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Happy Miscounted 38th Half Marathon To Me!

One of the things that I think is most important in my weight loss journey is my self-integrity. That means something different for everyone. But one of the biggest things I have learned along the way is that if I am not keeping the promises I make to myself in order to reach my goals, it becomes easier and easier to do just that: not keep my promises.

If I tell myself that I’ll be in the gym doing cardio 5x this week and I only get in there 4x, and then next week I do the same thing, for whatever reason – life got in the way, something came up, there were other more pressing things I had to do – it makes it easier and easier to not keep that promise to myself and to justify only getting 4 days in each week instead of 5.

I’m not saying that 4 days isn’t better than none, or even better than 3, but if it’s not those 5 days I promised myself and I keep doing it over and over, before I know it, it might be 3 days instead of 4 or 2 days instead of three.

I made a mistake. I miscounted.

Somewhere in the midst of things this last year, some of my numbers in accounting for the number of half marathons that I have run got off. After reviewing the numbers  repeatedly, I know they were correct leading up to my Marathon of Half Marathons and leading into Jeff moving here last June, but somewhere after that, somehow I counted a half marathon I didn’t actually run.

There is no telling why I made the mistake. But here is what I do know: each time I complete a half marathon, I put it on the books as done. Each one of them is leading to goals I have. For example right now my goal is to be at 39 half marathons by the time I leave for the Tinker Bell half marathon next month so that event ends up being my 40th.

You might ask why I set that goal?

It makes sense really, at least to my brain. I turned 40 this year. The Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland is my favorite half marathon each year. It is really the half marathon that started this obsession with me. I know going into it this year that for financial reasons, the likelihood of me running it again next year is slim, and so this year, what will be likely be my 4th and final year of running it, needs to be special to me.

That and I am a numbers girl. I get a little obsessed on them. So doing a special half marathon for the 4th time the year that I turned 40 and it being my 40th half marathon all has a significance to me that means something to me. That’s the most important thing about a goal you set, that it is important enough to you that you are intrinsically motivated to do it.

To some people, this might sound crazy. Trust me I know. Some people have told me, “Who cares that I miscounted? Who cares that I have run 37 instead of 38 half marathons?” The significance in that number really isn’t important to anyone but me. Right? I’m running with an injury that is slowing me down on a regular basis, making these events harder and harder for me and making it so that it takes me longer and longer to recover from running that sort of distance. I really should be taking a break and letting that achilles tendonitis heal and pushing it to get another half marathon on the books to make up for my miscounting error before I leave next month is crazy, unnecessary and stupid. Right?

Maybe I am crazy.

Maybe that is all correct. Here is the most important thing in all that outside input that I didn’t really welcome or ask for: the significance in that number really isn’t important to anyone but me. And ME is the person that is the most significant when it comes to keeping the promises I make to myself, reaching my goals and feeling good about them when I get there.

So with all that said, yesterday, I set out to make up for that missing half marathon. I did it to set my numbers straight, find that mathematical accountability that my brain has learned to find comfort in, and to get my goals back in line for what I want to achieve next month.

Currently I’m a little out of shape when it comes to running. My ankles are screaming at me, and I took a few weeks off of running after my last running event in February to try to let them heal. In fact, as hard as it was for me to do, I took three weeks off of exercise in general to give my body a true break. When you take that kind of time off you start losing your fitness and endurance levels, as a result I’m a little slower than I would like to be now.

When I sat out to run that 13.1 miles yesterday I wasn’t even sure I could do it. There was a little negative voice in the back of my head that kept telling me maybe I wasn’t ready, maybe I was going to hurt too bad the next day if I tried to do it. Maybe I would only get to mile 11 or 12 and then hit a wall and fail. After all, on my last long run I jumped from 4 miles to 9 miles and I struggled to make it.

I had to combat those negative voices in my head.

But part of me also knew that those negative voices I was hearing and that self-doubt that I was experiencing was coming from the fact that other people were telling me these things, not because I felt them myself. I started to combat those negative voices with positive reinforcements of my goal. I know I can do this if I am willing to slow down and not push too hard. I know I can do this if I take my time and just enjoy it, rather than worrying about how fast I go or how long it takes me to get it done.

I needed to prove myself, and not just because somewhere deep inside me I needed to correct those numbers and get them back where I wanted them to be to meet my goals, but because I had to prove to myself over the negative voices so loudly playing in my mind that I could indeed do it.

And so I did. I walked out the door with the intention of spending some time with my Dad. Ignoring my speed or my mile per minute time and instead going back to what running was for me before all of that started being important: I set out to have fun. I set out to enjoy the music, enjoy the scenery, spend some time with my father, run off my emotions and maybe just maybe in the process find me again. Because lately I’ve felt that somewhere along the way in the last year of life in general, I lost a little bit of the focus on me and my goals while being more wrapped up in helping everyone else meet theirs.

I needed a little me time.

It’s been awhile since I took that in the form of running, just like I learned to do in the beginning of my journey, to deal with my emotions and work things out in my mind.

First I told myself I would run 10 miles, just increasing my long run by a mile from last time. Then I played with numbers in my head while I ran and convinced myself that I’d run 6.2 miles with my Dad and 6.2 miles with myself, when you turn those numbers around that’s two sets of 26, and that number has significance in my world, 1926 was the year my father was born.

I told myself I only had to make it to 12.4 and from there if I wanted to I would stop. But in my heart I knew that if I could make it to 12.4 I could make it to 13.1. I just needed to look at it as small goals in my mind to make it less tedious and intimidating while I was out there.

I ran through my neighborhood. I ran through the local cemetery and I watched for headstones from people who were born the same year my father was, and I took time to stop and pause my watch and say hello to them. I spent some time listening to my father’s music, having conversations with him about everything going on in my life right now and listening for some answers.

I went slow. I took it easy. When my Fitbit died and I took my phone out and started using that to track my distance to make sure I got it all in. And over three hours later, I had my true half marathon number 38 on the books. Guess what else I had? My self integrity. The fact that I had fixed my mistake and that my claim to 38 half marathons, though miscalculated as to time and place was accurate in numbers and accomplishments.

I felt better. I felt a lot better. The time alone running with my thoughts, helped me find clarity and direction and helped me answer some of the questions that were weighing so heavily on my mind.

And so I completed my Me-A-Thon.

Yup, I’m calling this half marathon #38 redux, my official 2017 Half ME-a-thon. Because truthfully it was something I needed to do for myself. Something I needed deep inside me for bunch of reasons nobody but me might understand.

At the end of the day, guess what, it’s okay if nobody but me understands it. Because my weight loss journey, my fitness journey, my emotional journey is about me first and foremost. While that might seem greedy and that might seem selfish, the truth is, that if when I first decided to walk this journey I decided that was the only way I was going to be successful at it. If I made sure that I was doing it for the right reasons, that I was doing it for myself.

Yesterday I needed to remind myself that it was about me. That it was about my goals and my journey and about what I needed deep inside me to feel right with the world and feel like I had kept my fitness promises to myself. I needed to get myself back on track with myself, and not to anyone else’s time, speed or standards but to my own.

Maybe that wasn’t important to anyone but me. Maybe it was unnecessary and stupid. Maybe I was slow and had an awful finishing time – but I enjoyed every moment of it. When it was over I felt empowered by something intrinsically that I hadn’t felt empowered by in a very long time. Just doing it for myself. Focusing on myself. Being with myself.

And that is exactly want I needed.

So happy miscounted 38th half marathon to me. I ran a Half Me-A-Thon yesterday and while my ankles are a little sore today and my body is a little wounded, my self integrity, self-confidence and self efficacy in my goals is back on track and my pride in myself is unwounded and that is neither silly, unnecessary or stupid.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and a Certified Personal Trainer.

A PR at the #BIGASSMEDALS Series : Race Recap

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Last Saturday I had the privilege of running in the Run Oak Island event, the first of four events in the Big Ass Medal series that I wrote about last week.

Let me first clarify why I say privilege. The ability to run is not something that is granted to everyone. There are many out there that for whatever reason are limited in the activity that they can participate in. As someone who has the disease of obesity, there was a time that my disease prevented me from being able to run.

Now, as someone who is in recovery from obesity every time I am out there running at event I remember a day when my body was physically incapable of doing so and for that reason alone any running event I participate in is a privilege to me.

So let’s talk about this event. The most important thing first…I broke a personal record and ran my fastest half marathon ever by completing the 13.1 miles in 2 hours 24 minutes and 18 seconds. As a runner, achieving a new personal record is always an accomplishment and the best part is that to achieve one the only person you ever have to compete with is yourself.

I attribute this personal record to a few things. First of all the race route itself was extremely flat. There were not a lot of hills to deal with and that always makes for a much faster time. The one or two hills we did have were not monumental. The only time I saw my time coming down due to a hill was when we were coming up and over a bridge just in time to come down, turn around and go up and over the bridge again between mile nine and mile ten. Those two inclines did cause me to pull one of the slowest split times I got that day with an 11 minute and 59 second mile.

The overall environment of the route was pretty. It was a gorgeous beach town run through Oak Island and I definitely want to go back and see more of the town in the summer. The mile markers were consistent and visible and that’s always a big plus because you want to know each mile that you accomplish.

As scenic and beautiful as it was it was, nothing was going to distract from the fact that it was 29 degrees outside and one of the coldest races I have ever ran. I was wearing a top and bottom base layer, my favorite RawThreads bamboo hoodie, a long sports jacket over that and I had on a pair of gloves and three, yes three, layers on my head: a base layer, a knit hoodie and a ball cap. Until mile 5 I carried 2 hand warmers in each of my hands trying to keep my fingers from hurting and feeling numb.

BigAssMedalMoral of the story: I am not really a cold weather runner but there is little I won’t do for a really bad ass big ass medal.

The medal by far made the event worth it. It is one of the coolest and biggest medals I have added to my collection and I really hope that I will be able to collect all four of them.

When I stopped by to see Johnna Terragna with Coast Race Productions after the race and introduce myself she told me that they had also decided that since there might have been some people who couldn’t make it to this event that would regret missing the first medal they were going to open up the option of doing a virtual run to get it.

This is a great opportunity! Whether you hadn’t heard about the series or you are someone like me who really wasn’t made to run in temperatures below 50 and opted to stay in bed that day instead, you can still get the first medal in the series by running 13.1 miles on your own another day and submitting your time. That means it’s not too late to start your #BigAssMedal collection! You can do this first race virtually if you missed it and then run the other three later this year.

Because my dear running friend Ronda Rhodes owns a construction company and is familiar with the costs involved in dumping the porta-potties that they have to put on job sites, it was a little disheartening to see all of the runners using job site porta-potties that day. I’ll say two things about that – first, as runners we are not entitled to just use whatever we run across. If it’s not intended for us to use we shouldn’t use it. Second, I think that for a 13.1 mile distance the race event needs to make sure that a couple of the water stations have porta-potties for those that need to use them.

Ronda and I made it through the entire race without having to stop to use a porta-john, which is a first for me. I am confident that is one of the reasons that I was able to shave so much time off my personal record.

I can’t really say much about the after party other than I was grateful for a cold beer and a piece of warm pizza to pick the cheese and pepperoni off when I got there because and both tasted better than words can describe. The first thing I eat after running a long distance always tastes like the most amazing thing I have ever had. “Oh my gosh this is the best pizza EVER.” 

I didn’t stay at the after party long because it was still cold enough that more than anything I wanted to get in the car and turn the heated seats on.

I’m really grateful for a nice flat terrain run that allowed me to push for a personal record, for the beautiful scenery that I got to take in and for the exposure to a town I never would have known I wanted to spend more time in.  

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But if I had to thank Coast Race Production for just one thing it would definitely be the medal. The medal alone inspires me to want to run the other three races and knowing that it will be a lot warmer in June has me really excited about participating in Run Sunset Beach on May 21!

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.
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About (Pandora) The Author

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender
Jaime "Pandora" Williams

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The kind people at BariLife have been generous enough to send me to Paris to represent the WLS Community in the inaugural RunDisney Paris Disney Half Marathon.
Please take the time to visit their website and check them out! Be sure to tell them Pandora sent you!

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