Monthly Archives: December 2013

Looking Back, But More Importantly, Looking Forward

Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen a lot of people look back on 2013 to review the highs and lows.  I’ve seen a lot of people look forward to 2014, carefully planning out their goals and events to run or ‘tri’.  While I can easily partake in the reviewing, I must take the unusual path regarding the planning.  My husband can vouch for the fact that I’m perfectly fine doing something until either everyone seems to be doing it or someone TELLS me to do it, and then you’ll see my heel marks in the dirt all the way.

First, let me look back on 2013.

It started off with my best and worst marathon, all wrapped up in one race, the Houston Marathon in January.  When race day approached, I felt I could have trained a little better, prepared myself a little more. I’ll never know if that would have changed the outcome of the race, but it’s a feeling I didn’t like, so I chalk it up to a lesson learned. The race itself was my fastest and strongest race, even though it started in a downpour that let up to rain for nearly the first ten miles. I have to include the mental meltdown that occurred while walking/running/freaking out while heading to the start corrals, most likely caused by knowing I was going to 1) run a marathon 2) run a marathon with rain and wind and 3) need a bathroom.  This meltdown included crying, yelling, thinking the world was coming to an end, and then finally, laughing as I hovered my poncho and four other layers over my shoes to keep them dry as I waited in line to use the port-a-jon while it was absolutely POURING rain. I remember thinking or even saying, “WHO DOES THIS?” and looked around and realized that several thousand other people were doing it and were just fine.  It diverted my attention from the previous list, and looking back, it was pretty funny.  Totally unnecessary, but funny.  Another lesson learned: Don’t freak out. No matter how much you think you need to, just don’t.  I ran my best race and finished with a BQ in 3:43:18.

After my BQ run at the Houston Marathon

After my BQ run at the Houston Marathon

In the spring, I ran just for fun, and even ran a mud race for the second time. Fun.

In May, my husband took a job that would move us from southern Texas to coastal North Carolina over the summer.  This was a dream come true. My sister and I would live less than a mile from each other.  I kept on running for sanity and in August, began training with the Without Limits team.  We slowly settled in our house, but I think we are still shell-shocked from making two huge moves in two years with our two kids and four cats, including buying and selling our houses.

In September, I developed excruciatingly painful shin splints, so I had to make adjustments to my marathon plans, defer my entry to the 2014 Houston Marathon, and even the Myrtle Beach Marathon as a back up.  Lots of doctor visits and cross-training later, I’m finally healthy.

During that time when I was dealing with the injury, I was able to submit my entry into the Boston Marathon.  After waiting TEN excruciating days for the registration period to end and for the BAA to verify times, I found out I got in by a mere four seconds. Par-tay.

In October, I was on the Beach 2 Battleship 1/2 Iron Distance on the Hells Bells relay team.  I ran the 1/2 marathon, which was pretty much, the perfect race, even with injury and feeling like crap that morning.  According to my watch, I was able to run a PR at 1:44:11.  My sister swam and our friend, Wendy, rode the bike portion. What a great time!!!!!

Me, Wendy, and Randee after the B2B relay

Me, Wendy, and Randee after the B2B relay

I started swimming this fall so I could start doing triathlons in 2014.  That has been an experience and let’s say that swimming is teaching me patience and perseverance. Not many things besides motherhood can do that.

I was able to run two of my 2nd fastest 5k races this fall and win the masters female division.  That was cool. Being 40 ain’t that bad!

I started “real” training for the Boston Marathon just a few weeks ago, and we are now 16 weeks from race day. As I leave 2013 behind, I look for this race to be the race of all races. I don’t know how I will perform, but I’m setting myself up for success. The thing with marathons is that each one is it’s own organism.  So much can go wrong and so much can go right along the way, and you can have bad outcomes with all the training and preparation in the world.  You can even have a good outcome when things have gone wrong along the way.  I am not pinning all my hopes on this one race, because it’s more about the experience than the actual time on the clock when I cross the finish line.  Let’s be honest here though. Of course I would love another qualification, but really, marathons aren’t going anywhere, and I feel very lucky to just be a part of the field for the 2014 race. My family will be there to celebrate with me, and we are going to soak up as much of Boston as we can.  We already have tickets for the Red Sox/Yankees game.  I get butterflies when I think of our trip to Boston.

To help prepare for Boston, I plan on running the Myrtle Beach 1/2 marathon on February 15th and then two segments of the Quintiles Marathon relay totaling 16.2 miles. Racing in prep for a marathon always helps me mentally, plus it’s good to practice the fueling and hydrating strategies BEFORE the marathon.

After Boston, my only plan is to train for and then compete in the Beach 2 Battleship 1/2 Iron Distance.  My husband does NOT believe me when I say that my only goals are to 1) not drown and become shark bait, and 2) not come in last.  I don’t feel it’s fair to put a time goal on myself for something that I’ve never done before.  Plus, I figured there should be ONE event that I do that can just do and not worry about going faster. (This time anyway 🙂  Heehee!)  I admit, I’m extremely intimidated by this goal.  That is probably the biggest factor in me signing up for it, too.

I don’t know what other races I’ll be doing and at this point, I don’t care.  I don’t have it all mapped out, and honestly, for once, it’s a good feeling.  I’m even going to go watch my husband run a 1/2 marathon in Ocean Isle and NOT run, not even the 5k.  He’s supported me through years of running and racing, so it’s time I attend a race as purely a spectator. It’s been so long, and I’m truly looking forward to it!

So, yes, I have some pretty big goals and events going on in 2014, and I have a plan to achieve those goals.  Just last week, I had thought about 2014 and decided that if I don’t re-qualify for Boston IN Boston, I would find a race a few months after that and try again. And again if needed.  Then I thought about how annoying, expensive, and time consuming that would be, especially during the summer, and I changed my mind. I don’t need it this year.  I want to spend time at the beach, our pool, and with my family and friends, AWAKE.  And like I said before, marathons aren’t going anywhere, and I don’t plan to stop running them, so I don’t have to run all the races this year. It’s time to put my best effort into the ones I’m going to do while always remembering to enjoy them when I get there.

Isn’t it really about the journey anyway?

Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Merry Christmas!

 

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!!  It’s a great time of year for my family, lots going on, lots of sleeping in training included, which has made it difficult to fit blogging in. I have lots of ideas, plans, goals, and everything to share.  Thank you for reading and I hope you have enjoyed. There’s only more and better to continue the rest of 2013 and in 2014.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Be sure that you get your workouts in this holiday season, normally filled with fun, food, family, friends, and parties.

Be sure you don't stop working out!

Be sure you don’t stop working out!

 

Categories: marathon, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Jingle Bell 5k and 18 weeks ’til Boston!

The last few weeks have been filled with powerful workouts followed by crappy workouts followed by good ones.  Thankfully, I felt back to normal by mid-week last week and I mentally geared myself up for the Jingle Bell 5k at Wrightsville Beach on Saturday morning.

On Friday night, we attended my sister’s annual Christmas party, filled with mimosas, my brother-in-law’s awesome home brew, wine, and lots of socialization.  Late into the evening, we started playing the game “Cards Against Humanity”, a game that should only be played by non-judgy people. We laughed so much, our abs and cheeks were sore.  Hilarious.  It had been a while since I’ve had so much fun, so I didn’t mind staying up until probably 1:30 am!  I guess that wouldn’t have been a terrible thing had my alarm not been set for 6 am to prepare for the 5k.  Oy, I certainly cannot do that as easily as I used to!

One of the funniest games I've played. Cards Against Humanity.

Being goofy while playing one of the funniest games ever.  Cards Against Humanity.

After snoozing a few times, I dragged myself out of bed at 6:30 to eat a banana and some oatmeal, figure out what I was going to wear, and stretch. I picked up my sister at 7:30 and we headed to Wrightsville for packet pickup and a pre-race jog.  Many of my running group members were there and I was happy to do my warm-up with one of them.  It’s always nice to run with other people!

My plan for the race was to run as fast as I could, or at least get under 23 minutes.  Secretly, I wanted a PR, but I knew it would be tough to do. I wasn’t feeling the best due to the activities the night before, but I was feeling good enough and ready to run.  The horn blew and I took off.  My Garmin showed that I was going around 7:05 pace, which is exactly what I wanted. THEN, between mile 1 and 2, I felt my breakfast slowly creeping up where it shouldn’t go, so I slowed to what my watch read was a 7:30-ish pace.  Ok, I was good with that. It saves time to just slow down rather than stop and puke, right?  When we rounded the last corner around mile 2-2.5, I saw the building where the race finished and knew I needed to kick it a little bit.  As I got closer, I heard the coaches yelling “good job” and I felt like I finished strong.  My clocked time was 22:00.  Argh! ONE SECOND and I could have had a sub-22!  While I was thrilled to do that well, I often think what I could have done had I not slowed down (or stayed up waaaay too late).  Honestly, I was happy with my run, especially considering  how late I was up!!

A little side note here.  For 5k races, I depend on my watch for paces.  I’m unfamiliar with a 7 minute mile “feeling” since I normally run my tempo runs at 7:30 – 8 minute miles or somewhere near that.  This is the second time this watch hasn’t shown the correct race distance as I crossed the finish line, so now I realize that my pace was showing incorrectly as well.  Which is probably why I felt like my breakfast was going to come back up.  I’m ok with this for shorter races, but it really is a testament to knowing your pace and being able to run the pace you want and know it, rather than depending on a watch.

I’m about ten seconds off my PR, so I’m now determined that I’m going to pick out a 5k to run and take it down.  PR, here I come!!  So close two times in a row!!!

After the race.

After the race.

I was happy to find out that I won the female masters division, and finished 27th overall of 550+ runners.  They read someone else’s name when it was first announced, and come to find out, she was in her 30’s.  I was talking to my husband, who was buying Red Sox/Yankees tickets four our trip to Boston at the time, so I totally missed that they corrected and then re-announced my first place finish.  I headed to the podium (an actual podium!) and stood up there, hoping to not make a fool of myself because I really didn’t understand what was going on.  Dur!!  PAY ATTENTION NEXT TIME!!! I won a nice bell, plus an entry into another race.  I’m currently trying to figure out which 5k to run, the one that shall be mine (rubbing hands with a maniacal laugh).

My prize for winning the Female Masters division.

My prize for winning the Female Masters division.

I realized today that the Boston Marathon is now 18 weeks away.  It’s hard to believe it’s getting so close.  I have SO much work to do, but I know I have a good base to grow from.  I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!

Sadly, the 5k Saturday was my last race of 2013, and I look to 2014 with so much hope, excitement, and just, well, happiness.  I’m lucky in life and know that I can dream beyond anything I’ve ever imagined before. No Fear.

Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

WTH?!

So after having a really good workout week before Thanksgiving, topped off by almost getting a PR in the Thanksgiving Day 5k, then followed by another really good week of workouts, I totally fell apart this week.  And I do not like it.

This is how I feel after just the warm up.

This is how I feel after just the warm up.

The spiral of doom: panic in thinking that all my hard work has been for nothing and it’s going to take me another few weeks to get back to the way I was feeling.  All the progress is gooonnnneeeee!  I know that it’s not, but seriously, it’s been a tough week.  I assume that everyone has a bad week thrown in there and I KNOW that my “hydration” and nutrition was waaaaay off over the weekend.  I definitely hydrated enough, let’s say that, but it certainly wasn’t with water. Or tea. Holiday parties plus an afternoon with just the hubby = booze, bad food = crappy workouts. It’s a pretty straight line from one to the next.

I’m trying not to psych myself out for the 5k this weekend, the one where I’d reeeaaaallllyyyy like to get a PR.  I say to myself, “Self, if 8 minute miles feel like crap when you had to hold yourself back the week before, how are you going to handle running (or trying to) 3 miles at 7-ish minute miles?” Then I reply, “Eh, it is what it is and I’ll just do my best.”  Ok, that’s totally not what I said, but I’m trying to convince myself that’s all that I need to do.  But in reality, it really IS what it is and all I can do is run my best. Let’s just hope I feel and perform better than I have this week! I actually made a playlist for the 5k and Work Bitch is on it.  That song reminds me that really, if you want it, you have to work for it, so get yo’ ass out there and WORK BITCH!

Three cheers for proper eating and hydrating with WATER plus a side of positive attitude!!

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Inspiration Friday

Compliments of Competitor Running

Compliments of I ❤ to Run

You know me and that “F” word.  But it just seemed fitting today.  I AM tired.  But the funny thing is that it is only serving as more inspiration for the next week’s worth of workouts. I can feel myself getting stronger, faster.  I know my body is working hard, step after step, stroke after stroke, minute by minute.  And I’m not even in “real” marathon training yet either. Oy vey.

I’m currently on a 6 days on, 1 day off workout schedule.  Today is my day off. And my legs (and back, and arms, and shoulders, and feet) are thanking me. I know it’s repairing, healing, storing more energy for the next week.

My fatigue seems to fuel the desire for more fatigue, the kind of fatigue that makes you just want to lay down and sleep that really good kind of sleep, but it’s the kind that takes you to your goals.  I love it. I want more of it. I have missed it. This is not to say that I haven’t told the kickboard to f**k off when I was doing my swim workout.  I’m not saying I didn’t roll my eyes when I was doing an 8 mile run and I thought we had done 4 miles but we were only at 3.  But I kept swimming and running, because I know that quitting is not an option.

I’ve had two people call me crazy this week.  I just laugh and think that we are all a little crazy in our own right.  Marathon running isn’t crazy in the least either, at least it isn’t to me and tons of other people.  I’m not a “100-mile race” crazy, or a “full iron distance” crazy… yet.  So I thought about what inspires me and keeps me going.

I don’t think there’s just one thing that motivates me.  A challenge? Showing my kids that if they put their minds to it, they can accomplish their goals?  The endless piles of food I can eat?  Probably all of them.  But I think that truly, the most inspiring thing for me is to know that I put everything into the process of meeting my goal, and then meeting it. It’s a rush.  It’s a “lookey what I can do” for myself. It’s adrenaline and endorphins all packed into a little pill that takes the form of a race. It’s addicting.

I know for now, I accomplished my goal to be able to run the Boston Marathon.  Now I want to crush it there.  I want to complete a 1/2 iron distance next October.  And the only way to do these things is to put the work into it.  I’ve half-assed myself through so many races in the past… sure I’ve put the miles in, but I haven’t done all the extra work that goes along with training.  Sometimes a PR or a certain time wasn’t the goal, and I’m totally ok with that.  Now it’s time.  I’m going to kick it’s ass. I won’t know how much ass I can kick until I do it the right way, either. No fear, right?

For today, I’m tired as F**K, but I’m ready to head back out tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to it.

What motivates you and keeps you going?

Categories: Boston Marathon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gallop for the Gravy and a Bobble Head

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! Since I’ve had to be on the road so many years on Thanksgiving, I now enjoy staying home and most of all, running a race on Thanksgiving Day. This year it was the Gallop for the Gravy 5k held by the YMCA here in Wilmington.
The race fell on my 6th day of exercise, the day before my one day off per week, and my schedule had me running a 2 mile warm-up prior to the race. Needless to say, I was tired but I was ready to run. I don’t enjoy running pre-race, because I have always believed that that warm-up can take my precious energy away from my race. But I did what I was supposed to.  One mile in, I got warmed up so I took my big sweatshirt off.  I don’t know how, but the pins in my garmin strap came out so my watch started flapping all over the place. I haven’t had an equipment malfunction for a race before, but I knew I could just hold the watch if I couldn’t find anything to “fix” it with.  Thank goodness the lady at the Y dug through the front desk and found the perfect solution:  duct tape.

Duct tape can fix almost everything.

Duct tape can fix almost everything.

It was about 30 degrees out and felt that if I hadn’t done the warm-up, I could have gotten injured because it was just cold.

The race started at 8 am and I took off.  My goal was to run at most, 7:30 minute miles, and I was happy to find my pace was a little faster once I got settled in and past the crowded start.  I haven’t run a race in those temps before, so I was surprised to find that my lungs were a little, how do I say… sore?  Whatever it was, it was slightly uncomfortable, but I don’t think it had any affect on my finish time.  I was very please to finish in 22:17.

I had heard the race had cool bobble heads and a lot of pie giveaways, so I stayed for the awards, hoping to at least place in my age group.  I was thrilled to find that won First Place Masters Female and got to take home my own bobble head and chocolate chess pie.  I have never had chess pie before so when we dug into it, we found it was delicious!!!!  I was also very happy to find that my shin splints appear to be fully healed.  I’ve been doing speed work, longer mileage, and with all of that and a race, no pain when running or after.  I’ve been doing everything I can to help them heal and to prevent them from returning.  Let’s hope it works.

1st Place Masters Female

1st Place Masters Female

Thanksgiving was a wonderful day that I got to spend with my family.  Bonus was that we drove less than a mile to my sister’s house where we spent time with her and her husband…. a dream come true.  I have so much to be thankful for and spent the remainder of the weekend, sleeping in, doing my workouts, watching Christmas movies, drinking wine, and just being.  It. Was. Perfect.

Now that December is here, I’m enjoying a few last weeks of “light” training before the real Boston Marathon training starts.  I’m so excited, beyond thrilled, and have very high hopes for my running future.  The sky is the limit as far as I’m concerned.

 

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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