Posts Tagged With: cross training

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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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

I Didn’t Get Eaten By A Shark Last Night

Mostly because sharks don’t normally go into the waterway, but still, they DO.

On Monday evenings, a group of people get together and swim in the intra-coastal waterway. I was one of them last night. Last week, my wetsuit came in the mail, so I knew it was time to face my fears, and get ‘er done. It was a really pretty day, so I suggested to my husband that he come along and take the kids to the beach while I swim. Maybe it was a small comfort knowing that if he heard sirens or about a “swimmer in trouble” he would at least be there and not sitting oblivious to “an urgent situation” while at home.

I got my wetsuit on and my kids were nice enough to remind me NOT to fart in it. Heh, heh, of course they would say that. It seemed fairly tight, and when I mentioned it to another swimmer, she basically said “that’s how we all feel”. I let it go after that.  Turns out, it felt great in the water and I’m very happy with it and it’s buoyancy effect on my body.  Wetsuit + salt water = floaties.

The tide was steady and low when we got in, the water wasn’t cold, and the breeze had died down, so it was pretty close to perfect when we went out, just after 6 pm.  One of their friends was on her paddleboard, so it was nice there was someone watching out for us.

View from the finish where I dropped my shoes and a towel.

View from the finish where I dropped my shoes and a towel.

I thought the swim would be about .6 or .7 miles, and that made me slightly nervous.  When swimming in the pool, I stop every 25 meters, if only to grab the side and turn (I have not yet mastered the flip turn, or any turn for that matter), but it does give you some time to come up for air. They told me where to sight to, which was pretty much useless on me, because I’m just trying not to end up turning in a circle and going in the opposite direction.

It’s strange going from a pool to open water. You can’t see shit.  Then when breathing (because I can only breathe from one side at this point), the sun was glaring off the water, so I couldn’t see shit in or out of the water.  Once we started going, I got into a rhythm of sorts, and it felt pretty good. Then all of a sudden the warmish water got cold. Then warm, then cold.  It sort of freaked me out, so I stopped and realized I was headed for the docks. Oops. If I could figure out how to load my information from my Garmin, I would probably find my path something similar to this:

Not a straight path to my destination.

Not a straight path to my destination.

It made me laugh and I thought that it was too bad I couldn’t have a “sighter” on shore who could speak directly into my ear telling me “a little left, a little right”, you know, like the NASCAR drivers do. I’m sure the USAT would consider that illegal though.

The other swimmers knew I was a green novice beginner, so they stopped often and asked me if I was ok, doing all right, and that, which made me feel really good and less like a doofus. There was absolutely no pressure for performance, which is pretty unlike any running experience I have, ever. Especially when I’m alone.

There were three things I didn’t like: the water changing temperatures abruptly and often (ISN’T THAT A SIGN OF SHARKS OR OTHER SEA CREATURES?), boaters, and the dark water under the bridge. These are all things that I will get used to, and I was happy that I didn’t freak out or panic when what I assume was a seaweed thing got caught on my hand and when “something” touched my foot. I didn’t even stop to get it off as I knew that it would come off itself, which it did.  At the end, there was what looked like the head of a venomous snake poking out of the water, blocking me from coming to shore. OMG WHY WOULD A SNAKE BE RIGHT HERE??? I took my goggles off and alas, it was just a piece of Styrofoam. A very scary one.

I made it to the shore and I was surprised to see that, per Garmin, I swam .93 miles in 33 minutes. Hmmmm, if I can do THAT, what can I do in October? A sense of relief came over me, and I know that I can do this triathlon thing. No, the conditions won’t be easy like they were last night, training for and doing the thing won’t be easy, but I have many days of practice ahead of me, so I will be able to handle whatever happens that day.

I’m going back out on Wednesday evening to swim with another group, headed by my running coach who just happens to be a total kick ass swimmer, where she is going to help beginners like me learn the ropes of open water swimming. I’ll eventually learn to sight, how to breathe on both sides, and how to deal with less-than-perfect conditions. I’m on the couch-to-5k  swim program. It’s interesting and I could really like this open water business.  As long as the sea creatures and Styrofoam snakes stay away.

The icing on the cake for last night was finding my boys hanging out on the beach on a beautiful evening.



Trying something new isn’t bad at all. It can open up a ton of avenues and possibly bring you joy along the way.  Last night was a clear reminder of one of my favorite quotes:

“If you want something you’ve never had, you have to be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

I took my first step.


Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Giving It A Tri

I’m feeling better today. I’ve decided to focus on one thing to get done, get it done, then move on to the next thing. I did get a few pictures hung up, decided which color frame to hang in another room, and then I started painting my kitchen.  The latter was just to avoid cleaning my house, and in fact, created a whole other cleaning project because we all know painting kitchens is not the easy room to paint. But at least it will get done.  In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out how to do this tri thing. I’m taking a break from workout schedules and plans so I can rest my mind and have the ability to be flexible with what I’m doing. Don’t feel like running today? Ok, then don’t. And it’s ok.  I need the break from “having” to do a certain workout.

I really was in a quandary on whether or not to do the Beach 2 Battleship Triathlon or to make it a relay. The tri will be 11 weeks before the Houston Marathon, and the marathon is my priority.  I didn’t want tri training to mess with marathon training. I thought about not doing the tri.  But then I realized it’s probably a little fear creeping in and the fact that I’m just so used to running, anything different feels strange. I’m assuming tri training will do nothing but help marathon training, so I fully committed to doing the 1/2 iron tri in October. I’m in. What I’m NOT interested in this time, is going for a certain time. I would like to just enjoy this race like I used to enjoy running races, without worrying or thinking about PR’s and all that stuff. I want to enjoy the training process and enjoy the race, as long as I meet my cutoff times of course.  Well, I have to say that the running part is the serious part, something that I will be concentrating on more, probably because I enjoy it more and I will be working towards a marathon PR just a few months post-triathlon.

I know I needed to start getting my rear on the bike so I can work out soreness from that, get the bike adjusted if need be, and get back to it.

Getting ready to go.

Getting ready to go.

There’s an amazing feeling of freedom when it comes to bike riding. My first ride in many months was on Wednesday, where I parked at Carolina Beach State Park and rode 26 miles. I finished in just about 1:30, so I was pretty happy with that since I haven’t ridden in so long and I was just out to ride. Here I go again, making speed a factor, but maybe that part of my brain just won’t shut off.  It was a beautiful day and I had a beautiful view, so I came back refreshed and happy.  I learned a few things too. Don’t wear cotton undies and it’s time to cut the RAGBRAI tags off the bike. Yes, the bike has been on many a RAGBRAI from moons ago. (I REALLY want to do this ride again in a few years – I did the full ride waaaaaay back in 1993 – holy crap that was 20 years ago. Damn.) It’s a dinosaur in it’s own right.

View along the way.

Ocean view along part of the way.

Southernmost point of the Wilmington peninsula.

Southernmost point of the Wilmington peninsula.

My rear didn’t hurt and my legs were fine post ride and the day after.  Thank you, speed work!! Yesterday was swim day. I tried and tried to talk myself out of it, but I knew I needed to just get in the pool and give my swim tether a tri.  It was wavier than I thought, which is good since the waterway isn’t glassy and I need to get used to it, and it stirred up some of the junk in the pool, which is fine because it’s still way cleaner than the waterway.  It wasn’t bad. The only thing I don’t completely like about the swim tether is that the resistance on my arms is different than if I was actually swimming. I think they’re going to get pretty tired, but my solution is to just use the kick board and get some of that in as well.

Using the swim tether.

Using the swim tether.

I only gagged once and realized I need to get my butt back in the pool a few times before I head out in the waterway on Monday or I’m gonna regret it! My timing was off and I realized I only had about 15 minutes to play around in the pool before I needed to leave and do transport for a local dog rescue. That was an event all to itself and I ended up with a blown tire on my way to pick up the dogs. Thank goodness for husbands who drop things for their wives so they can help rescue animals as he traded cars with me so I could make my meeting time and wouldn’t have to wait for the AAA guy to change my tire.

I was going to take today off since we are getting a sod delivery and will be doing that all weekend, but a cool front came in and I just don’t think I can resist taking a nice run down the road and getting a small peek at the waterway yet again today.  Yes, I’m going to do just that.

Thanks for all the encouraging words and if any of you triathletes want to chime in on your favorite workout, I’d love to hear it. I’m not going back to coaching until July, so I have a lot of work to do on my own. I’m also on Facebook so if you want to, come “like” my page and we can communicate that way. And you’d also get to see my Goober picture I posted yesterday.

Better go, my shoes are calling!

Good luck to all doing the Ironman Texas this weekend!!!!







Categories: half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

It’s Go Time

I’m running a marathon tomorrow. I normally get quite a bit of performance anxiety, but it’s amped up quite a bit with this one. I’ve actually given myself a headache. I know, I know, just ENJOY the moment, the race, the crowds, feeling like a rock star. Trust me, I am. But I’m here to kick ass. I’m here for a PR and another BQ. I’m here to run my best race. I’ve paid for coaching, for PT, for tons of shoes, this trip. I’ve trained six days a week. I ran in the ice, the snow, the cold rain, the hot rain, the humidity, the early hours, the evenings, the afternoons. I put up with an allergic skin reaction to chlorine so I could cross train.  I missed ONE workout in over six months. ONE. And it wasn’t even a run, it was a swim. And I did housework that day so I consider that a workout 😉

I’m scared. I don’t want to admit it, but I am. I’m scared of the hills. I’m scared of having a bad run day. I’m scared of bonking. I’m scared of it being a little too warm, too windy, too crowded. Maybe I’m the only one who will admit it, but I’m not the only one who’s feeling that way.

So instead of letting it get to me any more, I’m going to focus. I’m going to channel all the positive thoughts sent from my friends. They’ve been priceless and I truly thank you. I’m going to focus on what tomorrow WILL be, which is the best race experience I could imagine. I’m going to push through the fatigue, the pain, the anxiety. I’m going to run my hardest.  I will keep this in mind “In the first half of the race, don’t be an idiot, and in the 2nd half, don’t be a wussy.”

We are heading to our downtown Boston hotel now.  Good luck to everyone running Boston tomorrow.

As for me….



Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Let’s Go, It’s Race Time

The Beach 2 Battleship Full and Half Iron Distance Triathlon in Wilmington, NC, is on Saturday.  I’m lucky enough to be racing the 1/2 marathon part of the triathlon relay as the runner for the Hells Belles team, consisting of my sister, Randee The Swimmer, and a friend, Wendy The Biker, and me, Kelli The Runner.

I'm pumped to be a part of this race!

I’m pumped to be a part of this race!

This is the first time I’ve really raced in several months.  Sure, I did the 15k a month ago, but that pretty much served to shake the race dust off my legs.  This race is bigger.  Much bigger.  I’m pretty nervous about it for a few reasons.

1) It’s a relay, so I want to do my best, not only for me, but for my Hells Belles,

2) It’s a relay so I really don’t know when my start time will be,

3) I can’t use my iPod (Ahhhhhhh, Noooooooo!!!),

4) I will start my leg of the relay after noon so will be new for nutrition and I’ve never raced after 9 am, and

4) I’m not physically ready since I’ve had to take so much time off running.

I think that’s one of the most frustrating parts is that I had a PR goal for this race, the weather appears that it will cooperate, and I’m just not going to be able to rise to that PR challenge. Races certainly won’t go away, so I’ll get to that some other time.  But I’ll be damned if I go one second slower than what I can.

Our team is ready too.  Wendy The Biker has a bike named “Stella”, so I’ll be calling her in when they get to our exchange point.  I can’t help it. 

Anyone who’s seen Seinfeld can relate to me on that one.

The one thing that I have going for me is that I’m mentally ready.  I’ve got this.  My mantra for the week is “get comfortable with being uncomfortable”.  It’s going to be hard, it’s going to hurt, and I simply will NOT take it easy.  I normally visualize before just marathons, but I’m already getting into that mode for this half marathon, which I’ve never done before. I have a plan of action, and it will require me to be patient with my pace (which I’ve had trouble with in the past), and it will require me to just get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  I haven’t run more than 9.3 miles this training cycle, so my body will be telling me to slow the hell down, but I know that

Hells to the no, I will NOT slow down! It’s time to get going, to push myself really hard, which I rarely do.  Sure I have before, many times actually, but part of it is to prove to myself that I can indeed push past the limit that I normally do.  So many of the other athletes will be doing just that on Saturday, so I may as well join in and do it too.  No one is jumping off bridges (docks don’t count), so I’m good.  Pushing myself is not to be confused with being a total train wreck either, and de-railing at mile ten. That’s not my intention.  My intention is to race smart.

It will be difficult for me to run without music, as I will actually go faster when one of my “pump it up” songs comes on.  For any race, I have the playlist choreographed so my favorite race songs come on at just the right times.  It may seem silly, but music DOES make a difference to me.  I decided that I’m going to just have to block everything out except for the crowds and run like

It will be a new experience for my team, and I don’t think any one of us has lost sight on one of the most important parts of racing either: Having Fun.  What’s the point of it if you make it all about PR’s and making your times and zoning, but you leave out the part that probably got you starting racing in the first place?  I will say “thank you” to volunteers, I will sing along to any music I can hear, I will take in the sights, I will read the signs that spectators hold and mock the ones I don’t like, and I will high-five those little hands that reach up to mine.  I’m really looking forward to seeing my running group teammates finish the half iron distance and the others finish the full iron distance.  I see the half in my future for next year.  It’s scary, but I think I’m just crazy enough to take it on.

So to all of you who are racing this weekend, good luck, do your best, and don’t forget to have fun!!

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, open water swimming, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

With a Little Help From My… Um, Friends?

I must note that this is a story that mingles animals and running.  What do animals have to do with running?  Amazingly so, they’re an essential ingredient in the formula that will take me to Boston.

I am an animal lover, plain and true. I grew up on 30 acres in the middle of Adams County, Iowa, with a variety of cats, dogs, chickens, ducks, pigs, and horses.  My sister and I would frequently run around the farm to explore the creeks, pond, woods, and fields. One time we even found an old water pump in the middle of the pasture that spewed out a field mouse when pumped, so we put an old mason jar under the pump and caught the mouse. Little did we know he was too smart for us and figured out how to get out of a hamster cage by twisting off the closure caps.

When my oldest son was a few years old, I started fostering kittens for a rescue near Mooresville, NC.  When we lived back in Iowa, I got involved with a no-kill cat rescue. I  started a fundraising campaign called “Running for a Paws”  for this rescue that netted about $3,000.  I ran races to collect donations and pledges, and had initially planned to run the local 1/2 marathon as the final race for this fundraiser, the Lewis & Clark Siouxland Marathon. Because I had collected pledges based on the number of race miles I did, I figured I could jack up the fundraising pot a few hundred bucks by doing the FULL marathon, which was my fourth full marathon. I figured it would be my last marathon. (My husband rolls his eyes at this as he knew better.)  I didn’t follow a training plan, didn’t do speed work, tempo runs, and I pretty much ran when I wanted to.  Yes, I got my miles in, but it was more for the accomplishment than anything else. I call that “old school” style.  Race day was nice and COLD, and I flew to the finish in 4:12.  And that was just the beginning.

After the race, with my rescue partner, Beth, and my mini support crew.

After the race, with my rescue partner, Beth, and my mini support crew.

I remember sitting in my mom and dad’s back yard with a Miller Lite after the race, and out of the blue, I wondered what time I was need to qualify for the elusive Boston Marathon, the race I’d heard of but really didn’t know anything else about.  I googled what it was at that time, before it was lowered by five minutes. This was the race that I thought was just for elites and extremely fast people, not for regulars like me.   “Hmmmm, if I can finish a marathon that I didn’t really train for in 4:12, I bet I can finish in 3:45 if I really give it a try.”  And often times, when I get something in my head, I will try and try until I succeed or get distracted and move on to something else.  Three marathons later, here I am, a 2014 Boston Marathon Registrant.  And all because of that one marathon that I ran to raise money for the animals.

Isn’t it funny how one decision can lead to so many other things? My desire to help this rescue led to my return to long distance running. It also led me to have some furry “helpers”, but I love them and know that if it wasn’t for me, three of the four probably would not even be alive today.  Because I currently do not have a job outside the house and we recently moved here from Texas, I don’t exactly have a bunch of friends beating my door down for coffee talks and fun excursions that were frequent before the move. I haven’t been able to run with my group for the last several weeks because of my injury either.  I’m a social person, so I do find myself fairly lonely.  But with a little help from my furry friends, I am never alone. I think that, at this particular point, they’re as grateful for me as I am for them.

I am never alone. Ever.

Even when I’m alone I’m not really alone.

At first, I was upset that I had to pull out of the Houston Marathon in January.  Then I think about the opportunities that may follow because of that decision.  What will I do after running the Boston Marathon? Where will my next marathon be? Will I be ready for the 1/2 iron distance triathlon next October?  It’s exciting to think of all the possibilities ahead.  For now, I’m just going to get through the 1/2 marathon on October 26th the absolute fastest I can, then in November, concentrate on strength building so I can heal whatever it is that’s hurting me. But I’m still excited.  Along the way, I know I have people here to train with, to cross train with, and to just be there for me.  And my furry little friends will never…EVER…let me be truly alone.

Squiffy watching me do crunches.

Squiffy watching me do crunches.

Tuna helping me roll out my shins.

Daytona helping me roll out my shins.

Goldie is making sure I ice my shin splints long enough.

Goldie is making sure I ice my shin splints long enough.

Because there’s ALWAY fur to clean up, always litter to clean, always food dishes to be filled, and always fresh water from the tap to be run so they can drink out of the faucet because “why would a sophisticated cat drink out of a bowl”, I like to take goofy pictures of my cats and share them in order to prove who really is boss. Yes, I know they really are the boss, no matter how much I think that I am.

Mother Purrresa

Mother Purrresa

IIII cccaaannnn'tttt reeeeaaach it!

IIII cccaaannnn’tttt reeeeaaach it!



Don’t let his cuteness fool you. He’s pulling you into his vortex so he can then bite you.

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Workouts: Good vs Bad, or is it?

Since I’m taking as much time off running as possible without ruining my chances at a sub 2:00 1/2 marathon in just two weeks, I’ve been swimming a lot. I’m getting used to it and am getting “better”, but it’s still really difficult for me.  People have always told me that swimming is a great workout and I have to say that I totally get why people have been saying that! While it’s difficult for me to do something at such a beginner stage and admit that, well, I really suck at it, I have to see it as a challenge and a pathway to my next goal of completing a triathlon.

My swim workout last Wednesday was a little over a mile total. It took me a long time to complete it, but I felt pretty strong and that progress had been made from the last session. Then I swam again Friday. Oy. The planned workout was 1500 meters with some drills and speed work. Let’s just say that I got the distance done. It was ugly! After ONE MEASLY 25 meter lap, my heart was pounding and I had to breathe every stroke. Yes, every stroke. I’ve been working on breathing every other, but on Friday, I preferred to not inhale the pool water, so every stroke it was. As I did drills, all I could think about was just getting to the end. Fast laps? That was a joke. My sister and I were sharing a lane and she didn’t feel the most energetic about her swim either, but something shifted in the middle of our hellish workout. We knew we have bad workouts in there, but we knew we had to do it. So we did it. We completed what we needed to do. Was it pretty? Oh, hell no, it was terrible.  But we did it.

So I wondered, was it REALLY a bad workout then, if we actually completed it, was simply not as good as we wanted it or as it should have been?  I figured that no, it wasn’t bad, because we did not quit.  We finished it.  I have had so many “bad” running workouts that were just miserable to complete, especially in the middle of summer humidity. But they were completed. I got my miles in and it strengthened me in some way, whether purely mental or both mental and physical.

I flipped my perspective around and thought that really, we should all be looking at “those” workouts as maybe less-than-stellar, but certainly not bad at all. We need to remember that we’re training, we’re supposed to be tired, we’re working, we’re building, we’re growing. Not every workout is going to be this wonderful feeling of endorphins and happiness, and not every workout is intended to be so. But just stick with it and do it. You’ll be all the better for it.

This brings me to SATURDAY’S workout of 6 easy miles. I have to laugh as I think about it.  I was a little nervous because I didn’t want my leg to hurt but I needed some miles for that pesky 1/2 marathon in a few weeks. So I jogged as slow as I could.  I don’t even know if my heart rate increased enough to call it an aerobic workout, but I’m sure somewhere in there, a little training was done.  People walking their dogs were passing me. Little toddlers on their bikes with training wheels were passing me. The frogs in the water retention areas were keeping pace with me as they easily swam along. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do, but I knew I needed to do it.  It’s all for the greater goal and I can’t let one run trip that top domino and ruin the other ones for me. I know I’m going to have to stay slow until the race and I know I’m going to have to take time off after the race too, and that’s ok. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself! My leg felt ok, minimal discomfort during and especially after, which is more important to me.  Progress?

I got the workout done, so for that, it was good.

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My New Pet

I have terrible shin splints so I’m not able to run.  It’s been several weeks since I’ve been able to run.  Oh wait, that’s only how it feels…. Actually, it’s been one full day.  It feels like twelve years.  An eon.  And I hate it.

I’ve been getting physical therapy for several weeks now, and I feel like we’re just now making progress. When I went to therapy last Wednesday, he centered in on the problem and I REALLY got up close and personal with myofascial release therapy. Oh boy did I. So when I went in today, I still had left over bruises from last week, so he was “easy on me”.  I was sort of looking forward to it because I know that it works and I know that I want to run.  Like now. Like yesterday.  I’m ready to go. But when he starts to put his needly fingers into my shin bone, I kinda want to kick him in the face. Accidentally of course.

I have to say that it was a little worse than last week, probably because it was slightly sore from last week, but it (the pain portion of the session) didn’t take as long. New bruises quickly emerged so I decided to give myself the Rorschach Test (you know, the Ink Blot Test) to see what I came up with.  Would it be a Boston “B”?  Would it be a race medal design? No.  It wasn’t.  Now we have a new cat in our house named BC Jones. What does BC Jones mean? It’s the name my son came up with, because BC = Bruise Cat and Jones is because Jones is cool.  **

Meet "Cat"

Meet “BC Jones”


I kind of like BC Jones. He won’t leave hair all over the place like my other cats do.  He won’t try and trip me when he can see the bottom of his food dish like my other cats do. He doesn’t require a litter box or vet visits.  He will slowly disappear and I will be able to run again.  Welcome to our house, BC Jones, but you are NOT welcome to stay!


** I wondered whether or not I should post a picture of a bruise. I mean, gross.  Then I thought about runners and I decided to hell with it. How many times have we whipped off our sock and said, “Hey, look at my missing toe nail!  Cool, huh?!”  or shown someone our swollen Achilles or puked at the end of a race or blown a snot rocket during a run? Yeah, bruises don’t matter.

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, training for marathon, triathlon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Things to do While Waiting to See if I Get Into Boston

This week is the longest week EVER and it feels like Friday (and beyond) will NEVER EVER EVER get here.  YES, it’s anoooother post about Boston and I swear it will be one of the last (for a while).  I registered for Boston on Monday and people can register until Friday.  We still won’t find out until they verify everyone’s race, which will be sometime next week.  Hopefully.  There’s many more registrants than spaces available so it makes the entire thing really difficult.  More waiting. Sheesh, so what’s a person to do while waiting for news? I just want to know. Now. I read Mark Remy’s article in Runner’s World titled “6 Ways to Pass the Time While Waiting for Boston Confirmation” and I decided to steal his idea.  Here’s my list of “10 Things to Do While Waiting to See if I Get Into Boston”. Thanks Mark!  At least it gave me something else to do!

1) Math – I have dusted off my calculator and freshened up my math skills this week.  I’ve twisted all the Boston numbers around so many times, it’s kind of crazy/bordering OCD. There’s 5,000 spaces available. Based on equal spacing in finish times with the people who have registered (I was using a lower number at first which made me happy but it’s now at 7,900 which makes me unhappy) I have a faster time than 34% of the finishers who, theoretically speaking, finished less than five minutes of their qualification time. Blah blah blah blah, at this particular time, I would miss making the cutoff registration by 214 runners. Of 22,000 runners. Now that’s a punch in the gut!!! Then, I had to figure out that I would miss it by less than 1%. So it’s kind of a big reminder next time to be sure to kick that last few miles in the ass and just haul it til you cross the finish line. Or throw up.

2) Learn to Knit.  Read a good book. It’s fascinating how blankets and clothes are made by some yarn/spun stuff but I really have no interest. I wanted to, but I just don’t. So reading a good book is a great way to pass the time.

3) De-clutter a room.  I moved 1,200 miles in July/August. I’m tired. But I have one “catch-all” room that is desperately needing a de-clutter.  It’s called a bonus room because once you clean the entire regular house, you get to clean another room – A BONUS!!! Yeah! So it took me a few days, but I cleaned out my room. See?


Ok, this is totally not my room and I found this picture on the Internets, but that’s how I feel.

4) Practice spelling and vocabulary. My son’s school in Texas stopped spelling tests just into his 3rd grade year and never had vocabulary. And from what his papers show, it’s quit quite obvious. Since we moved to NC, he now has spelling and vocabulary (thank you, NC!!!) so might as well brush up on that stuff yourself, so when you’re kid asks you what “exquisite” means, you know the real answer without distracting him while checking Google.  Mmmhmmm, I’ve never done that.

5) DVR and watch the new fall TV shows. I watched the new Brooklyn Nine-Nine with Andy Samberg. It’s hilarious. Dr. Phil’s new episodes. Am I the only one who feels really good about themselves and their parenting skills after watching his show?  Duck Dynasty.  Makes me want to drink tea.  Food network.  How do they make such good meals in 20 minutes using Spam, vegetables I’ve never heard of, and a can of icing?  House Hunters.  Ahhhh, to be able to just pick up and move to the islands.  Many more shows are starting next week, so if I feel the need to distract myself further, there will be plenty to see.  Sleepy Hollow. It’s fantastically evil but I have a little crush on Ichabod Crane. I like the other characters too.  Well, not the headless guy trying to kill everyone in order to find his head and start the end of the world. And that leads me to….

6) Watch Hollywood.  They shoot a lot of movies and TV shows here in little ole’ Wilmington.  Sleepy Hollow is shooting downtown today, so guess what I am going to do? Try and see Ichabod Crane, played by Tom Mison.  I watched the show and realized that I need to only watch it during daylight hours and when I know I won’t be home alone at night.  For me, the creep factor is pretty high up there, but it’s really good and I’m still going to watch it.  Especially if I can see them filming it.


Tom Mison plays Ichabod Crane

7)  Be depressed and plan pity party.  I tried depression on for size and it really doesn’t fit. I know I’ll be upset if I don’t make it in, especially since I found out (using my wonderfully toned math skills) that the timed entries were only increased by 400, not the thousands that the BAA had announced.  THOSE spaces were for the people who were not able to cross the finish line last year due to the bombing (kudos to the BAA on that one) and for charity runners (totally missed the boat on this one BAA, totally missed it). It’s not fair, but really, there’s just things in life that aren’t fair, so get over it and move on.  I’ve sort of moved on in my head already since once I realized that my chances of getting in are basically impossible, I have already done a lot of grieving this week.  And if I had a pity party, we would have chips. Lots of chips AND dip. And beer.

8) Cook.  And eat.  I am almost two months into my training and the longest run I’ve been on is 9 miles and the most mileage I’ve done in one week is just about 30.  That isn’t very much YET, but when you add the cross training I’ve done with swimming and biking, plus the strength training, I’m burnin’ up some serious calories. I. Love. This.  On Monday, I was so hungry all I wanted to do was eat. I knew I had to be careful so I didn’t get that “oh sh*t, I just ate an entire chicken and now I feel like one of those big huge Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons” feeling, but I ate as much or more than a huge man would eat. My husband runs and my kids are in football, so this family goes through some serious food. What better to do than to cook something good and then get the pleasure of eating it? A lot of it, too. I love the way my body changes to be stronger, leaner, and faster all while I’m shoveling down hundreds of calories. Snacking? It’s a must.  And I get bored with the same old things, so finding healthy and hearty recipes is always something to do while distracting oneself. Chicken Ole anyone?

9)  Write or call someone.  Write a letter to your grandma. Write your long-lost friend where the only communication you’ve had is “Liking”  their pictures on Facebook. Talk to people.  Call someone. It doesn’t always take much for me to be able to hit the RESET button on my day and one nice person in Harris Teeter startled me into realizing that I probably looked like the Wicked Witch of the West when I was standing there getting my fresh fruit and veggies scanned with a frowny wistful look on my face.  Oh poor me, I can’t get into a race that I spent three years training for and attempting.  Well, that’s a first world problem if I’ve ever heard of one, so get the hell over it. (You know as much as I do that I won’t totally get over it, but just get over it at that moment.)  Then I felt guilty for being all grinchy and always resort to gratefulness, because I really am lucky to be standing there buying fresh fruits and veggies. Then I smiled and decided to get the hell over it (at that moment).  The moral of this thing-to-do is to reach out to someone because maybe that contact can be what they need to hit their RESET button.  Hmmmm, I wonder if I could install a RESET button on my grumpy cat. He’s always going around biting people and whining about how he doesn’t want the food in the dish, he wants CANNED food and that the water in the bowl is stale, he wants it as soon as it comes out of the faucet and will stand there looking at me until I turn the faucet on and then he takes two licks and is done. Hmph.

This cat does not want to have a RESET button.

This cat does not want to have a RESET button.

I got him a really nice RESET button and installed it but he immediately de-installed it. We went round and round until he ate the RESET button, which I had to remove from his mouth because everyone should know that you just don’t eat RESET buttons. The good thing is that there were about 300 seconds that I didn’t even think of “that” marathon. Success.

10)  This is kind of obvious, but necessary: Go out and run!  I’m not one of those people who hates to run but does it for the exercise or to be a triathlete. I really truly love to run and it’s a part of who I am. It also allows me to drink more beer without gaining weight, but that’s not the point.  I think I’ve only had about five times EVER when I went out for a run and then regretted it. One time, it was because my leg was really hurting so I shouldn’t have done it. Another time I got over heated and yacked. I kind of laugh about that one because it was when I was living in Iowa and I wouldn’t run if the temps were over 70 because it was “too hot”.  How ironic that a year later, I would live in southern Texas and it wouldn’t get BELOW 70 for five months in a row.   Then two years after that, I would move to the jungle where the humidity is always 1,000,000% (and some days it feels like more).  I digress.  I know I can improve on my marathon time, so besides continuing my training, I’m reading about nutrition and how I can fuel better for those longer training runs and races.  It’s time to put my game face on and get this thing done.  Again.

So anyway, it’s never fun to be stuck in what seems like the time stopping abyss of ???????  but there could be worse things to deal with. Just look at it all with a sense of humor, distract yourself, and the time will come when all the questions are answered. Is it freaking Friday yet?

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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