All posts for the month October, 2011

Monster Dash Half-Marathon 2011

Published October 30, 2011 by Jasmine

So tired, but I have so much I want to say about this race. Before I begin I would like to thank each and every one of you who are reading this. Thank you for taking the time to read it, thank you for following me on my journey, and thank you for motivating me. Over the last six to seven months I have met some really amazing people.  When times got rough today I thought of all the amazing people I have met, the kind words they have shared with me, and the motivation and love they have for running.

As for the race in general, I think they hyped it up too much. It definitely wasn’t as fun as I was expecting it to be. The best part was seeing everyone in their costumes! No costume for me, but I did buy a new pink running jacket. I also bought some knee high black socks with skulls on them! I thought I looked pretty cute, but I will definitely be thinking of a fun creative costume for next year!

I lined up pretty much at the very back because I had originally planned on walking the first mile to warm-up my shins.  That didn’t happen…I tried! The good news was that I had no pain with my shins! I am going credit this to my knee high skull socks.  I think they kind operated like a pair of compression socks, just not as tight! They were awesome and they kept my legs warm. Definitely think I will be investing in a real pair of compression socks…must find them in pink (my signature color)!

The first half of the race was amazing and I felt great. I was on track to beat my first half-marathon time. My first half was slow but steady, my only goal was to finish. I secretly wanted to finish in under three hours, which I did…2:57:06! So I had a lot of room for improvement. My average pace that race was 13:32 per mile.  My first seven miles were faster than that pace…13:05, 13:03, 12:41, 12:46, 12:26, 13:05, and 12:49.  I was pumped! I even stopped during the third mile to stretch and talk with my mom for a minute or so. Then all of the sudden I just felt so tired. This could be due to a number of things: not enough sleep, poor nutrition, poor hydration, and minimal training and stretching of my muscles. I know for a fact that I was dehydrated as I didn’t go to the bathroom until 2:00 this afternoon which was six hours after going before the race, and it was yellow! Not so good. I didn’t bring my hydration pack with me this time, nor did I stop at the first two water stops…I didn’t want to have to stop to use the bathroom.

So things started to go downhill in the middle of mile seven. I think I went out too fast the first half. My mile times are an average of my walking and running. My running pace was anywhere from 9:30 per mile to 11:30 per mile. I think this was a little too fast for me, especially for the first half. This winter I really need to work on maintaining a steady pace, among other things…such as running without walking!

This course was a ten mile and half-marathon combined. So when I came upon mile ten part of me was thinking it would be really nice to be done now, and the other part of me was thinking I only have a 5k left, you can do this! Also, at mile ten I finally found a first aid station. I had been watching for one for a couple of miles as I had some chafing going on! I needed some Vaseline. I had applied Body Glide I guess I just didn’t use enough!   At mile ten I knew I had to finish in less than 47 minutes to beat my previous time.  I was still feeling optimistic at this point because I knew I could do three miles in less than 47 minutes. Turns out those last three miles actually took me 49 minutes.

Shortly after the last water stop at mile 11.5, my hopes seemed to be crushed. My entire right side: lower back, hip, glutes, hamstring, and my knee were in incredible pain with every step I took. Then because I was running funny because I was hurting my calf and foot started cramping up. I was pretty sure it was my IT band that had tightened up, as the pain was very similar to what I had experienced earlier this summer when I had issues with my right IT band. I was devastated, disappointed, and in tears. I had been on track the entire run, and now a mile and a half from the finish I felt like I could barely move. Part of me just wanted to give up on beating my previous time, but the competitive side of me still thought I could pull it off. Mile 11.5 to 12 seemed to take forever because it was uphill…talk about hitting you when you are down.  I was not expecting this hill, and it was the larger of two unexpected hills in the second half. I walked slowly, this mile was my slowest at 15:40.

At mile 12 I still thought maybe, just maybe I could pull it off. I was over the hill and it was pretty much flat to the finish. I was trying to run, but felt more like I was hopping! I’m sure I was a sight to see. It was probably around 12.75 miles or so that I realized I wasn’t going to make it. So I just walked. I saw my mom around mile 13, and started crying again.  She told me she figured I was hurt because I was walking.  She walked with me a few steps, and then I tried to run across the finish line.

(My mom and I. I was running and she dressed up! I look pregnant here as my pockets are stuffed with gloves, Gatorade, my phone, and some Kleenex.)

My watch actually measured the course at 13.22, and the last .22 my pace was only 17:15…I was barely moving! I was just so happy to be done. I must have looked like I was in pain, because I was immediately approached and asked if I needed medical help. All I really wanted was some Ibuprofen and water! All they had to drink were some flimsy little cups of water that they had along the race course! Are you kidding me? I just finished 13 miles and all you have is a half-filled cup of water for me to drink! The only thing they had to eat was a banana, which I ate about half of because it wasn’t even ripe. Maybe they had more for the early finishers, but they knew how many were running so they had no excuse not to have enough for everybody. The two things I liked about the race were the cool medal and tech jacket I received!

I received a lot of encouragement and support yesterday from friends and family, and I am incredibly grateful for that. One of my friends told me that I was a winner when I got to the start line, and that is absolutely true. Most people won’t even make it that far! So finishing, regardless of my time, is a true accomplishment. On the way home my mom had said my time didn’t matter, even if I had walked the entire 13 miles, that would have been an accomplishment. She asked me, “how many people do you know that even go out and walk 13 miles?” So true.  I am just a really competitive person, even though I am only competing against myself. I just feel that I should have improved since my first half in July, and that was not evident in the 10 mile earlier this month or this half.  I have to remember that not every race will be great, some of them are meant to be learning experiences.

As disappointed as I was feeling yesterday, I am actually really proud of myself. I ended up finishing in 2:59:48.  Yay, for finishing in under three hours! It is kind of disturbing to think people finish a marathon in less time than it takes me to finish a half, but I am not competing against them…I am only competing against myself. My first half-marathon finish was 2:57:06.  It only took me 2:42 longer this time around and I stopped to talk to my mom for close to a minute early in the run, I stopped at the first aid station around mile 10, and I was injured and walked the last mile and a half! Had I not gotten hurt I would have had a great run with a new PR! Even though I didn’t get a PR, I finished!

Yesterday I couldn’t figure out how I had incurred a new IT band injury in my right leg, but I didn’t have any issues with the pre-existing one in my left leg. I  must have been thinking about it in my sleep because I woke up in the middle of the night and it all made sense. For most of the course I tried to stay on the right hand side because I am slower and I do take walk breaks. Well for the first three to five miles there was a very small slope in the road.  I have no doubt that this is what caused the issue with my right leg. I was even cognizant of it while I was running. I kept thinking I needed to move more to the middle of the road so I could be on more even terrain. A lesson learned!

This year has been quite the journey. I just started running at the end of January.  Since July I have run a 5k, a 10 mile race, and two half-marathons. My original goal was a marathon, and that is yet to come…maybe next year! I have done things I never thought I would be able to do. I have come realize that I am STRONG and I am not a QUITTER!


Dear Destiny…I Am Ready Now

Published October 23, 2011 by Jasmine

Since graduating law school and being sworn in as an attorney in 2006 I feel as though I have been treading water, and at times (more often than not) barely staying afloat. Thank goodness for family because without them I would have already drowned. At 32, my life isn’t anywhere close to where I imagined or might like it to be, but I trust that I am exactly where I am supposed to be even if I don’t know why.

With that being said I want the universe to know, in no uncertain terms that I am ready…

To start swimming and stop treading water. I want to live life rather than just existing and watching it pass me by.

To know what my true purpose and calling is in life. I struggle with this daily. Here it is five years after graduating and I still haven’t found a job as an attorney. Yes, I have been working on having my own practice, but I am not entirely sure that is what I want either. I went to school to be a lawyer not a business woman. Although I love the freedom of being able to do things my way, I don’t enjoy marketing, bill collecting, and not having a steady income or benefits. I am beginning to wonder if the reason I haven’t found a job as an attorney is because it wasn’t the path I was meant to travel. This kind of breaks my heart because I can’t imagine being a licensed attorney and never practicing or getting to be in court. The one part about being an attorney that I do love is educating people.  I love educating myself, and it’s even better when I get a chance to share what I have learned with others. That is really rewarding for me. I also love motivating and inspiring others…and speaking (this is why I always wanted to be in court). I have always felt that I was destined to do something big with my life.  So I am ready to know what that is so that I can start saying “no” to all of the things that will keep me on the wrong track, and so I can start doing all of the things that will lead me to being the best of the best. I don’t want to be a jack of all trades master of none, I want to be the MASTER of one! So watch out world once I figure out my true calling and purpose, in time, I will be the best of the best.
To meet someone amazing. I have been single for so long, and I am okay with that because I am not willing to settle. I would love to meet someone to share my new found love of running and dancing with. Someone who will make today better than yesterday, but not as good as tomorrow will be. Someone who will turn the following into reality.
To show the world the strong, sexy, confident woman that resides on the inside, but isn’t always visible on the outside. I would like to think that at times I have a larger than life personality, and it’s great…but isn’t that what all the fat girls say, “well I have a great personality.” Well I really do, but I am so much more than that.
To be 100% committed to being strong, fit, and healthy. I can’t believe I have almost been running for a year. If you would have told me a couple years ago that I was going to have completed a half-marathon I would have laughed at you. I think when I told people of my running goals this year, they probably did laugh at me…especially the ones who knew me well. Little by little I am getting better, but the best is yet to come. I will be running my second half-marathon on Saturday. Again I haven’t been fully committed to training for it, but regardless of how I do it will still be fun.  My winter goal is to build a solid base of running without walking which will definitely be a mental challenge for me. I haven’t yet decided if I will do a marathon next year. I may just stick to half-marathons next year to get some good races under my belt as it would be nice to have those to draw upon while training for a marathon. I want my first marathon experience to be as awesome as my first half-marathon experience. I also am ready to focus on my nutrition. I need to learn to start eating to fuel my body rather than eating for the sake of eating. As with everything it is a learning process.
I am ready! I have put it all out there and now I need to quit worrying. I need to remember that it is in God’s hands now and everything will happen in his perfect timing! It probably wouldn’t hurt to remind myself of this daily:

Twin Cities 10 Mile: Lessons Learned

Published October 2, 2011 by Jasmine

Today has been quite the day, and I am simply exhausted. Today was supposed to be the day I ran my first marathon, today was the day I started training for back on January 23, today was supposed to be my day. But we don’t always get what we want, sometimes we get what we need. I guess what I needed was to learn some things.

First things first, let me explain why I wasn’t running the marathon today. After I started running in January my friend Chuck decided to start running in April. He was really good, a natural. I told him he should also do the marathon. He told me that he wouldn’t be ready for a marathon this year. Come June he asked me about doing a half-marathon. He would do it if I would do it. So I said sure…my training plan called for 16 miles that weekend.  I figured the half would be my training run. Little did I know it was going to be more than that. It was one of the best things I have ever done, and it was an amazing experience. More importantly I learned that I would not have been ready to do a marathon just three months later. That was the first reason I wasn’t running the marathon today.  The second…it filled up before I registered for it. Both of these turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Although I ran the half with no injuries, pains, hurting whatsoever my first run after the half I found my knee in pain. I couldn’t even make 2.5 miles. It was my IT band and it hurt.

Since I was out of the marathon I entered the 10 mile lottery, and got a spot. Only problem was I wasn’t really able to train because my IT band condition was pretty severe. Luckily I was only out of commission for three weeks. A lot of foam rolling, icing, and stretching. I got back to running around August 25, which left me about five weeks to get back up to 10  miles. My longest training run ended up being seven miles.

I had reservations going into this run, I even questioned whether I should do it as my IT band was still tight and rubbing on my knee. I had already paid for this and I couldn’t fathom the idea of not starting. I figured a “Did Not Finish” was better than a “Did Not Start.” Worst case scenario if I had to drop out due to injury this would be a training run, and that is exactly what it turned out to be. I didn’t have to drop out, but it was a disappointing run for me. On the bright side I learned a lot for future runs, hence, this was a training run.

The morning started out cold, it was about 43 degrees when I left the house. This doesn’t bode well for someone who is always cold. I did have a sweatshirt on, but thinking maybe I should have had something to keep my legs warm. It also didn’t help I had to wait outside for 25 minutes for the train. I probably would have been better off walking…it would have kept me warm and it could have served as a warm-up. Since my biggest stressor is having to use the bathroom I went once in the dome, and then decided to get in line at the porta-potties. Of course, I got in the line that was moving the slowest. This was a good idea, but I should have utilized my time in line.  I never really got a chance to stretch, especially my calves so I wouldn’t get shin splits. Even though I was in the 5th and last corral we were already moving by the time I got out of the bathroom.  I hadn’t adjusted my fuel belt, hadn’t got my headphones ready, and the worst part hadn’t started my Garmin.  I forgot the damn thing needed to search for satellites. This has never taken long before, but it did today. I was trying to stall going over the starting line until it started but that didn’t happen. There were only two people who crossed the start line after me! My Garmin wasn’t ready until about .21 miles in, which really frustrated me.

Now, my half-marathon pace was 13:31 min/mile. I hadn’t done a lot of training for this run so although my pace should have been faster since it was a shorter run I was hoping to at least have this pace again. Ideally, I would have liked to shave 10-30 seconds off this pace. Unfortunately, my pace ended up slower than my half-marathon pace…13:40 min/mile. Because my Garmin wasn’t working right away I went out way too fast. When the Garmin starting working I was at 12:25 min/mile pace, and I probably should have been around a 14:00 min/mile pace. Between my too fast pace, the cold, and no stretching I had shin splits right away. I think they went away around mile three, but I had to stop two to three times before then to stretch. I also did a lot of walking. Although I was already sweating by this point my body was still really cold. My fingers were almost numb, I probably should have worn some gloves. Between miles three and seven, there were a couple of times I got into a nice groove and felt great while I was running. I still did more walking than I would have liked. By mile seven I could feel my IT band rubbing on my knee, but I was determined I was going to run the last three miles. By mile eight the IT band was bothering my hip as well. I still continued to run.  I walked at a water stop, and then at the very last hill. I was determined to run the last mile and finish strong. When I got into the corral to the finish I ran as fast as I could, my last mile was 12:09 min/mile! I was determined to pass the people that were a bit of a ways in front of me, and I DID! I was so happy to be done! I didn’t feel the exhilaration that I experienced when I finished the half. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have anyone there to share it with. My mom, cheerleader, and best friend was at home sick.  I had the computer set up so she could watch a live stream of the finish. Shortly after I finished my phone was ringing and it was her calling to tell me she saw me finish, and that I looked strong. That phone call was a nice surprise!

This run was so different than the half. Because I immediately was having issues I felt defeated.  I knew I wasn’t going to quit, but I ended up walking more than I wanted to, probably more than I did in the half. Another lesson learned was that I need a plan. This run was haphazard. I ran when I felt like it, and walked when I wanted to. I like a plan. I like having a schedule. I just hadn’t committed to anything before the race began, and my pace reflects that. With that being said, I am proud that I finished and that I finished strong. I learned lessons that will make the next race better. We don’t always get what we want, we get what we need. I had lessons to learn so that my next race can be just as awesome as my first.

Bed is going to feel amazing tonight. Immediately after finishing the run I changed and ran to the finish line to get a spot to watch a couple of my friends finish the marathon. I never sat down. In fact, I didn’t even eat anything. By the time I finally sat down, I had run 10 miles and been on my feet for seven hours!

It was pretty cool to watch the elite runners; the women who finished fast enough to qualify for Olympic trials;  and all the other awesome, inspiring runners out there. I am so proud of all of them. Right now 26.2 seems so daunting. I know I will conquer it one day, but am thinking I would like to cherish some more halves and 10 milers before I tackle 26.2. I’d like to have some victories and successes under my belt that I can draw on when the going gets tough. I need to get to the point where I can comfortably run and enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

I got a cool lime green finisher’s shirt, and an awesome finisher’s medal!

Front of the medal:

Back of the medal:

Now I need to decide if I want to do the Monster Dash half-marathon on October 29. It sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun.  I love Halloween and some people will be running in costume!