Half-time!

I’ve had great intentions of sharing more DIY updates from the Foss household, including a bedroom makeover (from…um…January), as well as a work-in-progress landscaping project we tackled a couple weeks back. But what’s another week — or two — gonna hurt? In the meantime, I thought I’d share a recap of the training planning from our half marathon last weekend while the race is still fresh in my mind (and my legs still sore)!

As you may recall, Kansas City holds a pretty near and dear spot in our hearts as the city where we completed our first half marathon, followed by the only acceptable finish-line reward: an engagement ring! Jared and I had joined our friends Kaitlin and Aaron for the run so after he popped the question, we celebrated the post-race and post-proposal accordingly by popping a couple beer tabs and taking on at night in the Power & Light District.

Fast forward two and a half years and Kait and Aaron are back at it: forcing asking us to join in the hell fun of another half marathon. We begrudgingly accepted. Mistake number one.

With a race date of April 9th, we plotted out our calendars 12 weeks to provide ample training time. Prior to that, we steadily ran two to three times a week so we figured we’d be able to take on a more robust running schedule than our previous two half marathons. Mistake number two.

We developed a bit of a hybrid half marathon training plan based on what we liked and thought was effective from our previous two, including interval runs, hills (love/hate relationship there — as in Jared loves, Lindsey HATES) and Saturday morning long runs. We logged anywhere from 11 – 28 miles each week and tried to incorporate cross-training or lifting in another day or two.

Eight weeks in, it was time to put the plan to the test. We took part in the Leprechaun Chase in Des Moines with friends and while I’ve only ran a handful of races, I’m discovering that 10Ks are my JAM. (Well, as much of a “jam” as runs can be.) It seems as though 5Ks are too fast and half-marathons are a bit too far, but 6.2 miles is juuuuuuust right. Jared and I both PR’ed, coming in at 41 and 42 minutes, respectively. We felt great and it’s safe to say we’ll be back next year (and I even received a complimentary registration for placing 2nd in my age group)!

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Look at all those good-looking green goons.

But alas, the running high was short-lived. We fell off track slightly in the last few weeks of training, mostly thanks to busy work schedules, Easter get-togethers, crumby weather and, when the weather did get nice, we worked on the aforementioned landscaping. Swing and a miss. Strike three, runner’s out.

Come race-eve, the mistakes were coming to fruition. First, it was tight legs and sore muscles after being cooped up legs from traveling all day. (I was returning from a work conference in Florida. I know, I know…woe is me.) Next was a post-dinner stomachache that had me down for the count, trying to walk off through laps around our hotel. Naturally, it was followed by a restless night of sleep, waking up every hour on the hour.

By Saturday morning, we were all feeling less than motivated. It was a balmy 30 degrees outside, we had to run 13.1 miles and the hotel coffee was garbage. Not a winning combo.

But as soon as we got down to the race location, it seemed the competitive butterflies started flying in. Or maybe it was hypothermia setting in. It was SO. COLD. Either way, Jared and I were suddenly, and finally, feeling “ready.”

Upon leaving the shoot, we hung together for all of a mile and a half before long-legged Jared strided out and made some serious ground. I used to think I couldn’t hang in a long run without him, but I’ve slowly learned to hold my own and listen to my lungs and legs instead of rolling with the big boys.

I held back and tried to take in the atmosphere around me. Although hilly, the course was beautiful. Still freezing. But beautiful. We ran through this neighborhood of historic homes and it was like a real-life HGTV dream. The scenery kept me preoccupied and before I knew it, we were at mile 7.

It was at this point that I lost my sights on Jared and was almost immediately discouraged to find a steep incline right around the bend. Thankfully, there was a live band at the top that helped carry me through.

It was around this point that I was just playing a waiting game until I hit my “wall.” It happened in the first two halfs and was inevitably going to happen again…right?

Guess what, gang?

It didn’t come.

Well, that’s not entirely true. My goal was to run ahead of the 1:35 pace marker. Not my original goal, as back in October, I vowed I would set a new half marathon record for myself and secretly hoped it would be magical number 1:35, or a 7:15/mile pace. But once we got ahead of the pace runners out of the gate, all I wanted to do was stay ahead.

But you can’t. always get. what you waaaaant.♫

At mile 10.2, they passed me.

But if you try sometime, you might find you get what you need. ♪

And try I did. I was still feeling strong and while the 1:35 group passed me, they did mention that they were running approximately 30 seconds fast so I made it a focus to close the gap and keep it within 30 seconds.

The next three miles flew (me, not so much), but with the finish line in sight, I gave it my all. And I got what I needed.

My final time was 1:33:48. Sure enough, Jared was at the finish line, sans the bling this time. (Second wedding band, cough cough…) Instead, he had a huge smile and congratulatory hug, as he also smashed his previous record, coming in at 1:31:29.

Following the race, we met up with Aaron and Kait and celebrated four good runs all around as we quickly ate our way through the post-race shindig. Post-race festivities can be fun, but we opted for de-thawing and instead got ready for a fun day in one of our favorite little cities.

In true Kansas City fashion, we hit up Joe’s KC for burnt ends, ribs, pulled pork and the fries. THE. FRIES. After half #1, we visited the original location, formerly Oklahoma Joe’s, and I’m not sure if it was the post-race hunger pangs or the excitement surrounding our engagement, but I felt like I could practically bathe in the BBQ sauce, it was that good. Our second trip also did not disappoint and the five of us (including Aaron’s brother) sat and ate in silence — the sign of pure bliss.

After the BBQ, Kait and I wandered around plaza stores we couldn’t afford, while the guys “rehydrated” at a couple pubs. By mid-afternoon, we had succumbed to our hankering for naps and hung out in the hotel before grabbing some grub, drinking local brews and watching the Sporting KC soccer match. Did I mention the local brews? 🙂

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The next day was much of the same.

Food.

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Drinks.

And, more shopping. (No pictures, but I do have a cute sweater to prove it!)

We headed home, already looking forward to our next race(s)—but not before a weeklong hiatus of no running and plenty of ice (cream). But coming up, our friend Madi coerced invited us to run in Market to Market, a 75-mile relay from Jefferson to Des Moines, on May 7th. The timing is great, as it’s a mid-way point between the Kansas City half and the Dam to Dam half marathon in Des Moines, which we’re looking forward to running on June 4th.

While we’ve still got some brutal training runs, cold mornings and pre-race jitters in our near future, it doesn’t compare to the post-race feeling of pushing yourself toward a goal and reaping in the rewards with all your closet friends. And beer.

Bring on the next!

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4 thoughts on “Half-time!

  1. Shannon recently mentioned you blog (how did I not know this!) So today I decided to find it. I enjoy your writing! And I’m on the fence (started the training this week, but still fighting some doubt) on training for my first half at the end of August. I’m normally a 5-10Ker and rarely train for either of those. So I think the idea of needing to train and pace and learn so much more about it is intimidating! We’ll see how this goes. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. I’d use the term “blogging” loosely; it’s more like “random thoughts to share for my mom and a handful of friends.” 🙂 But nonetheless, thanks for popping by, Laura! I think I’ve read about your running journey in Life on Sky View, too! I agree that the intimidation factor is the hardest part, both in planning for training (who knew there was so much planning in a plan?!) and again as the race weekend approaches when it’s the moment of truth! That’s when I just have to remember that I’m in it for “all the feels” of accomplishment at the end of a tough run and on race day.

      Good luck! I’m always up for swapping running tips, talking races and venting about the miserable runs in between. 🙂

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