Half-marathon number five is officially in the books! I wish I could tell you how beautifully sunny and warm my race was down in the sunshine state, but if you follow my Instagram you know that it was anything but on race day. From walking out of our hotel to the start corrals, every mile from one to thirteen and back to the hotel after crossing the finish line, it poured rain. All things considered however, it actually ended up being a pretty good race and I finished a few minutes of shy of three hours which was my ultimate goal!
It truly is all about perspective. Running a half-marathon is not easy. Running a half-marathon in a downpour with soppy feet, wet clothes and hat with blustery winds makes it even harder. When my friends and I laid our heads down Saturday evening, none of us were looking forward to running the race in the rain. Our secret hopes and dreams that the weather would somehow pass were dashed when we woke up to the entire state of Florida covered green with rain when we looked at the radar. Though I would have very much prefered a dry race, it never even crossed my mind that I wouldn't run. When I sign up for a race, I commit, even more so when I travel several hundred miles to do it.
Where there is challenge, there is opportunity. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, in this case, I have had this kind of luck before so I kind of knew what to expect. My last half, which also happened to be in Florida four years ago, was also ran completely in the rain. I knew that I had done this before and I could do it again. I knew that my legs would be sore in places they aren't normally sore due to dodging rain puddles and trying my best to avoid slippery sidewalks. I knew that I would want to quit but I would dig deep within to push through those mental barriers and come out stronger on the other side. I knew that while a poncho would help keep me dry, I sweat, a lot, and a poncho wouldn't allow my body to release heat so I forgoe wearing one for the run. I knew I'd get wet, pretty wet, but it would only be temporary. I knew that when running in rain/snow/cold to get out of those wet and sweaty clothes as quick as possible after finishing. This wasn't my first rodeo, so to speak, so given the circumstances, I knew how to handle myself and the situation. That alone helped provide me with confidence as the race began.
All that said, I'd be lying if it wasn't harder than I thought. There were several times within the first three miles especially that I wanted to stop and hail a ride to the finish. It was at often times miserable being pelted by rain constantly no matter which direction I turned. After a while though, I settled in and accepted what was. I wouldn't be catching a ride no matter what as I was in it for the long haul. Mother nature sealed the fate of this race long ago and I just had to give in to that fact that this was going to be tough. I was going to be wet but I knew I had to keep going and I would keep going. Once that happened, everything started to feel better. I was still super wet, but my attitude had changed, my mood had lifted and I pushed through one mile at a time. My phone actually accidentally called my husband midway through the race which gave me a little boost. I could not have anticipated that but hearing his voice ended up being really helpful! Around mile seven my IT band on my left side started to aggravate me which through a little wrench into things but again, I didn't let it stop me. I changed my intervals so I could still run/walk but at smaller increments to avoid any knee pain from my TFL muscle. With the mindset of conquering each mile one at a time, all of a sudden I was at mile twelve and found myself able to smile even for the cameraman who was still out there snapping pictures of us racers in the rain. Before I knew it, the finish line was in my line of sight and it was only a matter of moments before I'd get my medal and be able to get out of those soggy race clothes.
In the end, this race made me stronger. My time was better than I had anticipated even with the rainy running conditions. Thirteen weeks ago I was really nervous at the idea of signing up and running a half marathon but now I am already contemplating and planning my next. Finishing a half-marathon is a fantastic accomplishment in and of itself but I feel that finishing one in the rain is something a little more special. As I sit here, dry and wrapped in a cozy blanket, I feel quite proud of the work I did last Sunday and have an even better story to tell as a result of extra gift Mother Nature granted us runners. I do hope that I can one day run a half in Florida or anywhere for that matter with clear skies and no rain but at least I know how to handle it should I find myself there again!
As for the rest of this week, I kept things fairly light the first few days as I eased back into my regular workout routine. My friend Heather found us an amazing yoga studio in Orlando, Project 7 Yoga, that we visited Monday post race. We took a gentle yoga class which was pretty much the best decision ever to heal our aching muscles and tired legs.
I also found myself doing a little extra stretching and flexibility training in the Atlanta airport of all places on my way back home. In between yoga and jumping back into my pre-half marathon training workout routine, I took a well deserved complete rest day on Wednesday. Not only was it literally freezing outside and my YMCA was closed but it was a nice excuse to give my body the day off that it so needed. On Thursday, I was back in the gym for CXWORK and BODYATTACK. I hadn't been to these classes back-t0-back for three months since my Tuesday/Thursday cardio had been swapped for training runs. They were tough but, let's be real, they were tough even before my hiatus. It really did feel so great to be back! Friday closed out the week nicely with Bodyflow and full body strength training.
Full Body Strenth Details ~ I completed the full body workout, circuit training style. Meaning I worked through the entire list of exercises and then repeated twice more with minimal breaks in between.
Cable Single Arm Lat Row with Squat, 10 reps, 50lbs
Barbell Bicep Curl, 10 reps, 25lbs
Dumbbell Chest Press, 10 reps, 20lbs
Wall Sit, 45 seconds
Cable Tricep Pushdown, 10 reps, 40lbs
Cable Single Arm Lat Raise, 10 reps, 10lbs
Though I have already set my sights on my next potential half-marathon, I am looking forward to taking a little break from running here in the short-term. I'll be visiting a new gym next week for February's gym feature and am excited to return to my somewhat regular gym routine now that my half is behind me. I'm participating in a weekly workout challenge at my YMCA for the next six weeks which will keep me motivated and challenging myself in the gym through these freezing cold winter weeks. I hope that you have had a great week for workouts as well. Remember to keep pushing yourself, trying new things and above all moving your body however works best for you!