Saturday I ran the farthest and longest I have ever run in my life- 13.1 miles! I ran the Charlottesville Half Marathon at an obtrusively early time- 6:30 AM- and somehow not only finished, but exceeded my goal time! I usually run at a 10 min/mi pace, so I expected to finish at about 2:10. My actual chip time was 2:01:44! Booyah! That is a 9:29 pace!

Admittedly this isn't too impressive to a lot of runners, but I'm pretty amateur, and I feel great about it. Matt wasn't expecting me to come through the finish line so quickly, so he wasn't prepared with the camera, hence these awkward finishing pictures:

Here is the thing- when I think about actually running it, even though I know it was really hard, I mostly just remember a groove. One foot in front of the other, zoning in on a person to pace with (because I am terrible at pacing myself), keeping moving.
I don't remember the hard parts really. I think it must be like childbirth (not that I'd know... I had a c-section) where you forget the labor and pain and somehow want to have another kid. Yeah, it's got to be kind of like that, because I can totally see myself running another long race. Right after the race I didn't feel that way though, I remember that. I had to find a bathroom stat (running does a number on my bowels... tmi? sorry) and I felt sick, sick, sick. Probably because I ate dinner late, went to bed at 11 and woke up at 4. Yeah, that might have had something to do with it. Anyway, I was in really rough shape for a couple of hours after the race but once my stomach recovered and I took a shower I actually felt surprisingly energized.

Love me some Nesquik! 

As far as training goes, I started following this training plan in February, but I was running 3-4 miles three times a week consistently before that. I chose this training plan because 1) When I decided to sign up for the half I had exactly 9 weeks to train, and 2) It didn't require I run on Sundays. I was really worried about the jump from 6 miles to 8, but it went surprisingly well, and so did the rest of the long runs.

I'm really proud of myself for running a half marathon. I've never been athletic and I don't have a competitive bone in my body, but I think it is safe to say I love to run. I love that I trained and stuck by my schedule. I love that I pushed myself through the mental and physical (but mostly mental) blocks and was able to do something pretty incredible. I love what my body is capable of.

Finisher Medal!

It's a race! I hope I win!

Ok, so I really had no chance of winning the 8k we ran on July 2nd, but I can't help but think of my sister Erin quoting that line from "Rat Race" every time I think about or talk about a race. Its just one of those things.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MJX6XQUYA4]

(I couldn't find the exact clip I was thinking of, but come on, this is funny)

The race was the first one I've done since my 5k when I was 7 weeks pregnant with Charly. Our race was the Run for Independence 8k here in Leesburg. 8k (just about 5 miles) is probably the furthest I have ever run, (edit: not anymore! I ran 6.86 miles this morning. Booyah!) so I feel pretty awesome about doing it. Anyone who has known me for a while knows I am totally not the athletic type, but I'm trying to be healthier and more fit, and signing up for a race is just the motivation I need to keep going! The course was admittedly a little tougher than I was anticipating, but I'm really glad I did it. Matt finished just ahead of me- he pulled ahead the last mile because he was just sick of running! I finished in 54:06- not fast, but I'll take it!

Here I am crossing the finish line. They used chip timing, which means I had a chip attached to my shoe, and because of that they were able to read each person's name from the computer as they crossed the finish line. I'll admit I felt pretty awesome having my name read and hearing people cheer. That is the cool thing about races- everyone cheers you on and makes you feel like a rockstar!

Here is our little family! This picture prompted me to do something about my oh-so-drab hair. I now have bangs! No pictures yet... I'll get on that.

The runners! Me, Matt, Gretchen and Brinn (who now herself is about 7 weeks pregnant!)

And just for fun, a picture from the 5k last June...

And a picture from the 8k 1 year, 1 month, 1 day and 1 baby later...
Hey, I had just run 5 miles, gimme a break:)

Now I feel like I've got to sign up for another...

Anyone else working on fitness goals? Or just love to hear people cheer your name?

Hear ye, hear ye....

Let it be known that on the Twenty-ninth day of May, in the year Two thousand and ten, that I, Holli Coats, ran a 5k.
(proud of that numba- and the fetus growing inside of me)
Yes folks, thats right.

It all started when my co-worker and friend Brinn Willis decided to challenge herself to a 5k. She hated running, but she heard the challenge and stepped up to the plate. After a few months of running, she completed her 5k and set a goal to run another.

I wanted in.

You see, I am ever the goal-setter with good intentions, planning to exercise regularly, eat healthier, watch less television, and be an overall better person, but I also am also ever losing motivation or making up excuses. So when I thought about how humiliating it would be to NOT be able to make it on race day, or to waste my $21 by not completing the race, I thought this might be just the motivation I need. Besides, a group was doing it, and we all know peer pressure can work wonders- if they counted on me to be there to run, I'd be there.

And thats how it began. $21, a few emails, and a promise of a free t-shirt (don't remind me!) and I was signed up for a race.

And I stuck to it!

When I found out I was pregnant I wondered if I would still be able to run, but I did my research and concluded that since at that point I was already able to run 3 miles, it wouldn't be a big deal to continue doing that, as long as I took things easy and listened to my body.

That, folks, is how I found myself at 7 1/2 weeks pregnant, awake at 6 am, driving to Roanoke for the big (in my eyes) race.

Long story short, I finished in 33:05 (!) setting a pace of 10:39. I'll take it! The course had more hills than I am used to running, so I was totally stoked with a time like that!
(the stats)
Matt manned the camera and babysat Brinn and FW's ADORABLE son Georgie, as well as played the role of the oh-so-supportive hubby- which he totally is!
(so proud of his baby girl...ahem... and unborn child- for stickin' it out!)

(the group: FW, Brinn, Me, Anika, Kristen, and Bishop Jones)

(Brinn and I at the finish line)

So where do we go from here? Well, I hope to sign up for another 5k, and run (ok, jog...) until I have to walk it. Signing up for something gives me the motivation to keep exercising (even if they do run out of t-shirts), and a healthy mama makes for a healthy baby, right?