….and My Story Runs On….
“When you cross the finish line, your life will change forever.” -Unknown
Crossing a finish line is one of the most amazing feelings! It’s one of the reasons I love being a running coach as there is nothing more rewarding than watching someone work their butt off for any event and cross that finish line!
I’ve had some incredible finish line experiences but I have to admit, yesterday was one of the most amazing finish lines I experienced for a few reasons:
- I signed up for the Inaugural Phoenix Women’s Half Marathon awhile back with Startline Racing (very well run event!). I first heard about it via Team RWB (more below!). We used to have the Women’s Half here and I used to be an Ambassador. I love women races as there is so much comraderie and different energy. I believe last week was my longest training week ever as far as running. My 50 Mile Training calendar called for 60 miles this week. I started the half marathon with tired legs. I had logged 48 miles at this point for the week and did 14 miles of sand training the day before. My original plan was to relax and just make this race a training run. I don’t listen to music often so I decided I was going to jam out while focusing on some new form focuses from ChiRunning. (In November, at the Instructor Weekend, Danny Dreyer, the founder, taught us an entire new series on Performance: learning how to get faster without increasing your perceived rate of exertion and without using your leg muscles to make it happen. Due to my distance training, I’ve been holding off feeling some of the new form focuses in my body so yesterday I decided to “play” around with a few of them). I was feeling great so was just chilling and enjoying it….when I reached mile 10, I realized there could be a slight chance that I would PR (personal record) this race. I continued to focus on some key areas and lo and behold, even though the results are still unofficial on their website, I beat my half marathon time by 20 seconds!
- I have many friends that are part of Team RWB and I kept saying I would join them but I have so much on my plate and never really understood what they were all about. These friends kept encouraging me to join (IT’S FREE!) but I never got around to it until a few weeks ago. I love building my running community and I do this with my ChiRunners/ChiWalkers and Running for Brews. OMG, this community of people is AMAZING! I’ve never felt so part of something bigger than myself. The icing on the cake, and the main reason yesterday was one of my favorite finishes, was because someone came up to me close to the finish line and handed me the American Flag. GOOSE BUMPS! Mind you I was trying to get my PR and I knew I was close but there was no way I was going to turn down that experience! I got to run through the finish line carrying the American Flag! I’ve “only’ been running for about 8 years but I love this sport! This is why I am on a mission to turn people into runners. So many amazing experiences and people I have met via this awesome sport. Team RWB is a huge supportive community and they were out there until their very last walker came in to the finish line and we all got roses too! I am really looking forward to more amazing experiences with them!
Reflecting on this incredible day, here is what I believe contributed to my success (in no particular order):
- My running conditioning. I’ve been running quite a bit lately (more than ever) for my first 50 miler. Here is a link to my plan and actual miles if you are interested.
- ChiRunning/ChiWalking. Good running form has been crucial to my success. We can always learn to get better and more efficient at anything we do. I’ve been teaching this for 6 years now and I’m still amazed at how much I can keep working on it and seeing improvements. It’s one of my favorite parts of the form. I say Practice Makes Progress and I’ve seen some great improvements not just from my performance while running but more importantly with how great my body has been feeling with all these miles!
- My Chiropractor. I’ve been working with Al for over a year on my forward head posture and alignment. Xrays have confirmed a significant improvement and I can feel it. Alignment is crucial to running and by working on my posture, I have felt an improvement in my form and more specifically my breathing. I also did a Fascial Stretch Therapy last week with him and will do these weekly until my race.
- My Nutritionist. As a trainer, I can help my clients with nutrition and weight loss but I’ve never really learned how to fuel my body for endurance and performance. I’ve been working with Brooke since November and learned a ton about my body and how it fuels properly. I did not have any Gus or Gels at all yesterday. I also haven’t been using those on my 20+ mile runs either. I’ve taught my body to use fat rather than sugar as I train longer. This will be a separate blog after my 50 miler.
- Recovery and Rest. I’m grateful that I have a flexible schedule so I rarely set my alarm in the morning. I allow my body to get as much rest as it needs as I’m putting it under more stress than usual. I also foam roll, do leg drains and stretch every night before going to bed. Many people ignore this piece but your body needs it!
One of my biggest fears about the 50 mile training (aside from getting my plantar fascitiis back) was that I would burn out with all this running….the opposite is happening…I’m more energized and excited at all the new possibilities that running will bring to me for years to come!
What was your favorite finish line? Why do you remember it?
From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)