Signing up for an ultra!

If you remember reading my blog two years ago when I did my first marathon, you may recall that it was a horrible experience. I had put in months of solid training, done almost everything “right” and still somehow managed what I refer to as the worst race ever. Nothing went right on race day (especially the weather) and I told myself I would NEVER go through that again. Never. Ever. Ever. But somehow those words have come back to bite me.

IMG_7807

In case you forgot what I looked like after my marathon

For the last few years, I have volunteered at a local ultra event, The Pistol Ultra. Unlike most ultras, this race takes place on a greenway instead of mountain trails. In my time volunteering, I have worked registration, handed out medals, worked aid stations, and greeted finishers. I’ll be honest when I say that volunteering at an ultra gave me no inspiration to do one whatsoever. The runners were SO inspiring, but seeing the pain, dedication, and pure willpower that it took to be out there did not interest me at all. Especially for the ones who were doing ONE. HUNDRED. MILES. Holy cow, those people were awesome! Add in the fact that the race took place on a super cold December day, I definitely had no interest.

A few months ago, it was announced that the race would be moved to March and it just so happened that the date fell the Saturday after my school’s Spring Break. Perfect timing. I have been in a bit of a fitness rut lately. Of course I am loving my Orange Theory classes, have loved walking every week with my Momma, but I honestly just needed a goal to work toward. When I saw the date change, it jumped at me. Here I was, screaming from the rooftops that I would never do more than a half again and all of a sudden I was contemplating doing a 50k. What is wrong with me?

I talked to my Momma, husband, running bestie, and some other close friends about it, and they were super supportive and encouraging. So, I did what any normal person would do and signed up. My stomach knotted up the second I hit “submit registration” and I felt sick. BUT, this race is now on my calendar and is holding me accountable. It is terrifying and I’m trying to to think *too* hard about it because I don’t want to psych myself out, but I’m willing to work for it. People have asked why I’m doing an ultra and my answer is simple: to prove to myself that I can.   pistol

You may be wondering why I chose this specific race instead of just picking another big marathon. The biggest reason is the location of the race. It takes place less than 30 minutes from my house so I won’t have the added stress of traveling for a race. The race is also ran on a 3 loop lollipop course, meaning I pass by the “home base” area 6 different times during the race. This is crucial because I can have my family there to cheer me on, I can get refills on my drinks, I can use an INDOOR bathroom, take a rest if I need to, and do pretty much anything I need to do that I couldn’t do if I was on any other course. It is perfect. It is also on the local greenway so you are seeing people out there the entire time to keep you motivated and encouraged. Another key factor is time limit. Since the race is hosting a 100 mile option, all race participants have 30 hours to complete their respective race. This means that I literally have 30 hours to complete 31 miles. Surely I can do that!  I really could not have chosen a better race for my first (and probably last) ultra.

Right now the plan is to walk the majority of the race. During training, I may implement a run/walk interval that I could sustain for the race, but I know that for the time being I am okay with walking most of the race. In the coming months I will be updating the blog with how training is going, what is working for me, and what it is like training for an ultra as a walker or a run/walker. Stay tuned!

Advertisements

Friday Faves…on a Saturday

Good morning, friends! Fall is finally here in East Tennessee and I couldn’t be more happy! It seems as though we have waited forever for the temps to drop and luckily they finally have. I love living in the mountains year-round, but living here in the fall makes it so much more special. Today I wanted to share with you some things I am LOVING lately. These are my Friday Faves, posted on a Saturday because that’s how I roll.

    1. HYDROFLASK.  I’ve always been a water bottle junkie, but my Hydroflask is by far my favorite vessel that I’ve ever used. It is super durable (just ask the concrete that I’m constantly dropping it on) and keeps ice cold for over 24 hours. I chose the 40oz option because I go through water like crazy! Having the bigger bottle is also good for my teaching job since I am not constantly leaving my classroom to fill it up once it is empty. These come with a screw top lid, but they also make other lids like this sippy cup one, which is the one I use. Right now I have a mint blue one, but am eyeing a purple color for my Christmas list. IMG_1439
    2. INSTANT POT.  If you don’t have one of these amazing inventions in your house yet, do yourself and your family a favor and go order one. This pot is seriously one of my favorite products that I have in my house. It can take chicken from completely frozen to your plate in less than 30 minutes. Lately I’ve loved making pinto beans in the pot and making cilantro rice for my burrito bowls.  SO DELICIOUS! These also make good Christmas gifts for anyone on your shopping list.
    3. A Beautiful Work in Progress by Mirna ValerioI have followed Mirna on social media for quite some time and she is such an inspiration to so many. She dubs herself “fat girl running” and has made a movement from it. She is living proof that you can be “fat” and healthy at the same time. I love following her training and her daily posts. She just published her first book and I am loving it so far!   mirna
    4. CANDLES. Since getting married, we have been obsessed with candles. As soon as we walk in the front door, we light a candle. We are currently living in a cozy cabin in the mountains and having a yummy candle burning really makes our house a home. For fall, I am LOVING these scents…Leaves, Pumpkin Apple, and Mahogany Teakwood.     IMG_1437
    5. BIRKENSTOCK SANDALSIt is no secret to anyone that knows me in real life that I am a tried and true Chaco girl. I even wore them at my wedding for heaven’s sake! But right before going back to school this year, I tried a pair of the Birkenstock Mayari sandals on a whim and fell in love. I didn’t think I would like the feel of a leather shoe on my foot, but they have been a lifesaver. As a teacher who is on my feet all day, I have to be wearing something that supports my feet and is comfortable. These Birks fit the bill and I am SO pleased with my purchase! Order you some; your feet will thank you!

What are you loving lately? Don’t forget to keep checking back for updates on my podcast that will be rolling out soon! 

Podcasting!

Helllooooo out there!  I’m dusting off this blog that I have neglected for far too long to bring you exciting news! I’m starting a podcast! Yes, you heard that right, a podcast. Any podcast lovers out there?

You may be wondering how in the world I came up with this idea and why I am doing it.  Well, let’s take a step back for a quick sec. The teacher that teaches next door to me has been a podcast junkie for a while. I used to make fun of him for always listening to conversations instead of jamming out to music. He approached me with the idea of creating a podcast for our school. At first I was skeptical, but the more I thought about it, it seemed like a really good idea. I began researching and looking into the podcasting world. Before I knew it, I found myself addicted and subscribing to several different channels. Podcasting is so personal and I love listening to conversations each day!

After doing a lot of research and determining that this is something we wanted to pursue, I decided that I wanted to make my own podcast as well that focused on training, racing, running, fitness, and life in general. I haven’t published a blog post on this blog in over a year because blogging really ran its course for me (pun intended). I no longer felt fulfilled sitting down and typing out words. Combine that with the changing of the Internet. I rely more on fast and instant information now such as seeing a photo on Instagram. I don’t want to have to scroll through a long blog post to learn more about someone’s day, life, or training. It just doesn’t satisfy me. I would much prefer to listen to their voice on my morning drive or while exercising. The more people I talked to about this, the more I realized that many people shared the same sentiment that I do.

While I still love writing and will probably begin writing a few blog posts here and there again, I have to face the fact that technology changes and people prefer a new way of getting their information.

Podcasting opens up a whole new world for me and the community that I surround myself with. Instead of my personality being words on a screen, you’ll be able to hear my actual (fast paced) voice. I will also be able to bring other voices to you in forms of guests on my show. The possibilities are really limitless and I’m so excited for this new journey. My podcast is still in the beginning phases and I have a lot of work left to do, but I’m working diligently to get it off the ground and to get some episodes published.  IMG_1415.JPG

This blog has been so special to me for so long and I have met some wonderful people along the way and been given amazing opportunities that I never would have had access to without this blog. I’m grateful for the time I’ve spent with it and y’all, but it is time to branch out. My plan is to publish two blog posts a month starting in November and to also work on getting a biweekly podcast out. We will see if this happens.

So, tell me…do you like podcasts?  Are you interested in listening to mine? What topics would you want to listen to or what special guests would you like to see on the show?  I’m open to all suggestions. If you want to be notified of when my first episode goes live, be sure to comment so that I can add you to my email list. Thanks for listening and hope to be in your ears soon. 🙂

Volunteering for Ironman Chattanooga

For the past three or four years, I have had it on my bucket list to volunteer at an Ironman event.  Don’t ask me why because I really do not know, but for some reason it was just on my heart to be a part of such a legendary event.  2014 was the inaugural year for the Ironman coming to Chattanooga and unfortunately I couldn’t be  a part of it that year.  When the 2015 date was announced, I made it a point to put it on my calendar.  After checking with our Chattanooga friends as to whether or not they would want to be a part of it, I signed up.   There were a ton of different jobs and time frames to work with, but both Brittney and I decided that we wanted a morning job that put us in direct contact with the athletes.  We chose to sign up for sunscreen for T1, meaning we would be lathering sunscreen on people before they hopped on the bike.

Since the race wasn’t until Sunday, we made an entire weekend out of visiting Chattanooga.  We ate at some great restaurants, visited the aquarium, rode the River Gorge Explorer boat, and made sure that we watched the Tennessee football game. IMG_0385 IMG_0417 IMG_0390

Saturday morning we went downtown for the volunteer meeting so that we could check in and get our volunteer shirts.  I love free shirts!  It was very informal and we encountered lots of athletes along the way who were their to drop off their gear and check in.  We were told to come back the next morning with a smiling face and readiness to work.  No problem for us.   IMG_0371 IMG_0383

On race morning, we left Brittney’s house super early to get downtown, parked, and to the race site.   We took the electric shuttle and met a super nice woman whose husband was doing the race.  They were from North Carolina and she told us all about his training and how much he put into it.  We gave her some suggestions for food after he had finished to celebrate.  After getting off we wished her husband good luck and that we would be on the lookout for him.  From there we went to the changing tents and helped get our sunscreen tent ready for the athletes.  The sunscreen came with pumps but that would not be practical so we had to dump it into casserole pans.  It was the strangest sunscreen I had ever seen.  It was a weird yellow color with a snot like consistency.   IMG_0394 IMG_0396

Prior to the athletes began rolling in, we had a chance to talk to our fellow volunteers.  Most of them were volunteering so that they could get priority registration for next year’s event.  Of course we were just there for the experience.  Some of them gave us pointers on what the athletes like and don’t like so we tried to maintain their advice.   IMG_0397

Before we knew it, our first athletes were running through transition and we were ready and waiting with our rubber gloves and snotty sunscreen.  They were obviously the pros and were in and out of the changing tents in a ridiculous amount of time.  It was so impressive.  None of the pros wanted sunscreen but we still cheered like mad people and hollered for them.  I never get to see the front of the pack in an event unless it is an out and back course so it was so surreal to see these guys totally dominating.  Once the age groupers started rolling in, we were busy busy.  People would come to us and it was all we could do to lather them up really well and get them on their way.  For some people, we had to literally run with them because they refused to actually stop and waste precious transition seconds.  A lot of people wanted it everywhere so we would tag team it by one person doing shoulders and arms and another person doing their legs.  We got VERY personal with a lot of people.  Since they were still wet from the swim, it was hard to apply sunscreen since it wouldn’t rub in, but we did our very best.   IMG_0399

Almost all of the athletes were extremely grateful and kind.   I wish I had a GoPro and could have recorded the entire experience because there are so many different stories to tell.  One lady didn’t know she was chafed on her neck from her wetsuit so when a fellow volunteer slapped some sunscreen on that spot she started screaming uncontrollably and cursing and jumping up and down.  It scared us so badly so one volunteer tried to blow on her neck but it didn’t help.  I can only imagine the intense pain she was in.  Another dude said “HEY WHAT A COOL PARTY” and was dancing the entire time that we were lathering him down.  Some people were grateful for the “massage” that we gave their legs while applying sunscreen there.

I felt so bad for this one poor dude I helped…he had his body markings with something that was obviously not a Sharpie so as I was putting on his sunscreen, I totally made both of his arms black from where the marker ran.  He had to go to the tent to towel off and have his body markings redone.  I felt awful for potentially ruining his race but there was really nothing I could have done differently.  Another dude only wanted it on his nose but his helmet made it super hard to get to so I accidentally poked my sunscreen glove in his eye.  I know that had to hurt, but I was just trying to help.

The lady we met on the bus ended up coming to the spectator area by the sunscreen line and Brittney and I were the ones who got to put the sunscreen on him.  That was super cool since she had told us to look for him.  One guy had just done an Ironman two weeks ago and was doing another one.   I wish I could have had a conversation with every athlete that we helped but of course that was impossible.  I’m just happy to have had the opportunity to experience such a monumental event.

After our last athlete came through, we went home to change, eat lunch, and we ended up coming back to downtown before our river boat tour to watch some people in transition.  The pros were already coming through the transition to start their run.  We were able to see several of the pros and even a few age groupers come through before heading out to the run.  The run portion also ran right by where our boat was, so we saw several people starting their journey to the finish line.  It was amazing!  When our boat cruise was over we headed over the river and were able to see a ton of athletes running on the walking bridge.  They were moving so fast which truly blew my mind.  I was amazed at how many supporters people had there to watch them.  Many families and friends had shirts made, special signs drawn, and even those big heads on sticks of their athletes.  Although it did not put the desire in my heart to ever complete one, it was still so cool to watch happen.  We were even able to watch some people finish.  There was a 2 second difference between the first and second place finishers-literally the closest in Ironman history.  Although we didn’t get to see it in person, the video will about make you cringe because it is SO close.  Very cool moment.  IMG_0420IMG_0414 IMG_0395

I would love to have been able to volunteer for more than one position or to have been around to spectate all day, but of course that is hard since I do not live in the area.  Maybe next year.  In the meantime, I’m so happy to have gotten to experience the wonderful event that Ironman is and to see firsthand the hard work that goes into it.  Those athletes are true champions and warriors.  If you ever get the chance to volunteer then PLEASE  do it.  I promise you won’t regret it.

Wake Me Up When September Ends

How is it already the middle of September?  Time really does fly and it has seem to be going extra fast here lately.  Let me begin by saying thank you for all of the wonderful thoughts and sentiments on my last post.  I received several comments, emails, and texts from various people telling me that they too have had some of the same thoughts that I wrote about.  It is so nice to know that I’m not alone and that other people have gone through similar struggles.

After my post, I received a message from a gal that I knew in high school telling me that she felt my struggles and offered to start exercising with me.  I was elated that someone was willing to get up super early with me so that if I wanted to exercise in the dark mornings before school then I would have a partner to keep me from harm.  It is pretty scary out there in the morning time.  The fact that I get to have adult conversation before work is a big motivator when my 4:00 alarm goes off in the morning.  She even joined the same gym that I go to so now we can take lots of fun fitness classes together. I’m very thankful for new found friendship and a new workout partner.

sweaty and happy

sweaty and happy

Teaching has been a great experience for me thus far.  I often feel overwhelmed and stretched fairly thin, but having a group of 90 kids each day makes it all worth it.  My coworkers are fun and lively people, and I enjoy going to work each day.  We recently had Spirit Week at school which allowed us to dress up for each theme day.  My favorite day was Decades Day since I got to have some crazy hair and comfy 80’s clothes.  Our kids were probably mortified to be in the presence of such tackiness, but I think they secretly loved it.

Rosie and a crazy 80s gal

Rosie and a crazy 80s gal

do you feel sorry for our students?

do you feel sorry for our students?

Our friends Brittney and Cameron came up to visit us a couple of weekends ago and we loved having them here!  It was their first time to Townsend, so we had so much fun “playing tourist” and showing them around town. We did a little off-roading in their Jeep, drove all over the beautiful Townsend countryside, rode two different Alpine Coasters, and had some delicious food.  We love the time we get to spend with them and it was even better that they got to see where I grew up as well as us doing things we normally wouldn’t do since we are local.  My handsome fella and I will be traveling down to Chattanooga next weekend to spend some time with them and to volunteer for Ironman Chattanooga.  It is going to be a lot of fun.

jeep life

jeep life

goat coaster

goat coaster

This past weekend I did the Great Smoky Mountain Half Marathon that was put on by Vacation Races.  It isn’t very often that a race is in Townsend, and an old friend from Nuun that I met in Seattle now works for Vacation Races so it was just a win-win.  I had an extra entry so I invited my coworker to do it with me with TWO days notice.  Yes, she’s crazy.  I obviously had not trained for the race but knew that I could walk it and enjoy it. I was able to visit the expo briefly on Friday to get my bib and talk to a few folks.  The race began on the campus of the school that I work at and went all the way past my house so it was literally like running home from work.  Crazy stuff.  It was a great race and had an awesome medal.  I carried a handheld water bottle the entire time since they don’t utilize cups at their water stops but each stop had plenty of water and most of them had things like bananas, oranges, and Honey Stingers.  After spectating last year, I was glad to see that the field had more than doubled in size, making it a great time.  I will definitely be doing this race again.

really awesome.  can you find my name?

really awesome. can you find my name?

there i am!

there i am!

my beautiful mountains

my beautiful mountains

racing for the bling

racing for the bling

Last night I went to a special event for teachers at the Titanic attraction.  It counted as professional hours but was a great experience since we got a personal tour of the ship and museum, as well as a lot of hands on training on how to incorporate Titanic in our classrooms.  We had a fantastic dinner catered to us and we felt pretty fancy with our super special VIP passes.  I’ve always loved Titanic and it was great learning about so many different people that were on board and debunking a few myths.  We even met the owner whose husband was the second person to command an exploration of Titanic.  Pretty neat stuff!

first class ticket

first class ticket

Hopefully I will be blogging more in the month of September, but if I don’t then just wake me up when September ends.  I’m looking forward to fall and seeing the leaves change with the cooling temps.  Thanks again for all of the support you guys have shown me here lately.  It reminded me of why I enjoy blogging so much in the first place.  Y’all are the best.

 

Happenings Lately

First off, let me say a huge THANK YOU for all of your kind words, comments, messages, and texts on my post about my first marathon.  I loved going back and reading so many encouraging words on what was such a crazy event in my life.  You all are very appreciated!

It is graduation season here in Tennessee and I’ve been to several.  I was fortunate enough to watch my best friend from college graduate with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from our beloved alma mater.  The high school that I taught at this semester also had a beautiful ceremony where I got to see so many of my wonderful students celebrate this chapter in their lives.  Add in my former high school’s graduation and a few elementary graduations and I am about cap and gowned out.  It really is an exciting time in young people’s lives and I really do love attending.  IMG_7843

A week or so ago, I was able to volunteer at a race held in Knoxville.  This particular series rewards its volunteers with “race bucks” so if you volunteer then you get credit towards another race in their series.  I chose the course monitor position and spent my morning standing in the rain with a cowbell making sure that 10K runners knew where to turn while half marathoners continued on the course.  It was nice to get 80 dollars to use at a future race while cheering so many people on at the same time.  IMG_7989

The weather here in East Tennessee has been beautiful and I’ve been taking advantage of getting outside.  The evenings are especially nice and so my boyfriend and I recently spent some time at the river painting ourselves with river rocks.  If you ever visit the Townsend area, be sure to spend time on the water and enjoy all that nature has to offer. IMG_8019

This past weekend I ran in the Expo 5000.  I do this race every year but this year had a new course and I was also able to volunteer at the packet pickup before I ran.  Quick story: I have this really sweet friend that I met via Instagram named Katie and last year she was in town for this race and we met up.  Come to find out this schoolyear that one of my coworkers was her college roommate.  What a small world.  She was in town again this year and so we took a picture (of course we did).  This race was literally the first time I have ran since the marathon.  My body was super confused and I totally forgot how hard running really is.  Luckily I was able to have a really nice negative split and ran mile 1 in 12:18, mile 2 in 11:02, and mile 3 in 10:33 with the final .1 at a 8:35 pace.  I was pleased with my effort given my lack of running here lately.  Hopefully in the coming weeks I will get back to a normal routine and start running again.  My body definitely needed a break and so did my mental state.   IMG_8114 IMG_8126

Memorial Day was a huge success and I teamed up with my dad, uncle, and one of my students to play in a golf tournament. My handsome fella drove around spectating. All of the proceeds go to supporting kids’ sports in our small town which is critical given how funding can be limited with such a small community.  It was the perfect day to hit the links and enjoy crushing some golf balls.  Our score wasn’t as good as last year but at least we finished under par.   FullSizeRender

Today is my sweet Momma’s birthday so wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY.  She means so much to me and you all probably feel like you know her because I talk about her so much.  I love her a lot and hope she has a special day today.  Happy Hump Day. y’all! IMG_2686

Marathon Week

Hey y’all!  Wow, where has the time gone?  It seems like just yesterday that I was signing up for the Flying Pig Marathon and making it known to the world that I was going to begin my quest to finish 26.2 miles.  Ideally I would have liked to have blogged the entire process.  I know that personally I would have loved to be able to look back and see all of my thoughts on my training and just the process in general.  But unfortunately life got in the way.  I know that is no excuse but I began a new job teaching 11th grade and I just didn’t feel like sitting down to type out my thoughts.  Not that anyone cares about my marathon training but I still wish I had actually blogged about it.

Regardless, here I am.  Just three days away from a marathon.  It is mind blowing to think that this day is finally here.  I always said I would never do a marathon, but I’m glad that I will (hopefully) be able to say that I’ve completed one just once in my life.  I know that it is impossible to sum up so many weeks of training in one blog post, but I’m going to share with you some of the highlights of training.  Please excuse the random pictures I throw in here with captions explaining what aspect of training I was in.  Consider it a photo journal.

getting in a group run with some of the KTC team

getting in a group run with some of the KTC team

taking our long run to the mountains on MLK JR. Day

taking our long run to the mountains on MLK JR. Day

I loved eating a banana and a recovery shake after tough long runs.

I loved eating a banana and a recovery shake after tough long runs.

Bryan was my “coach” so to speak and kept me up to date with what I should be doing and what kind of miles I should be logging.  I was able to do most of my long runs on Saturday mornings with the Knoxville Track Club which was great because it kept me accountable and gave me some company.  Most of my long runs were done at a run/walk interval where I would run for 5 minutes and walk for 1.5 minutes.  This was so helpful to me in terms of getting it done both mentally and physically.

Saturday morning group runs

Saturday morning group runs

Thankful to have my friend Kaycee along for many of my runs

Thankful to have my friend Kaycee along for many of my runs

I was able to get most of my mid week runs on our school’s campus since it has a 1.5 mile loop around it. That was fun and there were even times when kids would take pictures of me out the window of the school and put it on social media with captions such as “Ms. Godfrey is escaping” which was always fun to come back to.  Marathon training allowed me to be a healthy role model to my students.  There was also a period of time where we had terrible snow storms (terrible for Tennessee, anyway) and our school was shut down for more than 2 weeks.  That made it hard to run at all since there was about 10 inches of snow on the ground and no power.  But hey, life happens.

Still getting in some miles during a major snow week

Still getting in some miles during a major snow week

My longest run was supposed to be 20 miles but I never made it there.  I ended up doing four 16 milers.  The first two 16 milers were amazing and I did them solo.  The weather was perfect for them and I kept a good pace then entire time.  Of course the last couple of miles really hurt and my run/walk intervals started spacing out as I added in even more walk breaks but I was still able to do them.  I learned when to take gels and when not to take gels.  I learned that you can never have too much Body Glide and that sometimes major debilitating chafing has to occur before you learn that lesson.  I learned that I have an awesome support system.  My sweet Momma got in her car and followed me at various points during one 16 milers.  She took photos of me, brought me water, cheered for me, gave me new pieces of gum, and just kept an eye on me.  My friend Lindsay sent me an awesome care package that had some cute socks and a new marathon shirt in it.  I’ve just felt so much love during this long process of training.

Major salt deposits were usually on my face after runs.

Major salt deposits were usually on my face after runs.

Major chafing.  You have no idea how much this hurt

Major chafing. You have no idea how much this hurt

Elation after completing my first 16 miler solo.

Elation after completing my first 16 miler solo.

I’ll be completely honest and say that I probably won’t ever do another marathon.  The training has burned me out and I started feeling mentally defeated several weeks ago.  I don’t look forward to my long runs because they are so long.  Here’s something funny: I read in so many books and magazines that you gain weight while marathon training.  I read it all as blah blah blah blah because I sincerely thought I was going to be *that* person who loses weight while training.   Combine that with a brand new job and other life changes and I totally failed at that.  I’ve gained several pounds during training and some of my clothes don’t even fit.  I won’t blame marathon training and I’ll save my weight struggles for another post but let’s just say this cycle has slimmed me down any.

I enjoyed using races for long runs if it fit in my schedule

I enjoyed using races for long runs if it fit in my schedule

Something else I had to get used to was slowing down.  It devastated me to do slow midweek runs and I was constantly complaining to Bryan about how slow I had gotten but he had to continually remind me that after the marathon was over that I could focus on speed and short distance again.  I can’t wait for that to happen because I’m so sick of long and slow miles.

I would like to say that I’m confident going into marathon weekend.  I’ve definitely skipped some runs and there were times that my runs were a failure and had to walk the majority of them. It happens.  I’m comfortable saying that I completed about 85% of what Bryan asked me to do.  If all else fails, then I can walk it. They are predicting hot weather and the Flying Pig directors have added water stops to where there will now be water available every single mile of the race.  My biggest fear is severe cramping or muscle fatigue and getting sick.  My belly doesn’t respond well to long distance especially when I”m fueling with gel so I often experience terrible stomach pain.  There were some Saturdays where I spent the remainder of the day in bed thanks to stomach issues.  Let’s be positive and pray that this is not an issue on race day.  I’m thankful to have my mother going with me to cheer me on at the race.  No one is more proud of me than she is.

You can sign up for text alerts from the Flying Pig website if you want. I would love to have some virtual cheers and good vibes my way.  Realistically, I think I will finish in around 6 hours.  It could be more and it could be less.  My only goal is to finish the race and that’s what I intend on doing.

Certification, Road Trips, and Ice Baths

Happy Monday!  Hopefully y’all are enjoying this day because Thanksgiving is this week and I’m already thinking about everything that I’m thankful for and planning out my Thanksgiving Day menu.  I’m ready to eat, eat, and eat some more.  Thankfully (pun intended), I signed up for a 5k on Thanksgiving Day to start my day off the right way.  I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks so here is a quick catch up!  I am finally feeling better after I had to take eight days off from running thanks to a nasty head cold that made it nearly impossible to breathe.  Hooray for not being sick any longer.

I stood before my faculty panel and peers for my exit interview to present my professional teaching portfolio, and I passed with flying colors.  It was intimidating but really all I had to do was convince them that I was a worthy and eligible candidate for becoming a teacher.  I’m officially certified to teach and will now be on the hunt for a teaching job.  Keep your fingers crossed that a position will open up and that I will be employed.  I am still working on my Master’s degree and hope to finish that up in spring of 2016.  Due to the nature of classes, you can spread it out for as long as you like which is something I’m thankful for since classes are at night.  So, you can now start calling me Ms. Godfrey because that is my official title.  🙂  photo (2)

After my exit interview, I hit the road to Chattanooga to see my best friend, Brittney.  Since I was already in Knoxville, it barely took me an hour to make the drive down.  I loved spending time in her new home and seeing Chattanooga.  We ate a LOT of food/desserts and tried out several local joints.  We went to this amazing sandwich shop called Golly Whoppers which had the best sandwiches ever and then we snagged some snack size red velvet cheesecake bites.  But, of course, we had to get some workouts in.  I downloaded a free three-day pass to her gym so that I could attend some fitness classes with her while I was down there.  Since I was still battling a cold, we took BodyPump since it required more strength then cardio and then the next day we took Spin which consisted of me just pedaling on the bike.  I was glad to get in some fitness after so much time off and I was glad to work up a sweat next to Brittney since she abandoned me and moved farther South.  If you ever get the chance to visit Chattanooga, please do!   photo 2 (28) photo 1 (28)

Marathon training officially started on Saturday and I could not be more excited (and scared)!  It feels so good to have a goal on the calendar so far in advance and know that I am responsible for making that goal happen.  We kicked off training with a group run with the Knoxville Track Club who offers training for their spring race, Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.  I ran 3 miles with a member of this year’s Biggest Winner team and then went back out for another 3 miles with Bryan.  Once I got home, my legs were hurting bad.  I attribute this to taking so much time off but hey, we all start somewhere.  I took an ice bath to help my legs but it was sort of an issue since my legs are too long for my tub. After a short nap, my Momma and I went out for a three-mile walk.  I cannot express how glad I was to sleep in yesterday.  Hopefully the next five months of training yield strong results and NO injuries.  photo (11) photo (10)

I hope you all have a great Monday!  If I don’t blog before Thursday then have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING and be sure to eat food and NOT feel guilty about it.  I look forward to hearing how your holiday went!  

Marathons and Mary Poppins

When I was in 2nd grade, my sweet Momma traveled to San Diego to participate in the Suzuki Rock n Roll Marathon for Team in Training for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  This was at a time when the running boom had yet to really take off.  I didn’t fully understand what she was doing or why she was doing it, but I knew that it was something special and something that not a lot of people had done. She had completed a marathon and earned the title of marathoner-a title not many people have. Momma still has her medal to this day and completing that marathon remains one of her biggest accomplishments.  I didn’t know it then, but this is where my interest in running/racing began.

Over the past year, I have seen so many of my sweet friends complete various marathons and have watched from afar as they shattered the goals they set for themselves and accomplished something that they may have never imagined they would complete.  This past summer, my friend and “coach” noted that perhaps I should take that next step and begin thinking about my first full marathon.  It was a laughable suggestion and I had no interest in completing a full.  I know how I feel around mile 13 of a half marathon and doing it again in the same day was absolutely not on my radar.  But the more I thought about it, the more the idea grew on me.  Doing a full marathon would sort of “complete” my story.  I could do it and show myself that I’m capable of something greater than anything I have ever dreamed.  But I was scared and a marathon was a long dang way so I disregarded it.

Bryan wouldn’t let the idea die down and we continued to talk about it.  I knew that I would want/need somebody (obviously him) to run with me to get me through the race if I chose to sign up.  Coincidentally, Bryan suggested Flying Pig since it is one of his favorite races and because I already know the first part of the course having done the half earlier this year.  The idea became more and more tempting and I was sold once he agreed to pace me for every step of the way.  The deadline for the cheapest price was on Halloween and I was still scared stupid to even register.  However when I picked up my packet for the Farragut 13.1 race, my bib number was 262.  That was the sign I needed to bite the bullet and officially register.  Before going to bed I submitted my registration form and forked over the money to endure 26.2 miles of torture.  Getting my confirmation email was all kinds of scary and the reality of the beast ahead of me suddenly sank in.  photo (1)

It is going to be a long training cycle for me since I have never ran more than 13.1 miles so I’m anxious to see how my body reacts and adapts to increased mileage.  I have full faith in my ability to stay dedicated and follow the plan that Bryan sets for me.  It won’t be easy.  It might not even be fun.  But when I cross the “Finish Swine” on May 3, 2015 it will all be worth it and I will earn the title of MARATHONER.  Crazy, I know.  Be sure to stay tuned for the torture fest I have in my future and see how training goes for me.  I vow to be honest about my feelings throughout training and to share all victories and defeats that may come my way.  It will be fun, right?

Speaking of marathons, let me tell you about another Mary.  I realize that I’m a little late to the party from posting about Halloween, but better late than never.  While Halloween is not one of my favorite holidays, I really enjoy scrolling through my Facebook feed and seeing my friends’ children dressed up in their costumes.  It is a lot of fun to take on another persona for one night.  Like last year, we had a trunk-or-treat event at my church where members handed out candy from their cars.  I had pinned a Mary Poppins costume to a Pinterest board earlier this year that I tucked away for this special occasion and I must say that it turned out very well.  The best part was that every piece of my outfit/costume is something that I already had in my closet so I didn’t have to spend a dime.  I was also surprised that my beautiful friend’s daughter was also dressed up as Mary Poppins.  We really rocked the “spoon full of sugar” look.  photo 1 (27) photo 5 (17)

Have any advice for a first time marathoner?  Did you dress up for Halloween?

Doing the Double: Two Half Marathons in Two Days

I read a lot of blogs of various people who are racing the states so it is not uncommon to see someone do two half marathons in one weekend.  Although it may be somewhat common, I have never even considered doing a double since that seemed like suicide to my poor body.  This past spring, our local track club announced an inaugural half marathon that would take place in November.  It would be the Farragut 13.1 and would run through a different part of town that Knoxville’s main marathon.  I love supporting our club and our running community so I could not pass up the chance to participate in an inaugural event.  After registering, it was announced that a neighboring town would be offering a half marathon the following day and that there would be a special medal for anyone who chose to run both.  This race was called Foothills Half Marathon and the course was primarily greenway.  Two great races and extra bling?  Sign me up!

After registering, I put these races on the back burner.  I knew there would be no way that these two races would be comfortable so I vowed to do them for fun.  Race weekend quickly approached and I began to doubt my ability to complete in two half marathons in consecutive days.  On Halloween, my Momma and I headed to Knoxville to pick up race packets.  She was originally registered to run but has had some knee pain lately and decided it wasn’t worth risking injury.  The host hotel had a nice little mini-expo and we were able to pick up some samples of things. Each participant got some nice swag in their race bags including free appetizers to Texas Roadhouse and free chili from Petro’s.  The shirts for both races were also very nice and unique.  We made a quick trip to the mall before heading home so I could get as much sleep as possible before race day.  photo 2 (27)

The Farragut 13.1 had a 9am start so I was lucky enough to get a little extra sleep before getting ready for the race. Earlier in the week, the meteorologists had called for snow so a lot of people were concerned what race day weather would bring.  We were fortunate enough to only get a light dusting on our cars but some of my coworkers had over a foot of snow at their houses (no exaggeration).  The wind was blustery and was cold enough to really make you shiver.  There was a big turn out for the race and it was very well organized although I was glad we picked up our packets the previous day.  I didn’t have a goal in mind but just wanted to finish so that I could get through the entire weekend. photo 3 (24)

I made it comfortably through the first three miles at a consistent pace but the hills began to wear me out and I took a lot of walk breaks.  So many other runners were very supportive so it was nice to socialize while out there suffering.  I ran when I could and walked when I ran out of breath or when my legs were starting to hurt.  I made it to the 10 mile mark just under two hours which was the only original goal I had set for myself.  Around mile 11 I completely bonked.  My legs refused to move forward and we were running on a cement sidewalk.  It became impossible for me to push myself mentally but I just kept the goal of the end in mind.  Finally I could see the hill that led to the finish line and I powerwalked my way up it.  There were lots of cheers from the sidelines and I was thankful for that since it gave me the strength to run the remaining tenth to the finish line.  My chip time was 2:43:26.  Not close to my best but far from my worst.  Bryan met me at the finish line and could tell that I was obviously in pain.  We headed to the food area and I was able to get some pizza, donuts, chocolate milk, BBQ, and chili.  It was the best post race food of all time.  And after a freezing cold and painful run, it tasted wonderful. photo 2 (26)

After a brief chat, I was able to head home to recover.  I stopped by the grocery store for a few items and to buy a foam roller.  Once at home, I took a nice hot shower to thaw out and then put on some compression sleeves.  I wasn’t really in pain, but my body was tired. I had Chick-fil-a for dinner and just lounged around for the rest of the day and into the evening.  My beloved Tennessee Volunteers were playing football that night but I could not even manage to stay awake for the miraculous overtime win.  photo 1 (25)

Daylight savings time became my instant best friend since I got to sleep so late the following morning.  The Foothills Half started at 2pm so I enjoyed being able to sleep in, take it easy, and mentally prepare myself for the second race.  I woke up a little tight, but nothing compared to what I had anticipated.  This race was a lot smaller and we were able to park directly next to the start line.  I will complain that this race had ankle bracelets for timing chips and those have chafed my ankles pretty badly in the past so I improvised and attached it to my shoe.  I found a group of ladies that I had done some long runs with in the summer and decided I would stay with them.  They were doing a 3:1 run/walk ratio and that was exactly what I needed to get through this race.  We were moving along and I was feeling great.  I told the lady I was running beside that I couldn’t believe it felt that easy.  The course monitors were so supportive and helpful at every crossing. photo 4 (23) photo 5 (16)

A bit into the race some of the group I was with had to take a bathroom stop.  Another lady and I continued on but the other group had the interval beeper so we decided to just run until we were ready for a walk break.  This continued on for the next several miles.  Around mile 9, my legs really began to feel the extreme fatigue.  It actually hurt worse to walk than it did to run.  We made it across the big pedestrian bridge that crosses to a new section of the greenway and I told my partner to go on without me.  From then on it was a mental struggle but I had approached those who chose to make the early start.  I made it my goal to start passing people and it kept my mind off the pain and fatigue I was feeling. Before I knew it, I was approaching the finish line.  The path to the finish was a nice straight downhill finish and there were lots of spectators and supporters lining the greenway cheering for finishers.  My finish time for this race was 2:46:27 which was only 3:01 slower than the day before. photo 1 (26)

Once I finished and collected both my finisher’s medal and my double medal, I was able to grab some food.  They were serving grilled cheese sandwiches which was DELIGHTFUL after a race, plus some chocolate milk.  Surprisingly I felt superb.  My legs were definitely aching but I felt so much better than I did after the finish on the prior day.  Maybe it was the adrenaline, but I did not feel dead to the world.  Once the sun started to go down it got pretty chilly so we took some photos and I headed home.  photo 3 (23)

I was starving last night since I wasn’t really able to eat that much before or after the race so I ordered myself a nice pizza and some cinnamon sticks.  Delicious.  After a hot shower and some Tylenol, I was more than ready for bed. This is probably too much information but I now have a lovely black toenail which I’m pretty sure is going to fall off but in some bizarre and morbid way I am glad I have it because that means that I worked hard.  I woke up in the same exact position that I fell asleep in which is absolutely not normal for me.  I woke up this morning feeling a little sore but great overall.  Today and tomorrow will definitely be a rest day and I will continue to focus on recovery before starting training again.

It is hard to believe this big goal of two half marathons in one weekend is already over.  Reflecting on this weekend, I have decided I would definitely do another double weekend which is a good thing since there will probably be more doubles involved in the future if I plan on racing every state.  If you have the opportunity to do a double weekend then I would highly recommend it…especially if extra medals are involved.