Intellectual Wellness: Fear

Whoa, whoa, whoa. 2 posts from me on back to back days? I’ll be honest, I really enjoyed my time away but at the same time I have missed this blog quite a bit. I’m moving this blog into a different direction and offering more insight on my personal opinions of wellness topics and what inspires me. I got to the point where I felt like I was writing for other people and not writing for myself anymore. So I’m trying to remove the idea that this blog is a business and remember that this blog is a reflection of me. I hope future posts convey this much more clearly. Now let’s get into this!

It’s no secret that I love podcasts. They are my favorite thing to listen to when I walk to work or when I am doing random tasks that don’t really require any brain power but need to be done. NPR’s TED Radio Hour is just hands down my favorite podcast right now. I love the topics they discuss, I love the people that the feature, I love the structure of the show, I love every single thing about it. I find myself listening to it and feeling inspired and motivated and learning all the time from it. One podcast that I recently listened to was about fear and failure. Ah yes, the things that seem to cause us to hold back the most in life. I know a thing or two about failure. Actual failure. My first semester of my undergrad I was a marketing major. I was taking a macro economics class and I walked into the final knowing that even if I scored a 100% of the final, I wouldn’t have a shot at even getting a D- in the class. I didn’t just fail this class, I massively failed this class. I landed myself on academic probation, lost my academic scholarship, I found myself completely lost. While I was never a straight A student with a perfect GPA, I was always an honor roll student with strong grades. School was never easy for me but it was never that hard either. I had never failed this horribly, ever. I never retook that class. It still remains on my transcripts. And it always will. It was one of the hardest and best lessons I have every learned. Because through failing, I found my passion – psychology. Which is exactly what I said in my personal statement to graduate schools I applied to. I wanted to address my poor performance in my first semester of my undergrad because that killed my GPA. I wanted graduate schools to know that I was resilient and that even if I did fail (hopefully not as horribly) I would be able to come back stronger than ever.

See what this story of my failure has to do with fear is that we often have a fear of achieving our goals or dreams. We are afraid of failing and of making mistakes. We see failure as the ultimate let down and not a learning opportunity or an opportunity to grow as an individual. We forget that grit and determination can help us remain resilient in tough situations. And that at the end of the day, even if you do fail or make a mistake, you at least tried. You at least tried to do something new or different or something that was outside of your comfort zone. And even in failing, you grew as a person. You pushed yourself. Whether it is at work, at home, in your workout, in school, with friends, family, loved ones – you made an effort to not sit back and take the easy way. And while that is scary, we should never let fear get in the way of achieving a goal.

Unless it is a scary movie, then fear always wins. I hate scary movies.

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Physical Wellness: IMT Des Moines Marathon ReCap

I’ll start this blog off with this…

Finish2

I did finish the marathon. Although there for a while I didn’t think I was going to. Let’s recap the day, shall we?

I arrived downtown around 7:15 just enough time to get in line at a real bathroom and get into my position at the starting line. While I was in line for the real bathroom, a race volunteer came around and told the line of 30 ish women that there were porta potties upstairs with no lines if we wanted to use those. Not a single person moved. We all knew waiting in line to use a real bathroom was worth it. I got a quick chat with Eric in, found my place at the starting line and waited.

Start

This was before things got crazy. I haven’t heard the official numbers yet but I know they were looking at having over 10,000 people at this race. It was huge. And freezing. After what felt like forever waiting, my pace group (4:10) finally made it to the starting line. I warmed up around mile 2. Miles 3-7 were hilly but absolutely stunning. Running through some of the most lavish parts of Des Moines on what was basically a perfect fall day was awesome. Part of me is kicking myself for not snapping a few pics. By the time I hit the 10k mark, I knew something was off about my pace. I only now realized that I never chatted with the 4:10 pacer to see what his game plan was for the race. I just assumed that if I stayed in front of him I should be good. However, all my splits were crappy. I’m guessing they were starting out slower and building speed. Whereas I tend to start out faster and well, lose speed, but the starting out faster kind of equals itself out, in my mind. Regardless, I crossed the 10k mark right exactly at 1:00:00. By mile 7 I was out of the hills and mostly cruising through flat terrain. I started hurting and could feel it the most in my hips which was weird because my hips haven’t been bothering me at all during my entire training. One of the biggest highlights for me during this race was getting to run a lap at Drake Stadium where the Drake Relays are held. I’ve never been on their blue track before but I have seen many times. It was actually really awesome to get to run a race lap on their track.

15

My splits were still slow but I was still in front of my pace group. This is me at mile 15. I was still feeling good and trucking along. We were going through some gorgeous scenery and there were tons of supporters along the course. I purposely wore my UNI tshirt because I knew there would be UNI alums, fans, students, employees, etc. along the course and just seeing a UNI shirt would spur them to yell something supportive. I was right. I even told my mom this before the race and she said that whenever she saw someone wearing a UNI shirt, she would cheer for them. Ok, so everything seems to be going well, right? Still ahead of my pace group, still feeling good, still running. Something happens at mile 18 and I mentally just break. And almost immediately as I mentally break, my pace group passes me. I try to keep up but within 30 seconds they are out of range. My mile times are over 10 minutes, over 11 minutes and I’m just breaking.

20

This is me around the 20 mile mark. At this point I’m 10000% ready to be done. Not only has my 4:10 group passed me but the 4:25 group breezed past me as well. My goal (4:10-4:20) is completely shot. The only thing keeping me going is my stubbornness and refusal to give up and quit. I started walking a bit. I would only allow myself to walk for 30-40 seconds and tried to only do it once per mile, twice tops, As we left Water Tower Park and got into Grey’s Lake, I felt the end was near but still so far away. I used to run Grey’s Lake all the time when I worked at the airport so I knew the route and the terrain. Leaving Grey’s Lake there is a itty bitty teeny tiny hill but I got to it was like “NOPE NO NO NO I’M NOT RUNNING UP ANY MORE HILLS!” So I walked up that hill and that was the last time I walked. Because soon I saw Mile 25 and I refused to walk again. My mile time was dragging. Over a 12 minute mile. But I kept trucking. I kept running. Then I saw Mile 26 and I could see the finish line. It took all I had and I started “sprinting” towards the finish line trying to hold back the tears. I got really emotional. Because at Mile 18 when I mentally broke, I broke bad and went to some dark places. The fact that I was even able to keep pushing after that and get to the finish line…felt incredible. I crossed the finish line and service members from the Army were giving out medals. I felt horrible b/c I could even muster a thank you and thank you for your service. I could barely speak. I called Eric right after and I just I finished and then basically hung up. I completely forgot to stop my watch and it kept going for 10 minutes after I finished.

Finish

I finished in 4:33:41 (10:26 pace). There are a number of things that I could “blame” my time on, wind being the first thing that comes to mind but the past month I dealt with serious foot issues that hindered my training greatly. The week before the marathon I was massively sick (so sick that I puked orange powerade through my nose…and can never drink orange powerade again). So all in all, it wasn’t a total failure but it wasn’t the race that I had imagined. The course itself was gorgeous. The weather was nearly perfect (sans the wind). The volunteers were amazing and the City of Des Moines was fantastic. I honestly highly recommend this race. The half-marathon course is completely flat. But it was so amazing to be around so many athletes, be in a city that is so supportive of this race, and to be running a race that is this well put together. From having plenty of aid stations, to having boxes of tissues and Vaseline and Biofreeze ON THE COURSE! It was awesome.

I felt pretty good after the race, just some soreness in my legs. I made the decision to drive 4 hours home after the race that day instead of waiting and man alive am I glad I did that. My problem foot is a problem and my whole body is sore. I’m glad I got the long drive done yesterday instead of waiting. So I’m home sweet home. And what is next for me? Another marathon? Likely not. I went into this marathon thinking ok, this is either a check it off the bucket list thing or it is something that I will find out I enjoy and want to do more of. For me, the pain is not really worth it. I’m content saying I have finished a marathon. I want to concentrate on shorter distances now (5k, 10ks, and half marathons) and see if I can get a bit more competitive in my age group with those. But for this week, I’m going to take a few days off and recover and hit the gym again. I’m going to be starting a new lifting program specifically designed for runners and starting a new running plan. I love running, the marathon didn’t take that away from me, but I think I love running shorter distances.

Physical Wellness: Marathon Recaps for the weeks

Whoa have I been absent. Marathon training took a toll on me and being injured should have probably led to more posts but it did not. After getting injured during my 17 mile run, I somehow managed an 18 mile run at a 9:39 pace. I didn’t hardly do anything else that week except hobble around. The following week I set out to run 19 miles and within 1 mile I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I felt ill and was in intense pain. So I stopped and turned around. The following week I set out to do 20 miles. At 15.64 miles a guy lunged and screamed at me and freaked me out so much I burst into tears. I had no idea if this guy was crazy enough to try and attack me on  a main road or if he just thought it would be funny. I ended up calling Eric to come and get me as I was in no shape to continue running. I think the guy just thought he would be funny but I genuinely thought he was trying to attack me. And after some of the comments I have gotten from people driving by including an SUV of frat guys that did a 180 and started following me, I don’t think my fear comes from an irrational place.

I was frustrated beyond belief with what happened. I wish so much that I had kept on running and not let what that individual do get to me. It was slated to be my last long run of training. And now I was looking at going into my marathon with my longest run being 18 miles. I felt disappointed and unprepared. Then I decided that I would try for 20 again. This time Eric insisted on riding behind me the entire time to make sure nothing happened to me. For all but 4 1/2 miles that I did on the track, he stayed right beside me and made sure I was ok. I finished my 20 mile run at a 9:44 pace (3:14:42). I was slated to do a 10 mile run this morning but after going home early on Thursday and calling in sick on Friday, I vetoed that run. For the sake of my health, I decided to not to the run. I’m still recovering from whatever it is that knocked me out for a couple of days, but I feel loads better.

This week I will stick to my usual and start planning out what life looks like post marathon. What my workouts will look like and be centered on. Even now, a week out from my marathon I’m so thankful for what this has taught me. I feel re-energized that distance running is more my style. And I feel more determined to keep running distance. My lifting and cross training will reflect that.

In terms of goals for my marathon, obviously crossing the finish line is my primary goal. This past month has been riddled with injuries and illness so just finishing will be awesome. I have some time goals in mind. I’d like to finish between a 4:10 – 4:22 marathon. a 4:22 puts me at a 9:59 pace which all of my runs have been under that pace. I’m hopeful that my marathon will be as well. Whether I will run another marathon or not is not a question I’m ready to decide on but I have been seriously considering signing up for the Kansas Half Marathon which is a couple weeks after my full marathon. I’m not sure how I will be feeling and how I will be recovered but I may do it just for fun.

I’m hoping to return to some kind of blogging schedule soon. To be honest my days have been full with work, training, and spending time with Eric. I know I need to prioritize my blog more, but for the past couple of months it has taken a serious back burner in my life. I need to decide what I want to do moving forward.

Thank you all for your support during this time that I have been training and definitely look next Sunday or Monday for a full recap of my experience. If any of you happen to be running the IMT Des Moines Marathon, best of luck! If you see me, be sure to say hi! I will be wearing a highlighter yellow “Northern Iowa Panthers” shirt.

Physical Wellness: Marathon Training Week 15 Recap

Sunday:  17 miles at 9:03 pace. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Except for I spent the rest of the week not running and nursing a foot injury. I lifted Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but spent the entire week with my foot wrapped up and icing it.

I’m definitely to the point that I am ready for this marathon to be done. I’m ready to walk without hurting. I’m ready to sleep past 5 am on Sundays. I’m ready to eat like a normal human and not consume all the foods on Sundays. I’m not sure if I will do other marathons after this one. There is one that I really want to do – an international marathon starting in Michigan and crossing into Canada. But after that one…I might be done.

I’ve been trying to think about what I want to do after this marathon. I may want to start trying to be more competitive in 5ks. There is a half-marathon that is a few weeks after my marathon and I might do that one just for fun. I don’t know. All I know of is that I’m ready to run this marathon.

Physical Wellness: Marathon Training Week 14 Recap

Sunday:  14.19 miles at a 9:25 pace. Was supposed to be 16 miles. This was a painful run. 2 miles into the run I started feeling the twinges of a migraine. At 8 miles, my head felt like it was exploding. Plus I tried to do a different route so at 14.19 miles I ended up at the bottom of a seriously steep hill. I decided that I would walk up the hill and then finish up my last bit after. By the time I got to the top of the hill, my watch had auto saved my run. I threw my hands up and just headed home. All in all, I probably got close to 16 but it was a really rough run.

Monday:  Labor Day, rest day.

Tuesday:  4 miles of speed work in the AM, 1 hour of tennis in the PM

Wednesday:  I attempted to do lower body work. I got squats in and then realized that when I came in during a flash flood which soaked my bag, that my work clothes might have also gotten soaked. And if they did, then I would need to go home and get dry clothes. They were a bit wet, but I dried them with a hand dryer in the locker room. Also, walking from the parking lot to the gym in a flash flood is no fun, FYI.

Thursday:  4 miles with run club

Friday:  Arms and abs

Saturday:  rest day. 2 rest days? Well, my gym was closed on Labor day and I have been enjoying having my rest day before my long run. I make no apologies.

Wow has my blog taken a hit…I have only been uploading these snippets. Life has just been downright crazy these past couple of weeks. With my training, I am just trying to remain as healthy as possible before my marathon. I’ll try to upload some actually wellness stuff this week.

Physical Wellness: Marathon Training Week 13 Recap

Sunday:  15 miles @ 9:35 pace – felt strong and solid throughout the run. My first long run of marathon training where I finally feel confident that I can do this marathon.

Monday:  Arms plus standing on my feet for about 7 hours at an event at work.

Tuesday:  Nothing. My whole body was just swollen after a 15 mile run and then standing on my feet for so long on Monday. My joints hurt so bad. And it wasn’t from the long run it was more just that combination of everything. I was just a mess of pain.

Wednesday:  Legs and Abs

Thursday:  3.5 miles at run club trying out Saucony Kinerva’s (rep was there – I loved these shoes)

Friday:  Arms and Abs

Saturday:  rest day

It’s pretty sad that I didn’t even hit 20 miles this week WITH a 15 mile run in the mix. This week was rough on me. Mentally, emotionally, physically. It was rough at work because students are now back and I worked a huge event Friday and then that event on Monday plus our office was interviewing people all week. All of this combined to just cause a lot of stress that played itself out in my motivation. All I wanted to do this past week was sleep. I barely spent anytime with Eric. I didn’t want to be outside and have to interact with people. I just wanted to hide out in my apartment and not have to talk to anyone. It’s dramatic, I recognize that. But in my (lame) defense, I am highly introverted so a week of having to interact with strangers on high levels has really spent me. I know I can’t afford these types of weeks with my marathon quickly approaching, but this week happened and there is nothing more I can do about it.

Physical Wellness: Marathon Training Week 12 Recap

Sunday:  14 miles @ 9:36 pace. Felt strong during this run. I was nervous after balking the previous week and not getting the 13 in

Monday:  Arms and then attempted speed work until I realized that schools are back in session so football practice is going on after work. So I have officially moved speed work to Tuesday AM

Tuesday:  I learned that I cannot run on an empty stomach. I got 2 miles of speed work before my growling stomach took me back to my car and back to my apartment for breakfast. I thought I would give the fasting running a shot. I cannot do that. Lesson learned.

Wednesday:  Legs and abs

Thursday:  Defend Lawrence 5k and 30 minutes of yoga

Friday:  I lifted things and put them back down and I don’t really remember what I did.

Saturday:  Becoming a rest day for me. Plus I needed a day of locking myself in my apartment and not speaking to anyone. I worked a huge event for work Friday night and being around that many people for a couple of hours…I just needed to have some silence and not be around people.

I also learned this week that if I ever do a marathon again, I need to make sure that not only do I plan out my long runs but I plan out my miles per week. I can see now that it would have been really useful. I think I will do that for the rest of my training but I definitely wish I would have done that from the start.