Wednesday, March 28, 2012

4. Complete a marathon. Check!

30 weeks of training for the LA Marathon and it's all over. My first marathon is complete and it all seems like a blur. A painful, emotional blur.

I never would have made it to this point if it wasn't for my sister, her crazy goal and her amazing support. As much as I thought I was joining this group for her, to keep her motivated and to provide her with support and company, I realized at early on that she was there just as much for me too. I would not have made it through 30 full weeks of training including early Saturday morning runs, spending money on running gear and races and sore muscles after long runs without her right there next to me. The one constant thing was having someone there to talk to and laugh with along the way, someone to make the time go by just a little bit faster.

For pushing me to join my first 5K two years ago to including me for the 10K Mud Run (including my first pair of knee high socks) to completing our first half marathon and now to be proud finishers of a full marathon I owe everything involving running to my sister. I will always be grateful to her for sparking my interest and in keeping me going when I wanted to stop. Through injuries and tears we crossed the finish line together and I couldn't be more proud of us. I just want to say thank you to her before I talk about race day. So for everything Rachel, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

The 10 day weather report showed rain for March 18th, race day. My first thought was, "It can't possibly rain on race day two years in a row." My second thought was, "We never had a training run in the rain, how are we possibly going to do this." My third thought was, "No one is going to be at the finish line to celebrate with us and take our picture as we cross the finish line." My fourth thought was, "I'm not running this race for anyone else, I'm running it for me and no matter what happens that day, it's going to be great." I made peace with the weather, then changed my mentality to positive thoughts to get me through the 26 miles.

Friday night (2 days before the marathon) was filled with carbs. Yummy delicious Olive Garden pasta and breadstick carbs. I love carbs...

Saturday (the day before the marathon) was the expo at Dodger Stadium where Rachel and I picked up our race shirts and bibs. It rained almost all day, including a downpour in the morning. However, as soon as we made it to the expo it stopped, and it didn't start again until we left. I think my favorite things about the expo included seeing our names on the lead cars and seeing the medals from the Disney races, including the three medals you can earn after completing The Goofy Challenge.

I spent the night at my sisters house in order to be up and ready to leave by 3:40am. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to fall asleep for multiple reasons, including pre-race excitement and spending a night away from Patrick for the first time since moving in together. I fell asleep rather quickly and when the alarm went off at 3am I was up and ready to go.

In order to stay warm we sat in Dodger Stadium with trash bags on. It was rather cold, but there was no rain and as time passed the sun began to rise. The wheel chairs and hand bikes started, followed by the elite female runners. The National Anthem was sung (quite beautifully) and the race began. By the time we passed the starting line we had heard Randy Newman "I Love LA" four times. We started our GPS watches as we crossed the start line, a whole 13 minutes after the race officially began and in quite perfect weather considering what we were expecting.

Rachel in Dodger Stadium

Me in Dodger Stadium

Rachel and me waiting for the race to begin

I'm not going to give a mile by mile break down, because well my memory of 6+ hours of running is not that great. I will say that out of everything that happened on the course, my favorite thing is the amazing support from all of the volunteers and spectators. Without them, it would have been extremely difficult to finish.

A sea of runners


There were a few emotional moments on the course. The first was an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, and we were only at mile 6. I just couldn't believe that we were out there actually doing what we set out to do. Since we had registered for the race early, we were lucky enough to have our names printed on our bibs. It really does help to hear complete strangers shout out "Way to go Tracy! You're doing great! Keep it up!"

Downtown LA 
Hollywood Tower Hotel
Chateau Marmont 

Hollywood & Vine 
El Capitan 
Laugh Factory
Rodeo Drive
Santa Monica Pier
Mile 17 was another water work moment. The marathon provided family members a place to send messages and videos which would show up on this big screen as you ran over a mat at miles 6 and 17. We didn't receive any at 6 (I think we were in a group of too many people) but my sisters message to me appeared as we crossed the mat at mile 17. It was a picture of us from our most recent half marathon (The Rose Bowl Half) and a message. I immediately side hugged her and told her that there was no one I would rather be running with.

Around mile 19/20 we started walking a lot more than running. At one walk break I got this really weird, really painful twinge from my right hip down to my knee. It happened twice and thankfully went away, but at that moment I got a quick flash of doubt that I wouldn't be able to finish. I'm stubborn though and just kept on putting one foot in front of the other.

We started to get a little frustrated at the mileage we had on our GPS watches compared to the race markers. Rachel's GPS was .25 miles ahead of mine and my GPS was .25 ahead of the marker. It's frustrating to think you're at mile 26 when you're still .25-.50 miles away.

We turned on to Ocean Avenue right before mile 26 and it was a stretch of road filled with tears, relief and 50 mph wind. We were almost done and I can't even describe the feelings that come along with completing something like this. It's a very emotionally and physically draining event and I absolutely cannot wait to do another one.

Crossing the finish line

After receiving our medals

Our practice run of 26.2 miles, which we completed 3 weeks before race day was at the beach on a fairly flat course. We completed this in 6 hours 25 minutes, 5 minutes under our original goal of 6 hours 30 minutes for race day. They say you're not supposed to have a time goal for your first marathon, but Rachel and I planned on doing better than consistent 15 minute miles, so we were confident in our goal. Once we beat our original goal by 5 minutes on our practice run we changed our time goal to be under 6 hours 25 minutes so that we could beat our practice time and "PR". We crossed the finish line and stopped our watches with a finishing time of 6 hours 15 minutes 11 seconds. We passed our original time goal by 15 minutes!

The support that we received from our training group and our family and friends is almost as overwhelming as completing the race itself. Without each and every one of them, we would not have been mentally prepared to do this, so I want to say thank you to them. You know who you are, the pace group leaders who were up on those early mornings running the distances with us, the parents who were willing to watch children while we were out running, the husband and fiance who were patient with the amount of time we spent away as well as being patient with us while we spent money on races, gear, etc., the children who are learning to love to run and signing up for races (can't wait to see you cross the finish line Emma on your first 5K!), and to everyone else who provided positive encouragement.

My dad tells my sister and I that it's not the 26 miles that will get you, it's the .2... In all honesty, it's the walk back to the car that hurts the most.

Onto the next one!

Engagement Pictures!!!

We had our engagement photo session on March 1st and I could not be happier with the way everything turned out. Not only am I thrilled with the pictures but I am even more confident that we chose the right photographer for us. She made us feel so comfortable that we were able to get a lot of different shots in a short amount of time.

We chose Paramount Ranch as our location because there are a lot of options for backgrounds as you can see below. It was very difficult to choose one for our save the dates, but I guess that's not a bad thing.

^ this is our save the date photo.

This would have been our save the dates if my damn bra strap would have stayed in place..

One of my favorites.

I love my smile in this one. It's a total "I want something" smile.

All photos courtesy of Charise Proctor

Thank you so much Charise for everything! I am so excited that you are our photographer and I know that the pictures of our wedding are going to be wonderful!

This is my absolute favorite shot. Patrick had just made a funny face (like he normally does when he is in front of the camera) and this was taken right after. It's just so "us"...

Monday, March 26, 2012

List of Races for 2012

The following is a list of races for 2012:

Rose Bowl Half Marathon- 1/22/12- 3:04:00
LA Marathon- 3/18/12- 6:15:11 PR!
Hollywood Half Marathon- 4/7/12- 2:59:11
Gator Run 5K- 4/15/12-  33:30 PR!
Love Run 10K- 6/3/12- 1:15:00 PR!
Camp Pendleton Mud Run- 6/9/12- 1:37:01
Arroyo Creek Half Marathon- 6/24/12- 2:39:06
Disneyland Half Marathon- 9/2/12-
Rock N' Roll Half Marathon LA- 10/28/12-
Santa to the Sea Half Marathon- 12/9/12-

I'm hoping to improve my times on the half marathons this year. I would also like to complete at least one more full marathon before I sign up for The Goofy Challenge in 2014, but I don't think that will happen until 2013 as this year is a little full. There should be another two 5Ks that will be added to this list (Calabasas Classic and a Turkey Trot), but I'm not 100% sure of the dates.

*Updated 4/26/12. I have added the times to the Hollywood Half and the Gator Run 5K.

*Updated 6/6/12. I finished the Love Run 10K in 1 hour 15 minutes exactly. I had made a goal for myself of 1 hour 30 minutes because I like to make goals that I can obtain. Plus I run slow and I figured 15 minute miles are easily obtainable for me. My sister suggested I make my goal 1 hour 15 minutes and I told her that would never happen. Well, it did. Thanks Rachel for pushing me!

*Updated 7/2/12. Kind of a late update. The Mud Run was awesome! We improved our time by about 10 minutes from 2 years ago, however the river that you normally swim across was dry this year so I think that helped with the time.
The half marathon was amazing! I improved my time by 10 minutes on this race as well. I felt great throughout the majority of the race but got pretty hot from miles 10-13. Both races have been blogged about.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Repost/Update to Bucket List

Update to my bucket list. I have highlighted recently completed items in pink and italicized items that are in progress. I really need to get a move on this list!

1. Complete a 5K
2. Complete a 10K
3. Complete a half marathon
4. Complete a marathon
5. Complete a tri-athalon
6. Complete the Goofy Challenge
7. Donate hair to Lock's of Love
8. Write a book
9. Learn to drive a stick shift
10. Go wine tasting
11. Ride a zipline
12. Ride in a hot air balloon
13. Learn to water ski
14. Horseback ride on the beach
15. Ride a mechanical bull
16. Learn to ski
17. Jump off a cliff into deep water
18. Swim with sharks
19. Swim with dolphins
20. Swim with sea turtles
21. Milk a cow
22. Ride a camel
23. Ride an elephant
24. Watch an animal being born
25. See killer whales in the wild
26. Visit the Grand Canyon
27. Visit the Galapagos Islands
28. See the Northern Lights
29. Visit the Amazon Rainforest
30. Visit Yosemite
31. Visit Yellowstone
32. Witness a meteor shower
33. Visit Mount Rushmore
34. Watch a sumo wrestling match
35. Go to Disneyworld
36. Take a pottery class
37. Fly a kite
38. Make a quilt
39. Complete a cross stitch
40. Get out of debt
41. Earn a black belt in martial arts
42. Be on the kiss cam at an Angel's game
43. Fly in a helicopter
44. Watch it snow
45. See the Rose Parade floats
46. Get a tattoo
47. Learn how to make sushi
48. Travel solo
49. Learn a new language
50. Write in a journal every day for a year
51. Read for 20 minutes every day for a year
52. Adopt a pet from a shelter
53. Go on a safari
54. Have my photography showcased
55. Climb up the Statue of Liberty
56. Go to the National Cherry Blossom Festival
57. Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge
58. Hit a bucket of balls
59. Volunteer at an animal shelter
60. Start a blog
61. Take one picture a day for a year 
62. Go to a World Series game
63. Try escargot
64. Go to Time's Square for New Year's
65. See a psychic
66. Mud Wrestle
67. Jump into a pool fully clothed
68. Go to Ireland
69. Go to Australia
70. Go to Japan
71. Go to Africa
72. Go to Italy
73. Bowl a perfect game
74. Win big in Vegas
75. Take a cake decorating class
76. Organize photos into albums
77. Make one recipe a week for a year
78. Go apple picking
79. Buy a piece of Tiffany's jewelry
80. Go to a movie by myself
81. Go to dinner by myself
82. Complete a coloring book
83. Climb Mount Everest
84. Host Thanksgiving dinner
85. Visit Ground Zero
86. Go dirt bike riding
87. Learn to play an instrument
88. Join a softball league
89. Go canoeing or kayaking
90. Learn to surf
91. Sing karaoke
92. Take a pole dancing class
93. Go scuba diving
94. Break a Guiness World Record
95. See the Leaning Tower of Pisa
96. See the Eiffel Tower
97. Play in a poker tournament
98. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity
99. Build a birdhouse
100. Watch a chrysalis turn into a butterfly
101. Learn how to change a flat tire
102. Hike down the Grand Canyon
103. Go white water rafting
104. Learn how to meditate
105. Take a yoga class
106. Read every book by Jodi Picoult
107. See "The Star" by Edgar Degas at Musee d'Orsay, Paris
108. Open a martini bar
109. Drive a boat
110. Visit the Pearl Harbor museum
111. Go parasailing
112. Go snorkeling
113. Go rock climbing
114. Pay off someone's layaway
115. Run 1250 miles in a year
116. Complete 30 Day Shred
117. Ride a mountain bike down Mammoth Mountain
118. Marry my best friend
119. Have over 50 followers on my blog
120. Complete a marathon in under 6 hours

I'll be adding pictures to the half marathon post soon as well as writing about the marathon experience. Stay tuned!

*Updated 7/29/12. Patrick and I went out and hit a bucket of balls. Post to follow with pictures.