Sunday, September 15, 2013

"Run like a Diva" race training and expo race weekend-Part 1

I have been training for my first half marathon for the past 9 weeks. I had won a free race entry through Ali Vincent’s facebook page and I was so very excited!! I had a half marathon on my bucket list to do hopefully this year or next year and I had wanted to do this particular race because it seemed like fun!

I started training the very next Monday that I won the race entry and followed the schedule which had me running 4 days a week. I knew it was alot to run 4 days a week but I needed to cram my training into 8 weeks instead of the typical 12 weeks or more. I did great following the first 4 weeks of training. Then my knee pain started! I hadn’t had knee pain since before I lost my weight 90 pounds ago. So not only was I dealing with sports asthma and shin splints-now I had severe knee pain. I was feeling very discouraged and couldn’t keep up with my race schedule. 

I asked for advice online but a lot of people told me to rest up and not do the race. I didn’t feel like that was an option because this was my only chance to get a free entry to a half marathon, plus run with ALI VINCENT, not to mention an $80 nonrefundable hotel reservation. (race tickets are expensive!) So I started cutting back my running to 2 or 3 days a week with nothing else in between to rest my knees. I started wearing a knee brace at home, sneakers all the time at work and home (versus my cute sandals and boots at work) and did a lot of research about taping my knees and legs. I started using KT tape then switched to Rock Tape. I started taking Hylands herbal leg cramps pills, tried to keep hydrated all the time and stretched a lot afterwards. These things helped a lot and after about two weeks, my knee pain started to get a lot better. 

On Saturdays I did my long race training at my local park. I trained on pavement, trails and hills so my legs could get stronger. 2 weeks ago, instead of doing my 12 mile practice I ended up going the full 13.1 miles to know that I could do it and time myself. That helped to alleviate a lot of personal stress because then I knew I was capable of going that long distance without dropping dead. J 

I had read that race training for a big race was much harder than running the actual race. Oh. My. Gosh. That is such an understatement! These past 2 months have been so hard on me emotionally and physically. All I could think and worry about was the upcoming race, preparing for it, staying healthy, not getting more injured, trying to recover from my injuries, what to wear, running with Ali for the first mile and being on tv…I have been so stressed out!! It was been like hell for me trying to prepare. Or like being pregnant. LOL I knew the end result would be awesome but having to prepare and get to that point was BRUTAL for me!! 

It didn’t help that over this 2 month period, I still worked full time, we moved into our first house across town, my oldest started middle school/public school after homeschooling for 3 years and my youngest started preschool for the first time. A lot of family changes! I would get up to race train about 5:45am during the weekdays, head off to work for 8 hours, put the kids to bed… I was so exhausted at the end of the day that I wouldn’t do much in the evenings. (forget about chores, scrapbooking and unpacking) 

On Saturdays (the one day I could sleep in!) I would head off to the park super early to run for 2 or 3 hours, which ment my husband would take care of the kids in the morning after working his night job because I would be at the park. Then I would be exhausted and nonproductive the rest of the Saturday trying to recover from my long run.  I mention this because race training not only affected me, but my family life, my work performance, my emotions/health and my productivity at home; which I didn’t even take into account or realize.  

Unfortunately for me, I found that race training and running in general is NOT enjoyable and is not a stress reliever for me. I wish it was and I kept hoping I would like it more or feel better about my progress; but I never did. L I love to take walks with my family at the park or the neighborhood, but running alone for more than 45 minutes sucks and feels like a waste of time for me. I would rather do my weight training or cardio dvds at home. Sorry for the brutal honesty! 

Besides my injuries that I kept getting, I found that with all the emotional and physical stress of my body- I have gained 10 pounds in the last 2 months!! SO discouraging for me because for the last 2 years I have worked so hard to get off and keep off almost 100 pounds. I haven’t gained any weight (lost or maintained) for the last 2 years so that has really upset me. Its not just the scale number, but the fact that my jeans are tight and my stomach is larger. 

So this journey leading up to my first half marathon has been very hard for me. And then last week I got a severe sore throat and cold so that has been fun to deal with! Which now leads me up to this past race weekend!!

After packing and renting a car; my husband, toddler and I left a little before noon from Roanoke to head up to the Diva expo outside Leesburg VA which was 3.5 hours away. The driving and weather was perfect and we got to the expo around 3:30. The parking lot at the expo/resort was already pretty full but we eventually found a parking spot. I’m so glad we got to the expo when we did, because they ended up having people park across the street and walk over to the resort. I was surprised how small the “expo” and race check in area was for what was supposedly a very large race event. They had less than a dozen vendors for shopping which was disappointing, but I was able to get my race bag/shirt/bib number very quickly. 

As we were leaving the expo, Ali Vincent came back from break to meet people at her table so I stood in line to meet her and take pictures. I was so nervous to meet her!! She seemed so genuine with talking and hugging people-a very sincere person. I really liked that! She gave me a hug and signed by bib number and we chatted briefly about meeting up in the morning to start the race together. (squeal!) She hugged my toddler and talked to him for a minute-it was so sweet. My husband was awesome and took lots of pictures for me and kept tabs on our toddler so I could focus on my race stuff. I ended up buying a pink sparkle running skirt to match Ali and a couple running supplement chews/beans at the expo. 

Afterwards we walked around the resort for a few minutes and played on the playground. We then drove about 10 minutes down the road to check into our hotel and figure out a location for dinner. I was so anxious about running and my cold and my breathing and knees; that I could barely eat anything and had stomach cramps most of the night. I hate eating at a restaurant and spending money on food that I can’t enjoy. L 

Our night at the hotel was uneventful and I was able to sleep fairly well half the night. Special thanks to my husband for helping me tape the front and backs of my knees and legs with Rock Tape before we went to bed-it works best if you tape before a physical activity/race so the adhesive has time to set on the skin. I was so bummed that I forgot my garmin interval watch and fitbit at home. I always make lists so I don’t forget things when I go on trips. I told you this whole race training totally wacked me out-I haven’t been myself for awhile now!

The sky and clouds were so bright and beautiful on the drive up to the expo.

Hubby driving our kia hybrid rental car. 

My 3 year old taking pictures from the backseat! He managed to get a pic of all 3 of us in it!

Another pic my toddler took of the scenery outside. 

Walking into the expo at the resort.

Me and my toddler. 

Ali Vincent (first female of Biggest Loser) table at expo-out on break at the time.

My bib pick up! #809!

At the expo.

Hubby and toddler helping me get my bib and bag. 

Zachery insisted on helping carry my diva draw string bag. 

Whoohoo!! Ali came back to her table right as we were getting to leave! 

Of course we stood in line to meet her...

Hubby was great and took lots of pictures for us. Ali was so sweet to talk and hug Zachery. 

Ali signing my bib and a pamplet. I also got a pink "live big with Ali Vincent" bracelet to remind me not to be snacking and make good food choices. 

Me and Ali! 

Outside the hallway at the expo. They had a couple comfy chairs and pillows. 

My little family minus my 11 year old who was with my parents. 

Zachery trying on a diva crown. 

Of course I had to take a pic of the bathroom at the resort expo because it was big and beautiful! 

At the park so my toddler could run around before getting back into the car to drive to the hotel. 

PART 2 of race weekend will be posted tomorrow... 


  1. Wow, 100#, that's incredible. Congrats. Yes, we eat a ton during race training for long races. But it'll come back off with smart choices and less stress.

    To read my review of the weekend, please visit

    Happy running,

  2. How exciting that you got to meet Ali. She is amazing!! Can't wait to hear the rest of the recap. =)

  3. Wow, you rock!! Congratulations!!! Love your blog, very inspiring :-)