Posts Tagged With: training for boston marathon

This Time I’ll Be Bullet Proof

I’ve had so many thoughts running through my head lately, about marathons, about me running marathons, about running Boston, about running goals, and everything in between. I’ve struggled, for years, with putting the right words down to express how I feel, and I think I’ve finally come up with the right words in the right order. Here goes.

Back in 2009, I decided that I was going to run another marathon to try and qualify for Boston. Several years, mistakes, and marathons later, I was able to do that. When I went to Boston in 2014 to run the greatest marathon in the world, I was humbled, scared, yet confident in my training.

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I also felt (and still do) unworthy, that my time was not considered “fast” by so many fast people (I really shouldn’t read comments on Facebook, some people are just vile), that I didn’t really deserve to be considered one of the “elite” runners. Hey, some people call my fastest race pace “hobby jogging”, so you can’t blame me when I say that, plus, I’ve never quite felt I fit in to any group, let alone “fast runners” or especially “elite”. That’s just how I feel.

When the Boston 2014 race blew up from dehydration and BAD effects from salt depletion, and I finished in just under 5 hours, over an hour slower than I was trained for and expecting, I was absolutely devastated. DEVASTATED.

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Trying not to throw up.

I put hundreds of hours, thousands of dollars, and poured my heart and soul into that race. As my race report was appropriately named, that day was the best of times, the worst of times. I had the worst race of my life at the best race in the world. It hurt. It stung. And yet, the criticism went on. “Be happy you finished.” “It was a marathon, so be happy.” “You ran Boston. Feel lucky.” “Stop complaining, you got a medal.” “You’re just inexperienced.” Sigh.

I guess you could say it was backlash for feeling bad that my race went awry. It was painful to hear, but it was impossible to just “let it go”. Endurance runners have to be somewhat OCD about their lives, or they would never be endurance runners. You have to have order, planning, and a lot of discipline to do what we do, right? So how can I, someone who put years of blood, sweat, and tears into ONE race, just let it go and be happy? It doesn’t work that way. But on the other side of it, of course I was happy, of course I felt lucky, of course I was completely thrilled to wear my Boston jacket and medal.

But it was a failure for me. (Wait, don’t stop reading. I can see you roll your eyes.) And on my quest for redemption, I’ve failed many more times. And I’m scared of that failure again, when I run Boston in just a few more weeks. I’m scared of not meeting my goals, of having a bad race, of having to walk, of not remembering the last miles, of feeling like complete garbage when I’m done, of crying on the ground next to the port-a-jons because I felt so horrible. THAT is what I’m afraid of. It’s not failure, per se, as running a marathon can never be construed as a failure, in any way, shape, or form. No, no matter what, if you complete 26.2 miles, you, my friend, are never a failure.

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This training cycle leading up to Boston has not been met with as much gusto as it did in 2014. I had plantar all winter and wasn’t running at all, I didn’t start any tempo or speed work until February, and now I’m managing shin splints from starting speed work suddenly, not gradually. So here comes the voices in my head, no matter how strong my long runs and tempo work has been, no matter what I know, deep down, about my abilities, no matter what anyone tells me, I’m scared. I’m scared of failure, I’m scared of not having a strong race, I’m scared of working so DAMN hard and having a race result that doesn’t show ME. I’m scared of other people thinking I’m not worthy of Wayne and Garth’s praise, I’m scared of letting other people down. I’m scared of letting myself down. Again.

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Feeling defeated after Redemption Attempt #1

But listen, I’m also arming myself with a pretty thick vest. Because I know I can push myself to success, my version of success. I know deep down as far into my heart and soul I can get, that I’m a badass. I’m strong. And I know I’m going to be a lot smarter, those “failure” races taught me that. Listening to people tell me how to feel has given me some pretty thick armor as well.

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So don’t tell me to “just have fun” in Boston. Don’t tell me that “being there is enough”. Don’t tell me that.  That’s not my goal of The 2017 Boston Marathon. I already know I’m going to have fun and I’m lucky and honored and beyond excited to be there with the best of the best. I know it.  Don’t tell me the hard work is already done so the result doesn’t matter. Remember? I’m an endurance athlete. I worked my ass off for years to get there. I sacrificed a LOT to get back to Boston. Of COURSE it matters! This race is my redemption. My goal is to run strong. My goal is to run the entire race.  Do I have a time goal? Sure I do. (It’s 3:44:59, by the way and notice, it’s not a PR time.) But I’m not naive enough to think I shouldn’t be flexible when it comes to that piece. Lord knows what can happen during an endurance race. Eye roll. So instead of telling me anything else, just tell me “good luck”, “kick some ass”, “redemption is yours”, “kill it” or “get your race”. Or give me a fist bump.

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My goal is to be free of the monkey on my back that has been sitting there since 2014, to be free of doubts, to get my best race at the best race in the world. THAT is my goal. Freedom. Redemption. It’s so much more than time. It’s a feeling. So no, I’m not caught up in a time, I’m not worried about another BQ (that would be the icing), I’m not worried about having fun (because hell yeah, I sure am!!!) what I am worried about is repeating the epic blow up in 2014. That’s it.

BUT. This time, I’m armed with three years of experience, not just running, but Ironman experience too. This time, I have a detailed plan. This time, I KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I’m very capable of meeting my goal. This time, I don’t give a crap what anyone thinks of me (Ok, I’m working on this). This time, I’m ready to attack. And this time, I’ll be bulletproof.

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Categories: anything is possible, being epic, Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, learning from failure, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The Boston Marathon – T Minus 8.5 Weeks

The road to the 2017 Boston Marathon has been covered with blood, sweat, and tears. Literally. In 8 short weeks, my family will be heading north to Beantown. This marathon training cycle has been cut short, but because I was a patient patient, I feel good about where I am. I should get a Patient Patient medal, because this is the first time in a string of injuries that I didn’t sabotage myself along the way, and actually let myself heal. I should probably re-gift that medal to my husband for putting up with me in the process. That poor man.

Let me take you back to November. I had just come off the  NC Ironman 70.3 and had signed up for a few local 5k’s. On one of the first cold mornings on November 12th, I ran a 22:15ish 5k, and even got 2nd in the Old Lady division. I mean Masters Female. I felt great about where my training was and where I was planning to take it. Basically, I was going to pulverize speed in November and December, then add endurance in January, making the perfect storm of speed, strength, and endurance in April. My goal was to PR the race and return in 2018. Yeah….right (said like Bill Lumbergh in Office Space). I should have known there was a different path for me. Later that day, I felt my plantar return, and it was bad.

The 5k that shouldn’t have been.


I reacted very calmly  I freaked out. I was so upset. I kept trying to run, just a little, and it made my foot hurt so bad. Evidently, reading about it on the internets doesn’t make it go away, but I sure deserved a medal for that, too, and BONUS, I learned how to pronounce “metatarsalgia”. I tried to do bike intervals, only to realize it made my foot feel just as bad as running. All I could do was to bike easy and go to Orange Theory (using the GLIDER, of all things *shutter*, because dammit! I’m a runner, not a glider.). All right, I tried swimming, but after one day, my chlorine allergy made it almost impossible. I might have used that as more of an excuse than I really should have, but I hate swimming and I hate my reaction to chlorine (skin rash, yay me!). I don’t know why it was so bad when I swam in the same pool all summer, but it was bad. So I “couldn’t” swim, I couldn’t bike hard, and I couldn’t run. I was a peach to live with. I was like Cinderella, singing to all her animals. Yes, that’s what it was like to live with me during that time. (This is when my husband should’ve gotten the Medal of Patience.)

People, it was cold out, and I couldn’t run. I was missing it and I was missing out. The rest of November. And December. Then I decided, probably due to everyone and their “Countdown to Boston” posts, I needed to start running because I was going to run that damn marathon no matter what. I started with a few miles on Christmas Day, something I have never done before. It was my gift to myself, and wow, I felt God that gorgeous morning.

Merry Christmas

Then I came up with a plan to SAFELY build endurance through January. I was running again. My foot was ok. I alternated run days, I took it easy at Orange Theory. No speed. Then in the last week of January, I decided I needed to return to my coach and start speed again. I felt like I was second guessing all my workouts, I wasn’t pushing myself and didn’t know if I could or should, so coaching would benefit me the most. Coach Kristen has done really well for me, so I was so excited to once again, see those Training Peaks emails come through in the morning.

I don’t know how, but within the first week, I was meeting the pace challenges set before me. I was Maria, singing on the mountaintop.  I was back at track practice, my favorite thing in the freaking world when it comes to training. My foot was behaving.

Then. Then the shin splints started. Ugh. I started speed work too fast. It’s derailed my plans twice in the past. What do I do? Well, I knew my race wasn’t going anywhere and I knew ignoring them wasn’t going to work, so I gave myself a day off speed, gave myself some active release therapy, took a day off, and I was careful. Boom. Shin splints are minimal now. Key point: catch them and do something about it IMMEDIATELY and prevent them from occuring in the first place, i.e. STRETCH (and that damn yoga).

Just this week, I ran a 48:18 in a 10k race, again placing 2nd in the Old Lady division. Then Tuesday, I had 3 x 15 minutes at barf pace, and I seriously questioned if I could do it, mostly because I’d had a long run and an Orange Theory workout between that day and my 10k. I borrowed some of the faith my coach had in me, and I pulled it out. When I was done, I felt like a rock star, like I deserved a participation trophy of sorts, for believing I could do it enough to just try. Sometimes you can surprise yourself.


I don’t feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief, because I know there’s any number of injuries lurking around the corner. This morning, after another great track workout, several of my running buddies asked how I was doing, and I was almost afraid of jinxing myself by saying, “GREAT!”. But you know, when you’re out there getting it done, watching the sun rise, it really was GREAT. I told my coach to put “Do your damn yoga” in my plan after track, so I’ve been good about that. It’s funny that I’m responsible for a hundred thousand other things, but if “yoga” isn’t specifically in my plan, the chances of me actually doing it, even though I know I need to, dwindle down to close to zero. Pretty sad, but I’m sure I’m not the only one. Please tell me I’m not the only one?

So my goal for Boston is a BQ. A 3:44:59. That time won’t get me in for 2018, but that’s ok. At this point, anything is possible (thanks for that, Ironman), and it could be warm, it could be cold, it could be raining, it could be snowing. All I know is that I will do my absolute best with whatever the day gives me. If if one thing is certain, I know I’ll be there, and I’ll be happy.

Categories: anything is possible, Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

A Long Trip and the Mothership of all Expos

It took us about 2 extra hours to get to our destination of Braintree, MA, because of stupid traffic near DC and Baltimore. We drove a total of 15 hours. Unfortunately, I will never look at an Oriole the same way. Besides two hours in standstill traffic because of no reason, the trip to Boston went really well.

How much shit do you need for a weeklong trip? Well, ALL of it.

How much shit do you need for a weeklong trip? Well, ALL of it.

I did learn a few things on our way.

1) We travel really well together. We have a lot of experience with long trips and we can pull them off without tears, fighting, tantrums, and silent treatments in the car (mostly anyway). My oldest son would probably be happy tucked in the corner so he could read the entire Harry Potter series AGAIN, but my youngest doesn’t care much for reading. He draws, plays with transformer type toys, and he even made one of them into a gold winning gymnast. They are quite flexible and a lot easier to fix than a real gymnast when their hip pops out. Their movie player stopped working on Day 2, so that was a bummer for them, but they just went on and did other things.  We have a Battleship tournament going. I read a little of last month’s Runner’s World, but for the most part, my husband and I just chatted along the way. Oh, I did take a huge honkin nap within the first few hours of our trip on Thursday, but that was to be expected after all the stress to get my shit together and house cleaned up for this trip. I have NEVER regretted stressing to have the house clean when we leave because I totally appreciate it more when I get home and I don’t have a disaster to deal with.

2) We hate traffic. As soon as we knew we were stuck miles before we even hit DC, we went into PTSD mode. Living and driving through Houston twice a day for two years has traumatized my husband.  We did end up finding a little bit longer route around Baltimore but we were going somewhere instead of sitting there being angry.  Thankfully we didn’t have traffic issues on Day 2.

3) The route from Wilmington to Boston is filled with really cool sites.  We saw the heart of DC, although we didn’t get to drive closer as planned because of #2. We saw downtown New York City. We crossed over many really cool, huge bridges.

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We were in the Bronx. We saw come pretty cool little towns on our epic fail “detour” towards Plymouth. We saw Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II.  It’s just a rock but it’s a pretty neat place where a lot of history happened.

THE rock

THE rock

 

We ate dinner while watching people race go karts. Pretty cool. I would have included a picture of NYC but it just looks like the sky and road.

Go Kart racing and restaurant, all in one.

Go Kart racing and restaurant, all in one.

4) Don’t believe that all yellow line roads on a map are 4 lane like they advertise themselves to be. I decided to take a “detour” towards Plymouth that would cut some time and miles off our already long trip. Well, that was stupid because it turned out to be a really busy 2 lane road through all the little twists and turns and towns you could imagine. And we couldn’t find a gas station with bathrooms on the INSIDE for miles. Insane. Insane first world problem, I know.

Maps Lie

Maps Lie

5) We get the giggles when we are tired. Or bored. Or both. Our conversation turned a little “5th Grade” when we were driving through the various towns. For instance, we laughed about the exit sign confidently blaring “Mianus”. We were disappointed we never got to see “Youranus”.  Not really. I enjoy looking at the map to find all the little tiny town names that are more interesting than others. One of my favorites is “Gnaw Bone” in Indiana.  For the love of God, why would you actually incorporate a town called “Gnaw Bone”??  We found an interesting brochure at the first hotel we stayed at and giggled a while about that too.

I would visit but I couldn't help but snicker when the tour guide says "Intercourse".

I would visit but I couldn’t help but snicker when the tour guide says “Intercourse”. The guide is snickering too.

We saw the name “Powhite” on a sign and I couldn’t help but wonder if the name originated because that’s where all the “po’ white” people lived. Then my favorite is “Wequetequock”. Say that when you’ve had a few glasses of wine. Or just say that anyway. Then it reminded me of this:

funny2So then we had to entertain ourselves by reading all the names of the towns along the way for quite a while as Sylvester the Cat or Daffy Duck.  Mature, I know. But it was funny.

THE EXPO.  I get to go to the Boston Marathon Expo today. I’m literally jumping up and down clapping my hands like a 5-year-old. Besides running the race and probably the Red Sox game on Wednesday, I’ve been more excited about THIS part than almost any other part.  The Mecca for runners. The Mothership of all Expos. I can’t wait. I’m afraid of buying all the things…. I mean, how would I get them home? 🙂 I am also excited to meet a bunch of other bloggers who are running. We’ve been chatting and trying to help each other for a few months, and to actually meet them is super exciting. So I’m counting down until we leave and head to Boston for a full day of fun.

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How am I feeling? I had a great little jog yesterday where I looped the parking lots of a few businesses about a hundred times because the roads were scary.  My parents arrived here last night and asked me how I was feeling. Well, I’m feeling good but I’m at the point where I’m wide eyed thinking WHAT THE HELL DID I DO???? I have to run 26+ miles in just a few days! It’s gonna hurt!!! But I know deep down that this is an amazing adventure, a journey, and an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. So I’m feeling happy, lucky, pretty damn good!

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Boston Strong

IMG_1349-5 copy This is me.  The tattoo is real, minus the “Boston Strong” and that is just compliments of Photoshop.  I got my 2nd tattoo last year after I qualified for the Boston Marathon. It isn’t about the Red Sox. It isn’t about running marathons.  It’s about believing in yourself and going for what you want. It’s about holding your head up when you fail and digging in to try again. This tattoo has a very deep meaning to me. I  I wear it with pride, even when I’m chided by Yankee fans.

I won’t ever forget the moment in the parking lot of the Katy Kroger grocery store last April 15th, when a friend of mine called to tell me what happened in Boston. It didn’t compute. I went home and turned the TV on and immediately started crying. I felt like someone had punched everyone in the gut… One. Big. Sucker. Punch.  I had already qualified, but I didn’t know if I was going to be able to run the marathon at that time. I knew I would never be afraid to run it though. And I’m not afraid of running there, those very streets, on Monday. I will run with pride. I will run with “Martin Richard” written on my leg to remember him and to remember everyone who was affected by this act of terrorism.  Martin was the same age as one of my sons, and lost his life just watching what so many of us love to do.

We will run for Boston. We are Boston Strong.

Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

My Road to Boston – Part III

My road to Boston has been paved with blood, sweat, tears, blisters, lost toenails, surprises, physical therapy, wine, frustration, pain, happiness, sadness, fear, excitement, euphoria, but most importantly, FUN.  It has been a total blast. For the first time EVER, I really truly understand it’s more about the journey than the destination. Sure, the destination is friggin’ awesome, but the journey has made my life more interesting with more depth, and the trip next week more meaningful. From that moment I decided I wanted to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon, it’s been the center of my running. Arrows pointed toward that city constantly, and I’ve made more decisions based on that than I could have ever imagined. It took a long time, but I’m almost there.

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It’s the end of the journey…. or is it just the beginning?

So back to my story…. Part 1 is HERE and Part 2 is HERE.  My plans were to run the Houston Marathon again in January since I enjoyed it and was already registered. I didn’t know when I signed up that I would be living 1000 miles away, but I figured I would go back and run it. I started training in August.  My plan was to try and re-qualify for Boston again by at least five minutes so I could “just” run Boston and really soak it in… oh, what’s the significance of the five minutes? Well, let’s just say that just because you qualify for Boston doesn’t mean you get to actually run it. And I was thisclose to not being able to run it.  Five minutes would give me a comfortable cushion so I wouldn’t have to worry (as much) at registration time next year.

Because of the increased interest in people qualifying for and running this year’s Boston Marathon and the fact that I had “only” qualified by 1:42, I knew it would be a close call if I actually got to be one of those lucky runners whose registrations was accepted.  I was able to submit my time (basically, apply for a position) on Monday, September 16th.  I had to wait until Wednesday, September 25th to find out if I actually got in. That was the LONGEST and most stressful few days ever. I even made list of things to do while waiting.  Read that hilarious post HERE. I don’t think I would’ve been so stressed had I not gotten a case of terrible shin splints.  I ignored the shin splints until it was excruciating to run, even a mile, and then went to physical therapy to try and fix. I was in such turmoil because I wanted to be in the position to re-qualify in Houston, especially if I wasn’t able to run in Boston.

Ten drama filled days later, I got “THE EMAIL” that told me I was accepted. I found out later that day I had only made the cut by four seconds. (Read the hot mess full story HERE – can you say DRAMA?)  I think about four seconds over a marathon and that’s a sip of water, a slurp of gu, and at the end of that particular marathon, I started channeling my grandmother .1 miles early and started to kick it like she always told me to (I was delirious and thought that marathons were 26.1 miles that day). Served me well, and had I not done that, this blog would be talking about something completely different today.

I ended up deferring the Houston marathon and just had to let it go so I could heal my shin splints. It was difficult and I still wonder what would have happened had I been able to run that race, but I know that it will be ok. I know that running Boston this year is an honor, it’s a dream come true. Will I re-qualify? Well, I won’t know til it’s over, but at this point, I’m just happy with the fact that I’ll be there. Of course I want a PR run that day, one week from today, and I’m trained and physically able to do so, but that’s not what this race is about. The Boston Marathon is about following your dreams, it’s about keeping with something, not giving up. It’s about running, the stories behind the runners, the crowds, everything that marathons stand for: endurance, perseverance, and for me, doing something that I truly love to do.

Looking back at all it’s taken for me to get there has made my trip to Boston more meaningful. I had forgotten some of the details, the pain, the drama, that it took to get to right where I am. It really has been about the journey before the journey. So what if the weather is hot? Rainy? So what if I run two minutes too slow? Really? I’ve already decided to let all that stuff go. I can’t let any negativity in, I won’t let anything ruin what I’ve spent almost five years trying to get to. I hope other Boston Marathon runners do the same. We are type A runners, we live on times and goals and breaking our goals and split seconds. But really, this experience is beyond anything I could have ever dreamed, and I’m not even there yet!!  A week from today, I’m running the Boston Marathon, and I’m going to have the time of my life.

 finish line

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

10 Days ’til The Dream Comes True

I am not quite done with my “journey to Boston” posts and I promise I will have the last one polished up and posted on Monday.  Read Part One HERE, and Part Two HERE.  I really appreciate everyone’s words of support as I travel back in time and recall that bumpy road that got me to where I am today.  If you have ever dreamt of heading to the start line in Hopkinton or any race, I would simply say: Do it.  Go for your dreams. Don’t be afraid of failure. You never know until you try.  Don’t give up!

 

Don't give up.

Don’t give up.

And now a word from our sponsors: fatigue, muscle aches, and tiredness.  I’ve got a pretty sore shin that I’m really pampering right now too. I’ve put myself in a virtual bubble – hand sanitizer, washing with soap, holding my breath when someone near me coughs or sneezes, drinking my juice, not visiting my kids’ petri dish school this week. I’m being very careful.

I’m in taper time now. Officially as of today. It makes the shin issue less of an issue, thankfully, let’s just hope it can repair itself during this break from intensity.  I don’t get taper madness.  I don’t really understand it either.  I mean, I GET it, but I don’t get it.  I know what’s coming. I know this rest is all for the benefit.  I’m looking forward to walking normally on Sunday afternoons too. After months of training, I’m enjoying the little bit of time and rest.  And again, I know what’s coming!

I had a good 20 mile run on Sunday, or what I thought was 20 miles. If the pace on your Garmin is measuring slow, does that mean the distance is off too? I can’t quite figure that one out, but we were definitely going faster than what Garmie was telling us, so I assume we went farther than 20 miles. Bonus I guess? Not really because I. Am. Tired.  Tired. As. F**K.

This is me. This is me on running.

This is me. This is me on running.

It’s all worth it. I love it. I would still marry running. I’m glad I already have something to train for after this race is done as I know I’d probably go slap happy into a deep depression if I didn’t.  Call it the post-marathon blues, the what-the-hell-am-I-going-to-do-so-rested feeling.  This has been an amazing training cycle and as much as I’m ready to rest when it’s over, I will miss the challenge, the fun, the people I’ve met along the way, the part of the journey of what I’ve been dreaming about for years.  All I know for sure is that I’m going to absorb every moment of this experience. The years it’s taken to get to this point, the training the past few months, the planning, everything. I’m trying to remember how it feels, how all the blood, sweat, and tears has been worth THIS feeling, THESE moments. I mean, I am getting emails from the BAA. I still get giddy, I mean, they’re emailing ME.

So instead of staring at the wall going “buh buh buh”, I had better get my crap together and get some things done. The kids are out for spring break starting at 3:00 today, so this is IT for free time!!

A special good luck to One Year(ish) to Boston  and Running Wild in your marathons and everyone else who is racing this weekend!  YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK!!!!!

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Where It All Began – Part Deux

I’m really enjoying the journey back in time, the “Road to Boston” so to speak. So to NOT have to require a publisher, I’m breaking the story up into a few pieces.  Please read to first part HERE, the part of the story that explains where this crazy dream came from and a few bumps in the road I encountered along the way.

My 1st and 2nd attempts at qualifying for Boston in May of 2010 were gone. I had to let them go, as much as it killed me to do that. Live and learn? Run and learn is more like it. Oh, and don’t be stupid. We all have our moments though.

I ran the Des Moines 1/2 Marathon “time trial”  in 1:44:45, which just so happens to be exactly an 8 minute mile pace. GAME ON!  Once again, I set my sights on the Lincoln Marathon for May of 2011.  Bam, here we go again at a BQ.  In December, I started my training plan. I was confident I learned from my mistakes and that I could pull in a 3:45 for the marathon.

I’m not a drama person. I don’t like it, don’t want to be around it, but there was a lot of it that spring.  My 97 year old grandmother, the epitome of faith and strength, passed away in February.  In March, my husband’s stupid company at the time let him know that when the project he was working on was done in August, he’d better find himself some work to do, which was the opposite of what they had told him a few months ago. Bummer was that any work was five hours away in Kansas City. Hmmmm.  Can you say, PANIC? Sioux City, Iowa, isn’t exactly a hotbed of employment activity for large construction project management, so we figured we would have to move.   I immediately went into “we have to sell the house” mode and he went into “interview for a job” mode. Within two weeks, our house was up for sale.

THEN on April 4th, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sheesh.  Let’s just say my running kept me sane, but I certainly had some wine in the fridge. Her cancer was caught very early thanks to a mammogram (so anyone who says they don’t save lives is telling lies so if you haven’t had one, GET ONE) and she had surgery to remove it, followed by radiation.  It was difficult to see my pillar-of-strength mom go through this, but I often think that it could have been worse and I was just glad she was going to be ok.

Training was hard through all of this, but I kept at it and got my miles in.  I did my speed work. I ran hills. The marathon was almost there.

On April 30th, my husband and I dropped our kids off at my mom and dad’s house as we headed to the race. I was feeling good, had a nutrition plan in place, but… why… was my stomach upset? I don’t get nerves. Why wasn’t I hungry? No, everything was fine. I pushed that out of my head. We stopped by my favorite restaurant and I grabbed my huge chicken wrap/enchilada thing that I knew would sit well and fill me up. I started eating it on the way down to Lincoln.  Ew. I didn’t want to eat. What the hell was going on? We went to the expo and then the hotel where I laid down and watched tv for a few hours. I felt terrible. Then around 10 pm, eight hours before I was to be leaving to toe the line at a MARATHON, it happened. Yup, I had the stomach bug. A few yacks later, I laughed and thought, “Fucking figures”.  It wasn’t a terrible version of the stomach flu, but I knew my run would be compromised because those valuable carbs were just missing.

I started the race pretty strong that morning after I forced myself to eat my big breakfast. The weather was good, a little windy, but it was great running weather. I can’t remember exactly when I started to lose steam, but I told my husband around mile 16 that I felt like throwing up again. So that’s probably about where. I don’t know for sure.

I'm wearing the pink shirt. So happy that I could finish this race!

I’m wearing the pink shirt. So happy that I could finish this race!

I've never been on a jumbo-tron before! That's me, arms up, on the right. Very thankful at that moment.

I’ve never been on a jumbo-tron before! That’s me behind the pink girl, arms up, on the right. Very thankful at that moment.

I finished that darned race in 3:56, just 11 minutes slower than what I needed to qualify for Boston. Ugh. Here we go again. I didn’t know if anyone would believe me that I got stomach flu or if they’d think it was a cover for a bad race. It was real, and I was pretty much just happy that it was all over. I took my medal and went home.  I lost about ten pounds from that experience because I just couldn’t eat for days. Urg.

BQ ATTEMPT 3: Fail

That July, we sold our house, moved in with my parents, then in August, we headed to Houston, Texas, where husband got a pretty good job. We didn’t want to move there, but we were out of time and options.  To say we were living off adrenaline and stress was an understatement. The dream was put on hold, and I ran for fun, learned how to deal with Houston heat/humidity, and in January of 2012, my sister came to visit with her running group Without Limits from Wilmington, NC. One of the members was in the women’s Olympic trials and a bunch more were racing the half and full marathon. I LOVED the way the group helped each other, cheered each other, and I wanted that. So the next day, I joined a local running group in Katy.

I entered the Houston Marathon in May of 2012 and we started training in August (the race was in January).  It’s fun to start marathon training in Houston in August. Not. I’ve NEVER sweat so much.  I didn’t know if I wanted to go for a BQ again. I was exhausted. My husband wasn’t home much since his work commute was insane. My kids had a crazy football schedule.  I just didn’t know if I had it in me.  I was scared to put all that time and effort into it only to have the crappy outcomes again. I didn’t know if it was worth it anymore. Then one morning I heard the words to an Eli Young Band song that changed my mind. I started crying immediately when I heard it and I knew I wanted to go for a BQ.

“Keep on dreamin’ even if it breaks your heart”

I knew I needed to go for it again. I trained to BQ (3:40), but I didn’t put a lot of pressure on myself because I didn’t want to be disappointed. Again. I went into the race totally freaked out (read the full race recap HERE – it’s a pretty cool story, for real, read it) because of the weather. I had gained weight. I just didn’t know. I went mental and basically had a breakdown in the 20 minutes before the race. I kept saying that all I wanted was a great race.

I ran the Houston Marathon in 3:43:18….

After I found out "the big news" at the Houston Marathon

After I found out “the big news” at the Houston Marathon

…not knowing until 30 minutes later that I had qualified for Boston by 1 minute 42 seconds. Yes, the time for what my age would be AT THE BOSTON MARATHON was 40, even though I was only 39 at qualification time, so I had an extra five minutes. SURPRISE!! I cried. I celebrated.  I. Did. It. It was sweeter not finding out until after I was done, too.

I knew that just because you qualified for Boston didn’t mean you automatically get in. I knew it was based on how many people registered and the times they qualified by, so each year is different. I knew I squeaked by to qualify, but I had to wait until September to register and see if I would actually get in.

It took almost two years to recover from the huge stressful move from Iowa to Texas when my husband got the chance to interview for a job in Wilmington, NC, one of my favorite cities in the country AND bonus, where my sister and her husband lived. (My husband is from NC and I had lived there for several years before Iowa and Texas.) A few weeks later, in the early weeks of June 2013, we were getting our house ready for sale for our last move “back” to NC, which is where we really wanted to be. Before we even moved into our house in August, I started training with the running group Without Limits, the same one that inspired me to join a running group just a year before.  How friggin’ ironic.  I didn’t know if I was going to get into the Boston Marathon. After the bombings, I knew everyone who could run, would run. It was going to be close.

NEXT POST: Four seconds that made all the difference, shin splints, and the Boston Marathon.

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

The Liebster Award

I started blogging with the idea that it would be a fun way to share my story and possibly motivate a person or two. I really didn’t realize that it would include getting connected to a wonderful like-minded community! Running, writing, sharing, telling stories, joking, laughing, it’s all there.

I can actually say that I’ve become friends with a few fellow bloggers, one of which includes Kecia from PushMyLimits.  My nickname for her is Badass Kecia because she totally does push her limits, and anyone who does Ironmans gets the term “badass” added to their name. Kecia graciously nominated me for the Liebster award, which is an internet blogging award that gets passed from blogger to blogger.  Here’s how it works:

* The nominator asks you 11 questions.

* You answer those questions.

* You nominate 11 other bloggers to answer your 11 questions.

So here are the questions Kecia posed for me and my answers….

  1. How did you choose your blog name?

Since I’m in love with running and want to marry it, I knew it needed to have something to do with running.  I was jacked up on caffeine on the morning of the 2013 Boston Marathon, one of those days where you just have idea after idea.  I wanted to talk about adventures before, during, and after the Boston Marathon (at that point, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get in since I barely qualified), plus things in life in general, which is where the “and Beyond” came from.  After the events later that day, it took me several months to come back and actually start writing.

2.  What is your favorite thing to write about?

Running of course. I like to write about other things going on in my life or silly quirky things, but since I’m currently training for and going to run Boston, that’s pretty much all that I can think about!

3.  Why did you start blogging?

I felt like blogging would be a good outlet for me and a way to show who I REALLY am: a mom, daughter, sister, wife, athlete with a very warped sense of humor, a warm heart, and a need to just be who I am.  Oh, and I can SWEAR!! I enjoy it but I have wanted to quit because I didn’t have very many readers. Then someone said that what I write about inspires them, so that has made me stick with it. I don’t think I’ll ever stop now. It’s also a pretty cool way to record memories. I have gone back and read race recaps and it brings me to that day. Pretty cool to have that!

4.  What kind of workout makes you feel the best after it is all over?

Actually, I had one on Thursday. It was seven 800 repeats with a 400 jog in between at 3:20, a pace I’ve never had to hold.  I was tired from the week’s worth of workouts and was running on my own, but my coach wanted me to do it, knew I could do it, and then watched me do it.  It was hard, very hard, I was pushing myself, but most of all, I came away with knowing I did my best. Really, no matter the result, that’s all that matters to me, so that’s my favorite workout!

5.  What is your favorite post workout recovery food?

Since I work out in the morning, I truly enjoy dinner for breakfast. Chicken parmesan and enchiladas are some of my favorites. If there’s nothing left over, I will cook myself an egg muffin with spinach and cheese. Yum!!

6.  What motivates you?

That’s actually a pretty difficult question to answer! One of my motivators is to show my kids that they can set their mind to something and go out and do it, and it’s ok to fail along the way as long as you don’t let that failure define you. Don’t be afraid to try something.  I like to be challenged athletically, and I want to make life interesting. If I can’t find a really good reason why NOT to do something, then heck, why not go out and do it!?

7.  What is your “A” race or biggest fitness goal for 2014?

I’m running the Boston Marathon in just a few weeks and am really striving for a PR and another qualification by at least 5 minutes, which is 3:40 for me. I also decided to go ahead and sign up for a 1/2 iron distance in my hometown for October, so that will pretty much be my entire year! And I’ve never done any triathlon of ANY distance. Ever.  OH, and I REALLY, REALLY want a sub-21:00 5k….

8.  What is your favorite motivational song?

Probably for my situation now, it’s The Fighter by Gym Class Heroes. I want my family, who I’ve been away from a lot while training, to know that I’m not going to give up, I’m going to try my absolute best for this race, for me, for them, and for anyone else who doubted themselves. I’m going to fight for it.

“Give ’em hell…. turn their heads… gonna live life til we’re dead. Give me stars… give me pain… then they’ll say to me “there goes a fighter” “

For “pump it up” songs, boy I have a long list of those! To pick only one…ok TWO, I’d say Nickelback’s “Burn it to the Ground” and Fallout Boy’s “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark”. They literally make me run faster.  

9.  If you could meet anybody (past, present or future), who would it be and why?

This was another tough one. I feel kind of goofy not having the thoughts that I would meet Jesus or a very grand historical figure, but when I found out that Hal Higdon was going to be at the Boston Marathon expo, I flipped. So there’s your answer. I am planning my expo visit around his schedule so I can have him sign “Hal Higdon’s Marathon”, the book I used for two marathons. I really look up to his advice and think it is an all-round really cool guy. I’m also hoping to catch a glimpse of Katherine Switzer at the expo as well.

10.  If you could give your 16-year old self a piece of advice, what would it be?

To stop worrying about what other people think and do what’s in your heart and mind. Go for it, and don’t be afraid to be who you truly are. And it’s probably not a good idea to date that one guy when you’re a senior…. seriously.  Give those people who do not make you feel better about yourself a kick in the ass right out the door.

11.  Are you going to pass on the torch and nominate 11 fellow bloggers?

I will certainly try!

Here’s the fellow nominees, in no particular order!!

 

I enjoyed these questions so I’m going to ask almost the same ones:

  1. How did you choose your blog name?
  2. What is your favorite thing to write about?
  3. Why did you start blogging?
  4. What kind of workout makes you feel the best after it is all over?
  5. What is your favorite post workout recovery food?
  6. What motivates you?
  7. What is your “A” race or biggest fitness goal for 2014?
  8. What is your favorite motivational song?
  9. What is your favorite “fun” thing to do besides run/train/work out?
  10. If you could give your 16-year old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
  11. Are you going to pass on the torch and nominate 11 fellow bloggers?

The rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers (generally with the same number of followers, though it can be tough to tell; ideally less than 500).
  • Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Comment on your nominees’ blogs to let them know you nominated them.
  • Have fun spreading the blogging love!
Categories: Boston Marathon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, running, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Passing On A Little Bit of Funny

This week has been funky. I’ve been in a weird mood where some things have struck me funny and then I can’t stop laughing at them for a day or more. I don’t know if it’s post-good-long-run euphoria (which is like post-race euphoria minus the race, medal, crowd, and oh, the finish line – click here for my post-race euphoria story) or pre-race euphoria (I still can’t believe I get emails directly from the BAA) or just the sun being out for more than one day and the weather turning warm. I actually wore a tank top yesterday. I don’t really care what the reason is, but I love this feeling. It’s like when Maria sings at the top of the mountain. Minus the singing and the mountains.

So in honor of goofy moods, happy thoughts, and good weather, I thought I’d share some of the little posters and videos that have made me laugh this week.

BUT FIRST, it’s been a pretty good week of workouts. We had a pretty easy group run Tuesday morning. I heard it was recovery for what was to come today, and I was scared. But I went about my business pretending I didn’t hear that. We all soaked in the waterway after a good stretch session, and it was just beautiful.

soak

Yesterday was Zero Motivation Day, but I got my run in at a good pace, and Coach K gave me a pass on the strength workout. I scrubbed my floors so I sort of did strength, right?  Today was really tough but really good. I’ve always loved track workouts, especially 800’s. Today was 800’s! (I was still scared though because I totally did hear that today was going to be hard.) I got my pace assignment at a shocking 3:20, and I still can’t figure that out in a minute mile pace. Still. And it’s three hours later. Wait, I just did!!! Dur. I didn’t have anyone to run with, but I started at the same time as the 3 hour marathoners. I certainly won’t be doing that again as I kept pretty close to them until I realized how flipping fast they were going. Even my Garmin was blinking at me “KEEP IT UP AND YOU’RE GONNA THROW UP”. I kept up at my pace, give or take a few seconds, but my energy was just draining out of me. After the 6th one, Coach T said he’d make me a deal and if I came in at 3:20, I only had to do one more. Ok, got it.  Lap 1 was a little slow and I had to pick it up. I did NOT want to do another one! He kept yelling to say how much time I had left and honestly, I couldn’t comprehend. All I knew was that I had to push. I was tired from no days off since last Friday and the 30+ miles I’d gone during the week, but I knew it would be good for me to push past the limit that I perceived was there because really, we are the only ones who put limits on ourselves.  And I finished my last 800 at 3:15. Without throwing up either. What a sense of energy draining accomplishment.  I jogged my last 1.5 miles to get 8 for the day, and I. Am. Done!  I’ve got 6 on Saturday, 20 on Sunday, then it’s taper time, baby!

Well, it’s laughy time, so here you go, hope you enjoy the funnies as much as I did!!!!  I am not taking any credit for these either, just wanted to share – I do not know where they came from besides Facebook and Pinterest.

This one probably made me laugh the most. I felt like this poor guy yesterday but I did not go get drunk :)

This one probably made me laugh the most. Still laughing a few days later.

 

This poor, poor dog.

This poor, poor dog.

Sometimes, it’s the caption that gets me. Thanks Jenny L. for this one and the birdy one below!!!

Lookamah behbeh errbody.

Lookamah behbeh errbody.

funny5

funny3

No one can say “melancholy” anymore without me thinking of this dog.

 

funny

HEY!

 

And finally, if you’re one of the few who hasn’t seen this video, it seriously cracks me up every time I watch it.  WordPress will NOT let me imbed the video here, but please, please,  PLEASE! click this LINK and watch. Then we can taco bout it.

Have a great day!

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Running Boston Has Gone…. Beyond!!!

bostonpassport

Before the announcement, two things…..

1) I got my Boston Marathon Runner Passport in the mail the other day!!!!! This contains the paper that I am required to use to get my race bib at the expo.  So freaking excited and I even did a little dance when I got the mail that day! Then I almost threw up from excitement.

2) I was able to clear a lot of the clutter out of my head that I discussed in my last post.  I’ve calmed down, started making my lists for the trip, and I refuse to think anything but the best things about the race in Boston. I think about bad weather and the hills, but then I just let that go, and I focus on all the training I have done to make this my strongest marathon.  In doing this, I’ve pretty much become useless around the house besides taking care of the kids and our massive food supply, but my husband is so supportive and understanding, he doesn’t care (or if he does, then I missed it – sorry, honey!). Yea for me!

Saturday, my legs felt like lead for my easy 9 miler. I worried a little about how they would feel for the long run on Sunday, but I knew if anything, I just needed to get the miles in. Yesterday was the 18 miler with three other ladies in my running group who are Boston Bound as well. The miles flew by and we were able to finish in my sub-BQ pace.  It boosted my confidence, but I know I have another pretty full and difficult week ahead. One more LONG run before taper begins!!!  It’s still so hard to believe. And now…..

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!!!!!!

no fear

Well, on Friday, I signed up for the Beach 2 Battleship 1/2 Iron Distance race in my home town of Wilmington!!!! Running Boston and Beyond has finally bit the bullet and gone beyond!  I HAVE been scared to sign up and take on this new challenge, primarily because of the swim that is held in a channel connected to the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway (which means there is a tide). I knew for this year, the tide won’t be pushing me as it has for this race in the past, so with that and the fact that I’m not a strong swimmer, I was hesitant.  Then I realized that I just need to train harder for the swim and in the conditions that we will find on race day.  Simple.  My goal is to finish the race alive and before the time cutoff and have a lot of fun in the meantime.  Once I signed up, I got excited.

So that’s it for my Monday.  I’d love to hear what everyone did over the weekend!

I'm so nervous and excited for this!

I’m so nervous and excited for this!

 

 

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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