Tag Archives: races

Chicagoland Marathon Race Recap

24 May

This post is very difficult to write, and one that I am not excited to be writing. It will most likely be lengthy and filled with emotions. So saddle up, readers…hope you’re ready for this bumpy ride!

Saturday

Saturday morning I was up at 4am, and out the door by 4:45 headed to the airport for my 6:30am flight. I had planned to be in Chicago at 8am, and hang out and wait until Diana and her husband Lee arrived at 10am.

Well, those plans changed. Following a very delayed flight, and changing flights 3 times, I finally made it to Chicago at 4pm in the afternoon (Diana and her husband were there at 10am, in case you were wondering). I arrived at the hotel in Schaumburg, IL just in time to leave for dinner. I was raging, and ready to punch someone (preferably an American Airlines worker). But I made it.

7am at the airport. I am doing a great job of hiding my anger!

Diana, Lee and I had a lovely dinner (they are so sweet to let me play 3rd wheel all weekend), and got plenty of carbs stored up in our body. We visualized the race together, and spoke about how amazing it was going to be when we crossed the finish line under 3:45, and earned Diana a BQ.

Stuffed and happy!

Loving our new shirts!!

We were all so positive, and so upbeat about the race. We KNEW things were going to work out. It wasn’t an option for them not to.

Following dinner we headed back to the hotel and got everything ready for the race. We pinned our numbers on our shirts, planned our GU stops, marked down where Lee would be spectating us, and had one last pep talk.

Ready to run!

Foot is all taped!

I got back to my room, and got in bed. I was happy and excited. I had really good feelings about our race, and the 26.2 miles we faced in the morning. I wasn’t worried about the weather, and the fact that it was supposed to be unseasonably warm. It was all good…and it would all work out. Because as I said earlier – it had to.

Sunday – Pre-Race

I shot out of bed at 5:45am on Sunday. I was ready to run. After getting myself prepared and compiling my gear, I walked down to Diana’s room. Diana was nervous, but excited as well.

The weather was on TV in her room. I saw that it was already 70 degrees at 6:15am. I slightly panicked, and then shut off the TV. I told them there was NO reason to watch. We could not control the weather, but we could control our bodies (so we thought…).

Our next stop was the starting line. We headed outside and got in the car. I sarcastically yelled, “OMG it is so chilly out here!!! Why didn’t I bring my sweater???”. Truth was, it was very warm. But we refused to acknowledge it.

Following a photo shoot, we got to the start. We were so excited and nervous, but we were ready. This race was going to be our race today. No doubt about it.

Staying in the shade for as long as possible.

Heading to the start.

Can you spy Di and I?!? And the bitchy lady in the background that kept making fun of us for our “overly matching outfits”?

Sunday – Race Time

We crossed the starting line, and hit our watches. Mile 1 was a warm up mile to get our bodies ready. We would let people pass us, but we would see them again soon once we were in the groove. The temperature at the start: 76 degrees.

The course was two loops, with multiple out and back sections.

The first few miles went by pretty fast. But one thing was clear: it was HOT. I had sweat dripping down my face 2 miles in. I am not a big sweater (and besides…girls glow), so I knew this wasn’t a good sign for the 24.2 miles to go. But I ignored it.

I kept Diana and I on pace according to our pace bands. We were hitting our miles, and we were on track to run a 3:42.

Staying positive!

oh hey!

Then, it got really hot.

Around mile 10 Diana said to me, “Ali, I am so hot. Why is it so hot today?” I replied, “Di, I know it is hot, but we have to deal with it. We have to fight through. We can beat it”.

Then we saw Lee, who handed us ice cold bandanas to wrap around our necks. These felt amazing and were finally a relief from the warm weather. We continued to take water at every water stop, and tried our hardest to get fluids in our bodies. We were doing everything right. But the heat was quickly getting to us. And there was very little relief from the sun beating down on us.

That bandana around my neck and sports bra was ahhh mazing!

The halfway point in this race was brutal. We had to run next to to the 13.1 finish line, and keep going to do it all over again (A few weeks before the race, the course was changed. Due to the course change, we would be running a two loop marathon. I am going to throw it out there now that two loop marathons should be illegal).

Diana was becoming very overheated, and dizzy. I grabbed us two bottles of water and opened one for her. We stopped, and I ordered her to drink. Between the two of us we drank two bottles of water in about 2 minutes. We started running again, and I was able to grab another bottle of water from Lee. I kept forcing Diana to drink more while we were running, as well as myself. I was worried about her. In all of training runs and hard workouts, I had never seen her in this state.

By mile 15, we faced the realization that a Boston Qualifying time would not be happening today. Realizing this was heartbreaking. And having to admit it out loud was even worse. We had worked so hard, and Diana deserved that BQ so much. It just wasn’t fair.

On another note – this course totally sucked. We had to share this tiny little path with bikers and recreational runners/walker/children. It was ridiculous!!!

We stopped and regrouped (while chugging more water). Then we decided there was a new goal today: finishing.

I never imagined that I would make it a goal of mine to finish a race. I was stupid to think it would never be something I had to solely work towards. I may have a gift and natural ability, but that doesn’t mean a marathon finish will always come easy (and boy did I realize this during the race). No one is entitled to always have a finish. And I will never forget that.

We had no idea that our tall friend wanted to hug!

Around mile 17, Diana was feeling 100 times better, and I was feeling 100 times worse. My legs were cramping with the worst leg cramps I had ever experienced. I was so hot, my asthma was terrible and I felt like my body wouldn’t work anymore. I kept making Diana stop so I could stretch out my calves. I urged her to go on without me, but like a true friend – she stayed by my side.

When my watch beeped mile 18, Diana asked which mile we had completed. I replied with 18, and she responded with, “Shit…the race hasn’t even started yet!!!!”. Every marathoner has it drilled into their head that the race starts at mile 20. And we had nothing to do but laugh when we thought about that phrase. Our race started at mile 1. No doubt about that!!!

Trucking along at mile 19, and kind of hating life.

Mile 23 came, and I started to have a complete meltdown. I made us stop once again, and I started crying. Running is my “thing”. It’s my constant in life. Running is always there for me. Running I can always do. Life might throw me curve balls (and I have received way too many lately), and I deal with it by running. But during this race, running threw me a curve ball too. And I wasn’t handling it well.

Trying with all of my strength to stay positive.

Diana was so supportive, and got me through me through my cry fest. I couldn’t have kept going if it wasn’t for her.

Finally we saw the finish, and it was the most excited I had ever been to see a finish line. We pumped our legs as hard as we could, and got our bodies across. We smiled through the heartbreak of our missed goal, and managed to take a pretty darn good picture to cap off the race.

YAY! And please notice that apparently it was too hot for spectators to come out.

Accountability partners until the end!!! And I also look like a giant in this photo. I am only 5’4…I swear.

Official time: 4:13:43

Sunday – Post Race

Although we were happy to be done with the race, we were very upset. We hobbled over to a curb and sat down. We drank more water (I swear I drank at least two gallons of water in a 4 hour period), and took a moment to just sit and reflect.

Couldn’t have finished without you!

I got out my phone and was floored by all of the sweet messages from friends and family. Everyone is so thoughtful, and I am beyond thankful. I then checked the weather. It was 88 degrees. 88 degrees is hot if you are walking outside. We were running a MARATHON. No wonder we were dying.

It turns out that only 102 women and 154 men finished the marathon. This was significantly lower than the number that signed up. Many runners opted for the half marathon due to the heat.

The biggest surprise of the day was that I somehow managed to get 3rd place in my age group!

Double medals!

The best way to describe the way I was feeling is mad. I was so mad that the weather sucked. I was mad that I watched Diana put months of training into this race and it didn’t work out. I was mad that we lost control of our race due to the heat. And I was mad that I totally blew up the second half and felt like I held Diana back from running faster (Di, I know you are reading this yelling at me right now!).

We headed back to the hotel and got showered and packed up. Then we checked out and went to lunch. Chicago pizza hit the spot, and the huge beer was even tastier. Although we were feeling blue, we were keeping our heads up. Diana was staying so positive, even though she was sad.

Lee was the best cheerleader EVER!!!

We finished off the weekend with more awful traveling. After two cancelled flights, we checked ourselves into a Holiday Inn at 2am, and got about 5 hours of sleep before we had to go back to the airport and try it all again (American Airlines, I HATE YOU!!!!!). By the way, when you are sad, tired and physically feel awful, the airport is the last place you want to spend 8 hours of your life. By Sunday night I was snapping at anyone who looked at me the wrong way.

Post Race Thoughts

After I finally made it home on Monday afternoon, I was still upset, and Diana was too. It made us sick that the Chicago weather on Monday morning was 50’s with overcast skies – near perfect weather for a marathon. In all of our efforts to find good out of the weekend, we simply couldn’t. There was no positive spin to put on the race. Everything about it sucked.

Although I should be celebrating my 2nd marathon finish, I continue to be saddened by the thought of a missed goal. And mostly, I am sad for Diana. She deserves that BQ. She worked so damn hard. It just isn’t fair.

My body is quickly recovering, but my mind and soul are not. After my first marathon, I was on a high for days. Since this one ended, I have been at quite a low.

Each day gets easier, but I still don’t understand why things worked out the way they did. Why did the weather have to be so outrageous? Why did they have to change the course? And why did months of training have to go to waste like that?? If you know the answers to any of these things, please let me know.

I earned you.

This marathon might have sucked, but that doesn’t mean my determination is gone. And I’d be lying if I said plans for our next big race weren’t already in the works ūüėČ

xo,

Ali

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It’s in the Bag! (Literally)

19 May

First of all, I would like everyone to know that I should be in Chicago right now, relaxing in my hotel. But I’m not. I am sitting in the airport in Kansas City waiting for my flight, after my first flight was 8 hours delayed. I might have had a tiny meltdown (ok, like 6 huge meltdowns) already and threatened multiple ticketing agents. They don’t think running a marathon is as big of a deal as I do. How dare them.

6:30am, at MCI airport –

Ali: “You don’t understand. I need to be in Chicago TODAY. THIS MORNING. I have to do stride outs and hydrate and prepare for my MARATHON.”
American Airlines Worker: “Mam (ummm, how dare she “Mam” me), we will do what we can. But right now we don’t have any other options”.
Ali: “I don’t care if you have me ride in the CARGO bin of a sold out flight. I don’t care if I have to sit in the bathroom for 1 hour, GET ME TO CHICAGO ASAP THIS MORNING!!!!!!”
Worker: “Ok, how about a 1:58pm flight?”
Ali: “Fine”.

Ok…now onto the point of this blog post….

Have you ever seen those articles in US Weekly, where they go through a celebrities bag? Well, I thought it would be fun to show you what is in my bag when I travel for a race! Here we go!

Medical Essentials

I hate that I have to run with an inhaler strapped to me, but such is life for a person with asthma.
KT Tape is a lifesaver.
I take 4 ibuprofen before the race starts.

Energy Essentials

I love strawberry lemonade NUUN.
GU is my go-to safe gel.
Gatorade pre-game is so yummy.

Food Essentials

Zone Bars for pre-race.
Chex Mix is my crack.
Arbonne Detox Tea.

Storage Essentials.

Spi Belts to store our GU, will remove after first two GU’s are gone.

Clothing Essentials

Workout clothes galore. I didn’t even pack a pair of jeans!

And the rest!

Laptop to blog.
Cross body bag – a must for traveling!
Make up, hair tools.
And everything else.

…………………………………………………………………………………..

In 12 short hours, I will be on my way to a two time marathon title. And I can’t freaking wait.

xoxoxoxo,

Ali

 

If only I smiled like Zeddie.

19 Apr

WARNING: This is a low self esteem post…

I wish I was as photogenic in my race photos as Zeddie Little is in his.

Oh Zeddie........

Zeddie looks happy, and effortless.

And then there is me……

I'm pretty sure those people in the background are judging me.

I look tired, and miserable. Also equipped with freaky legs.

As a note to myself – always look for photographers in races. And have a freakin’ smile on your face!!!

That is all for now.

-Ali

St. Patrick’s Day Fun Run, March 10, 2012

11 Mar

This weekend, I ran the Westport St. Patrick’s Day 4 mile run. I have done this race 3 times, and this year was the most fun of all.

Stacy, Diana and I decided that we would go all out in costume this year, and wear tutus. After spending a few a hours on Friday night cutting, looping and pulling, the tutus were complete (and I had carpel tunnel).

Saturday morning came and we all headed downtown to the race. We wanted to get in 4 miles prior to the race, since we usually run long on Saturdays. After a slow 3.5 mile warm up, we got dressed up and headed down to the start line. I ran into some other friends at the start line too!

Eileen wore a tutu too!!

Mile 1

The race started off quite annoying. I lined up in the 7 min mile, and it appears that everyone else lined up in that pace as well. I was having a mini meltdown from tripping over so many people. A tip to runners: If you are running a slower than what the sign says that you are standing under, MOVE BACK!!!!

Dan knows what I am talking about.

The first mile went by fast, and I ran a 6:59.

Mile 2

Luckily, a lot of the annoying people started to peel away during mile two, and I could find my racing groove and stop using so much energy dodging people.

Mile two was a 7:01

Mile 3

This mile went by pretty fast. There was some wind and some hills, but I made it! What I loved most about this mile is the 8 (approx.) year old girl I ran by. She was haulin’!!! And I was in awe. I said, “Girlfriend, you’re rockin!!!” as I ran by her. And she sweetly said, “Thank you!!”.

Mile three was a 7:13

Mile 4

My eye was on the prize in mile four, and that prize was the finish line. It was hard to pass up the jello shots and green beer people were passing out, but I knew there would be some to enjoy after the race!!

Mile 4 was a 6:57, and I finished the 4.03 mile race in 28:18.

Post Race Fun

After the race, we headed to a bar and starting hydrating. We ran hard, and we needed to re-fuel and re-hydrate.

Cheers!!!

Q: How much of a bloody mary ended up on my shirt?? A: Half, or $3.50 worth.

Stacy and Di rocked this race too! It was such a fun race for all of us girls to run together. Stacy and Diana’s husbands also ran, and did amazing as well!

The PERFECT day!

After Stacy and Diana headed home, I went to another nearby bar and met up with some friends that had also ran the race.

The post race hydration kept going….

GAG!!!

Tutu Twinkies.

Forever Friends!

All in all, it was a great day. The weather was perfect, and our legs were feeling fast.

Wishing you a bright and sunny week ahead!!

XOXO,

Ali

 

2012 Goals and Aspirations

5 Jan

2012 is a new year, which means new goals and new aspirations. Seeing that I am pretty much an open book to my readers, I would like to share these goals with you right now. Here goes!

In 2012, I dream of….

  1. Running a half marathon, and possibly getting that PR
  2. Running a half marathon next to my Mom, as she completes her very first 13.1
  3. Running a marathon, in an exciting city (NYC??)
  4. Running at least 800 miles (better get started)
  5. Completing at least one cross training workout every week
  6. Reaching my “goal weight”, by living healthy
  7. Saving money
  8. Taking a risk (a positive risk that is)
  9. Not allowing other people to have a negative impact on my life
  10. Blogging more (at least 4 times a week)
  11. Increasing my blog audience
  12. Becoming more involved with the FitFluential community
  13. Learning how to cook
  14. Saying less bad words (sorry Mom and Dad)
  15. Traveling somewhere I have never been
  16. Volunteering

As you can see, this list is large but totally doable. Many of these items are things I should already be doing (ahem, volunteering) but have yet to start.

What comments do you have about my goals? I would love to hear them! Do you have goals to share with me? I would love to hear those too!

Looking forward to spending another year with you all, and hopefully meeting many more new faces through this blog.

xo,

Ali

Race Logistics: What Goes into the “Perfect” Race?

6 Dec

There are many things that I was not able to share with you regarding the marathon in my recap blog. In this post, I plan to share all the behind the scenes scoop that made this a great race for me.

First stop, Hydration.

Pre-Race: I drank and drank and drank in the days leading up to this race. I was trying to be as hydrated as possible. My secret to staying hydrated and drinking as much as possible is my camelback water bottle. I have the kind with the straw, it is a life saver. Thank you #ET11 for giving me that bottle.

I also drank one Nuun the night before the race. I am getting used to their taste and starting to enjoy them!

Pre-Race, Morning: I had a half a cup of coffee before the race. I always do this and think the caffiene helps. Then I sipped on a bottle of water up until the start, probably about 10 oz total.

During Race: The marathon course had approximatley 23 water stops. I stopped for water or Gatorade at 2o of these water stops (switched off at each one). The only ones I skipped were 1, 9 and 25. Hydrating during the race is VERY important in my opinion. Even if you are not thirsty, you should still force the water. You will need it eventually.

Next up, Fuel.

Pre-Race: I ate pretty healthy the day before the race. I was not about to be adventurous and try something crazy. For dinner I had pasta and bread, with a couple bites of chicken off my Mom’s plate.

Pre-Race, Morning: Before the race I had a peanut butter Zone bar. Unlike the RnRSTL race, I actually ate the entire thing this time. That made a difference.

During Race: I packed my pockets full of Vanilla GU for my race fuel. I had a GU at miles 8, 13, 18 and 23. I believe if you properly fuel, you can prevent yourself from crashing.

Post-Race: After the race I had half a bagel. Probably was not enough but I was too cold to eat anything and could barely hold the thing in my hand!

Now let’s go with – Asthma prevention.

I have asthma, and always have. I don’t know what it is like to run without it, which is good in my eyes (I don’t know what I am missing out on).

Pre-Race: I took 4 puffs of the inhaler about 15 minutes prior to the start.

During Race: This was the first time I have ever had to take my inhaler while running. I needed it though, and I needed it bad. I really struggled getting it out of my pocket while running due to frozen hands, but finally did. At mile 22, I took about 4 more puffs of the inhaler. The inhaler was cold though, so I didn’t get all the meds I needed. But hey, I survived!

The lovely and fun to talk about – Chaffing Prevention.

Aquafor and unscented deodorant were my BFF’s on race day. Running in the rain meant chaffing would be highly likely. I rubbed this stuff all over my feet, legs, arms and sports bra lines. It did the trick! I only came out of the race with one tiny blister and one scrape on my leg.

The very important – Shoes and Socks.

I wore my Brooks Ghosts on race day, I love those shoes. The socks I wore were purchased at the expo and were super duper cute. They were pink and even had a little runner girl on the top. I knew I needed to run in a dry fit sock so they didn’t soak up the rain as cotton socks would. This was a very good decision.

I will say that by the end of the race my feet were killing me. My shoes were soaked and it felt like I was running on cement.

This blog isn’t named ‘Miles with Style’ for nothin’ – Race Clothes.

I touched base on this briefly in the first post, but not as much as I would have liked to.

The bottom half: My Lululemon capri pants are the best things ever. And they are cute. I am obsessed and in love with these pants. I would suggest everyone to invest in a pair. They also had pockets big enough to hold 4 GU’s and an inhaler. Pretty amazing.

The top half: I wore my favorite Lululemon sports bra top under my long sleeve shirt. This thing is snug as a bug and so comfy. It is also very supportive, therefore I don’t have to wear two sportsbras. And that meant one less layer that would get soaked on race day.

Over the sports bra top was my lilac Lululemon top. I never planned on wearing this top, but I am SO glad that I packed it. Out of everything I had, this top reacted the best to the water and was really amazing during the race. It has thumb holes and another pocket for added convienence. And the best part about the top are the ruffles on it! It is so stinking cute!

If you read the first post you already know that I ran 24 miles in a plastic bag. That thing was a lifesaver and I totally made it cute!

My head: I bought a new Nike dry fit hat the day before. It was perfect!

To keep my ears warm I wore a bondi band that I borrowed from Diana. Stacy said fleece would be too hot, so I went with something more lightweight.

My hands: I started the race in pretty rainbow cotton gloves. Well after spilling on myself at water stations and getting soaked in rain, my hands were freezing. When I saw my Mom at 15 I stole my Nike dry fit gloves off her hands. They were amazing.

 

Well, I believe that wraps up most of the logistics that went into having the perfect race. I don’t think there is a need to go back through the months of training, but obviously that was the majority of what went into the “perfect race”.

So, do you have any questions about these items? Or do you have any suggestions for future races? I always love to hear what other runners do, so please share!

Have a great evening!

Ali

I Had the Time of My Life! Race Recap – Dallas Marathon

6 Dec

This weekend was one of the best weekends of my life, and I cannot wait to share it with you. This blog post will be a little long, but I hope you enjoy!

Let’s get started.

Friday

Friday evening Stacy, Diana, my Mom and I arrived in Dallas. We got settled in our hotel and then headed down to the bar to enjoy a beer (consider it last minute carbo-loading).

VIP in our Suite!

After the drink, we went through our many clothing options for the race. We knew it might rain, but we wanted to be prepared for everything. Next up was sleep, which we knew was very important! After I scolded the girls for chatting too much, we went to bed and had sweet dreams about the days to come.

We could have opened a running store.

Saturday

Saturday morning we got up and went for an early morning jog around downtown. Our goal was to run for 20 minutes, and enjoy the new scenery. The weather was pretty annoying – warm, humid and WINDY. My hat actually blew off my head a couple times, which I knew was a bad sign for the next day! We were able to enjoy downtown Dallas though, and see part of the Christmas parade!

Following the run, it was Expo time! We got to the Expo and I was like a little kid in a candy shop. It was just so much fun! I cannot even explain how exciting it was to pick up my packet from the “Marathon” line. I felt pretty cool! And I felt even cooler when the workers all screamed out and cheered that it was going to be my first marathon (first timers wore a different bib color)!

My first marathon expo in my cute new running top!

The best investment from the¬†Expo was some KT tape. I hadn’t ever tried it, but my Mom thought it would be a great idea seeing that I had been having some major leg pain the last couple weeks. They got me taped up and sent me on my way. I felt better immediatley!

Very colorful KT tape.

After the expo, Diana, my Mom and I headed to the Northpark Mall for last minute shopping. I needed a new hat and Diana was looking for a jacket. We found a hat, but no jacket. Then we headed back to the hotel.

Saturday night was intended for carbo-loading. We had dinner at an Italian place, then walked back to the hotel. Of course it started pouring down rain on the walk back, but we all toughed it out.

Dallas, you are pretty.

We made it back to the hotel and the obsessing really began. What the heck were we going to wear?! At this time, the rain chances had gone up to 100%. I would be running my first marathon in the rain, and there was no way around it. I was trying on every potential outfit and throwing water on them. I needed to see how things reacted. The running skirt was out, it stuck to my legs as soon as it got wet. A couple other shirts were out because they held in the water. I then decided what my outfit would be: Lulu capri pants and my purple Lulu long sleeve top.

Ta-Da!! By the way that purple top was never in the running to wear, but I am glad I packed it!

One thing had still not been figured out, and that was how the heck we were going to stay semi-dry for the first few miles. Then Stacy had probably one of the top 5 best ideas of her life…she said, “Do you think we could make our expo bags into vests?”. We all looked at the bag and collectively said, “I think we need to give it a try”. I then cut holes for arms and a hole for the neck. Next thing to do was try it on for size. It was a tight bit, but we got it on. Then Diana and Stacy got theirs on as well.

We got them on!!!

Lifesaver.

We colored them up, added our race numbers and our names, and the saying, “It’s in the bag”.

It's in the bag baby!

It was then time for bed. We needed to rest up for our big day. Little did I know that it would end up being one of the best days of my life.

Sunday – Morning

5:30 am and the alarm woke us up. The big day was here, and of course it was pouring down rain outside. Looks like mother nature wouldn’t be on our side today, but we knew that the last 5 1/2 months of training would be. We got dressed, put on our rain gear and headed down to the lobby.

My Mom snapped a few photos and gave us last minute hugs and words of encouragement. We put on our ponchos, and headed out to face the rainy day.

Pre-Race, Pre-Rain

Now check out those vests! Thank you, Stacy!!!

Rain, we are ready for you!

Totally was not my idea of the perfect marathon outift.

We arrived at the race around 7am, an hour prior to the start. One last bathroom break was in order, as well as some stretching. Around 7:45am we headed to the start. Stacy and I got in our coral and saw Diana off to hers. We said our goodbyes and wished each other luck. The biggest race of my life was about to begin. Bring it on.

Sunday – Race Time

At 8:05am, Stacy and I crossed the starting line. We hit our watches and got in the zone.

The first 3 miles were miles of dodging. I have decided that I am an expert dodger though, and can work my way through any crowd. We ran our first two miles slow: 8:49 and 8:37. The third mile was fast, right at 8:02. Our pace goal was about an 8:15, but we did not want to get too greedy in the beginning. I was insistent that we take advantage of the downhills, and it seemed that we kept hitting them.

Miles 4 and 5 were miles made of rain. It started raining hard. So hard that the only option was to laugh. I kept saying to Stacy, “Are you freaking kidding me?”. Although it was raining we still ran a good pace. 8:11 and 7:49. We were feeling great.

Miles¬†6 and¬†7 were the miles of mansions. We ran through some of the most amazing houses, and I couldn’t stop looking! Maybe that is why mile 6 was an 8:16. Mile 7 I was starting to get over the awe of the homes and hit a nice 8:01 mile.

Mile 8 was the mile of the river. Why? Because we ran through a freaking RIVER. Dallas had been in a drought, and you could tell. There was standing water everywhere, including in the streets. We were dodging water puddles left and right. I really put my good jumping skills to test! Mile 8 was a solid 8:04.

Mile 9 was mile of the tummy. My tummy hurt, but I was not going to admit it. I still don’t want to talk about it, because the race really was perfect. Mile 9 was an 8:25.

Miles 10 and 11 were miles of the “groove”. It was still raining, but Stacy and were trucking along at a solid pace. We were happy and enjoying ourselves and we got in a 7 minute groove. We ran 7:54 and 7:48.

Mile 12 was the mile of the lake. This is when we really started to get to know White Rock Lake. This is also when Stacy and I started to part ways and seperate. Mile 12 was an 8:01.

Miles 13 and 14 were the miles of seperation anxiety. I started to get sad that Stacy and I were no longer running together, and that we most likely wouldn’t finish this race together. I started thinking, “Who am I going to talk to for the rest of the race? Who will encourage me?”. Miles 13 and 14 were 7:54 and 8:02.

Mile 15 was the mile of the GLOVES! I gave my mom an extra pair of gloves just in case I needed them. We actually practiced signals where I would point to my hands if I needed the new pair. Well, I needed the new pair! My hands were wet and FREEZING. I spotted my Mom in her big yellow rain jacket (aka the Crab Catcher/Deadliest Catch) and started waving my hands. Well, she didn’t see me. She actually didn’t see me until I was standing right in front of her screaming, “GLOVES!!!”. I ended up pulling the gloves right off her hands and threw my wet soggy gloves back. Thanks Mom! Mile 15 was a 7:54.

Miles 16, 17, 18 and 19 were miles of new friends. I ran these miles with three other girls that were all about my age. We chatted, and everyone had the same goal: a 3:35. 3:35 would qualify us for Boston. Which was always my super top secret goal. These girls were great, and got my through my seperation anxiety. These miles clocked in at an 8:02, 7:58, 7:49 and 7:54.

Mile 20 was the mile of “All by myself” (sing that…). I felt alone, but great. We were out of the lake and on to the city streets. Everyone says that the race starts to hit you at mile 20…well I was not willing to experience that “hit” today. Mile 20 was 8:00.

Miles 21, 22 and 23 were the miles of hills. Now let’s get this straight, I thought this course was SO easy. There wasn’t a hill I couldn’t handle and hadn’t run on in almost every training run. These were the biggest hills I would encounter though, and they were approrpriatley named the “Dolly Parton Hills” by the race. These miles were 7:58, 8:31 and 8:24.

Mile 24 was the mile of the bag. Remember the bag we made into a homemade vest? Yep, I was still wearing that thing at mile 24. I kept pushing off my time to take it off. I just couldn’t part ways with it. I decided that mile 24 would be my time to lose the bag. I ripped it off like the incredible Hulk and kept on running. Funny thing is that Stacy saw my bag laying on the ground a few minutes later. This was her que to remove her bag as well, and she ripped hers off. Mile 24 was a 7:59.

Mile 25 was the mile of rain. Ok, so technically they were all miles of rain, but this was hard rain. I kept thinking, “why did I take my bag off?!”. I got through the mile though and ran a 7:57.

Mile 26 was the mile of finishing. I kept thinking, “Ali, you are almost done. You can do this, and you will do this race fast. You are so tough and you will finish. You are almost there”. Mile 26 was a 7:48. Not too shabby.

Mile 26.2 was where I hit the finish, and accomplished something amazing. Mile 26.2 I crossed the finish line. And I crossed that finish line in 3:32:12 according to my watch. Holy crap. I just ran my first marathon, and I qualified for the Boston Marathon.

Here is my proof.

Sunday – Post Race

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I was overcome with emotions. Yes, I cried. I couldn’t believe it. Then I pulled myself together. I would not be celebrating until I saw Stacy cross that finish line. Then I saw her! I hobbled over to her and we hugged and screamed! We shared our times and together yelled, “Oh my God!!!!!” while jumping for joy! Stacy ran a 3:37. She beat her PR by 7 minutes, and also qualified for Boston (again). We both couldn’t believe what we had accomplished!

After we celebrated for a minute, it was time to get warm. Those foil blanket things were not doing the trick. We headed in a building and took a post-race photo. Then got our finisher shirt and hit the snack line. After that we went to the family meeting area where my Mom and Stacy’s family were waiting. We found them and before we could really cheer for ourselves we had to get dry. My Mom had dry clothes and we headed behind a curtain to change.

At this point, my Mom thought that Stacy and I ran a 3:36 and finished together. When she said this I was quick to correct her. “Mom, I ran a 3:32! I qualified for Boston!!!!!!”. She jumped up and down and we all cheered! Stacy shared her amazing time¬†as well and said, “Nana, we are going to BOSTON!!!!”. It was so exciting and such a priceless moment. I am so glad she didn’t know my real time and that I got to share that with her. Then I got to call my Dad and tell him too. He was just as excited and surprised as my Mom was. That news was the best I had ever shared, and I felt so accomplished and happy.

Sharing my news with Zack, and oh so cold!

We knew Diana would be finishing soon and we would all be reunited. I am not sure if you recall, but Diana just ran her first marathon 5 weeks prior (RnRSTL). This marathon would be for fun, and she wasn’t focused on her time so much. We were all reunited and she told us she ran a 4:09. She was happy and upbeat, as she always is. She also had a good race and felt great, aside from being so cold and wet.

We had to rush back to the hotel and get ready for a flight home. We couldn’t stop talking about the race and how excited we were. We are all on a runners high and nothing was going to bring us down. I was amazed at all the support waiting for me on my phone when I checked it back in the room. I had numerous messages of good luck and well wishes for the race. I couldn’t wait to read them all and respond, after we got out of room!

We had a few moments of downtime and took time for pictures in the hotel lobby before the flight home.

26.2, we go all the way!!!

Accountability Partner. Wouldn't have gotten out of bed all those mornings without you!

BFF's

Love you "sister"!

The best Mom in the world. Thank you for being my biggest cheerleader all these years.

We got to the airport, had dinner and a beer, and headed home. What a great day.

Post Race Thoughts

Yesterday was probably one of the best days of my life. At this time, I am having trouble coming up with any day that was better than yesterday was. I don’t think I have ever felt so happy or proud. I enjoyed every moment of that race, and never had a thought of doubt go through my head. I get emotional thinking about this and still can’t believe that I conquered a marathon. I did something that so many people dream about, and I did it pretty fast. I also achieved another dream and goal, which was qualifying for Boston.

I had the time of my life yesterday, and will forever cherish the memories I made during the race.

Thank you so much to everyone who supported me and encouraged me. Your words meant so much more than you realize, and I cannot wait to return the favor someday.

xoxo,

Ali

The Woulda Coulda Shoulda’s (Race Recap)

25 Oct

I am having a major case of the Woulda¬†Coulda¬†Shoulda’s following the Rock ‘n Roll St. Louis half marathon yesterday (hence the title of the post). However before I get into the reasons for this, I want to share with everyone what an awesome weekend I had in St. Louis. So here we go!

Saturday

On Saturday morning, I picked up Stacy, my Mom and friend Kara and began our journey to St. Louis. Our journey took much longer than expected due to us having quite a few pit stops (staying hydrated on a road trip does not equal fast travel time!). Once we arrive in St. Louis we got checked into the hotel and Stacy and I took a run around the city to freshen up our legs. Following the run, Stacy, my Mom and I headed to the Expo. At the Expo we finally got to see Diana, who had been in the city since Friday. We maneuvered our way around, shopped a bit and then headed back to the hotel to see my Dad, Aunt Holly and friend Emily (who was also running).

The nerves really started to set in on Saturday afternoon and I began having a minor (or major)¬†meltdown over my outfit. I was worried I would get too hot during the race. Oh well though, there was nothing I could do at this point. I got a pep talk from Zack (my bf) and took some deep breaths. Our group then headed to dinner at Charlie Gitto’s¬†for a pasta dinner. When we got to dinner I was still a bit on edge (ok, a “bit” might be an understatement) and asked my Dad permission to have a glass of wine. He told me one glass wouldn’t hurt me, so I slammed it and felt better.

After dinner, Diana, Stacy, Emily and I had a pre-race pow wow. We committed to our goals, planned out our water stops, and decorated our race numbers. We also enjoyed some cookies and frosting – a pre/post race ritual for Stacy and I. Then it was time for bed. We went our separate ways and attempted to get a good nights rest.

I love to color.

 

Pre-race fuel

Sunday

The alarm went off at 5:40am, and I was ready to face the day. I got dressed in my lululemon¬†outfit, put on my make up (yes, I always run races in my full make up face), did my hair and ate half a zone bar. I also drank half a cup of coffee and drank some water. I headed up to Stacy and Emily’s room to pick the girls up and then we went to meet Diana. We found Diana on the corner of the street dressed in a trash bag. Apparently she had been told that she should do this to stay warm(?). After quite the entertaining walk to the starting line, we got situated. We said bye to Diana, and headed to our coral. Next thing I knew – the gun went off and we were running.

Di in a trash bag

 

Mom and Dad, supporting my running since the start!

 

Rock Stars!

 

Ready to run!

 

Aunt Holly came to watch!

 

The running crew

  

One last prayer!

I was running, and I felt pretty good. Mile one hit and I was on my pace to PR, then mile two and mile three hit and I realized I was slower than what I needed to be. It was ok though – I had miles to make it up. I decided that mile 4 would be where I got in my running “groove” and tried to start hitting those 7:10 miles I needed. Well, mile 4 ended up being a 7:26 – far from my 7:10 pace I needed. I had quite a pick me up at mile 6 where I heard familiar voices cheering me on. Kara and Lindsey were yelling loud and clear “Go Alicat!!!” and it was the best thing ever! It motivated me SO much that I ran a 6:58 mile! Finally – I was getting on pace!

This photo made me laugh! Dad somewhere along the course cheering!

The second half of the race wasn’t at all what I had been imaging and envisioning. I was hot, I shoulda¬†worn a tank. My energy was depleting, I wish I woulda¬†eaten the entire zone bar. Had I not had these issues, I coulda been running my PR pace. I am not a mental runner. I can usually block out my head and continue to run without trouble. But during this race I was really struggling. At no time did it feel easy or feel like I remembered that 1:34 feeling 3 years ago. I was constantly telling myself that, “you can do this, you can do this. Don’t lose hope, you can do this.”

The last few miles of the race flew by. I was high fiving¬†anyone that would offer one up, and encouraging any of the runners I was passing that I knew could use it. My focus was on the finish. I knew I wouldn’t be hitting my new PR, so I just ran as hard as I possibly could. Finally I saw the finish line and started pumping my little arms and legs as hard as I could. I heard Lindsey scream “Go Alicat!” and I threw up my arm to acknowledge that I knew they were there and cheering me on. Then the finish line appeared. The relief I felt crossing that line was unbelievable. I was so happy to be done and proud of myself for finishing. Then I looked at my watch and felt the disapointment – 1:36:39. I didn’t PR, I didn’t even come close.

Waving at my cheerleaders

 

YES YOU CAN!

 

Finish line - come to me!

 

Never looked hotter.

I stayed at the finish and waited for Stacy and Emily to come through. Stacy wanted to run under 1:40, and she made it with 5 seconds to spare. We found our families after getting our post race photo together, and took a few photos.

We did it!

 

Such great friends!

 

Showing off!

After Emily finished we got in the car and headed to mile 22 to cheer on Diana. The spirit she had at mile 22 was amazing and inspiring. She was so happy and running steady with the 4 hour pace group.

So happy!

 

The 4hr pacer let her hold the pacing stick at one point!

Next stop was the finish line, where Diana graced us with her happy face far ahead of her 4 hour goal. We screamed at her and cheered our hearts out as she crossed the finish line. We hugged, jumped up and down and screamed together. She did it – she ran a freaking marathon!!!

Thank goodness, the races were over!

Post Race Thoughts

As soon as I got back to my hotel room, the “woulda¬†coulda¬†shoulda’s” really set in. I wasn’t happy, I was straight up disappointed. I felt like a failure. I hate not meeting my goals, and today I was far from meeting my goal. I started thinking of all the reasons why I didn’t make it. I wish I woulda¬†trained harder, maybe those track days I coulda¬†run a faster pace, and then I shoulda been happy with the results. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of myself. I know what I accomplished is a huge deal and I did amazing, BUT it is still hard to be happy with.

I have been thinking about that PR I so deeply crave. Is it possible to ever run¬†a 1:34¬†again? Or is it the same situation as my 5k time (which is that I know will never be able to run a 19:40 again)? I know what I need to do. I need to be happy with what I¬†ran and move on to the next big race. But it might take a few days to do that. I apologize if my enthusiasm is lacking when you tell me “good job!”.¬†I appreciate everyone’s support so much, and hopefully soon enough I will let it go and move on.

Thank you again¬†to everyone that has supported me throughout my training and throughout this race. I cannot wait to return the favor to you all when you are working hard towards something in your life ūüôā

xoxo, Ali

The Hay is in the Barn.

22 Oct

As my Dad likes to say before big races, “The hay is in the barn!”. I have put in the miles, done the speed work and prepared as best as possible. What is done is done, and I hope that every bit of it pays off in about 33 short hours.

I am nervous, but excited. I have good feelings, and I am staying very positive. We leave tomorrow morning at 7:30am, followed by a trip to the expo and a short 2 mile run to spice up our legs a big. Then dinner at an Italian place tomorrow evening for some last minute carbo loading. I plan to be snuggled in bed by 9pm ūüôā

I expect this weekend to be full of fun!¬†I¬†cant wait to see how my running buddies do on Sunday! I have no doubts that they will be overjoyed with their results and the time on that clock¬†when they cross the finish line. Sunday will be Diana’s first marathon and I cannot wait to see her¬†cross that finish line with the pride that she just ran a marathon! I know she will do amazing. I am also so excited to see how Stacy does. She has been working so hard and deserves every last second of the PR I know she is going to run!

I am already excited for my post-race blog update sharing all the details of Sunday. Good luck to all the runners out there!! #RnRSTL

Cheers!

Ali

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