Windsor 10k recap!

Hi! How are you? Me, I’m great. I had a blast running the Run Wine Country 10k this morning, though my morning really started out very poorly. I mean VERY poorly. As in, I almost didn’t show up to the start because I was having a major pity party for myself, but I’m SO glad I did because it ended up being a REALLY great day for me.

Saturday

Saturday afternoon Mr. FtoF and I went down to Fleet Feet for packet pick up and while we were there, enjoyed chatting with staff. I found out they carry that sports bra I really like that I bought at Title Nine, but they didn’t have my size so they were gonna order it. Woohoo! I would totally prefer to buy it locally and support the rad team at Fleet Feet than online. We went out to dinner and I had a pork sandwich, side salad and a few fries, and after we had ice cream. I figured this would be a decent dinner since I was only running a 10k the next day.

Then I laid out my outfit and went to bed pretty early because I was feeling pretty pooped. Yes, I take my matching very seriously. Pain is temporary but race photos are forever. (I always pick out clothes from my own running wardrobe though cause #nothingnewonraceday)

Sunday morning

All hell broke loose in my house. Alarm went off and I hit snooze a few too many times but was still ok and on schedule. I wanted to leave at 6:30 because the event started at 7:40.

First off (TMI warning), I couldn’t go to the bathroom. Like it just wasn’t happening. Squatty Potty didn’t do anything!!!!! This always makes me nervous because I did NOT want any on course surprises πŸ’©. This was a bad sign of how today would go.

Second, I got out of the shower to discover there were ANTS ALL OVER MY KITCHEN TABLE. Mr. FtoF had some sweets from a work event that had to go back to the office but they aren’t going back to the office now because they were infested, along with my table and my floor. So I quickly wiped everything down to the best of my abilities, and knew I had to get a move on. I had no appetite but I forced a few bites of oatmeal down.

Then I went to get dressed. The third layer of meltdown started when I couldn’t figure out where I had put my new, expensive sports bra I wanted to wear. That wasn’t a huge deal since I had just done laundry so I wore one of my other ones. I’ve been spoiled because I own that sports bra and everything else feels inferior now. No big deal. Everything is gonna be JUST FINE. Just GET TO THE RACE.

But then I couldn’t find my Garmin.

I looked in all the usual spots. I tried calling myself from my husband’s phone since I have Bluetooth linked and it buzzes when someone calls me. Nope. Nowhere. Finally after 10 minutes of frustration I just stood in the bedroom and I cried. I was so overwhelmed with everything that the world threw at me this morning. I thought to myself “is this gonna be a race I don’t show up for?!?” I finally gave up on looking (after I’m pretty sure my husband decided he was going to leave me because of my meltdown over my watch), and on my way out the door saw the flashing of my Garmin on the floor near the door. THANK YOU RUNNING GODS. I was seriously anxious. Yes – I am capable of running without a watch but I haven’t done it in so many years and I was NOT mentally ready for today to be that day. Also, thank goodness I found it because there weren’t actually any mile markers on the course πŸ€”. So then off I went. Except there was no gas in my car so I had to stop to put some in the car. Then I zipped up to the race. Thank goodness I had planned to leave when I did because I left 10 minutes later but was still ok.

To the race!

Now I ran the 10k last year and the half the year before and it is seriously one of the prettiest races I’ve ever run. Don’t waste your time on the 5k. Run the 10 or the half. You get beautiful views and hot air balloons and a decent amount of rolling hills. I had considered upgrading to the half for today but stuck with the 10k and decided to do a half next weekend instead.

I made it a goal to just have fun and take selfies with everyone I saw that I knew. I definitely achieved that goal! I wrote on my arm “are we having fun yet?” As a reminder to take it slow and easy and just have a blast. Thank goodness I wrote that on my arm since I had my morning meltdown and was not in the right mindset. I was annoyed but when I got to the start my mindset changed.

I got to see lots of people I know, including Coach Patrick (woohoo!), who told me he would be running people in at the end of the race (this is relevant for later).

He gave me a super cool tattoo so I could represent πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

Then it was about 12 minutes til race start. And guess what. I STILL HADN’T GONE TO THE BATHROOM. At this point I start panicking. Luckily I had the smarts to look at the course map and knew there were a few portopotties on course if I needed them but SERIOUSLY I was freaking out. I didn’t want any surprises between port o potties.

I gave up on trying to LET IT GOOOO and toed up to the line and off we went at 7:40.

Now, the first mile and a half really sucked for me. And I mean SUCKED. Seriously out of nowhere my calves got super tight, which coincided with an uphill climb. I was afraid I was gonna have to walk the whole race. Fortunately since I had run the 10k last year I knew once you get out of the first hill, it flattens out and I would be ok, so I told myself to walk what I needed up the hill and run the down and flats. I even stopped TWICE to loosen my shoe laces (and still made good time!). I thought to myself “today just isn’t gonna be my day” but I refused to walk back to the start and give up.

Finally I got out of the big incline and my legs loosened up (side note: I think it’s time for a massage for me!), and decided to take some selfies because the view was so beautiful! And check out my cool Mermaid Series shirt!

Miles 2-4 are kind of a blur. Not in a bad way, just in a nothing monumental happened way. I just kept trekking. I didn’t set any intervals for run/walk today like I had for the half marathon in Eugene because I wanted to give myself more flexibility to run when I wanted and walk when I needed. I’m glad I did that. I think I ran more than I would have. I definitely always thank the officers who are out on the course because I appreciate them being out there to keep runners safe, so I said that to all I passed and they all told me great job 😊. (On that note, during CIM, I thanked an officer at mile 10 who responded with “great job, you’re almost there!” which made me die a little inside because he obviously did not know how long a marathon was)

I saw a photographer at one point in there when I was walking and said a loud “sh*t!” because I knew I had to get to running if I wanted a good race photo!!!!

My run paces felt really effortless but when I read my Garmin to see how fast I was going, my paces were incredible! I saw 10:xx mins-11:xx mins and at one point was cruising at what felt like little effort and was at a 9:40! I can’t sustain those for full lengths of time but it feels good that I am really able to run that way and feel effortless.

Finally around mile 4 I knew there would be a water station but there was also an informal mimosa aid station! I’m so mad I didn’t take a photos with the ladies doing that. I did not partake because that would not have ended well for me πŸ˜‚.

Somewhere around 55 minutes into my run, a bike whizzed past me and told me good job (thanks!), and told me a runner was coming up behind me. Oh… that’s because he was lead cyclist for the first place half marathon runner!!!! Holy smokes those half mary runners are fast. I was passed by about 5 men (didn’t recognize any of them) and the 1st place woman (who I have seen at lots of local races) between mile 4 and the finish. My mind started whirling about the potential of me ever placing in my age group. I’m not there yet, but maybe one day it could happen! Big maybe, but I’m not telling myself I can’t. I CAN work towards anything if I put my mind to it!

I took in a Gu around mile 3.8 but was feeling like I was starting to slow down a bit around mile 4.5, but the gods of the 10k heard my plea because I saw Coach Patrick running up and he ran with me for a little bit and we chatted and it was EXACTLY the boost I needed! He definitely was running me faster than I would have run myself at that point, and when we finally broke from each other so he could run other people in, I felt a second wind to finish strong, which is exactly what I did.

It took a little extra push but I finally rounded the corner and heard people cheering and it felt good to finish really strong. I thought I would finish around 1:24:00, and as I ran I thought maybe I would finish in 1:21, but imagine my surprise when I saw I finished in 1:19!

It has been a good feeling my last two races to pass people in the second half. Not because I want to beat anyone, but because it’s a good reminder to me that I paced myself evenly and didn’t burn out at the end.

And then, suddenly, I was done! It feels weird to be done running after just a 10k since my long runs have been SO long lately. I actually debated going out and running another 2 miles because I felt good but decided to rest for now and maybe do that in the evening if I still had the urge.

But of course, pancakes called.

And I did a lap around the finish line to see if I saw anyone I knew before heading home. Of course, after I left, two friends texted me to ask where I was because they were there πŸ€¦πŸ½β€β™€οΈ. Oh well.

Today was a good boost before Saturday’s half marathon! I definitely need to roll out A LOT this week so I don’t fight my calves on Saturday. I also need to go through my running clothes to find a fabulous outfit to wear πŸ€”

And on another note…. I still haven’t gone to the bathroom even all these hours later so if anyone has any tips or tricks, I’ll be your best friend!!!!

Cheers runners! Thanks for reading my recap!!

Vanessa

From 264.2 to 26.2 round three: how I plan to be successful.

Hi! How are you? Me, I’m great. If you’ve seen any of my recent Instagram or Facebook posts, you’ll know I’ve decided on a whim to run the Santa Rosa Marathon again this year. It was my first marathon in 2016, and I didn’t expect to run it again this year. After watching my husband train for and run the Eugene Marathon and have a killer PR, I decided I wanted to push myself to train for a marathon sooner than CIM. Lucky for me, the nice people at the SR marathon hooked me up with a discount code 😊 (feel free to use!). I also love that this race is just down the road from where I live so no hotel necessary and I can convince my better half to come drop me off and pick me up 😏. I also hope some friends and family might make it to the finish line.

But I digress.

I was toying with the idea of running another marathon WHILE I was knee deep in running the Eugene half. Might as well think about running while you’re running, right?!?!

I realized that if I wanted to run another marathon though, I had to make some big commitments. I really did not do my best training for CIM last year because of the fires in town. Those took up most of my October training because the air quality was so poor. It was a total mind boggle for me. I want to do better this time but I know that means a lot.

I have a few plans in place to really help me refocus and have a solid training plan

  1. I am going in knowing what to expect. My first marathon I trained on my own with some plan I found online. It was probably way too ambitious of a plan for me. I did not stick to it very well. During CIM, Coach Patrick was great with my plan but I did not execute as well as I needed to, looking back. I really was fearful after the fires and freaked myself out. You may remember I even tried to drop out of the marathon and went so far as to request a downgrade, but manned up and did it. Which was very rewarding.
  2. I am going to lean on others to run with. Yes, Vanessa “I only run solo” Wallace plans to find friends to run with. I have a few great friends who are also either training for a marathon around the same time as me, or just love running, who will do some of my long runs with me. I’ll also probably tack on to some friends to help get me through some of the mid-week short runs when my brain is totally toast and I wanna just skip it.
  3. I am going to write more about my training. I think I want to log and journal more for personal use, but also write more regular blog posts recapping things. I think that will help me with my accountability!
  4. I’m going to add in strength training to my routine. A strong core and upper body is going to help keep me up right for that long of a time. I think it will also help me have a little mental break from running. I am very fortunate that I have been given an opportunity to try out a new strength and conditioning gym for a few weeks this summer, so I’ll see how that works out for me!
  5. I have already planned some indulgences during training. I already know after whatever my longest long run is, I’m gonna go back to the float pod place and I’m having a milkshake that night. #treatyoself
  6. I am going to let this be a focus for me. I’m going to roll with the punches this time around on marathon training. My work schedule has become a little more fluid now that I’ve been promoted, so I will be doing less errandy stuff and more office stuff which means I am not tied to as many set events during the day as I was. I’ve been able to come in earlier than before and work on a more fluid timeline to get things done, which means running can totally fit in to my routine more than before when some really long days strained me.
  7. I am going to consider switching my long runs to Saturday’s. I’m not sold on this one yet, but part of me is considering making Saturday my long run day so I can recover and sleep in on Sunday’s. There’s literally no day during the week I sleep in. This would also mean I have to find a new weight watchers meeting to go to, since I currently go Saturday’s, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
  8. I am willing to get uncomfortable. The last two marathons I don’t think let myself get as uncomfortable as I should have. This time around, I’m gonna work hard. I’m gonna play hard. I’m gonna put it all on the line and go all in.
  9. I am going to find out just how tough I actually am. I don’t know exactly what that means, but I am ready for some self discovery. I’ve always learned something new about myself while marathon training. I look forward to seeing what I learn this time around.

So there you have it. I’m excited to tackle this again, though I’m also a little scared because it’s gonna be really hard.

I know I can do it. I look forward to seeing how it all goes!

Cheers to 26.2!

Vanessa

Always earned, never given. California International Marathon recap.

In January I was chosen as an ambassador for the California International Marathon. An honor I was not expecting. I had spent the better part of 2017 sharing my joy, spreading a discount code and celebrating running through my social media. I had big plans to lose weight and get stronger before marathon training began. That definitely backfired on me and all did not go according to plan. In fact, I put on about 20 more pounds over the course of the year. My training was completely derailed when the Santa Rosa fires struck and I couldn’t run outside for two weeks. Finally, on November 5th, I decided I wasn’t going to run the marathon. I was 13 miles into my 17 mile run. I gave up. I called for a ride. My head won. I emailed to downgrade to the relay. I texted my running coach. I let my doubt get in the way. I waited for a feeling or relief to come and it never did. I imagined myself getting a relay medal instead of the 35th annual marathon medal and not being able to say I ran my second marathon. I felt disappointed that I had let myself give up so easily. Then, in a moment of clarity, I got home (we had been staying out of town), put on my running shoes and went back out and finished the last four miles. And decided I was worth putting everything out on the line for. So I took back my quitting and knew it was going to be a long road to 26.2, but made up my mind to complete my goal.

Friday: expo fun!

This weekend I kicked it off on Friday and enjoyed some amazing time at the CIM expo. First I picked up all my stuff and spent a bunch of money (oops!).

Then I had the opportunity to volunteer at the expo. I love volunteering for events when I can! I also got to meet fellow CIM ambassadors which was a treat.

After enjoying some pizza and ice cream with family from the area, I tucked myself into bed.

Saturday: race prep

Saturday morning there was a shakeout run. It was a great way to get in a few miles. I ran with one of the CIM ambassadors Stephanie (blogger at Run Strong Run), who I have tried at two different events to meet up with! I ran two miles but then walked back to the Capitol building for some fun photos and a dance party video 😊<<<
ent the rest of the day having lunch, hanging out with Mr. Ftof and eating pizza for dinner because the alarm was set for 3:30, so I was in bed at 7:00.

Sunday: race morning<<<<<
ut of bed at 3:30 and fought with an unhappy belly for a while. I got dressed and got in line for the bus at 4:45. You have to take a shuttle from Sacramento to the starting line in Folsom because it's a point to point event. It was early! On the bus I thought to myself that my former 264.2 pound version of myself would never envision my current self running a marathon. That feeling was a good way to start the day.

I got to the starting line around 6, and went to the bathroom a few times (I was paranoid and went like three times lol), checked my gear and waited to start. I found Stephanie again who was unofficially pacing the 6 hour group. Her Christmas tree headband was the best!

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he first ten miles seemed to fly by. It was strange how quickly those went by for me. There were rolling hills and I felt really strong and good during them. Flip side was that I probably spent a lot of energy on them. I was so focused on staying as close to the cutoff pace as I could (6 hour cut off), that I tried my hardest to hold on to those 13:44 miles. I was good for a while until about the 13.1 when I started to slow down. I was doing 4:1 Run:Walk intervals. I told myself after I got to 13.1, to get to 16. Then I told myself to get to 20. Then I told myself to get to 23, and finally to finish. I was so lucky to see Ann and Mary along the course, two awesome ladies who have done CIM before and are local to the area and are Facebook followers.

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t mile 18 I really wanted to give up. I was so tired and had so much longer to go. My dreams of getting to the finish line before the 6 hour cut off were long gone and I was just hoping a volunteer would still be there with medals when I got there. But I knew I couldn’t give up. I had come too far to give up now. So I changed my intervals to 2:3 Run/walk and just told myself to finish. I hit the wall around mile 22.6, but just kept doing what I could. I was GOING to finish.

And suddenly I was at mile 25. I don’t know how it happened. I turned a corner and recognized where I was. I saw the Capitol building. I knew I was close. I picked up my pace and suddenly could run again. I saw a fellow CIM ambassador Art, who cheered me on, giving me the boost I needed. And I gave literally everything left that I had. Every ounce of it. And at this point, I started crying. I had achieved the unthinkable. I had done something that felt so unattainable. And after 6:41:19, I had done it. I had run my second marathon!

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ugh it was the hardest thing I have ever accomplished, even harder than my first marathon, and it made the victory that much sweeter.

It wasn’t the best training I’ve had and I don’t feel size wise and Fitness wise where I would prefer to be, but it is a sweet victory to celebrate. I realized this weekend that because I have different goals that aren’t as elite as other runners, that does not take the value away of my goals nor does it diminish their accomplishment. I didn’t PR or BQ like other runners were shooting for but I finished my marathon. And that is something to be celebrated.

I may already be debating what Fall marathon I’ll be tackling in 2018…. but first I think I’ll rest up a little and stick to shorter distances.

Thank you everyone for your support. I am so grateful to have achieved this goal with you behind me❀️