Sunday, October 12, 2014

Long Time no Update

Life has been going fantastic!  I haven't run a race in over a year and I am ok with that!  I have accomplished just as much this year as I did in the past few when I was running/biking all the time!  I am itching to do another race, but not a marathon again just yet.  Two years ago today I ran the Chicago Marathon and loved every minute of it.  Then the reality set in of what I had put my body through for months leading up to the race.  I had to stop lifting, playing volleyball, and ALL that carb loading.  It caught up with me.  I have always been an active person, but for the first time in my life I gained wait while doing something so active.  I was afraid I was going to get hurt, so I followed the rules and stopped doing anything but RUNNING.  Now today two years later I am stronger, leaner, and only 6 pounds away from the weight I was that day I ran a marathon.  The year after the marathon I slowly go back into lifting and running less.  I ran another half marathon, but since then I haven't ran another race.  I did complete a century bike ride and took up a new workout routine....Cross-fit.

I am satisfied with the progress I am making in my fitness level.  Daily I push myself to be better, faster, and stronger than I was the day before.  I am finding my body has been transformed.  My clothes fit different, my body moves different.  I have a long way to go, but my nutrition is finally catching up with the body I would like to create.  Cross-fit gets ripped on by many people, but I am happy I found it.  I can't wait to see what my body looks like next year at this time!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Took it to the Next Level

I took a intro to Crossfit type of class for two months this summer and became hooked.  Now in my 3rd month of Crossfit and I am seeing my body change and do things I never thought would ever be possible!

I still have a long way to go, but  my body is getting tighter and stronger every day!  I love how much energy and excitement I have each day.  Pushing my body to this next level has been fun too!

Once I get the extra weight off I would like to incorporate more long distance running back into my training.  That is the only thing that I am lacking with Crossfit.

Monday, August 12, 2013

100 Miles to Go

Two weeks from yesterday my husband and I will embark on our first century ride together for a charity ride called 100 Miles to Go.  It starts at Wrigley Field and goes out 50 miles and then turns around and finishes at Wrigley Field.  I'm getting anxious and nervous all at the same time.  This past weekend we did our 70 miler and I feel confident we will feel great on Aug 25th after we do all 100!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

It is another year come and gone and I'm now 33 years old.  I am looking forward to a great year.  I have new challenges and goals set and I'm ready to start achieving them.  The Cubs are looking more promising and baseball is in the mist of spring training.

I am starting a running club at my school for 3rd and 4th graders for after school fitness with a friend of mine.  It is turning into a great experience and I'm so happy that I decided to do it.  I look forward to seeing the difference it makes in children's lives!  I wish someone would have shown me how to run, eat right, and be active when I was a kid!

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Was Quite the Ride....

It all started with a stroke of the clock...I was running and it seems that for me I ran most of 2012!  I logged a total of 850 miles in the past 365 days.  The averages out to 2.3 miles per day for the full year.  Two years ago I couldn't even imagine running more than 1/2 mile at most!  Tonight we head to a race the last 5k of 2012 and look forward to the next year.  I am looking at more running, some triathlons  a bike race, and perhaps another marathon.  I can't even really believe that I did complete a marathon this year.  It is really one of the biggest moments of my life.  I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Amanda :)

Ps.....Go cubs!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon!

Overwhelmed by just how amazing this race day experience was.  As I sit down to write this I'm still reflecting back on that weekend and the 4 month journey to get to that starting line.  Mentally I am suffering from a bit of a let down after all the hype of the training.  I thought a few days post marathon my thoughts might make a bit more sense, but not sure!

If you read my blog you know that just about two years ago I began using couch to 5k to run my first 5k back in December 2010.  This progressed to multiple 5k's and then a half marathon.  That journey was tough and I thought that might be the end of my big races.  As my body healed I realized it wasn't and started playing with the idea of actually running the Chicago Marathon.  By mid December 2011 I decided that I wanted to run the 2012 Chicago Marathon.  I had planned every run/workout/race from Jan 2012 until the race on October 7th.  I planned a 10 mile race in May and another half marathon in July.  We also ran the Ready to Run Newton 20 miler in preparation for the marathon.  Each week of training go progressively harder to keep up with cross training, volleyball, and weight training.  I do admit when I stopped lifting and cross training my body began to change.  I'm not as toned and tight and have added a few extra pounds.  It is funny how many miles I have ran but my body had changed.  I am excited to begin lifting weights and dropping these pounds that have appeared.

I would say I had a few harder training runs than the actual marathon.  I never did hit that wall and I left the city of Chicago smiling and hoping that I can arrange my schedule and trick my mind/body into giving up another 4 months to run it again in 2013.

Here is my race recap:

We started carb loading/eating pretty basic foods like sandwiches, veggies, fruits/cutting/caffeine/two weeks prior to the marathon.  Water intake was increased.  The taper was hard to deal with because I felt like I wasn't running enough, but I trusted the process.

On Saturday morning we boarded the train to Chicago and I was armed with almost every running shirt I had trained in.  It was suppose to be about 35 degrees at the start, but I wasn't sure if I was going with long sleeves or short.  I even brought a few tanks just in case some crazy thing happened.  We checked in our hotel and hit the expo.  I'm a sucker for fun at the expo.  Taking as many pictures to mark the experience as I could.  We purchased the run Chicago marathon shirts.  Each of the big brands had their own, but Nike was my favorite.  By mid afternoon I could tell my feet were getting tired of standing and walking.  It happened pretty fast.  We quickly headed back to the hotel via the shuttle and went for lunch.  I felt good and actually rested my feet by elevating them.  Then it hit my....I started getting nervous.  It might have been laying out my clothing for the race or something.  However, it just felt like I couldn't get settled.  Did I forget something, what if I can't do this, just the mind game of it all.  Later that evening we to Italian Village for pasta and I was so nervous I could barely eat.  Then I knew what I was eating would still be with me in the morning so it made me even more nervous that I could not eat.  I knew we had bagels at the hotel so I tried to just calm myself and we headed back to the hotel.  We made our final preparations and talked about what time we wanted to get up and head to the actual race.

I fell asleep surprisingly well that night and very early.  About 2:15 am I woke up and was wide awake.  I was able to fall asleep until about 4 and then I just got up.  I tried to eat breakfast about 5 am and it was like I was going to throw up if I ate.  I managed to eat a banana, the crust off some peanut butter toast, and a half a protein bar.  I figured I'd eat the rest on the way to the race.  We finished getting ready and at 6:15 we hopped in a taxi and was dropped off on Michigan near gate 2.  We found a place to sit for a bit and sort of take it all in.  We went to gear check and then got into the bathroom lines.  They seemed to not move for about the first 20 minutes we stood there.  We heard the national anthem and the start of wave 1.  We made it to our corral with about 10 minutes to spare.  I was lucky enough to randomly run into my friend who was running and it was nice to see her beforehand.

We shed our throw away outfits and found our place near the back of our corral.  The only throw away thing I left on was my gloves.  As we neared the start of wave 2 it hit me.  I was about to run a marathon.  I got choked up and shed a few tears.  This long journey was about to end today.  They pushed us up and we walked bit by bit until I could see the start line.  About 10 feet from the line we all started to run.  I couldn't believe it I was running in the Chicago Marathon.  Both my half marathons started near the same place.  Both times I thought this is where the marathon is run.  This time I was running it!

The first under pass men were peeing everywhere.  It must have been hard for them to all try to use the porto potties or something.  I have seen men do this in other races, but this was literally a quarter mile into the race.  We worked very hard to keep our pace down and not let the surge of the crowd of runners and excitement of the spectators effect us.  I realized it wasn't as chilly has I thought and my gloves were already beginning to bother me.  About mile one I ditched them hoping I had waited long enough and not regret it needing them later.  We got to the first aid station not really needing it, but it was going to be a long day and knew we needed to pace it out.  Walking for 20/30 seconds would be better now for later.  By the second aid station I could feel a pinching on the side of my foot.  I knew instantly I was getting a blister.  I had some blister issues earlier in my training, but the past 2 months they had seemed to be better.  I was shocked that only 3.2 miles in was getting one.  I just ignored the pain and thought who needs a big toe anyway.  It wasn't a muscle/tendon/joint, so it wasn't going to slow me down.

As we ran the first ten miles I tried to take in all the sights.  I had three friends at the race and I on the look out for them.  I made a game out of it looking for as many posters with the name Amanda on them.  I only counted two the entire race.  My friends ended up seeing my three times, but I sadly did not seem them.  The signs that I saw were hilarious.  My favorites had to do with not pooping your pants.  I tried to give the spectator a thumbs up or eye contact and laugh when I found their sign creative.  I was worried if I gave too many high fives at the start of the race it would take up energy I needed later.  I did give in quite a few times early to this.  I think it was ok!

As we neared the half marathon point both my husband and I were feeling really great.  We trained for this marathon together and we wanted to finish it together.  He had ran the Chicago back in 2004.  On our training the last two long runs we did split up about mile 16 and 18 so that I could finish.  His body was just torn up from all that training and he didn't want to risk injury.  We had discussed what if it happened again during the race, but we were both confident that we would finish together.

As we neared the charity village area that all changed.  He had us walking a few unplanned time and I was still struggling with my foot hurting.  The walking and the starting and stopping was messing with my body.  He could tell.  His body was strong but beginning to start cramping up a bit.  It was about this point when just a sudden as I could feel my blister it stopped.  I knew it had popped and I was very grateful for that.

Then my husband did something I was not expecting and will never forget.  He selflessly said that we needed to split up.  I was running and amazing race and he wanted me to finish strong.  We were each running our own race to day and it was going to be too hard for him to keep my pace and would cause my pace/body to suffer needed to keep his pace.  Basically he was trying to keep up and his body was hurting.  Each time I slowed down and restarted my body was getting more stressed. We had to split up.  I started crying and I thought oh no can I run 8 more miles alone.  What if I hit the wall, what if I can't.  He told me I was strong and I could finish this.  I was worried about his as his ham string was cramping and wondered if he would make it.  He told me he would be fine and we started making plans for where I would meet him after the finish.  With tears rolling down my face it was one of the hardest things I had to do.  I hugged him and left.  I couldn't look back.  At that exact moment on my ipod that song, "I Will Wait for You", by Mumford and Sons.  It was the most appropriate song and it let me know that running away was the best thing to do.

I instantly started running faster and the worry about was I going too fast or too slow for him was gone.  It renewed my energy.  It was about mile 20's aid stations were I noticed the runners around me were changing.  Some people were hitting the wall and slowing down.  The previous miles if you walked in the water station we had to stay way to the side and watch out for runners.  By mile twenty the walkers were anywhere and everywhere.  They out numbered the runners.  I can't remember where the Latin neighborhood was as far as mile markers, but they by far had the biggest party atmosphere around.  It was one of the most uplifting sights and definitely gave me a second wind.  I knew an aid station would soon have bananas as all of my clif blocks were gone.  I saw a stranger on the road handing out bananas and took one. Risky I know, but it was worth it in the end.  All my training had said eat and drink before you actually feel you needed.  I think this added to the success of my run.  That and the weather.

It was surprising to see how many people were giving out candy, fruits, and water.  By the time I got down by Sox Park I was walking now and then.  I would pick a mileage or km marker and run to that then take a walk break.  I was still feeling surprisingly well. Another emotional place for me was running under the archway into Chinatown.  I had watched so many marathon video and looked at so many pictures that was one place that brought tears to my eyes as I passed through there.  This was also another place I saw so many people cramping up on the sides.  I had to keep focusing on running strong and not feed into what I was seeing.  There were a few bridges that looked up hill and then down hill I would walk up the hill and run down them.

I got to mile 24 and that was the place I knew I was going to finish.  It was this part of the race I started to reflect on it all.  I saw a sign that said, Welcome Back Friday Nights.  I don't drink or party, but the past 4 months I would always go to bed by 9 on Friday nights for the prep of the long run on Saturday.  There were pockets with no people along that last bit before hitting mile 25.  I took it all in.  Then at mile 25 there was one long line of people giving high fives.  I hit them all and the last man sort of held my hand a bit and said you are looking strong you are on your way to being a marathoner.  The tears came flooding down.  I took one more walk break to make sure I could finish strong.  I saw the 800 meter sign and the crowds of people were thick again.  I started running thinking just two times around the track and your done.  At 400 meters I saw the man who was blind running with his guide.  The man on the podium was calling out names of people he could see and I watched for myself on the jumbo tron that was set up on Michigan Ave.  I  turned the corner and made my way up the "hill" and rounded the corner and then I saw it.  The FINISH.  My pace sped up and I felt like I was sprinting.  It reminded me of all the races I'd seen on TV with everyone cheering.  I felt pure joy that I still can't fully put into words.  I clicked my garmin and looked.  I finished 6 seconds faster than my goal.  I was a 5:29 marathoner.  For a girl who two years ago hated to run I was proud of that time.

I got my mylar blanket and medal.  Then I found a spot to wait for my husband.  23 minutes later I saw him getting his blanket and I ran up to him and gave him the biggest hug I could gather.  We walked through the rest of the finish line and posed for a few pictures.  Got our gear and found a bench. I almost like to get my shoes off and sandals on.  I nervously took of my sock of the blistered foot.  The blood had leaked though my shoe so I thought it would be bad.  It wasn't and I ripped off my other sock to find one of the grosses blood blisters on my toe I had ever seen in my life.  It looked frost bit.  How did I not feel that at all?  I still don't know.  I quick just put my sock back on and stuffed them into my shoes.  No one needed to see that!!!

We found our friends and posed for more pictures.  It was really touching that they came to cheer for us.  I think I talked a mile a minute for the next few hours as I just wanted to compare/talk/share about this journey with them and my husband.

Later than night I was so overwhelmed with the amount of friends and family who congratulated me.

I finally did it I was a marathon runner.  It is one of those things that no one will ever be able to take away from me.  I feel like I'm a changed person.  I proved to myself that anything is possible.  My students were just as excited when I returned to school on Tuesday.  They tried on my medal and modeled it.  I hope that one day this might inspire one of them to do it.

I'm still coming down from that runner's high and I can't thank everyone enough for the role they played in this journey.  I feel so blessed.  I will never forget that moment when it all became real that I was about the run a marathon and the selfless act of my husband letting me go ahead of him.

Here are some photos....

Sunday, September 30, 2012

26.2 Miles and What Each One Means to Me!

Each mile I run I will dedicate/honor/thank people/things that I am running it for on October 7th, 2012

Mile 1 is for god/universe. By allowing my body the strength to start this journey. Sometimes that first step is the hardest one to take. Only 2 years ago I dreamed of the day I "might" be able to run the Chicago is almost a reality!

I will run mile 2 for my husband and training partner. Each day, week, and run he pushed me, supported me, helped me to become a better runner and person. Together I know we can accomplish anything.

I run mile 3 for the invention/creators of Couch 2 - 5K. My first 5k was just a dream two years ago. I started c25k to run for 30 nonstop minutes. Without this foundation to get through these first 3 miles I would not be where I am today!

I run mile 4 for my parents. Without them I'd never become the person I am today. The sacrifices they make daily to always make sure Annie is always taken care of are a selfless act that many people couldn't do. You amaze me and thank you for being wonderful parents. I love you both!

I run mile 5 for my grandmas. They always support me and cheer for me even if they don't understand what the Heck a marathon is. I have a special great grandma angel helping me now, I miss and love you, Mema!
I will run mile 6 for my sister Annie. I run this mile because she can't. I know if she could she would run all 26.2 with me. I love her so much and am glad she is my sister.

I run mile 7 for my brother Adam. No one else gets me the way he does. We can find humor in anything and normally do. You have provided me with a lifetime of inside jokes. Who else understands why 7up is an extra or why the stamp collector is hilarious! When I get to mile 7 I will yell, 'Whooo, I hope I don't poop my pants!!!'

I run mile 8 for my two rockstar nephews Nicholas and Bryant. I want to inspire them to always do their best in life and reach for their dreams. I know when I get my finisher medal Nicholas will cheer for me thinking I won the race!!!!

I run mile 9 for the rest of my family. Your kind words, your thoughts, and advice. Each of you have a special part of me being on that starting line. Thank you!

I run mile 10 for my running friends. Blisters, missing toenails, where the best paths are, what to expect on race day, and on and on... I am so grateful to each and everyone of you for your advice, inspiration, and encouragement!!!

 I run mile 11 for my friends. You may not be a runner, but you have listened to me vent about that crazy long run or that awesome race I had. You smiled and called me CRAZY or just laughed, but you are part of this journey too! Thank you!!!

I will run mile 12 for my students. They are probably tired of me talking about running, but if I can instill a love of physical activity and healthy eating early they will be happy by the time they are my age!

I will run mile 13 also known as the halfway point for my friend Ashley. She was the one who got me hooked on running races! She was with my at my first 5k and she is the one who decided to run that first 1/2 marathon! There is no way I would have followed through with this without her! I will never forget trying to get back to the hotel after the 1/2....I didn't think we were going to make it! Thank you Ashley!!

I run mile 14 for anytime fitness and my friend Pamela. Anytime provided me a play to run due to being out of town, bad weather. I also found a friendly face who has continued to help motivate me into a marathon runner! Thank you!!!!!

I run mile 15 for all my loved ones that I have lost. They are watching me from heaven. I know they have been with me through all of life's ups and downs. I have talked to them many times on those long runs and they always help me great through it. Missing you....

I run mile 16 for all the people on the social networks that keep me motivated. I may not have ever met you in person, but your tips, advice, motivation, silly comments, or sharing in the journey of running your own marathon on twitter, fb, running message boards etc. keep me going! Thank you :)

I run mile 17 for the spectators. This is the part of the run that starts to get harder. The people with the cowbells and the funny signs really do help. The ones that makes you laugh are the best. The high fives and the pats on the back really do help you to just keep running!!!!

I will run mile 18 for all the people who ever volunteered for a race. The time you give up to set up barricades, fill cups, pass out ice, pick up the cups, and hand us that magically cup of water. By mile 18 I will have passed so many of you. Know I appreciate that smile when you hand me that water!!!!

I will run mile 19 for Hal Higdon!!! He provided the plan for my first half marathon last year, then I followed that up with his Marathon training for beginners. He writes his plans and tips perfectly. Everything he said that would happen has and I feel confident going into the race on Sunday....ONE WEEK! His tweets and facebook posts feel as if he is speaking right to me. I really am appreciative to this Man! Thank you Mr. Higdon!

I run mile 20 for all those other runners. The one who just started running all the way to the one who have done this 100 times. Each one has helped motivate me. Just when I feel like I want to stop I see someone worse off than me still running. One day at the end of a long run I was struggling to finish. We get to the end and a guy comes up behind us huffing and puffing and goes dang you guys are fast I was trying to catch you.... It struck me that even in my slow struggling pace I was still pushing someone else. Runners also pass me and the kind nod or the good morning wave really make me smile. Thank you!!!

I run mile 21 as the crazy cat lady, therefore I run this mile for Jaiden and Lombardi my cats. The power of visualization is strong and by this mile I am going to picture myself at home on the couch with my cats cuddled up to me recovering from this race! They always watch for us when we go run and they always help welcome us home. They probably think we are crazy too.

I run mile 22 for all those training runs. The ones at 4am to avoid the heat but saw the moon set and the sun rise...., the ones at 8 pm where the sunset because life is busy. The long run that was a challenge and will help me on Sunday when things get real.... The trial with gels, with water breaks, and the bond that has grown between my husband and I. The actual journey to get here has been tough, but I'm grateful I have almost made it...thank you all! :)

I run mile 23 for the power of believing (the secret). Once I get this far it is all about believing that the finish line is only 3.2 miles away. Believing that I had the courage to start this journey, believing in myself that I could follow through with this commitment that has been months in the making. I run this mile believing that I will be crossing the finish line all I have to do is receive it. That is the law of attraction, ask, believe, and receive! :)

I will run mile 24 for all the people who didn't think I could. Those people who think....I'm crazy, who think a girl like me wouldn't be able to run a marathon. I'm ready to prove them wrong. I'm ready to RUN CHICAGO!!! :) Thanks for fueling my fire because I know I can do this!

I run mile 25 for the runner's high. All the hardwork, sore muscles, long runs, sweat, and determination to complete a goal that seemed unreachable at one point. That feeling that everyone says you will never forget the feeling of crossing the finish line of your first marathon. Heading to Chicago in the morning for final prep! Can't wait to see my friends cheering me on and thank you all for your kind words and support!!!!

I run the rest of the 26.2 miles for myself. This journey has taught me so much. I'm ready for tomorrow. I'm ready for the reward of all this training! Thank you for all your kind words and texts! "A marathoner is a marathoner regardless of time. Virtually everyone who tries the marathon has put in training over months, and it is that exercise and that commitment, physical and mental, that gives meaning to the medal, not just the day’s effort, be it fast or slow. It's all in conquering the challenge." - Wittenberg