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The Race is On

I apologize for leaving you hanging last night with the running news. Honestly, I didn’t even know whether it would be good or bad news until today.

I’m sure some of you have been wondering about my plans for Marine Corps Marathon given my recent hamstring injury. I have been trying not to stress about it since I had until September 30 to decide whether to defer my registration until 2011. I created a whole back up plan in my head that if I deferred I would continue to rest my hamstring for another week or so and then pick up my training where I left off and run the Thunder Road Marathon here in Charlotte in December. I kind of sold myself on that plan until yesterday when I reflected on how I really didn’t want to go through 10 more weeks of training – especially since it’s only going to get colder and darker. Also, I’m ready to move on from marathon training.

I planned a 10-miler for this morning that was going to serve as my final test. If it felt good, I was going to run MCM, if it hurt, I would defer. My alarm went off at 5 a.m. I had coffee, ate a cinnamon raisin English muffin with almond butter and got dressed. I felt excited but nervous.

It was dark and cool when I stepped out of my front door. (Don’t worry, I wore a reflective vest.) I hit “start” on my Garmin and set off. My original plan was to run laps around my neighborhood loop so that I could stop if I was feeling pain. I realized pretty early on that it was going to be a good run so I just took off around town.

The 10 miles passed so quickly. It was a great feeling to be out tackling the miles before most people were even up. Everything was quiet and peaceful – with the exception of waving at all the other crazy runners out in the early morning darkness. I felt so strong during the run and only stopped when I had to at intersections. This is going to make me sound crazy but I had tears in my eyes during the last mile because I felt so happy and grateful that I was able to have such a strong run after coming off two weeks of injury.

I ended up finishing 10.37 miles in 1:36:33. That’s an average 9:18 pace.

Obviously, I am a little behind on my training since I have been sidelined by injury. With only four weeks left of training before the race, I want to get a couple more quality long runs in but avoid reinjuring or exhausting myself. My plan is to run 18 this weekend and hopefully 20 the next. I will take a two-week taper with 12 and 8 mile long runs.

I will be lining up at the starting line of the Marine Corps Marathon on October 31. I might not be the most prepared runner there but I will be mentally committed, excited and thankful to be a part of such an amazing race experience.

Want to know the best part about running 10 miles before work? I got to eat two breakfasts today! Breakfast number two was apple cinnamon oats in an almost empty TJ’s peanut butter jar.

Heaven. I think this might win my all-time favorite combo, especially for Fall. Pumpkin oats can’t compete.

I wasn’t sure if it would happen but I was hungry again by noon. I headed home where I had quite the selection of leftovers to choose from.

I decided on a leftover stuffed pepper. I cut it in half and placed it on a bed of spinach. I topped it with sundried tomatoes, chopped olives and Greek yogurt. I think the peppers were even better today! Although I think everything tastes even better when it’s topped with Greek yogurt so who knows!

My snack this afternoon was a pear and two cups of hot tea. I am starving right now but saving my appetite for a special dinner. We have reservations at Rooster’s for a Highland Brewery Beer Dinner. The menu that the chef put together looks amazing and the beer pairings sound right on. Highland Brewery is located in Asheville and is one of our favorite breweries. The owner is coming to Charlotte for the dinner and I can’t wait to meet him and here him talk about their delicious beers! I’ll have a full recap of the dinner for you tomorrow!

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Jen September 28, 2010, 5:49 pm

    I am so happy for you! And it does not sound crazy at all that you had tears in your eyes. I’m crossing my fingers that the rest of training leaves you this happy 🙂

    So I just started running in the dark. My biggest challenge is seeing where I’m stepping. Kind of freaks me out. Do you wear a headlamp?

    • Jen September 29, 2010, 11:11 am

      Thanks, Jen! I do not wear a headlamp although I have in the past. The hardest thing about running in the dark for me is when a car with headlights is coming at you. It totally blinds me. I try to run mostly on streets with lights but that’s not always possible. I always feel really scared when I first set out in the dark and then kind of relax and go with it.

      • Jen September 29, 2010, 11:12 am

        Oh and I am fanatical about wearing reflective clothing and blinking lights.

  • Claudie September 28, 2010, 6:29 pm

    Glad to see you are doing so great 🙂

    PS: hehe, last week I made a slightly different quinoa stuffed red pepper bells 🙂

  • Ashlee September 28, 2010, 7:02 pm

    Yeah!!! I’m SO HAPPY for you!!!! Listening to your body really does pay off and your body finally told you it was ready! I totally understand having tears in your eyes. I would too!!!

  • Josie September 28, 2010, 7:35 pm

    so excited for you!! Have fun at the beer dinner – can’t wait to read your post about it!

  • brannyboilsover September 28, 2010, 7:43 pm

    I am glad to hear you are running.
    The pic of you in your fuel belt surprises me. I wear mine WAY lower and backwards compared to you!

    • Jen September 29, 2010, 11:09 am

      Thanks! Hopefully I survive this marathon with the amount of training I have done! I’m just ready to be done with marathon training for a while.

      I have seen people wear Fuel Belts so many different ways. I have always worn mine really high on my waste. It just feels really secure there and doesn’t move at all. I am so dependent on my fuel belt. I wear it on any run over 5 miles and almost always when I’m racing! 🙂

  • Catherine September 28, 2010, 9:38 pm

    Congrats on the run! Can’t wait to hear about the marathon in a few weeks!

    • Jen September 29, 2010, 11:06 am

      Thank you Catherine! I need an update on how your training is coming along! 🙂

  • Tracy September 29, 2010, 6:23 am

    Yay! Congrats. That is so exciting, you will feel so relieved and proud at the marathon!

  • sarah September 29, 2010, 9:53 am

    Yo go girl!!!

  • Alex September 29, 2010, 10:32 am

    I have been following your blog for a couple weeks now. I have been going back to past posts when I get a chance because I them inspiring. I just realized that you went to law school and I am currently in my 1L year in san francisco (7 weeks in). I’m trying to balance healthy eating with exercise with the load. How did you do it?

    • Jen September 29, 2010, 11:05 am

      Hi Alex – so glad that you found my blog and are enjoying it. I actually didn’t go to law school but my husband did so I can speak about his experience a little. First, he found that exercise was a great stress reliever. He actually wasn’t a regular gym goer until he started law school and we joined the Y (I was working full-time). He just made the gym part of his daily routine and it made him feel so much better. Second, he was really good about staying on a schedule and tried to keep normal working hours. If he knew he was going to be at school all day he would bring healthy snacks/lunch. Also, he always kept a water bottle in his back pack that he could refill throughout the day.

      I think that a balance is SO important in law school because it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the craziness of it all – especially when you’re a 1L. Make sure that you still have a life and treat school like a job. And when first semester finals come along try to just be as calm and prepared as possible. We watched so many of Brandon’s classmates totally freak out and exhaust themselves.

      Good luck! Remember – a healthy body and clear mind are essential to succeeding in school. Don’t ever feel bad about doing good things for yourself! 🙂

  • natalie (the sweets life) September 29, 2010, 1:20 pm

    so glad you felt good! I have my last 10 miler tomorrow and then the marathon next weekend! I love doing long runs before work and having shorter runs on the weekend…totally worth waking up early for in my opinion 🙂

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