Guest Post: Transformation Thursday and Hypothyroidism

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Welcome to Finding My Strong Blog’s first ever guest series. Over the course of the next 4 weeks I will be adding two guest posts from a wonderful writer who not only happens to be my best friend, but happens to be finding her own strong this year. Her journey through cancer, weight loss, and Hypothyroidism is one you won’t want to miss! Christy is a professional counselor and Mobile Crisis Team Specialist living in Annapolis, MD. Between lifeguarding for six years and subsequently responding to crisis situations with local police, Christy has learned to handle adversity, keep her cool, and how to make a plan of action. Christy is a strong believer in gaining support and learning from others and hopes to pass on some of what she has learned along the way. Christy’s journey to finding her strong is ongoing and you can follow Christy on Twitter: @beachnative27, on Instagram: beachnative27, and even on Snapchat for motivational gym snaps: (you may have guessed it…) beachnative27. Now join me as we learn more about to to build strong and healthy bodies through Christy’s inspiring journey.

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Hypothyroidism… Heard of it? I hadn’t heard of this endocrinological condition until I was 19 and had to face what it meant in regards to my life. Basically it is a condition where your thyroid gland is slow and doesn’t produce enough of the thyroid hormone. The major issue here is that an underactive thyroid upsets the normal balance of your body’s chemical reactions and the more severe your thyroid impairment is, the more severe your symptoms are. Now the thyroid can have issues with being too fast or too slow and the graphic below covers the symptoms on either side of the spectrum… this post however, will focus on my experience of hypothyroidism.

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Hypothyroidism officially came into my life when I was 19, but it was actually wreaking havoc for years prior to my diagnosis. My slow thyroid is the culprit of mood fluctuations that I experienced as a child and as a teen. I would slip into severe depressions every couple of years, but did not know at the time that it was abnormal. These depressions included irritability, chronic fatigue, an immense lack of motivation for day-to-day activities, self-loathing, and thoughts of killing myself when things got bad enough. I grew up in an active and social family family and I am no exception. I have a wonderful family and a multitude of friends whom I did not want to alarm, so I learned to hide my depressions when they struck by gluing a smile to my face and excelling in school, sports, and in life.

The game changed when my family moved across the country from San Diego, CA to Annapolis, MD and my depression hit hard. Suddenly I had to finish high school away from all my friends and I was angry. I stopped playing sports to take more AP classes and I got a job at the local movie theater to take up time on my lonely weekends. … The weight started to pile on. I was no longer running around all the time and burning enough calories to compensate for my increased emotional eating. I’d never been skinny, but I’d also never been fat… then suddenly I was 193lbs at 17 years old. At 5’8” I still wasn’t fat, but I was no longer my healthy self. Then the depression hit harder and I proceeded to cope by eating. My happy façade fooled people enough that I had plenty of friends and no one gave me a hard time for putting on weight, but by the time I graduated high school I weighed 227lbs. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that it was suggested that I get a thyroid test… a very easy blood test. Sure enough my results came back positive. I had some facts to face. The first and foremost is that I now take a pill called Synthroid every day to provide my body with the extra thyroid hormone that my thyroid gland cannot produce. I will have to continue taking Synthroid for the rest of my life to stave off the worst of my symptoms.

So what now? I was a college sophomore and I was hovering somewhere in the 230-240lbs range, taking a pill every day and miserable. Suddenly the majority of my mood symptoms vanished, but I was left to contend with my struggle to lose weight. I say struggle because having hypothyroidism makes losing weight approximately 4x harder than the average person (a fact provided by my primary care physician). For the typical person it is a matter of calories in vs calories burned, not for those with hypothyroidism. You have to work even harder to get your metabolism up to speed… because as you may have guessed by now, a slow thyroid means a glacially slow metabolism.

My goal is to be healthy and to be strong so I made a commitment to myself when I was 19 that I was going to turn things around. I got involved with my university’s lacrosse team (Go Saints!), I began taking part in group activities, I swam every day in the summer and I did lose weight. But then I’d gain it back if I slipped in my diet, even just a little. I learned then that this will be a struggle I battle every day, for the rest of my life. I had to find the fight within me.

At 22 I went off to grad school and my weight was an even bigger struggle because insane time constraints can make the poor health choices easier to make. At 24 I recommitted to myself and started running. I may not have been very fast and the weight may not have fallen much, but I dropped 2 pant sizes in a month.

At 25 I graduated with my master’s degree and my graduation present to myself was to join the 24 Hour Fitness gym here in Annapolis. I took control of my typical excuses by finding a gym that is close to home, is open 24/7, and it has a pool. I sweetened the pot when I decided to start working out with a personal trainer. He’s expensive, but he’s worth every penny. I began working with him about five months ago and I am still working to dip below the 200lbs line, but I have dropped 7% of my body fat and I have lost inches all over my body. My commitment to myself and working with a professional trainer has gotten me onto the right track to become healthy and reach my goal of getting the heck out of the 200s. It’s a struggle every day, but I have achieved so much more than I ever would have imagined when I was that hopeless, heavy 18 year old. I had to find my inner fighter and tell myself that just because I am faced with some extra hurdles does not mean that I cannot overcome them. I ran from the girl I was and hid in the food I ate. Now I run for the woman I want to be and I work out to make sure that she is as strong as she deserves to be.

A little trip down memory lane…

When I was young and then at my heaviest:

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Taking my life back:

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A couple fitness tips for people with hypothyroidism:

  • Commit to yourself and appreciate who you are
  • Develop a fitness routine that you can stick with and set realistic goals
  • Eat healthy meals 3x/day with two snacks in between (eating approximately every 3hrs will help kick start your metabolism)
  • Keep carbs to earlier in the day
  • Stay hydrated
  • Get others involved in your goals (your doctor, trainers, work out buddies, and moral support in general can be a big help)
  • Do your research to better understand your diagnosis and how to work with it

For those of you struggling with hypothyroidism or any other chronic health condition: do not give up on yourself… not ever. Weight loss is a challenge, but with the right support you can do it in a healthy and safe way. It is important not to compare your progress to those around you because your body chemistry is different and it is painful to watch sedentary friends lose weight while you consistently kick your own butt in the gym … at least it sure is for me. There are plenty of books and accounts out there for you to check out about hypothyroidism, remember that your experience will be unique to you as mine has been to me. I wish you all the best of luck in your fitness endeavors.

Laura’s Note: I am so incredibly proud of Chrity’s transformation. She’s a beautiful person inside and out — and a HUGE inspiration to me! I am also proud to announce that Christy has officially signed up for her first half-marathon this Fall. Join Christy and I (and Maxwell!) as we run the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon on October 5th and let us know more about how YOU are finding your strong.

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Race Spotlight: Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon

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This weekend I had the pleasure of helping promote one of my FAVORITE half marathon’s in the DC area. Drumroll please…

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You may recall my race recap from this race in 2013. Max and I stumbled upon it after the Marine Corps 10k as Max was bitten by the half-marathon bug. This was his first half and he absolutely kicked butt! For me, it was my worst half-marathon time to date and I got double calf cramps at mile 9…but it is still one of my favorite races! That says a lot about the race and I’ll explain why:

  1. Microbrews. Runners know that most races hand runners Michelob Ultra at the end of a race, but the WWBHM let’s you pick a a delicious microbrew.
  2. The course. This race starts at Mount Vernon Estates, runs down GW Parkway, into Old Town Alexandria, and over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge into National Harbor. The views are breathtaking!
  3. The size. The half is capped at 5,000 runners so it’s not too big and not too small.
  4. Support. I’m a middle of the pack runner. On this run I was a back of the pack runner. Calf cramps and poor hydration on my end pushed me to the back and I was happy to see that I had course support (water, cheering groups, etc) the entire 13.1. Thankfully that was very different than Heather Gannoe’s experience in the back to the pack.
  5. New 6k. New to running? Not up to the half marathon distance? No problem! Try the 6k option and join the party at the finish line!

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We will be back this year!

So this weekend I joined the official mascot of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon at the Purple Strides 5k in DC. Now Woody is pretty heavy…but don’t let that fool you…because he is fast! The crowd loved taking pictures with him, racing him on the course (he runs a 28 minute 5k!), and competing. Woody’s a pretty big mascot so he needs a little big of help to get around — so was more than happy to play Secret Service for the morning. Here are a few of the highlights:

DSCN0233 Even U.S. presidents have to pay for parking.  Tickets are no joke!

DSCN0260 Playing around on the Foosball, ping pong, and basketball games set up.

DSCN0273 Helping some new friends stretch so they’re ready to run the 5k.

DSCN0255 Snapping a TON of photos with the 4,000 people running/walking the 5k.

IMG_3168 Hitting the 5k course strong on a beautiful sunny day.

IMG_3299 Recovering with a banana and water post-race.

IMG_3345 Challenging a new friend to a push-up contest.

Want to learn more about the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon and 6k? Be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter for more information and dive in! 

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Race Recap: Nike Women’s Half Marathon

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This weekend goes down in the record books as one of my favorite races to date! For two years I have tried (unsuccessfully) to win a spot in the lottery for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC. On Friday, I got the call of a lifetime and was offered a sport to run as a charity runner and used my lunch break to zip down to the “expotique” (just a few blocks from work) to write my donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and pick up my packet. 30 minutes later I was back at work and on cloud nine! Everything ran so smoothly and as soon as I got the call I knew I could not turn this opportunity down.

My only hesitation was that I was not in “racing shape” because I had not been training for a half marathon. I am, however, down 15 pounds since my first half marathon a year ago and am running more consistently than when I trained for any of my other races. Knowing that I was in better overall shape now that I have been for any previous race in the past two years…I knew I could do it!

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Nike knows how to put on an adorable expo! Once I picked up my packet I went and picked up my dri fit shirts. I wore it while running errands on Saturday and it was so comfy – it will be a new favorite running top. Then I headed into the “expotique” and took a look at their Nuun stand, the adorable course map, the gear they were selling, tested out some Luna Bars, and checked out the adorable Paul Mitchell Salon inside the tent. Women’s races are fun!!

On Saturday Max and I ran our usually Saturday routine of visiting the farmers market (to pick up muffins from Enzo the muffin man of course) and grocery shopping. In the afternoon we attended a friends wedding mass and reception. Sadly no drinking or candy for me because of the race on Sunday. On Saturday, we took a little pit-stop at Road Runners Sport to pick up some last minute race day essentials. I picked up a new running tank top with headphone holes and a phone pocket included, a new pair of no-slip running glasses, salt stick pills, Nuun, a honey stinger waffles for a pre-run snack, and honey stinger chews for each mile. Their VIP membership saved me $10 yesterday alone. WORTH IT!

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I know I broke the cardinal “no nothing knew on race day” rule…but it was worth it. Nothing chafed, everything agreed with my belly, and everything fit well. This was the first race I used Saltsticks with and I will NEVER run a race without them again! AMAZING! They kept my legs from cramping the entire 13.1 miles…even on my dreaded mile 9 “sure cramp” mile!

My jitters on Sunday morning we so horrible that they had me up at 3:30 AM…so with less than 5 hours of sleep. I kept having horrible thoughts about calf cramps, not training (ok…I didn’t train), not meeting the race course cut off times, and not finishing. So sad! So I woke up and started to stretch and eat breakfast. I always eat a banana and a piece of toast with peanut butter on it. Today was no exception! I finished 1 bottle of Nuun while getting ready, packed one to drink while I stretched at the start line, and carried one in my holder. I applied half a roll of KT tape on my legs and created a secure masterpiece that I am sure help keep much of my pain at bay throughout the morning. Finally, I packed my bag and opted for an Uber car to pick me up and drop me off at the start line. After all, they were a Nike Women’s Half Marathon sponsor and I had a $10 credit to use as a participant! I hate feeling rushed on race morning, so I was at the start/finishers village at 5:30 for out 7:00 AM race.

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I used that hour to get some really great stretching in and finish a bottle of Nuun while listening to music to calm me down. I was wide awake and really enjoyed that calm before the storm. Since it was freezing cold I wanted to wait as long as possible to check my gear in and lines were short. Luckily, Max’s co-worker Lindsey, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the NASPA 2014 conference in Baltimore, MD, was also running the race so we lined up together. We were in the third (last) wave of runners to start and I had a fan girl moment when they announced that Shalane Flanagan would be running with us 15,000+ runners! Makes sense…since she is sponsored by Nike! Before we knew it…we were off…

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The first two miles zoomed by and we kept a great 10:50 pace until I was side lined by having to go to the bathroom. Anyone who has run a race knows just how horrible the portapotty lines are which also really mess up your time. Waiting in line took at least 3 minutes off of my times…oh well. Not much you can do! At mile 3 we hit the orange station at the Manadrin Oriental Hotel which was deliciously refreshing on a sunny day like today. Throughout the entire course supporters were cheering and high-fiving runners which was excellent motivation. The stations and aid kept getting better from there! Unlike previous races I hydrated really well in the 48 hours leading up to the race and I wrote out a plan for race day. I carried 1 small honey stinger chew for each mile after mile 4 and carried a bottle of water with me in my holder. I planned to take BOTH 1 Nuun cup and 1 water cup at each station AND take the course aid (shock blocs, etc.) and that really helped. I felt hydrated and fueled the entire 13.1 miles…no bonking! We are what we eat!

The views were phenomenal and I tried to snap as many pictures as I could. Here are a few:

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Some of the highs:

  • I really loved having Nuun at every aid station
  • Great supports like Luna Bars, Shock Blocks, and the chocolate mile
  • The beautiful course through DC
  • Awesome supporters cheering along the course and bands every few miles
  • Great weather with just a slight breeze
  • No blisters or chafing (thanks BodyGlide)
  • A new PR! More on that later!
  • Texts like these from my Ohana, friends, and family throughout the race to keep me going

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My friends are awesome!

Some of the lows:

  • Having to use a porta potty and losing my running partner
  • Speaking of which…porta potty lines as way too long
  • Haines Point felt like it was a never ending straight match
  • At mile 8 my left knee started to hurt and gave me problems for the rest of the run
  • As I rounded the corner of mile 13 my left calf finally cramped

One of the biggest highlights of my day was setting a new PR! I am a proud slow runner and seeing friends finish with sub 2 hour times is such an inspiration! My Rock and Roll DC Half Marathon time in 2013 was my PR (2:55:50) and my Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon Time was slightly above that. When I got to mile 7, just over the half way mark, I took a look at my watch and did the math…I could PR if I keep this pace…and there’s some wiggle room. I didn’t want to psyche myself up for disappointment so I tried not to dwell on it. Once I hit mil 11 I knew it was within reach and at mile 12 I knew it was mine! I could see Max at the finish line and crossed the clock at 2:41:04. I beat my previous PR by 14 minutes and 46 seconds today! AHHH! I look at my watch when I crossed the finish line, did the mental math, and broke down and cried on the “red carpet” finish line. A police office saw me and asked if I was hurt and needed medical attention. I laughed and told him I was fine. He looked relived and said, “did you PR?” and I nodded and he asked if I wanted my picture taken, haha!

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I made my way down finishers village and was wrapped in a heat blanket, handed an ice cold water bottle and chocolate milk, and given a treat bag of snacks from Whole Foods. Then the moment we all waited for…the Tiffany’s & Co. necklaces/medals!!!

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At the end of the street I was able to find Max and together we went to pick up my checked bag. We had planned to take Uber home as well, but the weather was beautiful and I needed to walk out that calf cramp that was starting to develop, so we decided to walk. We were only about a mile and a half from home so it wasn’t too bad! On the way home we found this sign at a bus stop and I had to take a picture:

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The rest of the day was spent on the couch with my legs up, compression socks on, and ice on my knees. Ladies and gents…what distance running REALLY looks like:

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I’m feeling great so far, had a delicious steak dinner courtesy of the hubby, and have ice cream waiting! Ahh the joys of eating whatever you want because you just burned 2,000+ calories! Have a wonderful night everyone! Keep finding your strong!

Run-Walk-Run

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I love reading comments and e-mails from fellow runners. Really – you guys make my day! The question I am most frequently asked my family, friends, and new runners is:

How do you run 13.1 miles?

Plain and simple: I do not.

WHAT?! I repeat…I do NOT run 13.1 miles consistently. I am a big fan of Jeff Galloway’s run-walk-run method and have stuck by it for years. I feel better, my splits are better, and I run injury free when I use this method and most of all – I can finish a half marathon!

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Many of the “Couch to 5K” programs are based off of this method and many marathon training program follow the method as well. It’s not “new” to the world of running by any stretch of the imagination, but it is gaining popularity with new runners.

Straight from the mouth of the man (Jeff Galloway) himself:

“The continuous use of the running muscles will produce fatigue, aches and pains much more quickly. If you insert a walk break before running muscles start to fatigue, the muscle can recover quickly — increasing your capacity for exercise while reducing the chance of next-day soreness.

The run-walk-run “method” involves having a strategy. By using the right segments of running and walking, for the individual, it’s possible to manage fatigue. At the end of a marathon the muscles will be tired, but correct use of walk breaks from the beginning will mean little or no slowdown during the last six miles. This is the portion of the race where most runners slow down dramatically and walk a lot.

Beginners will alternate very short run segments with short walks. Even elite runners find that walk breaks on long runs allow them to recover faster. There is no need to reach the end of a run, feeling exhausted — if you insert enough walk breaks, for you, on that day.”

Pro’s:

  • You can easily increase your millage from 1 to 3 miles to 6 to 10 miles by giving yourself those short walk breaks. Those walk breaks help you slow your breathing and rest your muscles.
  • Because of the rest you will be less sore the following day (always a plus!).
  • The walk breaks make the running less difficult on your body (knees, hips, ankles, etc.)
  • The calorie count for 90 minutes of running and 90 minutes of the run-walk-run strategy are the (basically) same.
  • You can constantly transition between different run:walk paces and can eventually phase it out if you become comfortable running longer distances without the break.

Con:

  • The stigma. Sometimes I don’t feel like “a real runner” when I need to take a 30 second walk break 2 minutes into a run. That’s mental! One day I hope to easily run 13.1 without stopping, but that’s not for me.

photo (13)Above is photo of one of the first times I really “tested” the Run-Walk-Run method. I used the 2:1 for a 12 minutes mile goal to make sure I would be able to sustain it for me half marathon. I was happy to come in under 12 min/miles for my first two mile splints (pictured above). The biggest “pro” for me is the decreased strain on my very-tight IT band. I would need to stop and stretch with runs anyway – but the RWR method allows me to run and instead of needed to stretch every big…simply walk it out for a minute! My IT band relaxes and it allows me to run pain free for the next 2 minutes…then repeat.

So you use the run-walk-run method? What are your thoughts? What pace to you use? Share them!

Race Recap: Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon

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This weekend Max and I ran the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon through Virginia, DC, and Maryland. Pretty cool! The race was originally scheduled for October, but was moved to November due to the pesky government shutdown. Luckily for Max and I, this fit right into our schedule. After watching Amanda run the Marine Corp Marathon we were inspired to sign up for a distance race as well.

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The race is small in size (capped off at 5,000) and is young as far as area races go (in it’s 4th year). The half marathon starts at the beautiful Mount Vernon Estate of President George Washington and heads down along George Washington Parkway and over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge before coming into National Harbor for a big finish.

Max and I stayed at the race hotel the night before to make parking and the morning transition a little easier. We checked into the hotel on Saturday and were excited to receive a cute gift bag from the hotel with popcorn, water bottles, and a cookie when we checked in (hello, Holiday Inn Express points!) to start the day off. We then went to the mini-expo and picked up our race packets and bags in the hotel lobby. All of this took under 15 minutes — very efficient!

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We hung around the hotel relaxing and watching Lockdown on TV before our dinner reservation at Bonefish grill that night. We love their food and the hotel was so close! They give you crayons to draw on the table with and we got a little creative (ok…maybe I asked for them…) which included Star-wars, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon. The waiter got a chuckle out of our drawings.

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We were hungry and devoured our jumbo coconut Thai shrimp appetizer, fish and chips (Max), and salmon and veggies (me) before finally saying “no thank-you” to the pumpkin cream brule. after dinner we stopped by Safeway and picked up a pack of water bottles before heading back to the hotel to kick-start the hydration process. I know I always cramp with distance runs and worked hard all week to overload with Nuun and water. Apparently I did not do enough — more on that later!

Our alarms went off at 4:30 AM the next morning and we ate our Cliff bars and bananas for breakfast (mmmm the delicious life of a runner) and by 5:30 we were walking out of the lobby to board on of the race shuttles. The ride from the hotel to Mount Vernon has to be one of the most terrifying parts of the race. It was pitch black and felt like it lasted forever! The whole time I kept thinking “oh gosh…I have to RUN back here…and that’s 8 miles?! I’ve got how many after that?!” but I knew it was just my nerves getting the best of me. Once we arrived at Mount Vernon we hit up the ever-so-lovely race porta-potties and stretched our cold muscles. A group of Ethiopian runners (who ended up placing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd) started stretching right next to us. We felt out matched but inspired at the same time!

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7:00 AM was there before we knew it and we got in line with the 13:00/mile pace group and took off. Max started the race with me…but I really wanted him to PR so he took off running and ran closed to an 8:00/mile pace.

The course itself was absolutely beautiful! The first mile was almost entirely downhill before you hit a series of rolling hills and the bridge. Miles 1-5 flew by and mile 6 was the first mile marker I really noticed. I was in the zone and running a sub 13:00/mile pace and felt great! The view was stunning, the leaves were bright yellows and reds, and we ran along the Potomac River for the entirety of the race. Thankfully I had the view to distract me as my IHeartRadio App stopped working at mile 2!

At mile 7 I started to hit a bit of a wall and sucked down a chocolate Gu Gel with some Nuun and made friends with a fellow runner named Teri. I ended up running most of the next 5 miles with her and her husband and they were a ton of fun! I love meeting people along the course and helping out fellow runners who look like they could use and encouraging word or two. Along with Teri I met a group of 3 guys: 2 of whom had run the MCM followed by the NYG ING marathons back to back and were helping a 3rd friend finish his first marathon. Were they not in pain?

Mile 8 was the cut off point and you had to reach is by 9:00 AM (2 hours into the race aka a 15:00/mile pace). I was not too worried about the cut off, but was sad for runners who I had met along the way who fell back…and I am not sure if they made it to the cut off (aka “The Rude Awakening”) or not. I hope they did!

Mile 8 led up to the foot of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and we were greeted by rows of balloons, a water station, and police officers cheering us on. This was where I planned to kick it into gear! I had made it to the bridge..I could see National Harbor…and I knew I had a 10k in me to kick butt and take names! This is where I grabbed that 2:30 PR!

I picked up speed from mile 8 to mile 9 and kept my eye on my Polar Monitor for a 12:00/mile…and then…BOOM! Calf Cramps! I was half way between mile 9 and mile 10 and my right cramp seized up. I let out a loud exploitative I will not share on this blog, apologized to the runner next to me for swearing, and used the bridge railing to stretch. I started to slow jog and made it to mile 10 before…BOOM…left calf cramps! This is when I cried (just a little) because I saw my PR disappear as I starred at the distant Gaylord Hotel.

Max sent me a text message to let me know what he had finished in 2:01 and I told him that I was coming in slow with calf cramps. I had to walk most of miles 10 to 13.1 and tried my best to smile and cheer other runners on as I hobbled along the course. By now my PR was gone…I watched my Polar Monitor tick past 2:30 while I passed mile 11 and kept a smile on my face (thanks to the wonderful volunteers who encouraged me along).

My mom and sister came out to see us finish the race and were having brunch at the Westin hotel when runners started coming in. They just watched a runner in little more than a swimsuit (hard core in that cold weather!) run by following the group of Ethiopian runners we stretched with…so they thought they had some time still! They were still eating when speedy-Max came running into the finish line! My mom jumped up with her iPad (yes, iPad)  to head out and take pictures of him before he crossed the line. They finished up their yummy brunch and waited for me at mile 12. As I rounded the gravel heading into mile 12 I could see my sister and started waving. I was SO excited to see them! This was the first time my mom had seen my finish a race since my high school track days and this was the first time Alicia has seen me finish since my first Marine Corps 10k in college. Alicia jogged along in her boots and cringed at the site of my charlie horse cramps. Mom jogged for about 20 feet and was tired. Alicia joked with her that she needed a Gatorade and needed to run faster — the funny thought took my mind off of my calf pain. I knew the finish line was just around the corner now and Max was waiting for me there.

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The crowd was pretty loud as I came in and I was happy to hear it! I think people felt bad as they saw me slow jog it in, draggin’ my rock-solid cramped right leg along with me…but I needed the cheers!

I may not have PR-ed…but I finished and I enjoyed the race, the beautiful course, the wonderful volunteers, my family, and the small size!

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After the race, we headed back to the hotel to shower, grab some coffee, and head out to watch the Seahawks beat the Falcons at our favorite bar. We also started a new post-race tradition of Chipotle dinners 🙂 I see a lot of half-marathons in our future and am thankful for a husband who is as competitive as I am!

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Lesson #1: Increase pre-race sodium intake and always run with salt tablets for distance running. This is the second half marathon where I have cramped at mile 9 and I could not be more angry with myself. I was on pace to set a PR and double calf cramps set me back. Salt tablets are little miracle workers for distance athletes and I should have taken my dads advice and run with them. This is why runners often eat pretzels or very salty snacks before a run. Salt tablets, like SaltStick, help replace electrolytes, enhance fluid absorption, and minimize muscle cramping. Next time round you can bet I will be taking one before the race and will carry one for mile 9! I also need to eat a more high-sodium diet leading up to a race. I was great about Nuun and EmergenC, but needed to eat a dinner higher in salt content.

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Lesson #2: Ice after every race. Around mile 6 I felt a strange tingle on the outside of my knee. I shook it out and kept trucking along. The hip pain I had from two weeks ago has almost entirely subsided and I ignored it for the entire race. Turns out the 2 were connected –> IT Band! I iced immediately for the first 24 hours and foam rolled my IT band and the pain is almost entirely gone. I even experimented with a bit of KT tape and that seemed to have sealed the deal. The thought of foam rolling the pain away in the first 24 hours was brutal. I essentially started at my foam roller and considered it foam rolling…but now the recovery work begins (I promise)!

So what’s next? Turkey Trot 5k for Thanksgiving!

Keep finding your strong!

Monday Morning Motivation

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Reminding myself of this very concept this week. We are MUCH stronger than we think! Our doubt and negative thoughts can be our own worst enemies. We have the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon this coming Sunday and are so incredibly excited. I’ve had this dumb hip pain since my last race and am really resting it this week, light foam rolling, and getting my mind in the right place. I know that if I start the race thinking “my hip hurts, my blisters hurt” before I even cross the start line, I know that I will run a horrible race. Half marathons hurt. Running hurts. I’ve got to be in the right mind set and remember mind over matter. I’ve done my running this week and it’s felt great – I know I can do it!