Tag Archives: half marathon

True Confessions: Half Marathon Edition

Confession time: I talk a good game. I’m just maybe not so good at playing it.

Training for this half marathon has been a roller coaster of emotions and strengths and weaknesses and everything else that goes up and down over time. When I started training for it in December, I was running a sub-8:30 pace for even my longer runs — faster than that, even, for some of my shorter runs. What’s even more? I was feeling great. And confident as a runner. And as someone who was finally done looking back at who I was and being shocked because, ohmigosh, I’m actually running.

My initial goal for this half? 2:05. It would have been a PR by at least four minutes. And, if my training kept up as it was going, I maybe could have knocked even more off of it.

I was excited and really looking forward to this race.

And, then, the most amazingly wonderful thing happened.

Baby belly

That’s a baby in there! Not a Sunday dinner.

And I got tired. Really, really tired. And sometimes, Pickle’s desperate pleas for a nap won out over an evening run. Because, holy cow!, I’m actually growing a human. (Thankfully, I never did get any morning sickness — for this I am immensely grateful.) And when I did run — and I didn’t miss a single long run (WIN!) — my exhaustion became an evil monster dragging me down, slowing me down. My 8:30s quickly became 9:30s then 10s then 10:30s. Now, I’m doing a run-walk on all of my runs, no matter the distance (10 miles, 6 miles, 3 miles). Run a mile, walk a quarter-mile — lather, rinse, repeat.

And, from many of my runs, I came home even more tired. And, worse yet, defeated — even as I tell myself (and truly believe) what a gift it is to be able to run while pregnant and what a gift it is to be carrying this child. And:

“Don’t worry, Kimi Joy, running will be there after the baby’s born — and so will your PR.” 

Still. That voice? That one in the back of my head who pushes me (admittedly, sometimes too hard) and is hard on me? She’s making me feel bad about how far I feel I’ve “fallen.” As much as I believe that if you run, you’re a runner — regardless of your speed — I miss my 8:30s. Because that’s when I felt BEST as a runner, as myself. That’s when I felt most proud.

Right now? I’m not feeling proud. I’m stressed out and worried about this race — this race I was so excited to be running and so looking forward to. I find myself more nervous than I’ve been for any race. Even more nervous than I was for the marathon.

I think it’s because I don’t know what to expect.

Running while pregnant is new for me. My body feels different, it reacts differently. It’s harder to carry it over distances — even though I’ve not gained too much weight. I can’t get a handle on how to fuel this body. Because my tried-and-true fuel for my long runs? My body is processing them completely differently. And I just feel like I can’t get it right. Nothing feels right. Plus, I get tired so much sooner than I did pre-Pickle. Plus, obviously, I’m slower. And, while I’m not competitive against other people, I am immensely competitive against myself. And when I’m out there, running three minutes per mile slower than my previous races? It bothers me. More than I care to admit.

Oh, and did I mention that I’ll be sporting Mr. B’s running clothes because none of mine fit me anymore? (Picking out a fun race outfit is, like, 75 percent of the fun of racing.)

Please don’t get me wrong — this baby is more important than any race I could ever dream of running. I love this baby, I love our growing family — more than I ever dreamed possible (I mean, I’ve never even met Pickle and already, he/she is the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing on my mind before I “sleep” — and the thing that most commonly appears in my dreams at night). And I really do feel honored to get to run this race with Pickle. (YAY for Pickle’s first 13.1!!!!)

I just wish I didn’t feel so weak and tired and nervous. I wish I felt more ready going in to this race.* For me and for Pickle.

*Truth be told, pre-race nerves and jitters are nothing new. In fact, they’re part of my pre-race routine. I think they’re just more prevalent this time around because it isn’t just me out there running. It’s this tiny, darling, precious gift who is just along for the ride.



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A Pre-Race Routine

So, over the past few years of running, I’ve developed a routine in the days leading up to the big race (“big” = half marathon or more). I don’t often detour from this routine, as it’s as important to my “success” on race day as the months of training leading up to it.

My routine:

  • Monday: The day I start obsessively checking the weather for race day
  • Tuesday: The day I start fretting about whether my training has been enough, has been good enough
  • Wednesday: The day I start worrying about fueling my body properly in the days before the race — and on race day
  • Thursday: The day I go back and forth about why I’m doing this — and if I even should
  • Friday: The day all of those worries intensify and become one big ol’ ball of nerves — and excitement — that makes sleeping difficult
  • Saturday: The day I wake up early for oatmeal pancakes and use the bathroom umpteen times before the race begins. And then I “race” — and stop at every bathroom stop. (I can only imagine it’ll be worse with Pickle bopping around down there for 13.1 miles.)
  • Sunday: The day I sleep in and, when I wake up, look back and still can’t believe it was me running that race on Saturday
Basically ...

Basically …

Just a few more days until the half marathon. I’m having very mixed feelings about it. More to come on that later. For now, I must get back to fretting — it is Tuesday, after all.


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A Quickie Recap of Tonight’s Run

The good:

  • Got in my planned three miles — even though I was completely exhausted and did not want to do it
  • It was absolutely gorgeous out, and the sun felt great
  • I’m still loving my shoes, ugly as they are
  • I glanced at my watch and saw my old 8:30 pace pop up a couple of time (it did not last long)
  • I realized I have a pink running skirt and can borrow Mr. B’s blue running shirt (since none of mine fit me) for the race, and I’ll look so “awesome” with the new shoes. Not sure how the race-day Bondi Band will fit in, but I don’t care because it’s my favorite ever:
Pickle's first Bondi Band

Custom made for Pickle and me for our race next weekend.

The bad:

  • It was my slowest mid-week run since I got pregnant
  • Everything felt was heavy and tired and slow
  • I was so tired the whole time, and this run was a definite physical AND mental battle

The ugly:

  • Seriously, you guys. This baby has been making me so gassy lately. It got ugly out there today. Thank goodness for the breeze. (Payback, I think, for going for a run instead of listening for Pickle and taking a nap.)

As bad as I felt out there, if I look at this list, I guess the good outweighs the bad. The ugly? I don’t know — it was pretty ugly. Still. I’m lucky to get the opportunity to run — for me and Pickle.


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Stuff and Things

A roundup of randamity. Also known as the randomness of what’s been going on in my life and what’s been floating around in my head:

  • I ran a hole in my favorite pair of running shoes. Sadly, my go-to running store didn’t have any in my size (not my favorite shoe, not any shoe). After way too many emotions about a pair of shoes, I tracked down one pair in the city. Unfortunately, the colors are … well … they speak for themselves:
New shoes

Love the shoes. Don’t love the colors.

  • My favorite springtime running jacket — from my first half marathon (in 2011) — no longer fits comfortably over a growing Baby B belly and, mostly, growing Baby B boobs. I zipped it up Saturday and could barely breathe; there was NO WAY I was going to be able to run in it:
Running jacket not fitting

I am the most sad about this jacket (temporarily) not fitting me. (Apparently the mirror needs cleaning — please ignore.)

  • This weekend, I was due for nine miles as part of my Gazelle Girl Half Marathon training. I was really hoping to get in 10 miles, though — knowing that I could get in 10 at least a couple of times between now and April 13 would leave me feeling more comfortable about the race run. Well, Mr. B wanted to go for a run Saturday morning. Always happy to oblige, I said “of course!” And we went out for two miles together. After he left for work, I laced up the new shoes and headed out for my planned training run. I got in my 10 miles. But, it wasn’t pretty. The first eight miles were good. I felt good — mentally and physically. But at about 8.5, everything started hurting. And my IT band gave me the first fit it’s ever given me since I started running. It was horrible pain. But I limped/ran/jogged/walked through my last 1.5 miles to make it to 10. Only when I was driving home did it hit me that I’d actually run 12 miles Saturday. No wonder it was so hard on my legs: it’s been a long, long time since I’ve run that much in one day. I’m proud of my 10 miles. Slow and painful as it was (for me), I’m proud of that run. Because I finished it. For me and the little one:
on my run

A smile at mile 7. Before everything started screaming.

  • I am blessed with the most wonderful husband. He’s kind, compassionate, generous and loving. And he puts up with a lot of emotions from me (which have only been made more “interesting” lately). But, best of all? He gives the best IT band massage in all the land. It hurts oh-so bad. He doesn’t even get mad at me when I  accidentally smack at him when it hurts too much. He’s so much better than my foam roller.
  • This weekend Mr. B and I head north to spend Easter with my family. I’m so very much looking forward to it. I’ve been feeling homesick lately — a feeling I’m thinking is only going to get worse as the pregnancy continues. (It’s SO WEIRD going through all of this without my mom by my side.) There will be lots of family time and lots of yummy food. And Son-Rise Service at my mom’s church. I’m not an overly churchy person, but there is just something about Easter that I’ve always enjoyed. My favorite songs are Easter songs. Especially these ones:
  • Since I’ve told people that Mr. B and I are expecting a darling Baby B, I’ve had a lot of interesting reactions. While the reactions have been mostly happy and excited, I’ve heard my fair share of “Wow! You work fast!” — as if our family planning decisions are anyone’s business but our own. It’s quite bothersome that anyone would want to steal one tiny ounce of the joy and over-the-moon excitement that Mr. B and I are feeling. Letting it roll off my skin feels so good. Because we couldn’t love this baby more. And, like our entire love story, Baby B is happening at exactly the right time — for us.
  • I’ve also had several people wonder about how I feel about pregnancy weight gain. “After all that hard work you put in to lose weight, you’re just going to gain it all back.” That’s the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever heard because:
    • Part of the reason I wanted to lose weight and get healthy was so that I’d be able to have a baby (or babies) some day. Because I wanted a healthy pregnancy and to give my child the best possible start he/she could have.
    • I lost 100 pounds. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to gain back 100 pounds during this pregnancy.
    • Getting my life in order, taking care of myself, eating right and losing weight has given me all of the tools I need to take care of myself before, during AND after this pregnancy. For me and my family.
    • Whatever weight I’ll gain because of this baby is weight I’m happy to carry. Because I’m growing an actual human being. And I am proud of what my body is doing for this baby.
    • My weight gain (or lack thereof) during this pregnancy is no one’s business by mine, my husband’s and my doctor’s. Trust me, I’m all over it. I do enough worrying for all of us.
  • My tiredness is starting to fade. Instead of “needing” a nap every day when I get home from work, I’m operating on just two or three naps a week. Sadly, the bazillion trips to the bathroom a day are not waning. I drink a lot of water, so I’ve always been a frequent flier to the bathroom. But this? It’s ridiculous.
  • I am already so very much in love with this baby.
  • Some days, at the end of the day, when all is quiet and life is calm, I find myself just sitting on the couch thinking about my life. Full of disbelief that this really is my life. Married to my best friend — and the best person I’ve ever had the pleasure to know (not to mention lucky enough to get to spend my life with). Expecting our first child. Working in a job I love that teaches me something new every day. Surrounded by family who are friends and friends who are family — people who want the best for me, who bring out the best in me. Even on the worst of days, my life is blessed so big. And I am so humbly and unbelievably grateful.

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Running With Purpose

Ever since I started running, it’s been about something. Whether it was losing weight or training for a race or getting over a breakup or simply clearing my head, there was a reason for why I was out there. And while I maintain there’s nothing better for my mental health than a good, solid run, I’ve been feeling like something’s been missing.

It was hard to explain. I still ran. I still looked forward to it. I still enjoyed it. But there was just … something.

And then I decided to run the River Bank Run 25k. And raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association as part of their ALZ Stars team. And suddenly, I was more than looking forward to training for this run. I was excited about it. Really, really excited about it.

“Every day is a good day when you run.” ~Kevin Nelson

This weekend I attended the first free training run for the River Bank Run — an easy three miles with a group of others running the race in May as well. (This was after staying up late Friday night to register for the first-ever Gazelle Girl Half Marathon — which I’m equally excited about, but for different reasons.) And then I came home and mapped out my training program for the run, using Hal Higdon’s Intermediate Half Marathon Training Program as a guide. And it was fun! Figuring out where all the pieces fit each week — four runs, three strength training days and a cross-training day. I had my calendar page spread out in front of me and a pencil in my hand. I got it sketched all out, starting with Sunday: Stretch & Strength.

And then there was today: 3.5 miles, followed by a session with T2.5. The plan? Run immediately after work, come  home for a quick dinner and then head to the gym. T2.5 ended up rescheduling this week’s session (that’s why I use pencil), so I was able to take my time after work before I went out for my run.

Let me set the scene: 60 degrees, rainy-ish, slight breeze

I geared up …

Suit Up

No, but really:

All the safety gear for the dark-time run.

All the safety gear for the dark-time run.

… and headed out for my run, aware the whole time that I was running for something more than myself.

Dad and me

The reason behind the run.

And, let me tell you: This run was different. This run was everything a run should be. I felt healthy. And strong. And happy. And fast. Faster than I have in a long time, at least. I mean, look at these splits:

Running splits

And every step, I thought of wonderful memories and happy thoughts. Memories and happy thoughts — this is what this run is about. So, when I got home, I called Dad. And I told him how happy I was. And how proud I was of this run. And how blessed I felt to be able to do something good through running. And then I cried a little. Running for a purpose has … well … given my running a purpose. And it is such a gift.

Running saved my life. And now, maybe some of the money I raise can be used to help improve — or, one day, save — someone else’s life.

In closing, I’d love to invite anyone out there to join the ALZ Stars by running or walking the River Bank Run (5k, 10k and 25k options available). The more, the merrier! I’ll even make you dinner the night before!


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Race Recap: Kalamazoo Half Marathon

On Sunday, I ran my fourth half marathon.

What the … what? Kimi Joy has run FOUR half marathons?

I still don’t believe it.

But I know it’s true because I have the medal to prove it.

At the finish lane

Obligatory grip-n-grin with my race medal.

Leading up to the race, I was feeling … I don’t know … it’s hard to describe. I had the same race nerves that I always get — a mixture of nervous, excited and tired. But it was different than my other races. Maybe it’s because I’ve got my pre-race routine fairly well perfected.

ice cream and gummy bears

No race is complete without night-before ice cream and gummy bears (and, apparently, a cookie).


A pre-race smooch also has become mandatory.

Maybe it was because I had a gaggle of friends out on the course with me — some running, some cheering.

The Kalamazoo Crew

The Kalamazoo Crew

Regardless, I was feeling pretty good about the race. As we all lined up for our respective races, I was reminded what an amazing thing it was we were about to do. Whether it was the 5k walk or a full marathon, every racer out there was doing something for their health. None of ushad to be out there. And that, my friends, is a very cool thing.

lining up for the race

I am moved to near tears every time a race crowd goes silent for the national anthem.

The full marathoners, my friend Becky among them, took off on their course as the half marathoners lined up. It’s such a neat experience to line up with people of all ages and abilities. Running is really a community sport, and it’s a blessing to be part of that community.

I had planned on lining up with the 2:30 pace group, the the pacers lined up way too close to the starting line, and I was never able to make my way through the crowd to run with them. So, I ended up pacing myself for the race. I do most of my training runs alone, anyway, so it’s not a big deal. Besides, it gave me a chance to run the race at my pace, chatting with other runners along the way.

pace tattoos

I had picked up some pace tattoos at the expo the night before. My “dream” pace on the left, my “reality” pace on the right.

The first few miles were great. I felt strong and solid — helped, I’m sure, by the downhill start. Having Kelly and Mr. B out on the course cheering for me and the rest of The Crew made turning every corner super fun, never knowing when they were going to pop up with their awesome signs and hugs.

Mr. B and Kelly with signs

Their signs got reactions from runners and other spectators alike.

By mile 5, I was ready for a potty break. And I took the nearest one I could find. There was a short line — only a couple people in front of me. Bad idea. I waited in line for nearly 5 minutes while the race clock ticked on.

As I finally got back on the course, tying my pants up as I ran, I realized I was out of water. I texted Mr. B to have my extra water bottle ready to go for me when I saw him next. I grabbed a Gu Brew at the next stop. I knew Powerade and Gatorade made my stomach hurt. But I needed something. Should have stuck to the water. For the rest of the race, I was extremely urpy. Not to be gross, but I was eating chia seeds for the rest of the run — chia seeds I had eaten hours earlier for breakfast.

Oatmeal pancakes

Oatmeal pancakes with Greek yogurt and chia seeds.

Running with a belly ache isn’t fun. But it’s survivable. And so I ran. Happy as ever to be out there. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect.

Mr. B (and Kelly) met me just before we headed up our first noticeable hill. Mr. B handed me my water and ran for a bit with me. I could barely keep my lips off his adorable running face. But, we had to part ways. There was a race to be run.

The next, oh, five miles or so went by super fast. I was having a great time urping myself through the course. Had plenty of water and only ate one Gu — was simply too afraid of the ramifications to put anything else in my belly, but I knew I needed something.

Then came mile 12. The hill. The dreaded hill. From far away, it looks so sweet and innocent. But by the time we were sliding ourselves up her curves, all of us realized what a feisty beast she was. I resorted to power walking the second half of the hill. My power walking, however, was faster than most of the people who insisted on running it, and I easily slid past them.

And by then, we were running down the homestretch. One last runners’ spit and I’d be headed in the finish for my photo. Note to my fellow runners: If you do not announce yourselves when you’re passing me and there’s a lot of commotion of a crowd, you may get spit on. Luckily, I saw her shadow move, and I avoided a very awkward situation.

As we turned and I saw the finish line, I took off toward the clock, which had just ticked north of 2:18. I heard my name being yelled. Or, at least I assume it was mine. It very well could have been “Petey” or “Katie” or “Jim.” Regardless, it was nice to hear something that sounded like “Kimi!!!!”

And then, like the flash that I was, my fourth half marathon was over.


A thumbs-up is always needed.

I met up with Mr. B, who met my very sweaty self with a hug and a smooch. And a backpack full of snacks. He even remembered to bring me some of my favorite cookies! We found Kelly and cheered on our friend Patti as she finished her first half marathon.

Patti and Eric

Patti and her fiance, Eric, both ran their first half marathon that day.

And then it was time for me to head back out on the course to meet up with Anna. Anna also was running her first half marathon that day, and I promised her I’d run the last leg of the race with her. Thankfully, I met her at the top of that hill instead of at the bottom.

Me and Anna

I am so incredibly proud of Anna for pushing through the last difficult miles and then tearing up the shoot at the finish line with one of the most impressive sprints I’ve ever seen.

The group hung out under a nice, shady tree — hot dogs and cookies in hand — as we waited for Becky to finish up her marathon. We all gathered at the finish line when we expected to see Becky come across. After a while, I decided to run back out and meet her to run in with her as well. And I ran for a while … to the bottom of that hill … and didn’t see her. So, I circled back out the course. I made it back out to mile marker 23 where I ran in to Marathon Don, who told me he had seen a group of ladies headed back toward the finish line. Crap. Somehow I had missed Becky.

So I sprinted back up the hill. Made it up the hill at a 7-minute pace. Wish I could have pulled that out during my race.

Mr. B texted. They had met Becky, and the rest of the group was running her in. He was on his way, barefoot, toting all of my stuff, out to find me. I stopped running. Tired. Defeated. Sad. Annoyed.

But then I saw Mr. B. Somehow he’s able to calm every nerve and put every negative thought to rest. And we walked hand-in-hand back to the finish area to meet up with the rest of the group.

The runners

All the pretty colors! All the pretty runners!

I come away from the Kalamazoo Half Marathon incredibly proud of all of us. It’s a great thing to run a race — whether it’s a 5k or an ultra marathon. And every single runner should be proud when they cross that finish line, regardless of time. To reach the finish line is an accomplishment. And never, ever let anyone tell you differently.

I also come away from the race knowing something else: I don’t think I have the desire to run another full marathon. I simply LOVE the half marathon. The training, the timing, the distance, the accomplishment. All are perfect for me and my lifestyle. Now, that’s not saying that somewhere down the line I won’t get marathon fever again. But for me, for my life, for now: I have found my distance. And I am proudly a half marathoner.

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An Ode to My Cheerleaders

A quick little poem to fill this space until I write a recap of the race.

Mr. B and Kelly

Mr. B and Miss K were, quite possibly, the best cheerleaders on the whole race course.

Sometimes I wonder if spectators know
How important it is, the love that they show
Knowing they’re out there, clapping with cheer
Brings to my eye a nice, thankful tear

The love and support they share is amazing
It makes my feet fly and my heart simply sing
I’m grateful to have each on my side
Tagging along and going for the ride

Standing outside screaming and waiting
Could leave one feeling bored and, honestly, hating
But the cheerleaders stood, happy and true
Lining the streets of ol’ Kalamazoo

During the race, their presence was felt
Thinking back, it makes my heart melt
Their signs were the best on all of the course
Drawing me in like a powerful force

To Kelly and Mr. B, I have to say “thanks”
You made this race the top of the ranks
I can’t stress enough how much that it means
To have you in many of my race-day scenes

Thank you, oh, thank you, 1 million times
I’m afraid that I’m running out of my rhymes
In closing, I’ll say, you simply are swell
A fact all must know, so I just had to tell

All the signs

The runners, the cheerleaders and the signs.


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