Monday, 22 September 2014

Half Marathon - Paula Lamb

                                                                                       Picture courtesy of google images

PART ONE         

It's 07.00 am on a Sunday morning, I roll over to sit on the edge of my bed, slowly I flex and extend my feet.   My heels ache I suffer from Plantar Fasciatis.  Placing my feet on the hard wood floors I begin to do the runners shuffle that's what I call it these days, you know when your legs are stiff and achey,   calves ache and for me heels sore and you struggle to walk normally.  I shuffle over to the bathroom glare at myself in the mirror with a glint of a smile "morning sunshine" its that time again - run forest run.  

Time and again we read stories of grand achievement.  The challenges, courage, determination, trials and tribulations humans have faced to get to that finish line however far or close it had been. But you certainly don't have to climb Mt Everest to feel that emotional pang of delight in your heart as you cross your finish line.  

During this year of 2014 I have discovered, learnt and felt this very pang of pure delight and pride.  Not only have I met the physical challenges that I set before me, I have also discovered a whole lot about runners, people, life and myself.  

I hope this blog about my achievement will inspire you to get up off that sofa and just do it,  whatever it may be!.

My name is Paula C and I proudly share 
My 2014 story!

 Happy New Year - Whistler  01-01-2014

It's January 5th, 2014 a new year is upon us and time to set New Year Goals!   Let me set the mood about the day that changed my 2014 year ahead.  I live in North America its pretty chilly out.  Here we sit my husband and I, he a natural runner 5K, 10K easy peasy and me not an avid runner,  not a sausage BUT physically fit and a sound fitness foundation that stems back to my early 20's.  I sit with my laptop open on our kitchen counter glaring at the Internet page of The BMO Marathon,  race day May 4th, 2014.  I know your thinking how did we get here all these half marathons later.  Good question I get asked that a lot !

Needless to say December now a distant memory January 5th is here I had thought what's the harm in taking a look.  During all the chitter chatter banter back and forth with my husband an eternal runner and my mind (asking me if I was nuts)  a switch went off in the ole head and I realised for the past 6 months of 2013 I had been yearning to run and not just 5K or 10K but run far.  I wanted to feel that easy breathe as I placed one foot in front of the other, my legs striding out beneath me and feel that euphoria of freedom, fitness and well being.  I felt like a horse on race day, rearing to get out there and just gallop!  And here sat before me that very opportunity to unleash my yearning desire.

Grabbing the bull by the horns I thought what the heck girlfriend just do it. Sign up, commit and run forest run.  I knew half marathons were no easy task, there would be loads and loads of running ahead (I have completed one half marathon in my life thus far 2005) I COULD DO THIS BMO race I just had to Focus!!! 

Most people would have set probably a more realistic goal like a 5K or 10K distance, I know, I know but for me if I was going to put in the work I wanted to be challenged, I wanted to have something MAJOR to talk about plus those specific short distances did not fit in with that yearning to run far and my husband would have me as a training partner for some of his longer runs and visa versa (BMO Marathoner).. It was a win win situation!

And so I set out a plan 

Step One:  Google half marathon training plans - good idea right!

Step Two:  Start eating low to moderate glycemic foods (will help with my energy levels) 

Step Three:  Get some new running shoes (I love new kicks )

Step Four:  Run Forest Run!!

Anyone that runs half. full or ultra marathon races on a regular basis or has set themselves up with a challenge like mine will agree half marathon and marathon training is no easy task.  They are distances that require courage, determination, commitment not only to running, diet included but a specific training schedule to get you through that finish line in one piece.  

I now have a whole new respect for long distance runners 
(Ironman Triathletes included).

I set my goal on January 5th, 2014 to complete just ONE half marathon in May.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  I had plenty of time to get the road beneath my feet just under four months to be exact.  And so I set out on a training program through rain, snow, sleet and icy winds. 

January GONE. February came and went, training weather still crap but I maintained my focus with my goal in sight.  First week of March arrives my training is going well and with a few longer runs under the belt I had the idea,  why not test drive my training thus far by bringing my first 1/2 marathon for 2014 forward  by a smidge; 16th March,  "Say whaaattt".  (you think about a lot when you run - obviously)  I was feeling pretty strong, felt certain I could run 21km's and so chose a race the  

Try Events:  Shamrock Half at Burnaby Lake.  

My race reason logic pretty simple!! This race would provide me the opportunity to:

1. Test my current training regime (was I on track)

2. Test my half marathon endurance (would my legs get me to the end)

3. Was my diet in order was I eating enough calories to fuel my body

4. What about those nibbles during the race (what will work for me, this is key people)

and lastly   Recovery 

5.  How was my body going to feel post race and how long would it take me to walk again - blah ha ha ha ha I knew that I would be sore the next day

This my readers is all key. And trust me anything can go wrong pre, during and post race that can suck your sense of humour dry and give ya' a good ole kick in the pants!!!  I had set this first race as a training run, that is right folks 21km or a 13.1 miler test run blah ha ha ha ha!  Crazy is what my husband thought,  I had just brought our race date closer by seven weeks and just nine weeks into our training regime. Going from zero running to 200km give or take of running training under my belt, I felt I could accomplish this!

Race Day arrived it was raining!  I completed the task I set out to do, the course was country terrain, it was wet but I enjoyed it and felt strong to the end.  Tired and drenched from head to toe I crossed that  finish line with the hugest smile on my face, absolute relief filled my heart (and my weary lungs) tired, wet and cold.  I felt like a racing queen (in my mind),  a stallion on the loose,  galloping along the terrain with boundless energy. I did it and I was on track. Boom! Exhilarated proud and I had achieved my goal I was ready to continue my journey.   
Race One - I did it!

I went back to the drawing board and preparation for my scheduled race "THE BMO Half Marathon".  Full steam ahead (although after the Shamrock Half I was hobbling about.  I had no idea how stiff my legs would get - bring on those amino acids) Stiff legs and all,  I began to love that running euphoria, stride by stride achieving that running free feeling I had so longed for and felt I needed in my heart. 
With my running and cross training regime on track  
Eating on track   
I was feeling king
So with only two races scheduled for 2014 the Shamrock Half now done and dusted.  We head into post race week and I think hell,  I have just completed a 21km race with a minimum of  200km's of training prior to race day.  I still have a stack load more mileage to complete before my official race and if I am gonna put in all this hard work and at the end of my BMO race on May 4th hang up those racing shoes (now we were only in the tailgate of March peeps!) 
I wonder how many more races could I complete by 
the end of 2014.
That's right folks I think I had just lost my marbles.  Lots and lots of running, speed work, cross training, dedication to fitness and food needless to say the time and effort.  I was thinking how many more races could I enter during the year.  CRAZY but I had logic in my thinking.  Simply I was doing all this training,  all this dedication (time, food, focus) there is no question I have to do more.  I mean I have heard the stories of people who set a short term goal of completing a half marathon or full marathon just like I had done and then they cross the finish line boom goal achieved no more running. I am pretty sure you have met someone like that.

To me it just seemed unfathomable to have done all that mileage and not do more especially as I had the time available, the weather was improving, sun would be up early which means earlier morning runs, I had a running partner for my Friday runs and sometimes my husband for my longer runs (remember husband travels a lot so a lot of the time I ended up training alone) and I had nine months ahead of me.  Lets just keep in mind that running does not come easy to me!

So crazy crazy me I began my set goal journey of completing 
8 Half Marathons for 2014

You read right!  Yes, eight Half Marathons.  Where did the number 8 come from well I had completed one in March,  was on schedule for May which meant that there were still seven months left in the year.  There was a race back at Burnaby Lake (bonus I knew the course already) the very next weekend after BMO so that would already give me a total of three races under the running belt.  There were tons of races it was just a matter of fitting them in with my travel and life schedule.

Points I needed to consider;  work, life, balance, international travel (I had already three international trips planned for the year) and enjoyment of the road that lay before my feet. I wanted this to be a journey of grand physical achievement and I wanted to enjoy the journey along the way.  80/20 rule right!!  So there you have it 8 Half Marathons goal set.  

Half Marathons are a challenge and at the beginning of each race you can be well prepared to compete and BAM you hit that wall with 5K to the finish.  I now knew this for sure.  They are a race of their own and over the last couple of years have apparently grown in popularity.  I was quite amazed at just how many individuals complete Half and Full Marathons.  Brilliant.  And if they could all do it so could I!

Pre-race day package pick up.  Here I go Again 
Look how happy I look, poor thing no idea what I was in for!  

#gotlegs Must Run,  training under my belt and The BMO race day arrived.  It was pouring with rain and we began (husband and I) our original set goal wet from head to toe.  But we were making 2014 memories this was my Race No. 2.  The BIG race I had been training for all along.  I had me some cool leggings (whatever will help make me feel better about running in the rain) rainproof running gear,  a cap to keep the rain from my face and I was rearing to go.  

 Wet, cold and just wanting to run
Still smiling considering the crap weather!

Out the gate we all rushed,  legs striding out beneath us, each one of us half marathoners trying to find our pace.  The heart pounding,  the feet moving we were officially killing time.   Striding along and my calves start cramping, not sure if it was because of the cold.  We head down Cambie Street and its not even 5 km into my run and my left hamstring feels niggly aarrgghhh is all I could think at this point.  This is going to be a long morning.  Across Cambie Bridge down toward China Town we go and then I needed to do some ablution business!  "seriously now!!, really, really body, you have to evacuate now!!!!!"  Remember readers how I have mentioned you can be all prepared but race day is a whole other story.  I can hear you laughing those that know what I am talking about.  

Soooo 5km was pee break and as for the other ablution bits I saved myself to the end.  The porter potties were always busy so I knew they would be oh so smelly and I was running so darned slow I did not want to lose anymore time.  Needless to say it was a difficult run, I needed to ablution, it rained every step of the way, puddles of water everywhere, my feet felt like lead, I was freezing cold and drenched.  But from the pickies below I seemed to always have a smile for the camera.  Plus to add to my pride I had helped a young lady run across the finish..and received an unexpected thank you a couple of days later.  

I have never felt happier to see a finish line annnddddd go to the potty - ha ha ha ha ha..absolute relief!!  Race two done and dusted.  My Tim Hortons steeped tea, chicken sandwich and timbits were a true delight. BTW husband finished the marathon race with a heel injury so proud poor guy 42km is a long way folks.

Race pictures are important
They remind us of our journey to this point of glory!

 May 11th Race number three Try Events:  Mother Ducky.  Having started the year with one race to complete I had crossed off three within a short time frame. I felt proud of myself for not allowing that inner voice of doubt to talk me out of this goal I had set.
#GirlPower #mindovermatter #feelstrongfeelfree

Rubber Ducky - Mother's Day May 11th, 2014
Big Grins - Happy Girl 

"Achievement is true glory, exhilarating to the heart and joyous to the beholder"
                                                                                                      Paula C Lamb

 Proof you can do something if you put the hard work in and Believe in Yourself!

After my third race I had  learnt that you can be prepared as much as you like BUT race day is a very different ball game.  You have to ensure you have loads of mileage on those legs to face the race pace and endurance required by your body to complete your race.  You want your body to be a well oiled machine and your training regime is key to achieving that!  I didn't just want to run 21km I wanted to compete with  MY very being,  MY body,  MY Head,  MY Heart (because trust me there is aloootttttt of self talk that goes on during my race, plus I got to buy cool running gear )

Every run, every cross training session, every stretch and/or yoga class I have made note of.  My food intake, supplement intake all key to my over-all half marathon well being.  I began to eat, sleep and drink this goal I had set.  

I knew It was a pretty big goal to ask of myself I had already embarked 
on the journey,  there is no turning back!! 

Stay Tuned because this information is coming soon:  Do I reach my Set Goal of Eight Half Marathons, I will share my fitness and nutrition tips,  what works for me pre, during and post race, supplements I use, Injury's - yes I have injury's, gadgets I have collected along the way to aid in my recovery and maintenance.  My re-collection of races, running whilst travelling and lots more.  

Till next time 
Paula C

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