running with friends

A Letter To Shoe Companies and More

PART I: Shoes

My letter would read like this:

Dear Shoe Company,

I love innovation and cool new things. I really do. But there’s also something to be said for the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Changing shoe designs so much that the sizing is different is just friggin’ wrong. You’re messing your runners up, so STOP IT! People are becoming hoarders because of your shenanigans. Yes, they go buy all the old pairs of shoes that fit them because they know you are going to ruin it with your “innovation”. This could eventually lead them to financial ruin, too. See what one simple change can do? Please stop, unless you can just keep some of the old models around, oh, like FOREVER.

Thanks, love ya, mean it, and by the way, I’m switching to another company!

Love,

Kelli

I know the other company is just going to do the same damn thing, too. We’re screwed.

Anyway, I got my new Asics Nimbus this weekend, and I was excited since the new concept was super cool. I put it on my tired foot on Sunday when I got home from an equally awesome/horrible trip down to Myrtle Beach to take the RRCA Coaching Certification class. And within five minutes, my toe was going numb. Seriously, they were too short. I wear a 9W and have for several years, but my foot didn’t all of a sudden grow, heck no, the shoe is smaller. As I mourned the loss of my dream of having beautiful new Nimbus’s? Nimbuses? Nimbusses? Nimbus’? I ended up chatting with a rep from Roadrunner Sports and BAM, ordered a pair of the new Adidas Ultra Boost. Remember, I’m currently in a love affair with the regular Boosts. Anyway, I figured THEY would be too small because that’s what shoe companies do and I’d end up not having any new cool shoes to wear, BUT, two days after I ordered them, I opened the new box and channeled Carrie Bradshaw.

I’ve run in them already, and I can officially say that I’m infatuated.

Maybe the color will make me run faster?

Maybe the color will make me run faster?

PART II: Class

I was so thrilled and lucky to be a part of the RRCA Coaching Certification Course last weekend. What better environment than a room filled with runners talking about running? It’s like my kind of heaven! I was in an extremely diverse group, from new runners to very experienced runners with decades of coaching experience to one of the authors of “Run Less, Run Faster”. This class reinforced what I already thought I knew, and it taught me a few things that I certainly did not know (well, more than just a few).  Most importantly, it gave me the confidence to put my experience and knowledge together to successfully build a training program. My husband is my first guinea pig, my sister is second, then back to hubby for another go-round.  Do I want to do this for a living? Yes, I could see this for myself, mostly beginners or someone new to a structured training plan, but my goal and focus has been and will continue to be towards kids. Do what you love, love what you do, right?

rrca

The horrible part of the weekend started about 7:00 pm that Saturday of the training. We stayed on Ocean Blvd in Myrtle Beach, along the strip, so to speak, and it turned into a drag strip for all the teens on spring break who wanted to rev their souped up engines and annoy all the old fogeys trying to rest and sleep before 2:00 am.  Hour after hour passed with them making so much noise, the room literally shook. I didn’t get to sleep, well, ever, because I don’t remember actually waking up. I just remember being up all night. I got up to run at 5:30, which was actually 4:30 because of the time change, and at least I saw an amazing sunrise.  I made it fine through the day (probably because we talked about running all day), but let’s just say I passed out Sunday night around 8:00 pm. And I was happy.

Myrtle Beach sunrise

Myrtle Beach sunrise

I took and passed the test with a 94% (angry that I missed six questions and can’t find out which ones were wrong, but the thing had me tied up in knots because some of the answers weren’t clear to me because of my overthinking). I passed and so now just need to complete my First Aid course, and I’ll be good to go! Whohooo!

Part III: Training

I’m still hanging out in taper mode and haven’t gone nuts yet. YET. I’m doing what I normally do, planning, worrying, checking the weather, second guessing my training, but I’m also focusing on the whole “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable”. I didn’t get a good run in over the weekend, as explained above, but I got in a nice pace run on Monday.

It warmed up enough for tanks and SWEAT!

It warmed up enough for tanks and SWEAT!

Tuesday, I did four 1-mile repeats: 6:51, 6:52, 7:13, 7:01. I was tird. My legs were a little sore on Wednesday, so I had a nice and easy 4 miler, then a 4 mile pace run today. Well, it was faster than pace at 8:02, but wasn’t necessarily fast. I’m off Friday and I’m honestly not sure what I’m going to run this weekend. I want to get in 10-12 easy miles, but it depends on a few things.  No matter what, it’ll seem so short! Next week is going to be weird with only having a few miles a few times all week. But then then big race is almost HERE, so it’s time to rest up and prepare!

Part IIII: New Find

I went to Costco last week, and I don’t know if you’re like this, but I want to buy everything when I go in there. It happens at Whole Foods too. I browsed a lot and ended up finding this stuff.

 

I'm NuttZo for this stuff. Har har.

I’m NuttZo for this stuff. Har har.

I’m sort of happy and sort of in sticker shock that I didn’t check the price before I bought it and got it home, but I’ve been adding a spoon to my morning smoothie, and it is delish! It’s not great by itself, which is why I add it to smoothies or put on a wild rice cake. Just thought I’d share, but don’t let your eyes fall out of your head when you see the price. Just don’t look.

So how is everyone doing? I’ve been out of the loop a bit but since next week is taper and I’m not supposed to start projects (I was seriously considering painting a room), I’ll have lots of time to catch up! Have you ever bought something inadvertently expensive? Do you get annoyed with loud and annoying drivers?

Categories: Boston Marathon, coaching, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, hal higdon training plan, interval training, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, rrca coaching certification, running, running buddies, running with friends, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

It’s THAT Time

taperYes, it’s taper time, bitches, and you know what that means?? It’s time to get my game face on and freak out prepare for this marathon! And I’m totally 100% exhausted. From checking race day weather. Oh, and running my 16 miler this morning since there’s no way in HELL I can get that done before my 8:00 am class plus time change on Sunday morning. There’s no rest for the weary as there’s kid stuff to do tonight. One has soccer and one has a party. Until 9:15. I’m like, WTF, I want to be getting ready for bed at 9:15!!! Hence the cuppa coffee next to me right now. I’ll taper next week.

imfl3

I’m off to RRCA Coach Certification class bright and early tomorrow morning for two full days of learning. I’m really excited about it. It will be a good distraction from my race and all that weather checking that does me absolutely no good besides freaking me out and giving me bouts of depression and anxiety. I never said it was a smart thing to do, I’m just being honest. It’s actually pretty dumb, but I’m still going to do it. Obsessively. Until the race.

Anyway, I did get a good 16 mile run in today, the last 6 being quite a bit faster than the first 10. I ran with a friend, which made it about a billion times better since we got a nice cold front and it wasn’t very pleasant out. I don’t think I fueled enough last night as I pretty much ran out of gas with half a mile left. I learned I liked Salted Caramel Gu, ran a new route that takes me through a gorgeous part of Wilmington where I’m CERTAIN Dawson’s Creek was filmed, and I had just enough time to hurry up and grab lunch to have with my newly minted 9-year-old. Then I fell asleep.  Oops.

I had an unintentional day off on Thursday since I woke up with a nasty case of “dead leg syndrome”. It was a pretty crappy feeling, and if I hadn’t planned to run 16 this morning, I would have SUCKED IT UP BUTTERCUP and ran anyway. I decided to take my dog for a walk on our last nice, pretty day for a while, listen to the birds, and get some other crap done. I rarely have dead legs, but 48 miles in 5 days, all but 5 at a sub-8:45 pace, well, I’m not too surprised. I didn’t want to ruin my long run or risk injury, so I actually listened to my body and rested. Lookee me, I’m growing up and being responsible!

I’m taking Saturday off running since there’s just not enough time if I want to actually sleep, but I’m planning on some sort of tempo or pace run on Sunday. I just haven’t figured it out.

imfl2

When Monday hits, I’ll be back home and it’ll feel like taper time. I can’t believe that the marathon is in two weeks, and I’m at the point of no return, or the “ready or not, here I come” feeling with this thing. I don’t feel like I’m prepared enough to do what I want or am capable of, but I know I’m prepared enough to run a really good race.  You bet your bottom dollar that I’m going to try like hell though, no matter what.

IMG_6809

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and if you haven’t already, check out my Facebook page (you can link to it on the right side of this page). I post almost every day and you can then see pictures of my cats. Have a good one, peeps, and keep on running!

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, coaching, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, hal higdon training plan, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, rrca coaching certification, running, running with friends, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

I’d be in taper mode if I’d not gotten all fancy with the training plan

My marathon is three weeks from this past Sunday. By the looks of my Hal Higdon Advanced II training plan, I’d be in taper mode, but as my husband knows quite well, I don’t always follow the rules. I decided to kick the three week taper to the curb and go for more of a modified two week taper. Why? Because I’m a glutton for punishment, clearly.

No really, I have modified the training plan here and there, mostly making it more difficult in some aspects, and then changing some interval training to bike interval training due to crappy weather. It happens, you just have to be flexible and deal with it as best as you can, as long as it doesn’t involve long runs on a treadmill because HELL NO. I changed the 800’s to mile, mile point five, and then a longer 5 mile interval, which was less than an interval than 35 minutes of torture/hell combined, complete with dangerous falling icicles.  I think the changes have helped me more than 800’s would have, not that there’s anything wrong about 800’s. I’m a fan.

So last Sunday…..WAIT!!! I’m forgetting something!

Saturday was my youngest son’s 9th birthday. I got up early to run my 10 mile pace run (ended up knocking this one out at an 8:11 pace – HOLLAH!) so I could make him breakfast pizza.  We then headed to Defy Gravity, which if you don’t know, is the COOLEST place on Earth. It’s basically a building with a floor made of trampolines. The four of us bounced for 30 minutes and exited with huge smiles on our faces, sore calf muscles, and sweat. I love that place. Here’s my son’s cake and sheepish grin as we all sang to him. I felt like crap all day, which made me feel guilty because I wanted it to be THEBESTBIRTHDAYEVAH for him, and even though he had a blast, I struggled to stay awake most of the day.  My babeh is almost in double digits!

My behbeh with his Seattle Seahawks cake, complete with goal posts made by his big brother.

My behbeh with his Seattle Seahawks cake, complete with goal posts made by his big brother.

This cake took a long time to make and decorate so I'm posting a picture of the damn thing. DELISH.

This cake took a long time to make and decorate so I’m posting a picture of the damn thing. DELISH.

Anyhoo, last Sunday, the day after the par-tay, was supposed to be my last real long run of 20 miles, and a group of us knocked it out at an 8:38 pace.

We rocked it.

We rocked it.

I felt good about it, but I had been sore from the bike day followed by the 5 mile torture day, plus the 10 miler the day before, and it was harder than the last 20 miler we did. I had been strongly considering changing my plan again, and increasing my long run for this weekend, two weeks before the marathon, from 12 to 16 miles. The last two marathons I’ve run had a two week taper, and even though it scared the shit out of me, I felt like I was very well rested and prepared come race day. So over the weekend, I decided to add a few miles to my scheduled 12 miler to make it 16 for this weekend. I might even add a few pickups to spice it up even more. Yes, I’m getting fancy with my training plan.  I guess I’ll have to save my “It’s taper time, Bitches!!” title for next week.

So what have I been and what am I gonna do this week? Monday was a nice recovery run. I didn’t think I went under a 9 minute mile and was totally good with that, but I didn’t look at my watch and ended up with an 8:45 pace. It’s nice see hard training come through when easy runs are in the 8 minute something mile range with minimal effort. I looked at the week’s forecast and seriously. I mean SERIOUSLY, Mother Freaking Nature needs to get on some freaking meds. Cold, hot, rain, wind, freezing, followed by more of the same. Mix it up, and that’s our forecast here. So I was dreading running in the cold and rainy wind on Thursday for some repeats, so I decided to get them done today, Tuesday.  I headed to the beach for a different route than last time, and I was met with 40-freaking-TWO degrees and 15 mph winds. THIS was what I was trying to avoid, dammit!!! WEATHER APPS ARE LIARS!

I'm smiling but I wasn't too happy.

I’m smiling but I wasn’t too happy.

My legs are still pretty tired, but I figured that’s the point of training and to just do the best I could given that and the stupid conditions. My plan was to go out the 1.5 miles, recovery jog, then 1.5 miles back to my car for water, then do it all over again, making my first and third repeat against the wind. The repeat coming back, well, I was trying to prove a point. I was almost heaving when I was in the last half mile. I mean, I was the freakin’ Monica Seles of running. I probably scared the old guy when I passed him over a bridge. But alas! I did prove my point and the time difference between the first and second repeats of the same distance was 45 seconds. I PROVED IT! Running against the wind SUCKS. Then it started raining. Yippee. Anyway, the second two sets of repeats weren’t THAT stellar, in my opinion, but I do have to say that getting pelted with 42 degree rain in the face, having rain drops on sunglasses blocking a good view of the running surface, your face freezing into a very strange look, and being alone were significant enough factors to slow me down. When I finished my last repeat (going with the wind) I was pretty disappointed I didn’t “Monica Seles” my way through it again and push harder. Oh well, it’s done, I ran close to a mile recovery, and headed home with the heat blasting and seats heating my buns, dreaming of my coffee and peppermint mocha creamer.  1.5 mile repeat times: 11:04, 10:19, 11:15, 10:51.

I have a recovery run tomorrow, and honestly I’m just not too sure what I’m going to do yet, as I think I’m changing my long run to Friday. I’m so excited to be taking the RRCA Coaching Certification class this weekend!!!!! With that, the added mileage, and the time change, I don’t think 16 on Sunday before class is going to be a smart thing to do. I have to drive down to Myrtle Beach before class on Saturday, so I’m completely off that day, so looks like it’s Friday. I’ll figure something out though.

Anyway, I’m working on a “How I prepare for marathons” post and will be sharing that next week. The marathon day creeps closer and closer, so it’s time to start getting prepared for the big day.

Hope everyone stays warm!!!

 

 

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, coaching, follow your dreams, hal higdon training plan, interval training, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, rrca coaching certification, running, running with friends, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

I Love This Commercial and Update Before Things Get Cra Cra

Watch this and try not to get all verklempt.

Seriously, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this commercial and what it stands for. Sometimes, aren’t we all the guy who comes in last but just never gives up? Does it matter what place we get? Isn’t the most important fact is that we are out there trying and busting our butts to get to where we truly want to go?

I love this commercial. This could be me in a few short weeks as I run my marathon. This could be me when Ironman Florida comes around. But you’ll never find me giving up. Hell no. I’ll never give up on my dreams. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

By the way, I had yet another interaction with Hal Higdon. I took a screen shot of it. Err merr gerrrd, HAL HIGDON AND I ARE ALMOST BFF’s!!!!! 😉 The subject was about fashion and races.

See, Hal is talking to ME!

See, Hal is talking to ME!

The weather has been quite difficult for those of us without gym memberships. Tuesday, school was cancelled because of the threat of ice. I didn’t even know we were supposed to get any bad weather at all until I got word on Monday afternoon that there was no school Tuesday. So much for those 800’s. It was 30 and raining and windy, so I decided to save myself from pneumonia and had a good, hard workout on my bike.

One hour with 4 x 7 min intervals at Z4

One hour with 4 x 7 min intervals at Z4

My friend, Amanda, and I decided to tackle her tempo workout together on Wednesday. Gulp. It was 5 miles at 7:30 pace. I figured that would be just as good or better as my two mile repeats I was planning for Thursday, so we got together Wednesday to get it done.

Man, isn’t running with someone else so much better than on your own? I mean, I love to run on my own, but for difficult speed workouts, it’s so much better to have someone to run with. We ran at Wrightsville Beach, since that’s where she lives and there’s a good straight road where we don’t really have to worry about traffic or making stops.  No one likes to be interrupted during a speed workout.  Right before we started, we both looked at each other with that “well, here we go” face. I have to admit, it didn’t feel terrible. It didn’t feel GREAT either, but it’s really not supposed to.

I forgot to mention that we had a lot of freezing rain on Tuesday and there was ice everywhere but the roads. The power lines and plants and trees were covered.

Ice at the beach.

Ice at the beach.

My kids had a lot of fun eating the icicles and I’m sure ingested tons of dirt along the way.  Nothing new. At least they were hydrating. So anyway, as we were running, a piece of ice fell from the power line and hit Amanda in the head. We didn’t find out til later that it actually cut her and made her bleed. I guess Ralphie’s mom WAS right, those icicles can be dangerous. Thankfully, she was ok and it was not a major cut, but it made us pay more attention to what was above us when we were running.

Two and a quarter miles into the tempo, I wanted to stop and breathe, which I slightly feel guilty about and am justifying with “it was a better tempo run than the two mile repeats” but I really wish I hadn’t stopped. It was maybe a minute or two and we headed back to finish our 5 miles with no more stopping. We ended up at 7:22 overall pace for the 5 miles. Whohoo!!!! And my legs felt it. When I got home, my dog was waiting for me, so I figured a good way to stretch out was to jog a little loop with her. She loved it.

Had to take a few minutes to enjoy the view and ocean sounds after our run.

Had to take a few minutes to enjoy the view and ocean sounds after our run.

There’s a reason why you don’t have two hard workouts in a row. My speed schedule is all off because of the dumb weather, but I knew I couldn’t do another speed workout today. I also didn’t really know what to consider the bike workout. I knew it wasn’t easy on my legs, but it wasn’t running. So, ????  I decided to just do the 5 miles on the schedule for yesterday. It didn’t feel bad, but I could tell my hammies and quads were tired. I could see how having back-to-back hard workouts can cause you to get injured or burn out. I did the smart thing and didn’t do it.

I’ve got 10 pace on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. THIS, my friends, will lead into my taper for the race. I think I almost threw up. It’s almost here. My son is turning 9 years old on Saturday and I have a lot to do to get ready for the family stuff we’re doing, the company we’re having, and the awesome Seattle Seahawks cake I’m going to make him.

Anyone else get hit with icicles? Running long this weekend? Want to come over for pizza on Saturday?

Categories: anything is possible, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, hal higdon training plan, interval training, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, training for marathon, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

There’s Something Satisfying About Being Completely Exhausted

It still sounds like I’m plugging my nose when I talk, but at least my ears have started to pop and I can hear again. It’s funny that you don’t realize how much you can’t hear until you can actually hear again. This weekend was a doozy, in a good way. I think I need a vacation from it. Nah, just kidding, it was a really good weekend.

My Friday night ended with my family watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail (“It’s merely a flesh wound”) and me dozing on the couch and finally calling it a day.  At a whopping 8:45, I headed to bed.  I felt like total crap. I had a big weekend planned so was hoping to get a good night sleep and wake up all bouncy and fresh.

I didn’t wake up bouncy and fresh, but I woke up feeling better on Saturday morning, thank goodness. I had to get up early to get a good 6 mile run in. I checked the temp and it was 20, a tad warmer than Friday but without any wind. I layered up and headed out, hoping to get a few tempo miles in since I missed them last week. Man, it was cold. Yes, I know, North Carolina’s version of cold is very different than many, but 20 is literally freezing, so I  stand correct when I say it was FREEZING. 🙂 The first mile felt good and I didn’t have a cough, so I picked up my pace and ended up with a mile at around 7:10. I rested about 30 seconds and started jogging again. I slowly picked it up and after a half mile, went for another fast mile, this one closer to 7:00. But I didn’t feel great after that. My LEGS felt fabulous, but the rest of me needed food. I hadn’t eaten much in over 12 hours, so I decided to just finish the rest of my run at a decent pace and not push it anymore. I was HUNGRY. 6.2 miles at an average 8:21 pace. Not too shabby.

I had enough time to get cleaned up, eat my smoothie, and get my stuff together for the swim clinic with Sheila Taormina. I was a little nervous, but this was just the classroom session, so at least I didn’t have to worry about snotting all over the pool. The first two hours was in a conference room where Sheila discussed the science behind the swim strokes and why we have the stroke we do. Or at least the one we should have. Basically, the entire time was discussing what to do with your hand/arm when your hand slides into the water until it comes out of the water. There wasn’t much talk about kick or anything else for that matter. I found it fascinating and I learned a TON. Now for translating that into being able to actually DO it. We then had a tubing session (I was disappointed there was no lake, boat, or tube) where we practiced our newly learned stroke with tubes that provide resistance. She looked at each one of us individually and told us anything we should be doing to correct it. Ok, I could do it right OUT of the water, so I was happy. I was SO GLAD I had the opportunity to attend this clinic.

Sheila showing us proper form while tubing.

Sheila showing us proper form while tubing.

I came home all excited to be able to swim better and MORE EFFICIENTLY. I yammered on and on to my husband as I showed him my new practice tubes and Sheila’s book. I’ve wanted to buy swim books before but didn’t because they didn’t make any sense to me. I didn’t even know what the swim term “catch” was before Saturday. Now that I understand what she’s talking about, I’m guessing the book will be helpful as I gain skill and check with the book THAT I NOW UNDERSTAND to be sure I’ve got it right. She even signed it for me. Ahhh, my brush with fame.

Finally, a swim book I can understand.

Finally, a swim book I can understand.

A few hours after I got home from the clinic, the entire family headed to meet a few other people at the theater to watch McFarland, USA, probably one of my new favorite movies. It’s a true story about a coach and his immigrant cross country team and what they go though.  It’s about hard work, it’s about perseverance, it’s about going for your dreams, it’s about family, it’s about trust, it’s about RUNNING.  My only advice is TO JUST GO SEE IT. It’s a Disney movie, so it’s kid safe. My personal favorite part is at the end when they show the real coach and team and where they are now.

After the movie, we went to dinner with a friend and his kids, and by the time we got home, it was pretty much time for bed. I had to get up early for my 12 mile run and then 2 hour swim clinic in the pool, so I appropriately fueled on popcorn, wings, and beer, then headed to bed.

Sea fog, or at least that's what the weather people were calling it.

Sea fog, or at least that’s what the weather people were calling it.

Sunday’s weather was weird. We went from cold and static-y to warm and damp. I even wore shorts and a t-shirt to run in, and it was soaked when I got done. I met with a group and ended up running with someone I didn’t know. Evidently, my pace pushed her, and it was great to get to know someone new. I would have like to maybe go a little faster, but when it was all said and done, I ran 12 at a sub-9:00 pace and it felt good. That was exactly what I was supposed to do, so I was satisfied AND got a friend out of it. A friend who has done TWELVE, yes TWELVE iron distance races.

Nice and calm for the run on Sunday.

Nice and calm for the run on Sunday.

I got home, ate a smoothie, and got ready to go to the pool.  What do I say about the pool session? Difficult? Yes. Annoying? Yes. Tiring? Yes. Amazing? Yes! This is where we put into practice what she was talking about the day before, PLUS the other parts of the stroke. We did drill after drill to drill the proper form into our muscle memory.  I mustered to the end and was literally shaking when I got out of the pool. Can you say, GOOD WORKOUT? Holy hell, I learned so much and was exhausted! But this is the first time I’ve EVER been exciting about swimming.

Learning at the pool.

Learning at the pool.

Not long after I got home from the session and ate my weight in lunch, the family took advantage of the warm weather and headed to Carolina Beach State Park. We walked the trails, explored, and had a nice time outside IN OUR SHORTS. The poor dog was so tired from smelling absolutely everything possible, she crashed as soon as we got home. I gave my kids hair cuts and then made Mexican pizza for the first time (I seriously was missing something because YUM), and we hung out, watching some TV.

I was tired. Damn dog tired. But doesn’t that feel good? Isn’t there something to be said for being busy, doing all sorts of new and fun and difficult things? I think so. And now it’s Monday, I have a HUGE list of things to do to make up for my time off last week and my youngest son’s birthday this weekend. Funny, 9 years ago today, I couldn’t bend down to tie my shoe because of my ginormous belly fully of baby (and about 45 lbs of “other”) and today, I’m a month out from running a marathon. Of course the weather is off her meds again and it was rainy for my run. It wasn’t one of those pelt you in the face, make you miserable, wish you were on a treadmill rains. Yet. Hello, cold front. This morning’s temp was the high for the next few days. Blech.

Monday's rainy run.

Monday’s rainy run.

What did you do this weekend? Even been to a swim clinic before? New song: The Creator by Pete Rock and CL Smooth – it’s in a pretty cool ad, which is how I found it thanks to Shazam.

Categories: follow your dreams, hal higdon training plan, iron distance, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, swimming, training for marathon, training for triathlon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sometimes It’s Good To Not Have A Choice

I guess I had a choice, but I wasn’t giving myself a choice on whether or not I ran on Sunday. And after looking at so many other posts about the polar flavored air up north, I feel a little bit whiney. But Sunday was cold. And I had 20 miles to run.  And I didn’t have a choice to do it or not. I HAD to run.

So let’s back up to Saturday. I felt like I had been fighting off a cold since Thursday. Seems many people are getting something, a cold, the flu, something. I was extremely and unusually tired on Thursday evening, so I knew my body was trying to fight off some sort of bug and I had been exposed to about a zillion different viruses at the airports and planes full of sick people on Monday coming back from Vegas. I felt ok on Friday, but again, felt pretty tired for no apparent reason. I set my alarm for Saturday morning at 6:30 so I could get my 10 mile pace run in, and when the alarm went off, I threw my phone on the floor turned the alarm off and went back to sleep. For TWO MORE HOURS. Holy cow, when I woke up at 8:30, I was sort of pissed, sort of happy. Happy because I got the sleep I evidently needed. Pissed because I was just getting my lazy ass out of bed at 8:30 and had 90 minutes of running to do.

Saturday morning was cold, but the sun was out and it quickly warmed up. I started my run and immediately knew I was overdressed, so came by the house and changed. Another mile later, I swung by the house again and changed again, into shorts and t-shirt. It was almost hot. Several f-bombs later (I should have effing started effing earlier then I’d be effing done with this effing workout), I was ready to finish my effing 10 miler. I had a shitty attitude, and I didn’t want to run, I just wanted to make heart-shaped pancakes for my boys and drink coffee. I know myself and I’m not one to skip workouts, so I effing got out there and got it done. My stupid watch pace was all over the place, so I quit looking at it and tried to dial in race pace on my own. Two costume changes and 85 minutes later, I was done. Whew, race pace dialed in at 8:22. THAT is why I do my workouts, even when I don’t want to. They always feel good when they’re done.

The weather was pretty nice on Saturday, but the cold was coming. I had tried to change the long run to Saturday, but my friend couldn’t so I knew I had to get it done Sunday. It was going to be super windy and cold. Yes, all you northerners, cold is a relative term. Many of you would probably LOVE 20-something temps, so I apologize for my whining. Honestly, I don’t mind the cold. It’s the freaking wind that I hate. I HATE WIND.  I had my pre-long run and pre-race burger on Saturday night (delish) and got in bed all hydrated and ready to brace for what was coming the next day – 20 miles in the cold wind.

Wasn't too crazy about the cheese on the pasta, but the burger was goooood.

Wasn’t too crazy about the cheese on the pasta, but the burger was goooood. Goldie is in the background.

I woke up and it was just crap out. I felt fine, so I was happy about that, and I was meeting other people, so I knew I couldn’t get out of it, delay it, anything. I knew I had to just get out there and run. It was almost a relief to not give myself a choice. I had asked a friend/coach to run with us too, and she is the one who always seems to push my pace on long runs. She’s my dangling carrot, so to speak. I didn’t know if I could keep up or if she would care about pace on a crappy day, but I knew it would be good to have a group to run with. I brought all my clothes, got my fuel ready, and headed towards the beach. I don’t think I even pushed the gas pedal beyond a tap the entire way there. Wind. When the group of ladies was all there, we headed right into the 25 degree, 25 mph wind. We knew it was better to head into it first, but man, it was effing cold. My face, hands, and toes were cold. A few miles later, we headed into an area that’s more sheltered, so for the rest of the 12 mile loop, it really wasn’t bad. The last few miles getting pushed was pretty awesome. Some of the ladies were done, so three of us headed out for a 6 mile loop. It was so nice to talk and chat and keep our minds off tired legs and how many miles we had done/had left.  It wasn’t “conversation pace” but maybe “labored conversation pace”, but I never checked. Soon, 18 miles were done and the two ladies remaining were done. I had two to go solo. I ran towards the beach and felt pretty good. Wow, 8:05 minute miles at the end of a 20 mile run? Hmmmm, fishy. Yup, I was getting pushed by the wind, but I was also happy to be feeling good. Until I turned around. Yikes. “One more mile” and “I can do anything for just one mile” kept going through my head and some other thoughts like “this is bullshit” and “FUCK” were sprinkled in. Mom would be so proud (sorry mom, it’s dad’s fault). But I got my run done. When I met with Amanda, who waited for me to finish, she told me we were rocking our paces. Holy cow. I didn’t give one thought to pace because of the weather, and it turned out to be one of the fastest 20 milers….ever. And I was so worried.

20 miles, DONE. And you can see my cat's tail back there too.

20 miles, DONE. And you can see my cat’s tail back there too.

20 miles at 8:35 pace? Pretty damned awesome if I do say so myself. I was thrilled and it boosted my confidence for the race.

Me and Amanda - evidently my face froze into a strange look during my last mile.

Me and Amanda – evidently my face froze into a strange look during my last mile.

After hugging Amanda, I passed up stretching and immediately got in my car, turned up the heat, turned on the heated seats, and headed home. I did NOT want to get cold, as I knew it would take me several hours to warm back up if I did, and I was afraid I would be more susceptible to that little bug I’d been fighting. I have a few friends who swear by Ultragen recovery drink, so I drank a bottle on my way home.  I didn’t get sore the day of my last 20 miler and this time, I didn’t get sore either. I blame it on Ultragen, so that’s my plug – drink it and you won’t be sore when you run 20 miles. Really though, I like the way I feel after I drink it and it really does seem to curb the soreness that’s been normal for me.

I had five easy miles on Monday for a recovery run and decided to, again, ignore any pace on my watch and just run. It ended up being a sub-9:00 mile, so I guess that’s good.

Today, I was planning to do three 2 mile repeats but again, the weather was just not looking good. The cold that was trying to overtake me was not overtaking me, but was trying to settle in my chest/lungs. It was cold, windy, and wet out.

My back deck. Yuck.

My back deck. Yuck.

I asked some peeps on my Facebook page if it would be pansy or smart for me to stay in and have a tempo ride on my bike, and the response was overwhelming to ride my bike indoors.  So that is exactly what I did, and it was a good ride. I warmed up 10 minutes, then had four 7 minute repeats at Z4 with a 3 minute recovery (the 4th was a full 10 minutes at Z4), ending with a 10 minute easy recovery. I did run a little with the kids as they had their running practice after school since the rain ended and it dried up for the most part.

Tomorrow is an easy 5 miles and then Thursday, bum bum BUMMMMM, the 2 mile repeats. And the high is going to be 29 (really, super cold for us here). I’ve already planned to meet Amanda and get these cranked out, so there’s no excuses.

It’s been a good week of workouts, the marathon is in LESS THAN 5 weeks now, and I’m feeling good. Of course I’m nervous, but I’m ready to get my work in and see it pay off. I haven’t been able to get to the pool (that’s a story in itself so I won’t even start but I really wish it was warm enough to open water swim), and my swim clinic is this weekend. Exciting!

Anyway, if you haven’t already, check out my Running Boston and Beyond Facebook page (and hopefully LIKE it) HERE.

Categories: hal higdon training plan, marathon, running, running with friends, training for marathon | 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.

IMG_6926

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

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

I’m So Not Ready For Christmas…..To Be Over

Christmas for me is all about sipping peppermint mocha creamer with coffee in it, hanging out with my family, sleeping in, eating fudge for breakfast, and watching all the Christmas movies, even the dumb ones that I can’t stop watching and commentating on (Hallmark). I’m ready for Christmas, but I guess I’m just not ready for it to be over. I’m only going to get to watch George Baily’s struggle with life only once this year. What happened? Why am I so behind?  I just don’t know.

I love Christmas and all it stands for. No matter what your beliefs are, it’s a time of giving, a time of being a little kinder to those around you, and it’s a time to be around those you love, hopefully being kinder to them too. With the passing of the year, it’s also a time to think about renewal, a time to start over, a time to stop doing things you shouldn’t do and a time to start doing things you should do. It’s a time of forgiveness, of happiness, of possibilities.

And considering we have a HUGE trampoline to put together for the kids, it’s going to be a time of testing patience. And reading instructions. It’ll be a time of trying new things, taking chances. That’s the way I view this time of year, anyway!

Little training blurb, because this IS a running blog 🙂 As many of you know, I’ve been dealing with a pretty pesky case of shin splints. The symptoms are very inconsistent and I really never know from one day to the next what pain, if any, I will have. My goal race is the Wrightsville Beach marathon on March 22, so I knew I needed to get to training, or just let that particular goal go. Because speed work is the trigger, I decided to go with the Hal Higdon training plan, one that isn’t as intense as the plan I used for Boston. Last weekend, I had a 7 mile Saturday and 14 mile Sunday scheduled. I was nervous, because I didn’t have a clue how it would go. I’m happy to report that I feel like my leg is on the mend. My leg was pretty crampy after the 7, but I worked on it all day, and by Sunday morning, I was ready to tackle 14. I honestly didn’t know if I was going to do 11, 14, or even make it to 10 miles, but I ended up with the full 14, and it was pretty awesome. I picked up the last mile or two, and I felt good and I felt strong. I ran a very slow 3 mile recovery on Monday, per the plan but 99% because I was too lazy to go to the pool or set up my bike for a ride as I was planning, and unfortunately, the leg was sore. I’m taking the next few days off running, but am cross-training to simulate speed work, but I’m very hopeful. Very, very hopeful! I think patience is key right now, and my goal is to get my long runs in on the weekend, skip the speed workouts until after the new year, and start back VERY slowly. I hate being patient, and I hate the feeling of not knowing, but it’s the best course of action for this strange set of circumstances.

Anyway, that being said, I want to wish you the best best this holiday. No matter what you are personally celebrating, I wish you a very Merry Christmas! May you see your possibilities come true, may you feel true love, may you be happy.

My favorite boys.

My favorite boys.

Categories: marathon, running, running with friends, swimming, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

2014: Looking Back Before Looking To 2015

2014 was pretty epic. I accomplished and experienced things that I never thought I would or could. I also failed. More than once. I surprised myself with both the successes and the failures. I had a LOT of fun. I met a LOT of people.  Since this is the time of year that we make our goals for the upcoming year, I felt it was important to FIRST look at what the past year held and remember what I learned from those experiences.

EPIC:

Um, heller….did anyone say, “BOSTON MARATHON”??? The mostest epic-est, awesomer-than-anything and favorite part of my year and running life altogether was being a part of the athlete field in the 2014 Boston Marathon. It took me many years to get there, and to realize that dream was the ultimate epic experience. This got the diamond crown.

I got the medal.

I got the medal.

EPIC BUT NOT AS EPIC AS BOSTON BECAUSE BOSTON IS PRETTY DAMN EPIC ON ITS OWN:

I was able to PR in both the 5k in January (21:13) and the half marathon in February (1:40:15) as a part of marathon training. I was pretty damn happy about those times, too.

I learned how to train my ass off.  During Boston training, I never missed a workout. Ok, I never missed a running workout. Zero. I missed one swimming workout the entire training cycle. ONE. I learned how to be devoted. I learned to not make excuses. I learned that in order to become the runner you want and know you can be, you have to work and work hard. I learned how to go the extra mile. I did that, and I’m really proud of the work I did. I know I was capable of running an amazing race in April, which is almost as good as actually running that amazing race.

Beach 2 Battleship 70.3 – 6:03      I learned about being a triathlete. I looked fear in the face, cuddled with it for a while, let it whisper sweet nothings into my ear, then kicked it’s ass out. I learned how to swim better than I did before, I learned how to open water swim, I learned how to ride my bike in between swimming and running, and I learned how to run after swimming and biking. It was epic. And I’m going to do it again.

Almost to the finish of my first tri, B2B 70.3.

Almost to the finish of my first tri, B2B 70.3. It looks like my knees are stuck together.

I had fun.  Running is really awesome. But it can become competitive for me, and the ability to “just run” a race diminished. So that’s why I decided to do an endurance triathlon. Well, I had one on my radar for a number of years, but I needed to do something different and NOT be competitive. It worked, and I had a total blast training for and competing in the 70.3.

Mott’s Channel Swim – I entered and completed an open water swim race. Pretty proud of that, mostly because I would have laughed until I peed myself had you told me two years ago I would do something like that.

After the Mott's Channel Swim, a 1.3 mile open water race.

After the Mott’s Channel Swim, a 1.3 mile open water race.

The 10×10 Challenge. Ten continuous miles for ten days in a row.  I learned that it’s definitely doable to complete this challenge in July, but not advisable. I can’t wait to do this challenge again. It was an epic feeling and quite the journey in itself. Try it, you just might learn something about yourself.

Post-Challenge

Post-Challenge

Coaching. I found that I really love coaching. I’m learning a lot about it, and I know that I want to keep doing it. Being at the 5k with those boys made me feel like a momma hen watching her chicks fly for the first time. It’s a really cool mix of pride, excitement, and nerves.

Here’s the video I made for my Stride boys.

FAILURES:

I hate to admit this, but there’s usually something good that comes from failure. I think we all know this, especially as athletes. I’ve had a lot of good things come from the hard work and dedication that I’ve put into my running and triathlon training and races. I’ve also had some pretty big fails. But with a little distance, I can see how the failures have done me good. Dammit.

I’ll start with the little one. I got a pretty big PR (4 minutes) in my half marathon in February. So you’d think it’s all good, right? No, I was pissed. I got a 1:40:15, but I could never see the success in THAT because I was too busy being pissed that I was only 15 seconds from getting a sub-1:40.  I wished I had pushed just a second or two faster, that I had put my head down and gunned it into the harsh wind that met us a mile or two from the finish that totally wiped me out. I wish this and I wish that. What I REALLY wish is that I could’ve forgotten about all that garbage and celebrated the huge success that I DID have. I ran a really good race, and I’m now really happy about it. But my finishing moment was ruined by me wishing I had something better. When you start getting that attitude, that nothing is good enough, it’s time to think about things. And that is what led me to decide for sure to do the triathlon. I KNEW that I wouldn’t be competitive with it. I KNEW I would have fun, that I COULD NOT get all ants-in-my-pants about times and stuff. I knew I needed to step out of the bubble, the one that says you’re never good or fast enough. That was stupid, and that race taught me to not be stupid.

So the next one… it was the epitome of good and bad. The Boston Marathon. Yes, I’ve talked a lot about this, but I think, after this, I’m done talking about part of it. I’ll wipe the bad part out of my memory like wiping the marker board clean.

Running Boston was so awesome, so overwhelming, but I had a big fail. I trained and trained and spent hundreds of dollars on a coach and getting there and all the hubbub that comes with seeing your dream marathon come to fruition. My parents came to see me, my sister and her husband came to see me, my husband and my two kids came to see me. I was ready for the race of my life. Oh, I got the race of my life all right. The race recap I wrote that day describes the race perfectly – It was the Best of Times, It was the Worse of Times. You can read it HERE. It really was the strangest combination of good and bad. The bad was something I didn’t see coming. I thought that it was possible for me to run out of strength because I pushed the race. I was worried about how warm it was too, but when racing, I never felt hot. I wasn’t sweaty. I went for my goal, and I was doing it. I was heading for a sub 3:40 and I only had a 10k to go. Part of my race mantra was “I can do anything for X amount of time”. I was counting down. I was doing it. In freakin’ Boston. That was the best of times.

I can’t remember the exact feelings, but around mile 20-21, I knew something was wrong. I knew I had to stop, regroup, and slow down. I knew my PR was shot, but I was having fun.

Heartbreak Hill area, having a brew with one of the college kids. Most of it spilled out the sides of my mouth, but still, this was fun.

Heartbreak Hill area, having a brew with one of the college kids. Most of it spilled out the sides of my mouth, but still, this was fun.

Then the bobble head feeling started. And the nausea. It all went downhill from there. I barely remember the last part of the race. I knew I had to stop several times so I wouldn’t throw up. And I didn’t truly understand what happened until I became the internet doctor later that night.

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Can you see the sarcasm on my face?

Where’s the lesson in this? How can my slowest marathon of seven teach me something? First of all, I’ve never tried harder to finish a race. I could NOT DNF. No. Hell no. So I put on my big girl tights and pulled out every bit of anything I had to finish that race. And it took me almost 5 hours to do it, 75 minutes extra minutes in just the last 5 miles. I had to put one foot in front of the other carefully and consciously. To sum it all up, I had salt depletion dehydration. How did I turn that frown upside down? I acquainted myself with Endurolytes. I thought that taking in salt was just an endurance triathlon thing. Honestly. But I talked to a lot of people, tried them myself, and learned that Endurolytes are pretty damn awesome. I used them throughout the summer, especially during the 10×10 Challenge. I used them during my triathlon. I used them with long runs. And if I learned one thing from the Boston Marathon, it was what salt depletion was and how serious it can be. Oh, and how to help prevent it. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to learn so many lessons, especially the hard way.

WRAPPING IT UP

You can always learn something when you look back at your experiences. Whether you learn them right then or have some “delayed learning” like I did, chances are, some piece of information can be available to you at almost any given moment. It’s just up to you to grab it.  Where does this leave me as I look back over 2014?

I’m very proud of the work I did. I’m proud of the chances I took. I’m proud of the fact that I let myself learn things along the way. Sure, I have a tiny baby scar from feeling so horrible during one of the best races of my life, but I’ll go back. I’ll do it again, and I’ll get my moment of glory. Some day. I’ll be patient. I know I have things to work on too. Facing fears and not letting them take over. NOT taking the easy road (swimming only on calm days). Balancing life and athletics.

As I took towards 2015, I know that I’ve got a beast mode full of grit and determination that I have not fully used before. I also have a lot more patience than I used to. What EXACTLY does that mean for me in 2015? You’ll just have to wait and see! Plans post to be coming soon. 😉

Do you look back before you look forward?

Categories: 10x10 challenge, beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, coaching, half iron distance, learning from failure, marathon, open water swimming, running, running buddies, running challenge, running streak, running with friends, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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