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Ok, I know I didn’t really fail… but it sure does feels like it. I failed in the sense that I had a goal, and it didn’t happen under the conditions that I set for myself – regardless of if they were beyond my control.
For those of you who don’t know, my knee gave out on me at mile 5. I know my Facebook page may have seemed confusing when I said that “I wanted to still do the last 6 in my bikini”, what I meant was skip to the last 6 miles and walk it. To say that I was rockin’ & rollin’ up to mile 3 would be an understatement. I was going at a sub-9 minute pace and my heart & body felt GREAT. I could have maintained that pace throughout. I was fueled properly, hydrated & my tunes were on go. But at mile 3 I started to get knee pain, and it just got more and more severe as I kept running. When I realized at about mile 4.5 that I wasn’t going to make it, tears started falling down my face. I fought it for another half a mile and eventually stopped at a nice police officer who let me borrow his cell phone to call Mike. I literally couldn’t go one step further at that very second. If I had, then it would have jeopardized the rest of my 2011 season with an even bigger injury (Half Ironman in April, Ironman in August).
I’m not here to make excuses. What happened today happened, and it hurt my soul and ego more than you could ever imagine. The only redeeming thought that got me through the day was the Marathon in Atlanta next month. I am supposed to run the half with my sister Christy, but I’m going to bump it up to the full to boost my confidence back up (only if my knee gets a clean bill of health though). Tomorrow I’m going to make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist to see what’s really going on, then start treating it ASAP. The good news is that I feel no pain when I walk or do normal activities. The severe pain only comes when I do a certain amount of running, and increases until I finally have to stop. It might be optimistic, but I think it’s something that I can get fixed as long as I know what’s wrong.
The joy of today started once I pulled my head out of my own ass and remembered all of my dear friends who were still due to cross the finish line. Mike made me a finisher’s medal that said “Most Awesomest” (below in pics), and then we were off to cheer them on! We got to see Emily & Chez cross first, found my friend Laura Lind who had finished earlier, and then we went as a group to cheer for our friends Stephen Vinson and Will Nevin. I cried several more times over the next hour or two, but it was out of happiness. I feel so proud of them!
I’m so grateful that I took tomorrow off of work. It will give me time to possibly squeeze in a last-minute doctor appointment for my leg, plus I need the quiet time to refocus myself. I know things happen for a reason, and maybe my second marathon stab will be more successful than I could have ever imagined!!
Just checking in really quick while I get everything together for this morning’s marathon. It’s been a wild ride of nerves this week, especially yesterday! My future brother-in-law told me that when it comes to sports, if you are nervous then you are prepared. Well, I’m definitely nervous… so that must mean I’m going to knock it out of the park!!! I will write again later today… but in the meantime you can follow my tweets here: @TheJenWestQuest.
I’m much, much too excited to write some deep and meaningful this morning… so instead I will just go through today’s schedule with you guys!
7: Wake-up (hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!)
7:15: Whole grain blueberry bagel w/ cream cheese (getting some healthy carbs in my system)
7:30: Write in blog (while watching Bridget Jones’s Diary!)
8:15: Finish some design work
9: Go for a quick 2 mile run on a local track to set-up my new Nike+ SportsBand
10: Get ready for Ghost Ghirls photo shoot
11: Ghost Ghirls photo shoot
12: Practice clothes & bikini swap in our front yard (posting short video of this around lunchtime on FB)
12:30: Download some new tunes & charge iPod
1: Mom & dad’s house for my niece’s birthday party… she will be 1 tomorrow!!
5: Nap? I think so.
6:30: Fellow runners for tomorrow’s race come over to eat spaghetti and play Apples to Apples!
8:30: In bed snug as a bug in a rug.
If you haven’t already and wish to donate, my fundraising page for the Greater Birmingham Humane Society will be up through Monday! Click here to give now. Online donations are currently at $1,195, and the total including offline donations is around $1,350. Since I exceeded my goal of raising $1,000, I will be running the last 6 miles of my first-ever marathon tomorrow morning in my bikini! Thanks again to everyone who showed their support. It’s gonna be interesting!! And in case you missed it, you can still read the special Dogingham story about this project here.
I’m going to be making a special effort to tweet throughout the day today & also tomorrow morning. You can follow me on Twitter here: @TheJenWestQuest. During the race itself, Mike has offered to tweet for me so you guys will have some sort of idea of how I’m doing and when the official bikini trade-off is made. Click here to see where I plan to be during the race & when tomorrow! My official race # is 670. Before I change clothes at mile 20 (in 5 Point South on the second loop), I will be wearing black running pants with a sky blue short-sleeved running shirt.
I plan to blog in the morning since I will be up by 4 a.m. to start fueling & hydrating, so I will see you then!
Random Friday note: I am so lucky to have such amazing friends (new & old), coworkers, and family. I am surrounded by love and support at any given moment. I hope I equally give back to you what I’ve received!
I’m at a loss for words this morning… probably b/c there is just so much going through my head! I’m having lunch today with two race buddies (Stephen & Chez) and we are going to pick-up our race packets while we are out. I might die of excitement. Seriously, my heart is about to explode from anticipation for my first ever marathon on Sunday!!!
We had our first Ghost Ghirls production meeting last night at our house! Clarissa Weaver, Chez Knox and myself officially make up the core Ghost Ghirls team. The concept for the web series will be female ghost hunters seeking out and trying to communicate with female spirits. We shoot at our first location next Saturday night (details will be kept secret until after filming for safety reasons) and the first webisode will go live on March 1st. We are doing our first Ghost Ghirls photo shoot in the morning, and the blog should be live within the next week. We plan to do 4-5 webisodes in 2011 unless there is a demand for more. The main thing we talked about last night was how to be different from the rest of the ghost hunting teams out there. We hope to not take ourselves too seriously while still respecting the deceased and accomplishing our mission to communicate. Plus it should be really, really funny.
I’ve been asked by several local people to give a breakdown of where I think I’ll be and when for Sunday’s Mercedes Marathon. I hope to be running at an average pace of 8:30-9:10 during the course of the race. Based on the map below, you can figure the time range for any given mile. I should be passing through 5 Points South on the first lap between 8 & 8:15 (mile 7), then Forest Park between 8:20 & 8:40 (mile 9.5). For the second loop, I will be in 5 Points South again between 9:55 & 10:25 (mile 20), then Forest Park Between 10:25 & 10:50 (Mile 22.5). The last 6 miles starts in 5 Points, so that is when I will swap into my bikini.
Just in case you’ve missed it, here are some inspiring local stories going into Mercedes weekend:
-Hunter Jones was involved in a severe car accident on December 23rd that left him in a coma for 6 days. Today, he is recovering and will participate in Saturday’s Mercedes Kid Marathon! Watch Hunter’s story by clicking here.
-Last week a fellow runner in the Birmingham community was struck by a car and killed while on a practice run for the Mercedes Half Marathon in Mountain Brook. He now has a special team of friends running the race in his honor. Watch his story by clicking here.
-Andre Perkins, a 42-year-old homeless man, will use his passion for running to give back to the shelter that has helped him get his life back on track. Watch his story here.
-Local professional triathlete Jessica Jacobs is going for another victory this Sunday after winning the women’s division of the Mercedes Marathon for the past 2 years. She also won Ironman Florida just two months ago! Read more about Jessica here on Magic City Post.
-Read more about the Mercedes Marathon course by clicking here.
I hope those of you who are local will consider coming out to a portion of the race this Sunday. No matter where you live, watching another person achieve their dreams is the ultimate inspiration to go after your own!
Weigh-In Wednesday #45 – 145.8
If I could eloquently put into words HOW FREAKIN’ EXCITED I am about Sunday, I would do it. I am so ready to be out on that course giving it everything I have. I live for the moments when you are surrounded by people who all have the same goal as yourself… the energy created by that many souls is indescribable. The only thing I can compare it to for non-runners is attending a concert you’ve been waiting to see all year. The kind where you can’t stop screaming and every song is your favorite. Your body moves with the music and you are elevated to another place. That is how I would describe a race experience.
I get so excited in fact, that sometimes I get bouts of exercise induced asthma if I don’t contain some of my joy. This will be especially true as I change into my bikini at mile 20 and run the last 6 miles half-naked. I am still in disbelief, but they are expecting a high of 60 degrees for Sunday!!! That’s perfect streaking weather my friends. That’s especially wild when we are expecting 1-2 inches of snow tonight. That’s what you call LUCK. The running gods have blessed us!
Running in my bikini is going to be symbolic of several important things. First, it represents the fact that YOU supported my fundraising efforts for the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. I passed my goal this time last week, all because I have friends like you. For those of you who would still like to donate, the giving page will be open through race day by clicking here. Secondly, and probably the most emotional for me, is the fact that I EARNED THIS BODY. There is no way in hell that I would even stand in a bikini in public 50 pounds ago, let alone run 6 miles in one for the world to see. It’s going to be one of the most liberating experiences of my life. But once again… *I can’t get too excited* or I will stop breathing. I will save the celebrating for the finish line!!!
I’ve also thought a lot about what spectators & other racers will think who have no clue who I am. I’m sure they will think I’m a crazy person, and who knows… maybe I am. This will be a valuable lesson in self-confidence and owning the experience. It doesn’t matter what others think, this is my life journey and no one else’s! Go bikinis!!!
Tomorrow I am going to write-up a schedule of where I think I’ll be and when on the race course Sunday, for any of you who are interested in coming out to watch the pale blue wonder. Over the next day or two I’ll practice with Mike on how we plan to do the clothing trade-off so I can do it in the shortest amount of time possible.
There are two clubs that I want to join ASAP – the “Do a Push-Up Like a Boy Club” (from my feet and not my knees), and the “Pull-Up Club”. Last night during the Super Bowl, I though I would show-off by attempting a push-up boy style and failed miserably. It might have been because I did about 50 “girl” push-ups earlier in the day, but it didn’t work nonetheless. My mom shook her head and said to my dad, “She has my shoulders.” And don’t even get me started on pull-ups… I’ve NEVER been able to do one. I remember in high school I met all of the requirements to be a Presidential Athlete, except I couldn’t do a pull-up… so I didn’t get the award. I tried for months and months with no avail to teach myself how. But I have a feeling that 2011 is my year… especially now that I have someone helping me with my strength training. It’s gonna happen!!!
In honor of the Mercedes Marathon this weekend (YAY!), I wanted to share a story on Magic City Post about a female Alabama triathlete who has won the marathon for the past two years! You can read about Jessica Jacobs by clicking here. The most amazing thing of all is that she won Ironman Florida in 2010. That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment for an athlete living and training in Alabama! Most accomplished runners, cyclists, and triathletes live in other states more suitable for training like Arizona, California, Colorado, and Texas. I’m officially adding Jessica Jacobs to my list of female heroes! I hope I get to meet her someday.
And just in case you missed it, here is another inspiring story to get you going on a Monday: Click here to read about Stefann Engels, the man who ran 365 marathons in 365 days last year for a new world record! I wish I knew more about the logistics… that had to be an expensive endeavor. I know he had a major sponsor funding the goal, but I wonder if he also had a team of people working behind-the-scenes? Either way, it is an amazing accomplishment!
This week’s priorities are to do some light running & cycling along with some early week strength training sessions. My test run went great yesterday, seems like my IT Band is healing nicely. I’m going to try to get a lot of rest in preparation for Sunday. Looks like the weather is going to be fabulous!!!
Feeling a little down this morning because of reasons I can’t express. However, I am really looking forward to my test run today and having brunch with Stephen Vinson, Will Nevin & Chez Knox! Later on I am meeting with another friend who is starting up her own weight-loss blog to help her with a plan of action. Then tonight is the Super Bowl! I couldn’t tell you what teams are playing, but I’m still excited to watch… especially the commercials.
I am more than ready for spring to be here… the winter has felt long and brutal this year. While it is pretty chilly this morning, the sun is shining bright and the sky is blue. Is there anything more promising than a clear sky? I’m thinking of doing some light yoga in the park after my run this morning just to feel the energy of the sun. I need the warm rays to lighten my soul today.
Last night I spent some alone time at a local coffee shop working on my book. As I’ve said more than once before, this project is extremely hard and a little overwhelming. But on the positive side, it is enlightening and powerful to dig deep for the words to say. One of the main problems I’ve been having is with structure – what to put in, and what to leave out. What to say, and what not to say. I know good and well that I shouldn’t be worried about those types of things at this point in the project, the main priority is to just get content on paper… good or bad. The next phase is to weed out the junk and decide on what’s worth keeping in. Sometimes I feel like the things I write are self-indulgent, if that makes any sense. I also worry a lot about grammar and dialog formatting. Once again – all things that I can fix later!! The only thing that matters now is finding the story and creating the content to work with for the next phase.
I’m going to go and try to cheer myself up on this beautiful Sunday. Happy Super Bowl!
YAY!!!!!! As of today, Weather.com is showing the 10-day forecast for February 13… and the weather looks fabulous! There is a predicted high of 56 and low of 36, which means it *should* be in the 40′s for most of the race itself. Now, Weather.com is almost never accurate, but it still makes me happy to see those numbers this far in advance. And no rain!!!
In case you missed it, I reached my fundraising goal for the Greater Birmingham Humane Society yesterday because of your generosity! Anything raised from now until race day is gravy for this wonderful organization. Self high-five! Yesterday was a wonderful day.
And for even more good news – I was able to ride my bike last night for a solid 45 minute workout without any pain from my IT Band! Looks like my knee is healing up nicely. I’m still scared to run at this point, so I’ll hold off until tomorrow (Saturday) to really test it out on the roads. As for today, I’m doing a CrossFit session at 11 and then later on tonight I’ll hop on my bike again for another cardio session.
For those of you in the Birmingham area, I will be at the Mircolove event at Naked Art Gallery (Vero’s place) from 6-8 this evening doing free tarot card readings as Louise De La Lune. Please expect entertainment over accuracy. And if you feel so inclined, you can donate a dollar or two towards my GBHS fundraiser. Hope to see you there!! TGIF!
Not being able to run for the past few days has been a mind trip. While my knee is feeling much better, I’m dealing with some insecurities since I haven’t been using my legs as much for the past few days. I’m sure it’s all just nerves for next weekend’s marathon. I have to keep reminding myself over and over again that this rest is actually a good thing and will help my performance when it really counts. However, I will be really grateful when I can just go out and do 3-4 miles to help with my confidence levels.
I was talking with a friend from work last night who has done a handful of marathons, and has even qualified for Boston a few times. She was telling me about her first marathon experience and how emotional it was to cross the finish line. Her only goal for her first race was to finish in under 4 hours (just like mine), and she crossed the line at 3:58! Then she said the most powerful thing happened… someone put a finisher’s medal over her head and said, “You did it.” She said the way the volunteer said those 3 words meant the whole world at that very moment. She then walked a few steps, fell to her knees, and wept. She confirmed what I’ve long suspected… that 26.2 miles is an accomplishment like no other.
What I’ve heard her say, as well as other marathon finishers, is that the last 4-5 miles messes with your mind. At that point it isn’t about your body, it’s about mind over matter. Every part of your being wants you to stop, and the only way to keep going is to take it step by step. One mile at a time. The biggest piece of advice I keep hearing is – don’t go out too fast in the beginning… save it for the end.
I’ve been stalking Weather.com’s 10-day forecast and as of tomorrow I will be able to see the weather for next Sunday! It’s looking pretty good right now… for Saturday, the day before the race, the high will be 55. That possibly means a race start time of around 40 degrees for the next morning unless something happens between now and then. That is perfect racing weather! Keeping my fingers crossed…
My goal is to reach $750 by the end of tomorrow for my Jen Jogs for Cats and Dogs fundraiser benefiting the Humane Society (currently at $650 including off-line donations). Click here to give, even $10 helps out a great deal. Happy Thursday friends!
UPDATE: We are officially over the $1,000 mark! Goal reached!! Anything we raise from here on out is gravy for GBHS. THANK YOU!!!