Blissing Out at the Finish Line!

….and My Story Runs On….

“When you cross the finish line, your life will change forever.” -Unknown

Crossing a finish line is one of the most amazing feelings!  It’s one of the reasons I love being a running coach as there is nothing more rewarding than watching someone work their butt off for any event and cross that finish line!

I’ve had some incredible finish line experiences but I have to admit, yesterday was one of the most amazing finish lines I experienced for a few reasons:

  1. I signed up for the Inaugural Phoenix Women’s Half Marathon awhile back with Startline Racing (very well run event!). I first heard about it via Team RWB (more below!).  We used to have the Women’s Half here and I used to be an Ambassador.  I love women races as there is so much comraderie and different energy.  I believe last week was my longest training week ever as far as running. My 50 Mile Training calendar called for 60 miles this week.  I started the half marathon with tired legs.  I had logged 48 miles at this point for the week and did 14 miles of sand training the day before.  My original plan was to relax and just make this race a training run. I don’t listen to music often so I decided I was going to jam out while focusing on some new form focuses from ChiRunning. (In November, at the Instructor Weekend, Danny Dreyer, the founder, taught us an entire new series on Performance: learning how to get faster without increasing your perceived rate of exertion and without using your leg muscles to make it happen.  Due to my distance training, I’ve been holding off feeling some of the new form focuses in my body so yesterday I decided to “play” around with a few of them).  I was feeling great so was just chilling and enjoying it….when I reached mile 10, I realized there could be a slight chance that I would PR (personal record) this race.  I continued to focus on some key areas and lo and behold, even though the results are still unofficial on their website, I beat my half marathon time by 20 seconds!
  2. I have many friends that are part of Team RWB and I kept saying I would join them but I have so much on my plate and never really understood what they were all about.  These friends kept encouraging me to join (IT’S FREE!) but I never got around to it until a few weeks ago.  I love building my running community and I do this with my ChiRunners/ChiWalkers and Running for Brews.  OMG, this community of people is AMAZING!  I’ve never felt so part of something bigger than myself. The icing on the cake, and the main reason yesterday was one of my favorite finishes, was because someone came up to me close to the finish line and handed me the American Flag.  GOOSE BUMPS!  Mind you I was trying to get my PR and I knew I was close but there was no way I was going to turn down that experience!  I got to run through the finish line carrying the American Flag! I’ve “only’ been running for about 8 years but I love this sport! This is why I am on a mission to turn people into runners. So many amazing experiences and people I have met via this awesome sport.  Team RWB is a huge supportive community and they were out there until their very last walker came in to the finish line and we all got roses too!  I am really looking forward to more amazing experiences with them!

    Goose bumps carrying the flag through the finish line!

    Goose bumps carrying the flag through the finish line!

Unfortunately I missed getting in the photo but looks at this awesome group of supportive people!

Unfortunately I missed getting in the photo but looks at this awesome group of supportive people!

Reflecting on this incredible day, here is what I believe contributed to my success (in no particular order):

  • My running conditioning.  I’ve been running quite a bit lately (more than ever) for my first 50 miler.  Here is a link to my plan and actual miles if you are interested.
  • ChiRunning/ChiWalking.  Good running form has been crucial to my success.  We can always learn to get better and more efficient at anything we do. I’ve been teaching this for 6 years now and I’m still amazed at how much I can keep working on it and seeing improvements. It’s one of my favorite parts of the form.  I say Practice Makes Progress and I’ve seen some great improvements not just from my performance while running but more importantly with how great my body has been feeling with all these miles!
  • My Chiropractor.  I’ve been working with Al for over a year on my forward head posture and alignment.  Xrays have confirmed a significant improvement and I can feel it.  Alignment is crucial to running and by working on my posture, I have felt an improvement in my form and more specifically my breathing. I also did a Fascial Stretch Therapy last week with him and will do these weekly until my race.

    One of the reasons they say sitting is the new smoking. The position of your head effects your ENTIRE body!

    One of the reasons they say sitting is the new smoking. The position of your head effects your ENTIRE body!

  • My Nutritionist. As a trainer, I can help my clients with nutrition and weight loss but I’ve never really learned how to fuel my body for endurance and performance. I’ve been working with Brooke since November and learned a ton about my body and how it fuels properly.   I did not have any Gus or Gels at all yesterday.  I also haven’t been using those on my 20+ mile runs either. I’ve taught my body to use fat rather than sugar as I train longer.  This will be a separate blog after my 50 miler.
  • Recovery and Rest. I’m grateful that I have a flexible schedule so I rarely set my alarm in the morning.  I allow my body to get as much rest as it needs as I’m putting it under more stress than usual.  I also foam roll, do leg drains and stretch every night before going to bed. Many people ignore this piece but your body needs it!

One of my biggest fears about the 50 mile training (aside from getting my plantar fascitiis back) was that I would burn out with all this running….the opposite is happening…I’m more energized and excited at all the new possibilities that running will bring to me for years to come!

What was your favorite finish line? Why do you remember it?


From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

0 thoughts on “Blissing Out at the Finish Line!

  1. My Favorite finish line? Recently, probably, would have been last year’s XTERRA 20K at the White Tanks. You’ve done that course so you know how god-awful tough it is! Old creaky-legged guys like me, if they dare to show up, will opt for the easier 8K but I haven’t figured out that I’m too slow and beat-up for runs like this. I have no clue what a “millennial” is but I gather that most runners in this race are in that group.

    Needless to say, the last runner I saw (excluding the follow runner they had at the back) was at the quarter mile point. The follow runner was driving me bonkers as he was repeatedly sneaking up on me and then backing off. Probably thought I was going to have a heart attack. (one-after-another “are you OK?” s can be annoying, especially when I told him, “I’m fine, you don’t need to follow me).

    After 61/2 miles of climbing, I’m thinking, “here comes the promised downhill” which I needed to make the 3 hour cutoff. No deal! Downhill was as rocky as the uphill and I’m not a great downhill runner. So here I am at around 11 miles. I have around 15 minutes to beat the cutoff. It’s a lot smoother now and flatter. In 2730+ timed road races, I have never been DQ’ed for finish time, much less finished dead last. So I say, “I gotta at least try (nobody was listening!)”.

    So I start pushing as hard as I can. I’m dead tired and my calf muscles are starting to cramp (having run 4 races in the previous 3 days didn’t help either). I know I’m close. I can hear people at the finish. I guy was standing there and gave me a “you’re almost there” (for once that comment was appreciated, not annoying!). I check my watch, it says 3 hours straight up. I had failed. OK, I had failed, but at least I didn’t want to look bad at the finish, so I continued to push.
    turned the last corner and there was Jeremy, the Four Peaks timer waiting for me with the clock running and the mats in place, I even had a few claps as I crossed. 3:02. Dead last for the first time.

    Of course I placed (who else in their late 60’s was out there) in age group but that was not important. The fact that I made a the effort and avoided the DQ (thanks to Jeremy) was likely my best moment crossing a finish line.

    Lessons learned:

    Stay the course. A race is less about attaining a goal, a P.R., a specific time, etc. It’s about never backing down even if your goal is missed. Good things happen when you continue to try.

    BEWARE THE XTERRA 20K!! I dropped to 8K this year, ran well and placed (even though it was a weird age group!)



    • Not sure how I missed this in my queue! Thanks so much for sharing Marty. You’ve always been an inspiration to me! I know we’ve had our ups and downs but you are always out there! I do remember that 20K as I”ve done it before too and it’s one of the hardest. See you at Black Canyon Xterra on 3/6?

      • Nope! Will be doing Mountain to Fountain 15K. Another “time limit” to beat! Next trail race after Elephant Mountain will be the “Dam Good Run” 26K at Lake Pleasant on 4/24. Scenery should be spectacular. Expect to see you at GOTR on the 30th.

        • It’s always a tough call for me as I love both Black Canyon and Mountain to Fountain but trail trumps road for me 😉 Well, I did it! I finished my 50 this weekend! getting ready to write my race report and a bunch of blogs from the experience…amazing! no official results yet but I might’ve been DFL…cut off was 15 hours and I crossed the finish line at about 14:59:46…tough course but absolutely breath taking views and worth it! I’m doing the 26K at Lake Pleasant as well and for sure sure see you at GOTR too!

          • Congratulations! This makes you officially one of those crazy-insane TRUE ultra runners! (50K doesn’t really count!) Does this mean no more “Bubble or Paint Runs”?

            I think variety is important as is loyalty to local races so Mountain to Fountain and Kiss me I’m Irish are important to me. I feel worse about missing Mesquite Canyon (Aravaipa). Not terribly impressed with XTERRA when compared to Aravaipa.

            Get some rest! See you at Lake Pleasant.

          • thank you! It was an amazing experience and I just wrote the race report. I love Xterra and Aravaipa both…both a bit different but XTerra donates a portion of their races to GOTR so one of the reasons I support them. Yes, we need to support our local peeps! For the “special” runs, hard to say…I’m personally not big into them but my business niche is beginner runners and that’s where I can find many of them…then I try and convert them to ChiRunners then trail runners 😉

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