Monthly Archives: February 2014

If Every Long Run Was A Race, I’d Have More Medal Than Flavor Flav

I had a 14 mile run yesterday, including hills, so I went back downtown where I went two weeks ago.  Thankfully, I wasn’t grumpy this time; in fact, I have been in a pretty good mood despite having a cold and being very tired. It’s amazing the difference your mood can be when you look at things from the positive instead of negative. Really, I could have whined and complained (which I admit I did a little) the whole week but really, I was thankful my cold wasn’t worse and that it didn’t move into my lungs.  I was really tired from the cold, from the race last week, from a lack of sleep, and from training in general. But I’m very thankful that I can run and train and that I have a family to take care of. The sun has come out this week too, so the seasonal depression seems to have lifted.

I grabbed some gloves before I left for my run and found that I did not grab mine. I had to chuckle a little bit, but I went ahead and wore them anyway; I mean, they’re gloves so why not?  I’ll have to grab the Superman or Spiderman next time.  Suppose people on the street would find it strange for a runner to be imaginary web-slinging?  That would be good practice for running into spider webs in the summer and doing the ninja moves on them.  I digress.

My X-Ray Glove.

My X-Ray Glove.

So random thoughts filled my head while I ran my 14 miles. Of course, my random thinking centered mostly on running. I thought about the race last weekend, about my friends running the full Quintiles Wrightsville Beach marathon in just a few weeks. I thought about Boston and how surreal the entire thing still is.  Only EIGHT weeks – holy $shit!  Then I thought it was funny that in this part of training, the buildup to a marathon, that many of us spew out mileages like it’s nothing.  “Oh, I’m “only” running 14 this week.”  “I have 18 easy miles this week.”. You know the speak. Once we get into the higher mileages, running 13 miles is almost like a walk in the park.  Workouts below five miles are few and far between, and physically, it doesn’t seem like much of a workout.  I wondered how many “half marathons” I’ve run.  I mean, a half marathon is 13.1 miles, no matter how you look at it.  It is what it is.  I ran a half marathon yesterday and I’ll be running one every weekend until the end of time April.

It's no Flavor Flav, but a pretty decent collection.

It’s no Flavor Flav, but a pretty decent collection.

We run these long runs without any hoopla, without medals and t-shirts, without crowds, and without being able to say, “I ran a half marathon”. TECHNICALLY, I’ve run 9 half marathons, when in fact, I’ve run about a hundred of them. I can’t fathom how many other marathoners have done, especially ultra runners.  It becomes just a long run to many of us, and we tick them off week by week, month by month.  I’d be pretty cool to get a medal for each one, and I’d love to come home and have someone put a nice shiny medal around my neck, then feed me chocolate milk and oranges and say “great job”. Oh, and when we do full marathons, we would get a bonus medal for doing a double half.  Ok, maybe that’s a little much, but I don’t think we should lose sight that we, in fact, ARE running half marathons all the time. It’s time to celebrate!  Bring out your Flavor Flav during your next long run – put your arms up at that 13.1 “finish” line, just to celebrate another marker in your running career. Maybe, just maybe, when you get home, someone will be waiting with a medal, some oranges, and a pat on the back.

Flavor Flav

Flavor Flav – My long run bling could kick his bling’s ass.

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Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Myrtle Beach 1/2 Race Recap

Race weekend started just after noon on Friday.  My sister picked me up and we headed 90 minutes south to Myrtle Beach.  The first thing we did when we got there was go to the convention center to pick up our race packets.  The expo was set up nicely and pickup was easy.  Sis was racing the 5k that evening and I was racing the 1/2 on Saturday morning.

The 5k was pretty awesome. They had glo sticks and glasses, plus glowy alien antennas for the participants to wear. The music was great, the finish line was lit up with neon lights, and my sister rocked her race.  We were off to a good start!  We went to Liberty Steakhouse & Brewery so I could get my pre-race burger and her a post-race meal. Yum.

Having a little fun before the 5k.

Having a little fun before the 5k.

I was watching the weather forecast closely the entire week and just Thursday, all of a sudden, there was a chance of rain. I had been running in the freezing cold rain for the past week, so it’s ok, but I was just tired of it and didn’t want to have to deal with rain for a race.  When I got out of bed at 4:45 am on race morning, I immediately checked the forecast and thought this: “FUUUUUUDDDGGGGGEEEEEE”  when I saw this:

Um, yeah, we were going to get wet.

Um, yeah, we were going to get wet.

I was pissed. Really? Of all the $hitty weather we’ve had the past few weeks and then we get THIS to race in?  I can run and race in the rain. I’ve PR’d in the rain before. But it sucks, makes it less likely/more difficult, and I wasn’t prepared as I totally forgot my poncho. My main concern was to keep my shoes dry and I had no way to do that, PLUS we were running from the hotel to the start. Oy. My head was spinning with swear words but I maintained my calm.  There’s nothing you can do about the weather, so there’s no reason to let it ruin your race.  It is what it is, right?

There were three of us who were going to run from the hotel to the start line together, so we gathered our flimsy little garbage bags and posed for a picture while we all had feelings of dread as we watched the cold rain fall.

Me, Kristen, and Wendy

Me, Kristen, and Wendy

We ran to the shelter of a gas station that was conveniently located right by the start line.  We waited there until just a few minutes before the race started and then headed to get our place at the start. My PLAN was to get to the start line 30 minutes before race time so I could use the bathroom.  You runners know what I mean when nerves get to you and many times, you just have to go. And to those of you (not me) who drink coffee, wow, you go A LOT 🙂  I really don’t know how you do that.  Anyway, I didn’t get a chance to hit the can before the race would start so as I was standing there, all of a sudden, I needed to go. I decided that I would just go with my pre-race mantra, “Never trust a fart”, and suck it up, so to say. Thankfully that didn’t backfire on me, no pun intended.

Evidently there was an elephant at the start, but I couldn’t hear nor see anything that was going on and all of a sudden, they were counting down from 10 for the race to start. I started my music and got ready to go. The 1/2 and full marathons started at the same time but at different lanes of the road, so that decreased the crowding.  I thought it would be a slow start, but I found that I was at the pace I wanted right from the beginning and didn’t have to dodge a lot of traffic.

Thankfully, the rain stopped right before the race started, and I was very careful to avoid stepping in any puddles. My shoes were slightly wet, but I didn’t feel it was going to be an issue.  At about 1.5 miles, we turned into the wind.  And this was no breeze either. I’m guessing at the time, it was a good 15 mph sustained and gusts up to about 30.  After about three miles, I had kept my pace of about 7:45, which was :10 faster than my race plan. I was good with that.  My breathing felt good, legs were strong, and at that point, I knew I was going to PR, it was just a matter of how much.  My mind wouldn’t focus on my music like it normally does, and I found myself distracted.  By what, I don’t really know, but I was irritated. The wind was annoying, the guy who’s spit blew onto my leg was annoying, the ocean wasn’t pretty, the girl who passed me and then went right in front of me to just slow down annoyed me, but the girl who had spare change jingling in her pocket made me the maddest.  Why on EARTH do you need spare change in your pocket while running at least 13.1 miles? I don’t get it. I almost pushed her.

Around mile 6.5, we turned and were gifted with wind at our backs.  It was great. My pace decreased slightly and when a gust of wind blew, I let it take me.  At some points, I was at a 7:10 pace, which made me feel very happy.  As happy as I could be for being unnecessarily grumpy anyway. I was trying to do the math to see about where I would finish, but I didn’t know what a 1:44 half pace was, so I didn’t know how much leeway I had.  I used how many minutes/seconds I was under an 8:00 pace.  That used up some time since still, I just can’t do math well when I run.  It only took me about five minutes to figure out what 8 x 8 was and be comfortable with my answer.  (It’s 64.)  I knew my pace was decreasing since the “leeway” I had for under an 8 minute mile was increasing.  I wondered if I was close to a sub-1:40.  I gave it as much as I felt comfortable giving that race.  My knee was bugging me, my calf was a little tight, and I felt a different kind of hot sensation on the ball of my right foot.  Was that a blister forming?  I’d never had one but I hoped it wouldn’t cause any pain before the race was over.

At mile 9, I was spent.  I was going under my planned race pace, but I knew I needed to keep going or I’d have regrets. I got my Gu with caffeine out and ate most of it.  THAT had to be fun to watch.  I bet I looked like I was either going to gag or barf, or gag THEN barf.  But it got most of it down, just so I could have a little sugar for the remaining four miles.

“Come on, Kelli, you’re doing it, you’re pushing yourself harder than you’ve ever done before, you knew it wouldn’t be easy, you’re strong, you CAN do this, make yourself proud, make all your training worth it.  Right Now.  This is your moment, this is your race, don’t regret your decisions now.”

Somewhere between mile 11 and 12, we had to turn into back into what had to be a 30 mph wind and head to the finish.  I felt the energy just being blown away by the wind.  My pace slowed and I was royally pissed that I saw an 8:15 for my current pace.  I tried, I pushed, I said “shit” about a hundred times as I fought into it.  “Do NOT let this MFing wind beat you now.”

Almost at the finish.

Almost at the finish.

I turned the corner to the finish line and saw the official race clock turning over to 1:40.  I knew I wasn’t going to be making that ultimate goal of a sub 1:40, and it pissed me off. The MFing wind. BUT, I was thrilled though, to accomplish a big PR (about a 4 1/2 minute PR) and race the half in 1:40:15.  I finish 6th of 284 in my age group, 41st of 1623 females, and 180th overall of 2893 runners. The training was working, was worth it, and then I cried, partly in happiness, partly because I missed 1:40 by a sliver.  Competitive, aren’t I?

PR 1:40:15

PR 1:40:15

So a few days post-race, I feel that I would totally do Myrtle Beach again. The route wasn’t really too boring and the weather, well, the weather is just the weather. The race was what I consider to be expensive for a 1/2 marathon, but the swag was good and it appeared the post-race setup was really nice (We left before we could really enjoy it).  They had warm chicken noodle soup for us cold runners, lots of food offerings, sports drink, water, chocolate milk, and some other things that I didn’t pay attention to. I think there was a band and they gave us tickets to the post-race party at the House of Blues for that evening. We were cold and wanted to head back to the hotel, so we finally made it back, and it was just after 9:00 am. Wow, what a day already!

I look back at the race and feel that I did what I came to do. I probably could have pushed a little harder, but I didn’t want to hurt myself.  This is not my “A” race, it’s a prep race for Boston.  I learned to not eat late and not give myself enough time to truly wake up before having to head to the race start.  I also learned that we can give our runner power to the weather if we choose.  It was truly terribly windy (so thankful I didn’t run the full marathon), but I came out and conquered my goal.  I didn’t let it mess with my head.  The owner of my training group, Without Limits, actually won the full marathon with a PR in 2:30:05.  That just goes to show that you can accomplish amazing things when you may not expect it; however, you must still believe in yourself and just go do it.

Today is Monday, and I had an 1850 swim on schedule. I did NOT want to do it.  I woke up with a sore throat, was physically tired, and well, didn’t want to deal with the water aerobics people (sometimes the perfume is gaggingly overwhelming). But I also realized that had I skipped workouts prior to Myrtle Beach, I wouldn’t have been as successful.  So I got my gear and headed to the pool. Performances like Saturday’s don’t happen when you skip your training.  No excuses, no fear.

My Medal

My Medal

View before my 5 mile recovery run on Sunday.

View before my 5 mile recovery run on Sunday.

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Race Flashback and A Tip for Other Runners

My first marathon was the Myrtle Beach Marathon way back in February of 1999.  Since I’m returning to “The Beach” on Saturday for my 1/2 marathon, I thought I’d share my #1 tip in marathon running that I learned when I ran that first marathon, 15 longishly short years ago.

It’s amazing how young I was when I ran that marathon. And it’s amazing how dumb I was about training too. Yes, my view on running was different back then, but I so totally wasted my youthfully fast running potential.  I think back and wonder what I could have done had I trained and gone for time goals.  I was so fresh and injury-free.  Sigh.  My only goal back then was to finish a marathon.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would become a tried and true marathon addict and end up qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  So I didn’t take it too seriously back then, but I did do the work… sort of.  My training consisted of running a little bit (I had no way of really measuring since Garmins weren’t around, that I know of anyway) during the week and then running a long run on Thursdays, up to one 20 miler.  I didn’t do any tempo or speed work, and although I knew of the word fartlek, I wouldn’t have known what it really was.

I don’t remember a lot of details about that first marathon, but one certainly sticks out.  I was with a group that included my husband-to-be and my sister who were doing the marathon relay, and we were hanging out in the parking lot – doing what I do not know. I remember the National Anthem playing and saying something like, “Shouldn’t we get to the start area?”  We meandered over there and I knew I needed to pee again before I started running, and while I was IN the port-a-jon, the start gun went off.  Oh crap! (No pun intended.) I remember feeling like I missed a pretty big moment and that I was screwed, but I had a chip timer (I think one of those clunky ones on my shoe) so it really wasn’t a terrible deal, but I scurried to the back of the pack. Whew! Made it.  It is not good to feel as if you’ve actually missed your race, so here it is, my #1 tip for racing: Don’t be in the bathroom when the race starts. D’oh! And if you’re wondering, I’m still a little scarred from that experience and I will never, NEVER be in a bathroom when a race is close to starting. EVER.

The only other thing that sticks out in my memory is that the course past the half marathon split was boring.  BOR-ING.  I got sore along the way, which is pretty much a given for any marathon, and I remember the weather was nice.  That’s about it.

1999 Myrtle Beach Marathon

1999 Myrtle Beach Marathon

I don’t know where that picture above was taken along the course, but look at that oversized cotton shirt!  What IS that? Does it actually say, “SPRING BREAK” on it?!  I’m probably wearing cotton socks too! Wow.  But no matter the fashion blunders and location errors when starting the race, I was so proud to finish my first marathon in 4:37.  I still am very proud of that.

Just for kicks, look at the picture that was taken a year later when I was running the marathon relay.  What the HELL is the race bib doing that high and why didn’t someone make me lower it???

This is just a mess.

This is just a mess.

So as I sit here watching icy tree branches fall while I ready my race playlist and make a list of supplies I need to take with me to Myrtle Beach on Friday, all I know for sure is that I will NOT be in the port-a-jon when my race starts on Saturday.  Wish me luck, I’m hoping for a PR!

Anyone else make blunders before a race?

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Everything is Awesome

I convinced myself to be happy over the weekend, when I really wanted to be grumpy.  Thankfully, I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. I have a lot of things to get done this week (anyone else filing taxes??) and my big race is Saturday morning at 6:30.  It’s gonna be ccccoold!!!  I still don’t think the reality has hit me yet, but maybe it will when I get my new play list together….  We shall see.

I thought I’d share a little Lego lady my son made for me.  She’s supposed to be running, but when you make her look like she’s running, she falls over. Not too far from the truth some days.  Anyway, he thought it would be cute to make me my very own Lego person, to which I thought was amazingly sweet and thoughtful. There are no Lego iPods, so the next best thing is a boom box.  I don’t think he gets what a boom box really is, but I would have totally loved this purple one back in the day when I actually had a boom box.  And the thing behind me is a “tree”.  I’m still not certain what that’s all about, but he did hear me talking about enjoying trail running.  That’s my best guess. And we have trees in our back yard.

Enjoy your day, your week, and remember, Everything is Awesome! 

I am a Lego runner.

I am a Lego runner.

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Attitude Adjustment in 10 Easy Steps

Some days I wake up grumpy and I don’t know why.  I always get up on the same side of the bed, so it’s not like I’m getting up on the “wrong” side of the bed. I had a 10 mile run on schedule for this morning in downtown Wilmington so I could get some hills in, although the “hills” of Wilmington aren’t big or long. They’re better than just running on the flat surfaces and I can always tell when I run them, so I know they’re doing some good.  I didn’t have the best day yesterday, for no reason in particular. I was bound and determined to not be grumpy about it, even when I had an “undesirable” run in 40 degree rain, my kids were arguing over who touched each other’s Lego’s, my awesome dog won’t stop digging in the back yard, and we had to attend an outdoor birthday party for my son’s friend.  It was 39 degrees. And that was just before 1:30 pm.

So when I got up this morning, I knew I was grumpy and I knew I didn’t know why. I made it through Saturday ok and I can think of a million things that could have made the day actually bad instead of irritating, so I figured I’d be in a better mood today. Wrong. I drove downtown and started running.  It’s pretty quiet at 8 am on a Sunday, and I found myself really enjoying the silence, only broken by the low volume of my iPod in my ears. I could hear the birds, a few cars, and then, pretty much nothing. Oh, I did hear myself say, “Holy crap you scared me” when another runner passed me when I didn’t know he was behind me.  Gotta love those exhilarating moments that get your heart rate right up there. Besides THAT part of it, it was exactly what I needed.  I felt better after my solo excursion, and no matter what happened to me the rest of the day, I was determined to make it a good day.

So in order to help anyone else out there who may be suffering from the “it’s still winter and it ain’t done yet” blues, the “my kids won’t stop getting on my nerves” annoyances, or just anyone who may be suffering from a case of the Monday’s on any given day, I thought I’d devise and share a plan to help you get through it, or more importantly, get over it.

STEP 1:  Go running.  If you want to or not, just go. You’ll feel better.

STEP 2: Look around at your surroundings.  Appreciate it.  I looked over the Cape Fear River when I got to my destination and that immediately made me feel better.  Maybe it’s freezing out where you are and you’re looking at the nice digital numbers on a treadmill.  Well, aren’t they GORGE?  Beautiful, huh!? Those glimmery numbery things.

Looking over the Cape Fear River Bridge.

Looking over the Cape Fear River Bridge.

STEP 3: Do something nice.

I saw several sanitation workers downtown who were cleaning up messes from the day and night before.  I felt for them because I do the same exact thing, just in my own house. I’m sure they were thinking “WOW, these people are so damn messy”.  Yup, that’s exactly how I feel at home.  So I picked up a few pieces of paper I saw and threw them in the trash.

I also saw a situation that pissed me off and decided to go “help”.  A guy was standing there yelling at his girlfriend with her little son just standing there watching the entire thing. I didn’t appreciate it and wanted to be sure the girl was ok. So I inserted myself in a situation that could have turned out to be volatile, but I wanted the girl to know I was there and was watching.  I said a few unsavory things to the guy to which he replied and blamed it on her, but I’m the “fight” kind of person in a “flight or fight” situation like that, especially if there’s a child involved.  I didn’t feel she or the kid was in danger at all, so I left.  They probably didn’t think I was helping, but I smiled at the kid and he smiled back.  That’s all that mattered to me.

STEP 4: Work hard.  Push it.

I was there to do 4 miles of hills and the rest not-so-hilly.  I ran two miles out and back and then did the figure 8 on the three streets that have the short but steep hills. There’s some steep parts (shown in picture) and then the streets between them have a nice slope as well.  When I got to the hills, I worked it and I added a few hills in when I wasn’t supposed to, just because. My legs felt tired, my breathing increased, I sweated. Good work will almost always make you feel better. If you’re not doing hills, give a few miles a push, and that should do the trick too.

They're short, but they're steep.

They’re short, but they’re steep.

STEP 5: Listen to good music. When I’m irritated, I like to listen to music that includes swearing (Eminem anyone?).  So I listened to some of that, and then as I started to relax and got the cobwebs out of my head, I listened to my 5k play list.  That always makes me feel good and energized.

STEP 6: Make lemonade out of lemons. Yesterday’s one-hour run could have been a nightmare. I don’t normally mind running in the cold or the rain, but the cold rain really bothered me this time.  The minutes ticked by slowly, and I counted down.  “Ok, one fourth the way through, one third the way through….” until I was done. I pushed all the negative thoughts away because 1) I knew I had to get my run in and 2) I had to get my run in and 3) it wasn’t snowing.  There was no reason to let it bother me.  I got to talk to a good friend at the cold birthday party too, so that was good. Negativity begets negativity and I didn’t want to allow it in.

STEP 7: Do something different. If you’re having one of “those” days, try to shake up your routine.  I went down town to run, something that I’ve only done once, and it was a nice change.  After I was done running, I went to a little coffee shop and had something I normally don’t get.  First of all, I rarely get coffee from any other place than home.  Second, I normally just get coffee.  So this morning, I had an amazing white chocolate raspberry latte.  It was worth all the calories.  I savored it all the way home and even shared some with my son who happens to love coffee. Well, coffee with something else in it besides coffee.

A White Chocolate Raspberry Mocha Latte

A White Chocolate Raspberry Mocha Latte and Green Machine

STEP 8:  Be thankful. I have had major injuries from running before, and I know how much happiness I get from running. I was very thankful that I was able to run.  I GET TO RUN THE BOSTON MARATHON.  I was happy that I have a family to come home to, a warm house, a goofy dog, demanding cats, and all those things.  Yes, they irritate the crap out of me sometimes, but I’m thankful they’re all there to irritate me.

STEP 9:  Listen to this song and believe it to be true.   

Chances are you’ll be singing along too.  All day. And then the next.  Who can’t be in a good mood when you’re always singing about how awesome things are?!  Thanks Lego Movie.  YOU are awesome.

STEP 10:  If all of the prior nine steps fail, go home, pour yourself a glass of beer or wine, sit your butt on the couch with your feet up, and watch your favorite show.  I’m limiting myself to only ONE glass because of my training.  And there you go.

Only ONE glass!

Only ONE glass!

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

That’s Amore (to get the full effect, sing it!)

As I told someone earlier this week, I’m totally hot and heavy with running right now.  My workouts are going really well, my legs are feeling strong, I’m getting faster with less effort, and (crossing my fingers and knocking on wood) I’ve had no indicators of injury – all in all, I’m lovin’ it! I’m simultaneously icing and stretching as I write this, just in case….. I never would have thought that 8:30-8:40 pace would now be my “easy” pace. It’s a good feeling, and I’m just in love with running and training, training and running.  I’m also trying to be really careful when it comes to personal health too.  It’s completely normal to dip your kids in Lysol and soapy water as soon as they get off the bus, isn’t it? Orange juice, anyone???

Today is my day off running, and as much as I need it and wanted it, I’m already thinking of tomorrow.  40 degrees and rain? Ok. I’m running. Wind? Whatever, I’ll wear an extra layer. I’m planning it, thinking about it, and visualizing it.  And it’s just a casual run.  Sunday is some regular “easy” running with hills thrown in for almost half of it. I’ve got my route already planned out, the timing of it, and I’m looking forward to it.

Next Saturday morning at 6:30, I’ll be stepping to the line of a pretty big challenge, the Myrtle Beach 1/2 Marathon.  I’m aiming for an official PR, which is anything under 1:44, but I’m not going to get overzealous about it.  I have a race plan, and I’m sticking to it.  This isn’t my absolute A race, so I’m not going all out.  I’m feeling confident about it, probably more than I have for any other race, but yet, I’m not nervous.  Yet. Maybe that’s experience talking, maybe it’s just that I haven’t absorbed the thought of stepping up my game for an entire 13+ miles, maybe I’m just in denial.  I don’t know what it is, but it’s a good feeling, a sort of calm, like you know what’s going to happen and you’re ok with however it turns out.  Maybe that’s the love of running.

I’m hoping this love affair will remain until the end of April and I will avoid that burnout phase… you know, the one where you love running but you just don’t like it at that time?

For now, I’ll just dream of new running shoes, that runner’s high feeling, and the thought of feeling strong through a race I know will kick my ass.  So in prep for the race, I’m re-doing my playlist.  Anyone have songs that I MUST have?  I have a lot of go-to songs, and I have some new ones since my last race, but I’m always looking for new options.

Good luck to anyone racing this weekend!!!

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

The Value of Racing

On Tuesday evenings, I go run with my group.  I’m not a huge fan of running at night, primarily because my stomach is easily upset only when running at night, which is strange because I can normally eat whatever the hell I want and then run with no negative side effects.  Thankfully I’ve almost figured out when I can eat my last meal so I’m not hungry during the run or feel like someone along side me is stabbing me with a paring knife.  That doesn’t feel good.  I’m always happy when I get home since I love good tempo runs, especially when they’re with other people and we have no idea what we will be doing until we get there…. you know, that element of surprise.  Anyway, I’m making my family dinner for tonight and tomorrow, as a good domestic goddess does, and while I sneak bits of Velveeta that I’m making into cheese sauce eat carrots, I can’t help but think about some conversations I’ve had over the last few weeks.  One was with my husband and I had to tell him I REALLY wish I had a gas stove because I detest electric stoves after using gas for two years. I SWEAR that by the time my big pan of water is going to actually boil, all of the water will have steamed itself out of the pan because it is taking FOR-FREAKING-EVER.  But I digress.

Another conversation was with a friend of mine who is adamant that faster runners judge slower runners.  Maybe that is true or maybe it isn’t (although it is not true for me), but the point turned to how you feel about your own running.  My point to the friend was this: DO NOT determine your own value by the time that reads when you cross the finish line. Find it in the fact that you set a goal, worked toward the goal, and then finished it.

I know I’m not the slowest runner and I’m not the fastest (this does not ring true for swimming as I’d be willing to make a fairly large bet that I would, in fact, be the slowest swimmer – the difference is that I DO NOT CARE).  There will always be people who run slower than me and there will always be people who run faster.  Again, I don’t give two hoots about that most of the time, as I am competing against myself and my own clock and my own goals.  If I started to put my own value as a runner on how fast I finish, I would never be fast enough.  I would never be good enough.  That’s a lot of pressure, isn’t it?

Isn’t it contradictory to tell people to STOP worrying about their time when you’re discussing a sport where there’s a clock running to measure how you measure up?  Isn’t the point to measure the fact that if you run faster, than you’re better?  Well, yes and no.  Faster doesn’t necessarily mean better.  I look at the big picture.  Races are typically their own organism.  There’s days and weeks and months before them that can affect the outcome.  Instead of finding reasons why we aren’t as good as others though, I truly believe we need to celebrate our finishes, no matter the time that reads when the finish line is crossed, no matter if it’s a 100 meter dash or an ultra marathon, whether you’re first or last. If you’re doing the work and finishing the race, that’s the real point of it.  At least it should be.

The beauty of running is that so many people can share in the experience of a race and every finisher is celebrated.    So I tell my friend that he needs to stop putting pressure on himself to be a certain speed.  He is a runner, and that’s what really matters.

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

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