, this year in the participant guide it designated certain lots for the participants. I guess they did not account for all of us. I am thankful I was able to find parking that wasn’t too far from the start line.
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I took my first bunch of Energy Bits then I made my way to the start and my corral. It was SO packed that it took me a while to find an opening in the fence to even get into the corral. I made it right as the National Anthem was sung, and the gun when off. About 10ish min later I finally crossed the start line.
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I started running right away even though I did not feel really warmed up. I didn’t want to be that runner who everyone had to pass. After a few minutes the running pack thinned out a bit and I slowed to a walk. I could feel my left hamstring was a little tight and so I did a few stretches. Back at it and was feeling pretty good. Took a mini break at mile 1 for one last pee break. I wanted to go before the race but did not have time with all that happened with the parking situation.
Started mile 2 and was still feeling great. I dug into my run 2/3 walk 1 groove. Thankfully the rain lightened up to more of a mist. It was cloudy but a little humid. There were short bursts of cool breezes, especially as we passed the big lake and that felt really good! The course was familiar to me as I have run this area SO many times with the twins. I felt comfortable knowing where I was!
Right before I got to mile 3 my left leg cramped and locked up 😦 I slowed down and did more stretches but it would not release. I had just completed my fastest 3 miles in a long time and other than my leg I felt really good. I almost started to cry. I decided to walk for a bit to see if it would relax. Sadly, it never did. For mile 4-6 I tried to shuffle run for a min here and there, but the cramp would return stronger when I did this. I still had a bit of energy, thanks to my Energy Bits! I came upon a fellow runner at mile 6 who was not looking so good. I asked if he was ok and he said yes, but that he had a stomach bug! Poor guy! I don’t think I would have come out for the race if I had a stomach bug! I hope he was able to finish!
As I headed towards mile 7 I knew I was over halfway. When the pace I was doing I though I would maybe be able to finish in under 3 hours. Not my original time goal, but at this point I was just aiming to finish. Right after mile 7 I passed by a neighborhood of some friends from church and they were there on the corner cheering for the runners! It was so wonderful to see a familiar face, to get a hug, and a picture taken! Thanks Miss Sandy!!! You gave me a little boost! At this point another runner came up beside me and asked if we could go together for a bit. We had been going back and forth passing each other up and I was happy to have someone to talk to. My leg was feeling a tiny bit better so my fellow runner, Traci, and I did a few jogs here and there, but mostly walked and chatted a bit. The course had also brought the full marathoners back to join the half marathoners so it was fun to cheer on the super fast runners!!
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Around mile 9 my leg seemed to be worse and I encouraged Traci to go ahead of me. I could tell I was slowing down and bit and kept focusing one one foot in front of the other. I saw the medic golf cart pass me a few times and I was so tempted to jump on. I also received a super sweet message from the twins and their mom! (Turns out they posted this sign for me on the course but I missed seeing in.) This gave me another boost as I was really struggling at this point. I was really in a lot of pain and it was hard not to give up.
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The weather had been still ok, mostly cloudy still with the breezes here and there.  Around mile 11 for me, the sun came out. Normally I would be really thrilled to see the sun, but as soon as it came out I could feel my body freak out a little. I am really easily dehydrated, and the sun is not my friend during long races. I felt I was doing pretty well overall staying hydrated till this point. The course had water stations every 1.5 miles and it was perfect for filling up my 24 oz water bottle. I almost didn’t bring the bottle, but I am SO glad I did. The volunteers were so great and refilled my bottle with fresh COLD water each time! It was great! So that, along with my Energy Bits refueling every hour or so made a big difference.
Mile 12 was my most challenging mile. In past races I have been able to pick up the pace here and focus on the finish line with a strong finish. At the point my leg was really in pain and I had to stop every few minutes to stretch it. I felt really discouraged at this point and just keep praying that I would cross the finish line. My Runkeeper GPS was a little off and I thought I was close to mile 13 when I passed a group of ladies who were cheering and they said “Only 1 more mile!!” I almost cried again. Ahhh I was so ready to just be finished at that point.
It was getting hotter and but I kept plugging away. After a few turns I knew I was getting close. At this point I was pretty much hobbling along. I am sure it was a sad picture. There was one of the race directors on the course helping to guide people to the finish line. He came up to me and gave me a little side hug and encouraged me saying I only have 400 more yards to go. In my head I knew that wasn’t very far, but my body felt like it was a million yards away. With some other people cheering me on I kept on going. It was literally downhill and I mustered up all my strength and tried to run. It just wasn’t happening. I saw one of my other friends who had finished a while before me. She was cheering me on and came over and gave me a hug. I wanted to stop and just rest but she gave me a little push and said, “GO! Don’t stop! You are almost there!!” It was very helpful right then!

Even in the worst conditions, and when my body is ready to give up, there is always something in me that cranks on when I actually SEE the finish line. It happened again. I came up to mile 13 and I knew it was time to dig deep! As soon as I passed the marker, I knew I had to run, pain or not. I started to slowly jog and then I heard people saying my name (so glad it was on my bib) and cheering! As I got closer to the finish line I felt like I was sprinting. I am sure it wasn’t as fast as normal, but considering how slow the last 10 miles had been, I sure felt speedy! I crossed the finish line and they announced my name with lots of cheering! For a second it was like I was the winner! Haha.

Finished! That is what I wanted to do. It was not pretty, and it was my worst time to date, but I finished!
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As soon as I stopped moving my leg started shooting pain. I hobbled to get my medal, water, finishers shirt and some post-race food. It took a while for me to get around but I did manage.
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I knew I had to keep moving or I was not going to make it back to my car. It took me about 30 min to walk the half mile back to my car. During that time it hit me that I had not brought my house keys. The hubs had locked the door behind me when I left. He was at work about 90 min away. Then I really did cry. I felt so helpless in those few minutes. My phone battery also died while I was shuffling back to the car. I have never been SO happy to see my car! I got in, turned the car on, blasted the AC, plugged my phone in and drank more water. After a few min of thinking WHAT AM I GOING TO DO, I managed to gather my thoughts and hoped and prayed that my landlord was around and that he had a key. I called and told him what happened and he said he DID have a key! I am so thankful he did! It took me over an hour to get home from all the roads being closed from the marathon that still had runners. By the time I made it home my door was unlocked and I was so glad to be there.
After a nice shower and fresh clothes I hobbled back to the car and headed to get my hot-stone massage! It was amazing!!! Second best part of my day following crossing the finish line. I have never had a post-race massage the same day, and I have to say it really did help with the soreness. Other than the pain in my lower hamstring/upper calf and a little chafing on my arms, the rest of my body has recovered really quickly!
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Even though it was not as great a race I was hoping for, I am still glad I did it! Half-marathon #8 in the books! Here is to many more with my body cooperating and getting to my goal time!
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I am so thankful for everyone who was cheering me on through twitter, facebook, text messages, and in person!! Thank you ALL for your love, encouragement and support! These races would not be possible without so many cheering me on!
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Overall the race events were done pretty well. Like any race there is always room for improvement. I felt it was much more organized than last year, and they seem to take the comments seriously from the participants and do what they can to make it a great experience. Other than my leg issues and the humidity it was a great course to be on. I am thinking of doing the marathon relay with some friends (anyone want to do the relay next year??) 🙂

Thank you for reading this LONG recap. I guess it gets long when there are 13 miles to cover!

How do you deal with a disappointing race or injury?
Did you race this weekend? Tell me about it or post your link!

– Chocolate Runner Girl –

Motivation Monday :)

It is that time again for some Monday motivation!!

Today my guest is my beautiful friend, Carolee.  I met Carolee 6 years ago this week (wow, has it already been that long?)!  We were both in an interesting part of our lives, and really ready for healing and freedom from many life issues that were holding us back.
As we got to know each other we would sometimes workout together.  Those workouts were mostly walking, and sometimes lifting weights.  As we both moved on with life and ended up in different states we stayed in touch.  I remember the day we chatted and she said she ran a few miles.  She was amazed at herself and I was SO proud of her!  Fast forward a few years and she is now training for a MARATHON!!! I am so thrilled for her!  This past weekend she did a 22 miler and I could not be more proud of her! She has overcome SO much and it has been an honor and a privilege to see her grow, face her fears and become even more courageous! She is also a very gifted writer, so here is what she has to say:

       It is 6:45 on a Saturday morning. While the rest of my family sleeps, I am trying on various rain coats, filling up water bottles, and triple checking to make sure I have everything I need for my long run. The conditions are less than ideal, but I have done this routine enough times now I could more than likely do it with my eyes closed. And at times they probably are, because to say that I got a full four hours of sleep last night would definitely be reaching. I feel queasy and out of sorts due to the lack of sleep, as well as slightly bloated from carb-loading last night, but the extensive mileage requires extra fuel. Outside, the sky is threatening to unleash its storehouses, which have long been withheld this winter. I am definitely NOT looking forward to the potential of being thoroughly soaked once I step outside, but you know what? Despite all of my entirely valid excuses not to venture out today, I cannot wait to conquer each and every one of those 22 miles. All winter long I have been training for moments just like these. Will it be uncomfortable? Yes! Will it be challenging? I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t, but I know I have what it takes to overcome the difficulties I am sure to face on the course. I have encountered similar struggles on past runs and have prevailed, so while the obstacles might look different, ultimately this will be just another day at the park! My main objective is to take it one step, one mile, one run at a time. I can do this!
       Now before you think I’m this beast who eats nails for breakfast and can climb Mount Everest in a single bound, let me tell you I wasn’t always this way. It is quite humorous to me that I now find myself running to face my giants, much like David as he conquered Goliath, because it wasn’t all that long ago I more or less resembled Saul, the king of Israel, who cowered in his tent when the giant reared his ugly head. Once upon a time I was afraid of everything.  Bridges, mountains, spiders, eating, not eating, getting sick, people, people I love getting sick, living, dying.  You name it I was more than likely terrified of it and I would do almost anything to avoid situations where I had to face those fears. I lived a structured, controlled, and isolated, or in other words, BORING and empty life. My hope was to avoid the pain and heartache often associated with being human, but despite my best efforts, difficult situations still arose; people around me died, I got sick, we moved, friendships ended, etc., etc. Through it all though, I learned a valuable lesson. I could sit in my tent, hiding under my blankets, waiting to die, which will eventually happen to us all any way, or I could go down to the river, grab a handful of rocks, and boldly run out to slay that giant! I often said to myself (in various situations), “This is either gonna go really well or it’s not, but regardless I refuse to be harassed by this monster (Fear) a moment longer!”  It required faith, courage, and yes, the risk that it might not work out, but what if it did? What if I did get set free of an eating disorder, depression, and anxiety (which did in fact happen)? What if I did get that job? What if I did get into that school? What if I can run a marathon, climb Half Dome/Preikestolen, cook for well known public figures, jump out of airplanes, write a book, be a mom? When you conquer Fear the possibilities become endless. Kris Vallotton, a pastor at Bethel Church in Redding, Ca, often talks about how the dogs of doom sit at the doorway of your destiny. Fear might look menacing, but it’s just a scare tactic meant to keep you from moving forward, because if you look closely enough you will see that the dogs have no teeth 🙂 You have been given a sword (the word of God), so “Swing away Meril! Swing away!” (to quote the movie “Signs”) Just imagine all the good things God has waiting for you on the other side.  Trust me it will be beyond your wildest dreams 🙂

Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 29:11

I am so proud of you Carolee, and I will be cheering for you SO loud on marathon day!!! ❤

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Soon after Carolee and I met 🙂
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On a trip where we met up for another friend’s wedding
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Carolee and her adorable niece!