Monthly Archives: January 2015

Why Do You Run?

This week, Hal Higdon’s Marathon Facebook page asked a simple question. Why do you run? It took me just a few minutes to figure out what I wanted to say to one of my absolute favorite celebrities, but this was my answer:

“It is something that makes me truly happy and is my own. I think, I vent, I laugh, I cry when I run. I come back home happier, healthier, and refreshed, even after Advanced II training :)”

This is a VERY simplified answer to a question that could take me weeks to answer. My husband nods his head in agreement that I could take weeks to explain/talk about running, how much I love it, and why I do it.  I love to run. It’s a part of me, it’s part of who I am. I do it for so many reasons, but the first and foremost reason is that I love to run and that being so, it makes me happy.

If anyone read my Boston Marathon post about the expo, you’d know that I stalked Hal’s booth for over an hour and never got to see or meet him. What’s so great about Hal? Well, let me tell you. When I first started running for time, I read his books. All of them. Like in the Pixar film Ratatouille, Remy learned from a chef who believed that “everyone can cook”. I believe HaI teaches running to everyone and believes “everyone can run”. His plans are for everyone, the slower runner, the faster runner, the beginner, the experienced. I learned from him (a LOT), I did what he said, I learned more, and I got fast. I tried, I failed, but it wasn’t because of his plan, that’s for sure. I REALLY wanted to meet him in person and thank him for all the advice to me. I took his advice personally, so it was personal to me to thank him. I’m following his Advanced II Marathon plan right now, and it’s a very good, solid training program. I have full confidence I will be able to qualify for Boston again using this plan.

So suffice to say, when I got a message FROM HAL in my Facebook inbox, I freaked out. HAL HIGDON MESSAGED ME.

hal's message

OMG. It was almost like meeting Shalane Flanagan four days after Boston last year. I might have yelled, but I don’t remember. I might have peed a little too. But I was jumping up and down and twirling around like a 2 year old little girl who just met Elsa, so really, can you blame me? Me? In a book??????? Holy crap. More on that below.

ANYWAY.  This week has been pretty good as far as training goes. Monday was 4 easy miles, Tuesday was a tempo workout that would have been ok had I run it with someone else. It was just tough and I actually stopped for about ten seconds in the middle of the hard tempo part. I’m thinking I was still tired from the race, but I tried to suck it up, Buttercup. Wednesday’s easy 5 miler felt A-Mazing and ended up turning into a pace run at 8:13 average, so I was happy about that. It was cold (I know, I know, all you northerners and rolling your eyes when I say cold), but my pup wanted to run when I got home, so I took her out. She was so cute and bouncy as she played with the leash. She just loves the “cold”.

Scarlett and me. What a good girl.

Scarlett and me. What a good girl.

I switched up my workout for Thursday and ended up doing 7 x 800’s.

Pretty good pace, but why am I slightly disappointed?

Pretty good pace, but why am I slightly disappointed?

All of the 800’s were between 3:30 and 3:34.  I honestly don’t know if I should be more tired when I’m done. I was tired, but I wasn’t TIRED. Should I be stepping up? Should I be pushing harder to finish? I know I need to keep them consistent and not slow down as I go, but how hard should I push? Food for thought, time to bring out Hal’s book, isn’t it?

Friday is my day off, and I have to admit that I’m slightly anxious for the thirty miles to run this weekend (nothing new), ten on Saturday and twenty on Sunday, 30-90 seconds slower than race pace. My reward will be eating some good food without guilt on Super Bowl Sunday! Ha! I’m looking forward to the challenge though.

Anyway, I’m going to email the information Hal asked me for 🙂 and if I end up winning an autographed book THAT I’M QUOTED IN (he didn’t say he would send me one or that I would actually be quoted but I’m fantasizing about it), I’ll be sure to aim myself towards the yard, so when I pass out finding it in the mailbox, I will fall into the grass and not the street and get run over. Imagine the headline on that one. Then once I recover and explain to all my retired  neighbors that I wasn’t drinking and then explain WHO Hal Higdon is and that I’m not cheating on my husband, I’ll go inside and see my name printed in a Hal Higdon book and then pass out in the safety of my own home. Wonder if I should cover all the sharp edges?

So in keeping with that theme, tell me, why do YOU run? And should I fall-proof my house?

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Categories: Boston Marathon, hal higdon training plan, marathon, qualifying for boston marathon, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Beethoven 15k Race Recap and Why Negative Splits Might Be The Thing For Me

I’m using the Hal Higdon Advanced II training plan to get ready for the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon on March 22nd. My goal is to get a 3:43 or better and re-qualify for Boston and PR. I would LOVE to be able to get a sub-3:40, but since I started my training and speed late, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to crank that out. But I’m sure gonna try! On Hal’s schedule last week was a half marathon race. Since I didn’t see one that I could go to, I decided to switch weeks up and run the 15k and some bonus miles this weekend and did this week’s workout LAST weekend. I’m amazed at how the change in schedule has allowed me to miss some really crappy weather to run in, so yea me! Fist bump.

This was Friday night. It continued into Saturday. Yikes.

This was Friday night. It continued into Saturday. And I’m guessing the humidity was slightly closer to 100%.

I had Friday AND Saturday off this week, which was so awesome I almost felt guilty, then I looked ahead at the schedule and realized that no, I’ve got it coming. I knew a lot of people who were going to be at the race, so I was looking forward to it, and yet again, the downpours, wind, and crap had moved out of our area by race eve. The timing couldn’t have been better, as race morning was going to be cold but clear and sunny with little wind, if any. I LOVE to race in the cold. Not “freeze your face off” cold, but t-shirt, tights, and gloves cold.

I had a pretty hefty goal to run the 15k at 7:45’s, but it was more of a time trial so I could see where I was in pacing, speed ability, and endurance. I had nothing at stake and nothing to lose if it wasn’t going to work, but deep down, I had doubts. I know, shocker, isn’t it? Maybe it’s just so I wont be disappointed, maybe that’s my defense mechanism, but it’s getting old. The timing of the race was a little weird (9:00, which is late for me), and I did NOT want to run out of energy, so I ate a peanut butter sandwich before I left home, along with my typical small glass of orange juice. I grabbed a banana, granola bar, chomps, and two energy gels just to have. I have been very hungry lately, so wanted to be prepared!

I got there in plenty of time, picked up my packet, and had my 2 mile warm up to do. It felt like crap and turned into 1.6 miles. I wasn’t out of breath necessarily, but my stomach was bothering me a little bit, which it was when I got up, so that had nothing to do with my nutrition. But I felt like crap anyway.  “Oh well, SHIT!” was what I thought. Having a bad warm up before a race is nothing new. In fact, the day before Boston, my 20 minute run was one of the worst runs I’d had the entire training cycle. Heavy breathing, no energy. It. Was. Horrible. So I’m not all that upset when it happens anymore, but I was looking to adjust my goals. I thought, “let’s try negative splits”. I was thinking of that anyway, but decided to go ahead and start slow and go from there. I ate the chomps and granola bar, got new gum, and found some peeps to hang with.

I planned to run in my Adidas Boosts, but I was hesitant since they didn’t always feel like they fit right. I decided at the last minute to go ahead and wear them, and if they didn’t work, I’d know after the race.

It was race time. The guy said, “Ready, set, GO!!” and we were off. Whoahhhhh there and slow down red rocket. Pace started at 7:15, so I took the foot off the gas and backed it down. Strange. I felt pretty damn good! Breath was even, good crowd to run with, but I still wanted to go with negative splits. At the 3 mile mark, I was at 23 minutes. Hmmm, that’s an aggressive pace. I knew I had a super fast first .5 mile in there, but I was glad that I still felt good with a 7:40 pace overall. Ok, then, so it was time to KEEP that pace. Garmins are Garmins, so I tried to go more on feel than what the watch said. When I was getting more out of breath, I backed off a little. When I felt good, I surged a little. When I crossed the 6 mile mark, I was able to do the math and see that I was still on the 7:40 pace (I know it’s not calculus, but remember, when running, I can turn a 40k into 60 miles in my head). Silly me, this is what I get when my warm ups are bad, friggin awesome runs. Bring it on then! So here goes. You want to do negative splits? Do them then. You want to go back to Boston? Then do the work! Get yo ass movin’!

I have to say, that this was one of the most focused I’ve been during a race since before Boston. I don’t know what it was, but I had my music on loud and I just paid attention to the road in front of me. It was a good focus, and I was happy to have found it.  So with three miles to go, I pushed the gas a little. I saw women running in front of me, and I thought, “I’m comin’ for YOU”, and slowly, I picked off about four or five of them. I was definitely going faster this split, and I was amazed at how good it felt to feel good at the end of a race. THIS is why you negative split. I kept at it, didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to my Garmin, had to slow down on the wooden walkway that felt slick, but pushed myself. Soon, the end was near. I could hear someone behind me and once her shadow got close enough, I could tell it was a girl. Nooooo, don’t let her pass! The finish line came into view and it was RIGHT THERE. I gunned it as fast as I could. Then she flew by me. Shit. Well, the good thing is that I knew I couldn’t have done better right then. Maybe a little here and there, but I left it on the course, and I felt good. It was the second time that I’ve been passed right at the end during a 15k, and this was my second 15k. Damn. Both times, the ladies thanked me for keeping them going, so I guess I just do what I can to help other runners 🙂

I didn't do that. I was just happy that I tried really hard. Yeah. That's it. That's how I felt :)

I didn’t do that. I was just happy that I tried really hard. Yeah. That’s it. That’s how I felt 🙂

Finish time: 1:10:45 (give or take a few seconds, haven’t seen official results yet)

Pace: 7:36 based on that finish time

Since I’ve done another 15k, I was happy to get a pretty big PR this morning too! A FIVE FREAKING MINUTE PR!

1st in Age Group 40-44 – Who whoo!!! I won shit!!!!!

A Medal AND a Coffee Mug? Awesome.

A Medal AND a Coffee Mug? Awesome.

As for the Boosts? I’m feelin’ some major Boost love going on. They were friggin’ perfect.

I love them so much they're on the table.

I love them so much they’re on the table.

I’ve been planning to negative split in the marathon. Based on my little race today, it just makes me want to try it more. It feels good to finish strong, to have gas in the tank, to push when you’re tired, and to BE ABLE to push when you’re tired. It feels good to hold back, to conserve energy. It’s also cool to pass people too. Another thing I learned AGAIN is to push hard when tired, which is a first cousin to negative splits. I’ve done this before, but I have a tendency to let the fatigue take over and slow down. I had to focus, be determined, and know that I have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s all mental training for the marathon.

I’ve got a big week coming up, lots of miles to put in and two swim sessions to fit in. No other races are scheduled prior to the marathon, but I’d like to tackle a 5k next month. We’ll see. I’m also in full force with planning some sort of middle school running program. I’m a little overwhelmed with how to go about doing it, but I’ve met and am talking to lots of different people to help come up with a program. If anything, I’d like to bring the new and improved Middle School Stride program to every middle school in the county. The kids need it.

What did you do this weekend? Scoop snow? Race? Long run? Nothing?

Categories: 15k race, hal higdon training plan, marathon training, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Why It’s Good To Have A Mirror Handy When Eating Smoothies

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Yeah, WEAR SUNSCREEN WHEN YOU’RE YOUNG!!!

Toothbrush, anyone?

Toothbrush, anyone?

I had a good hill workout on Tuesday. Downtown Wilmington is the one place in town where there are any hills at all, and they’re teeny short, steep ones, so you basically have to serpentine your way up and down them several times.  I enjoy down downtown and it was peaceful, well, except for all the second hand smoke – people smoke a LOT in the mornings. When I got home, I knew I needed a good stretch, so I ended up doing my runner’s yoga video for 25 minutes.

Running past the old buildings down town Wilmington.

Running past the old buildings down town Wilmington.

My shins started bothering me, more in the “normal” area, lower than the hot spot I had the major issues with before. I knew I’d put tons of miles on my legs and was a little worried it might be too much, so when they were really sore on my easy run on Wednesday, I was not NOT AT ALL happy. I gave myself some active release therapy (OUCH!), iced, and tried not to panic.

This morning, I had a 45 minute tempo run, and of course I was intimidated, but I got it done and it felt good. I slowly worked paces down from 8:45-8:15 during the 15 minute warm up to 8:15 – 7:00 and slightly under for 20 minutes, followed by a cool down for 10 minutes, and I was pretty happy. I was THRILLED to find that my shins did not hurt. SIGH. Thank goodness. I have two days off and on Sunday, I have a 15k race.

The sun is out and NO PAIN IN MY SHINS!!!!!

The sun is out and NO PAIN IN MY SHINS!!!!! And no blueberries!

So this race. I’m not entirely sure what pace to try to go, but I have a total of 13.1 miles that day. I think I might try and do a few warm up miles at marathon pace (8:15-8:30), run the 15k at 7:45-7:50 pace, try not to fall down or collapse, then warm down at marathon pace. I’m nervous since I’m behind on speed work, and I’m sure you know that because I keep mentioning it, but I was reminded today that I need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. And use proper sentence structure. Running a marathon isn’t easy, so training for one isn’t going to be either. I’ve been hitting all my paces and goals, so there’s nothing to worry about. My Garmin not working accurately in the trees will be my only issue, since we are running at Brunswick FOREST, but if it goes wonky on me, which I’m sure it will, I’ll just have to go based on feel.

Remember in my last post when I asked for ideas for a team name for the Beach 2 Battleship 140.6 that my husband and I might do as a relay team? Tell me what you think about these:

She Made Me Do It

Team Epic

Epicurus – Thanks so much to you Kecia, for this thoughtful idea!!! It means “peace and freedom from fear” and the “absence of pain”

4 Short of a 6-Pack

Who’s Watching The Kids

Couple o’ Crazies

Camel Toe and Moose Knuckle (I just learned what a moose knuckle was this week-had no idea there was a name for it)

So, anyone racing this weekend? Any ideas for a team name?

Categories: marathon, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Epic-est Year

Did anyone else get the January blahs last week? Sheesh. The sun disappeared, which really has a tendency to make me feel like a zombie and it sucked the will to write out of me. And my computer and WordPress haven’t been getting along so when I type, it is literally as slow as a manual typewriter, minus the White Out. Last week was weird. I felt like the aforementioned zombie, but I also felt pretty good. I turned the corner on that pesky self doubt thing, my workouts have been spot on, I had an energizing meeting with my coach-to-be, and I realized that I’m going to have a freaking awesome year.

Maybe it was my post-800 run when I thought about the year as a whole and I actually said, “Wow, it’s going to be the epic-est year!”. While I know that’s not a real word and I can’t win Words With Friends by fitting it onto a triple letter, triple word space, it’s my word of the year. I’ll tell ya why it’s gonna be the Epic-est.

But first, here’s the rundown on my workouts.

Monday was a post-17 mile easy run of 4 miles. It was raining that day, but it was one of those great rain runs. I was surprised at how good I felt after rocking out 17 miles at 8:42 pace the day before (the self-doubt day).

I was nervous Tuesday. I had 6 x 800’s at 3:40 maximum and a 400 recovery between. I was anxious. It was cold and windy. I headed to the track and ran a nice mile warm up. I was alone and sporting my new pair of hot friggin’ pink Adidas Boosts (Salt, they really do have a boost!!). I turned on my good playlist and started my first 800. Bam. Second 800. Bam. Then third. I was half done and I was averaging 3:33. What the hell was I so worried about??? Another “aw shucks” moment for me when I worried so much for no reason. Then came the last 800 and I ALWAYS try to knock out the last 400. Bam. 3:28. And I felt good, not depleted, not out of breath entirely. Sure, my hands were going a little tingly, but that’s the fastest I’ve gone in a while. It felt delicious. I ran a mile warm down to make the total workout 6.5 miles. I felt exhilarated and confident.

6th 800 time. So happy 'bout that right there.

6th 800 time. So happy ’bout that right there.

Because I had to switch up my workouts and shift my Saturday/Sunday running to Friday/Saturday, I planned to do a tempo run on Wednesday instead of Thursday. I ended up running with a new and awesome friend, Melissa, and didn’t do a tempo run. I was hesitant about having two really long runs back to back (actually three counting the week before the 17 miles) and then having two speed workouts back to back in between those long runs. It pretty much goes against everything “they” tell you to do, so I didn’t freak out. It was a good 6 mile run, especially because of running with someone else.

Thursday was to be my day off, but because I hadn’t gone to the pool yet and I committed myself to go swim at least once a week, I headed to the pool. I think I’m making maybe a teeny bit of progress, but I know there’s a long road of improvement ahead of me. I swam 1750.

I like my hair.

I like my hair.

On Friday, I had a 9 mile marathon pace run. I wasn’t sure how this was going to go, but I was hoping to average 8:30 if I could. I was happy to finish feeling well and calculate that I ran the 9 miles in 8:13 or better average. I can literally feel my training and see the progress in the workout data.  I almost freaked out when someone kept following me, but <sigh in relief> it was just my shadow. It’d been so long since I’d seen her, I forgot what she looked like.

Saturday’s run was 19 miles. And this was Meg’s Miles day, in honor of a runner who was killed by a drunk driver while on her morning run.  I was nervous because I know that when you get into miles like that, there’s going to be some discomfort. Aren’t we runners goofy? I also knew that I was lucky to be able to run.  I ended up meeting with someone new from the Wilmington Road Runners since we were at the same goal pace (9:00) and both had long runs and I’ve decided that I need to branch out and meet other runners. Running alone when your other friends can’t run or have different paces can be so… lonely.  Let’s say that the run wasn’t easy, but it was so nice to run with my new friend, Amanda. We chatted the entire time, which is a long time to talk to someone you’ve never really talked to before, so it was awesome. We saw one of the most beautiful sunrises ever, and I know I was mindful of Meg and felt very happy, no matter the miles or time or anything. I was alive and I was running.  When I was done with my 19, Amanda had another mile to go, so I stretched and drank my chocolate coconut water. Mmmm, good, I love that stuff. When Amanda was done, a bunch of Road Runners came out to cheer her on (how freaking awesome is THAT??), and we ended up chatting with a bunch of them for a LONG time. My stomach told me when it was time to go, and I swung by a friend’s house on my way home to pick up her tri bike to test out. My plan was to soak in the pool when I got home, but I was cold, could not warm up, so I didn’t think it would be a good idea to get myself even colder. I did miss the soak, but my long hot shower was pretty awesome. The rest of the day was spent doing yard work and chasing the kids around the yard and jumping on the trampoline on the couch. It was a good, tired feeling, that unique “I did a long run and feel like crap but I did a long run and I am awesome hear me roar”. Because I technically had two long runs in one week, I logged in just over 61 miles for the week. Roar!

Me and my new running buddy, the cool Amanda

Me and my new running buddy, the cool Amanda

So what about this year makes it the epic-est? Well, maybe because I believe it will be epic, so it can’t NOT be epic. Mind over matter, we create our own happiness, right? The day I decided it was going to be the epic-est year, my husband and I agreed. Epic. That’s our theme. We’re going to go big, go crazy (as much as two responsible parents can anyway), do what we want to do, be what we want to be. So what does that entail for me?

First, my husband is turning 40 in a few weeks. It’s going to be an epic time. He has no idea what I’ve planned for him, and I really HOPE he likes what I’ve planned, but I’m intending for his birthday to be unforgettable.

Then in March, I’m running the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon to try and qualify for Boston. I’m not going to get all self-doubty on you here, but I’m nervous about it, but then again, that’s ok to be nervous about it. It’s a big thing to try and do. I KNOW I can do it, and I just hope all the pieces come together that one day to make it happen. I’m going to have a great race and do my best, and that’s all I can do.

In April, it will be a first for me to take a trip with a bunch of girls. Many of them are going to run the RNR Half in Nashville, but I’ll be sitting by the sidelines cheering on the runners. We’re going to go out and have a great time in a city I’ve only heard about. Epic.

We are going to our 24th Dave Matthews Band show in May. Epic. Will we ever tire of our love for Dave? Nope, doubt it!

This summer, we are going to visit my parents in Branson, Missouri, where we will play on the lake, go to Silver Dollar City, zip line, and have as much fun as our pocketbooks and ab muscles can take. From there, we will head up to see our old friends in Iowa, ones we haven’t seen but once since moving away in 2011. The kids are so excited to see their first best friends and I know it’s just going to be a blast. Allthewhile, I will be training for IMFL. And I’m EXCITED about it!

My kids are going to be in different sports, doing things they love, and they are going to be epic. We’re going to do all sorts of fun things on our adventures too.

Coaching. I’m going to coach this spring, the Kids Run the Nation and Stride, and this fall, I’ll be coaching middle school Stride (or I may end up trying to start a track club through the school – haven’t decided and don’t know what’s possible yet). It’s going to be awesome!

This fall is going to be the epitome of the epic-est for me personally, since I’ll be taking on Ironman Florida. In fact, I’ve already had a dream about it, visualizing the beginning and the fact of just being there. While the dream I had cannot be considered a realistic visual (I assume we wont be starting from a house boat – maybe that was from seeing someone mention the Alcatraz tri and they start from a house boaty thing) I thought it was so cool that  my thoughts of IMFL have already manifested themselves into a dream. I will be working with a very positive and experienced coach who I know will lead me to IM success. There is no room to question my success. It WILL be epic. I’ll be training all summer, all fall, and it’s going to get nutty in here. I’m going to be tired, grumpy, and working my butt off, but it’s going to be a journey with a destination I would have never imagined.

On my short recovery run with the pup, Scarlett

On my short recovery run with the pup, Scarlett

Along the way, I know I’m going to be running, biking, and swimming with some amazing people. I’ve already branched out and met more amazing people just this week. I think my husband (check out his blog HERE) and I are going to team up and do the Beach 2 Battleship 140.6 relay. I mean, how epic is THAT?? For him to just say, “Ok, I’ll run the marathon for you.” That’s damn cool. He’s the best. I’m also trying to decide what other events to do in prep for IMFL. The possibilities are endless, but unfortunately, my pocketbook is not, so will have to decide what is the best for training and what will maximize our training dollar.

So anyway, my year is already shaping up to be damn epic and it’s only January. And yes, I know I used my entire year’s worth allotment of the word “epic” in this one post.

Any EPIC name suggestions for our B2B 140.6 relay team???

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, being epic, Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, ironman florida, marathon, running, triathlon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

17 Miles of Self Doubt

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will” ~Karim Seddiki

Thanks to everyone who commented on my “The Day My 8-Year-Old Went Psycho” post from last week. The saga isn’t over quite yet, and there’s enough for a Part II, so stay tuned. Is it horrible that those of you who shared stories of your kids freaking out for no apparent reason made me feel better? Well, they did, so THANKS!

On Saturday, I had an 8 mile run. Because it was nice and cool outside, I felt good and ended up going 8:30ish overall pace. I was pretty happy with that, but was anxious about Sunday’s 17 miler on the schedule. I did find it interesting that my body is definitely adapting to the endurance. Just a month ago, 8 miles would make me tired – doable for sure – but wouldn’t be on the fun side of running. Now, 8 miles is almost a walk in the park, a part of the routine, and actually FUN. I ran around my neighborhood, which can get really boring, but it was enjoyable and I felt good when I was done. Hallelujah on that one!

On Sunday, I got up early, ate a peanut butter sandwich, drank some orange juice, and stretched.  I was nervous since I knew that running with one of my friends would end up pushing me a little faster than what I planned on going. I figured I would just do my best to keep up, but wasn’t going to push the long run just to keep up. I was going to run 4 miles on my own and meet up with the girls at 8. It was cold (for us in coastal NC), so I brought everything I owned for cold weather, and some.

I ran my four solo miles as planned, and they felt pretty good.  I ran 11 more with (and some slightly behind because I just couldn’t keep up) two awesome ladies. Then I ran two more solo.  And this is the workout where the self doubt crept in.  I worried about the marathon in March, I worried about my shin splints coming back after resuming speed work, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to do my Yasso repeats on Tuesday (SIX at 7:20’s???? Uh…muh…gawd (double parentheses required – you’d think I was supposed to do them at 6:30’s or something)), I worried I’d embarrass myself at the marathon, I worried I wouldn’t be able to finish the thing at all.  How can I do this? Why am I doing this? Don’t I know that I’m not good at running marathons the way I want to run them? Look how many times I’ve failed? What “lesson” am I going to learn at this one? I’m going to look like a huge fool at this race. Who do I think I am wanting to qualify for Boston again? And that’s the gist of the conversation I had with myself for almost 17 miles.  Almost 17.

Do you want to punch me in the throat as much as I do? Yeah. Because fear and loathing and doubting works really well for people, doesn’t it?

As it is for many, running is therapy for me. I come up with some of my best ideas, I work out anger, I think about a lot of things when I run, especially on long runs. I frequently “Dr. Phil” myself or other people (“How’s that workin’ for ya?”). Sunday’s 17 mile run was my therapy session, and I came away feeling…wha… wha…more ma-TURE maybe? I don’t know. But I talked a lot about the fear and loathing. I let it come into my head, but I talked it back out. By the end of the 17 miles, I had gone full circle from a terrified runner who was fearing the concept of FAILURE yet again to a runner who has failed before but will never, EVER give up. It’s just not in my DNA to give up. I have dreams, I have goals, and I won’t give up seeking them as long as I’m physically able. And why should I? Because I might fail?  I’ve failed multiple times, I’ve even failed with flair, and I’ve always come away humble, thankful, and thirsty for more. I thought it’s a definite possibility that I won’t BQ in my marathon. And what would I do if that happened? What’s the WORST that would happen? Not making my time goal? Been there, done that. I have successes and I have failures. All I need to do at this point is to trust my training, do my best, get out of my own head, and remember why I’m doing this – because I love to run.

The doubt and uncertainty will undoubtedly linger just below the surface as I continue to train, but I’ll keep them at bay and not let them into my head as they have been. This marathon training is a mental game, as many of you know, and the race, even more mental. I cannot allow negativity in. There is simply no room for it.

So how did my 17 miles end up? Besides being pretty cold and sweaty at the same time, they turned out well. Using my Garmin, the average pace was 8:46 – right where it needed to be. Sure, it was hard at times, but 17 miles is hard! I went home, poured a cuppa coffee (actually, I think my husband did) and put my legs into our 42 degree pool. It was horrible. I could only stand 5 minutes of that torture. My feet hurt so bad, I decided to just get out and take a very long, hot shower. That was awesome. I wasn’t too sore the rest of the day, but I was tired.

Cold. Very very cold.

Cold. Very very cold.

On Monday, the weather was very different from Sunday – warm. Strange. I had a 4 mile recovery run in a gentle rain, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn’t sore. It felt good. I decided to go ahead and soak in the cold pool again, just to prevent inflammation. I’ve increased my mileage pretty quickly, and I do not want to get “regular” shin splints because of it, so I’ll do anything to not get an injury. It was a very different experience from soaking just one day prior, and a more pleasant one for sure.

Cold but not nearly as painfully cold as the day before.

Cold but not nearly as painfully cold as the day before.

So where does this leave me now? I’m not feeling the “I am woman, hear me roar” ringing in my ears. But I’m not listening to the crap that my mind can spew out faster than my 8-year-old can find reasons to wear his old, dirty, stinky coat that needs to be washed. I have a lot of work to do, and that’s ok. Time to power up and remember why I’m doing this.

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How about you? Do you get in a funk when you know you’re behind in training? How do you get out of it?

Categories: Boston Marathon, go for your dreams, marathon, no fear, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running with friends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Day My 8-Year-Old Went Psycho

It started out like any other day. Actually, it was better because my husband was planning to take my youngest to school. Yes, THE kid who went psycho was getting driven to school because it was 18 outside and his parents mom didn’t want to wait at the bus stop in the cold. So we got to sleep in. I even snoozed once, so it was 39 extra minutes of sleep, and it was awesome. Little did I know what was to happen.

It doesn’t usually get this cold here in coastal North Carolina, so the news people have been talking all week about the frigid temperatures and wind chill. I’m from Iowa, so having temps in the teens with wind chills in the single digits don’t scare me, but it’s been a while since I’ve been in that sort of cold. And I’ve become a cold weather baby. Pansy some might say.  I digress.

So we planned accordingly. I woke up feeling pretty refreshed (40 minutes extra does really help – it’s like a power nap add-on to regular sleep) and I went in to wake up my 8-year-old. He was all cozy and warm and I hopped in bed and woke him up gently. I got a little nuzzle from him and he woke up happy. I went to get my layers on because my house is a two-story with a crawl space and one thermostat, so needless to say, the downstairs is FREEZING and the upstairs is toasty warm.

He ate his Cheerios, dad got 12-year-old up, and it seemed like a nice, smooth morning. Until it was time for 8-year-old to leave for school. It’s not supposed to be over 34 degrees today, and I don’t know if the kids will go out for recess “because of the cold”. They may, and they should (for everyone’s sake), but I wanted him to be warm. He always wears this little “coat” thing, which is basically a shirt with a hood, and is not enough to keep him warm if they go out for recess, so I “GASP” told him to get his thicker coat on and wear it to school. Then all hell broke loose.

The scene

The scene

Now the 8-year-old is known for having some epic tantrums over things that don’t make sense, like a plate, his lunch box, or dust. Oy, that reminds me of a time when my oldest had a meltdown over the word “damp” one time…. It’s been a while, so I guess we were due. He said that he didn’t want to wear the coat because it was too big. He would be embarrassed because it hangs down too far over his hands and waist (it fits perfectly actually, and he even said so when I had him try it on before I took the tags off, to which I reminded him, to which he replied that I MADE him keep it and he didn’t get it to pick it out to which I just sighed).

My husband and I looked at each other, smirked a little which totally pissed off 8-year-old because this was a very serious matter, and then muttered, “He’s gone mad.” (Funnier if you said it in a British accent because we’re totally not British.)  “He’s off his rocker.”  “The 8-Year-Old (I would use his name here but I think he was actually possessed by someone else so I would be lying if I used his name because that’s totally just not him) has gone psycho.” Then that reminded me of a book the boys have.

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Here’s a few things he said while sitting, face in hands, teary-eyed, as we commenced with our stand-off.

“My friends will make fun of me because my coat is too big.”

“I’m not wearing this coat when I get to school.”

“I’m never wearing this coat again.”

“It’s so big.”

“The coat is just way too big.”

“Why are you making me do this?”

“I’m not going to wear this coat.”

“Why do I always have to do things I don’t want to do.”

“What would you do if you had to wear something too big for you” – Now this one was probably the best because all I did was stand up, lift my arms, and showed him my XXL sweatshirt that I wear EVERY DAY with a comment, “Well, I wear things that are too big for me ALL THE TIME and I LIKE IT. So there.” He didn’t appreciate my example.

Ten whole friggin’ minutes later, he was still sitting, teary-eyed, refusing to get in the car to go to school. Maybe “You’re wearing that coat to school if we have to put you in the car and strap you in ourselves” along with the crazy eyes we get when we’ve had enough was good enough to convince him to go ahead and get in the car. I got my wet kiss goodbye and my husband drove off with my 8-year-old.  And I refused to let him take his old thin coat to school because I knew then that he would be forced to wear the evil coat at recess and on the bus home. Take that, stubborn child! You’re mother is even more stubborn, so THERE!

As soon as husband and 8-year-old drove away, I looked at my 12-year-old, who was shaking his head like “wow” and I said, “Now you know what you look like when YOU do that. You may want to re-think it next time.” He agreed.

My husband and I texted when he got to work as in WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? And “Ryan (yes, using his name) went totally psycho….over a coat.”

Husband then had to fill me in on the complaints made in the car on the way to school.

“Why are you putting me through this torture?”

“You’re going to tell me what to do for the rest of my life.”

“I’ll never get to do anything I want to do.”

“I’m so embarrassed.”

“I’d rather be cold than wear this jacket.”

When my 8-year-old gets like this, you have to let it run its course. You just cannot rationalize with him when he goes psycho, so I’ll be interested in hearing what he has to say when he gets home from school this afternoon. One thing I’m almost certain of is that I will be giving his coat to the school to give to a kid who doesn’t have one. I picked my battle for today, but I won’t battle my son over this coat one more time. If he gets cold, he’ll learn.

I realized that I HAD to blog about this. I’m sure anyone with kids can relate and anyone who doesn’t have them or has kids out of the house can appreciate it just as much. It might explain why some people come to work in the morning with crazy eyes and messy hair. It’s not the fatigue, it’s not the wind, it’s not stress from traffic on the way to work, it’s from dealing with your son who went psycho one morning.

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You can’t make this shit up.

Categories: kid issues, kids, temper tantrum | Tags: , , | 14 Comments

Tempo Tuesday

After pretty much not getting anything productive done (except running of course) for almost three weeks, yesterday was the first day back, as it was for many people. My to-do list is longer than Lindsey Lohan’s rap sheet, but I got a good chunk out of it done yesterday. Well, now that I look at the list, it’s still really super long. I guess it probably doesn’t help that I keep adding things to it, huh?

The good thing is that I’m running again and I decided on what to do with training/coaching for my Ironman. I counted the weeks. It’s in 42 weeks from Saturday. I’m not sure if I’m happy about that or terrified….

Over the holiday, I asked a general question on the Facebook page Tri Talk regarding good books for IM training since I couldn’t afford a coach. I got several responses, but one happened to be from one of the coaches from the local group I belong to on and off, Without Limits. Sami is the Ironman Queen and happened to reply to talk to her about coaching and that we could work something out. I don’t know her well, but I do know she is the bees knees when it comes to Ironman. I didn’t want to pay for the coaching since I’ve spent so much on IM already plus all the coaching I’ve had for the running events, yadda yadda, money money, typical feeling guilty things for me spending money on my stuff. Sami and I chatted back and forth about trying to work something out, but one morning, I woke up at 5 am and all I could think about was the Ironman and coaching. I guess maybe it was a moment of clarity, because I suddenly realized that it would be absolutely stupid of me to pass up the opportunity to be coached by Sami, especially when she has so much experience and passion for the Ironman herself. And by the way, she has done TWELVE IM’s and qualified for Kona in November. So why in the world would I rely on books and the internet for information when I could have a personal coach for the biggest, most complex event in my life? I could have someone to work with, to ask questions to, to help me through something that is foreign to me.  So this late spring/early summer, I’ll be starting a plan with Sami to get me to the finish line at Ironman Florida in November. Clarity.

Gorgeous way to start 2015!

Gorgeous way to start 2015!

My marathon is March 22nd.  I haven’t been doing much, if any, speed or tempo or hill work, because I don’t want to aggravate the grumpy old man, otherwise known as my shin splints. I feel very behind, but I am healing. Slowly. Thank God!

New Year’s Day started with a good 6.5 mile run with friends at Wrightsville Beach, followed up with a soak in the freezing cold waterway. I certainly didn’t want to put my legs into 50 degree water, but I knew it was the right thing to do considering my mileage that I did during the week and what was coming for the weekend. Let’s say that I wasn’t as brave as some other runners who put their lady bits into that cold water. I think I would have died.

The little ripples are from my shivering.

The little ripples are from my shivering.

Saturday I was lucky enough to have company for my 8 mile pace run. It wasn’t easy, but it was definitely doable, and we got it done in average 8:20-something pace, honestly I don’t really know. My Garmin does not like trees or clouds, and since we ran in trees AND clouds, it said we were going 9:00 plus pace part of the time, which I know was not accurate. So I’m not EXACTLY sure what the pace was, and that irritates the crap out of me. I just estimate the best I can on Garmin’s fussy days. I think it’s related to my shin splints. Moody and grumpy.

I was a little nervous for Sunday’s 16 mile run because it was going to be warm and it was supposed to rain. Luckily, the rain held off, but it was just gross outside, like the air of a man’s dirty beard. Ugh. 72 with almost 100% humidity after not running in that for a few months was just difficult. I made it through, but I don’t have any idea of what pace I was going. Garmin had another funky day with the clouds, but mostly, it got turned back on somehow so was ticking away as I was driving home. I got home and the feast started. First, it was a berry smoothie. Then it was a 4-egg (1 1/2 yolks to 4 egg whites) scramble, plus about half a pound of spinach, ham, and cheddar. It was goooooood. I drank a Zip Fizz recovery drink, had an endurolyte pill, and several cups of water, some almond milk, and then some coffee. When the feast was over, I was happy to report that my legs felt just tired, I had no pain, and my belleh was full. Score.

Ohhhh, good.

Ohhhh, good.

On Monday, I had an easy 3 mile run, but because there’s an Ironman in the picture and I took on the slacker role over break, I knew I needed to get to the pool. I headed there first thing in the morning and was met with zero ability to swim. It was like I hadn’t been to the pool in months. Can you say “doggy paddle”? Oy. I made myself finish a mile and work on form – a.k.a. finding my form. After I got home, I headed out for a nice easy 3 mile run. My legs were slightly achy from the weekend running, but no pain. Could I be healed? Dare to dream! After my run, I got to working on my “Lindsey Lohan Rap Sheet” to-do list. I worked all day on the crap I should have done the last few weeks of December, and I felt good about what I got done.

As for today, ah today, today is one of those days that I will never quite forget, but I certainly do not want to repeat. I’ll call it the “Helga situation”, and was the final event wrapping up the accident that happened in August. I’m planning to write about that later this week assuming my to-do list becomes shorter as the days go by. Bonus was we walked by where they film “Sleepy Hollow” and I have proof.

When I got home from lunch with my sister to celebrate the ending of the “Helga Situation”, I decided to go ahead and knock out my run. I didn’t feel mentally ready for a tempo run because of everything and I was depressed from everything, so I thought I would figure it out as I went. Much to my surprise, I started out a race pace and quickly moved into my tempo pace, where I stayed for three miles, finishing 3.1 in 23 minutes. Not too shabby, especially with a belly full of Diet Coke and Bun Thit Nuong. I finished with 5 miles in 40 minutes, and I am so thrilled to 1) complete this tempo run in the first place and 2) report there’s no pain and 3) not throw up lunch. Faster-than-race-pace has been the big trigger with my grumpy old shins, so I was worried about this run, especially since I did bring it down to 7:00 pace and a little below for a while in the 3 faster miles. So far, so good!

Today was another reminder for me to always give it my best shot, even when I may not be feeling mentally or physically up to a certain challenge or workout. The rest of the week’s running is pretty easy, but this weekend will be an 8 miler on Saturday followed by 17 on Sunday. The weather looks cool and dry, so at least we won’t have “dirty beard” conditions to get through. I’m going to give this marathon my all, and next week starts more speed and hill training. I’m ready.

Have you ever been to court before? What do you do when you’re mentally DONE but have a pace workout?

Categories: coaching, go for your dreams, iron distance, ironman, marathon, open water swimming, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, swimming, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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