Posts Tagged With: boston marathon

Part Deux: Wrightsville Beach Marathon

I have to admit, this race recap has been difficult to start. How do I put this experience into words? This race meant so much to me. This was the culmination of 8 marathon training cycles, 1 DNF, 2 deferrals, 1 stomach flu, 3 walk of shames, 1 woulda coulda shoulda, 1 shattered dream, 1 80+ degree day, and 6 years of perseverance, during which time my family moved 1000+ miles, TWICE. I learned a lot about people, about myself, and looking back, it was all worth it. It all led to this. one. day.

On race morning, I woke up calm, but as the time neared for us to leave the house, nerves hit. I started shaking a little bit and I wanted to cry really bad, but I held it back. I think. My husband and kids work a race aid station, so we left the house at 5 am. I drove myself to the race finish, crying all the way. Wailing. It was U.G.L.Y. Andy picked me up, and we went to the aid station, which lucky for me, is at the race start. It was cold and windy. Hmmm, I was hoping it wasn’t TOO cold, which is something I didn’t think I’d have to think about. I sat in the truck a bit as they unloaded the aid station stuff, and I decided to go for a very short jog to see how the old legs were feeling. I probably went just short of a quarter mile, and I felt good. So I jumped back in the truck where it was warm, and had my snack. I told a lot of people my husband was at the aid station at mile 2.5 (that part of the course is one big circle so you start and loop around to where we were in the truck) and 14.5, so some brought their bottles and extra supplies to leave there, and a few jumped in the truck with me. That was nice to have company as the minutes flew by. I’m bummed we didn’t get a picture! I realized I needed to head to the bathroom again, which was basically next to the truck, so I tensely waited in line, again as the minutes flew. I did NOT want to be in the jon when the national anthem was playing. NOT THIS TIME. Thankfully, our line moved fairly fast, and it was time to head to the start to fine the 3:40 pace group.

My nerves quelled by this time, and my focus started to shift to the task at hand. I had also realized that I had my directions messed up. The wind was from the north at probably a good 10 mph, so I thought we would have a head wind for a few miles at the beginning and in the middle. I was wrong – we would only have it a few miles at the beginning, and several of the other miles would be protected. I was very happy to realize it and my race could go even better than I planned! Yay for getting it wrong!!!

I found the pace group, made a little small talk, and got my music ready. I don’t know what kind of time warp we were in, but I swear, it was the fastest ten minutes EVER. Thankfully, the race started on time, and we were ready to go. I crossed the start about a minute after the gun went off.

Here we go. It was crowded, I couldn’t hear my music (I even checked to be sure it was on), and I ran on the sidewalk instead of the street. I passed many people who shouldn’t have been in front of me, and soon, my Garmin beeped one mile. Fifteen seconds later, I came upon Mile 1 at 9:00. Wow. Ok, that was a tad slow and my Garmin was reading fast. Hey, no big, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and I knew my coach would be happy I didn’t blow the first mile at an 8:00 pace. Save the legs, save the legs.

We ran the next mile with the wind, and I picked up a little from that first slow mile. I warmed up, so I took off the Sheddable Shell and carried it with me. I dodged the drainage grates in the street, something I was used to because I run that loop all year long, and I wondered what the out-of-towners thought. Mile 2 approached, and my Garmin was consistent with the early beep like at mile 1. Ok, 8:09. That’s a tad fast, but we were with the wind and my breathing didn’t increase, so good sign. Half a mile later, I passed my kids and Andy working to hand out water and Gatorade, and I threw my balled-up Sheddable Shell coat, hoping someone would grab it before it blew away. Thankfully, my son saw it and picked it up.

We ran off the island and the sun was coming up, but thankfully, it was cloudy. The weather was shaping up to be perfect for me. I saw the pacer fly by and say something about making up time. I knew I did not want to increase my pace to a sub 8:00 mile, so I stayed back, trying to keep them in sight. This was also where my pace bracelet came in perfectly. At each mile marker, starting at 3, I looked at my time and where I should be on the bracelet – I knew I was behind from that first slow mile, but I knew I had time to make it up, if things went my way. Mile 3 was at 8:02, faster than it should have been, but I felt like it was effortless.

Mile 1: 9:00, Mile 2: 8:09, Mile 3: 8:02, Mile 4: 8:00, Mile 5: 8:19

Ah, nutrition and hydration, those other controllable variables. I carried my first Gu (orange Rocktane) with me and had an 8 oz bottle of Rocket Fuel nicely clipped to my shorts. I actually remembered to drink, and my goal was to have this 8 oz done within 1 hour. I was a little behind, so I made sure to drink big sips each time. The miles were going by at a great pace, and I was following my plan. I realized at mile 5.5 that I needed to eat. I wasn’t hungry, but I knew I needed the fuel, so I tore into my Gu and got it down, finishing it with the last of my Rocket Fuel. Done. I was going to supplement with water at the aid stations in the next section of the race. But I didn’t expect to have to pee. Oh man, I have to pee, and it’s mile 8. I had just caught up with the pace group at this time, happily following them and letting their pace dictate my pace. I saw a few people I knew with the pacer, which was really cool and I saw TONS of people along the course I knew. That’s the beauty of a home town race! Built in support. When I found myself going at a pace under my goal pace, I tried to pull back. It was way to early to bank time.

Instead of saying “Hello” or “Hey all” or just “How are you feeling?”, the first thing I said to the pacer was, “I have to pee.”. How friendly of me.  I knew I needed to take the chance and go, and at that point, I was close to my 3:39 goal pace, making up for that slower first mile. The next two aid stations had port-a-jons, but they were full, so I kept going. Finally a few miles later at mile 10-11, I found an empty stall, fumbled around, almost losing my iPod, and quickly peed. I came out and immediately looked for the pace group, happy to see they were still in sight. At this point, my Garmin was .12 miles off the mile markers, part of which was due to tangents, part of which was my Garmin.

Mile 6: 8:13, Mile 7: 8:06, Mile 8: 8:13, Mile 9: 8:18, Mile 10: 8:15, Mile 11 (the bathroom mile): 8:56

At this point in the race, we run through a private neighborhood full of curving roads that seem to go. on. for. ever. I knew the half marathoners split off close to the exit, and it seemed like 17 miles instead of maybe 5. FINALLY, I saw the split, and we were herded through some gates and out of the neighborhood, where we headed back to the beach loop. I was feeling good, keeping in mind that the race hadn’t even really begun, remembering how many times I had done well up to mile 18-20. But something in me know I had fight, I had something different this time. I wasn’t tired, I wasn’t sore, I wasn’t breathing heavily. I saw a bunch of people I knew at the aid station, whether they were helping, waiting for their relay team members, or spectating. Lori, I won’t ever forget you saying, “Well, there she is.” when you saw me. You made me feel so important at that point. Lynda, I remember seeing you and how happy you were to see me too. Those are the little bits I remember, the faces, the smiles, the people yelling my name, not knowing if they knew me or called it from my bib. Whatever it was, it was magical, as I was in a groove and feeling invincible. Maybe it was the Rocket Fuel.

Mile 12: 8:05, Mile 13: 8:10, Mile 14: 8:02, Mile 15: 8:21, Mile 16: 8:19

Mile 12ish

During the beach loop, I would pass Andy and the kids at mile 14.5 or so. I had a little bag of goodies to take and a new bottle of Rocket Fuel. When I approached, I thought of all the things I wanted to tell him. I was on pace, I was kicking it, I felt great, I was gonna kick this thing’s ass, I was gonna do it, this was my race. I saw my son standing guard looking for me, so I waved my arms out so he knew I saw him and that it was me. He took off towards Andy, who was standing there ready to give me my goodies. So instead of saying all these cool, awesome things, I garbled out something like “I fight, me fight” but it probably sounded more like, “ughing fite ughime”. I have no idea why my voice was messed up, but it was messed up. After I got my supplies from Andy, I picked up some Gatorade from one of my Epic runners volunteering that morning, and I was on my way.

Togas and Tigers Aid Station, Mile 14.5

Yes, the guy in the picture is wearing a sheet. He’s from the Latin Club at a local high school. They were awesome.

Ah, right then, the song my coach picked out for me came on. “Bulletproof”. I teared up at little, then got my crap together again. I certainly felt bulletproof at that point. It was perfect.

As I was leaving the loop, I saw my friend, Gary, coming onto the loop. The conversation went the same as with Andy, “ughemefightumrtph”. No idea what that was. Anyway, we waved, which was communicated in a much more eloquent way by a simple “wave”, and I was headed off the beach. Gu #3 was consumed, and I passed the busy aid station again and headed to the new part of the course, instead of the neighborhood abyss it was before this year. Right in here, I caught up with the pace group again and hung behind for a bit. I was feeling GOOD, and barring any sudden injury, I knew I had a BQ coming. I wanted to start kicking it, but held off. I had 10 miles to go. Anything can happen, so I played it safe.

That “waiting” lasted one mile. When we headed to the cross city trail, I passed the pacer, and I started running, paying little attention to pace, just feel. I was in a groove, and I felt amazing. Rocket Fuel. I saw some of the first place men (HOLY CRAP) only a few miles from the finish.  I kept drinking my Rocket Fuel and hydration along the course, but I wasn’t concerned with dehydrating at this point, so I know I didn’t drink as much as my plan stated. As we approached UNCW, a part of the course I’d run a hundred bazillion times before, I was on autopilot. I wasn’t paying attention to my watch, only the times at the mile markers. When I saw the markers come into view, I looked at my bracelet and said the corresponding time out loud, or rather something like “pshimph”. Sometimes I wouldn’t remember it by the time I actually got to the marker, so I’d just repeat it. I was gaining time. I think I was nearly 90 seconds to 2 minutes ahead of 3:39 at this point. The mile distance, according to my watch and the mile markers was getting longer – my watch was reading slow this time, probably due to the trees.

A light rain started about this time (I think). It was really light, so it was ok. Ha, little did I know.  We made our way to the center of campus to the circle and headed back. The circle was small on the map, so when we ran around it for real, I remember thinking it was ridiculously large and I hated every second of it. In prep for the race, I knew I would KNOW when I left campus, if this race was going to be a good ending, or another chapter in the BQ attempt saga. As I left campus, I knew I had it. I kept gaining more time. I was getting it done.

Mile 17: 8:10, Mile 18: 8:20, Mile 19: 8:12, Mile 20: 8:04, Mile 21: 8:28 (I think this is where Garmin made up some distance because at each mile BEEP, the distance to the mile marker kept getting shorter.)

Since the course was an out and back, I saw many of my runner friends out there. I hope I at least said “hello” or waved to them, but by this time, I was getting tired, even though I felt amazing. I know that when I had to turn or go up a “hill”, I grunted and moaned with the effort. It was embarrassing, but hey, gotta do what you gotta do, right?

Mile 22: 8:14, Mile 23: 8:18

As I headed off the cross city trail and across Eastwood Road, it was time to try and go faster. It was time to go, it was time to kick it. We headed into a neighborhood. Then. Then it happened. And I’m SO thankful for ME, it happened here and not even one half mile before. The bottom dropped out and it started to POUR. Oh. My. Goodness. This wasn’t your typical rain. This was rain where I could feel a drop hit my toe through my shoe and sock. This was a drenching downpour. And it was cold. Holy crap, was my race doomed? I didn’t even know where I was with pace, I didn’t know how many miles I had left.

It was relentless. I was soaked, my shoes were full, my earphones weren’t working well since they had gotten wet. My glasses, tucked nicely below my cap, were spotted with tiny drops of rain and they started fogging up. I tried to clean them off on my soaked shirt. Yeah, that didn’t work.

Mile 24: 8:29, Mile 25: 8:32

I knew some friends were going to be around half a mile out. WHERE WERE THEY? Corner after corner and turn after turn, we kept going. A mile left, half a mile, no friends, but plenty of puddles. I didn’t look at my time, I was just getting to the finish. Splashing through the puddles, finally, I saw I was getting close. I saw my sister, YAY, my sister came out and was cheering for me. I threw my glasses at her, saw Captain America, and made eye contact with Wendy, missing a bunch of other friends out there with her.

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Almost at the finish!

Mile 26: 8:21

FINISH FAST. FINISH WITH GLORY. FINISH WITH A SMILE.

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I got it!

I got my marathon. The time on the finish line clock said 3:37 and something. Holy crap. 3:37. I did it. I ran my best race. I collapsed with tears at the finish, making some wonder if I was injured or sick, to which I replied, “WHFFPHDMFBSOTNIAUAULIFIED FIPFHSH”. Translated: “It’s a happy cry! I qualified for Boston! I did it!”

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Crossing the finish line. So many emotions. This picture tells my six-year story.

I hugged my sister, babbled out some more stuff, and didn’t even know what to do with myself. I was cold and tired. But I was electric. I was so happy. It was pouring. I needed to get warm. I needed two more hands. What was I going to do, food tent, husband, kids, rain, cold, dry clothes, where was I, coach, need to see coach. I ran into the food tent to find Coach Kristen. No, she just left. I wandered around, chatted with people (I sounded like a heavy smoker), then headed back out to talk to my sister and find my husband. When I saw him, we hugged and I was finally able to tell him that I did it, we did it. He took the kids into another tent, and after saying bye and thanks to my sister, I went to find my car. I was so turned around and didn’t know where I was. I actually asked someone to tell me where my car was. I got my dry clothes bag and headed to the tent where my family was. I started SHAKING and hyperventilating for some reason, so I just leaned over and remembered to breathe. I could breathe. Finally. I could breathe again.

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My boys and best supporters

I did it. I didn’t even know the time I had, but I did it. Need to find coach. Ah, coach found me. We jumped (I think that’s what that was), hugged, and we celebrated. I texted my parents, “I don’t think we can afford to come visit next summer because WE GOIN’ TO BOSTON!!!” Nice, aren’t I?

I saw a few more friends (Melissa) and fellow finishers, and although I was warm, I didn’t know what to do besides wander around the food tent. I wish I had a rain jacket so I could watch the other finishers. Damn. It was time to go home, and I was super bummed it was raining, because this post-marathon party is fun. After I got home, took a twelve hour shower, and ate a little, my husband looked up the results and found that I had crushed my goal and finished my marathon in 3:36:38. I even got 2nd in my age group. Oh, the tears flowed again. I did it. Finally. And I get to go back to Boston.

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Post-Race Happy

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Post-Race Nappy

So if my experience can teach anyone anything, LEARN from your mistakes. Be ok with making mistakes. That’s how you learn. That’s how you grow. But learn from them. And don’t give up on your dream. Go for it. Don’t give up. If you KNOW you have something within you, do it. Go for it. As for me, I’m running Boston…and beyond.

Categories: anything is possible, being epic, Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, learning from failure, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, race with base, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Charleston Marathon Recap – No BQ For Me :(

There’s a theme going on here with my last several marathons. Bonk. It’s a weird sort of bonk and I can’t quite figure it out, but I have my suspicions, now that I’ve had a day to think about it. Yeah, I figured it out. So here’s my race report…

My husband and I drove to Charleston the morning before the race. It’s about a 3 1/2 hour drive from our house, and I have had a really sick cat who needed to go to the vet for fluids, so we got a late start. We headed down and chatted, ate, and had a nice, relaxing trip. We went to packet pickup, which was busy and really easy to access. I think the expo would have been significantly better had a band not been performing in the school gym where expo was located. It was so loud. And loud music when you’re trying to wander around booths and get your race stuff and chat with people is just stressful. Basically, all people were doing was signaling, “WHAT?!??”.

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I hope they nix the band in the future – no one liked it, and this doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have enjoyed the band at the finish line, OUTSIDE.

I got my stuff, saw some fellow Wilmington peeps, and we headed to the hotel to hang out. My sister kept the kids, so it was nice to watch tv, and go to dinner when we felt like it. I had my traditional burger, and honestly I had no nerves. I was determined, I was scared (to face the pain), but I was more determined than scared. I was worried about how warm and humid it might be, but I figured I would take my Base Rocket Fuel and salt, and I would be fine.  It’s all about dealing with the obstacles, not letting them deal with you. That was my attitude going into the race. I was ready to tear it up.

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My goal times and some other “inspiring” words of encouragement.

On race morning, I did my traditional thing, ate peanut butter on bread, a banana, drank some OJ, and we headed to the race start about 90 minutes prior. I had some nerves, but it was more determination than fear. No traffic, plenty of parking, we were there. A friend of mine needed a Garmin charge cord, so I took that to her, tried to exchange my medium shirt for a large, which is highly annoying since I’m not a large person, so I didn’t think I needed to order a large shirt. I found a few friends from Wilmington at the start, got a kiss from my hubby who was running the half, and soon, we were on our way. They got the race started right at 8. Awesome.

I was warm. It was over 50 degrees when we started, which means tank and shorts for me. I had gloves because of the waiting, plus I tucked one of my gu’s in one. I was trying something completely different for this race, and I knew it was going to be warmer and more humid than I feel I race well in, so I carried Base Rocket Fuel with me. This stuff boosted me big time during Ironman, and I’ve been using it, the salts, and the Base Energy for almost a month while training. I had two small containers, one in my hand, one in a “holster” hooked on my shorts. I was leery of carrying, but I was willing to throw the containers when empty or if they got annoying.

The first mile was pretty crowded, but it thinned out enough where I didn’t have to weave in and out around the 9+ minute mile people. By mile three, I was pretty sweaty. The temps were fairly cool and we had a breeze/wind, so that was good, but the sun was out in full force, and I was warming up quickly. “Adjust to it, Kelli. You just need to adjust.” I was keeping at a fairly even pace at 8:15’s, and I slowly built up some time over the miles. I enjoyed the course as we weaved through the battery and beautiful historic homes on the water front, then along the southern part of the Charleston peninsula. And then the course dried up. It went from a pretty downtown area with spectators to industrial with no one. I knew there were a lot of turns, and that was ok, I just needed to watch my tangents so I didn’t end up running 27 miles!

The full and half split the first time at mile 9, and we fullers headed into the abyss of the naval yard and Cooper River Marina. There was a push on the way out, and looking back, this was where I realized the day was unwinding. I was optimistic though – just push, keep going, don’t give up, don’t be a p****, how bad do you want it, you’re doing it, you’re on pace, don’t fuck it up, so many people believe in you, you believe in you – these were the thoughts in my head. I was keeping pace, but it seemed harder, and I didn’t know why. At mile 12, we went onto a concrete dock and turned around and headed back into the most boring course ever. Ugh. The good thing is that I saw two people I knew along the way, so just seeing them made me happy.

At that point, I was racing. I thought I was hydrating. By then, I had drank my 7ish oz of Rocket Fuel, a few licks of Base salt, and had two of my gu’s. I was super sweaty, or rather, I was salty. I felt like I was doing the right thing. At mile 14, I was only maybe 20 seconds off my goal pace, but I felt like I was losing time. I felt like it was getting harder and harder to just keep at an 8:30 pace.

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Mile 16

I wasn’t going to give up. But soon, I knew I lost my goal. I knew it was not going to work. I didn’t understand what happened though. No, I don’t like warm weather, and it doesn’t like me, but I was FIGHTING! Isn’t that supposed to work? Isn’t that enough? Willing yourself to fight, to push, to work harder than you feel you can, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do to race your best? Well, it simply wasn’t enough for me that day.

I cried. I hyperventilated. I felt like I let everyone down, my coach, my family, my teammates. I let the haters win – yes, I know there’s people out there happy I didn’t meet my goal. I’m a laughing stock. Kelli failed yet again. Can’t she get it right? Was my one BQ a fluke? All that time. All that money. All the hopes and dreams and faith it would work this time. Gone. I failed before I crossed the finish line, and I was angry. Frustrated. Tired of failing. Did I not want it badly enough? So many other people can do this, what the hell am I doing wrong? Did I already reach my peak? Am I just not a BQ marathon runner anymore?

But around mile 18, I still had some fight. I knew I could still run a good time, so go for it. I wouldn’t let myself quit, as I desperately wanted to walk off the course, make up some story about a sprained ankle, but I was there to fight. So I fought. It was a battle where I was prepared to duke it out to the end, but I had no ammunition. That’s the best way I can describe it. It was like so many other marathons – I could no make my body do what I knew it could do. It wasn’t muscular. THAT is something I can push through. This was something else, something else that bogged me down. I allowed myself one tantrum. 20 seconds. That was it. Carry on.

As I went through cycles of good running, some walking, and some shuffling, I dreaded the finish line. And then I didn’t. And as I turned about a hundred thousand times on the course to that line, I knew I had to keep going, keep fighting, and finish with a smile. It was a marathon for goodness sake, and I was going to finish in under four hours. Time goals aside, finishing a marathon is something to be proud of, no matter how long it takes. So I had a feeling of pride as I ran the last few miles. I guess I let go of what other people thought about me, and let myself feel the true feelings that I had – disappointment mixed with pride. One of my favorite songs came on, and I turned up the volume, then hit rewind and listened to it again. I should have been finishing at that point. Damn.

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A race picture with BOTH feet off the ground. Keeper!!

I enjoyed the last .2 miles of this marathon. The crowd was good, you could hear the finish line announcer, and then I saw my husband and friend, Wendy, cheering me on. I choked up, as I knew he knew how much I wanted this race. And he’s always there for me, always cheering me on, supporting me through my races, my crazy ideas, and he always calls me amazing. He is my rock.  And I finished my race in 3:54:06. No, I did not meet my goal, but I ran a marathon. And for that, I am super proud.

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Marathon 9 in the books!

The after party was pretty awesome. They had shrimp and grits (I just had the grits but they hit the spot), beer, mimosas, an amazing band, and just a fun atmosphere in the North Charleston downtown area. I found my fellow blogger, Running Wild and his other pacer, and we chatted a bit and hung out as we rested up. Cool peeps.

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Paul, another cool pacer guy, and me

Because we needed to head home, I went to the school just next to the finish, showered, and we took a shuttle back to the start to get our car and head home.

So now that I’ve had a few days to digest the race, what went wrong? Again. Well, after I thought about it, boggled over it for hours, I realized I wasn’t doing the one thing that I knew I needed to do. Drink. I had the perfect drink. I had it with me. I was literally holding the key in my hand. And as I tell you how much I had to drink the first half, I’m going to hear tons of you face-palm yourselves because how can a person, a smart person, a COACH herself, be so clueless? Each race is a lesson learned, whether it be of what to do or what NOT to do. So I learned that drinking 7 oz in the first 13-14 miles of a marathon isn’t enough. Here, I’ll do it for you.

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I heard my coach do this over the phone.

So now what? What am I going to do? Well, I’m going to read a lot about hydration and recover. I’m not sure if I’m going to go ahead with my other race plans or adjust based on the fact that I was really dumb about hydration when I knew I needed to drink more. Why didn’t I drink more? Well, honestly, I thought I was. I had Rocket Fuel. I had salt. I was going to ADJUST. I’ve never drank much during races before and that worked for me, right? Hah, no, that’s why I’ve bonked the last three. I never did before and it worked when it was cold out. It wasn’t cold the last three marathons, and I didn’t adjust. You always learn something when you race. Yeah, I learned how not to be a dumbass.

Categories: go for your dreams, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, running, running with friends, temper tantrum, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Charleston Marathon – T Minus 5 Days

Gulp. My marathon, the one that seemed like it was going to take forever to get here…is here. And I’m ready. Whether or not I feel like I’m ready, I know I’m ready. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. Sometimes you have to do that, right? Fake it til you make it?

As I weather stalk, I allow myself to freak out just enough to get to the point of throwing my hands up in a tantrum and saying F*%# IT!!! I’ve had it with weather! But I don’t, and I still freak out, but that’s ok because it gives me something to concentrate on. This is something I do. It works for me. It’s sort of like a diversion, like before Ironman and I melted down over my phone and before Houston, I flipped out over getting to the start line on time. That was a release of sorts and I moved on and raced well. I have a history of freaking out and telling myself the race is going to suck or whatever, then I move on and race well. I learned that Pre used to do that too. So if he can do it, I can do it too.

I digress. For this marathon, I’m going in with a different attitude. I’m not going to worry (as much) about the weather, but just deal with it the best I can. If it’s warm, hydrate more. If it’s rainy, keep my shoes dry. If it’s cold, wear more layers. OH, and there’s this:

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This is what I’m taking with me on race morning.

Also, I’m loading up on my Base ROCKET FUEL. I Amazon Primed some new hydration handheld bottles since I know I’m going to need more than just water and Gatorade on the course. Besides the Rocket Fuel, I’m carrying some Rocktane and Base salts, just in case I start feeling goofy.

My plan is to run this race evenly, and if it goes the way I want it to, if my mind wills my legs to do what I know they can do, I will negative split by 1:00. If I negative split by :01, I’ll be happy, but 1:00 would be a good plan for me, assuming I’m on time the first half.

I have to admit this is the first time I’ve truly believed in myself. That’s what Ironman gave me out of all these years of marathon running. I know I can do it, and if, for some reason I don’t meet my time goal, I’m going to drive home (well, my husband will) knowing that I gave it my all, I ran my best given the circumstances, and I will be happy knowing I left it all out there on the course, something I’ve never truly done in a marathon.  Surprised to hear that? Well, I am too. I always thought I was relatively confident, but after looking into my “failures” and digging pretty deep, I realized that I never truly believed I could do it, so I gave up. It’s actually a lot more common that anyone probably thinks it is, unfortunately.

Anyway, this is what’s going on in my house tonight:

 

Go Tigers!!!!!!

I made this since I was feeling festive. I can’t wait to cut into it and see everyone’s face because this ain’t a regular cake!!

Feeling feisty for the game!

Feeling feisty for the game!

So what about you? Staying up late to watch the National Championship game? Eating cake?
 

 

 

 

Categories: anything is possible, being epic, Boston Marathon, ironman, learning from failure, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

It’s All About Boston

Anyone watching the marathon?  I have to admit, I’ve never watched the Boston Marathon before. I’ve got it streaming and I’m so excited to see how everything plays out today. I’m definitely on Team Shalane! I’ve had so much fun seeing people’s posts, articles, and blogs about their Boston experience, and it brings back so many memories from being there last year. I’d forgotten a few things that came back to me today. Some have brought tears of just plain joy, reliving an unforgettable experience, one that was so beyond amazing that the word amazing seems very inadequate.

Yeah, Boston!!!!

Yeah, Boston!!!!

This morning, I ran for Boston. I think of everyone making their way to the athlete’s village, how crazy it was there,  making their way to the start line, the nerves, the excitement, the crowds of people yelling “You’re my hero”.

2.62 for Boston

2.62 for Boston

I remember crossing the start line, I remember the short part where there really wasn’t a crowd and how quiet it was.  I remember seeing a sign along the course that read, “Meb won” and almost crying. I’m tearing up thinking of this right now actually. I remember seeing people jumping on a row of trampolines, people grilling out, sitting on the top of their roofs watching us run by. I remember seeing so many people getting kissed, getting high fives, the screaming, the yelling, the amazing support. I remember the hills, the beer I drank on heartbreak, the fun, the support, the love coming from the people in Boston. I remember someone offering me potato chips for the salt, I remember people asking me if I needed help, I remember laughing with them, thanking them, and feeling so lucky to be surrounded by amazing people. I remember knowing when my BQ, PR, and a sub-4:00 race was over, but I remember wanting to absorb as much of the race as I could. I remember the Citgo sign, of turning onto Boylston Street. I remember crossing the finish line and thinking how lucky I was to be there. No, the race didn’t go my way, but I felt an amazing sense of pride. I’m hoping everyone racing today has that feeling.

I’m so excited for everyone there today. And I’m planning my return. I’ve already got my hopeful BQ race picked out and I’ll be able to sign up for it next month.

So much epic stuff coming too….. as for now, I’ve got a marathon to watch!

 

It's all about this.

It’s all about this.

Categories: Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, marathon, qualifying for boston marathon, running | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

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?

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

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

Taking A Look Back Before I Go Forward

A year ago, I couldn’t imagine sitting at my kitchen table, writing my first half iron race report. Sometimes, when things are that far away and you don’t have the skills or equipment to do something, it seems impossible. But it was always my goal, to finish the B2B 70.3 with a smile on my face.

Off the subject, but speaking of smiles, I got my race pictures back this weekend. Oy. Can you say GOOBER?

Ok, back to it. I remember last year, when I ran the half marathon for the B2B relay, and I knew I wanted to do the 70.3. I knew I wasn’t interested in doing sprint triathlons, but endurance events. I didn’t want to make a “thing” of it and do them all the time, and I still don’t, but I knew I wanted to give it a try. If it all went well, I was planning to do a full iron distance, and I still am. But as I did do the race report, I thought back to events over the year that led me to a pretty good finish for my race.

I made my goal and I focused on it. I started swimming as marathon cross-training. I figured out what bike I could piece together, got it adjusted, greased up, and started riding it. My time at the pool was long and tedious. I swallowed a lot of old-lady aerobics water. I became friends with Endurolytes the hard way at the Boston Marathon. I ran the BOSTON MARATHON. I learned how to change a tire on my bike. I drew a cat on my PT bruise. I got a half marathon PR. I figured out how to unclip my shoes so I wouldn’t fall over at a stop light. I learned how to hydrate with EFS. I ate while riding my bike. I got a trainer so I could do bike workouts inside. I cried. I deferred a marathon. I ran. I ran more. I got a wetsuit. I swam in open water to practice. I got a swimming lesson. I met a lot of people along the way. I worked pretty hard along the way. I did the 10×10 challenge. I laughed a lot. I sweated a lot. I swore a lot. I ate a lot. But I had fun. It was an adventure. It was something new and an experience I was enjoying, beyond my expectations.

Here’s two pictures. The top one is of me running the B2B relay last year.  The bottom one is of me running B2B this year. I’ve come a long way. But I’ve got a long way yet to travel on this journey of mine!

Running the relay October 2013

Running the relay October 2013

Doing the full 70.3

Doing the full 70.3

During the year between those two pictures, I ran 1,339 miles. I biked 1,025 miles. I swam 55 miles. That’s freakin’ 2,419 miles!!! Not every mile was good (i.e. the last 6 of the Boston Marathon and most of them in August). But they all add up and provide a block in the foundation of meeting a goal.

If I could go back and tell my 2013 self something, it would be to just give it a go. Don’t be afraid. Read the tattoo on your foot, for crying out loud! Just do your work, trust your training, and have fun. Maybe that’s a little unrealistic, to have no fear? Well, ok, we all have some fear.  The key is to face it and don’t let it stop you from following your heart and going for your goals. Never stop dreaming. Never stop GOING AFTER your dreams. Chase ’em down with a baseball bat if you have to! Just go get ’em!

I can tell my current day self the same thing, as I gear up to train for the Houston Marathon that’s only 11 weeks away. I need to focus on my goal and stop overthinking everything, stop worrying so much about things I cannot control.  (It’s best to email coach when not high on caffeine too considering I have ALL THE FEELINGS.) My husband is rolling his eyes at this right now. You are, aren’t you, Andy??? Yeah, I can dream big, right? I know I’ll worry, I know there’ll be hard days, but I won’t give up. Hmmm, I wonder where I will travel in the next 12 months. How many miles will I run, bike and swim? Chances are, it’s going to be a lot, but most of all, I’m looking forward to the journey.

 

This is the tattoo I have on my foot as a constant reminder.

This is the tattoo I have on my foot as a constant reminder.

 

 

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

Why I LOVE Mammograms!

On Wednesday, September 25th, 2013, I had a physical therapy appointment in the morning. I was dealing with shin splints (how ironic that I’ve sidelined myself for the exact same thing a year later) and was desperately trying to fix them so I could carry on training for the Houston Marathon. I knew I was to be notified that day about whether or not I got in to the Boston Marathon. I was a mess, a total basket case, and I probably needed a little psycho therapy (not the wine kind). I’d crunched all the numbers and I was right on the edge of being able to run that race that I spent years trying to qualify for.

After my PT appointment, I had some lunch and went to my next appointment, my lovely mammogram.  I was turning 40 a few weeks later, so they were to become part of my annual health screening for the rest of my life. Yea.

My appointment was on time and for some reason, I always get a little nervous about these things. I guess being half naked in front of a stranger will do that to you, but really, the ladies who do these are normally just wonderful. It was short and sweet and twenty minutes later, I was on my way. I was OBSESSIVELY checking my email for any sign of a notification from the BAA on my acceptance, or lack thereof, and I was beginning to feel like I wasn’t going to get the news that I wanted to get. I quickly ran into the Food Lion that was right down the street, got some wine and a few other things that we always need. I started on my way home. Now I don’t normally do this and have vowed to my kids that I WON’T do this again, but at a stop light, I checked my email again. Bing. It was there. I read it and found this:

 

THE Email

THE Email (that I will never delete)

Yes, I got in to the amazing Boston Marathon. I freaked out.  To read the whole story of how close I was and what I did (does not include driving into a ditch or another car), click HERE.  Really, it’s a good story. Do it.

For weeks, as I drove by that stop light where I read THE email, I got the warm and fuzzies. I was still in disbelief, but I was just so happy about it. I needed it.  A lot.

And as much as I dislike having my boob touched by a stranger then squished and photographed, since that day, I’ve had a fondness for my mammogram appointment. I always remember it as a good experience, a happy day, and I want to go back. I’m going to tell them that I love mammograms because I found out that I got into the Boston Marathon on my way home from getting one. The power of association, right?!

The other reason why I love mammograms is that my mom’s breast cancer was caught extremely early because of one. The cancer was removed with surgery and she had a few months of radiation after that.  It wasn’t a piece of cake for her at all, but it could have been so much worse. I LOVE mammograms because I have my mom and if we didn’t have mammograms, I may not have my mom.

So to anyone and everyone, if you’re a woman, get your boobies squished and photographed. Maybe you’ll get some good news when you get home. Maybe it will save your life. But just do it.  Men, urge the women in your life get theirs photographed too. Go turn and cough for your doctor. Just do it. It could save a life.

 

 

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, half iron distance, running, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Flicking The Stupid Little Monkey Off My Back

A few notes before I start talking about monkeys…. First, the dog that we fostered got adopted on Saturday. He was awesome and was so happy to hear the news. My son is already badgering me about the next foster.

Second, my entire workout schedule has been totally messed up because of the weather. It rained from Friday morning until, well, I’m not sure if it’s quite done yet.  I’m suffering from depression from the lack of sunshine and outdoor activity. Sure, I can run in the rain, which I did on Friday and this morning. I can swim in the rain, but I won’t because I have enough issues breathing when it’s not watering from the sky. I can bike in the rain, but I won’t do that either.  I did get my 50 mile bike ride, if you can call it a ride when you’re not actually going anywhere, done on Sunday, here, in my living room, on the trainer. I hated 95% of it and almost quit at mile 20. Seriously, the trainer is a really cool and convenient thing, but it’s also torture!!!! You don’t go anywhere so you just watch a movie that you love but suddenly hate because you’re stuck there RPM’ing away and forced to watch something. I watched Elf. Then I watched part of The First Wives Club. Then I watched some of Property Brothers. Thankfully, I got done in the time I planned, but my cadence was a little slow. I’m ok with that because I just needed to get the miles in. I’m actually proud that I finished and didn’t quit. I really wanted to quit. So the weekend was a buzz kill when it came to working out beyond the bike ride, but I’m enjoying the last few weeks of flexibility and the freedom to say “I’m just not going to work out today”, when full on, heavy duty, 100% training starts September 1st. The only thing I must do, because my coach told me to, is get two 60-mile rides in before that. Game on. Now, back to monkey business.

 

50 miles. Done.

50 miles. Done.

Last week, I got some stuff from the Boston Athletic Association in the mail. I still think it’s cool when I get emails and actual mail from them. I’m like a kid. THEY KNOW ME???? THEY SENT SOMETHING TO ME???!!! They. Know. Me.

This time it evoked an emotion that I’m getting tired of. It’s not an emotion that I can easily explain nor easily get over.  As many of you know, I ran the Boston Marathon this past April.  Here’s the post I wrote about it that day.  It took me many years of blood, sweat, and tears and many failed attempts to finally break the time barrier and qualify. After that, it took months of waiting to see if I would actually get in since my time didn’t give me much margin, and I knew pretty much anyone who qualified this last year would go and celebrate after the devastation of 2013. I qualified by 1 minute and 43 seconds, but I only made it in by four seconds. But I made it in.

That race was the best of the best AND the worst of the worst. My feelings after the race were so torn on feeling awesome and how great the entire experience was and that I was there and I got to be a part of something that so many only dream of.  Added to all that awesomeness was a feeling of emptiness. Of sadness. Of anger. Disappointment. I haven’t been fully able to shake those feelings. So many people have told me, “Hey, you were there, you FINISHED the Boston Marathon! Just be happy for that!”.  Well, they’re right and I am. I mean, it was AMAZING  to be on THE course, to be a part of the entire thing.  But I’m also a competitive athlete who was thisclose to re-qualifying and getting a good marathon PR. I was so close. But yet, it was so far away. Actually, it’s not even about the PR or re-qualifying. It is about running the Boston Marathon, which in the technical sense, I didn’t get to do. Sure I ran most of it at a rockin’ pace, but I didn’t run the whole thing. It feels very, VERY incomplete. The journey feels unfinished.

After running six prior marathons and after training my ass off for months and months, the Boston Marathon was my slowest marathon finish time EVER.  In fact, I can’t even actually say, “I ran the Boston Marathon.” Those words don’t/can’t come out of my mouth.  I ran the first 20 miles and I walked the rest. I DIDN’T run the Boston Marathon.  The finish was very unexpected.  The time that I crossed the finish line doesn’t even really matter, it was the way in which it ended.  It wasn’t what I set out to do, it wasn’t what I was capable of doing, and I was extremely shocked at what happened during that race. I can’t get over it. I look at my medal and I’m so proud of all the work I did to get it, but it also brings up so many bad feelings in me. Then I get my finisher’s certificate and it shows my time, and I I’m reminded of gripping the crowd barrier so I could throw up. It reminds me of watching my foot go in front of the other one and wondering if I could make it six miles. It makes me think of the feeling that my neck was on a spring and that I couldn’t see straight. It reminds me of having cramps so bad that I gasped for air, scaring a guy running past me. It reminds me that I didn’t want to make eye contact with the medical crew so they wouldn’t pull me from the course (they wouldn’t, but at the time, my mind wasn’t right so I wouldn’t take the chance). It reminds me that I walked.  It makes me angry.  Then there’s that struggle. Many people would be happy with that time. Many would be so grateful to just be there. Well, it’s not as simple as that.  The Boston Marathon is the stupid little monkey on my back.

This is a monkey my son drew. Too bad the one that's sitting on me isn't cute like this one.

This is a monkey my son drew because we live in an area of town called “Monkey Junction”. THIS is the monkey. Too bad the one that’s sitting on me isn’t cute like this one, giving me a nice shoulder massage.

I need redemption. I need to do it again. I need to go back and RUN to the finish. Whether or not it’s a PR, it re-qualifies me, or is done during a thunderstorm/hurricane/blizzard, I NEED to go and do this race again.  I need that feeling of seeing the Citgo sign, of coming onto Boylston Street, of the crowds. Of finishing HAPPY.  Of finishing HEALTHY. I need to be able to look at my medal and know that was the best race. Ever. I want it to be a good story. Not of one that includes: “It was good until….” “Yeah, I had to stop so I wouldn’t throw up.”

Good.

Good feelings.

 

This is how it ended.

Bad feelings.

So as I train for my half iron distance at the end of October, my sights will be set on the Houston Marathon.  And instead of being a whiney little putz like I am being now, I’m going to concentrate on all the GOOD that happened on April 21st, 2014.  Or I’m going to try. It gave me a huge boost of confidence. I KNOW I can run the race of my life in Houston. I RAN WAS AT THE FRIGGIN BOSTON MARATHON. Heller!!!!  It reminded me that a marathon is just that, a marathon. Anything can happen.  The good, the bad, the ugly. You can prepare all you want and can have a terrible race. You can have minimal expectations going in and can be surprised at the awesome outcome (my BQ race in 2013). Marathons are their own organism with so many factors that can effect the outcome. The best thing I can do NOW is to start getting ready. I need this goal. I need to move on.  Get off my back, you silly little monkey, there’s no room for you here.

 

**Update before this is even published…. I feel better just writing this. I struggle since I don’t want to come across as ungrateful for being a part of the Boston Marathon field. But I’m sure many of you can relate after having a “bad” race. Thanks for reading. The little monkey is a lot smaller than he was just last week. I’m sure he’ll always be there in some sense, but at least he’s smaller.

Haha, I was looking through pictures and knew this was there but overlooked it…. THIS is the epitome of how I was feeling. Sense the sarcasm in my “thumbs up”?

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Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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