Run for the Arts

In April I ran the Run for the Arts 15K race. This was a very big race for me. 3 years ago when I was training for my first half marathon I ran this race and almost did not finish. This is a hilly course and it was a windy day. This year I just wanted to do well. It was a cold, wet and windy day. Since we got home from India I had been preparing for this race. I was ready mentally and physically!

I went out and had a plan to run a steady pace through most of the race and prepare and save up for the final 2 big hills. I did just that and was able to speed up the last 2 miles and finish strong. I felt great! I think I could have gone a little faster but I was so nervous about those final hills and knew they would be tough. I just did not want to end up as discouraged as I was 3 years ago. It was a great day!  I ended up finishing 2nd in my age group! Here is a picture from the race!

I have kind of been slacking off since the Run for the Arts race but am starting Monday training for a half marathon in Irving on June 13th. I will also be racing in a 5K Saturday the 12th with my dad. It is called the Dad Fest. It is a father daughter team race. We ran it 3 years ago and finished 3rd in our age group and this year we are planning to walk away with the gold :).

It will be a fun weekend!

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India

I apologize for the absence. It has been a little crazy around here lately.

We had a good trip in India. I was quite the experience. We knew from the beginning it was going to be a fast and furious trip with a lot of traveling seeing as much of India as we possible could. We had travel delays getting out of Lubbock which ended up delaying us 2 days getting to India. Once we made it to India we hit the ground running. Indian culture is so different from what we know. There are people everywhere in India and there is no personal space. The gospel is spreading so quickly in India because Indians live with their whole family and are so close to the people who live around them. They are so excited about the gospel and share it openly! We went to a house church at 4pm on a Tuesday! They meet every day to worship and learn together. India is so poverty stricken. The people there do not have much but they are so happy and cheerful. It was a humbling experience. They are also very hospitable. Everywhere we went the people greeted us with flowers and lays. India was a challenging experience but a good one. Here are some pictures from our journey!

Thank you to all of you who supported us financially and through your prayers!

India

Stuart and I have an amazing opportunity to go to India over spring break. We were invited to go on this mission trip to shoot video and take pictures to document the trip. We are going through an organization called Asian Partners International. We will be going to minister to those working in India starting home churches and minister to the railway kids. These are kids who have been abandoned or run away from their family for one reason or another.

We have been preparing physically, mentally and most important spiritually. It is going to be so neat and challenging at the same time. First of all the flight from the US to India is 14 hours! I can’t imagine what that is going to be like. We will be taking some meds so that we will be able to sleep most of the plane ride. We are trying to prepare ourselves for culture shock. It is not going to be anything like we have ever seen. It should be very interesting. I am so excited to get to experience the Indian culture and learn so much about them while we are there. I have to say that I am a little nervous about the food that we will be experiencing. They use a lot of curry and I am not a real fan of curry but I am going to keep an open mind and try whatever I can. I will be taking peanut butter crackers though!

God is doing amazing things in India right now and we are so excited to see that first hand and meet the Indians who are on mission every single day in a place where Christianity is not always accepted.

Please keep us in your prayers as we prepare to go and head to India. We know that we are not going along and our prayer partners are so important to us. If you would like to commit to pray for us while we are gone and receive email updates with prayer request you can leave a comment or  email me at alison.blalock@gmail.com.

Cotton Patch Run

Over the last month, it has been so nice to run because I love to run and not have the pressure of training. I continued to run with Ledah as she prepared for the Austin Marathon. Which, she ran on Sunday and did absolutely amazing finishing in 3 hrs 52 minutes!! She was smoking! I am so proud of her!!

On Saturday I went out and ran the Cotton Patch run at the Boys Ranch with the West Texas Running Club. I ran the 8.4 mile race and was a little nervous since I had not really been running higher mileage but I knew it would be a good run either way.

It was a cold and windy morning. Plus we were out in the middle of no where, where the wind really blows! Well, I ended up running a 9:09  pace and finished in 1 hr 16 minutes and 1st place in my age group! I was so pumped! My legs were tight and sore but I felt great!! I am looking for the next race and will keep you posted!

Stuart and I are getting ready for a mission trip over spring break, so I am not focusing on races till we get back. I will post more details soon on the mission trip! It is going to be neat!!

26.2

We arrived in Houston on Saturday and headed to the Expo to get my bib, t-shirt and look around. It was so crazy! I could not believe I was actually there getting ready to run a Marathon!!

January 17, 2010 finally arrived! I slept great that night which was a surprise since I was so excited and nervous. I woke up ready to go at 4am. I was very calm as I got ready for the morning I had been preparing for for 4 months now. My sister, Stephanie braided my hair wrote “26.2” on my calf and dad wrote “Ali” on my arms. Now I am ready to go. Dad and I head downstairs for breakfast then out the hotel to the convention center. We attended a small church gathering there and got ready to head out to the starting line. This is when I began to get really excited. We saw Stuart, my Mom and Steph standing on the sidewalk down the street from the starting line. It was so nice to see them and calm my nerves.

The gun sounded and we took off. My adrenalin was pumping! I was looking at all the people lining the streets and it felt surreal. I could not believe I was actually running a marathon! My knee felt great! It took me about 3 miles to really settle in and get in the groove, but I felt great overall. I was soaking in everything I saw and enjoying every moment. The next couple of miles flew by! Dad and I were having a blast! The crowd was incredible. People were everywhere yelling our names and encouraging us. Around mile 5 I was impressed by a church whose congregation was outside lining the streets cheering runners on! They were so loud! It was awesome!

We started watching for Mom, Steph and Stuart about mile 10. I was looking forward to seeing them and about mile 11, we see these 3 people running across the street to get to where we are running.  We realize it is them!! I was so pumped to see them and for them to see how good I was feeling!

The next few miles were a little more challenging. I was ready to get to the halfway point! At 13.1 my time was 2:05:51! That is a personal record by 6 minutes!!!

Right after the excitement of 13.1, I turned to Dad and said “I really wish I was done” Dad stopped me from saying anything else and explained, it is to early to be thinking that way! I had to slow my pace way down for about a mile to get rid of side stitches. But then I realized I had just overcome one battle and knew I was going to have to overcome more. I started to notice soreness in my legs and pain in my feet from running on concrete instead of asphalt. With much encouragement from Dad, I was able to stay somewhat positive overall.

I don’t remember when, but somewhere between 15-18 the outside muscle on the bottom of my right foot started hurting. I would stop to wiggle my toes and stretch it out, run for a while and have to stop to stretch again. This continued through about mile 22. 18-22 was super tough! I was miserable and 8 more miles seemed impossible. I focused on making it to the next water stop, where I walked through and hydrated and then continued on. Without Dad there I would have probably walked that whole time. Around mile 22, I looked up and saw Stuart, Steph and Mom! I was so excited to see them!! Mom was standing there with Tylenol, gels and a bottle of water! I gladly took them all! After seeing them and making it through mile 22, I got a boost and was feeling better and ready to finish! Since we had a water bottle we decided to run through the next water stations since I was feeling good and really did not want to stop. It was almost more painful when I stopped and had to get going again.

We were getting closer to downtown and I knew we were getting close to the finish! Mile 23… 5K left… no problem! Mile 24… 2 more… wow I am really going to do this!! Mile 25… ok I am really ready to see the finish line! Mile 25.5… turn the corner, see the Finish Line but wow I was hurting! I knew if I pushed myself I could make it in 4 hours 30 minutes. Mile 26… Kick it!! As we are running to the finish line, the announcer announces our names and Dad yells out “First time Marathoner!!” and the announcer said “First time marathoner Ali, finishing in 4 hours 40 minutes” (Clock time not my chip time). I made it!!! I had just completed a Marathon!!! I was so glad to be finished and was so looking forward to getting my medal and finishers t-shirt!!

Now that my legs have forgiven me and feel better, I can think about how much fun I had! N, when and where will the next race be? I will keep you posted!!

Thank you for all the prayers, support and encouragement!!

4 Days till Houston!!!

I am pleased to report that I was able to run 3 and a half miles this morning with very little pain in my knee!! I went to see an Orthopedic doctor yesterday. He was able to locate where the pain was coming from and it is at the top of my petellar tendon at the bottom of my knee cap. He said it is tendonitis but I could also have some cartilage damage as well but we would not know for sure without an MRI. We decided to wait till after the race to get an MRI and talk more long term because the doctor reassured us that if I run on Sunday I will not further damage my knee.  He gave me a strap to wear right under my knee cap which helps take some of the pressure off the tendon and a pain relief cream to rub on my knee. So this morning I headed out with Ledah for an easy run to see how everything felt. It took me a little bit to get the tightness of the strap right but once I did there was very little pain! After a mile I stopped to stretch and readjust and after that… NO Pain!!!! Praise God!! It felt so good to be out on the road again and it really boosted my confidence! I really feel ready now!!

You can track me through email or text message allerts that can be set up here. It will ask you for my bib number and it is 7086. My dad’s bib number is 6550. He will be running with me and pacing me! So we should be together the whole time.

You can go to the Houston Marathon home page and get all kinds of information.

My goals for this race have changed a little since my knee started bothering me but here are my 2 goals for my first full marathon!
1. To Finish! I originally wanted to get between 4 hrs and 4 hrs 15 minutes but now I would be happy with 4 and a half hours to 5. Really… I just want to finish! I am not going to put the pressure of time on myself!
2. I want to run the whole time.  I have pushed through all my long runs without walking and the only reason I would have to walk is because of my knee, but I do not to walk unless I absolutely have to.

I am ready to go and so excited I can hardly stand it!! Thanks for your prayers and support!!

Off the Road

Happy New Year!!

My new year did not start as I had planned. On Thursday, I closed the store early, came home and got ready for an easy run. I started on the treadmill to break in my new shoes. After 2 miles, I was feeling great and decided to head outside for a few miles. I hit the road and felt great for the first mile. The second mile was a different story. I started to feel a sharp pain in my left knee. I stopped, stretched and then started again at a slower pace. Every time I took a step there was a horrible pain in my knee. I always carry my phone when I run but have never had to use it to call Stuart to come get me… but I did today. I was so upset and frustrated! I came home and started icing my knee and taking ibuprofen hopping it was nothing and I would feel better in the morning. I didn’t. I started to notice some swelling and continued to ice and take ibuprofen. Yesterday, I got on an elliptical for an hour to get some cardio in and used a compression brace on my knee and it felt really good. Today it has been feeling pretty good, but after talking to my dad quite a bit he told me to stay off the road and not to do anything but walk on it for at least 3 days! We think it is “Runners Knee” or Tendonitis from over use. I am hoping to get to a sports clinic tomorrow or tuesday to have it checked out just to make sure it is not something more serious. Just to easy my mind.

Houston is in 2 weeks!! I know I have trained hard but I don’t feel like I am finished. The thought of have so few miles scares me even though I am supposed to be decreasing my miles anyway. Going from almost 50 miles last week to only 10 this week is kinda scary! Plus not getting the endorphins doesn’t help! Those things are addicting 🙂

I have to really focus on eating right and resting. AHHHHHHH I may go crazy during these next 2 weeks but I want to be able to finish the marathon. I would rather have a fully healed knee with very few miles than more miles and only a semi healed knee and not be able to run my best or have to drop out. I am trying to stay positive and stay mentally strong while resting.

Hope you all had a Happy New Year and Welcome 2010!