Tag Archives: 5k

The Training Plan by Jeff Galloway


Here are some great training plan tips by Jeff Galloway!

WHY SHOULD I HAVE A TRAINING PLAN?  When using a proven strategy, a runner gains control over fatigue while improving motivation.  Those who follow the right training plan, for the individual,  tend to improve more, with less injury risk.

WOULD BEGINNERS BENEFIT MORE FROM A PLAN?  Unfortunately, most beginners “run as they feel” or follow conflicting advice.  This leads to confusion and more aches and pains.   The right schedule will systematically increase the type of running needed for a goal, with strategic rest for rebuilding.


1) A longer run builds endurance

2) a hilly run builds strength

3) Scenic or social runs insert fun and keep you coming back for more.

WHAT IS ADDED TO A PLAN IF THE GOAL IS TO RUN FASTER?  The right training plan will gradually increase the speed repetitions needed for the individual goal.  Easier days and rest days must be inserted before and after speed workouts.  To avoid injury, the pace and the increase must be realistic for the individual.

EVERY OTHER DAY:  Most runners — especially beginners — run best when they run every other day.  This allows for the “weak links” to heal.  The very slow long run is usually on the weekend, when there is more time available.  Hills and fun days can be run on the short runs during the week (For example: Tuesday and Thursday)

SHOULD I EXERCISE ON NON-RUNNING DAYS? While you don’t have to exert yourself on non running days to improve your running, exercise will energize your mind, and improve your attitude and vitality — while burning some fat.  So, I recommend any exercise that does not fatigue the calf muscle, such as recreational walking.

DOES VARIETY HELP?  Changing things a bit can improve motivation.  You don’t have to change the “mission” on specific days, but alternating some of the courses or running with different groups can make each day more interesting.

WHAT ARE VARIOUS MISSIONS FOR VARIOUS DAYS? Each type of run bestows a different benefit.  Hill runs build strength.  Drills that work on cadence, gentle acceleration and gliding will improve your running form.  Long runs produce stamina and endurance.

WHAT SHOULD I DO THE DAY BEFORE AND THE DAY AFTER LONG OR FASTER RUNS?  Take it easy on these days.  Do little or no exercise, don’t overeat, drink 8 glasses of water/sports drinks, and focus on how you will enjoy the next run.

SHOULD I SKIP THE REST DAYS TO IMPROVE MORE QUICKLY?  Not Recommended!  It is during the days off from running that the running body rebuilds and improves.  While some runners can get away with running short and slow runs on rest days for a while, these “junk miles” can compromise recovery and lead to injuries.

IF I DON’T LIKE A WORKOUT, CAN I SUBSTITUTE? Following a consistent plan is more likely to lead to success and improve motivation. Those who pick various elements from different schedules experience more burnout and injury.






Jeff Galloway‘s Customized Training Plan!

This is for runners of all levels, from beginning to ultra, with busy schedules or without a local Galloway training program.

Learn more now!

Jeff’s proven method has helped hundreds of thousands to achieve their goals, injury-free. Whether you’re a beginner or a Boston Qualifier, let us customize a plan that allows you to “have a life” while achieving your goals.
Your 6-month Custom Training Plan includes –
• A customized training schedule to your target race over the next season
• Daily email reminders of upcoming workouts
• Based upon your current conditioning
• Drills to improve running form, efficiency, and speed
• For runners at every fitness level, from beginning runners to ultra-runners
• Perfect for those without a local Galloway Program or with busy schedules – See more at: http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/customized-training/#sthash.2bhhrWdT.dpuf





























Register now for the Jeff Galloway 13.1 Half Marathon weekend from December 11-13th

  • Jeff Galloway 13.1 – Sunday, Dec. 13th
  • Barb’s 5K Presented by BeeCauseSaturday, Dec. 12th
  • NEW Fit Kids Run/Walk – Saturday, Dec. 12th

Register now!


We’re finally having some much cooler weather around here and can’t wait to get out and enjoy it!  I hope all of you have a great weekend and happy running!!!



As a Galloway blogger,  I’ve been provided tips by Jeff Galloway to share with my readers.  There is no compensation for this post.


Filed under Blogging, Jeff Galloway Blogger, Marathon, Racing, Running, Uncategorized

Tips for Dealing with the Heat by Jeff Galloway

thirsty runner


If you’ve had a summer like we’ve had in South MS then you know what it’s like to try to keep up with your training when it feels like you’re baking in an oven and can barely breathe. This summer, I’ve been spending some time in the pool to try to stay cool and also get some exercise in.

Here are some great tips for dealing with the heat that Jeff Galloway sent for me to post. 



 Dealing With the Heat

Training through the summer can not only be grueling, but down right dangerous.  Here are some tips to train safely and as comfortable as possible in the hot summer months.

Slow down by 30 sec/mile (20 sec/km) for every 5F temperature increase above 55-60F ( every 2.5C above 14C)
When the temperature is over 70F (21C) you may take a 5 minute “cold shower break” every 25-30 minutes to keep cool.
Try to complete your run before the sun rises above the horizon.
More frequent walk breaks during hot weather can lower body temperature increase.  If you used to run 3 minutes between walk breaks, run only 90 seconds (walk 30 seconds) at 70F (21C) and at 80F (26C) drop to 60 sec run/30 sec walk or 30/30
When you start to heat up more than normal, take a longer walk in a mall or indoor AC building
Pick shady courses on hot days.
Don’t wear a hat!  Pour water over your head
Have an indoor alternative—treadmill, etc
Run in the deep end of the pool, using a flotation belt



In conjunction with the Road Race Management Race Directors’ Meeting, Road Race Management and MarathonFoto will again honor an individual who has made a major difference in the sport with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award is for contributions to the sport of long distance running over the course of a lifetime. Nominees, who may be either living or deceased, should have made major contributions to the sport in more than one area, for example as an administrator, elite athlete, promoter of the sport, or innovator as an event director or vendor.

“We are seeking to honor a ‘sport changer’…a person who really made a difference,” says Phil Stewart, RRM editor and publisher.
Nominations from the public are being solicited and will close on August 31, 2015.

A ten-person committee will choose the winner to be announced November 6 at the Race Race Management Race Directors’ Keynote dinner in Hollywood, FL.

Make your nomination now!



How do you deal with the heat and humidity during the summer? What time of the year to do enjoy running the most? I really like running in the Fall and Spring!


Have a great weekend and happy running!!


As a Galloway blogger,  I’ve been provided tips by Jeff Galloway to share with my readers.  There is no compensation for this post.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Jeff Galloway Blogger, Marathon, Racing, Running, Uncategorized

A New Run/Walk Strategy from Jeff Galloway


Jeff Introduces a New Run/Walk Strategy


The 30-second Walk Break

Jeff Galloway’s Run/Walk/Run method was revolutionary for three reasons:

1 – Run/Walk/Runners felt better throughout the long run.

2 – Run/Walk/Runners recovered faster and got injured less often.

3 – Run/Walk/Runners went faster with the breaks than without.

Since his introduction of walk breaks in 1974, Jeff he has received feedback from hundreds of thousands of runners. This has allowed him to fine tune Run/Walk/Run to keep people feeling better, staying healthy, and running faster.


The greatest benefit of the walk break comes in the first 30 sec.

Our heart rates come down, the running muscles relax, we catch our breaths, and the fatigue melts away.

After 30 seconds of walking, we tend to slow down.

Here is a typical example of what happens with a 1-minute walk break:

A run/walk/runner averaging 10-minute pace in a marathon using 3 min/1min might walk at a 15-minute mile pace for the first part of the race.

As fatigue sets in, that walk gets slower, and by halfway, the runner may be walking at 18 min/mi.

This means faster running is needed to stay on pace, which creates more fatigue at the end of each running segment, so the walk will get slower, and so goes the downward spiral at the end of the race.

Avoiding the Slow-down

Compared to running constantly, the 1-minute walk break still results in runners feeling better, staying healthier, and going faster, but it can get even better! Limiting walk breaks to 30 seconds, or in some cases even less, while cutting the run time accordingly, gives all the same benefits, with even less fatigue and even faster times.

The Bottom Line

If you are in already using a 30-second walk break or less, you don’t need to adjust. If you are using an interval that takes a 1-minute walk break, keep the same ratio but cut your walk and run times in half. For example, a 1-minute/1-minute interval now becomes a 30-sec./30-sec. interval.  It’s that simple.


America’s Best Places to Run enhances the running experience by offering access to very special running routes. This book gives a preview of the scenery with directions to the start and special instructions to enjoy the area.  In addition to the more than fifty trails and half dozen race venues reviewed in this book it also  includes tips on training for trail running, dealing with elevation, running uphill and downhill, terrain issues, endurance, and time-

Don’t forget to register for the 2nd annual Jeff Galloway 13.1. December 11-13, 2015 brings a fun-filled weekend with the 13.1 half marathon, Barb’s 5K and the new “Fit Kids” run.

Join us in all the weekend events including the Race Expo with exciting vendors and speakers, a festive holiday mood and surprises at the finish line!

Register now at Jeff Galloway 13.1

Have a great weekend and happy running!!

As a Galloway blogger,  I’ve been provided tips by Jeff Galloway to share with my readers.  There is no compensation for this post.


Filed under Jeff Galloway Blogger, Marathon, Racing

Almost there…..

Well, it’s finally in sight!

After months of planning, worrying, ordering things, making a million phone calls and losing a lot of sleep, the race is tomorrow morning. If you haven’t been following my numerous posts on Facebook, no this is not a race that I’ll be racing in. This is my first race that I’ve directed. To say that it’s been a little difficult and quite the learning experience, would be a huge understatement. I am glad that I did it though.  (Hopefully by this time tomorrow I’ll still be glad I did it!)

Over a year and a half ago, I never dreamed that I’d run at all, let alone a 5k, 10k, half, etc. So, obviously the idea of me ever directing a race was not even on the radar…not even after I started running!

The main thing I’ve done to try to make this a race that people will enjoy has been to ask myself what are the things I’ve liked about races or didn’t like. This advice was given to me by Rod Simmons and my husband, Jason. They are both experienced racers and it does make sense, after all.

I didn’t like the couple of races that we went to that had only water and limited/no fruit or the one that we attended that didn’t even have prizes for the winners. I guess it was the feeling we got when we left that we’d basically paid a huge registration fee and ran for…nothing.

Anyway, there were other races that had great refreshments, like smoothies and that was something that is a huge plus in my book. So, one of the first things on my list when I was looking for sponsors was to call our local Smoothie King. They were gracious enough to agree to provide smoothies and I am more than excited to have them at our race! We always love goodies in our race bags, so I’ve managed to get a few of those to stuff in there. Plus, we have door prizes to giveaway too, which is always fun. We decided to go with medals for our winners instead of trophies but I think they look great and hope the racers think the same.

Well, I only have a few more things to do today before the preparations are done and all we have left to do is wake up in the morning and set everything up. (Kind of reminds me of Christmas.)

With that being said, I should stop blogging and get those last things “wrapped up”.

I hope you’ll be able to come, if you can and if you can’t, say a little prayer that things go smoothly for everyone – racers included.

I want this to be a race that will be on everyone’s “To Do Again” list!  🙂


Filed under Giveaways, Race Directing, Racing, Running

What a Difference a Year Makes! – Okatoma River Run 5k

Saturday marked the last “scheduled” race on our calendar until this Fall and what a race it was! This year there were 38 walkers and 109 runners participating – lots of fast ones too!

The night before started out how so many race nights do. Late going to bed and then I couldn’t fall asleep right away because of nerves (see why here). Of course, we were running a little behind the next morning, but not nearly as bad as some race days. When I walked out the front door, Jason was already running up and down our street trying to warm up since it was obvious that we wouldn’t have time to when we got there. I decided that my warm up would probably have to be the trip from our vehicle to the table where we pick up our packets. (It was.) Adding to the stress excitement of the morning, that same gentleman who was at the Run for the Roses 5k in Prentiss (see my blog about that race here) and was announcing the whole time on a megaphone was there….on his megaphone again, lol. He certainly knows how to put me into high gear. There’s nothing like hearing how much time you don’t have to really get your heart rate going. I finally got lined up and ready to go with about a minute to spare. I didn’t get as close to the front as I had envisioned that I would be but it was good enough. One of my concerns was racing with my new Nike GPS watch. I think I must have looked at it five thousand times during the race! (I promise to do a review soon!) 

Looks like I'm doing some kind of strange march here.

The weather was really pleasant that morning, which was something we’d all been praying for (at least I know I had!). I started out a little faster than I should have but once I looked down and saw my pace, I reigned myself back in a bit because I knew I needed lots of energy until the end. This particular race course is no cake walk. It has lots of hills, some that are long, gradual ones that can wear you out if you aren’t ready for them. I actually felt like I handled the hills better that day than any other race that’s had hills before. I kept telling myself that my goals were this: 1. Finish 2. Beat my time from last year 3.Try and finish under 30 mins. I decided that if I could obtain even 2 of those goals, I could go home saying it had been a good race.

Lots of people passed me at first. I expected it but it still bothers me. I just kept telling myself to keep a steady pace and keep chugging along. By the time we were 2 km into it, I noticed that some of the people who had passed me early on were slowing down a little and now I was passing them. When I made it to the park, which was close to the half way point, I’d finally pulled away and didn’t have anyone immediately beside or behind me anymore (of course, I can’t be positive about the behind me part because I refused to look but I didn’t see anyone when I turned the curve, lol). I used that time to slow down for just a minute and take some deep breaths to get ready for the next really big hill that was waiting for us when we exited out of the park. I was dreading it but I knew that the sooner I could get up it, the sooner it would be behind me! Before I knew it, I was over the hill and on the last leg of the race. I was feeling a little tired but had no idea if I had someone gaining on me and because of that, I was afraid to slow down. I also was watching my time closely and knew that I had a good chance of finishing under 30 minutes. (In the back of my mind I was wondering if I’d made a mistake when I slowed down some in the park….)

Here I am coming up the last hill before reaching the finish line. (It seemed much higher at the time!)

As I turned on to the street and topped the hill, I saw the clock and it was still under 30. I saw my parents cheering, I saw Jason’s mouth yelling (couldn’t hear what because my music was too loud) while he was frantically trying to take pictures of me. It was going to be close. I ran as hard as I think I’ve ever run in my whole life. The clock seemed to be ticking away so fast!!! One last look up as I approached the finish line and I saw 29:58. That was all I needed to see as I ran under the clock. I threw my arms up in the air. I’d made it!! 

I have 2 pictures from that moment:

One from Jason here –

As you can see, Jason was a little too excited and missed me. Luckily, he did get the clock in the picture! 🙂 I couldn't help but laugh at this one...had to post it!

One from my mom –

My mom did a great job of documenting everyone's finish that day!

Jason finished in 22:27 and won first place in his age group!

Jason running for the finish line!

Several members of our family participated that day.  Our son Tyler ran it in 28:01, Jason’s sister, Donna ran with a finish time of 31:02, his brother’s wife, Delana ran and finished in 27:45 (winning 1st in her age group too!) and his mom walked it in 43:37 (winning 1st in her age group!). 

Tyler finishing strong.

Donna approaching the finish line. (She's only been running a couple of months now!)

Jason's mom heading towards the finish line.

Click here for a complete list of results from the race, courtesy of the Mississippi Track Club. They always know how to put on a great race!

I was very happy that several in our family participated and lots of our friends did too.

Here's Jason with his sister, sister-in-law and mother after the race.

I was super excited that my parents were there to watch me!

My parents and me.

Jason with his 1st place trophy.

My sister-in-law, Delana with her 1st place trophy and me.

Tyler and me after the race. (He'd already changed out of his running clothes.)

Here I am with Cherie who (beat the socks off me) won 1st Place in our age group with a time of 26:20!

This is my friend, Lakeisha Barnes, who signed up this year as a runner in the race!! She has been on her own fitness journey in the last year and is one of the strongest, inspirational women I know!

After being a bundle of nerves and not sleeping much the night before, and running behind that morning, I have to say that this year’s race was a drastic improvement over last year’s. Not being in pain is the biggest thing I’m thankful for but I’m also grateful that I’m a little bit faster too..or maybe just a little less slow!

First goal: Finish – CHECK

Second goal: Beat my old time – CHECK

Third goal: Finish in under 30 – AlmostMy official race time was listed as 30:01, even though I initially thought it was under 30. It’s ok though and you want to know why? Because I won my FIRST TROPHY with that time anyway!!

Holding my trophy for 3rd Place in my age group.

Two out of 3, plus a trophy isn’t a bad day at all in my opinion!!

Last but not least, here’s a picture of the girl I beat on Saturday:

This is me finishing last year with an official time of 32:54.

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” – George Sheehan

P.S. Look who I ran into after the race, talk about my lucky day!

I was shopping for my mom a Mother's Day gift and Elvis just happened to walk in!


Filed under Family, Racing, Running

Baby, We Were Born To Run! (Some a just a little slower than others….)

It was another super busy week and weekend for us…again. I think major news for us will actually be a week or weekend when I can blog and say that nothing in particular happened at all. I’m not sure if or when that will ever happen but I’ll be ready to blog about it if it does! 🙂

We had the Relay for Life 5k in Columbia on April 30, which is my hometown and a big reason we have run in it the last 2 years. We also had a huge day on Wednesday of last week when we had the rare opportunity  of meeting and running with Chris McDougall, author of “Born To Run” , ultra-marathoner, Scott Jurek and Chris’s trainer, Eric Orton. I also had the honor last week of being featured on anothermotherrunner.com as their “Follow This Mother!”. Talk about my head spinning!!

Here’s  a recap of our meeting with The Naked Tour 2011 folks.

When I say naked, please note: naked feet or minimalist shoes. 🙂 Recently, my brother, John Wesley and his wife, Jennifer have gotten interested in walking/running and since they were having some problems with really bad shin pains, they decided to try the Vibram Five Fingers shoes. While they were at Sacks Outdoors, one of the workers told my brother about the “Born To Run” book and that the authors were coming down for a group run, book signing and to talk about the inspiration behind the book. After reading the book and finding that his shin pain was subsiding from wearing the Vibrams, he was really looking forward to getting a chance to meet them.  He mentioned it to me and even though I had heard of Chris McDougall, I have to admit I hadn’t read his book yet…but as a fellow Vibram owner, I was interested. My brother read the entire book in about a day and then eagerly filled me in on the story during a run/walk we took one evening. The story is amazing. (I won’t ruin it for you here, just in case you’d like to read it yourself.) Even after only hearing the condensed version, I was about as eager to meet these runners as my brother was. I told my husband about it and he agreed it would be great to get a chance to run with these guys and hear what they had to say.

When Wednesday came, there was some doubt about whether we’d get to go or not. That was the day that all the severe weather was moving across our state and Alabama. (My prayers go out to all those people that have been affected because of the tornadoes. Please find a way to donate and help them if you possibly can!!) We were very fortunate that day and didn’t get the really bad weather but because it was very threatening outside, we were waiting until nearly the last minute before we made a decision about heading over to Hattiesburg. Jason’s mom had said that the little ones could come and stay with her if we decided to go so, in our usual running late fashion, Jason decided he’d take them over and let me get a head start. We both wanted to run if possible but figured if we rode together, we might miss out completely. (I was very appreciative that Jason was so sweet to offer for me to go on ahead, even though I would have gladly taken the kids.) My brother had gotten there really early and had been texting me before I’d left, urging me to get there as soon as I could. When I arrived, a fairly large crowd had already gathered in the parking lot and I had to make a grand entrance (unfortunately!) by driving through them. As I parked and started gathering my things up, my brother had found Chris and was chatting with him. Suddenly, Chris started saying, “C’mon Gina, get moving! You’re holding us up!”, jokingly of course. I guess that’s what I get for being late, lol. When I got out of my car, he came right over and spoke to me. Chris came across as a genuinely friendly guy that’s full of life. I told him that I have a running blog and he asked would I write about them? Well, you know the answer to that! 🙂

Group gathered up before the run.

We all walked over and joined an excited crowd of runners…some with their tennis shoes on, some toe shoes and other barefooted as the day they were born. The 3 guys introduced themselves and then opened up the floor for questions before we ran. Secretly, I was hoping that there were going to be lots of questions to give Jason some extra time to get there. Finally, the questions had ended, the race course explained and Jason was still no where in sight. I felt terrible because I knew how badly he’d wanted to run too. I left instructions with my brother to tell him where the run was going to end, still hoping that somehow he’d show up and then took off, trying my best to keep up with the crowd. I’m sure that nearly everyone there was running at a “comfortable” pace and were enjoying the “relaxing” group run. I, however, felt like I had never run a step in my entire life. Was I the only person there that was about to die from a lack of oxygen??? It was also one of the more humid days, most likely because of the bad weather in the area. Oh, and we went up a giant hill first thing. That was just great. Immediately I was thinking this run wasn’t one of my smartest decisions I’ve ever made.  As we sprinted ran along the streets, I saw Jason pulled over on the side of the street up ahead. He was waiting to get a shot of us coming through. (He took pictures of me, by the way, but as the author of this blog, I decided not to include said embarrassing picture, lol.) I made a quick decision. As soon as I was right in front of him, I ran across the street to him. Looking a little confused, he asked what was going on. I told him, “It’s your turn, I’m done. They’re all too fast for me anyway!” 🙂 He gave it quick thought, handed me the camera and took off to catch up with them. I knew he had a better chance of having an enjoyable run than I would have anyway, plus, I really felt bad that he had almost missed the whole thing. Happy that I’d had a chance to participate for even just a little ways, I drove back over to where the run would be ending and waited to take pictures of them.

And we're off....That's me in the blue shirt, black capris trying to keep up! (Thanks to my brother for taking this picture.)

Sacks Outdoors provided great refreshments afterward.

Lots of books for everyone!

Jason (white t-shirt and scub bottoms) running with part of the pack that included Scott Jurek (yellow shirt).

Jason (white shirt) finishing up his run with Scott Jurek (bright yellow shirt) and the rest of the crew.

During Jason’s half of the run, he was able to run with Chris and visit with him and then ran with Scott and talked to him too. They were all so friendly and extremely interested in what everyone had to say. They made sure that they ran with each group, what ever their pace was, and chatted with them and answered questions. After the run was over, everyone gathered outside for a few minutes to have a snack and some water while Chris and Scott signed a few autographs and talked to the media that was there.

Scott signing a few books after the run.

We then went inside and each of them spoke to us and answered questions. Each person had something different to bring to the discussion and I learned a lot of stuff I never knew. I learned that we are the only animal that is built to run for really long distances because we sweat. Our bodies can stay cool at speeds and distances that would overheat other animals. I also learned that while guys are better at sprinting, women are better at endurance running. In fact, the longer the distances, the stronger most said they felt. (I have to say that I’ve expressed the same feeling when I was doing my half marathon training!) Go Ladies!! 🙂

Chris McDougall and me

Jason, Chris and me

Eric Orton, Jason and me

Scott Jurek, Jason and me

I learned that Scott Jurek is a freak of nature – in a good way, of course!! Actually, it was absolutely amazing to hear him speak about running ultra-marathons. He said he has to set an alarm on his watch so he’ll remember to hydrate every 20 mins or so when he’s running in places like Death Valley…..DEATH ?  He also talked about running for 24 hours on a 0.7 mile loop (And setting the American record, by the way: 165.7 miles!) ….if you know me, that would be an absolute nightmare to run that loop even for an hour!!! He comes across as an extremely humble, peaceful, nice guy. It was great getting a chance to meet him.

Chris speaking to us.

Scott speaking about ultra-marathon running.

Chris McDougall has a very fun, free spirit about him and that’s what he wants running to be for us again. He doesn’t want running to be something that we dread or hurts us, which is what was happening to him several years ago until he began training with Eric Orton. He stresses that we weren’t born broken, we were born runners and that sometimes it’s the shoes we’re wearing that are doing more damage than good.

At the end of the night, they had a huge door prize giveaway. One of the first winners of a pair of Vibram Five Fingers was – Jason!! I won a pair of Injinji toe socks – woohoo!! (Jason declined a picture or else I’d insert a pic here. :))

All in all, it was an evening filled with fun, learning and meeting new friends. I don’t really have a final verdict on the whole barefoot running thing just yet. I wear my toe shoes some and have even run in them a little bit. Those suckers have certainly made me sore in places on my feet that I didn’t realize could be sore but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. You’ve probably noticed the shoes I run in. They are pretty much the furthest thing from “minimalist” as you can get. I’ve decided that this summer, when race season is over, I might try to run a little more in my Vibrams. I might decide I love it and never go back or I might decide they’re great for hanging around the house in and that’s it. When it comes to running, there is so much I don’t know yet but I’m learning everyday. I don’t want to miss out on something that could make my running even more fun and efficient (*faster*) if it’s out there. I will say that I don’t foresee a time when I’ll be ripping my shoes and socks off and running with nothing between my sweet feet and the asphalt but air….but I’ll never say never. A little over fifteen months ago, I wasn’t a runner…. 🙂

Sporting my Vibram Five Fingers

I hope you’re all having a great week and staying active!


Filed under Family, Racing

Racing for a Rose and (always)Running Late

Saturday was the Run for the Roses 5k race in Prentiss and it nearly started like the Doctor’s Day Dash. (You can read about that debacle in my post “Slow is the New Fast”.)

We woke up super early and “planned” on leaving a little before or by 7 because it was a long drive over and we still had to register and warm up and go to the bathroom one last time. If you haven’t noticed a pattern by now, I’ll point it out. I run late constantly! I never intend to and I really try to leave when I’m supposed to but something just always seems to happen. I end up leaving at the latest time we’re supposed to go instead of the earliest. *Sigh* Most of you that are reading this already know me (some are related to me :)) and know that I’m not exaggerating about this in the least. If you don’t know me personally, just read a few of my blogs and you’ll get the drift. I know it drives Jason insane. I’m so lucky that he’s such a sweet and patient man!

So our race actually began by us racing out of the house and trying to get there in enough time to get everything done. It was foggy and we ended up driving behind the slowest person in the county and it was a no passing zone….so…we were in a bit of a bigger rush by the time we actually got to the race. There were TONS of people there so we were extremely fortunate to find a parking spot right across the street from the sign up booth. Jason is always amped up before a race and running late doesn’t help him with that. He bolted out just as soon as we parked to get to the registration table while I tried to gather my things together and then I caught up with him. When it was finally our turn, we found out that we were at the wrong table (go figure). We also missed out on the race t-shirts because they ran out. Oh, I forgot to mention that the entire time we were trying to register and go to the bathroom there was a man on a bullhorn yelling over and over, “RUNNERS YOU NEED TO LINE UP! WE’RE ABOUT TO START! IT’S A HOT DAY, THE SOONER WE START, THE SOONER WE CAN FINISH!” Thanks mister bullhorn man because we weren’t under enough pressure already, lol! As we ran to the bathrooms, I couldn’t help but wonder if they were going to actually start the race early and Jason’s worse nightmare would come true but luckily, they didn’t! As we were leaving the bathrooms, we heard the faint sound of singing and realized that they were singing the national anthem so we high-tailed it up to the starting line. My ear bud cords were tangled in a knot (what’s new?) and it took nearly the entire time the minister was praying to try to untangle them. I was saying a prayer too and I’m sure the Lord understood that I just couldn’t shut my eyes right then. (He hears us wherever we are!) Well, my prayers were answered because I got them untangled and in my ears just in time to kiss Jason goodbye and take off.

Before I tell you about the race, let me remind you of 3 things that I really don’t enjoy when I run/race: 1.) a track 2.) heat and humidity 3.) hills. Can you guess which one wasn’t part of the race? I’m grateful it wasn’t all 3!

It only took a few steps to realize one thing: I should not have run hills on Thursday!! My legs were feeling tired and I had barely gone half a mile. It was hot…really hot. Not only was it hot but it was humid too and that makes things even worse because you can’t breathe very well when the humidity is so high. I was struggling, to say the least. My legs felt weak. I couldn’t catch my breath. People were passing me like I was standing still. I didn’t care. I hit the wall. I wanted to stop. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt that way and I hate how it feels. I knew that I had to snap out of it. I started telling myself to focus and to get back on track. By the time we were into our 2nd mile, I was feeling a little stronger and into a better zone. I couldn’t let the elements control me. As we turned and went into the final stretch of the race, I was finally back into a groove and looking forward to seeing the finish line. What I wasn’t expecting to see was a steep hill, then another slight hill and to top it off…a hill right before the finish line. I just couldn’t go any faster on that last one. I wanted to but it was all I could do to climb it. I knew that once I got to the top, I could glide my way down and finish. Of course now I look back and think “Why didn’t I go just a little faster up that hill?”. My time was 30:54 but maybe it could have been under 30 if I could have just been a little stronger throughout the race. After racing on hills last weekend in cool weather and racing on hills this weekend in an oven heat, I have to say that heat apparently affects me more than hills do. I don’t know when I’ve been so happy to see a finish line and getting a beautiful long-stemmed rose made things better too.

Topping the last hill before the finish line!

Crossing the finish line!!

I didn’t place on Saturday but Jason won 3rd place in his age group, coming in at 22:18! I’m so proud of him! There was some tough competition there.

Jason receiving his award

By the way, our 16-year-old niece also won 3rd in her age group and my sister-in-law, Donna (her mom) ran the entire race for the very first time!! It was an awesome day overall (minus the heat, lol). We met some very nice people while we were there and had a lot of fun. I’m really glad we were able to take part in it.

Holding my beautiful rose that they gave all of the ladies when we crossed the finish line.

I have plenty of training to focus on in the weeks to come. The Crescent City Classic is April 23rd and that means that I have to start focus on my 10k runs for a little while. We don’t have a race this coming weekend so we can have a little down time, if there is such a thing with 5 kids! 🙂

I’m afraid my hill work for the night might be thwarted again with bad weather. Good news is that with no race this weekend I can move things around if I need to without having to risk tired legs.

I hope all of you had a great weekend and if you had runs or races that they went well too! Remember to just try to get 3 days of walking/running in if you possibly can!

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Filed under Racing, Running

Sometimes you just have to have a little faith….

Well, this is my update that I was hoping to do on Saturday after the race.  I should really stop thinking that I might actually get to blog 2 days in a row because it’s just not happening, lol. Another reason I’ve held off on writing was because I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around the race on Saturday. If you don’t already know what happened, I’ll fill you in.

The last time I left you, I was preparing for my biggest 5k racing challenge yet. I was feeling more than intimidated after we drove the course the day before and I got my first good look at those hills.  I’ve just recently started kicking in serious hill training days in order to prepare for the Okatoma 5k race in May but this one on Saturday was much worse and much sooner than I’d anticipated. Not sure if you know this but I don’t like hills! 😦 What’s really crazy is that I wasn’t nervous on the morning of the race. I was super tired the night before (read my previous entry to find out why) and I really think, for once, not being amped up helped me. I had given myself permission to go slower if needed…to do worse than I’d ever expected…to not even beat some of the walkers – Ok, I’ll admit I was being a little overly permissive but I really thought I was going to bomb, which is not the way anyone should think when they are trying to do accomplish something. I suppose you could even say that I had come to terms with my poor performance long before the race started. When we got there, it was so nice and cool, which was a huge encouragement for me because I loathe hot weather when I’m running! I had worn my long sleeve 13.1 running shirt and my running skirt but really could have been a lot more comfy in a short sleeve shirt. I’m certain of this because by the time I had hit the first mile I was really wishing I could rip my sleeves off. There was a fair amount of people there for such a small town race but still not nearly as many as the other two in the last couple of weeks.

When we started lining up, I decided to use Jason’s suggestion again and line up near the front. This time, I lined up right beside him and we were very close to the front row. As I looked around, so many of the ladies “looked fast”. If you’ve ever raced, you know what I mean. I always look around and think, “Yep, she knows what she’s doing or he’s got his shirt off and weighs a lot less than me…he’ll run it in less than 20 mins. So, after sizing up my competition, I just prepared for the race to finally begin because I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me.

I had planned on running the first 200 yards a little faster because it wasn’t as hilly and I knew I should use that to my advantage. As I took off from the starting line, most of the front-runners did what they normally do, they left me in their dust but there were still a few folks in front of me that I could have reached out and touched. We made our first turn on to the main road that we would be running on (yes,the one with the killer hills!) and I expected a pack of ladies to pass me but they didn’t. I made it over the first hill and started my descent down. “Now, they’re going to catch me”, I thought to myself because they could gain all the speed they needed once they headed downhill. No one passed me. I kept trudging ahead, the thought of them gaining on me any minute occupied my thoughts as I closely watched my pace. Finally, a younger girl ran by me and continued on ahead and I expected the same thing to keep happening. (Was I being ultra negative that day or what??!!) We turned left off of the main road and continued our run around a school. When I turned, I could see where I had been and where the other ladies were. (I can never bring myself to actually turn around and look behind me during a race, so that’s the only way I was going to check.)  I was in shock and kind of freaking out too. They were far enough behind that I had a safe lead on them but I just kept thinking that I couldn’t slow down because if I did, they’d catch me! What the heck was wrong with me?? Where did this crazy competitor come from? I’ve raced before and I’ve even beaten a few people as we approached the finish line but this…this was a whole new feeling. Going around the school gave me time to recover from the hills we’d been running on just in time to go right back on that road and run them again in the opposite direction. I was so happy to hear my Nike+ lady cheerfully tell me that I only had 1 kilometer left!! I kept a close eye on my pace but never once checked my time. I turned right to make the final loop before turning down the street towards the finish line. It was a little flatter and I was so glad of that! When I got to the turn to head towards the finish, Jason was there waiting to run in with me. I was so glad to see him but I knew what seeing him meant – Run even harder! He was egging me on to run faster and as we approached the time clock, several things happened at once. He started telling me not to slow down (I didn’t realize that I was?), my jaw dropped and I was laughing and nearly crying and then I sped up again. The clock said 29:something…I didn’t even see the other two numbers. Apparently when I saw my time, I nearly stopped completely out of shock. Thank goodness I didn’t! My time on my Ipod said 29:47. This was my 3rd personal record in 3 straight weeks/races. Each time I’ve been equally shocked and excited but never as much as this day. This is the day that changed things for me. This wasn’t a flat course….it was HILLS! Of course, immediately I started thinking it had to be a mistake even though they had clearly measured it out and spray painted the mile markers on the road. I just couldn’t believe it. With such little faith in myself, I’d done something I never expected to do (at least not any time soon).

We began the wait for them to announce the winners. Jason was telling me that he knew I’d placed but I just couldn’t let myself think I had. I’ve never won anything before in a race. (I really have confidence issues when it comes to running, if you haven’t noticed yet…I’ve Got To Work On This!) When they finally got to my age group, the announced 3rd – not me, 2nd – nope, I never thought when they announced 1st it would be me. The words 1st place and Gina Mooney have never been put together. Ever. But this day was different. I’ve had many milestones as a runner in the last year but this was like a dream. I’d imagined it while I was out running many times but never thought of it as a possible reality. I cried more than once that day when I tried to talk about it and, in fact, I did a little while writing this tonight. It may sound silly to some of you but I finally feel like I’m not just a beginner anymore. I feel like I’ve finally moved to the next level and I’m just going to keep on moving forward.

Jason won 1st in his age group too with a time of 21:36, a new personal record for him as well! We both received Olive Garden gift certificates (yum!) as our prize instead of a medal or trophy but I still ended up with one! Jason bought a medal for me that says 1st place to commemorate the first time I ever won a race and yes, I have it hanging up in our room. 🙂

So, that was Saturday’s events in a not so brief re-cap. It was pretty much a red-letter day for me. I missed my hill training tonight because of all the bad weather we had here but I’ll hit it tomorrow evening. We are thinking about racing in the Run for the Roses 5k this Saturday but haven’t decided for sure.

If I learned anything this weekend, it was to have a little more faith in myself and never give up even when it all seems uphill. If you take anything away from my blog today, I hope that you will have the confidence that I should’ve had when I was racing that day, never give up and DON’T SLOW DOWN WHEN YOU GET TO THE FINISH LINE! 🙂


“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”

1 Corinthians 9:24 ESV


Filed under Running

Slow is the new fast

It’s been a few days since I’ve had a chance to sit down and blog, mainly because things have been pretty busy around here. We had another 5k race on Saturday, March 26 which was the Doctor’s Day Dash (I’ll come back to that in a moment), Sunday was my oldest son’s 17th birthday, dentist and doctor’s appointments abound this week , AND the weather cooled off. ( Yay!! Thank you, Lord!!)

Saturday was the Doctor’s Day Dash at the Longleaf Trace Gateway at USM. There was a pretty large turnout for it, which we expected since it was free, unless you didn’t pre-register and then it was only $5.00 to run or walk in it. I thought it was a really well organized race and the weather, compared to the race the weekend before, was much more tolerable. Even though we had planned to get there early enough to warm up for a few minutes, we were running late. Our warm up ended up being us trekking through the parking lot as quickly as possible to go get our race packets, take them back to the vehicle and go to the bathroom, of course.

The bathroom seemed to be the biggest challenge on this day! The line was a mile long and some brave girls were even sneaking over to the men’s room. The countdown for the race was down to about 2 mins or less and there I stood with about 5 ladies in front of me. Why oh why was I thinking that 5 women could all go to bathroom in 2 mins or less?? Jason finally convinced me to try the men’s bathroom, but, as my luck would have it, it was occupied too by women. I looked back over at the ladies room. With about a minute or less to go before the race started, low and behold the bathroom had cleared out (apparently they had given up on it, as I should have)! I made a mad dash from the bathroom and there was about 20 seconds left before the gun fired. With my heart pounding, I feverishly wiggled my way through the crowd to get closer to the front, stuck my ear buds in and pressed play on my Ipod just in time. That’s not the best way to begin a race, by the way. 🙂

Besides the awful start, I really felt good while I was running, once I finally settled down and was able to get to a good pace. I don’t usually start near the front but gave it a try because Jason had suggested it was much easier than using so much energy passing people at the beginning. He was right!  I felt only a little fatigued around the 2 mile mark but after allowing myself a few seconds to “get it together”, I was ok again and feeling strong. As I approached the finish line, for some reason I had decided my time was going to be slower than usual. I don’t have a clue why I was thinking that…maybe just not getting my hopes up? I hadn’t even looked at my time on my Ipod, just my pace. I was only about 100 meters or less away and I glanced up at the numbers on the clock that I had been dreading to see. I couldn’t believe it. Surely I was hallucinating? I looked over again….it had the number 31 at the beginning!!! Not 32 or 33…Thirty one!! My unofficial time was 31:08. Fastest ever. Now, for you really super fast runners that are reading this, I know you’d probably choke on your sports beans if your time was ever this “slow”. For me….the person that considered getting a tshirt that says, “This is my race pace!”, it was a huge deal! In the race the weekend before, I had set another PR,coming in at 32:04, even though the actual race results were jumbled and it shows me coming in behind Jason at slower times. (He was behind me that day, for once in history, only because he was pushing Zach and Zoe and I’m pretty sure he was still holding back.)

I really thought that it would be awhile before I could surpass my time of 32:04. He kept saying for me to try and start closer to the front and try to aim for 31:59. So, that’s what I did and I couldn’t believe it. I’m so thankful to have Jason to encourage me, give me a high five when we meet each other in passing during our races (He’s always the one on his way back and I’m on my way to the turn around!) and cheer me on at the finish line! Oh, and he set a PR that day too by running it 22:30 *unofficially* AND won 3rd in his age group!!

Overall, it was a really great day. I didn’t win any prizes or medals but sometimes the best prize is accomplishing something that you thought you couldn’t and running into the arms of the people that you love. I did both.


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March 31, 2011 · 3:04 AM

Looking back at one year of Running, Racing and Reaching Goals

***Warning:  If you aren’t a runner or remotely interested in running, this may be the most boring thing you’ve read. Ever. Trust me.***

I was never a runner….that’s what I’ve always said.

I would see people out running and think how nice it would be to be able to do something like that but knew I never would because “I’m just not cut out for running”. I would watch with curiosity while Jason got his gear ready for a race the next morning and could never understand why in the world he had to get up so early to be at a race that started at 8 and was 15 minutes away.  It was, in fact, the most uninteresting thing to me in the world of exercise, mainly because I thought it was this big unattainable feat.

I had tried it before. I’d speed the treadmill up and go from a fast walk to a trot and I’d glare at the time ticking so slowly as I felt my legs burning and my chest tight because I could barely breathe. I’d press the button as fast as I could to slow it down and go back to my fast walk. I’d try it at the track. I would try to run the straight parts but most of the time I could barely make it from one end to the other before I thought I was going to absolutely collapse. “Who would want to do this and why am I even trying??” were a few of my thoughts. I would leave thinking, “I’ll just stick to walking.” and (again) “I’m just not a runner.”

It all started innocently enough last year, a few months after I had Zoe. I had started trying to ease into some type of exercise. I decided that taking some walks on pretty days would be one way to do it and I could bring the kids and push them in the stroller. My oldest daughter came too and on the days that it was too cold, she was sweet enough to offer to watch them while I went for my walk. My first walk consisted of walking to the first rest stop, which seemed far enough to me, and then walking back. If anyone is familiar with this part of the trace in Sumrall, you’ll know that I wasn’t exactly pushing it to the limit….in fact, my heart rate probably didn’t even change but I was trying. My next big venture was to walk all the way to the first car crossing, as I call it, and then go back. After a few times of doing that, I had the craziest thing come over me. I wanted to see if I could mix in just a few seconds of very slow running jogging with my walking. I always assured myself that I didn’t have to do it for long and then I could go back to walking as soon as I felt like I needed to. So that’s what I’d do. I would push the stroller for a little bit and then I’d hand it over to Becka and inform her that I was going to run for a min or two. It was more like 30 seconds or a minute but little by little, things were changing. One day, we got to our turnaround spot and I told her that I was just going to keep going for just a little ways more. Instead of walking, I jogged from that point until I was across the first car crossing, which is a pretty good stretch for a non runner! There was another one coming up. I walked until I got to it and then I jogged it too. I can’t really explain the excitement I felt but it’s kind of like when you’re first learning to ride a bike and you actually stay on it long enough to pedal a few times before you wipe out again. You can actually feel it, get a taste of how it could be if you could just keep pedaling. So, I turned around and did it again and then after that, I walked a little and then jogged until I caught up with the kids. I was exhilarated! Suddenly, I began having thoughts that maybe I could try to do this every time and maybe I could actually start trying to run a little more than I walked. Crazy? Yes. Did I try it? Of course.

Fast forward a few weeks to February 8, 2010. I went alone that day. I had my new Nike+ gadget that goes with my Ipod. I’d only used it a couple of times. The last walk/run I had gone on was a few days before and I’d gone 12k (about 7 miles). There was something on this day (Feb.8) that made me decide I was going to just try to start out running….slowly. As always, I reminded myself that I didn’t have to keep it up if I started feeling bad, so I hit play on my Ipod and away I went. Step after step, my smile seemed to get bigger and bigger although in the back of my mind, I still wondered how far was going to be “far enough” and I’d have to walk. I had set my distance for a 5k. Could I do this? As I clip-clopped along, the lady on my Ipod informed me I had completed 1km. All that I could think about was that I was still running and I wasn’t ready to stop yet. Before I knew it, the little voice from my ear buds cheerfully announced “Halfway point”. Halfway point?? Already?? I was really doing this…slowly…but I was doing it. The only reason I wanted it to be over was so I could call Jason and tell him what I’d just done. Then the countdown began. 400 meters, 300 meters, 200….I was nearly there and I hadn’t stopped once. This was huge. My little lady friend on the Ipod congratulated me for completing my run, it was if I’d finished a marathon. I had tears in my eyes but it was from being so very happy. I took the next day off but could only think of when I could go again and when I did (2 days later) I ran 8k. Looking back, I shouldn’t have kept pushing distance so soon but I was in awe of how my body adjusted and how much better I felt. Seven days later, I ran my first 10k distance and made up my mind then that I was going to run in the Crescent City Classic in April. I think Jason probab thought I’d lost my mind.

My first race ever was on March 19, the Irish-Italian Festival in Hattiesburg. It was more so I could get the feel of how it was to run with other people in a competitive environment because I surely didn’t place. I liked the feeling of a race. I liked the excitement and I really liked being there as a racer, not a spectator.

My first 5k race. Italian Irish 5k March 19,2010

Crescent City Classic was only a couple of weeks away (April 3) and it would be only my 2nd race ever! When the race weekend finally came, I suddenly realized I had a some quirks too when it came time to get ready for the next morning. (I also thoroughly enjoyed eating the great pasta meal that we’re encouraged to eat the night before a big race!!) There were so many people there! Jason had tried to prepare me on how it would be because he had run in it the year before but I really had no clue. I also quickly found out that not everyone lines up in their correct corral. This meant that as I was running along, I’d suddenly have to come to a squealing halt and then dart right or left to avoid plowing into a cluster of ladies that were walking and visiting and pulling a wagon and even sometimes had their arms linked. I caught on fast and began looking for open spots before I had to slam on brakes. I think it’s all just part of being in a race with 20,000 other people, unless your one of the ones on front wearing a white bib, which means you’ll never even realize how many people are in the race because you’ll finish before half of us make it to the half way point. After the first few miles, I settled in and truly enjoyed myself. People were everywhere cheering us on, bands played, some even had their sprinklers on and pointed in our direction (I would run out of my way to go right through them too!). When I crossed the finish line I felt like I was on top of the world. The only thing missing was Jason to give me a hug or a high five….literally, he was missing. I immediately decided he had broken a leg or had a heart attack during the race. Funny enough, he was thinking the same thing about me. Apparently, just a few minutes before I finished, some poor guy had a seizure after he crossed the finish line and they made Jason and others move away. So, he missed seeing me cross, finally went back to wait for me and started getting pretty worried when I never showed up. I was waiting in what I thought was our designated meeting spot but I kept moving around because I kept thinking maybe that wasn’t it after all. It took about an hour but we finally found each other and low and behold neither of us had broken bones or had been hospitalized. It was a great experience and also one of the longest races I figured I’d ever run. Ever. Who are those crazies that run those half and full marathons???  Not me, thank you very much.

Before the Crescent City Classic. April 3,2010

Sometime after Crescent City Classic and before the Okatoma Festival 5k (May 1) I began suffering from what I thought were just shin splints. This was really starting to become a problem with my training and on top of that the weather was warming up. I had never run in pain and I had never run in the heat. Mix those together and things were starting to get ugly. I ran a race in my hometown of Columbia on April 24 with a time of 34:41. By the time I finished the Okatoma race a week later, I thought my leg was literally going to break off. My time was 32:54. I was disappointed, I was hurt (physically) and I was suddenly wondering, again, if I was really  cut out for all of this.

Crossing the finish line in my 2nd 5k race in Columbia. We ran in an absolute monsoon. April 24

Crossing the finish line, Okatoma Festival 5k. May 1st

We decided that maybe I should take some time off for awhile and let me leg heal. I was devastated but knew I had to. It didn’t get any better. It hurt when I ran, walked, when I stood still, even when I tried to sleep it hurt. It was time to go to the doctor. They examined me and x-rayed my leg. The doctor said he was pretty sure that it was a stress fracture but that it wouldn’t show up on an x-ray until it had healed. He advised no running for 6-8 weeks. Wow. We bought an elliptical machine to help me through that time but it was really hard to deal with. Anyone that runs on a regular basis will understand what I’m talking about.

I slowly and nervously started getting back into the swing of things again around the end of July. As I began to get back my confidence and strength, I also started wondering about pushing my distance a little more. I mentioned to Jason that the thought had crossed my mind about attempting a half marathon one day. I believe he looked at me the same way he did when I mentioned running the Crescent City Classic.

We began to look at training plans. It wasn’t long before we knew that he’d be ready long before I would be. Because he was beginning to peak with his training, he decided to run the Orange Beach Half Marathon Nov.30 and I ran the 5k. I still was determined to run one too.

After the race in Orange Beach. It was soooo cold that day!!!! November 30,2010

As I began to bump up my mileage, I started to realize that this might be the kind of running I was meant to do. I could run slower (without feeling the pressure of having to be fast) and because I was running a little slower, I could run and run and run. I loved that I could almost forget that I was even running and could just enjoy myself. I even loved my black toenails!

My black toenails from running. Gross maybe....but for me it means I've been putting in major mileage!

We were looking at either the Rock and Roll Half in New Orleans or the half in Long Beach as possible dates to aim for and finally settled on Long Beach. Ironically, it was their Carnival Association’s first time to have a half marathon so I think it was a good fit for me. I didn’t go to bed the night before until nearly midnight, which wasn’t my plan but Zoe wasn’t ready to go to sleep. So after riding all around the Biloxi Regional Airport a few times, we actually drove down to Long Beach to where the race would be held.  That’s when I realized I was nervous. I had never been nervous for a race (I’d only be in a few).  I’d always been a little excited, a little amped up but not really nervous. The next morning, I had settled down some and was ready for the race to begin. We were able to take some great pictures with the beautiful sunrise as our backdrop. The race began and people shot by me as if we were in a 5k race. It was the hardest thing in the world to make myself stay on pace. I didn’t want everyone, including one very fast speed walking grandmother, to pass me! Lots did though and I just kept going at the pace I knew would see me through until the end. There were NO mile markers and my trusty Nike+ wasn’t exactly giving me an accurate reading but the one thing I did know was that, at some point, we had to turn around and at least I’d loosely know where I was. I really needed to know when I was starting to get close to the end because I wanted to bump my speed up. Something I learned that day was this: When you’re running by the beach on a flat, straight course, you can see where the finish line is for a really long, long time. Finally, I had an idea. There had also been a 5k race that morning and I remembered passing their turnaround point when our race started. I knew that when I finally got there, the finish line was close! Another thing I discovered is that when you aren’t exactly sure where you are, it feels like it goes on forever. Imagine my dismay when my Ipod congratulated me for completing my half marathon and I hadn’t reached the 5k turnaround point I’d been searching so feverishly for! The thrill of the countdown of those last 400 meters kind of lost their appeal when it was obvious I was no where near finishing. Kind of a spirit breaker, to say the least but I decided to just laugh about it. When the little lady came on and said I had gone 1 mile over my goal, I just laughed and said out loud, “Yeah right!” I’m sure the people around me thought I was crazy but hey, aren’t we all just a little, especially when we’re getting ourselves through a long run. Finally, the elusive turnaround appeared and I felt rejuvenated. As I approached the end and could see people waiting, it didn’t matter that my Ipod wasn’t feverishly counting down every step I made. I could see my family! My husband was there. My sister and her family were there and I couldn’t resist swinging close and giving them a high five as I passed by and then smiling big for the camera because I WAS CROSSING THE FINISH LINE! I’ve never gotten any medals in my first year of running so when they gave me my medal, I could have been receiving Olympic gold!  It ended almost how I had imagined many times when I had been training and visualizing the finish line, except I had kind of imagined a better time too, but you do those things when your dreaming big. The best thing was that I had set a goal that I would have never imagined even wanting to do a year before and I did it.

Almost to the finish line! January 30,2011

After the Half in Long Beach. January 30,2011

So, here I am now nearly full circle. It’s been a year and I’m preparing for the Crescent City Classic once again with probably a 5k race a few weeks before. I truly can’t believe how far I’ve come in a year and how many possibilities lie ahead of me. I’ll do another half marathon again and my husband and I have even been throwing around the idea of a marathon at some point…but probably not anytime soon. My vocabulary has evolved and now includes words like speed work, pace, PR, long runs, tempo runs, hill training, etc. I’m now making sure I am always properly hydrated and that I eat plenty of protein. I’ve also learned that all carbs aren’t bad. I’ve learned that with the proper clothes and shoes, a run can be a lot more enjoyable and that while my Ipod/Nike+ is a good guide, it may not be entirely correct. I’ve realized that our bodies will adapt. They love to move and even if they haven’t moved in a long time (I don’t mean just to get up to turn the tv on either), they can if you just give yourself a little time to adjust.

We were designed to be active. If we’d been created to sit on our rear ends constantly, we wouldn’t have leg muscles that have the potential to be so strong!  I’ve always known this but now I believe it because after 5 5k races, 1 10k race, 1 half marathon, 50+lbs lost, 1 year and 386 miles later, I’m living it.

My only advice I have is this:

  • If you are thinking about trying out running for the first time – Take a chance and just try. Don’t give up after the first time or two. Give it a chance, give your body a chance. You can do it!
  • If you’ve just started running in the last month or so – keep going! Don’t decide you hate it if you have a few bad runs because bad runs happen sometimes. Find out what went wrong and correct it for the next time. You’re at the beginning of a whole new world opening up for you.
  • If you’re an old pro at this – Thanks for being an example and giving us new folks someone to aspire to be like. Keep on lacing up and putting in those miles. You don’t know who you might be inspiring.

I was never a runner... I am one now.

1 Corinthians 9:24

Philippians 4:13



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