My stomach looked decent in the mirror, the scale is back into the 130s, and the OKCupid profile I set up before bed last night yielded 5 messages by the time I got up this morning. Going for a run in new shorts and *gasp* possibly a tank if its warm enough. Shit is getting real.
I will not eat the brownies just because I’m bored. I will not eat the brownies just because I’m bored. I will not eat the brownies…
I posted that pic, the duck face one, on Facebook first. Just to be silly. I thought nothing of it. I was FLOORED by the responses I got. People coming out of the woodwork to tell me I looked great. I mean I posted that right before I left on my run, by the time I finished an hour and a half later I had at least 5 comments. I joked/commented to my running buddy…”of all the pics I post on FB, duck face gets the most compliments? Really?” He laughed appropriately, but then quite seriously said “Do you see how skinny you look in that pic? You should feel great!”
This weekend was full of firsts…
+ First time I’ve been called skinny. And not just by my running buddy, someone actually made the comment on FB before I said anything to him.
+ First time I’ve gone swimsuit shopping without hating myself.
-/+ First wedding I’ve gone to alone since I’ve been old enough to have my own RSVP card. Mixed bag, this one. I did it by choice, it needed to happen so I’m glad I did it, but it wasn’t easy. Overall, and despite the rough parts, my take away is positive.
+ First time running with my best friend. Well, with her husband anyway. She’s way faster than both of us—even though she’s coming back from an injury. But we had a kick ass run, and I was pushing pace on him. Felt great to chick a triathlete (even if he’s not in race shape at the moment, LOL).
+ First time I was sleeveless without feeling self-conscious about my arms. This is interesting because when I was heavier it never bothered me, but my arms have been a real hangup of mine lately. But I wore a sleeveless dress to the wedding, and took my cardigan off at the reception. And felt good about it.
+ First time I’ve been on the end in pictures and didn’t cringe at the profile shots. I actually look pretty damn good.
I’ve gotten a TON of compliments this weekend, in person and online. I bought a (sexy, if I do say so myself) swimsuit without cringing or hating myself. I’m actually starting to feel really good about my body. It’s kind of nice.
I love running in the city of Pittsburgh. I love it. The first time I ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon was 2011, and I absolutely loved it. It was a fantastic first half marathon experience. The city is gorgeous and friendly and I absolutely loved it. Running is half the reason I chose Pittsburgh when the time came to move—and time and time again it has proven to be one of the best life decisions I ever could’ve made.
I was looking forward to this race in a big bad way, because there are fewer things that are more exciting than running a big race through a city that you love. I’d been training hard…admittedly a little less hard since my first half marathon of the year in March, but still getting some good solid runs in. But my hips were starting to act up on me. More than the normal ‘I didn’t sleep right and threw myself out of alignment’ acting up. Like mid-run they would start to ache and force me to walk. Not good. I cut short two long runs in a row because of my hips (the second only at the prompting and insistence of my running buddy…I was prepared to push through the pain to get my mileage, he talked me down, afraid I would actually injure myself before the race). I wasn’t happy. I did some research. All signs pointed to some mild bursitis. It made perfect sense to me. So I needed to stretch and do some squats…I could totally do that and would be more than happy to if it would keep my hips working. So every night before bed, squats and stretches. And I did a few short runs without issue—though the pain never hit until mile 5 so it was a little hard to tell. I was hoping for the best. Decided not to go with a pace group—it would ensure a PR, but I would also be more likely to push through pain if it came up. Tried to talk myself down from a PR—best not to get my hopes up. Wait and see how you feel, my running buddy said. Save it for mile 9, he said. If you feel good then, go for it, but don’t be upset if it doesn’t happen.
That was the attitude I decided to go with, if not the exact approach. I’m not that type of runner. There’s no ‘saving’ it. Yes, I keep some in the tank—I’m good at that because I ::heart:: distance in a big bad way. But I don’t watch my pace. I don’t think about my pace until after the fact when I look at my splits. I just run. I do what feels good. I run hard, then back off, walk if I need to, then go at it again. I’ve found that if I focus on the run, the pace takes care of itself. So I was going to enjoy the race. I was just going to enjoy running (which I love) through the city that I love. And if I got a new PR, then I got a new PR. If not, I was going to get a kick ass medal either way.
Despite living about 20 minutes from the city proper, I decided to spend the night with my former roomie in Washington, and ride in with her. I miss going to races with her. We don’t see each other that often. This seemed like a good opportunity for some quality catch up time. Saturday night we talk a bit. I have a beer to knock me out. We head to bed only to get up at the ass crack of dawn to head into the city before the roads close. Enjoy laughing at people who are having a difficult time parking until it’s time to head to our starting corral. We talk and hang out and people watch until they start the pre-race announcements. Then the race starts. And I’m reminded how anti-climactic the start of big races is for the people at the back of the pack—and we’re walking, we’re walking, we’re walking and oh hey! There’s the start line! *slight pause as wall of people check phones and Garmins* Finally, we’re running! And I feel great. The weather is gorgeous, the city is gorgeous, and I know that I’m running too fast but hell, it feels good so I’m gonna go with it and deal with the consequences later. And I keep running. Eventually I slow down a little. But I’m smiling the whole time. Loving the signs (my favorites: This Race Needs More Cowbell; Hungover but still Supportive; and Smile if you’re not wearing underwear). Slapping fives with the kids and other spectators lining the streets. And sharing a laugh with some other women when we noticed men rejoining the pack after ‘nature’ called them to water some trees. “you know, sometimes I wish I was a guy,” I said to the women around me before taking off again. I just kept running. It was work, but enjoyable work. It felt good to push. So I kept pushing. Still not letting myself attach to the idea of a PR, but enjoying the run. Mile 5, mile 6, mile 7…my hips were still good. I think I nailed my self-diagnosis. What I’m doing seems to be working. I can tell by the feedback from my app that I’m doing well pace-wise (I get time and relative distance updates every 5 minutes, but no actual pace information—by choice, because the numbers make me nuts while I’m running and I hate all that talking over my music). I hit mile 10 at 1:55…and I start to realize that I could pull this off. I might get a PR. At 2:15 the 12 mile flag is within sight. Holy shit, I think I have this. I’m gonna get my 2:30. I keep running. Taking advantage of the downhill slope to build momentum for the final push. I cross the line and I know I hit 2:30. As I’m crossing the line I just keep saying “fucking A I got 2:30!”. I get my medal, proceed through the finish chute collecting my food and stuff as I go. Beeline for some grass where I can sit and wait for roomie to finish. I check my phone. The first message I see is from a friend—you broke 2:30!! What?! I frantically check my FB feed to see my actual time—2:29:56. I broke 2:30 in a race that I wasn’t ‘trying’ to PR in. Un-freaking-real.
Roomie finds me. She PR’d too…broke 3, which was her goal. We head back to the car and head back to Washington. Decompress for a bit, shower, change and head out for post-race dead cow, fries and beer at Red Robin (my personal favorite for post-race eats). Then I came back to my house and the cat. It was an awesome day. The perfect day for a race. Oh, and my running buddy finished his first full marathon, so there was much rejoicing there too. Yay! Good day all around!
A much needed update/word vomit post on other things should be coming eventually…but I’m not quite there yet. So until then…I leave you with my bad ass medal:
I need to write a recap of this race. And my life. But right now I’m kinda tired and my thoughts are running in a million directions. So I’m going to try to make sense of it in another format, then post it when it’s actually worth reading. Soon. I promise.