Posts Tagged With: training for boston marathon

Suck It Up, Buttercup

“Marathons aren’t easy, so training for one shouldn’t be either.” ~Running Boston and Beyond

Yesterday, I had a very good reminder of sucking it up and getting my $hit together.  Hitting the re-set button, mind you.

I run five days a week, including strength, do yoga twice a week, and cross train one day a week, so I get one day off a week. So by my 6th day of workouts, which happens to be my Thursday morning track workout, I’m pretty beat. It’s all good, I truly love training, and it’s what I expect.

We had 400 repeats on our schedule yesterday, on the 2:05, and we were to go no slower than a 1:55. So that means that if you finish in 1:55, you have ten seconds of rest before you start back on the 2:05.  The faster you go, the more rest time you have.  I thought they were challenging, but a lot of fun at the same time. Coach Tom told me from the get-go that I was doing 12, so I strategically brought my times down and tried to bust out my last 400.  Then he told me to keep going. Do another one. So I did another one. It kind of frazzled me since I’m the Type A runner who, when am told to bring times down and end on the fastest, I try my hardest to do just that. I HATE not making my times and I don’t want any coach to think I can’t keep up.  I couldn’t quite keep it at the pace I did the prior one, and when I crossed the line, I crouched down to catch my breathe. Coach asked me if I was ok….. and I uttered the phrase I hate. I said, “Yeah, I’m ok, I’m just tired” to which Coach replied, “Well, you’re running the Boston Marathon”.

So after my extra 400, I was to do yet another one, and I was glad to.  Yes, I AM running the Boston Marathon. Hear me roar for God’s sake. After that workout, I needed two extra miles to get 7 total, and I gave myself an arsk whipping.

Stop being such a wuss.

GET COMFORTABLE WIHT BEING UNCOMFORTABLE. Get over your anxiety, your fear, your worrying. Stop it. It’s wasting your energy. And then one of my son’s favorite songs came on, Animals by Martin Garrix, the one I’m adding to my marathon playlist, and it became clear at that moment that I’m going about this thing all wrong. Stop being frazzled and crazy-eyed. Stop being a nut case.

What NOT to be.

What NOT to be.

Focus. Think clearly about what you are doing. Go about it strategically, methodically, and you’ll find your goal.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Yes.  I AM living my dream.

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Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Wrightsville Beach Marathon Relay Recap

The recap… finally…. after four days. Sheesh.  The weekend was a good kind of nuts. It started with working the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon (otherwise known as “Marathon Madness” since it’s a marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, 5k and 1 mile run AND it’s in March) expo on Friday evening for a few hours. I was giving the full marathon runners their bibs, and since we were the first table, many of the half marathon runners came to our table first. I really tried to get them to switch from the half to the full, but I was met with several comments like “NO ONE DOES IT THAT WAY”, “Hell NO”, “HAHAHAHAHA!”, and “Yeah right!”.  It was fun to give some first time marathoners their bibs and wish everyone a good race.

I had a short shake out run on Saturday. My leg was feeling better and I was hopeful I wouldn’t have any issues with it on race day. When I got all cleaned up, my family and I headed back to the expo so my 11 year old son, Tyler, could get his 5k race packet. He was pretty cool and calm about his FIRST 5k, which made me very happy. The expo was amazing! They even had free beer and huge TVs set up so the men could watch the basketball tourney.  Cool points for sure. It was nice to see so many people from my running group, Without Limits. I talked and talked and talked and the kids played with the equipment Play It Again Sports had there. The weather was windy but warm, and we were all concerned about when the rain would come on Sunday.

We headed back home for a bit and then got back for the 5k that started at 5 pm. My husband decided to run it too and sort of “shadow” Tyler, so he was ready to run. They were off! I knew Tyler wanted to run the 5k in about 30 minutes, so at about 25, I started watching for him. I saw so many people I knew, including Gary, my running friend who was running in a boot because he broke his metatarsal during a trail race. Gary, you are a hard core runner!!!

I got all choked up when I saw my son zooming towards the finish line.  He crossed right at 29 minutes and my husband soon followed. They did run together for most of it until Tyler started to “kick it” the last quarter mile. Good boy, just like your momma taught ya! He learned that he needs to practice more for it to feel better and that he wants to continue running… music to my ears! It was great to include him in “my” race weekend.

Gunnin' to the finish!

Gunnin’ to the finish!

Now to race day.  In order to eat, get stretched, then get to the start line by 5:45, I got up at 3:30 am Sunday morning. It looked like the rain was going to hold off, thankfully, but sometimes you just can never trust that weather! My husband is a Clemson alum so he and the kids were part of the team that would man the first water station at mile 2.  I was worried the kids would complain they were tired or just get bored, but they wanted to help the minute he asked them, and they were still excited at 5 am.

I didn’t do a pre-race jog but walked quite a bit, saw lots of familiar faces, and then happened upon a fellow blogger Paul from Running Wild, only recognized because of his bib number. He was running his 3rd marathon this year and we were hoping to be able to catch up and meet. We chatted a bit and then I hit the port-a-cans one last time.  My goal was to run the full 16 miles (my part of the marathon relay) at 8:05-8:15 pace, which is the pace I’m hoping for in Boston to re-qualify by at least 5 minutes, and I was nervous.  The weather was around 50 degrees and mostly cloudy – perfect.  The wait for the bathrooms was taking FOREVER so I got more and more irritated the longer I had to wait. I missed seeing the anthem and the rest of my friends before the start, but at least I made it in time and wasn’t stuck IN the jon when the gun went off (to hear THAT story, click HERE).  When the race started, it took a while for Corral 2 to get going, and I was in the back of the pack. I had to run on the side of the road, which was fine, since I was able to easily pass people. The miles quickly went by and when I passed my husband and kids at the first water station, they were too busy doing their jobs to see me.  Oh well, next loop! We crossed over the Wrightsville Beach drawbridge where I was able to get on the sidewalk.  There were many volunteers warning the runners of the medal grade on the floor of the bridge, but I saw one who had been injured as she ran. That’s always horrible to see.

It started getting light out and we were able to see the scenery a little better. Landfall is a private community that I never get to see because there’s guarded gates and I’d get in trouble, so it was nice to be able to run there.  There were many people watching and cheering, and the college team aid station themes were a lot of fun. We looped through there and then headed back towards the beach for loop two. I was getting that feeling that I needed some fuel and had already taken my Gu at mile 8, so I took one at mile 11.  I knew my pre-race meal experiment was a big fat failure and I will now count on a ginormous burger the night before the Boston Marathon. It was so pretty out! The sun was peeking behind the thin clouds and I could see the birds just swimming along in the waterway. It was nice and calm.

I was getting tired and I got mad that I was getting tired at the half marathon mark. I knew I only had three miles to go, so I channeled the saying on a guy’s shirt I saw that morning, “SUCK IT UP”.  I worried that I would never be able to hold that pace in a hilly marathon, I worried that I would crash and burn, I worried about everything. But I kept going and knew that I could make myself keep going if I had to.  The thing is, I’ve never made myself do that.  It’s a totally new territory for me.  It’s scary, but I’m ready.

I saw mile 16 go by and then saw the exchange tent where I was to give my race bib to my relay partner, Sherman, who stepped in when my sister injured herself and couldn’t run, even when the team name was Twisted Sisters. Heh heh. Anyway, I got the bib unpinned before I got to him so he could put it on his race belt. I detested the thought of a belt, plus it didn’t fit the race number, so I just pinned mine on. No big.

Me and Sherman at the exchange. I do not know why I was laughing but it makes me laugh to see the picture of me laughing when I did not have funny thoughts in my head at the time. It was more like "*^%@#$".

Me and Sherman at the exchange. I do not know why I was laughing but it makes me laugh to see the picture of me laughing when I did not have funny thoughts in my head at the time. It was more like “*^%@#$”.

I stopped my watch at 16.1 miles with 2:09.  I figured that to be around an 8:04 mile, so I was pretty happy with that since it more than met my pace goal. And like I mentioned above, it gave me so many doubts, scary thoughts, and misgivings about being able to run the hilly Boston course at an 8:15 pace, which is what I really want to do. THEN I had to channel my coach who would probably tell me that 1) I didn’t taper and 2) I didn’t carb load and 3) no Negative Nellies. So I stopped whining to myself, turned up my good playlist, and jogged the mile or so back to my car and my warm clothes so I could wait for Sherman at the finish. I thought that I had done good. I learned a little about my pre-marathon meal and what I must do. I learned that I could take a Gu and drink water at an 8:10 pace (even though I did get some up my nose but I just came right back out). I learned that I can push myself and am able to meet my goals.

It started to lightly rain as I headed to the finish line. I felt bad for the full marathoners because no one likes to run a race in the rain. Thankfully, it wasn’t too heavy and ended up stopping.  Thankfully! I met up with my sister and then my boys to watch people finish.  It was great to see fellow team members pace each other, support each other, to see people lining up and cheering finishers. I love running and what it can do for people.

Just past the finish line - full marathon in 3:31:34, 3rd Place Relay Team.

Just past the finish line – full marathon in 3:31:34, 3rd Place Relay Team.

The Twisted Sisters Marathon Relay Team finished in 3rd place in the full marathon with 3:31:34. I would highly suggest this race to anyone who is looking for a PR. It’s flat, fast, and the course is a good one. I’ll be back next year.  I’m not sure in what capacity, but I WILL be back!

Any other Boston runners out there who are just OBSESSED with the race? Yeah, I totally am. It’s almost consuming.  Just over 4 weeks until the Boston Marathon. And I’ll be ready.

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

I Want A Unicorn That Farts Rainbows

Because then I would have a unicorn and I could point it at negative people and shower them with happy unicorn rainbow farts. It would be like that water sprayer I use when the cats get on the counters.

I love this card. I've gotten this card. It makes me smile.

I love this card. I’ve gotten this card. It makes me smile.

I don’t know if it’s the crappy weather that is clinging to us all like dog poo on a shoe, but there’s a negativity halo all over the place. I’m so sick of negativity.  I am desperately clinging to positivity and being happy, and thankfully, it’s working.  It’s like when you pick up a big pile of clothes to be washed, a sock falls out of the pile so you bend over to pick it up, but when you pick it up, a pair of shorts falls out, so then you pick those up and in the process, a different sock falls out, so what do you do?  Do you just keep picking things up, go get a laundry basket to put all the dirty bastard clothes in, or do you just leave a trail of socks and shorts along your route to the washing machine and then make another trip to pick up all the clothes that were jumping suicide out of the original pile?  You can get aggravated about it, or you can just laugh.  I’m choosing to laugh.

I know everyone has one of those whistle-in-your-nose kind of days. I get it.  But enough is enough!  My kids are whining a lot and my dog and cats aren’t getting along. There’s whining, growling, hissing all freaking day. The dog wants out, wants in, wants back out, wants in….. The cats growl when the dog is within one square mile of them.  Well, considering my house isn’t the size of Tori Spelling’s childhood home, my cats are AL-WAYS growling at the dog. The kids.  Oh, the kids. Homework?? You’d think they just started school yesterday.  Cleaning out lunch boxes? You’d think they hadn’t gone to school EVER and knew that it’s time to clean out lunch boxes and do homework when they get home.  And that magical time of evening when those mean parents say, “Time to get ready for bed!”?  You’d think this is the first time EVER that they needed to go to bed before midnight. I mean, after over 4,000 nights and 11 years, you’d think my oldest might actually expect that around close to 8:00 pm, it’s going to be time to get ready for bed. Evidently not and it’s still a surprise, complete with the whole body roll and the UGHTHIGHAAAAA, and the stomping up to get changed and teeth brushed.

Case in point, my youngest son was JUST pretending to whine like the dog and my oldest whined at him not to whine anymore. It. Just. Never. Stops.

Then there’s all the pissing and moaning on the internets. I’ve read so many posts and articles, and that’s fine, but then I start reading the comments…. Oh lawdy, should NOT have done that.  I mean, I’ve never EVER heard so much negativity, probably EVER, since I was a teenager and spent an hour and a bottle of Aussie hair spray on it only to have it fall after five minutes (seriously, the world was coming to an end when that happened). Really, if you go from all the stuff being spewed, we’re all going to die from cancer and live miserably hate filled lives if we don’t do this or don’t do that. You can’t eat eggs because you’re a male chick murderer or you can’t drink milk because WHO DOES THAT or you can’t eat red meat or you can run because it ruins your knees, and well, you’ve heard it.  Basically, we’re all wrong all the time if you listen to some of these people.  And so many people are just mean to other people.

I’ve had a really “interesting” few weeks, which is why I haven’t written in so long. Running shoe shopping became very, um, important since I found this when I forgot to put my dog in her kennel when I went out for two seconds:

Bad dog. Very very bad dog.

Bad dog. Very very bad dog.

Thank goodness these were my secondary running shoes. WERE.  Like the shoe/dog issue above, this is just life. It can get you down. I could tell you everything goofy that happened last week (chasing my cat from under the deck with my dog and having her turn feral and scratching and biting me is one example) , but I think the important part of what I got out of it is how important a good attitude is.  I could’ve had so many things ruin my day and make me grumpy, but I’m choosing to get over it, or laugh about it, or have a beer, or whine to hubby for a few minutes, then be done with it.

So how do I repel the negativity halo?

1) Stop looking at the 10 day forecast.

2) Stop looking at comments and reading articles that appear to be stupid. Chances are they are.

3) Run. I’m so in love with running right now, I want to marry it. But I’m already married and that would be illegal. I’ve just randomly  started crying the past few weeks because I am still reconciling the fact that in just a few short weeks, I’ll be fulfilling a dream in Boston. I’m scared, I’m nervous, I’m excited, I’m honored.

4) Listen to music. Isn’t it amazing what music can do for the mood? I listen to it often and I dance. Yes, I’m the one in the car dancing and singing. Why not? I might also be the one with the finger up my nose trying to get the whistle out of it, but just look the other way.

5) Find cool races to run.  Running Boston and Beyond has just moved past Boston and will be doing something different in July… a mountain race!  The Scream Half Marathon is a race in the Pisgah National Forest with a 2,000 ft descent. I. Can’t. Wait.

6) Keep on keepin’ on. Really, just keeping my head up is important. It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s rainy, I hear whining and complaining all the time. But I’ll just turn on the music and eat my eggs with a side of milk. And smile as I spray all the negativity away with my unicorn.

Anyone else feeling like people have a case of the Monday’s…. on Friday?

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

If Every Long Run Was A Race, I’d Have More Medal Than Flavor Flav

I had a 14 mile run yesterday, including hills, so I went back downtown where I went two weeks ago.  Thankfully, I wasn’t grumpy this time; in fact, I have been in a pretty good mood despite having a cold and being very tired. It’s amazing the difference your mood can be when you look at things from the positive instead of negative. Really, I could have whined and complained (which I admit I did a little) the whole week but really, I was thankful my cold wasn’t worse and that it didn’t move into my lungs.  I was really tired from the cold, from the race last week, from a lack of sleep, and from training in general. But I’m very thankful that I can run and train and that I have a family to take care of. The sun has come out this week too, so the seasonal depression seems to have lifted.

I grabbed some gloves before I left for my run and found that I did not grab mine. I had to chuckle a little bit, but I went ahead and wore them anyway; I mean, they’re gloves so why not?  I’ll have to grab the Superman or Spiderman next time.  Suppose people on the street would find it strange for a runner to be imaginary web-slinging?  That would be good practice for running into spider webs in the summer and doing the ninja moves on them.  I digress.

My X-Ray Glove.

My X-Ray Glove.

So random thoughts filled my head while I ran my 14 miles. Of course, my random thinking centered mostly on running. I thought about the race last weekend, about my friends running the full Quintiles Wrightsville Beach marathon in just a few weeks. I thought about Boston and how surreal the entire thing still is.  Only EIGHT weeks – holy $shit!  Then I thought it was funny that in this part of training, the buildup to a marathon, that many of us spew out mileages like it’s nothing.  “Oh, I’m “only” running 14 this week.”  “I have 18 easy miles this week.”. You know the speak. Once we get into the higher mileages, running 13 miles is almost like a walk in the park.  Workouts below five miles are few and far between, and physically, it doesn’t seem like much of a workout.  I wondered how many “half marathons” I’ve run.  I mean, a half marathon is 13.1 miles, no matter how you look at it.  It is what it is.  I ran a half marathon yesterday and I’ll be running one every weekend until the end of time April.

It's no Flavor Flav, but a pretty decent collection.

It’s no Flavor Flav, but a pretty decent collection.

We run these long runs without any hoopla, without medals and t-shirts, without crowds, and without being able to say, “I ran a half marathon”. TECHNICALLY, I’ve run 9 half marathons, when in fact, I’ve run about a hundred of them. I can’t fathom how many other marathoners have done, especially ultra runners.  It becomes just a long run to many of us, and we tick them off week by week, month by month.  I’d be pretty cool to get a medal for each one, and I’d love to come home and have someone put a nice shiny medal around my neck, then feed me chocolate milk and oranges and say “great job”. Oh, and when we do full marathons, we would get a bonus medal for doing a double half.  Ok, maybe that’s a little much, but I don’t think we should lose sight that we, in fact, ARE running half marathons all the time. It’s time to celebrate!  Bring out your Flavor Flav during your next long run – put your arms up at that 13.1 “finish” line, just to celebrate another marker in your running career. Maybe, just maybe, when you get home, someone will be waiting with a medal, some oranges, and a pat on the back.

Flavor Flav

Flavor Flav – My long run bling could kick his bling’s ass.

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

Myrtle Beach 1/2 Race Recap

Race weekend started just after noon on Friday.  My sister picked me up and we headed 90 minutes south to Myrtle Beach.  The first thing we did when we got there was go to the convention center to pick up our race packets.  The expo was set up nicely and pickup was easy.  Sis was racing the 5k that evening and I was racing the 1/2 on Saturday morning.

The 5k was pretty awesome. They had glo sticks and glasses, plus glowy alien antennas for the participants to wear. The music was great, the finish line was lit up with neon lights, and my sister rocked her race.  We were off to a good start!  We went to Liberty Steakhouse & Brewery so I could get my pre-race burger and her a post-race meal. Yum.

Having a little fun before the 5k.

Having a little fun before the 5k.

I was watching the weather forecast closely the entire week and just Thursday, all of a sudden, there was a chance of rain. I had been running in the freezing cold rain for the past week, so it’s ok, but I was just tired of it and didn’t want to have to deal with rain for a race.  When I got out of bed at 4:45 am on race morning, I immediately checked the forecast and thought this: “FUUUUUUDDDGGGGGEEEEEE”  when I saw this:

Um, yeah, we were going to get wet.

Um, yeah, we were going to get wet.

I was pissed. Really? Of all the $hitty weather we’ve had the past few weeks and then we get THIS to race in?  I can run and race in the rain. I’ve PR’d in the rain before. But it sucks, makes it less likely/more difficult, and I wasn’t prepared as I totally forgot my poncho. My main concern was to keep my shoes dry and I had no way to do that, PLUS we were running from the hotel to the start. Oy. My head was spinning with swear words but I maintained my calm.  There’s nothing you can do about the weather, so there’s no reason to let it ruin your race.  It is what it is, right?

There were three of us who were going to run from the hotel to the start line together, so we gathered our flimsy little garbage bags and posed for a picture while we all had feelings of dread as we watched the cold rain fall.

Me, Kristen, and Wendy

Me, Kristen, and Wendy

We ran to the shelter of a gas station that was conveniently located right by the start line.  We waited there until just a few minutes before the race started and then headed to get our place at the start. My PLAN was to get to the start line 30 minutes before race time so I could use the bathroom.  You runners know what I mean when nerves get to you and many times, you just have to go. And to those of you (not me) who drink coffee, wow, you go A LOT 🙂  I really don’t know how you do that.  Anyway, I didn’t get a chance to hit the can before the race would start so as I was standing there, all of a sudden, I needed to go. I decided that I would just go with my pre-race mantra, “Never trust a fart”, and suck it up, so to say. Thankfully that didn’t backfire on me, no pun intended.

Evidently there was an elephant at the start, but I couldn’t hear nor see anything that was going on and all of a sudden, they were counting down from 10 for the race to start. I started my music and got ready to go. The 1/2 and full marathons started at the same time but at different lanes of the road, so that decreased the crowding.  I thought it would be a slow start, but I found that I was at the pace I wanted right from the beginning and didn’t have to dodge a lot of traffic.

Thankfully, the rain stopped right before the race started, and I was very careful to avoid stepping in any puddles. My shoes were slightly wet, but I didn’t feel it was going to be an issue.  At about 1.5 miles, we turned into the wind.  And this was no breeze either. I’m guessing at the time, it was a good 15 mph sustained and gusts up to about 30.  After about three miles, I had kept my pace of about 7:45, which was :10 faster than my race plan. I was good with that.  My breathing felt good, legs were strong, and at that point, I knew I was going to PR, it was just a matter of how much.  My mind wouldn’t focus on my music like it normally does, and I found myself distracted.  By what, I don’t really know, but I was irritated. The wind was annoying, the guy who’s spit blew onto my leg was annoying, the ocean wasn’t pretty, the girl who passed me and then went right in front of me to just slow down annoyed me, but the girl who had spare change jingling in her pocket made me the maddest.  Why on EARTH do you need spare change in your pocket while running at least 13.1 miles? I don’t get it. I almost pushed her.

Around mile 6.5, we turned and were gifted with wind at our backs.  It was great. My pace decreased slightly and when a gust of wind blew, I let it take me.  At some points, I was at a 7:10 pace, which made me feel very happy.  As happy as I could be for being unnecessarily grumpy anyway. I was trying to do the math to see about where I would finish, but I didn’t know what a 1:44 half pace was, so I didn’t know how much leeway I had.  I used how many minutes/seconds I was under an 8:00 pace.  That used up some time since still, I just can’t do math well when I run.  It only took me about five minutes to figure out what 8 x 8 was and be comfortable with my answer.  (It’s 64.)  I knew my pace was decreasing since the “leeway” I had for under an 8 minute mile was increasing.  I wondered if I was close to a sub-1:40.  I gave it as much as I felt comfortable giving that race.  My knee was bugging me, my calf was a little tight, and I felt a different kind of hot sensation on the ball of my right foot.  Was that a blister forming?  I’d never had one but I hoped it wouldn’t cause any pain before the race was over.

At mile 9, I was spent.  I was going under my planned race pace, but I knew I needed to keep going or I’d have regrets. I got my Gu with caffeine out and ate most of it.  THAT had to be fun to watch.  I bet I looked like I was either going to gag or barf, or gag THEN barf.  But it got most of it down, just so I could have a little sugar for the remaining four miles.

“Come on, Kelli, you’re doing it, you’re pushing yourself harder than you’ve ever done before, you knew it wouldn’t be easy, you’re strong, you CAN do this, make yourself proud, make all your training worth it.  Right Now.  This is your moment, this is your race, don’t regret your decisions now.”

Somewhere between mile 11 and 12, we had to turn into back into what had to be a 30 mph wind and head to the finish.  I felt the energy just being blown away by the wind.  My pace slowed and I was royally pissed that I saw an 8:15 for my current pace.  I tried, I pushed, I said “shit” about a hundred times as I fought into it.  “Do NOT let this MFing wind beat you now.”

Almost at the finish.

Almost at the finish.

I turned the corner to the finish line and saw the official race clock turning over to 1:40.  I knew I wasn’t going to be making that ultimate goal of a sub 1:40, and it pissed me off. The MFing wind. BUT, I was thrilled though, to accomplish a big PR (about a 4 1/2 minute PR) and race the half in 1:40:15.  I finish 6th of 284 in my age group, 41st of 1623 females, and 180th overall of 2893 runners. The training was working, was worth it, and then I cried, partly in happiness, partly because I missed 1:40 by a sliver.  Competitive, aren’t I?

PR 1:40:15

PR 1:40:15

So a few days post-race, I feel that I would totally do Myrtle Beach again. The route wasn’t really too boring and the weather, well, the weather is just the weather. The race was what I consider to be expensive for a 1/2 marathon, but the swag was good and it appeared the post-race setup was really nice (We left before we could really enjoy it).  They had warm chicken noodle soup for us cold runners, lots of food offerings, sports drink, water, chocolate milk, and some other things that I didn’t pay attention to. I think there was a band and they gave us tickets to the post-race party at the House of Blues for that evening. We were cold and wanted to head back to the hotel, so we finally made it back, and it was just after 9:00 am. Wow, what a day already!

I look back at the race and feel that I did what I came to do. I probably could have pushed a little harder, but I didn’t want to hurt myself.  This is not my “A” race, it’s a prep race for Boston.  I learned to not eat late and not give myself enough time to truly wake up before having to head to the race start.  I also learned that we can give our runner power to the weather if we choose.  It was truly terribly windy (so thankful I didn’t run the full marathon), but I came out and conquered my goal.  I didn’t let it mess with my head.  The owner of my training group, Without Limits, actually won the full marathon with a PR in 2:30:05.  That just goes to show that you can accomplish amazing things when you may not expect it; however, you must still believe in yourself and just go do it.

Today is Monday, and I had an 1850 swim on schedule. I did NOT want to do it.  I woke up with a sore throat, was physically tired, and well, didn’t want to deal with the water aerobics people (sometimes the perfume is gaggingly overwhelming). But I also realized that had I skipped workouts prior to Myrtle Beach, I wouldn’t have been as successful.  So I got my gear and headed to the pool. Performances like Saturday’s don’t happen when you skip your training.  No excuses, no fear.

My Medal

My Medal

View before my 5 mile recovery run on Sunday.

View before my 5 mile recovery run on Sunday.

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Attitude Adjustment in 10 Easy Steps

Some days I wake up grumpy and I don’t know why.  I always get up on the same side of the bed, so it’s not like I’m getting up on the “wrong” side of the bed. I had a 10 mile run on schedule for this morning in downtown Wilmington so I could get some hills in, although the “hills” of Wilmington aren’t big or long. They’re better than just running on the flat surfaces and I can always tell when I run them, so I know they’re doing some good.  I didn’t have the best day yesterday, for no reason in particular. I was bound and determined to not be grumpy about it, even when I had an “undesirable” run in 40 degree rain, my kids were arguing over who touched each other’s Lego’s, my awesome dog won’t stop digging in the back yard, and we had to attend an outdoor birthday party for my son’s friend.  It was 39 degrees. And that was just before 1:30 pm.

So when I got up this morning, I knew I was grumpy and I knew I didn’t know why. I made it through Saturday ok and I can think of a million things that could have made the day actually bad instead of irritating, so I figured I’d be in a better mood today. Wrong. I drove downtown and started running.  It’s pretty quiet at 8 am on a Sunday, and I found myself really enjoying the silence, only broken by the low volume of my iPod in my ears. I could hear the birds, a few cars, and then, pretty much nothing. Oh, I did hear myself say, “Holy crap you scared me” when another runner passed me when I didn’t know he was behind me.  Gotta love those exhilarating moments that get your heart rate right up there. Besides THAT part of it, it was exactly what I needed.  I felt better after my solo excursion, and no matter what happened to me the rest of the day, I was determined to make it a good day.

So in order to help anyone else out there who may be suffering from the “it’s still winter and it ain’t done yet” blues, the “my kids won’t stop getting on my nerves” annoyances, or just anyone who may be suffering from a case of the Monday’s on any given day, I thought I’d devise and share a plan to help you get through it, or more importantly, get over it.

STEP 1:  Go running.  If you want to or not, just go. You’ll feel better.

STEP 2: Look around at your surroundings.  Appreciate it.  I looked over the Cape Fear River when I got to my destination and that immediately made me feel better.  Maybe it’s freezing out where you are and you’re looking at the nice digital numbers on a treadmill.  Well, aren’t they GORGE?  Beautiful, huh!? Those glimmery numbery things.

Looking over the Cape Fear River Bridge.

Looking over the Cape Fear River Bridge.

STEP 3: Do something nice.

I saw several sanitation workers downtown who were cleaning up messes from the day and night before.  I felt for them because I do the same exact thing, just in my own house. I’m sure they were thinking “WOW, these people are so damn messy”.  Yup, that’s exactly how I feel at home.  So I picked up a few pieces of paper I saw and threw them in the trash.

I also saw a situation that pissed me off and decided to go “help”.  A guy was standing there yelling at his girlfriend with her little son just standing there watching the entire thing. I didn’t appreciate it and wanted to be sure the girl was ok. So I inserted myself in a situation that could have turned out to be volatile, but I wanted the girl to know I was there and was watching.  I said a few unsavory things to the guy to which he replied and blamed it on her, but I’m the “fight” kind of person in a “flight or fight” situation like that, especially if there’s a child involved.  I didn’t feel she or the kid was in danger at all, so I left.  They probably didn’t think I was helping, but I smiled at the kid and he smiled back.  That’s all that mattered to me.

STEP 4: Work hard.  Push it.

I was there to do 4 miles of hills and the rest not-so-hilly.  I ran two miles out and back and then did the figure 8 on the three streets that have the short but steep hills. There’s some steep parts (shown in picture) and then the streets between them have a nice slope as well.  When I got to the hills, I worked it and I added a few hills in when I wasn’t supposed to, just because. My legs felt tired, my breathing increased, I sweated. Good work will almost always make you feel better. If you’re not doing hills, give a few miles a push, and that should do the trick too.

They're short, but they're steep.

They’re short, but they’re steep.

STEP 5: Listen to good music. When I’m irritated, I like to listen to music that includes swearing (Eminem anyone?).  So I listened to some of that, and then as I started to relax and got the cobwebs out of my head, I listened to my 5k play list.  That always makes me feel good and energized.

STEP 6: Make lemonade out of lemons. Yesterday’s one-hour run could have been a nightmare. I don’t normally mind running in the cold or the rain, but the cold rain really bothered me this time.  The minutes ticked by slowly, and I counted down.  “Ok, one fourth the way through, one third the way through….” until I was done. I pushed all the negative thoughts away because 1) I knew I had to get my run in and 2) I had to get my run in and 3) it wasn’t snowing.  There was no reason to let it bother me.  I got to talk to a good friend at the cold birthday party too, so that was good. Negativity begets negativity and I didn’t want to allow it in.

STEP 7: Do something different. If you’re having one of “those” days, try to shake up your routine.  I went down town to run, something that I’ve only done once, and it was a nice change.  After I was done running, I went to a little coffee shop and had something I normally don’t get.  First of all, I rarely get coffee from any other place than home.  Second, I normally just get coffee.  So this morning, I had an amazing white chocolate raspberry latte.  It was worth all the calories.  I savored it all the way home and even shared some with my son who happens to love coffee. Well, coffee with something else in it besides coffee.

A White Chocolate Raspberry Mocha Latte

A White Chocolate Raspberry Mocha Latte and Green Machine

STEP 8:  Be thankful. I have had major injuries from running before, and I know how much happiness I get from running. I was very thankful that I was able to run.  I GET TO RUN THE BOSTON MARATHON.  I was happy that I have a family to come home to, a warm house, a goofy dog, demanding cats, and all those things.  Yes, they irritate the crap out of me sometimes, but I’m thankful they’re all there to irritate me.

STEP 9:  Listen to this song and believe it to be true.   

Chances are you’ll be singing along too.  All day. And then the next.  Who can’t be in a good mood when you’re always singing about how awesome things are?!  Thanks Lego Movie.  YOU are awesome.

STEP 10:  If all of the prior nine steps fail, go home, pour yourself a glass of beer or wine, sit your butt on the couch with your feet up, and watch your favorite show.  I’m limiting myself to only ONE glass because of my training.  And there you go.

Only ONE glass!

Only ONE glass!

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Running Boston

I’ve thought a lot recently about what I wanted this blog to be and the purpose of it in general.  Someone recently asked me the reason why I spend time thinking of things to write about and then take the time to make sure what I’m writing is how I feel and it comes across the right way.  I replied to him that if my writings make one person feel they can accomplish something and I have inspired another to try for a goal, then I have succeeded.  Recently I’ve felt that I needed to have a “big idea” each time I write, but when I started this blog, the morning before the 2013 Boston Marathon had even begun, I wanted to share my training, share my journey, and just write about what a normal 40-ish person does while doing new things. I’m not some crazy good athlete.  I’m not some nutrition guru.  I’m just a person who loves to run, who loves to compete, and wants to try new and exciting events.  I felt that other people could relate to me and could take one spark of the fire that burns within me to live this life to the fullest.  So far in my blogging journey, I’ve found such great support, so many other wonderful bloggers who feel like a sort of family, and I’ve really enjoyed it.  But I also feel that I’ve strayed from the original purpose of the blog, which was to share the ACTUAL feelings as I train for the Boston Marathon and all the adventures beyond.  The name does start with Running Boston, doesn’t it?

So this, dear friends and followers, is just the beginning of the original purpose of the blog.  It’s the good, the bad, the ugly of training for and competing in marathons, 5k’s, triathlons, trail races, endurance races, and all that inspires me.  I’m hoping it inspires you to go for your goals, to try something new, to follow your dreams.

This is pretty much all me.

This is pretty much all me.

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

Being a Sherpa – Er…Sort of

Yesterday was the first day in about five years that I went to a race and did not participate.  My good friend, Anthony, was running his 106th 1/2 marathon (click here to read more about Anthony!) at Ocean Isle Beach and wanted someone to run with, so a few months ago, I volunteered my husband to run with him.  Husband ran some here and there when he could, because, unfortunately for him, MY running always comes before his.  Sorry dear but really, it is the truth.  The difference between my husband and I is that if I don’t get my training in, I could break out into hives and repeatedly thump myself on the forehead while saying, “AHHHH, I SHOULD HAVE RUN TODAY!” and then live in regret-hood for another few days before finally getting over it. He takes the healthier and more laid back approach and just does what he wants when he wants to without really worrying about his finish time.  I used to be like that, and there’s many times I wish I could go back to not counting and comparing and worrying about times and all that competitive stuff. Sometimes.

So yesterday, I tried my hand at being a Sherpa, although there was really nothing that I needed to do or carry or give them along the race route except a smile and orders to look at the camera so I could take a picture.  My husband Andy has supported me through so many races, it was time to at least be there for his race.

The ocean is there... at least I think so!

The ocean is there… at least I think so!

It was extremely foggy when we got there and when the race started. It went up and over a really high bridge, twice, and the only thing the runners could see was the fog.  It was weird.  Then the course took them along the ocean for the remainder of the race.  It’s strange to be able to hear the ocean, but not be able to actually see it.  I felt like it could have been a scene from the book, “The Mist” by Stephen King, the one that was read to me when I was far too young to be able to handle Stephen King’s freakiness, so I imagined creatures coming out of the mist while I stood there, just waiting to be devoured.  Note: Don’t read Stephen King books to your kids.  Ever. I am still wary of semi trucks because I was also an audience to the short story, “Trucks”.  I’ve never trusted a semi since.

Wendy, a friend of ours and a fellow member of our running group, was with us and ran the 5k.  I was able to see her at mile 2, and to her surprise, she placed in her age group.  Way to go, Wendy!!!!

Wendy with her trophy, lovingly named "Sheila"

Wendy with her trophy, lovingly named “Sheila”

I then saw the guys emerge from the mist at mile two and got my picture….

Emerging from Stephen King's mist....alive!

Emerging from Stephen King’s mist….alive!

Coach Kristen was along to support Anthony, and she had 9-10 miles to run for training, so she took off to get her run in.  I found Wendy after her 5k was done and handed over the keys that Anthony had made us promise to 1) not put in our butts running shorts and 2) not lose because how would we get back to Wilmington? We took our job seriously. No dangling keys over those storm drains!!! It was tempting, but we successfully fought off the temptation to do so.

I needed to run 5 miles so I started the Map My Run app because my stupid Garmin lied when it said it was fully charged and promptly died as soon as it found the satellites, turned on my music, and took off. Suddenly it dawned on me that I told the guys I would see them at Mile 8.  Oh crap. Great job, Sherpa!  Not.  The course was an “up and back” then a “down and back”.  I ran up the race course and had so many people ask me if I wanted water or Gatorade, even after I told them I was just running to find my actual runners, so that was pretty cool.  I found them at mile 5-ish, took a picture, and then ran back down the course so I could meet them again. Kristen and I saw them close to mile 8, which is where the up route met the down route, and it immediately started to pour very cold rain, so we hid under a small building a few minutes until it slowed down.  We then caught back up to the boys when it started raining again, so we figured that running next to them was just causing cold and bronchitis-inducing rain, so we headed to the finish line area.

Most of the route was like this.

Most of the route was like this.

It was really strange that the weather was all over the place. Foggy, rainy, cloudy, hot, sunny…. we had it all yesterday.  At least the storms held off and it wasn’t a torrential downpour like originally predicted.  Kristen and Wendy and I had a good time talking with each other and other runners after the race while we waited for Andy and Anthony to finish. For the first time in a long time, I watched the end of a 1/2 marathon and got to see such a variety of people finishing.  I saw an 11 year old finish his first 1/2 with his mom (WOW, that was COOL!), older people finishing, middle-age people finishing, well, people of all ages, sizes, and everything. It was fun.  And for once, I wasn’t upset at the fact that I wasn’t racing. I didn’t even look at the winning times to see if I would have placed in my age group either, which is pretty big for Ms. Competitive.

Andy at the finish.

Andy at the finish.

Pretty soon, I saw husband Andy coming along to finish the race.  It totally, royally, and completely sucked that there were no medals at the finish line. Yes, this was a race for charity; it’s not a big race, but really, for a 1/2 marathon, you should ALWAYS get medals.  Even if they’re the penny ones from the dollar store “buy in bulk” section, you deserve SOMETHING when you cross the finish line.  Even though he doesn’t care, I’m bummed that he doesn’t have a medal to show for his efforts.  But I was so very proud that he 1) let me bulldoze him into doing the 1/2 when I don’t think he really wanted to AT FIRST 2) ran the race, and 3) now wants to do a 1/2 marathon every few months (music to my ears!). Some people train for months to complete a 1/2 and he did some running here and some running there and was able to do one without any major issues.  Husband rocks!

Anthony finishing his 106th 1/2 marathon!

Anthony finishing his 106th 1/2 marathon!

A little bit later, Anthony finished his 106th 1/2 marathon.  It just HAS to be old hat for him running these things.  Just another “Anthony” weekend I guess!

We were all hungry so headed to a place right by the parking lot, and twelve hours thirty minutes and two spilled chicken wraps later, we got to eat our lunch, had some laughs, and then headed back to Wilmington.

Andy, Me, Wendy, Anthony, and Kristen

Andy, Me, Wendy, Anthony, and Kristen

It was a really nice, fun day spent with people I enjoy, so it’s always good to be around people you like doing things you like to do.  I’ve become quite a social tard now that I’m alone a lot, so I don’t tend to say too much when around people for fear of being a big dork.  But even today, I stepped out of the norm and ran my long run with a group of ladies I don’t know too well.  I didn’t say much this time, again, because I just don’t know them that well, but I enjoy the company and am drawn to continue the trend.  Friends rock.  Running groups rock.  And I can say that being a part of a race without actually participating rocks too.

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Back To the Doc

The week before Christmas (and all through the house….oh wait, wrong story!) I started feeling an old ache start up in my knee.  I knew the holi-weeks were going to be pretty full with staying up late/sleeping in, taking care of the kids while not in school, doing my workouts, and hanging out with my family, so I waited until last week to make an appointment with my chiropractor/leg fixer-upper doctor.

I went in today with the diagnosis from my last chiro/leg fixer-upper from when I lived in Texas, so I could explain it better than “well, it’s the three bandy things that go across the inside of your knee and….. it’s a little achy”.  I felt pretty special when I could say that I had “pes anserine bursitis”, although I would have rather said that I was fine and the appointment was a mistake and was just there to share my Christmas candy.

Anyway, the appointment went as expected, me learning the proper way to do squats and deadlifts, and then having my leg myofacially released as I planned my mental grocery list to keep from yelling, “STOP THAT IT EFFING HURTS” “OUCH!” and kicking said doctor in face as I politely explained it was just a “reflex”.  I expect that my knee will recover quickly and that my hamstrings will be hugely buff in the coming months from my strength work to prevent the bursitis from returning…. again.

One thing I learned and would like to pass along to other runners is to NOT ignore those aches and pains that are out of the norm.  Sure, we all get them from time to time, a twinge here and a stab there, but those should go away with a little time.  If something persists, GO SEE A DOCTOR or at least, stop running.  I’m guessing that my husband would take a second job to pay for any medical costs to fix me so he wouldn’t have to put up with me in my “I’m injured so I can’t run so I’m going to make everyone around me miserable because I am miserable because I can’t run” mode, so really, not running isn’t a good option for many of us. I also understand that the previous sentence was probably grammatically INcorrect, and I am sorry about that.

I had to made some choices because I do understand treatment is not cheap.  I went through weeks just this fall when I was logging in about TWO whole miles per week, so I totally get the anxiety, the frustration, and I really get when you just have to stop. I honestly believed that if I ignored my shin splints, they would 1) go away 2) make me stronger 3) disappear.  So I ignored them into a pretty bad injury and then into having to defer a marathon I was planning to do (one that keeps boasting on Facebook “oh, only two weeks more” as I quickly scroll past thinking that they’re real bastards for leaving me out), one that probably could have been run had I just taken care of my shin splints before they turned into torture.  But it’s still a little their fault, right, all that boasting… and giving people time lines…. and, well, I’m just blaming them for all the pressure they made me put on myself.  Just kidding, it was totally my fault.

Lesson learned.  Take care of yourself because 1) believing an injury will suddenly heal itself is completely whack and 2) you probably won’t have to take as much time off running if you take care of it.  Simple, isn’t it?

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

WTH?!

So after having a really good workout week before Thanksgiving, topped off by almost getting a PR in the Thanksgiving Day 5k, then followed by another really good week of workouts, I totally fell apart this week.  And I do not like it.

This is how I feel after just the warm up.

This is how I feel after just the warm up.

The spiral of doom: panic in thinking that all my hard work has been for nothing and it’s going to take me another few weeks to get back to the way I was feeling.  All the progress is gooonnnneeeee!  I know that it’s not, but seriously, it’s been a tough week.  I assume that everyone has a bad week thrown in there and I KNOW that my “hydration” and nutrition was waaaaay off over the weekend.  I definitely hydrated enough, let’s say that, but it certainly wasn’t with water. Or tea. Holiday parties plus an afternoon with just the hubby = booze, bad food = crappy workouts. It’s a pretty straight line from one to the next.

I’m trying not to psych myself out for the 5k this weekend, the one where I’d reeeaaaallllyyyy like to get a PR.  I say to myself, “Self, if 8 minute miles feel like crap when you had to hold yourself back the week before, how are you going to handle running (or trying to) 3 miles at 7-ish minute miles?” Then I reply, “Eh, it is what it is and I’ll just do my best.”  Ok, that’s totally not what I said, but I’m trying to convince myself that’s all that I need to do.  But in reality, it really IS what it is and all I can do is run my best. Let’s just hope I feel and perform better than I have this week! I actually made a playlist for the 5k and Work Bitch is on it.  That song reminds me that really, if you want it, you have to work for it, so get yo’ ass out there and WORK BITCH!

Three cheers for proper eating and hydrating with WATER plus a side of positive attitude!!

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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