Crossing that Line at the Corning WineGlass

Yesterday, I ran my first half marathon in Corning, NY at the WineGlass….I know you are probably thinking, didn’t you run a marathon, wouldn’t that have been your first? Yes, I guess that would be my first true race but that training cycle was rough and I ran hurt this was my first 13.1 and healthy distance race.

My first marathon, the weather was terrible it rained and was freezing the entire time.  I had hurt my IT Band during training (probably due to my terrible habit of not stretching enough, doing minimal strength training during the training period, and not being a runner for very long).  Before that training period the most running I had ever done was maybe 5 miles at the most and those were few and far between.  I was a basketball player, we don’t do distance we do sprints.

But this training cycle was completely different. I have been healthy the entire time.  It was warm out and I was able to do most of the training outside (another aspect that was different than marathon training last winter).  I also added a lot of additional strength training back into my program.  To top it all off, I wasn’t overworked with basketball and full-time career so I was able to focus on my life and have more of a balance in it.

The Corning WineGlass is a gorgeous course, and I couldn’t have asked for better weather.  Unlike DC where it was gorgeous both days around the marathon but pouring the day of, it poured on Saturday (for the Corelle 5k) and then it was sunny and 50s for the race on Sunday.  The course runs along a scenic route throughout neighborhoods and during the perfect time of year when the leaves are just starting to fall and are all different colors.  It is ranked as one of the top half-marathons to run.

wineglass expoMy mom and I got to go to the expo together to pick up Maya and Kaylee (my two friends from high school who were running the full) and my race information. It was much smaller than the expo in DC but then again the race was much smaller with about 6,000 runners.  The expo was held at the Corning Glass Museum which I highly encourage anyone to venture to if you are in the area.  Runners were given a long-sleeve running shirt (I had to exchange mine after the race because the medium was so short on my torso – the large is perfect)!  Runners over the age of 21 were also given a bottle of champagne and a wineglass. There was limited other free things from the vendors; however, there was an offering of free pre-and-post race massages (the line was to long for my taste – but hey its free).

When Maya and Kaylee arrived my mom and Tim had made chili and lasagna for our race prep meal.  It was delicious and protein packed. After we were all stuffed and getting excited/nervous for the race the next morning.  It was going to be Kaylee’s first full and Maya had done the DC marathon with me.  It would have been nice to run with them but I don’t think I will be doing another full for a long time, if ever! The training just consumes your life, what is nice about a half is that you can do all the training during the work week.

pre-raceRace morning, I woke up at 5am – had my cup of coffee, a pumpkin pie Oikos Greek yogurt (tis the season), and 2 packets of Steel Cut Oats – Raspberry and Blueberry.  It was the perfect amount to leave me full throughout the race but not too full.  I also drank more water.  I had really hydrated the day before so I was feeling good.

The way the race works you have to get on a bus that takes you to the start line, for the half the buses ran until 6:30 with the start time for the race at 7:45.  So my two friends (who were running the full) and I headed to the start (thanks Mom for driving) at 5:55 to make sure we had plenty of time.  The start of the race had a lot of bathrooms and also had the school open to stay warm (though no one listened to the instructions to go all the way down the hall so I didn’t bother). As I was waiting around, I ate my banana I brought with me (unlike DC where they were giving out water and fruit, there was nothing at this start).  The biggest problem with the race morning is that it is so early; however, we had heard last year the race started 45 minutes late and a lot of people were mad, I know I would have been.Finishing
What was really nice after all that waiting around was that the race started right on time – myself and 3,500 other half marathoners headed out only the course for our journey to the finish.  I ran the first mile and a half with the 2:10 pacer and couldn’t resit the itch to get going a little faster like I had in my training runs (probably a mistake but you live and learn).  By mile 7 I was at 1:04 (right where I needed to be for a sub-2 hour).  But it wasn’t to much longer after that when I got a side-stitch and at that point it was so painful I needed to walk.  I was able to keep a 10:30 pace the rest of the way which lead to my chip time of 2:10:18 – my B goal.  According to my tracker I actually ran 13.31 miles in 2:10:52 (I forgot to stop my nike app for nearly a minute after the race) so really it would be 13.31 miles in 2:10:18.  My official half marathon time on my GPS was a personal best of 2:07:57.  I also ran my fastest 10k to date in 56:34.

race finish

Crossing that line felt amazing.  It was the first race that I had run alone and unlike the marathon I was smiling as I crossed the line. I was also able to maintain under a 10min/mile pace.  It was also great to see my mom, Tim, Devon, Sam, and Ben at the finish.  Dev, Sam, and Ben ran down the side walk of market street (the final shoot for the race) so they could alert my mom I was coming. So they like to say they finished with me.

post-race relaxing

I have a swimsuit on, I swear!

Post race they had a lot of food for the runner with water, chocolate milk, bagels, fruit, cookies, fresh hot pizza, and fresh chicken noodle soup!  It was a nice assortment of things though I wasn’t that hungry yet.  However, that chicken soup hit the spot.  The volunteers for the race were amazing.  The water stations were all adequately stocked.  I am not sure how I missed the GU Gel station but unfortunately I did, thankfully I had one stored in my back pocket which I took around mile nine.  From beginning at the expo to end at the finish, the volunteers made the race what it was – I am so glad and thankful for all of them!

The best part of doing a race in a town where your family lives is being able to go home and shower and change into clean clothes without having to drive far.  My mom lives about 5-10minutes from the finish so it was really nice to just hop in the car and drive home.  Post shower, another bonus was my mom’s new hot tub which definitely helped to ease my muscles.  After a nice long soak I quickly changed and headed back down the hill to be able to see Maya and Kaylee finish! They killed it with a time of 4:15:08.

Over this winter, I plan on adding some yoga into my workouts to force me to stretch more.  I am also thinking about taking spin and strength classes to throw a change-up into my routine for my body.  All while running 3-4 miles a couple of times of week with a longer run around 6-7 miles a few times throughout the winter.  As the days get shorter and the nights get longer I plan to do most of my workouts inside and yes that means more miles on the mill – but no extreme distances and more focused on increasing my speed which I think will help prevent some of the injuries I suffered during marathon training.Swag

I am very excited about the next race I have signed up for which right now is the Buffalo Half Marathon over Memorial Day weekend.  I have made it a goal of mine to run a half in every city I live in, so this is my first checkmark!  I plan to run the Corning 8k the weekend before during GlassFest.  I know the Corning WineGlass Half Marathon is one I plan to run on an annual basis and come January, I will be signing up again for 2016.

Looks like I found my new expensive hobby though I don’t know if I would say I have caught the running bug quite yet as I still don’t enjoy running, I definitely have never lost the training bug – looks like NARP status is not for me.

Going the Half Distance

marathonFor my first real race I decided to go big or go home and ended up paying the price during the marathon and running injured.  It was disappointing but the accomplishment was finishing the race despite all the factors that played into that day.  This time I have officially signed up for the Corning Wine Glass Half Marathon and I plan to train smarter.

The half marathon is the first weekend in October so I have about 4 months of solid training time which I intend to work my way up to the longer runs and work on my speed of the runs as well. Not only am I focusing on getting my speed up a bit, I am going to focus on strength and flexibility.  I didn’t stretch as much as I should have and it hurt me during my training; as well as, the amount of strength training I did aside from core training was minimal at best.  I need to make sure I am working out my legs and even my upper body to keep my muscles on edge and always guessing whats coming next.

Ideally I am aiming for an under 2 hour half but I also want to be able to enjoy it.  Brian was going to run it as well; however, the Giants are playing the Bills in Buffalo so he has his priorities.  So I am hoping that my former neighbor and friend gets off the wait list and we can run it together.

It imageshas been said that the Wine Glass is a gorgeous scenic course that runs right into downtown Corning.  The race sets off at 7:45 so hopefully I am crossing that finish line right around 9:45 this time with my running buddy in hand!

What I realized last time about running the full with Maddie was the awesomeness (yes I just used that word) of running beside someone and talking, laughing, singing, genuinely catching up, and cheering each other on.

Running is definitely better with a friend especially on the long runs.  Even though this half marathon race day will probably feel much shorter than the full day did I am looking forward to catching up with Mandy and our mini bottles of wine at the finish line!

Be sure to stay tuned as I start to train for this next race in the next couple of weeks!

Races are about the Experience

marathon quotesTo say that marathon day was ideal would be stretching it to the extreme.  It wasn’t that it wasn’t an experience because I think anytime you set out to complete your goal of finishing something that you have been working towards for 18 weeks or more, you will have an experience and it will mean the world to you, whether your goal is to become a full marathoner or a half marathoner, regardless of outcome you will have accomplished your goal whether the result is perfect or not.

Looking back now there were a few variables that were not perfect but they were also outside of my control and couldn’t be avoided.  So on race day I just rolled with them.  As a new runner I learned you cannot control the weather.  It rained nearly the entire time I was on the course, was windy and was cold.  That was an element that I could not control so I stopped stressing about it once I knew it was going to be that way.  I also could not control the weather during my training.  We had one of the worst winters in Buffalo’s history and most of my training was done indoors to keep from freezing or risking injury.  I think I did 2 runs out of the whole month leading up to the race outdoors.  All of my long runs beyond my first half marathon training run were completed inside on the treadmill. You can control what time of the year your race is but once you have done that, you can’t control what you train in.

During the race my knee gave out around mile 7/8 and though there were things I could have done to prevent it during my training, I could not go back and change them at that point.  So even though I couldn’t run I did make up mind that I was going to finish the race – that was in my control and I was determined.  A marathon is a distance regardless of how fast you complete it.

There were things that were in my control that I should have done better but come race day you can’t go back so it is best to look directly at the task ahead.

  • I should have done a lot more strength training.
  • I should have done a lot more core work.
  • I should have done a lot more stretching.
  • I should have taken more than 18 weeks to become a “runner”.

These are all phrased with the term I should have done, but in the end I learned from this experience and if and when I do train for another race I will know better for next time.  I will take the time to just build a more consistent base and platform that includes running muscles which are really different compared to the muscles needed to make it through a basketball season. It is crazy to think that I was playing a different sport one year ago and now I have done something that I never thought I would. Remember this post? Well I have certainly come a long way since then and even though I didn’t run that half in Buffalo I ran a full in DC.

MarathonerWhat I have realized coming off of the marathon, now as a “marathoner”, is that you have to go in with few expectations and be willing to just roll with the whatever happens.  I didn’t plan to have my knee start to hurt during the marathon but I also didn’t let it stop me from finishing.  There was an awesome quote I read and I want to leave you with it – especially if you are training for your first marathon.

“You can keep going and your legs might hurt for a weak or you can quit and your head will hurt for a lifetime” -Mark Allen

The Countdown is On for the Marathon

DC Rock n RollI can’t believe it…race day is less than five days away.  In five days all the training, all the sweat, all those runs I didn’t want to do will be worth it.  I will be running the streets of DC with two of my great friends, Maya and Maddie, my cousin Kristy, Brian (who is running much faster than all of us) and some others who will be running the half and carrying the rest of us home after the full.  🙂

We will also have a great support team. Our families, friends from college, family friends and 22,000+ other runners families and friends cheering us on.  It will be an experience.23

I do not think I will be doing this type of training ever again so I intend to take in every minute it of, all 4 and a half hours of it, if everything goes well.

Over the last 3 weeks I have been battling knee pain, strained hamstrings and probably taking on to much.  If I could go back I would definitely add strength training into my program.  I think going from such a high impact sport in basketball to a completely different type of high impact sport of running, I took for granted my strength training and did not make it a focus.  I would also try and dedicate a minimum of 15 minutes a day to stretching and rolling out.  I really tried to do a lot more stretching as I got further into it but I need to make more of a habit out of it before I need to do it.

But unfortunately I can’t go back now.  As I sit and write this post, icing my knee and hip (a side effect of walking around this weekend and compensating for my left knee) I think about making it across the finish line of the race with Maya and Maddie, cheering each other on and finishing together.  I never would have imagined running this race with the two of them, never would have thought that five years ago when we graduated high school that we would be celebrating that anniversary with a marathon – 26.2 I still can’t wrap my head around it.  It is also Pie Day (3.14) so I know K.A.F will be watching us from above and motivating us and driving us forward.  We run this for you Ms. Ferris.

This will probably be the most intense and crazy thing I ever do but I will be able to say I did it and it will only make me stronger! Holy count down –  4 days, 12 hours, 35 minutes!

marathon running

Refreshing with Resource for a Marathon

training for a marathonMarathon training officially kicked off this week. It is crazy to me that a girl who hates running would commit to something like a 26.2 mile race but I am financially committed to the DC Rock N’ Roll Marathon on March 14th, 2015  and I will take it as my greatest challenge to date!  The phrase YOLO is something that is often thrown around with college parties, doing crazy and often stupid things – but to me running a marathon can be summed up with the phrase – YOLO.

I look at it this way – yes 26.2 miles is a staggeringly long distance.  The farthest distance I have run to date straight is 6 miles and that was Friday but I know I can do it.  Talking with a lot of people that have run marathons they say if you can run five you can physically run the marathon.  I have to look at this as a personal challenge because the marathon is not a physical battle but a mental one.  I know that the energy of the crowd will propel me through the first half and then it will be me vs. my mind the second half.  Right now I feel like I am in the best endurance shape of my life – I have always been training for something and why not train for the biggest race of my life and the biggest mental battle.  My body is not getting any younger.Run for the resource

Going into training, I know there are going to be challenges I have to overcome, the first being, it’s Buffalo from November – March.  What was I thinking – it snows, it gets below freezing so I know that I have to be prepared for a lot of treadmill work in the coming months.  At least there is a plus side, it will be college basketball season and there will be awesome games to watch as I run! I find I run best on the treadmill when I cover up the time on the machine, have a towel with me, have Netflix going on my iPad and then read the subtitles on the TV in front of the machine.  Since I do not have changing scenery to distract me I have to distract my brain with multi-tasking.

Another thing that I am going to have to combat is the holiday season.  With my family traveling to NYC for Thanksgiving this year, making sure I get those runs in will be key! And then for Christmas, I will not have access to my gym and my mother lives out in the woods which means home treadmill work it is!

Another thing will be working around my coaching season with practices and games.  I am coaching two teams: a JV team and a 5th and 6th grade team for the private school right near my house so making sure I find the time to get the runs in without over stretching myself with my day job at M&T and budding coaching career is going to be a challenge.  I will have to decide whether waking up at 440 to hit the gym right when it opens at 5 is better than sleeping until 6 to get into work by 7 and running after practice at 6.  resource on the shelfIt will really depend on my mood; however, thankfully none of the long runs will be affected by my crazy schedule as they all take place on the weekends – my team is lucky, we will always have late Saturday practices if we have them so I don’t have to worry about getting the run in after practice.

Finally, I am going to have to make sure that I am drinking water regularly throughout the day.  Whether I am running in the morning or at the end of the day it is going to be so important to focus on staying hydrated and thanks to my Resource Water from Influenster, I am set to take on the day at work, during practice, during my runs and throughout my daily life.  Running takes a lot out of you but water can help you get it back.  My plan for the race is to start experimenting with gels and water now as I start to get into those Refresh when you are not traininglonger runs.  I am not much of a Gatorade girl so water is going to vital to my training and progress!

In 18 weeks when I cross that finish line in DC with my cousins and one of my best friends I will know I have beaten myself and my mind.  I don’t care what time I get – though it would be great to hit under 4, more realistic will be under 430 – I just want to finish without stopping.  This is one time my mind will not get the best of me!

I received the Resource water complimentary of Influenster for testing purposes as part of the #ModaVoxBox!"I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes."

The Thing I Never Thought I Would Say

Following my collegiate basketball career, I pondered how I would stay in shape without the daily practices, “optional” workouts, pickup games, weight-training, pre-season and post-season workouts and summer training.  It was really the only workout life I had known.  I had always been training for something and at the end of the season it was a weird feeling to not have another season to train for and knowing I was never going to be tested again.

It has been 2 months since the end of the season and I have learned to adapt to a different pace because as my life changes and different things fill my time I need to accept the fact that any workout, no matter how long counts.  In season we would train for hours, be on the court for two hours a day or just play pickup because we could.   But in the real world, with everything life has to offer you don’t need to train for hours on end to stay healthy. Even a half an hour workout is better than nothing.

runningBut lately I have started picking up a new habit, one I never saw coming.  Something my friends and family would never have believed if I had said it before.  I am becoming a runner.  I used to despise running.  The thought of even doing a mile made me cringe.  But what I have learned that with not having someone breathing down my neck, counting down the seconds before I have to run it again, there is something peaceful about working out for yourself.  I love waking up and starting my day with a workout.  The sense of accomplishment before your day has really started is awesome.

Now I am no marathon runner….yet…but I am enjoying running further each week.  I have found something that allows me to forget about the stress of the world and just be alone with my thoughts.  Running to a playlist of country music allows me to get lost in the stories of others for a little while.  My next goal will be to build up my mileage to run a half-marathon in under two-hours which is about a 9 minute mile on average.  Who knows, maybe someday I will work my way up to a full-marathon.

YES, I want to run a half marathon – you heard it here, I have set my next goal and something to work for.  I am planning on signing up for one at the end of August in Buffalo in the next few weeks.

starting is the challengeToday I ran 4.38 miles which is a really nice loop.  That was the distance that I had a goal for on the day and in my head that was as much as my body was going to do.  Building my mileage slowly will allow me to prevent injuries.  I also have to build up my mental strength.  I do not think physically the distance would be as bad; however, for me mentally finding the strength to keep going is going to be the challenge.  My head tends to be my own worst enemy but I know if I work on it that I can build up the ability to run the distance without my brain shutting me down.  I have already seen a difference in my mental capacity because a 2 mile run is now a short run for me and a year ago I would never have said that!

I love the freedom that running allows.  The challenge and the ability to see how far you have gone.  There is something to be said about the fact that you are always moving forward in a run.

I am not following a program now but doing what feels comfortable to me and making sure that I am pushing myself farther each week.  I am pushing my speed on my mile and a half and making sure that I add in the strength training each week; as well as cross-training on bikes and ellipticals.

I think after college has wrapped up, graduation has happened and I go on my CRUISE (yes, thanks to the boyfriend) I will start a 12 week program to officially train my body for the half-marathon.  I think that will help me stay on track and make sure I build up my mileage in the right way.

Life after collegiate athletics is definitely different but if you are a true athlete, athletics and competition will never fully leave you.  The thrill of the challenge will always be with you – it is just a little different in stye.