The Half Marathon Breakup

10.31.17

 

Dear Half Marathon,

You and I… we just don’t mesh.

You demand too much of my time.

Your 10, 12, even 14 week training plans are insane.

You require long distances and hours on sacred weekends.

Each weekend you even go as far as to increase in mileage requirement.

You force short speed work runs during the week in between work, gym, activities, LIFE.

You wreak havoc on my inner workings if you know what I’m sayin’.

 

The forced nature of our relationship is downright draining.

I don’t want to have to stick to your demanding schedule anymore.

It’s annoying.

And who are you to tell me what to do?

What I am getting at here is…

We’re over.

We had some ups and downs, but in the end, our 3-time relationship was beautiful.

I will forever be grateful for the challenge.

It’s not you, it’s me.

And all that other breakup crap.

Sincerely,

The Non-Forced-I-Like-To-Run-At-My-Own-Leisure,

Jordan

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Sunday, October 29th, 2017 concluded my half marathon running days.  From my first half-marathon in 2013 to my second in 2014, it’s been a journey.  A fine one at that.  But, ladies and gents, I am for real done with the training of it all.

I set out on my third half marathon journey in July of this year.  I committed (silently) to run the Good Life Halfsy as my last half-marathon and conquer a new PR of 1:59:59.  My first half I finished at 2:10.  My second half I finished at 2:05.  Surely I could knock out another 5 minutes off my time, ya?

TOTALLY!

And I could have, had I taken the training a little more seriously.

But I didn’t.

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I didn’t account for the amount of time I’d be out of town in September or the work events and travel, I sometimes bypassed a distance run on the weekend due to some of that CRAZY rain we had for a while and I am a NON DREADMILL runner.  I won’t.  Just won’t.   I ran when I could.  I stayed as close to the training schedule as I could.  I realistically reduced my goal time of 1:59:59 to 2:04:59.

And then October hit and I put in one serious distance run of 10 miles and only logged 7-8 distance miles the other weekends, and a few 4-5 milers during the weekdays leading up to the event.   I just was over it.

And I also scheduled my LIFE first, training second. 

I ran an out and back if you are trying to figure out my mapping situation above. 

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No excuses.   I am just not a dedicated runner.  I don’t claim to be.  I don’t want to be.  I have many friends who ARE runners and holy shit they are SLAYING it out there.

Let me brag on Cara for a sec.   She started running (seriously running) last fall.  Competed a few halfs and began seriously training for a full early summer of 2017.

On October 15th she completed her first FULL marathon (26.2 freaking miles) and came in at 3:54:45.

Guys, that is SMOKING fast.  Especially for a first-timer with an average pace at 8:58.   So crazy proud of her.

Cara on the right. 

Tori (marathon master and extraordinaire, dual Boston Marathon conquerer) is on the left and helped coach Cara through her training.

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She LOVES to run.  Lives for it, actually.  The day after her marathon she was running on the treadmill before coming to my PiYo class.

Ok, let’s call it like it is.  She’s a weirdo.

Anyway, back to the story at hand.

You still following me?

Bless you, my child.

I set out on October 29th with no expectations, which is a big deal for me.  I am super competitive with myself when it comes to the mileage and my pace.   Note the keyword there: myself.   I don’t give a darn what others are running at.  I truly don’t.  But I care about how I am doing compared to myself.  But, I also had to be very realistic.  I am most definitely not in what I consider my best shape.  I’m probably the most out of shape I have been in since 2013.   I went through a phase the last 8 months.  Quit master training, cut back from teaching 7-8 classes a week to 2-3 classes a week.   I stopped hitting the weights in August when my work-life balance were competing with each other.  I was burnt out.  BIG time.   And I simply have NOT been motivated to get myself back in the game at my 100%.  I am still in the game, but not playing competitively.

So, Sunday October 29th came, ready or not.

And off I went.

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I had a good playlist set, I was content with whatever time I was going to come in at, I tuned out everyone around me, and I just ran.

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The hubs met up with me around mile 3.5.   He had every intention to meet me again at mile 10, but somehow we missed each other.  I was fully prepared to yell some very explicit language at him.  Sometimes you just need to get your words off your chest, you know?   But instead, my fellow running neighbors got my words.   We had a laugh about it.

And we kept going.

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Miles 10 through 12.5 sucked.  No way around that.   My breathing was on point.   My head was clear.  But my legs…. they were on fire and not afraid to tell me every single stride and step they took.  I had also been nursing a pulled hamstring in the days leading up to it so was overcompensating a little on the right to alleviate pressure on the left, so that played into the leg sensations as well.

With the end in sight and the dreaded HILL at the end (for the LOVE people), I SPRINTED my little heart out the last .25 miles.   I set my eyes on roughly 6 people ahead of me and made it a point to pass them.  I passed all of them, with the last girl getting passed literally two steps before we crossed the finish strips.

Goal accomplished.

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2:10:10

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A respectable time.   A time I am honestly proud of considering all the other factors that came into play in my training and lack there-of.

  • I finished milliseconds faster than my first half marathon that I trained religiously for.
  • I finished in 1,966th place of the 4,505 finishers that day. First half of the group, yo!
  • I wasn’t one of the 47 runners who started but didn’t finish.
  • I wasn’t one of the 2,000 runners who registered but didn’t participate.

It also proves to me that I know I CAN do better, I did it before, and with a little more training I could master my 2:04 time, or maybe even my 1:59:59 time.

But, those days are officially done and over for me.

I like to run for ME.  For the fresh air.  To clear my head.

I like my 3 milers.  I like my 6 milers.  I like to run them when I want to and I like to run for as long as my body chooses to.

Not when a training program tells me to.

So with that, I can officially say…

It’s been a good run.

Cheers to never again.

 

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Special THANKS to the fine folks of the Good Life Halfsy!   This is such a well put together run and event.  I was completely blown away by the organization, the structure, the route, the after party (that I didn’t get to stick around for since I had to be back in Omaha at lightning speed to make my Nebraska Wind Symphony concert).

Well done, friends.

Well.   Done.

Lincoln Half Marathon- 2014

You guys…

SERIOUSLY on a high right now.

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Completed my second ever Half Marathon today.

 

And you know what else?

I hit my PR!

2:05 

 

That is 5 whole minutes FASTER then last year.

And you remember how I trained this go around, don’t ya?  Weekends.  I ran on the weekends and cross-trained by teaching during the week.

To say I am elated is the understatement of the YEAR.

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To anyone in the Lincoln, Nebraska area….  Thank You!  You guys know how to organize a race.

I have never seen so much support for runners IN. MY. LIFE!

There were people cheering, bands playing, kids giving high-fives, water, gatorade and kleenex every step you took.  I am not kidding when I say every last stretch of that 13.1 miles was filled with someone or something.

 

Lincoln- you made that 13.1 miles seem like 6.   It was fantastic.

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This morning started off in a little bit of a cluster.   My 4:30AM alarm didn’t happen.

Nope!

What happened was my 5:21AM internal alarm clock that was FREAKING OUT!

Race-7am.  Drive time- One Hour.  Parking time and walk to starting line PLUS last minute bathroom break – OMG I am gonna be late!

Ninja like moves happened and somehow my race clothes made it on, my teeth got brushed, my lucky hat made it to my head and my race bib made its way into the car.

And off we went.

No water.  No fuel.

Usually I eat a Clif bar before a long run.  Sometimes I even have a little caffeine.   Clearly THAT wasn’t happening this morning.

Thankfully, I calmed down once we were on our way.

It was going to be ok.

We made it to Lincoln just prior to 6:30am.   Found a spot to park relatively quickly (miracle in itself), hit up the porta-pottys (a must, if you know what I’m saying…) and made my way to a spot in the middle of the pack.

In the middle of 10,500 other runners, that is.

 

And then the wait.

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The race started at 7.  It was 7:32am by the time I made it up to the starting line.  And off I went for the most enjoyable, exhilarating, hyped up 13 miles I have EVER run.

I paced myself at around 9:30 the entire way.  Sometimes I was little faster, sometimes a little slower, but I never broke that average pace of 9:30ish.  Thanks to MapMyRun, my trusty GPS sidekick.

The final results?

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Finishing inside the Nebraska stadium was pretty fantastic as well.

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And my sis-in-law Jamie ran her FIRST ever Half-Marathon.  She did SO great!  Very proud of her for committing and conquering.  Way to go, Jamie!

 

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And of course, a shout-out to my #1 supporter for getting up at the crack of dawn to drive me down to Lincoln to just ‘hang-out’ for two hours while I ran.  He’s pretty awesome.

 

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And THAT my friends, is the end of my Lincoln Half-Marathon recap.   Will there be another?  Not sure.  Time will tell. 🙂

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So, My Grandpa Beat Me in a 5K Race… The Story Line to My Half-Marathon

It was December 2012 and I made a commitment…

To run my first ever half-marathon.

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What was I thinking?!  I was the girl who had run a total of FOUR 5K’s at the time I decided to set this ridiculous goal.

One of the above mentioned 5K’s was with my Grandpa, who has been running for years!

Before we get into this half-marathon business, let me first recap that educational 5K day.

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I believe it was back in spring of 2002.  Grandpa had asked if I was interested in running a race with him, and since I had never run more than a mile (at that point in my life) I decided it would be a good challenge and a perfect opportunity to spend time with Ol’ Gr’pa G.

And-so began “training”.   I thought I was doing great with a few jogs here and there, maybe a mile, maybe less, skip a few days, walk/jog.  You know….

I mean, I was still in college for goodness sakes.  Who exercised for FUN then?  I thought it was just about drinking beer and squeaking by decent grades during that stage of life!?

Fast forward to day of race.

I started out strong, running alongside Grandpa.  Then the 1/2 mile marker hit and I was D.Y.I.N.G.

Seriously, dying.  At a 1/2 mile?

Damn you, beer.

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I told Grandpa to just keep going.  About a mile and half into the race was our turn-around point.

You know what happened?

Grandpa passed me….

Do I dare mention it was BEFORE I even hit said turn-around point?

Super cool.

Let us move along to about mile 2.2ish.   I am thinking I want to just quit.  I am clearly in last place by now.  I am looking down at the ground when I start hearing my name, so I look up and see this figure running towards me.

Ya, it’s him.  He had already finished and decided to run back and help me finish ‘strong’.

Cue the humiliation.

Grandpa, seriously.   Did you REALLY just do that?  I mean, COME ON!  Pretend you don’t know me or something at this point.  Don’t bring attention to the fact that I am your granddaughter who is clearly way outta shape and really only wants a beer in the worst possible way right now.

Insert about 6 years of NO running after that.

I had run a few fun 5K’s that previous summer leading up to my decision to run a Half.  Think Color Run style.  A lot of fun and no heavy competition.

I wanted to set a major goal for myself that was rewarding both internally and externally.

You see, my grandpa means the world to me.  All my family does, of course, but this is something I wanted to do for him.  For me too, of course, but mostly him.  He has supported me in ways that I can’t ever thank him enough or pay him back for.  Doing something like this was my way of showing him how much I admire and look up to him.

And so it began.

I looked up multiple plans online for running a half-marathon.  I took several of these suggested training outlines, mashed them together and made one that fit my liking.

I also didn’t tell anyone.  I think it was around week 3 of training before I even told my own husband.  Maybe week 4 that I told my mom and a few friends.  Gradually, most all my friends and family found out in one way or another.

Of course, I had set-backs along the way and didn’t follow the training plan to a ‘T’.  But, I stuck with it until about three weeks before the actual race when I was sidelined with an injury.  I had been plagued with pain in my lower back and hips that often woke me up at night from the excruciating pain.  I went to see a few specialists, and basically was told to take it easy and fore-go running until the pain was gone.  I tried to run the week before the race, but the furthest I could get was maybe 2-3 miles, so I gave up all forms of exercising those last few days.

I was incredibly down and out and feeling sorry for myself.  At this point I even shed a few tears.  Dangit, I had set a goal, stuck with it, told multiple people and was feeling so good about myself.  Now, I was pissed.

During those last few days I received flowers, candy, cakes… the works.

All over a silly half-marathon.   I have some of the coolest friends.

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And now; it’s the day of the Half.

I am GOING to do this.

I HAD to do this.

Running gear, hat, shoes, Sport Beans, Race Number and iPod.

I’m Doing This!

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It was FREEZING that day.  Finger numbing freezing.  And drizzly.

I didn’t care.

Ear buds in, Playlist cranked, GPS on and off I went!   The first two miles I remember being incredibly difficult.  My shins were so tight from the cold and I was so worried about my hip.  After two miles, I started warming up, I started actually listening to the music and I remember looking up at the sun and feeling this overwhelming feeling of accomplishment already.  I WAS going to do this.

I hit mile 5 and I was feeling GREAT.  I had been going a comfortable and steady 10.15 minute per mile pace up to that point so I decided to kick it up a notch.  It was at that very moment that I saw one of my colleagues (who is an avid marathoner) standing on the sidelines cheering people on.  She totally made my day.

My pace kicked up a little more.

Coming up on mile 6.5 and I could see my family.  My mom, Clint, my friends….  and then my tears.   I was half way there, I was feeling great and here they all are cheering me on.   The emotions took over for a little bit, and I welcomed the feeling.  It was all this emotion that was carrying me through.  What an incredible feeling.

Here I Come (pink hat)

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There I Go

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Mile 7,8 and 9 were a blur.  I remember around mile 9 debating on whether or not to pass a few people.  Internally, I wanted to pass them.  Externally, I didn’t want them re-passing me later.

I committed and passed them.

Mile 10 and I see my crazy friends and family again.

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Mile 11.   Sucked.

I was HURTING.  My shins were tight, my lungs burning and my calves felt like they were going to snap.   Mile 11.5 and I felt like I was the only one out there.

Mile 12.  Almost there.  My pace was faltering heavily and I found myself giving pep talks every few steps.

Don’t slow down.  Don’t stop.  No walking.  Almost there.  You can do this.  You ARE doing this.

I see mile marker 13 and I start to tear up again.  I tell myself that once I hit the mile marker I was going to sprint to the end.

And sprint I did.

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I crossed the finish line at 2:10:36.

I did it.

This is me seconds after crossing the finish line.  I couldn’t catch my breath and I was sobbing.

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Husband to the rescue.

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My Support Team

Tyree and Heidi

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 My Mom

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Clint

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And my Grandpa and Grandma.  The guy who beat me in a 5K all those years ago.  The Man of the Hour (or 2 hours)

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I think I made him proud.

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What an emotional journey.  One I am so thankful to have experienced.

Coming up to that day I had no idea if I was going to be able to participate or not.  My biggest fear was failing.  I didn’t want to fail.  So many races I had signed up for and backed out of.  I wanted this one to be different.

This one was different.

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