Day 1 Marathon Training 2019

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Day 1 of Marathon Training!

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This is actually a lake! The fog was so thick you couldn’t see anything.

Today was super foggy. The fog this morning represents to me the goal that I can’t quite see yet. As I struggled this morning to complete 5 miles, it’s hard for me to imagine running 26.2 miles in less than 4 months and trying to make it my fastest marathon time yet. But as the fog lifts, I know that I will be able to push through and achieve my goal. It will be HARD but in the end I know achieving my goal and supporting St. Jude will all be worth it.

To Donate: http://heroes.stjude.org/Sarah_Burns

-Sarah

 

St. Jude Marathon 2018

 

On December 1, 2018, I ran in my second marathon race. It was a doozy! Tough, Hell,  and disappointed are just a few words to describe it. Let me explain.

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I started training for the marathon in July just as I did last year. My main goal this year was to beat my 2017 marathon time which was 4:59. Quickly into my marathon training I knew I was going to beat my pervious time. In 2017, my average pace was between 11-13 minutes per mile. This year my average pace is about 9-11 minutes. I was significantly faster. With my new pace, I was predicting to finish this year’s marathon around 4:30. I continued to keep this pace and even get faster throughout my marathon training. I was confident that I would PR (set a personal record) this year.

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Race day arrived. I felt good. Even though I trained and prepared the best I could, December 1st turned out to be an unexpected and unpredictable day. First, the race was delayed 1 hour due to stormy weather. We were now starting the marathon at 9am. Also at 9am the temperature was already 64 degrees and expected to continue to get warmer. Plus due to the morning storms and warm weather, humidity was also added to the mix. I was thankful though to have Kayla and my sister at the start of the race. Even though Kayla was running the half this year, I am glad we were able to start the race off together.

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I started the race with a good pace. I was averaging around a 9:30 pace. It was exactly where I wanted to be. I kept this pace all the way up to the half, 13 miles. Then at mile 14, it started to go down hill. Around mile 14 my legs started hurting really bad. I had never felt this pain before. It was really bad. I remember thinking to myself that my legs can’t hurt this bad already, I still have around a half to go. Shortly after this realization, is when I had my first panic attack attempt. I felt myself getting really overwhelmed. I started breathing really heavy and then it became difficult to breath. I had to start walking, calm down, and slow my breathing. Because of the pain, my pace was drastically getting slower. The 4:00 pacer had already passed me awhile back but I was still ahead of the 4:30 pacer. I knew I was slowing down but I was still on track to achieve my goal time. Around mile 15 the 4:30 pacer passed me. I kept up wit the pacer for about a mile then had to slow down due to the excruciating pain in my legs. This is when my second panic attack attempt hit. I got so overwhelmed because I knew I was not going to be able to make my 4:30 goal time. I was eventually able to calm down and keep running.

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Miles 18 – 24 were a blur of pain and exhaustion. I remember being in a lot of pain and anticipating every single water stop because I was so thirsty and hot. I wanted to keep pushing myself. I knew the 5:00 pacer had not passed me yet. So if I just kept pushing, I would beat last years time even if that meant by 1 minute. Then I saw a lot of runners getting hurt. I saw runners passed out on the ground and taken away in ambulances. This told me that I had to ease up. I was worried that if I kept pushing myself so hard when I was already in a lot of pain, that I would eventually hurt myself. From then on I did a lot more walking. I had to stop several times as well to stretch. The pain was really intense. Kayla started texting me around mile 21. She gave me some much needed motivation. She let me know I was doing great and I was a badass. Around mile 22 or 23 is when the 4:50 pacer passed me. I was disappointed but I at this point I just wanted to be done.

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Mile 24 came and I knew I was almost done. I knew if I could just keep slowly going that I would finish soon, plus I still had not seen the 5:00 pacer. It was a bit windy during the race but right around mile 24 is when the wind decided to get intense. I remember being so exhausted and giving it everything I could just to run up the hills near the end. I remember a strong head wind blowing against me right as I was trying to run up a hill. I said “f*ck it,” gave up and walked up the hill instead. It was insane. Near the end of the race wind gusts were up to 25 mph. Plus the temperature was around 75 degrees.

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Mile 25, “one more mile” was my mantra. I knew I was almost there. I had only one more mile left, I could do this! I round the corner and see the finish line. I see and hear Kayla cheering me on. I make the last turn then cross the finish line. That was it, I did it! I was beyond exhausted and in so much pain. My sister met me right as I crossed the finish line. As soon as I saw her I collapsed in her arms and started crying. I remember telling her, “that was really hard.” lol Of course the photographer comes around right in the middle of me bawling my eyes out. I am really glad though that he was able to capture that special moment between my sister and I.

I was still unsure of the exact time I finished. I didn’t think I beat my time but I never saw the 5:00 pacer pass me. I changed into new clothes, grab some pizza, then went to the booth to print my official finish time.  I got the print out and saw that I finished at 5:03. I met up with Kayla, and as soon as I saw her I started bawling crying in her arms too. I was a mess. I was so disappointed that I didn’t beat my time and that I was only off by 4 minutes!

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I knew how hard I worked and trained for the marathon. There should have been no reason why I didn’t beat my time. I feel the main reason was because it was so hot. Now usually if I don’t reach my goal, I just try again. Its not that easy when the goal is PRing a marathon. I couldn’t just run a marathon the next day. So I will have to wait.

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I will definitely be running the St. Jude Marathon again in 2019 where I hope to beat my original time of 4:59. Until then I will continue to keep running, making new goals, and achieving those goals. Looking back, I may be still disappointed but I know I did the best I could. I still ran 26.2 miles! Not a lot of people can say that. Plus I survived through miles of excruciating pain but yet no injuries. I may be hard on myself but I still know that I am a badass unicorn and I will continue to fight and achieve my goals!

-Sarah

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Guest Post: I Still Remember it Like it was Yesterday!

by Lanie Prince

I still remember it like it was yesterday. My friend, Patty, came up to me on a Thursday night in January. She asked me if I would like to train for the St. Jude Half Marathon in Nashville with her and my two other friends, Brittney and Connie. I eagerly said, “Yes!” She told me that I would only have 3 months to train and wanted to know if that would be enough time. Honestly, I never doubted myself when it came to that. I knew I could do it. I signed up for the race the second weekend in January with Connie. It was an amazing feeling.

A few weeks had gone by and my friend Brittney asked me if I had been training. I really hadn’t, but I said yes, so she wouldn’t be disappointed in me. I kept seeing the other girls running and I knew I had to start soon. On January 21, 2018, I made a decision. That decision changed my life. I walked/ran my first 3 miles. I ran down Veteran’s Parkway. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. So, I kept running 3 miles almost every weekday. After I started running 3 miles, my running group wanted to start our long runs. We started going to Shelby Forest every weekend and kept increasing our miles until we got up to 11 miles.

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I remember my first long run. I ran 5 miles. I had never ran that many miles in my life and my hip started hurting. I remember asking a lot of people what I should do. Some kept saying to keep going to make it stronger and some said to stay off of it, or swim, or do the elliptical for 2 weeks. I did my own thing. I didn’t run for a whole week and just did the elliptical along with sitting in the hot tub and steam room. That helped tremendously. I didn’t hurt much after that.

Along the way, I completed a couple 5k’s. I am not a very fast runner though. I can do a 10 minute mile on a great day but usually I run a mile within 13 to 14 minutes. My time never got much faster than that. I was just able to run without my body aching as bad.

Time was going by fast. April was almost here. People kept asking me, “Was I Ready?” My answer was always, “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.” In a blink of an eye the weekend of my half marathon was here. We all met at Connie’s house and rode in her car. When we arrived in Nashville it was so crowded! We finally arrived at the place to pick up our packets. It was crazy busy. I had one of the best feelings. I felt that I had actually accomplished something. I felt so confident and on top of the world. That was a Friday. That night we walked all downtown and ate at a Mexican restaurant. I needed all the carbs I could get. After that, we made it to our hotel room around 9 o’clock. I was a little anxious, so it was hard for me to fall asleep. My friend Brittney and I ended up walking to the convenient store around 10 o’clock that night because we couldn’t sleep. Finally, around 11:30 I dozed off. I had to be up by 5:45 a.m. to be at my terminal by 7 a.m.. 5:45 came faster than I expected.

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My alarm went off and I casually woke up and started getting ready. I remember letting my running partners know that I was so nervous. I was scared that I wouldn’t complete the race or that I would get bored along the way and have little motivation to keep going. It turned out to be the exact opposite. It was the most amazing experience! There were people everywhere cheering us on. It felt amazing. I didn’t want to stop! As far as I knew, I was on top of the world. I felt as if I could go forever. I mainly walked fast because I didn’t want to run out of energy. As I walked the scenery kept changing. It was so pretty. I remember hitting mile 9 and was anticipating seeing the finish line. It seemed like the miles got longer as I got closer to finishing. As the race came to an end, I came around the corner and went over a bridge and saw the finish line. I told myself that I needed to start running and smiling because I knew they were going to take my picture. When I passed that finish line, I smiled and thought to myself, “I DID IT!” I was so proud of myself! I knew I made my parents proud and I proved the people wrong who thought I couldn’t do it. It was one of the best feelings I have ever had in my whole entire life. That night my running partners and I went out downtown and celebrated. We ate, shopped, and went to a concert. We really enjoyed ourselves. The next day we got up and left. I was a little sad because I didn’t want it to be over. My running partners and I discussed it and decided to run another one in Hot Springs, Arkansas in November.

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Still to this day I run. Running has changed my life and changed me as a person. I can tell that I am happier now. I love life more. I actually like looking in the mirror. Mostly, I am confident! That is something I have never been. I feel free.  Running has made me into a “go-getter!” For example, this summer I worked almost 40 hours a week, kept up with my running, and achieved a 4.0 in my summer classes. I honestly believe that if I would have never started running I wouldn’t have had the energy, confidence or determination to do all of that. No matter what kind of situation I am in, I make sure that I make time to run. I am a different person spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I have lost almost 50 pounds and plan on keep going. As long as the Lord keeps me healthy, I will never stop running.

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If you ever get to a point in your life where you feel like you’re not good enough or wish you could change something about yourself, I challenge you to start running. Find someone that would be interested in doing it with you or do it by yourself. It is one of the most stress relieving things you can do. I have no doubt in my mind that you will love it. Start today!

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Nevertheless, I would like to give a big thanks to Brittney, Connie, and Patty for motivating me the whole time and sticking by my side. Also, all of this would not have been possible without the Millington YMCA. I am so thankful for all the opportunities it has offered me. With all of that being said, if you guys ever have any questions, please contact me through Facebook messenger at Lanie Prince or through my email at Lanieprince16@aol.com. If you need help getting motivated or have any question pertaining to running, weight loss, etc. Please contact me. I will be glad to help out any way I can!

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Sarah’s 1st Marathon

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My first marathon was an amazing experience and as I passed the 26 mile marker with tears in my eyes, I tell myself that I would definitely do this again!

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We trained our butts off. We did everything we could to prepare ourselves for this moment. We were as ready as we would ever be.

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Standing in the corral with thousands of people, over 26,000 to be exact was mind blowing. I was over whelmed, nervous, scared, and excited all at the same time.  Kayla and I await our turn to the start line, slowly moving forward, we give our final waves to our families then locked arms as we cross the start line. I am so blessed and thankful to have an amazing running partner.  Kayla and I ran together for the first mile and a half, and then I decided to run at my own pace. We did not see each other again till Kayla crossed the finish line. This was our first race that we both ran in that we did not run with each other the whole time. This was big for us. We could not use each other for support during the race which was what we have always done before. Thankfully we had the motivation and support from our amazing city!  

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The first 5 miles of the marathon were pretty crowded. It was hard to run faster because there was just so many people. Mile 5 was when we went through the St. Jude Hospital campus. It was amazing to see patients outside cheering us on and thanking us for running.  After mile 5 I was really able to run at a faster pace. I was able to stay with a 4:55 pacer (meaning it should take 4 hours and 55 min. to finish the marathon) all the way to about the 22 mile mark, then I fell behind a little. I was very proud of myself for staying at a good constant pace for most of the race. Mile 24, 25, and 26 all brought tears to my eyes. I was so proud of myself!  Right after mile 26, my mom and sister were waiting for me on the corner. I was happy to see them and so thankful that they were there supporting me and cheering me on. Of course my mom bursts into tears which then makes me cry as well. Then I turn the corner and shot through to the finish line. As they place the heavy metal around my neck, I stand there in awe. I am now a marathoner I told myself. I did it!

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I am so glad that the St. Jude Marathon was our first marathon. It was amazing!! We were able to fundraise and participate in a race that raised over $10 million dollars for the St. Jude Hospital. We were also able to witness a whole city coming together to support this amazing cause. The city of Memphis usually gets a bad rap and is known to be violent city, but not on this day. The whole city came out to support the St. Jude runners. At every single mile there we people cheering us on. One of my favorite parts of the marathon was all the amazing signs everyone made! I’m pretty sure that the only way I got through the 26.2 miles alive was because I hit every power up and energy boost poster I saw.

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Some signs were hilarious! They took my mind off the pain and brought a smile to my face. Some of my favorite sign and others were…… “Find a cute butt and chase it” “Smile if you peed a little” “I just farted, run faster” “This is Memphis, run like you stole something” “Your feet hurt from kicking so much ass” “You do marathons. I do a marathon runner” “Your running better that our government” and “Don’t poop!”

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The whole city also came out and supported by giving out candy, snacks, beer, shots, mimosa, Gatorade, and water. Around mile 22, I was so hungry that I started eating every snack I could get hands on. I had potato chips, a fun sized snickers bar, pretzels, and a piece of baked potato.  I skipped the beer and fireball shots. though There would be no way I would be able to run after that

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Overall, my first marathon was an amazing unforgettable experience. I am so proud of how hard I worked and that I accomplished my goal. I plan on running in the St. Jude marathon again and many more marathons as well. I am so thankful to everyone that has supported me through my running journey.  And even though we have completed our first marathon, we are not done running. Running is in our hearts and if it’s up to us we will never stop running. Forever Runners! Forever Badass Unicorns!

Badass Unicorn Marathoner,

Sarah

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