What a whirlwind ride that was! How does 15 weeks of training go by so fast, especially when the hill workouts and sprints never seem to end when you're running them?
Get comfortable and grab a beverage as I recount my 13.FUN challenge, just as I count every passing mile of each race:
1. Nineteen of my training days I was traveling for vacation or work in three different states. This made me get creative in order to stay on track!
2. I signed up and started training on June 23rd, while on vacation in Padre Island, Texas. Clearly, the serotonin from the warm sun was influencing my mood! This made for some hot but beautiful gulf coast runs.
3. Some of my Texas runs looked appropriately like a wine glass, and some of my runs I stopped to play in the sand! I was only caught in one rain storm and the rain was warm! I loved it!
4. On my next vacation trip, I ran around the beautiful Green Lake in Seattle, Washington which had perfect running temperatures and even more beautiful scenery!
5. When I traveled to San Diego, California for work, I rallied some of my coworkers for early morning runs before our conferences stared for the day. It was a great crew and the first time I'd ever run with a group! Honestly, some of the runs were a bit more challenging after we had enjoyed the San Diego night life too!
6. I kept my training lively by running three 5K races, one of which my 8-year-old son and our cousin Cathy volunteered at the water station (in the pouring rain) while I ran pushing his brother in the stroller. My oldest son also ran a kids race and I ran the 5K at a local 4th of July race.
7. I ran three half marathons: Missoula, MT (week 3), Sandpoint, ID (week 13), and Colbert, WA (my culminating race at week 15).
8. Missoula is one of my favorite races and I finished in 2:21, only a minute off of my PR time! My friend Jessica ran too and my friend Michele was our much needed Sherpa. I ran in honor of a friend fighting Leukemia.
9. Also in honor of our friend, I was the run leg for our "League of Awesome" Olympic distance triathlon team in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. This is the closest I'll ever come to completing a triathlon and I'm good with that. More power to my Tri-friends! I had a blast with these awesome ladies!
10. In week 13, the Sandpoint Scenic Half Marathon was a hard race because I was coming off of two unexpected minor surgeries. My doctor had released me to run, but cautioned that I wouldn't have the energy to run 13 miles; I didn't believe her and ran anyway...and she was right. I started to feel sluggish at mile 8 and hit the wall hard at mile 10. The last three miles were a brutally hard walk to the finish line. Surprisingly, I finished in 2:27, three minutes faster then when I'd run this race two years before! Thank God for Connie, my neighbor, who drove me and ran too. She was a much needed support.
11. My biopsy and lumpectomy results came back clear! Based on my family history of breast cancer, my doctor had me do a preventative baseline MRI which, surprisingly, showed a small tumor in my right side. After a needle biopsy of the mass showed atypical ductal hyperplasia, it was determined to remove it. Get it out and move on. After 10 days of recovery and good lab test results, I was back to training with a clean bill of health!
12. Another Mother Runner meet and greet with Sarah & Dimity: To my excitement Sarah and Dimity came to Spokane, Washington where my friend Michele and I were able to meet them! What inspiring, hysterical ladies and the leaders of the 13.FUN challenge! Both Michele and I won a prize and took home a swag bag full of goodies! Check out their website and I highly recommend their books! www.anothermotherrunner.com
13. Colbert Half Marathon was my 13.FUN culminating race. I chose it because of the notorious challenge of "the big hill towards the end," (can you say Holy Hills, Batman?) "hard race," and beautiful course scenery. What bib number did I get? Number 1, of course! Now that's a lot of pressure! I ran a solid race and finished in 2:31. It helped to have Connie also running the race and my cousin Cathy as my Sherpa. Clearly, I am gaining my strength back each passing day. Thanks again, ladies!
F: Finish strong is what I tell others to do and it was time for me to live up to it. I was shocked to find out that I was chosen as one of two winners of the Finish Strong award given out in the 13.FUN challenge! So many others are just as worthy (if not more) of this prize. I'm so grateful and will be wearing the pendant necklace with great pride!
U: Underestimated my strength: I am stronger than I thought" AND #1! I ran a total of 228.6 miles, despite life throwing me a curve ball and sidelining me in weeks 11 and 12. I feel like a much stronger and more confident runner! I've learned a positive mindset can help me clear life's hurdles.
N: Nutrition and notes of encouragement kept my mind and body properly fueled. Friends and family sent me texts and Facebook high fives, my Strava team gave me kudos and positive support, and I found a nutrition plan that my body likes. A perfect trifecta meant there was was no stopping me!
You deserve your own medal if you made it to the end of this marathon post! How about a virtual high five? I hope to see you somewhere on my next adventure! Come join me! What's stopping you?