Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It's Bittersweet

Every Tuesday morning I get up and make my way over to the Weight Watchers in Valparaiso. I went during the terrible winter and mild summer. Each week hoping to encourage one more member to get closer to their goal. You see I started working for weight watchers soon after I hit my goal back in 2010. Each week you hope every member has found success and that in some way you played a small roll. Since March when I announced to my meeting I was having a baby they have done the same for me. Always checking in on me, giving me advice and calming my fears. This is exactly what I hope I do for them on a week in and week out basis. Spending just he small amount of time we do together I hope that even if I only say or do one thing they will feel inspired until I see them again the following week. Weight loss is often one of the hardest goals to achieve. There are so many road blocks along the way and they often discourage you from your already found successes. I know how hard it can be to walk in and wonder if the week was a success or not. At weight watchers we don't ask you to buy lots of product or even eat certain foods. We ask you to hold yourself accountable and do the best you can. Each day or even each hour is a new opportunity to find success. So as the meeting ended today I reminded my members that I will be back and I can't wait to her about their success. Their success keeps me
motivated and I will need it when I return. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bride of Zoy 15K Race Recap

The best part about holiday weekends? You have an extra day to recover. It also means that we had the Bride of Zoy 15K here in Northwest Indiana. I waited until Sunday morning to decide if I was really going to  attempt the race. As Steve Kearney the race director says... "This race is not for wimps." Also the slogan for the race is “This course ain’t no cakewalk” – Larry James

 My friend Ali is also one of the race directors and insisted I would not be last and she would not shut down the race before I finished. So Sunday morning came and we made the drive to the South Shore train station in Chesterton.

Upon arriving I saw so many familiar faces but a small crowd. This was my kind of race. I ran into several girls who run in my age group and insisted to them they had nothing to worry about. They would certainly finish before me. I checked in and went over to the course map. A fellow runner Norm was there and we went over the course. I knew this was going to be no easy task.

Devils Slide @ Indiana Dunes
As they called us to line up I went toward the back so that the other runners would not have to worry about passing me. The first mile or so was on the Calumet Trail. This trail is mostly crushed gravel. Then we hit the road and mile 1. 9:40 my watch read... Whoa. Too Fast is what I was thinking. Then up the big hill and down onto the beach we went. I felt pretty good when we first hit the beach. I was able to make my way down near the water and the footing was not as bad as I expected. As we started making our way down the beach a fellow runner Marie approached me. I knew she had more in her tank than I did. So I said hello. Then I saw the runners coming down what they refer to as Devil's Slide. I said to Marie look at them coming down already. We made our way up toward Devil's Slide. The softer sand really was not easy for me to get footing or keep going. Marie and another fellow runner Maria took a pretty large lead on me at this point. As I turned the corner and I saw the hill I think I stopped breathing all together. I knew it was a hard hill but I had no idea how steep it was going to be. As I looked up I just thought just make it up. It seemed easier to follow the foot prints of the previous runners so I did that slowly... very slowly... all the way to the top.

Once I reached the top I was spent. I took a second to grab a sip of my water and regain composure. Then I started the trek back down the slide. As I made it back down race director Steve was down there encouraging all the runners. Then we started down the beach. I was trying to think logically how long we would be on the beach after coming down the slide but I wasn't sure. At first I felt good going down the beach. I even ended up passing a runner. Mile 3 passed and onto mile 4. Around mile 4.5 I really started to feel the beach. I was just trying to run 5 minutes and walk 1 to keep myself moving. The sun was blaring down and at this point is when I started to feel like my face was on fire. By the end of mile 4 I was hurting. The uneven sand was killing me. There were more rocks than sand and I just could not find footing. I tried to run and my body just was not pushing forward. Finally I thought I saw what looked like the turn off to the beach. When I finally approached the water table I was so tired. I looked down at my watch 5.3 miles in. Another runner asked me how far in we were and so I told her. We both made our way off the beach and out onto the road. We ran/walked together for a few minutes. She told me she had drove down from Chicago since they don't have trail races. Reminded me how lucky we are in Northwest Indiana. We have so many options when it comes to running as well as races at good prices. I was really trying to refocus myself to run 5 minutes and walk 1. I saw that we were turning off the road and back onto the Calumet Trail. Steve was there again telling everyone just about 2 miles to go. My watch indicated about 2.5 miles to go.

Once we turned onto the Calumet Trail I thought I would be able to keep a stead pace and finish strong. Then I realized the Calumet Trail was flooded in many areas. At first my thought was to go on the side that seemed less flooded. Then I realized that the flooding was not going to end anytime soon and I was wasting time and energy trying to figure this out. I decide to just run straight through the water. I was again really trying to focus on 5 minutes run and 1 minute walk. The time on the beach though had really tired me out. The pressure from being over 7 months pregnant was really starting to take a toll on me. I tried to just focus on run/walk combo. Finally mile 8 hit and I was estimating only about one mile to go but I was so tired. I decided to refocus my goals. Run .10 and walk 1 minute. This seem to work for me much better. I was getting close or so I thought. At mile 9.13 I thought to myself I can make it to 9.3... The problem was the close to 9.3 I got I could not see the finish. I knew I was getting close because I could see the train station in the distance. Finally I could see the finish with about 9.55 on my watch. I could see Maria, Marie and Michelle fellow runners finishing. I could also hear Ali and many others yelling my name. Ali started to yell the times. I was just trying to push as hard as I could. 1:57:46... DONE. HARDEST RACE EVER.

You know what makes me feel good though. I finished. I proved that even at over 7 months pregnant you just have to believe you can do it. I might have been one of the slowest runners out there but I didn't stop. I didn't give up. It was hard, in fact it was really hard but I didn't quit and that is always what matters most.

Ali caught this photo of me after I had changed into dry clothes.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Little Miami Half Marathon Race Recap

Sunday I set out for my biggest feat of not only my summer but my pregnancy. 13.1 miles down the Scenic Little Miami River for the Little Miami Half Marathon.

The race begins downtown Morrow a very small town in Ohio close to where I grew up. A town more known for its canoeing and biking than running. During the first mile they have you circle through the small streets around the park where the race starts. My mom event caught a photo of me.

After this small section we hit the scenic bike trail. Since I had run the race prior I knew mostly what to expect. Although there were quite a bit more people running the race this time. The first couple of miles I found myself surrounded by runners. I knew my mom an my uncle had gone to the turn around point so I just kept focusing on getting to the 6.9 mile mark of the turn around. The miles seem to go by fairly quickly. I didn't focus at all on the time or my pace. I just kept going. I met a really nice lady pushing for a PR from Ashland, Kentucky. She told me about some of the races she has done and we chatted about races I have done. Just before I hit the 5 mile mark around 48 minutes into the race the winners came down the trail in the opposite direction. I may not be an elite runner or will I ever know what its like to be that fast but I am always so amazed to see them come flying by. As I approached the 5.5 water stop I took a gel and made sure to take some water. At this spot there is a small park in the town of South Lebanon so there were several spectators. I also knew I had less than 2 miles until the turnaround. I grabbed a quick water and set off on my way. This is when I started to notice it was much more humid than I really thought it was. There was also a small climb not long after this so I just tried to stay consistent and not push or let it get to me. This is when I also started watching for Jason to come the other way. This also kept me distracted for awhile. I finally saw him and we gave each other then usual keep going, good jobs. I knew he was on pace to set a PR and I was so happy to see that. He still looked strong. Then I hit the 6.9 mile mark. Since I really had no goal or any rush I stopped to let my mom know I was doing fine and that there was only 6.20 to go. She said ok see you at the finish.

As I turned around I was tired but knew it was only 10K to go and felt much better than I thought I would. The main that I often have when running pregnant in my groin and pelvic area was really starting to increase but I knew if I just focused on something else I could push through. I had run in much worse shape and in much more pain. I was feeling slightly sluggish but I knew I had another gel with me. I decided I would take this one around miles 9-10 to push me through. It was the Gu Roctane Lemonade so I knew it had extra electrolytes that would help me. At mile 10 I pulled out my phone and text my mom 10... this way she knew I was getting closer to the finish. Once I made it to 10 I felt a sense of relief. I knew I could run 3.10 more miles. Just after this point is when a rude bike rider almost hit a few ladies in front of me. I didn't have enough time to react to warn them. We chatted for a few minutes and I kept on. As we approached the next water stop I grabbed a water and a cop blocking traffic yelled "Running for Two... you go girl." I smile and thanked him. Another runner also said how amazing she thought I was. I ran with another runner for a minute and we both said well less than a 5K to go, we got this. I continued to just focus on the next mile. I thought maybe it was starting to rain but I realized later I was just sweating so much from the high humidity it felt like rain. As we approached mile 11 I was still feeling good and I realized I was going to finish so much quicker than I really ever thought I would. At mile 12 I sent another message to my mom so she would know I was not far away. The last mile flew by. I got more and more excited the closer I got to the finish. As I made the finish turn into the finish I could hear my mom cheering for me and I just sprinted with every ounce of energy I had left... Official chip time 2:14:27... I could honestly not be more proud of myself. 13.1 at 7 months pregnant is not an easy thing to do but I did it. If you really want something you just have to go for it. I also was able to find out Jason hit a PR. I was so proud of him.

So my goal for the summer was accomplished. If you ever find yourself wanting to run a half marathon in August ad happen to be in the Cincinnati area this is a good one. It is well organized, not very crowded, shaded, and fairly inexpensive. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

May, June, July and now its August

Wow time files... So what have I been up to since early May... Well here is a catch up of what I have been up to and I promise I am back on the blog bandwagon.

Let first by saying knowing that I have a little girl on the way has been really exciting time. Our first baby shower is this upcoming weekend and I am really glad I am still able to run. Although I am much slower I am glad I am still able to put one foot in front of the other. So as you go through the photos you will certainly notice the growing "belly..."

Gallery Gallop-one of my first races back after Knoxville. Sand is the keyword for this race. It was so beautiful running on the beach though. Plus a 2nd place age group award never hurts.

Got up the very next morning and ran the Chicago Spring Half Marathon- really took this one easy. It was a beautiful day on the lakefront and I finished in 2:0323

Soldier Field 10 Miler- Loved this race last year. I was slower but had a great time with my running peeps.

Memorial Day weekend is always capped off with the Xtreme race in Portage. Always though, always fun!

This year I got I signed up for our local XYZ Trail racing series. The first weekend in June was the Blackcat Strut. It was a short race so it made me feel fast. Followed by a night race over in Gary that was also short but I won a pineapple!

 The next weekend was followed by our local Duneland YMCA's Firecracker race. A muggy morning but this is when I really started to nice that it was going to be tough to keep up with the super fast ladies in my age group. I got 6th place though!

So I went out for another one because why not? The Public Enemy 5K was a pretty tough race but I had a great time seeing so many friends and all the cool stuff that my friend Tim Fealy brings out for his awesome local races.

Then we took our little girl to the beach for the first time... I can't wait to tell her all about it.

When we returned we hit one of the toughest 5K's in Northwest Indiana, the Running Wild for the Washington Park Zoo. 1 mile of sand is really hard to run on when its not easy to run on sand. I finished and had a great time.

I followed that race up with our local 5 Miler called Buckley. It was hard. I ran better than I thought I would and look at all these friends I had there! Still on pace to finish all the XYZ races... I probably won't but I am giving it my best.

Last week I went out for another 5K, Running up the Scoreboard. I was just over 3 minutes slower than last year when I was in prime shape so I can't be too upset.

Needless to say I am still moving. I am still a runner and just because you are pregnant doesn't mean you can't do what you really love. I am really proud of myself for continuing to do what I can do.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Kalamazoo Marathon Recap

Since I had signed up for this marathon knowing it was only about 5 weeks after Knoxville I felt good about it. I had several friends go ahead and sign up as well. My awesome friends Lisa and Ron offered their cottage for us to stay for the night so we didn't have to worry about a hotel.

I drove into Kalamazoo with my friends Tim and Sue. We went straight to the expo and picked up our packets for the next day. The expo was very small and there was not really anything to see so we didn't stay long. I was able to get 2 honey stinger gels for only $2 so this was exciting.

After trying to get the most amount of sleep I could the night before (which is practically impossible the night before a marathon) we got up and began our normal marathon morning prep. Shower, dress, check for gels, put Rehydrate in my water bottle, drink some Spark and Rehydrate and eat breakfast. Then we were on our way to the start. It was very windy and cold so we found some indoor restrooms and took advantage of them and took our pre-race photos. We also made sure to let our friends who were pacing that we had made it.

We made our way to the start line and since only the marathon started at 8:00am it was easy to make our way over to it. Sue and I found the 4:30 pace group and lined up with them. Tim went off to the 3:45 and our friend Lisa was right behind us as the 4:45 pacer.

The first 5 miles went by fairly quickly. The first several miles are down and flat. There were a few small rollers and once we hit the University of Western Michigan there were a few small hills. The crowd and the energy was great. After mile 5 the wind was really starting to bother me and I just wasn't sure how the day was going to go. Miles 5-8 went by very slow. We didn't have any water stops and even though there was crowd support 3 miles without water seems like 100 miles. Just after mile 8 we hit the first big hill. The is where the elite pack was passing us headed toward mile 12. Wow look at them go. Just after mile 9 we saw our friends Ron, Tim and the 3:45 pace group. Miles 9-11 were through an industrial park. The wind was brutal. It was either pushing you, blowing you or just plain annoying. Once we came out of the Industrial park and hit mile 11 there was a huge down hill followed by a huge up hill. Sue really pulled me through these next couple of miles because I could tell this was just not going to be my day. Mile 13 is the most exciting crowd supported mile on the course. They have bacon, fruit and lots of people ready to cheer you on. We hit mile 13.10 just shy of 2:13 and I was pumped. We had time to spare and I felt we were on course.

As the race wore on though I just felt more and more tired. I knew from the race the previous weekend that the pregnancy was really starting to make me feel tired faster. I hardly remember miles 13-18. I do know that the wind never gave us a break and I was feel tired. Just after mile 18 we went across a bridge and I have no clue what was in the water but it was the worst smell I have ever smelled in my life. Just after that we made a left turn onto what appeared to be a running/biking trail. It was mostly uphill and I felt like I just couldn't go. It wasn't steep but at this point it felt like it was. Sue and I found our place with some older gentleman who could not have been more sweet. One of them had run 355 marathons! The other's son had  finished 2nd in the half marathon. I thought I could run 2 minutes and walk 1 the rest of the way. It was somewhat going well until the hill right around 22. It was huge. Sue was already to the top before I was even halfway. At the top the nice crowd had Popsicles for all the runners but I just felt awful and wanted to keep going. Miles 23 and 24 are mostly a blur. Sue was too far ahead for me to see at this point. I just kept trying to go forward. I saw a lot of worn out runners. 

Jut after mile 25 I heard a familiar voice day Deanna... I knew it... Lisa my friend who was pacing 4:45 was about to pass me. It took everything in my body to push but after the hill I stayed within a very short distance of Lisa. I was on the home stretch and I could see the finish but it seemed like I just wasn't getting any closer to it. Finally 4:44:04 DONE! It was off from my goal but I did it. Marathon number 6 was in the books and my 5th state was completed. 

I don't know exactly what caused me to just breakdown but I did. Being pregnant maybe?! The wind, the course or only a 5 week recovery after a very tough Knoxville. All could be factors but I'm just really glad I came across that finish line and remained strong! 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Another Marathon and a Blog Annoucement

Most of my readers know this but I thought I would make an official blog announcement...

I'm going to be a MOM! Coming this October!

There are so many things changing but the one thing I do not plan to change is to stop running. This Sunday I am going with some friends to the Kalamazoo Marathon.

As a runner I just want to keep doing what I love. I hope to do it as long as I can. I have overcome most of the tried stage but I can tell I am slowing down. My most recent race was windy but I could tell I just couldn't quite keep the pace I would want. All I know is that I am not going to give something up I love or use my pregnancy as an excuse. I might get slower but my fight will remain the same.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Knoxville Marathon Race Recap

Well its been nearly a month but I am ready to recap the Knoxville Marathon as I am preparing for the Kalamazoo marathon this weekend. When my friend Sue was the winner of the free entry to the Knoxville Marathon back in November I kept my commitment and signed up. The training this winter was BRUTAL but I felt ready. I decided to run this one in honor of my Nanny since it was her birthday.

We arrived in Knoxville Saturday afternoon and picked up our packets. Found a cute little spot for a last minute carbs and headed back to our hotel for as much sleep as possible.

The next morning we were lucky our hotel was very close to the start line. So after a quick bagel with peanut butter and taking some Spark I was ready to head outside. At the start line we were a bit cold but once we took off the first hill right away I was already feeling warmer. 

The first 3 miles seemed to fly by but it was crowded since the race also included a half marathon. Sue and were really impressed by all the entertainment. By the far the best had to be just after mile 6. They had signs every where and really kept our mind off the race. Then came mile 7... the largest hill of the race. I started to slowly jog up when Sue really kept it in perspective and said lets conserve our energy and walk. Once we made it just past mile 12 the half marathon split off to complete their race and we continued on. As we headed out for the 2nd half of the race I was still feeling pretty good. As we continued through the race I could tell I was feeling tired. We hit mile 19 and I was starting to feel the race. We hit another rough hill and I knew again I had to take it slow. As I approached mile 20 I just kept pushing on. Sue was right there with me until about 21 and this was the first time I realized she was not side by side with me. The volunteers continued to be great. As the later miles approached I knew I was slower than I wanted to be. I knew that mile 24 was going to be a hard mile so I was trying to prepare for it. As the mile approached I had no idea just how it was going to hit me. Mile 24's hill hit me harder than I could have ever imagined. After that I was just exhausted. At the top of the hill there was a very long bridge and I was trying to make it all the way across and the fatigue just hit me. I finally hit mile 25 and was feeling better knowing I was closer. As we came down the hill I thought maybe it was finally some relief but I was wrong. Another incline with the 26 mile marker at the top. Once I finally managed my way to the top I took off. I ran as hard as my body could physically let me run and into Neyland Stadium where the finish was. I hear my name "Deanna Grimes, Merrillville, Indiana" and I just smiled.

 I had done it. 26.2 miles and marathon number 6 and state number 4 was in the books. 4 hours 38 minutes and 02 seconds. Sue came in right after me and I was glad to be reunited with my two favorite running buddies Tim and Sue.

Jason was right there waiting with warm clothes for us of course! 

My slowest marathon to date. In the coming weeks many have asked how it went and I just keep saying I finished. The truth is that is really what I was happy about. I found out about 30 days prior to the marathon I was pregnant with my first baby. The week of the marathon and including the day of I was sick to my stomach and exhausted. I did do it though and that's what matters. Not all the races go as planned but I finished and that is really what matters.