Monday, January 29, 2018

State #34: Tucson Holualoa Half Marathon in Arizona

On December 9th, I ran the Tucson Holualoa Half Marathon in Arizona.

I was really tired after the Berlin Marathon. I took 2 weeks off from all exercise - I don't think it helped ANY. I also took off 4 weeks from running - that didn't help any either.

Maybe you're wondering why I would do something like that - honestly, it's because that's all I heard from everybody after I ran Boston
"You know you should take off 1 day for every mile in a race 
- and that's at least 26 days for a marathon
...blah, blah, blah"

Everyone is different, and I can say for me - Taking ALL that time off after Berlin didn't really help. I think what did help was accepting what I could do - and my limits after I ran two marathons in one year. I learned a lot this past year in terms of my running:
  • I finally came to accept that the Marathon and Crohn's Disease really don't like each other #UNDERSTATEMENT
  • I learned that because I have Crohn's Disease, once I consistently run more that 13 miles every weekend, I'm going to have GI issues
  • I learned that I am really happy that I am a Registered Dietitian, because I know how to feed myself to minimize the mileage from taking its toll on my performance B3yond Nutrition LLC
  • I learned that having a running buddy, like Rebecca, is priceless - not just for the running support, but for the emotional support.
Thank you Rebecca for ....
  • Hugging me in the middle of Park Street while I sobbed and struggled through one of my Saturday morning long runs.
  • For listening to me complain about every body fluid under the sun, every Wednesday. 
  • For reminding me of my "WHY" right before I left for the Tucson Holualoa Half Marathon
  • And for running with me that day when it was only 1 degree Fahrenheit ...
Yes Rebecca's Hair is Frozen and so are My Lashes!
Yeah so, I was struggling with my runs, and especially with my Wednesday Morning Track Workouts. The Wednesday before I left for Arizona, I was crying again (sorry Rebecca, sorry Joel). I didn't think I could run as well as I would like to in Arizona. I was feeling really slow and really tired. Still am!

In fact, I went for some heart and lung tests to rule out any problems - the doctor's told me everything is fine - I have a "Heart of an Athlete"! That's funny because I felt as if I had the heart of a snail!

But Rebecca said that I had to remember my "WHY" She told me this is what I told her a few years ago when she came over and was in tears ..... Ouch!

So, on the flight to Arizona, I kept think of all the reasons I was trying to run a Half Marathon in every state - and not just run them, but place in my age group, which to me, I understand means:
To run the best I can
To not give up
To show my children that no matter what obstacles you face in life, 
you continue to go forward in a positive way

I train to run fearlessly - so why was I wimpering?
And yes, sometimes I can go a little overboard!
Sooo what if I don't place - I still can run the best for me, where I am in life at this point in my life! 
And you know that's a heck of a lot easier to type, than accept.

I run to promote peace - I can spread a little hope and love wherever and whenever I run. If you run with me, unless I'm really struggling, you know I say "Good Morning" or "Hi" to everyone I pass. Even on a race course, I shout out word's of encouragement to others who seem as if they're struggling.

I run to inspire - you never know who is watching - your children, neighbor, co-worker, stranger - if I can put on a hat, gloves, and shove Hot Hands in my pocket in 1 degree weather - maybe that can help to get someone off the couch to go for a walk on their treadmill.

I run to show fearlessness - to show that you can overcome a tragedy in your life, but at the same time still remember. I run to overcome the pain of the events of 9-11 and to remember my husband, John.
Memorial, Downtown Manhatten
But mostly, I run for my children. They are my "WHY"

I closed my eyes on the flight to Arizona, and just pictured running in God's Hands. I kept thinking of running a local race this past Thanksgiving.
I had no energy, so decided to run it with a Go-Pro. 
Most of the race I ran about a 9:35min/mile pace. I was filming some people at the end of the race while running, and I was yelling,
"You're strong, 
You're beautiful, 
You're doing great!"
Afterward, I looked at my splits - I couldn't believe it - my last mile I ran a 7:35 min pace. I was just jogging along, trying to inspire other's to finish strong, and without realizing it, I picked up my own pace.

The morning of the Tucson Holualoa Half, we had to take a bus from the host hotel, The Hilton El Conquistador, to the start  - It was about 5am! It was quite chilly!

I met a woman, Pam Erikson, on the bus. She told me that it was unusually cold for Tucson this time of year. It was high 30's. Thank goodness the busses were super toasty!

At the start of the race, everyone was huddling close to stay warm. The man next to me told me that he thought we all seemed like penguins!

For about 9 miles, the race was downhill - not steep, but nice for me since I'm a sea level gal who was running at altitude.
Nothing like Breckenridge
10,00 feet and yes, I had altitude sickness!
The Tucson Holualoa Half started at about 3,850 feet, went to about 3,030 feet, and then up to 3,100 feet. Well, that last ~100 feet climb - for me - was a doozy! I heard some guy yell out going up that last hill. I thought, okay, so I'm not alone struggling, here!

Still, I kept running - running in God's Hands - telling myself that I was strong, I was beautiful, and that I was doing great! I thought, "No matter how you do, you know you tried your best, you gave it your all - for what that is at this point in my life. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other - moving forward in a positive way."

I saw Ron at the last stretch before you turn the corner to run through the chute. I crossed the finish, was handed a finisher's medal and a water, and told a stranger that I ran that half in God's hands (he smiled and nodded). Next, I picked up my drop off bag, and ran to the port-o-johns  - as only a person with Crohn's can do!

After resurfacing, I found Ron. I was surprised to find out that I ran the half in 1:45:48. I was hoping to run it 1:50 or better. I was even more surprised to find out that I took first in my age group!

Train Smart!
Bib, Finisher's Medal, and First Place Award!

Run Fearlesss!

Run to Inspire!
My babies

Know Your Why!

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