Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The back of the pack

It was pretty overcast when I woke up this morning, so I decided to run outside instead of on the treadmill. Jerry was off work, and after refiguring my marathon training to include a fourth day per week, I only had to run four miles today. When I saw it was overcast, I thought, "I bet it feels just like fall outside!"

Boy, was I ever wrong. It was 7:30 in the morning, and it felt like I stepped outside and into a greenhouse.
I think I even started sweating as I stood in the driveway while my Garmin found satellites.

As soon as I started running, I felt clumsy and heavy. I hate days like that! My legs just didn't feel like running, apparently. I kept reminding myself that I only had to run four miles. After about 3.25 miles, I saw that my average pace was 10:15. I thought, "I'm going to try and run a sub-10:00 mile for this last mile", so I picked up the pace.

Then I decided to make it even more challenging and see if I could drop my AVERAGE pace to a sub-10:00. That would be much harder, since I only had 3/4 of a mile left to shave more than 45 seconds off my time. I rounded the corner of my street, and ran as hard as I could, with my stiff legs. As soon as I hit four miles, I stopped the timer and looked down. 10:02/mi average pace--not what I'd hoped, but I managed to knock 13 seconds off my average pace in just 3/4 of a mile.
I only ran four miles, but when I got done, I was completely saturated with sweat, thanks to the humidity. I felt like I worked a lot harder than I actually did ;)

I showered and had a Chocolate Cherry Almond protein shake for breakfast. The kids' open house wasn't until 3:00, so I had all morning and part of the afternoon to do whatever I felt like doing--and I decided to work on the sweatshirt quilt that I wrote about yesterday. Jerry and I started a new season of The Biggest Loser (season 3) on Netflix, and I just sat on the floor cutting out squares.

By the time I left for the kids' open house, I had all the squares cut out and most of them sewed together! We went to the school to meet the kids' teachers, and then when we came home, I finished up the quilt top. It's not-even-a-little-bit pretty, but it's going to be super cozy when I'm done.
I have to get some fabric to back it with, and I think I'll get t-shirt cotton. Then I have to tie it, and it will be done and ready for use this fall.

Estelle spent the entire time I was sewing sitting in my fabric container. She can't stand to see a box on the floor and NOT crawl in...



A few people asked about my memoir that I mentioned in my last post. I do NOT have a book deal, or anything exciting like that! I've always wanted to write a book (like since I was a kid!), and a lot of readers have told me I should write a memoir about my weight loss. So I am working on it now. I don't know if anything will ever come of it, but I will be happy just to do it.

Another question I was asked (on my race report post) is why I like watching the last finishers of the race. I always feel SO inspired seeing people cross the finish line of a race that they may not have even thought they could do. When I did my first half-marathon, I was at the very back of the pack, and I know how much it meant to me to actually finish that race. The first place person, or even the top 10 people, KNOW going into the race that they will finish in the lead--and unless they get injured, they KNOW they will finish.

But the people in the very back of the pack are usually (not always, of course) either doing their first race, or overcoming health obstacles (age, injury, obesity, etc). The last place people are out on the course much longer than everyone else, when the crowds have gone home, and the water stations are packing up. That's a big mental obstacle to deal with during a race. I notice that a lot of these people have a look of pure joy, or amazement, or pride when they cross the finish line that just gives me chills to see. Chances are, they worked just as hard to finish the race as the first-place person did, but it means something different to them. So anyway, that is why I like to watch the end of the race!


Tomorrow is Noah and Eli's first day of school. Noah is going into third grade, and Eli into first. They are growing so fast! My plan is to run eight miles in the morning after they get on the bus, and then (finally) spend some time catching up on my e-mail. I'd also like to spend some time this week catching up on blog reading. I'm embarrassed to say that ever since I got back from my sister's house in Illinois, I haven't touched my Google Reader--and now I have over 1,000 unread posts. Yeah, I'll never actually catch up on it all, but I feel like I'm missing out on stuff! (If I've missed something exciting, please share in the comments here! I'd love to read about what's going on with all of you)

20 comments:

  1. Hey lady ... It has been SO LONG since I wandered here to check on you!! You look absolutely amazing :-)

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  2. You're probably not following my blog--I don't even know if people can. I think I gotta set up a google widget. But I posted some before and after pics last Wednesday ;)

    www.shilohstaste.com

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  3. I love to watch the last people cross the finish line too! It makes me cry with happiness for them! I watched the half ironman this past year when i volunteered at the aid station..the final man to finish was in his mid 40s, overweight and not what you would expect to see in an half ironman athlete...but he had so much heart and determination! He made me so excited to see him cross that finish line with his son arm in arm! Makes me believe that someday i can finish that race too!
    hopefully in january when i do my first marathon there will be people waiting for me at the finish line..cuz i'll be in the back of the pack...but i will finish!

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  4. I too love to watch the back of the pack finish. The first runners are exciting to watch-the back of the pack are touching to watch. Their determination is contagious and inspiring. I recently ran my first half marathon and finished in the back third of the runners. I was so thankful for all of the people who waited and cheered me on. I am determined to do the same for every runner who finishes after me. I'm not fast......but I finish!

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  5. thanks for answering my question! I'm surprised everyone else feels the same as you do because for me, when I finished my 10k at the very back, I felt defeated and embarrassed, not even really proud. I feel like I knew I could finish, I just wanted to finish in a respectful amount of time. and 2nd to last isn't so respectful! maybe I'd feel differently if there had been someone like you there to cheer me on! :)

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  6. You've inspired me to finish the quilt I started for my daughter (whos starting 3rd grade tomorrow too). Time to break out the sewing machine!!

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  7. How have I not noticed the smoothie recipes before? So many great ideas...yummmmm!!

    One thing I love to do at a race after I finish is go back towards the finish line and watch everyone finish, until the very end. It's such an inspiring experience seeing the emotions of everyone as they are finishing, and to me, it's often as memorable an experience as my own running of the race.

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  8. That quilt is fantastic! I have a sewing machine but I just can't master it! It definitely needs a tune-up since sitting in the basement for years!

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  9. Cute quilt! I bet flannel would be great on the back too. I love how flannel feels soft & cool and warm & snuggly at the same time. =)

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    1. Oooh, I love the idea of flannel--I think I'll do that instead!

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  10. I think it's great that you stay to watch the end of the race. At my first (and only so far) 5k, I was terrified that I was going to finish last (I didn't) and I wasn't even paying attention to the people watching at the finish line. I have another 5k race coming up in a few weeks and I think I'm going to try and pay more attention to the people that stayed to cheer us slower runners on :)

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  11. Way to go on shaving times off your pace, you almost made the goal, and to shave 13 seconds off the pace that late in your run, you must have really run like Hell, er heck.

    The quilt is nice, I bet it will be super cozy. I have said for years that I'm going to make a guilt when I retire. Well that day will soon be here, but I've got to learn how to quilt first.
    I guess I should make a bucket list about now. I'm almost 62, and haven't done much yet. But since the weight loss, I'm trying new things and have lots of energy to try more stuff....so it might be time to get ambitious and make that list!

    It's so nice that you like to watch the last finishers in a race. They are certainly the motivational ones. On Spark yesterday, somebody posted a blog http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5041082 that somebody else wrote called "Hey Fat Girl." It was all about people who watched the overweight girl run and how much they admired her, when the girl thought people were probably making fun of her. Those of us who have been there, fat and walking or running, or finishing towards the back in a race, have a whole different perspective!

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  12. Six months after my Mom had open heart surgery her and I walked a 5k. We were dead last but I knew that she had to set the pace and when we got to the end my Sister-in-law had surprised her by bringing my 5 year old nephew to watch Grandma finish... It made my Mom's day!

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  13. Girl, that humidity was CRAZY yesterday!! I ran at 5 a.m. and it was so steamy -- it had the same effect on my legs as it did yours!!! And today was no better. 2 bad runs in a row, but Im chalking it up to weather and I'm glad I got out there and did it.

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  14. I was at the very back of the pack at my first 5k on Friday and though I didn't finish last (by one whole second!), I experienced all those emotions you described! I was so elated to finish and to have run the whole thing!

    I love the funny pictures of your cats - I used to find our cat in boxes of my fabric too! Any nice, cosy, warm box and they're in kitty heaven!

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  15. Love your quilt, Katie!! It's going to be SO comfy when you get it done! My cats (I have 3) ar elike yours... empty box, it's theirs. At least they don't fight over whose box it it! Awesome idea abt the book.... I'd buy it! :-)

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  16. I just signed up to run my first 10K and I will for sure be finishing at the back of the pack. I had convinced myself that I couldn't do it because coming in dead last seems so defeating, but I know that I can do it. So I'm going to do it and raise my head high as I cross that line, even if I am the last one. I'm prett sure there aren't many other 280 pound women running 10Ks, so I'll take my win there.

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  17. I have my 1st half-marathon next month and I hadn't even thought about what it's going to be like being at the back of the pack for the race (I used run in high school and was a solid middle of the pack). They don't actually close the water stations before the course limit time right? I mean that would feel AWFUL to be still running and not be able to get water. I had been looking forward to it and my only goal was to just finish, but now I'm having doubts about going. I would be mortified coming in last or close to it.

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    1. PLEASE don't have doubts about going! If you can finish in the allotted time, you shouldn't have to worry about the water stations. If you're going too slowly in order to finish in the allowed time, they might offer you a ride to the finish line.

      But honestly, just go an have fun!! There is no reason to be "mortified" to come in last--like I said above, I find the back of the pack to be the most inspiring. You will do GREAT.

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  18. I LOVE half marathons! I am a fairly new runner (started 1 year ago). I am far from fast, but I am healthy, fit and not overweight. Not all "back of the packs" are uncertain of finishing or look to be struggling. I look at the half as my me time, my FUN. I am there to enjoy the race and soak in the experience of it all--and if that means stopping to chat with the little kids volunteering at the water stations or taking some pictures of the scenery along the way, I do it. I average around 2-1/2 to 3 hours, and not once do I care about the time. I know I will eventually finish and will find my way to the finish line. It is my hobby and a way to stretch my fitness limits as a 40+ year old woman. It is exhilarating. The last 1/3 of the runners are not the bottom of the barrel. Some of us have other goals in mind ;) If you are mortified about being at the end, then reevaluate why you are there in the first place. Let it be YOUR race and embrace it.

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I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)