2017 St. George Marathon Race Recap #likenoother

Oh man, what a race….

We drove to St. George, Utah on Thursday and hit the expo Friday morning. After, my training buddy Ashley and I drove the course to check out what awaited us.

Me and Ash at the Expo #InBobWeTrust

There were SO many ups and downs, ups and downs that I began to worry if I’d even finish the race. I had not prepared for that undulation. And I knew me–hills are just not my strength.

This is NOT an all downhill course. Do NOT be fooled.

Nevertheless, I knew I was there to get to the finish line and get there with a smile.

———-

Race morning had us getting bussed to the start. We took the earliest one as I like to have plenty of time for things to settle if you know what I mean. But I had some issues….and that threw me off the loop for a bit. Whatever, I had a race to run.

I ran alone and had absolutely no idea what my race strategy was going to be. I just ran and the first mile chimed in at 8:28. I was fine with that as even though I wasn’t sure what my goal was, I knew my PR average was around 8:30.

But as I ran, the miles kept getting faster. I only looked at my watch when the mile would beep. I was just letting myself run.

Early miles smiles

I knew Veyo Hill was coming at mile 8. I knew that there were more after that, and I knew that it was going to suck. The only goal was to NOT STOP, and I didn’t, but man it was getting hard to move.

Going into the halfway mark, I was in dour spirits. The hills had crushed me. Thoughts of bagging it started creeping in. When I couldn’t bring myself to quit, I told myself a sub 4 would be an amazing time and if I could pull that off, it would be an accomplishment.

But I knew deep down inside I wanted to PR.

So I began to fight.

The sun would throw a punch, and I would just keep going. The rolling hills would get in good ones, but I would just keep going.

I could start to feel myself wearing down and wanting to give the race the W.

But somehow I’d find the strength to keep punching back.

The 3:45 pacer caught up to me and I said YOU WILL NOT PASS ME.

The last mile I ran as hard as I possibly could. I was beaten. I was broken. But I was not defeated.

I ran and fought for it.

You bet I passed teal shirt girl.

3:44:43

I have never been so happy to match my PR in my life. I am not the least bit upset that I didn’t beat it, that I didn’t finish 18 seconds faster. I worked SO HARD for that time. So freaking hard.

I’ve come away from St. George ridiculously happy. I’ve seen how my mental strength has grown by what transpired on Saturday. I had so many outs. So many excuses to use to give up.

But. I. Didn’t.

I’ve come away motivated, pumped for the next one (Phoenix next year). I thought St. George would be a bust, a miserable race to end a difficult training cycle. Not even close. I am so, so happy.

Thank you all SO MUCH for your love and support. You all have no idea ❤

–Have you fought with a race and won?

 

 

 

2017 Phoenix Marathon: Race Recap

I know you’re probably tired of hearing this 😉 , but I got another PR!!! That’s the short of it, but if you want the extended version, here it comes….

(By the way, excuse my absence–my last post should’ve also been titled Blogging Blues, lol!)

Okay, the Mesa-Phoenix Marathon. So, I had friends coming in from Texas–Scott who used to blog and that’s how I “met” him (and in real life in Chicago), his partner in crime and better half Marsha, and a cool dude named Roberto.

Me and Scott after Chicago Marathon 2015

Me and Scott after Chicago Marathon 2015

I had convinced them to come because Marsha was looking to BQ and I knew she could do it on Phoenix’s course. When we first met back in Chicago, she had, unknowingly at the time, gotten super close and didn’t need a whole lot to shave. I was certain she’d get the sub 3:45 she needed.

With her goal being sub 3:45 and my PR being 3:58, I figured I’d just hang with her for as long as I could and see how it went. I didn’t mind combusting if that’s what happened; this wasn’t a race I was going for a real time goal anyway. I could risk it.

Marsha also wasn’t putting too much pressure on herself to BQ. While it would be great if she did, she wasn’t going to be fixed to her watch and causing herself race anxiety.

Having that mindset, we went into the race stress-free and full excitement for a long run with friends. That’s how we were approaching it.

Shakeout run with the Texas gang

Shakeout run with the Texas gang

The race started out bright and early at 6:30 a.m. in the middle of the mountains out in nowhere. We saw the sunrise the first few miles and we were in really good spirits promising everyone tequila at the finish.

“You get tequila!”

“And you get tequila!”

“Everyone gets tequila!”

(Spoiler: I did not have tequila at the end, lol!)

Scott had pacing duties so I never looked at my watch, instead, just followed his lead.

This was a pretty steep downhill so I was proud of how controlled we stayed. Thanks, Scott!

This was a pretty steep downhill so I was proud of how controlled we stayed. Thanks, Scott!

I felt good and when we approached the only hill of the race, I knew if I just stayed close, I’d be okay.

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We didn’t skip a beat going up and my pace for miles 5 and 6 were 8:31 and 8:35!

It was a nice downhill for a while after that and our pace stayed relatively steady between miles 7-15.

17091307_10107563239000311_618192374_oOur conversation stayed steady too. We were running calm and enjoying the absolutely amazing weather we were having. We joked, we sang a little, we told Marsha to slow down. It was the most fun and relaxed I’d ever run a marathon… ever.

When we got to mile 16, I felt myself slowing down and I decided then to plug myself in and prepare for the last ten miles. I kept Scott and Marsha in my sight though, so I wasn’t too far behind them.

I stayed steady at around 8:30ish for a few miles

Call me Miss. Consistent :D

Call me Miss. Consistent 😀

and felt pretty good despite having slowed down a little (and really, I couldn’t believe I was still running an 8:30 something in the back end of a marathon!)

Cruising!

Mile 19–Cruising!

At mile 23, the cramping started. But like New York, I just accepted it and ran with it. They slowed me down, and I could feel them with each step in my calves, my shins, my quads, the tops of my feet–but I knew I had a sub 3:45 if I just kept moving.

And would you believe that the miles I ran with cramps were in the 9s?!!??!! I mean, I honestly am just in shock that that was my pace with freaking cramps!!!

You guys, seriously!!!

You guys, seriously!!!

Must. Get. To. Finish. Line.

Mile 23–Must. Get. To. Finish. Line.

I turned the corner, and I finally saw the person I hoped to see–my husband. I knew that he’d finish before me and be at the finish line waiting, and it was that which kept me going.

Started and finished with a smile :D

Started and finished with a smile 😀

Me and my 3:17 marathoner <3

Me and my 3:17 marathoner ❤

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I saw Scott and Marsha who had also just finished. I could see the huge smile on Marsha’s face and I knew it–she had BQ’d!!!!! Scott snagged himself a nice little PR coming in after her (but before me)– we all finished within 4 minutes of each other!

We're awesome.

We’re awesome.

I cannot get over how amazingly awesome and FUN this race was. I know that all races won’t be like this one, but I’m glad I finally had a race that was absolutely a blast from beginning to end. The PR is the cherry on top but honestly, it’s the people that made Phoenix Marathon unforgettable.

My two halves though--and average pace--I can't believe it. CAN'T.

My two halves though–and average pace–I can’t believe it. CAN’T.

<3

–Have you had a race that was just an absolute blast??

 

 

 

 

Heroes in Recovery 6k–Last Race of 2016 and a Special One

Sunday marked the last race of what has been an incredible running year for me. It’s fitting that I ended with a race that meant something to me and that was for a special cause.

Heroes in Recovery has a simple mission: to eliminate the social stigma that keeps individuals with addiction and mental health issues from seeking help, to share stories of recovery for the purpose of encouragement and inspiration, and to create an engaged sober community that empowers people to get involved, give back, and live healthy, active lives. It takes a heroic effort to live clean and sober each day, and a Heroes 6K* celebrates that effort. The sixth kilometer separates a Heroes race from a typical 5K to symbolize the extra effort it takes to sustain recovery. The six kilometers also represent the six letters in the word HEROES.

If you’ve been a reader for a while, than you know that my brother is a big inspiration to me. I’ve shared his story before, and I’m so proud to say that he continues his life of sobriety to this day. And still runs!

What I haven’t shared, and I’m not completely ready to share a lot, is that my dad also battled with drug and alcohol abuse his and my entire life. What I do want to share is that the beginning of December marked SIX MONTHS of sobriety for him.

I’m so incredibly happy you guys. For so long, I wished and prayed for this for my family. I know the battle will be tough for my dad, that he’ll go through rough patches, but I’m comforted knowing he’s in the best position he’s ever been to be successful this time.

*****************

The race didn’t start til 9 a.m. which was nice because whoa was it cold. I had a ton of friends who were also running and we all huddled together for body warmth. And took pictures of course 🙂

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It was a smallish race so I knew if I had a good day I could maybe snag an age group award. There was prize money for the overall winners and 2nd, 3rd, and 4th male and female, but I knew I had no chance for that.

My friend Ashely–who I ran with for a bit at the Scottsdale Half–and I settled in near the start to avoid the crowds. I wanted to be around the 7:30 mark for the first mile and then go from there.

Yeah, no. Mile one was 7:22. Close, but because I wanted to negative split it meant having to go faster than that and that was a little scary.

The course went through the Riparian Preserve and it was really pretty and scenic.

There were two out and back sections that went through the canal but the whole course was flat and fast.

So fast, that my second mile was 7:08.

It was then that an old familiar sensation crept in. PANIC. I felt myself start to freak out at having done that mile so fast. It was just like old times where I started yelling to myself, “Helly, you’ve blown it!! There’s no way you’ll be able to keep this up! You have more than a mile left! Are you crazy?? You’re for sure going to bonk now!!” I felt myself slow a little as I battled the thoughts in my brain. I felt fine, like I wasn’t going to be bonking anytime soon, but the thought that I was so close to a 6 scared the shit out of me.

Mile 3, 7:18. I was bummed I didn’t get the negative split I wanted but I knew it was because I had lost the mental battle.

I told myself to hurry up and finish as I had counted myself 9th female and my chances of age group placing were good. I ran the last .77 at a 7:12 pace–

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A top ten finish and second age group win made the race a success, but like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the real winners are my brother and dad, who every day in their recovery show me that we can do hard things ❤

love you brother, love you dad

love you brother, love you dad

–Who are your running inspirations?

–How do you overcome mental battles while you run?