Posts Tagged With: training

IMNC 70.3 Race Recap

In the spring of 2018, I signed up for IMNC 70.3, which was cancelled due to severe damage from Hurricane Florence. We were offered free deferrals to the 2019 race, so I signed up, just to ensure I had a spot, not knowing if I would, in fact, participate in the race.

As I’ve talked about, my “endurance trifecta” begins with IMNC 70.3 and ends with the JFK50 miler five weeks later, with the New York City marathon sandwiched between the two. The good thing about triathlon, is that it forced me to cross train to help my overall strength and to prevent overtraining on the run. I figured that if I needed to let a race go, it would be the triathlon. I’m honestly so overjoyed that I didn’t need to do that.

The best thing I could have ever done is to hire a coach. I can coach marathons all day long, but not triathlons or 50 milers, and mostly, not when I’m the athlete nor when all the said events are within five weeks of each other. Coach knew my goals and set the plan accordingly, often checking in on my hamstring injury and in general.

I decided to head to Wilmington on the Thursday before the race (race was Saturday), and Wednesday night, I woke up at 2 am and could not get back to sleep. Ugh. My son and I left after he was out of school, and we got to Wilmington around 8 pm. Let’s say that driving in the dark is not one of my favorite things to do, especially when I’m sleep deprived and need glasses. I figured I would sleep like a baby, but it was one of the worst nights of not sleeping ever. I’ve had insomnia issues before, and this was a pretty bad string of it. I think I possibly dozed for about an hour. Double ugh.

That Friday was packet pick up, run stuff drop off, and bike drop off. I saw a bunch of people I knew and glanced at the finish line being set up. A quick dose of adrenaline surged through me, part excitement, part fear. Could I actually do this race? I’m exhausted and haven’t trained for it like I had in the past. Yes, yes I’ll be fine. I can do it.

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My son and me in front of the convention center

I dropped my son with his BFF and headed to dinner with a friend, where I had my traditional chicken sandwich with mushrooms, cheese, and a fried egg. Delicious. It was then that I got my actual race plan together. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, right? Race numbers on bike, nutrition planned, clothes laid out, bag packed and ready to go. I decided not to get up too early, but I knew I had somethings to do before we headed to the race. My poor tired little brain could only muster up a few things, haha. At least it was written down.

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My “list” of things to do in the morning

I woke at 4, having only had a few hours of sleep. Probably the second worst string of insomnia, and it was NOT caused by nerves. Not in the slightest. SO FRUSTRATING. I melted down in my sister’s kitchen, and I muttered a few inappropriate things that I can’t believe came out of my mouth, but I was just SO EFFING TIRED. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to make it. The best Sherpa in the world and I took off and headed to the start.

The start area was buzzing, and it was 5:10 am. Crazy. I went to my bike and got my tires pumped up and nutrition laid out. Saw some friends. Oops, forgot to leave my watch in my bike helmet. Did that. Saw more friends, waited in line for the bathroom. I couldn’t believe the activity and how well organized it was. I got my numbers put on my arms and leg. Oops, forgot to put something else in my bike bag. Did that. Saw some more friends. Oops, forgot to put one last thing in my bike bag. Geez, this is what happens when you are exhausted!

Gorgeous sunrise over T1

I said “see ya later” to my sister and headed to the line to get a bus to the start. Wow, there were a lot of people. I found out later there were over 2,200 finishers, so there had to be 2,300-2,400 people there. Crazy. Once I got to the start, I realized it wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be. That was good, because standing and freezing your wetsuit tail off wasn’t my way of beginning a long day of racing, as I had literally zero additional energy to spare. The start was delayed for some reason, I could never figure out why, but once they started, things went pretty fast. It used to be a wave start, but this year, it was a self-seeded time trial sort of start. About one person goes per second. Smooth. I ended up finding two friends in the time I was going to start so we ended up walking across the road to the water. OMG OMG OMG OMG I AM GONNA DO THIS HOLY SHIT HOW AM I GONNA DO THIS IT’S OK I WILL BE FINE OMG OMG OMG.

SWIM: The race started for me. The water felt great and it was a clear shade of green. It has been two years since I have been open water swimming, and I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t adjust from solely pool training for the race. Nope. I was fine. I hadn’t done more than 500 meters at one time without stopping (many of my swims were over 2000 meters though), so I was a little concerned I would get out of breath. Nope. I was fine. Current was strong, the salt water didn’t bother at all, and the sunrise was beautiful. Granted, I did stop a few times to get my bearings and figure out where I wanted to sight. I would NEVER EVER EVER suggest doing this race without open water experience, but considering I used to swim a few miles a week in that very waterway three, four, and five years ago, it came back like it was last week. My goggles got kicked off and I felt slightly violated by a few other swimmers, but it was nothing that I wasn’t expecting nor had dealt with during Ironman Florida, four short years ago. Turn, turn, turn, holy crap, I’m almost done. I felt great.

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The swim start

If you haven’t had your wetsuit stripped or haven’t actually seen it done, you should. It’s an “interesting” experience, haha.

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I made it through the swim!!!!

SWIM: 36:08

Transition: It’s quite a run from the swim finish to the bikes, and I had to run right by my bike to go the race route, which added about 200 extra yards for me when it was already a quarter mile. Ugh.

I saw several friends, volunteer extraordinaire Sami, Lena, and sister Sherpa, took my time to get my swim stuff packed in my bag and bike stuff on. My uncrustable would not fit in anything I had, so I left it. Boo.

Off on the bike

T1: 9:30 (that is a LONG transition)

Off I go on the bike. We will just go for a little ride. Just 57.65 miles. The good thing is that I knew the course was a little long, so I didn’t worry, I was just glad I knew. I kept Corey’s words in my head too, “Looks like we will likely have a head wind both ways.” Hmmmm. Ok then.

The route was a little different than before, and I was concerned since we crossed several major roads in Wilmington. Once I actually rode it, I was blown away at how good the route was and how safe I felt as a biker, unlike in year’s past. I glanced at the time when I left Wrightsville Beach behind, 8:30. I did not have anything on measuring pace or anything, only cadence. THAT was the important thing.

Bike training. I didn’t tell anyone this, but I did minimal bike training, and ZERO training on the road. 100% of my bike rides this entire year were indoor on my trainer. The longest ride was 2 ½ hours, which I did once, and two 2-hour rides and many other shorter rides, one per week. I didn’t tell anyone because, just in case something happened on the bike, someone couldn’t tell me, well, what do you THINK would happen? As soon as I got out there, all those thousands of miles I’d done before came back, pretty much like the swim. Ahhh, it was a beautiful day, slight head wind, but it was beautiful out. I was out with so many athletes, and I was doing it.

I had no idea what my MPH was or anything, but I knew I was taking care of my soon-to-be tired legs that would still be required to run a half marathon. NUTRITION was my main focus, and I made sure to drink every few minutes. I filled my bottle with Gatorade at each aid station and grabbed a gu. I had mini potatoes that I brought out just in time for the photographer. I had some chews as well. I felt good and I had a good therapy session with myself along the way.

The miles ticked by and we turned left and were rewarded with a nice tail wind. We turned left yet again, and the tail wind sort of disappeared, but hey, it wasn’t a strong head wind, so I certainly didn’t care. Half way, OMG I am DOING THIS THING! I tried my best to follow the rules, which is not what everyone decided to do, but I was not going to draft and I was not going to pass on the right. I yelled at the moron who did. The road was pretty bumpy and considering my seat hadn’t had as much training as I suspect almost everyone else did, I was careful for the bumps and cracks in the road. Extra careful.

Once we got back on the main highway, I knew I was going to make it just fine. My knee had been bothering me some, and with some head wind, it kept getting a little worse. As the head wind strengthened, I made sure I was eating and drinking enough, something I really messed up the last time I had done this race, and I was careful not to go below 80 cadence, especially to protect my knee. After Ironman it swelled up for a really long time, and I wanted to avoid as much as that as possible. I’m so thankful that Corey mentioned having head wind both ways – I wasn’t expecting it, and knowing it was possible made it so much better to handle when it actually happened.

The last two weekends, I had run 20 and 22 miles, 30 of them being on trails. My legs were not tapered for this race, but I was really happy at how they were responding. The miles started to get hard. I pushed and kept at it, clinging to positivity, knowing I was almost there. Just the run, just the run, oh, after the big bridge, then you run. You know how to run, you do it all the time, you will be good!

We climbed up toward the grated section of the bridge once last time, and I clung to my bike and desperately tried not to fall over, saying some unsavory words along the way. Whew, down hill. And I choked up. OMG. I did it. Minimal bike training, zero outdoor training, I freaking did it. My coach said it best when she was like “I bet your legs were like WTF”. Yes, they certainly were.

I rolled into the bike dismount area and stopped. I tried to lift my right leg over my bike and it wouldn’t move. One of the volunteers asked me if I was ok, and I asked her to come closer to my left arm, so I could use her to balance myself. Last time I did this race, I actually fell down at this part. I did not want to fall down. I held on to the volunteer and still couldn’t lift my leg over my bike. I started laughing and said “I can’t get off my bike”, when a guy came over and politely lifted my leg over my bike for me. I could fall down laughing at this visual, because it’s one of the funniest things that’s happened to me in a race.

BIKE: 3:25:31

The run. Transition didn’t seem as big when I checked my run bag in, but it was big when I had to run in bike shoes. I took them off and walked toward my bike rack and run stuff. I changed my shirt, put my hat on, grabbed some energy chews, gum, and turned my watch on. The bathroom had a line, so I planned to go to the next one and go there. I saw my sister and a few others there, and went on my way.

T2: 4:52

Just one problem. My legs wouldn’t work. Since my bike was an hour longer than I had trained all season and I had done zero brick workouts, it took a VERY long time for my bike legs to transition to run legs. Like 3-4 miles longer. Oh well, I was doing it. I ran shuffled through downtown Front Street where there were lots of spectators, and I glanced at my pace – 9:30. What? That didn’t seem right considering I was barely moving. I did a bunch of calculations in my head and started to worry. Oh, how long is this going to take? What if I have the walk the entire thing? Worry, worry, worry. A mile clicked by and we were in the unattractive part of the run. I was getting passed by what I felt like was the entire race field. It was frustrating for me since my run is typically my strong part, and that is where I pass everyone else. I saw the leaders coming through, I saw several friends, and my mind clouded up. I looked at my watch again, and I decided to turn the damn thing off. I don’t need it. This is supposed to be fun, not a competition. Remember what Lauren said? You’re partici-racing, not racing this thing, STOP it with the comparing and pressure to perform. That is NOT what this is about, KELLI.

I deleted my run, and decided once and for all to knock it off and just run. I walked through the aid stations and a little bit more, and focused on pushing myself to run when I didn’t feel like it. Practice. This is practice for the 50 miler. Push yourself to run when you don’t want to.

The course is sort of boring for me, but it’s pretty. I didn’t know where the turnaround was, so I just concentrated on going one mile at a time. I saw so many people, and it was fun to go through the aid stations. They were A-MAZING. I drank Gatorade and water at each one, and at one near half way, I took a gu.

The minutes and miles ticked by, and my legs got increasingly smooth. I felt like a runner, finally, and I started passing people. What everyone’s goal should be is to nail nutrition enough to speed up during your run, not slow down. And I was doing that. I was still walking, so my splits show the same pace, but in all honesty, I didn’t care. I was doing it. Race #1 of my endurance trifecta, the one I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do, and I was doing it.

Then I saw this crazy lady holding a sign with my name spelled correctly yelling things that included my name, and as I got closer, I realized it was my friend Lena. OMG, she made a SIGN???!!! She made me give her a sweaty hug, and her enthusiasm absorbed into me, and I couldn’t stop smiling. That was so cool.

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Comin’ in for my schweaty hug

Soon, I was headed back to town on Front street. I was almost there. I’m going to do this thing! And I felt GOOD!!! Pick up your feet, don’t trip, pick up the pace, finish strong. And that is what I did.

RUN: 2:13:44

TOTAL RACE TIME: 6:29:44

I’m so freaking proud of myself, honestly. A good attitude when completely exhausted, PERFECT nutrition, strong legs, and a good attitude. That’s what it took to get this race done. I love this race. I loved the course, the amazing volunteers, and my friends along the way. It was a good day, a very good day.

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My sister Sherpa and me!

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Endurance Trifecta Race 1, COMPLETE. Next up, New York City Marathon on November 3rd.

I had to add this picture. I had NO idea there was a smiley face under my age until I got back to my sister’s house, AFTER the run. Thanks, Erin!!!!!

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My smiley face

Categories: anything is possible, follow your dreams, half iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, no fear, open water swimming, running, training for half iron distance, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Going Retro: Finding Focus

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. My family moved over the summer, so I equate the situation to eating before swimming. When you swim, all the blood goes to your muscles to keep you afloat, so your stomach gets less blood, which causes cramps. All my energy went to setting our home up, getting the kids settled, and having a three week stint with a job that didn’t pan out, so I didn’t have enough energy to blog. If I did blog, it would’ve been like “Here’s my blog. I’m doing a blog post. This is a blog. Hi.” So I didn’t blog.

Slowly but surely, my creativity started to come back. I figured I’d take advantage of it and update on some happenings.

Last week, it dawned on me that my endurance trifecta was an actual possibility. I never put much thought into the completion of it, because it’s something that doesn’t truly matter and I created it, not like I joined in a challenge……  Ok, I lied. It does matter, because no one wants to back away from a challenge they created. And there’s no reason why I can’t complete this thing.

Race #1: IMNC 70.3 – This race was supposed to be a do-over from the horrible 2017 race, when I went into it completely exhausted and depleted, and I totally melted down during the bike (I would say crash and burned, but I know enough people who have actually crashed, I won’t use that term). Then last year, Hurricane Florence forced the race to cancel, so I used my entry from last year for this year. I took the biking REALLY easy this training cycle to ensure it didn’t flare my hamstring injury from January that has decided to unpack and stay for a while. Thankfully, the injury keeps getting better, even with my increase in volume and adding incline.

I do have to say, since I’m on the trainer a lot, I got a chance to binge watch Stranger Things. I had no idea it was such a good show, and now I feel like one of the cool kids at school because I know who Eleven is. And Halloween will make so much more sense this year. So much more.

Swimming has gone well….. let’s just say I’m getting it done. I had a tantrum slash pity party in the middle of my swim last week. I was sucking air and frustrated, so I stopped in the middle of the lane. UGH! I had a little talk with myself and decided that I’d better get comfortable with being uncomfortable REALLY QUICK, and to have a cup of “suck it up” with a side of “STOP WHINING”. Let’s say the 2600 meter swim this week went way better.

no whining

Running. Oh, running. There’s a huge difference between summer running and non-summer running, and when I say summer, I mean all the seasons because it’s never really cold here. I literally think it’s going to stay in the 90’s until the end of time. I’ve had some decent runs, and some non-decent runs, and ones where I’m all like, “what the hell was that?”, and some that are “THAT’S what running is”. I don’t do well in the heat and humidity, which, for me, is pretty much anything above 60. Give me some 40-degree days and I can run forever.

How ironic is it that when I’m running and getting on with a big diatribe of how horrible and hot I am, I’m listening to audio books where the runners are competing in the Badwater 135, where it’s basically the temperature of a casserole-ready oven. So I take what I can from those authors and their experiences with something so unbelievably uncomfortable, and know that all I need to do is keep moving forward and keep my chin up. It’s that simple. It sucks that my pace is 2-3 minutes slower than my cold weather pace and that I probably will pass on training for another fall marathon, but I’m out there getting it done, flushing my body free of all the water it has ever taken in.

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This is me.

Like I said before, I recently realized that the first race of my trifecta will be here in the blink of an eye. I shifted my focus to this one race. Because I’ve raced a lot over the years, visualization comes quite naturally to me. It’s something I started doing the first time I raced a marathon, and it really comes in handy with other races as well. I need to think through the transitions, remember what I need to have, and to make sure I am on-point with nutrition.

My focus for this 70.3 is FUN. And finishing. Just finishing. Remembering to find joy in each mile, knowing that I’m out there, accomplishing a goal, not worrying about a time. It’s like going retro since I haven’t raced a race without a time goal in a long time. The first triathlon I ever did was a 70.3, and I had a total blast along the way, so that is what I want to recapture in this race. I can see myself talking to my spectator friends, stopping to pee if I feel like it, and run/walking the run part. I don’t even want to wear a watch, because the goal is to finish, not to finish in XX hours and minutes. It just doesn’t matter.

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Please tell me my family and I aren’t the only ones who knows what this is from. Please.

As my training gets longer and more difficult, I’m embracing the difficulty, keeping a positive attitude, and trying to prepare the best way I can. And honestly, as hot and humid, as much as I just don’t get faster in the pool, as tired as my legs can be, I’m enjoying myself, maintaining my house, keeping my boys fed, meeting new friends and neighbors, and occasionally, binge watching Netflix. Go me!

As I celebrate another year on the planet, I look up at the sky, take in a breath of horribly hot and humid air with twinge of sewer smell, and thank God that I’m able to be out there, smelling stinky air, running for 3-4 hours at a time, swimming slowly in a pool, watching Netflix as I bike, and coming home to a family that loves me.

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Happy Birthday To Me!

 

 

Categories: anything is possible, being epic, follow your dreams, half iron distance, marathon, marathon training, running, swimming, temper tantrum, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

17 Miles of Self Doubt

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will” ~Karim Seddiki

Thanks to everyone who commented on my “The Day My 8-Year-Old Went Psycho” post from last week. The saga isn’t over quite yet, and there’s enough for a Part II, so stay tuned. Is it horrible that those of you who shared stories of your kids freaking out for no apparent reason made me feel better? Well, they did, so THANKS!

On Saturday, I had an 8 mile run. Because it was nice and cool outside, I felt good and ended up going 8:30ish overall pace. I was pretty happy with that, but was anxious about Sunday’s 17 miler on the schedule. I did find it interesting that my body is definitely adapting to the endurance. Just a month ago, 8 miles would make me tired – doable for sure – but wouldn’t be on the fun side of running. Now, 8 miles is almost a walk in the park, a part of the routine, and actually FUN. I ran around my neighborhood, which can get really boring, but it was enjoyable and I felt good when I was done. Hallelujah on that one!

On Sunday, I got up early, ate a peanut butter sandwich, drank some orange juice, and stretched.  I was nervous since I knew that running with one of my friends would end up pushing me a little faster than what I planned on going. I figured I would just do my best to keep up, but wasn’t going to push the long run just to keep up. I was going to run 4 miles on my own and meet up with the girls at 8. It was cold (for us in coastal NC), so I brought everything I owned for cold weather, and some.

I ran my four solo miles as planned, and they felt pretty good.  I ran 11 more with (and some slightly behind because I just couldn’t keep up) two awesome ladies. Then I ran two more solo.  And this is the workout where the self doubt crept in.  I worried about the marathon in March, I worried about my shin splints coming back after resuming speed work, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to do my Yasso repeats on Tuesday (SIX at 7:20’s???? Uh…muh…gawd (double parentheses required – you’d think I was supposed to do them at 6:30’s or something)), I worried I’d embarrass myself at the marathon, I worried I wouldn’t be able to finish the thing at all.  How can I do this? Why am I doing this? Don’t I know that I’m not good at running marathons the way I want to run them? Look how many times I’ve failed? What “lesson” am I going to learn at this one? I’m going to look like a huge fool at this race. Who do I think I am wanting to qualify for Boston again? And that’s the gist of the conversation I had with myself for almost 17 miles.  Almost 17.

Do you want to punch me in the throat as much as I do? Yeah. Because fear and loathing and doubting works really well for people, doesn’t it?

As it is for many, running is therapy for me. I come up with some of my best ideas, I work out anger, I think about a lot of things when I run, especially on long runs. I frequently “Dr. Phil” myself or other people (“How’s that workin’ for ya?”). Sunday’s 17 mile run was my therapy session, and I came away feeling…wha… wha…more ma-TURE maybe? I don’t know. But I talked a lot about the fear and loathing. I let it come into my head, but I talked it back out. By the end of the 17 miles, I had gone full circle from a terrified runner who was fearing the concept of FAILURE yet again to a runner who has failed before but will never, EVER give up. It’s just not in my DNA to give up. I have dreams, I have goals, and I won’t give up seeking them as long as I’m physically able. And why should I? Because I might fail?  I’ve failed multiple times, I’ve even failed with flair, and I’ve always come away humble, thankful, and thirsty for more. I thought it’s a definite possibility that I won’t BQ in my marathon. And what would I do if that happened? What’s the WORST that would happen? Not making my time goal? Been there, done that. I have successes and I have failures. All I need to do at this point is to trust my training, do my best, get out of my own head, and remember why I’m doing this – because I love to run.

The doubt and uncertainty will undoubtedly linger just below the surface as I continue to train, but I’ll keep them at bay and not let them into my head as they have been. This marathon training is a mental game, as many of you know, and the race, even more mental. I cannot allow negativity in. There is simply no room for it.

So how did my 17 miles end up? Besides being pretty cold and sweaty at the same time, they turned out well. Using my Garmin, the average pace was 8:46 – right where it needed to be. Sure, it was hard at times, but 17 miles is hard! I went home, poured a cuppa coffee (actually, I think my husband did) and put my legs into our 42 degree pool. It was horrible. I could only stand 5 minutes of that torture. My feet hurt so bad, I decided to just get out and take a very long, hot shower. That was awesome. I wasn’t too sore the rest of the day, but I was tired.

Cold. Very very cold.

Cold. Very very cold.

On Monday, the weather was very different from Sunday – warm. Strange. I had a 4 mile recovery run in a gentle rain, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn’t sore. It felt good. I decided to go ahead and soak in the cold pool again, just to prevent inflammation. I’ve increased my mileage pretty quickly, and I do not want to get “regular” shin splints because of it, so I’ll do anything to not get an injury. It was a very different experience from soaking just one day prior, and a more pleasant one for sure.

Cold but not nearly as painfully cold as the day before.

Cold but not nearly as painfully cold as the day before.

So where does this leave me now? I’m not feeling the “I am woman, hear me roar” ringing in my ears. But I’m not listening to the crap that my mind can spew out faster than my 8-year-old can find reasons to wear his old, dirty, stinky coat that needs to be washed. I have a lot of work to do, and that’s ok. Time to power up and remember why I’m doing this.

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How about you? Do you get in a funk when you know you’re behind in training? How do you get out of it?

Categories: Boston Marathon, go for your dreams, marathon, no fear, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running with friends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

My favorite boys.

My favorite boys.

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

Turning A Bad Situation Into An Adventure, Plus Clarity

The last time I wrote, I was in the Atlanta airport trying to waste time until my flight to Charlotte, oblivious to the adventure I was about to have. I decided to head to the gate and hang out, thankfully finding the bathroom and gift shop right next to the gate. Bonus. I wouldn’t have to leave until I was on the plane. Those little things, you know.

I was so tired from not sleeping much, and as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t doze. I’ve never been able to do that, but I sure wanted to. I read some from my magazines, made a few lists, and mostly played games on my phone. I listened to a family several gates down have THE BEST time playing charades or gestures as loud as they possibly could (I had a gesture for them that I kept to myself). Time quickly passed (mostly after The Charade Family got on their flight), and soon, it was time to board. But the plane wasn’t there yet. I only had an hour in Charlotte until my next flight and since it was the last flight into Wilmington, I REALLY needed to get to Charlotte. Finally, the plane got in and started unloading. A hundred years later, it was time for all of us to board. The pilot said it would only take us 40 minutes to get to Charlotte, so it looked like I would have time to make my connection, barring any other issues.

Then the other issues started. As we were going down the tarmac, it sounded like someone was taking a hacksaw to the plane’s legs. I figured if this was an issue, the flight attendants would say something, right? No one said anything, and all I imagined was us landing in Charlotte only to have the legs collapse and we would all die a fiery death. Remember, I did say I was afraid to fly. And when I face fear, I normally exaggerate things. Especially when tired. The plane was just fine.

Then it stopped stopped and the dingy dongy thing came on and the pilot said, “Well, folks….”, which is never a good sign. Ever. Turns out, those storms I was watching were now over Charlotte, and the airport was shut down. We would have to wait 45 minutes for the next update.

Bad weather pretty much everywhere I needed to be.

Bad weather pretty much everywhere I needed to be.

I figured that if my plane was delayed, my connector plane would be delayed, plus, what the hell am I gonna do from there, so I just relaxed and closed my eyes. I was too tired to read and was bored of my games. About 30 minutes after that, Mr. Pilot came back on and said we were still delayed and would have to wait an additional 20 minutes for the update. They started serving drinks (water and juice only) and people went about their business. I imagined us being stuck there for hours and hours like those horror stories, toilets overflowing, screaming children, people going insane…..

Soon, Pilot Guy came back, said we were to leave, and we were on our way. I texted hubby the good news, and was just hoping to make my connection. We were soon in Charlotte. Thank GOD, because it was one of the most annoying flights I’ve been on. One guy smelled like moth balls, one guy had his game so loud, all I could hear was what I figured was Call of Duty (who wants to hear war-like action when flying??? I sure do NOT.), one lady was on her laptop and it looked like all she was doing was highlighting things over and over and then not actually doing anything with them, the people behind me kept grabbing the top of my seat so it was shaking me. I was annoyed the guy next to me never said one word to me. It felt like we went into a holding pattern above Charlotte, so I figured we would get in late. Finally, after I about drove myself insane, I put my earphones in and listened to some good old Dave Matthews Band to calm the heck down. Breathe.

We finally made it to the gate in Charlotte after what felt like the pilot, upon landing, was doing what Nascar drivers do before the race, you know, taking the wheel back and forth to “warm up” the tires. THAT’S what it felt like once we hit the ground. Breathe.

I found the gate for my departing flight and saw it was delayed enough to where I could run the hundred billion miles there to make the connection. At least I got in some cardio, right? I made it to the gate, had time to pee, and then it was time to board. Whew!

THE BAD SITUATION PART

We all boarded and headed out. “Ding Dong”. “Uh, folks, Wilmington is under severe storms…blah blah…can’t handle the weather AND planes… flight is cancelled.” Um, what?

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We are all in the plane, and you cancel the flight? Can’t you just wait 15 minutes for it to blow over and we can be on our way? Holy hell, what am I going to do now? DELTA got their flights in that were coming in at the same time, why can’t YOU, stupid USAirways????? *&$^%&*

THE ADVENTURE PART

We all de-boarded, which is a first for me, and walked towards the customer service line, which was long when I ran past it on the way to my now-cancelled flight. The line was looooonnnng, even after they added more agents.

Stupid long ass line.

Stupid long ass line.

We were all given vouchers for a discounted rate for a hotel, and sent on our merry way. This cancelling a flight thing was new to me, and I honestly didn’t realize that when they cancel a flight, there is no “make-up” flight. You just have to absorb into the other flights that were overbooked. As the people around me muttered to each other, we were realizing that the few seats available in the morning were quickly being taken by the people in front of us and on the phone. In just a few minutes since the flight was cancelled, the earliest available flight out of Charlotte was mid/late afternoon. REALLY? (Within an hour, it was 6:30 pm)  It was close to 11:45 pm at this point. We were all tired. One guy looked like his head was going to explode. I don’t remember exactly how this came about, but the lady standing next to me in line, Barbara, and I decided to rent a car and drive to Charlotte. It was a 4 hour drive, and we didn’t want to wait another day to see if we could get home. Barbara had talked to another girl, Sachi, and we three took off to the rental car area.

We ended up getting a one-way car rental (can you say RIPOFF?!) and decided to go ahead and drive home without spending the money on a hotel.  $320 later, we found ourselves in the Avis lot getting into a nice Ford Mustang.

Niiice car.

Niiice car.

We made one stop to get some sugar energy and of course, had to get a picture. What a crew.

 

Barbara, Sachi, and Me

Barbara, Sachi, and Me

I drove for a while, even after being so exhausted, and when the speed limit turned to 70 about 90 minutes later, I didn’t feel like I could actually drive at 70 without putting us at risk. I pulled off at an exit, peed in the grass, and Barbara took over until we got to Wilmington.

What do you do when you’re driving with strangers and need to keep each other awake? You talk. You get to know one another. So that’s what we did. Sachi is from California visiting her parents who just moved from the Midwest. Barbara lives basically across the road from me and was on her way home from a conference. She has a very interesting career so we talked a lot about that. Check out her website here, especially if you like diving. Or history. Or fish. Or travel vacations. Very cool. We talked and gabbed and I found it very interesting how you can turn from strangers to almost friends. We are all so different and came together with one goal: getting to Wilmington. We all have very different lives, but I found the two ladies very interesting, have cool jobs, very friendly, and I felt lucky in chance to be standing in line by them. Those small chances made the night different than had I been standing in line next to grumpy mad guy or anyone else.

Drop offs were linear, thank goodness, and since the car was rented in my name, I pulled it into my driveway close to 4:45 am. The same time I’d be getting up for my track workout. I hugged my husband, went in to kiss and hug my kids, and I fell into a fast sleep until my son scared the SHIT out of me giving me a hug before he went to school. I woke up around 9:30, went about my business, returned the car (which is when I realized that I had ZERO patience and needed to just not do anything for the rest of the day), and sat on the couch until my kids got home from school. My mind was mush, for the most part. I texted Barbara and we decided to get together some Sunday for NFL. You just never know where a friendship can begin, can you? Sachi has a busy weekend with family but I figured I’d touch base with her next week.

I LOVED driving this car.

I LOVED driving this car.

THE CLARITY PART

During all of this, I’ve had a LOT of time to think. I have been pushing myself to make it to the Houston Marathon. My goal is to re-qualify for Boston so I can have my re-do. My leg hasn’t healed and from the little bit of walking I did between classes and the run I had Friday, it wasn’t healing well enough for me to do speed work and REALLY make the efforts to crush the race, which is something I know I can do. I’ve been getting physical therapy and we haven’t 100% nailed down why my leg keeps getting hurt. Why is it always the left side? Every time it feels better, I attack training without truly considering the repercussions or if it’s actually healed or just rested.

This is me every time my leg starts to feel better.

This is me every time my leg starts to feel better.

I remember sitting on the plane, thinking about making myself run 14 miles the next day, and I said, “Why am I doing this?” Why am I being so stupid? It IS pretty stupid.  Why would I short-change my physical health to half-ass train for a marathon? Because I have a ticket? Because I want to see my friends? Because I’ve signed up twice and not done the race? Because I want to prove it to myself that I CAN but I really CAN’T train right so just do it anyway? Because I WANT it so badly? Yes, I think that’s what it is. I want this so badly, I need it for myself, and I love doing it. But at what expense?

Suddenly, as I sat on one of those planes, I realized that I needed to stop. I realized that I wasn’t doing the right thing, that my leg wasn’t getting better, and I needed to fix it before I could move on and train the RIGHT way. And as hard as this is for me, I know that it’s what I should do. I know that I tried, it didn’t work, so I need to re-group, fix it, and then go. I have HUGE goals for 2015. HUGE. And I must go into the year healthy, happy, and ready to train. Not 2 for 3, but all 3 for 3. So that’s what I’m going to do. And by the way, this doesn’t mean I don’t have other goals in mind. Oh, we are all like that, right? Can’t do one goal, so what’s the next? Yup, it’s there, but I need to get through this injury thing before I can go full force ahead.

Clarity. It’s a good thing to have.

 

 

Categories: coaching, marathon, running, running with friends, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Let’s Get This Thing Started! YEAH!

**Disclaimer: I’ve had full caffeine today. ** This is sort of what I feel like:

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“Ohhh, yeahhhh, kickstart my heart….”  It’s a great song, isn’t it. It’s even on my marathon playlist. THE marathon playlist. I have declared today to be my first day of real triathlon training. The darned thing is in about 13 weeks, so it’s about time, ya think? Yes, I’ve been swimming, biking, and running, but not much of anything lately besides running. So today was the end of my running challenge shenanigans and it’s time to kickstart this training season!

It’s been weird taking so many days off at a time. Refreshing, yes, but strange. I honestly love to work out. It makes me feel better, and it’s really a part of my life. My legs were pretty sore from The Scream 1/2 marathon I did on Saturday, so I didn’t feel too guilty taking extra time off.  My kids are staying with their grandparents this week too, so my husband and I have been acting like college kids, going out every night, having fun, and sleeping in.  Well, the sleeping in is just me since he has to go to work. Sorry, honey! Not really 🙂 We caught the Dave Matthews Band concert in Raleigh on Wednesday, and was that ever a good time. This was our 23rd show, but I think we enjoyed this one more since we haven’t been able to go in FOUR years! Oh, the humanity.

I think I lost 75 pounds from sweating so much before it even started. Even Dave said it was hot.

I think I lost 75 pounds from sweating so much before it even started. Even Dave said it was hot.

What better day to start “real” training than today.  Monday was supposed to be the open water swim, but because there was a bacteria advisory (seriously, I wasn’t going to go anyway because I just didn’t want to, but no one really needs to know that) in the waterway from all the rain. I am new to this sort of open water hazard. I mean, I am aware of sharks and jellyfish, boats, floating pieces of Styrofoam shaped like snake heads, but bacteria and another new one, sea lice baby jellyfish? Seriously? How much more dangerous can I get here?

I went to sleep to the sound of thunder and rain, woke up in the night to thunder and rain, so I was really hoping it would clear off and everyone that I had planned to swim with would still come. Timing worked out and when it was time to go swim, it was nice and clear.

It was a little lighter when I started to swim, but it was pretty dark for what I was used to.

It was a little lighter when I started to swim, but it was pretty dark for what I was used to.

I found a huge group of people at the start, none of whom I knew, and they all looked like they could keep up with the penguins, so I knew I couldn’t swim with them. I waited a little longer and my peeps showed up, thankfully. There were four in our group with one paddle boarder and one boat. Two of the swimmers took off and one had problems with her goggles so was behind. I was right in the middle. I was by myself. It was the waterway, and I was by myself. And it was still a little dark.  The creeps took over and I could really see how people who aren’t used to open water would freak out. I figured there’s nothing I could do about it, but just keep swimming, so I did just that. I felt pretty good, except when I tried to breathe on my left side. Seriously, I just can’t get it done without choking on the bacteria-laden water. So I kept with the right side, and I honestly felt good the entire .93 miles of the swim. I didn’t even try to be Michael Phelps when I went under the bridge either. I did imagine trolls positioning themselves in between the supports in the bridge, staring and laughing at me in their cutoff jeans and ratty red shirts (image compliments of The Gremlins).  But they didn’t jump down and try to drown me, so maybe we’ll be friends. There’s always a point in there when I feel like it’s NEVER EVER NEVER NEVER EVER going to end, but I knew I was making progress, even though it was slow.

Because I’m a slow swimmer and I’ve heard it’s all about “form”, I decided to bite the bullet and get a swim lesson from my coach. She’s a top level swimmer who’s actually going to the world’s competition next week, so she has soooo much to teach me. I’m extremely nervous because I am embarrassed about how dumb I will look. I know I need some help, but really, I feel like a big nard flopping around in front of anyone, let alone an amazing swimmer who also happens to be my friend. It’s time to get over that fear and just do it. So that’s Monday morning. Wish me luck!

When we got done swimming, I changed into my running shorts and put my shoes on, and I planned to run 6 miles with one of the friends who was swimming from farther away. Two other girls were running too, so we all four ended up running about 4 miles together. What fun and great conversation it was! Then two of us split off and I finished with 6 miles. Yeah, my first real brick workout was complete!!!

I was told about some “nectar of the gods” coffee (tastes like buttah) so we went to grab a cup before coming home. Mmmmm, it IS delicious and I love FULL caffeine. I think I can conquer the world after just one cup!

As for my schedule tomorrow, I’m taking my newly updated and geared up bike for a 40 mile ride. I’m taking it easy and bringing my toolamabob thing so I can stop and adjust it along the way as needed. I’m pretty excited about getting my bike stuff all figured out, since for a while there, I didn’t know what bike to train on and which one would fit me best. I finally decided and got it all taken care of. Here we go!

I'm trying to figure out what her name should be......

I’m trying to figure out what her name should be……

Sunday, I’m running with some people, but I don’t know how far I I’m actually going to do, then I’ll be back in open water again on Monday. I’ll have to throw in some strength, plank, and arm workouts, just to keep balanced.

I’m lucky that I know so many people who have completed sprint, half iron, and full iron distance triathlons.  There’s so much information to be had from all of them, so I look forward to learning the ins and outs of a new kind of race for me. My goal is still the Houston Marathon in January, but this triathlon, thing, yeah, I think I’m going to like it!

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

Something’s “Weighing” On My Mind

I’ve been thinking of writing about this subject for nearly a year, but finding the perfect words to express everything without writing a novel became overwhelming. So I decided to just write and not worry about the length.

I felt embarrassed to some extent, to delve into details of my past and the inner workings of the deep parts of my mind, but I also felt that it was important to bring up my past so you could see where I am coming from.  I also felt it was an important topic of discussion, one that maybe, just maybe, could help someone or cause someone to think about something differently. I’m hoping so.

Marathon running has given me something that I really don’t believe anything else could.  It has given me the ability to view my body and eating in a completely different and positive way.  I’ve learned a lot about myself because of it. And finally, FINALLY, I’ve been able to develop a good and healthy relationship with food and eating.

Back in high school, for some moronic reason, I remember looking in the mirror and telling myself, “Wow, I’m so fat. I need to lose weight”.  I could totally thump myself now, as I was a very active and healthy young lady of a healthy weight.  I honestly don’t know why I decided to do this.  Many people start controlling their eating when everything else in their lives seems out of control, but I honestly think that for me, it was that I simply wanted to be thinner, and that’s all.  I’d never liked my muscular, pear shaped build, and I always wanted to be one of those thin models from George Michael’s videos (I’m guessing you can tell about what era that was).  The crazy cycle of self-loathing and torture began when I was a junior in high school.  I’m not going to get into the gritty details because I don’t think it’s relevant, but I lost over 30 pounds in a few months. I purged in various ways, I restricted, I exercised to excess, I did it all.  I was miserable.  Absolutely miserable.  And all the weight I lost was never enough. Now, I can clearly see the addiction that comes with something like that.  You don’t see yourself in any way, shape, or form the way others see you and the way you see others. You see yourself in a carnival mirror, and it’s never accurate, no matter how much you twist and turn it.  You may be shrinking, but you feel yourself expanding.  It’s a scary and lonely place to be.

Finally, several months later, I got tired of it. I tired of starving myself, of being hungry, of being sick to my stomach, of being miserable, green, and a formerly happy and active high school girl. I lied to my parents, but most importantly, I lied to myself. I thought I was fat. I was ugly. I wasn’t worth anything.

When I confessed to my parents that I needed help after they begged to tell me what was wrong, they were scared and yet, relieved. They knew something was wrong, but they, like so many parents, didn’t know what it was and didn’t know how to find out.  I immediately went into after-school counseling for eating disorders, and I became the master of liars there as well. I did start eating again and not feeling so terrible about it, but there was no way I was going to just gain weight for the sake of gaining weight. I kept exercising and when I was honest about it, they told me not to exercise.  Well, I just quit telling them that I was.  Of course they didn’t understand that when I was running, I was just me, without thinking, without worrying.  I needed that run as much as my body needed food.

It took several years for me to get over the majority of the self-loathing what I saw in the mirror. Then I was always just “ok” with what I looked like, how I was shaped, and I had a love/hate relationship with food. I fed myself, but it wasn’t a healthy relationship with food, per se.  I did what I needed to do to give myself the energy to do what needed to be done. It’s crazy I went through so many marathons, half-marathons, races, and having two healthy children, that I really, honestly, hated what food stood for and what it “did” to me.  The verbal abuse towards myself continued as well, although the more years that went by, the more it eased.

Can’t you relate?  We can be so mean, so evil and nasty as we tell ourselves we are fat, ugly, terrible when we would NEVER, EVER see that in, let alone SAY it to other people. Sometimes and some days, we are just never good enough.

So what changed?  Maybe it was maturity, maybe it was luck, maybe it was some sort of divine intervention. Maybe one day I just got it. I remember saying some pretty terrible things about myself, that I needed to drop a few lb’s, and how ridiculous it was that achieving only THAT was difficult. Then I saw my arm.  I don’t know what it was, the little arm hairs I saw? The few freckles, probably made while having fun in the sun? I don’t know, but something changed in me that day. I saw myself as a person. I saw myself as a little girl, one who was constantly berated by her own self, and I didn’t like it. I grew up in a family of love and my family now is full of hugs and kisses and laughter.  So felt like I was treating my own self like the black sheep, like she didn’t belong and didn’t deserve to be there.  I actually tear up as I think back to that moment, maybe an “AHA” moment, where I started, just slowly, but I started to feel differently.

Fast forward a few years.  I’m not perfect, and there’s days when I just can’t stand to think about bathing suit season.  But then I realize that I am not perfect.  And that’s ok, because no one really is. Finally, I can give my body the credit it deserves.  How many miles have I made it run? Thousands. How many marathons have I run? Yeah, I’ve run seven.  It has given me two very healthy children.  I’m healthy and able to run my ass off when I want to.  I can work, paint, throw my kids on the couch and watch them laugh and say “do it again”.  I’m very lucky to have that, and I don’t take it for granted.  Marathons were the mediator between a healthy vision of food and me. That’s what brought us together in a good relationship.

I view eating very differently now.  And I’m so thankful for the new perspective.  Food is fuel.  It’s a source of energy, nourishment, and pleasure.  When you put junk in, you get junk out. When you don’t put anything in, you get nothing out. You learn so much about your body and fueling when you don’t do it right, that’s for sure.  And another thing. I stopped comparing myself to others (for the most part).  I will never be anyone but myself, so might as well just realize it now and quit trying to make myself into someone else.  It’s pointless.  I think of all the time I wasted thinking about, planning, and worrying about what I looked like and dieting and food and just stupid stuff.

It’s a long process, the self-awareness that comes with marathon running. You push yourself, but you literally CANNOT do it when you don’t fuel your body. Instead of a downward spiral that comes with having a bad relationship with food, the downward slowly disappears and then turns into an upward spiral of appreciation, of need, of understanding the true and “normal” relationship you should have with food. The yin yang of eating and running. I can’t have one without the other. No, I may never truly LOVE what my body looks like, BUT I truly appreciate what it does for me, and really, I’m happy with that. I would have never known marathon running could do that for me, but it’s given me a relative freedom from the demons that will probably always reside in a cavern in my head, whispering their little lies to me.  I do not believe them anymore.   I’d much rather be strong than skinny.

Yin Yang

Yin Yang

 

It is now several weeks after the Boston Marathon. I think about all the hard work it took to get me there.  All the years I spent training to try and qualify, only to come up short.  The races between the marathons. The marathon when I did qualify. All the training since then. Hundreds and hundreds of miles, biking, swimming, yoga, strength. I think about how the relationship I have with food has actually turned into a good one. I appreciate the fuel I give myself as much as I appreciate my muscles as I see them work hard, see them growing and changing as I get faster and have more endurance. Food = muscle power.

I do have to say that there is a difference between having a good relationship with food and a good relationship with body image.  This has come to light recently, when I got a few pictures back from various races. I don’t mind most pictures of me, but when I get race pictures back, good Lord I just want to shred most of them.  My husband pointed out that I don’t see me the same way anyone else does and I have to admit that he’s right. I recently told coach that I wore shorts over my tights so others couldn’t see my fat butt jiggle.  Why I had to say that out loud, I don’t know. But at that moment, I realized how stupid I sounded. That day, I decided that I wasn’t going to SAY those things.  Because when you SAY them, you THINK them. Well, maybe, just maybe, if I stop saying bad remarks about my body (the same one that ran over 17 miles just because), then I will eventually stop thinking them. Truly, I do love my body and what it’s given me. So it’s time to start treating it like I do.

So here.  Here’s a picture that I never shared because I hate the way my thighs bulge out. Saddle bags. I had gained 5-10 pounds right before the race so I was heavier than normal and now. But I had just ran over 26.2 miles and the first thing I worry about is how my stupid thighs look, so I didn’t share the picture with anyone. Kinda silly, right?

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So I’m still a work-in-progress.  The key is that I’m making progress. I’m realizing what’s really important, which is to be thankful for what I do have and take care of it.  I know I can’t have a scale in the house. I literally cannot play that game.  I have no idea what I weigh, but I don’t care and it doesn’t matter. I base my eating on what I’m training for, how I feel, and how my clothes fit. I’m sure I’ll always be a work-in-progress, and that’s ok. It’s kind of fun to drop some of the dumb stuff and think back to how stupid I was “back then”, and I’m sure in another ten years I’ll look back and think that something I’m doing NOW is stupid! So be proud of yourself. Be proud of what you can do.  Keep working, keep appreciating. For every negative you find, find two positives. Don’t SAY negative things. Be YOU.

If I could say “Thank you” to marathoning, I certainly would. Marathons have given me so much more than I could imagine. Happiness. Freedom. Thank you, Marathon, from the bottom of my heart, for giving me what nothing else could have. Peace.

Categories: Boston Marathon, half iron distance, marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 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.

boston-marathon-logo

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

Merry Christmas!

 

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!!  It’s a great time of year for my family, lots going on, lots of sleeping in training included, which has made it difficult to fit blogging in. I have lots of ideas, plans, goals, and everything to share.  Thank you for reading and I hope you have enjoyed. There’s only more and better to continue the rest of 2013 and in 2014.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Be sure that you get your workouts in this holiday season, normally filled with fun, food, family, friends, and parties.

Be sure you don't stop working out!

Be sure you don’t stop working out!

 

Categories: marathon, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Jingle Bell 5k and 18 weeks ’til Boston!

The last few weeks have been filled with powerful workouts followed by crappy workouts followed by good ones.  Thankfully, I felt back to normal by mid-week last week and I mentally geared myself up for the Jingle Bell 5k at Wrightsville Beach on Saturday morning.

On Friday night, we attended my sister’s annual Christmas party, filled with mimosas, my brother-in-law’s awesome home brew, wine, and lots of socialization.  Late into the evening, we started playing the game “Cards Against Humanity”, a game that should only be played by non-judgy people. We laughed so much, our abs and cheeks were sore.  Hilarious.  It had been a while since I’ve had so much fun, so I didn’t mind staying up until probably 1:30 am!  I guess that wouldn’t have been a terrible thing had my alarm not been set for 6 am to prepare for the 5k.  Oy, I certainly cannot do that as easily as I used to!

One of the funniest games I've played. Cards Against Humanity.

Being goofy while playing one of the funniest games ever.  Cards Against Humanity.

After snoozing a few times, I dragged myself out of bed at 6:30 to eat a banana and some oatmeal, figure out what I was going to wear, and stretch. I picked up my sister at 7:30 and we headed to Wrightsville for packet pickup and a pre-race jog.  Many of my running group members were there and I was happy to do my warm-up with one of them.  It’s always nice to run with other people!

My plan for the race was to run as fast as I could, or at least get under 23 minutes.  Secretly, I wanted a PR, but I knew it would be tough to do. I wasn’t feeling the best due to the activities the night before, but I was feeling good enough and ready to run.  The horn blew and I took off.  My Garmin showed that I was going around 7:05 pace, which is exactly what I wanted. THEN, between mile 1 and 2, I felt my breakfast slowly creeping up where it shouldn’t go, so I slowed to what my watch read was a 7:30-ish pace.  Ok, I was good with that. It saves time to just slow down rather than stop and puke, right?  When we rounded the last corner around mile 2-2.5, I saw the building where the race finished and knew I needed to kick it a little bit.  As I got closer, I heard the coaches yelling “good job” and I felt like I finished strong.  My clocked time was 22:00.  Argh! ONE SECOND and I could have had a sub-22!  While I was thrilled to do that well, I often think what I could have done had I not slowed down (or stayed up waaaay too late).  Honestly, I was happy with my run, especially considering  how late I was up!!

A little side note here.  For 5k races, I depend on my watch for paces.  I’m unfamiliar with a 7 minute mile “feeling” since I normally run my tempo runs at 7:30 – 8 minute miles or somewhere near that.  This is the second time this watch hasn’t shown the correct race distance as I crossed the finish line, so now I realize that my pace was showing incorrectly as well.  Which is probably why I felt like my breakfast was going to come back up.  I’m ok with this for shorter races, but it really is a testament to knowing your pace and being able to run the pace you want and know it, rather than depending on a watch.

I’m about ten seconds off my PR, so I’m now determined that I’m going to pick out a 5k to run and take it down.  PR, here I come!!  So close two times in a row!!!

After the race.

After the race.

I was happy to find out that I won the female masters division, and finished 27th overall of 550+ runners.  They read someone else’s name when it was first announced, and come to find out, she was in her 30’s.  I was talking to my husband, who was buying Red Sox/Yankees tickets four our trip to Boston at the time, so I totally missed that they corrected and then re-announced my first place finish.  I headed to the podium (an actual podium!) and stood up there, hoping to not make a fool of myself because I really didn’t understand what was going on.  Dur!!  PAY ATTENTION NEXT TIME!!! I won a nice bell, plus an entry into another race.  I’m currently trying to figure out which 5k to run, the one that shall be mine (rubbing hands with a maniacal laugh).

My prize for winning the Female Masters division.

My prize for winning the Female Masters division.

I realized today that the Boston Marathon is now 18 weeks away.  It’s hard to believe it’s getting so close.  I have SO much work to do, but I know I have a good base to grow from.  I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!

Sadly, the 5k Saturday was my last race of 2013, and I look to 2014 with so much hope, excitement, and just, well, happiness.  I’m lucky in life and know that I can dream beyond anything I’ve ever imagined before. No Fear.

Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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