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The Moment

The moment someone ask what your training for and then the look of surprise when you tell them Chicago marathon.

Then the next question is usually, “Is this your first marathon?”

Then a further look of surprise when you tell them this will be your 5th.

I still haven’t decided weather I take their look of surprise as a compliment or an insult.   Either way, I do see it.   I really can’t hold it against them when as I’ve said before , I don’t have “the traditional runners body.”  What ever the Heck that is.

Then usually they ask how long it takes?

I’ve never really understood why non runners ask this question, because then it is usually followed with, “Is that a good time?”

My answer is usually, ” For me it is.”

Then the final question that grated on my nerves even before I made the concious decision to do walk/run approach, “Do you walk?”

I have found these questions are only asked by non runners.   A runner may ask your finish time or pace, but a runner has never asked if I walk.

Here is the Rub…….

Does it matter?

Is 26.2 miles in 5 hours, still not 26.2 miles?

And even though I’m wondering if I will sneak in this time right under the 6.5 hour cut-off, won’t I still be going 26.2 miles???

Some runners may push themselves to finish a marathon in a Boston Qualifying time.   While some runners may be pushing themselves just as hard and coming in just under the wire.    You don’t know what someone is dealing with.   You don’t know how hard someone is pushing.   We are each pushing ourselves just to get out the door and to the start line.

So this is my pet peeve today.    Please don’t assume just because my pace is slower than those at the front of the Pack  that I am working any less than them.

But as I  said before, most of this comes from people who think I’m crazy anyway:)

We are all just doing the best we can on any given day.

What more can we ask for?

Nothing.

So keep doing what your doing, because you are doing it for yourself and no one else anyway.

Oh, and I admit that I do like a little bling.

So I might also be doing it for the bling:)26.2_1

 

Leaving My Couch Behind

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I have to be honest as you know I always am, I really used to hate this expression.   I find it to be condescending.   Smug and even a little obnoxious.

Not everyone wants to get off the couch.   I’m not in competition with those that our sitting on their couch.   Now though I look at it not as a way of shaming those who for whatever reason are not getting out there.   I look at it as a way to say that I am willing to push myself past all the reasons that I could use to stay on the couch.

Recently (like today) though I’ve been thinking about it.   A lot.   It would be so much easier for me to give up.   No one would blame me.   Some might even think it is the smart thing to do.   I can stop at any time if I wanted.  Yet, for some reason I can’t.

It’s just not something that I am willing to do.

 No one is pushing me out the door.   Although I have awesome supportive friends, they would support me no matter what I decided to do.  No one is making me train.   No one is making me run or train for a marathon.   (If anyone would like to, that would be fine with me).

Today’s run I knew would not be a good one.   I knew it before I even walked out the door.   My body aches.   My foot is still hurting.   I had 14 on the books and from the get go decided that I would do 10 today and run tomorrow to kind of make up the difference.  (Yes, I know that’s not how training works; but sometimes you’ve got to adjust).

Out the door I went.

It wasn’t a horrible run, but it might have been up there with worst training runs.  I walked more than I should.   I stopped a few times to stretch.    I just was Blah.   All that being said, I ended up with an 11:40 pace.

Then I did something on my run today that I thought I would never do.    I called for someone at home to pick me up.   If I pushed, I knew I could finish.   I was only 2 miles from home.

Here is the rub.

I didn’t want to.   I just didn’t think with the way my body was feeling that it made any sense to do that.  I also knew that it would not be good for my mental training either.

You would think that I would be freaking out since Chicago is less than a month away.   I’m not.   I’m actually pretty calm about it.    Really this close to the race, pushing when I shouldn’t push will do more harm than good.

So I did the “ride of shame” home, but felt no shame.

I have no doubt that when I step up the Chicago Start line that I will also cross the Chicago finish line.

Remember I’m one stubborn and determined person.   Besides, I do like getting a medal put around my neck.

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It’s All Her Fault

 

 

We all have days in our lives that are pivital.    Many times we don’t recognize it at the time how important these days are to our journey.    Today is one of those days.

Today is my “Fitness Anniversary.”

Yeah, I totally made that slogan up, but I like it and it’s true.

Just a few short years ago today in 2013 was the day that I received my very first medal.

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This was supposed to be my one and done event.   My nod to that I  may have been getting older, but that didn’t mean that I couldn’t do something unimaginable in my youth.

This blog was started as a way for friends and family to track my training and journey to this event.

Who knew at the time that all the talk of the “One and done” was in haste?

This event was September 8, 2013; but it started much earlier than that.  It was literally almost a year in the making and I actually owe it all to my friend Rose (I totally blame you:).    This was the year that I decided that I was going to start an exercise program.   Once I started, my friend roped my into signing up for the Sandy Hook Iron Girl.   She had very good points – we would train together, it would keep us motivated,  we could train with the local YMCA Tri group, and it would be fun.

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I will be honest, I didn’t necessarily think it was all fun.   I may have complained about how much I hated running during the Couch to 5K program.    I may have thought that I would drown during the swim and I certainly didn’t like the way my butt felt  after riding the bike for so long.

Then something changed along the way.

Me.

Small changes at first which morphed into bigger changes.

Running became not something to dread, but something I looked forward to and actually went out of my way to do.

It became part me.

Now exactly a month from now on October 8th I will be standing at the starting line for the Chicago Marathon, my 5th marathon.   I have logged countless miles since the beginning, made countless friends, and learned much about myself.

I actually went and looked at my stats from MapMyRun today.   While not 100% accurate, this app I have used since I started running “seriously” in 2013.

Total miles:  2,855.85

Duration:  24.93 DAYS

Calories Burned: 341,174

I look at those totals and the first thing that comes to mind…….

Shouldn’t I be thinner?

Then I think….

Damn!

Even though this last year, my totals are not that impressive, that means nothing.   I didn’t start this journey to have the best totals.   I started it for me and I continue it for me.

And that is all you can ask of yourself….

Do what makes you happy:)

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Perspective

 

Sometimes in life we get stuck in a rut.   It is so easy to get caught up in the minutia of it all.   To look at things with eclipse glasses on where everything is darkened out.   We are waiting to see the eclipse only to realize that we are looking the wrong way.  Then you change directions and see the beauty before you.

You get perspective.

It is so easy to get caught up in thinking about where you were and what has changed that you forget that the journey isn’t over yet.

Nothing has changed, but there has been a shift in my thinking.

I need to stop looking backwards and start looking forwards again.

It’s a lesson that I learned a long time ago, but seemed to have forgotten.

Perspective.

Today I went out for 3 miles.   I had planned to do the walk/run for it but changed my mind.   Honestly the only reason that I changed my mind is because it was raining and I didn’t want to walk in the rain.   Anyway, I just focused on the run.   I let my body be in charge of it.   There was no thought of pace.   Just focusing on my breathing, how I felt, and enjoying running in the rain.

Here’s what happened…

I hit mile 1 without walking.   Then I hit mile 2.   Then I thought to myself, it’s been a long time since I actually ran a full 5K.

So I did….

I felt good.   I could tell that I was breathing heavier the last mile, but that is because it was raining a little harder.   Besides it was a good heavy breathing.    I felt good and am really happy with myslef.

NOW this doesn’t’ change my plan for Chicago because running a 5K does not make a marathon.

One day at a time

One run at a time.

Just running to run..

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What is your Why?

 

 

 

When I first started racing, it was exciting.   It was fun.   I couldn’t stop myself from signing up for things on a whim.    There was fire.    My first race ever was the Sprint Triathlon in September of 2013.   Since then according to Athlinks, I’ve run 42 races.    Considering I have only done 2 races this year, that comes to a lot of races in such a short period of time.  This year, I only have a few races on the calendar which I am enjoying.

When I first started running, I had something to prove to myself.   It was a challenge.   It was fun.   I had my running race buddies.   I couldn’t stop.   Then I did.  Now it was time to reevaluate and regroup.  I have different reasons for running now.   I am in a different place.   As said before, I know that the reason I want to run Chicago is just to run it to prove that I can.

I was talking to someone who deferred a big race.   She was coming back from an injury, but originally thought that she would push through to train.    She then realized that she was planning on pushing through her injury for a race that she no longer really felt like running.   The desire just wasn’t there.  We  get to a point where we have to start questioning why we are doing the things we are doing and what would happen if we didn’t do them.   She had nothing to prove to herself.   She also realized that her heart just wasn’t in it.   Once her decision was made, she felt relief.

Often subconsciously  we know what we need to do and even the reasons why, but for some reason we feel like we just need to keep doing the same thing.  We feel like we would be a quitter.   Like somehow we are a failure when the reality could not be further from the truth.   Sometimes stepping back and being true to ourselves is so much braver than soldiering through.   Unknowingly we fall into patterns of doing thing because we think that we should do them. We think we will disappoint others or just because we don’t want to have to think about why we are feeling that way.   Sometimes we can’t even explain it to ourselves.

I always say honestly is the best policy.   Those that know me personally know that they shouldn’t ask me a question if they do not want an upfront and honest answer.   Being honest with ourselves is just as important.   We put too much pressure on ourselves not just with our running but life in general   As with life, sometimes in our running we have to step back to evaluate our motives and desires as they can change over time without us even realizing it.  What was once a driving force may no longer ring true to us anymore.  And sometimes you have to  ask  the hard questions.  You know just what to ask too.  Only you have the answers, but you need to allow yourself time to find them.

My one piece of advice to you – No matter what  make sure that you are still having fun! I don’t mean that you should laugh your way through your training, but just make sure it doesn’t become a job.  Running is a great stress relief and we all have so much on our plates that running should be something that gets us away from it all and shouldn’t feel like something we have to do:)

One thing that I have noticed these last few months is that I am content not to be on such a tight race schedule.   Always training.   Always planning.   As much as I enjoyed the hard training that I put in and running the races,   I can honestly say that I am happy where I am in my training.  I am content to sit on the couch a little longer in the morning.  I am putting in the miles that I will need to be ready for Chicago, but I am not consumed by my training.   I am flexible.  The fire still burns but maybe right now it’s not as hot.   When and if the time comes, I can always turn up the flame.  I know part of it comes from knowing that I am not chasing a time, but running for me and what more can I ask for?

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Youth is wasted on the Young – not

They say that “Youth is wasted on the young” and that “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”   Now I’m not really sure who says these things but they are actually pretty right.

Seriously.

Think about it.

Think back (for me way back) to when you were a carefree kid.   When I was a kid I had extremely low confidence and body image.   Now when I look back on pictures from when I was a kid, I wonder what I was thinking of.   It took many years and really a lot of therapy to get to where I am today but I’m straying.

Youth is wasted on the young…..

I’ve been lucky enough recently to work on a elementary youth track program.   It’s a basic program as we do not have access to a track.   Plus the kids are only 9 and 10.   So really it’s about teaching them the fundamentals and encourage them to enjoy running.   I mean who doesn’t enjoy running?

At the same time I’m watching some of these kids discover that they actually enjoy running and can run fast, I read an article about “older runners.   It went onto say that after 50 it is harder to reach a PR (obviously), your body requires more recovery time, and apparently you just shrivel up.   So I may be stretching that last one a bit, but not much.    Apparently I’ve got 2 years to make the magic happen or call it a day.   Hmmm…

Now I’m not disputing these facts.   Running with 9 and 10 year olds that can whip out a 8 minute pace and then ask if that is good makes you scratch your head.   No pulled muscles.   No worries.   No recover.   Just run your mile and still have energy for a hearty game of tag.

They also don’t have the mental game.   The no overthinking.   No plotting.   No strategy.   Just run for the sake of running.

There is actually a lot of beauty in that.

Maybe we all need this simpler time.   This way when we are older and all the pressures of the world are right there, we can think back to a time when there was not thinking.

Just fun.

Just Run!

FREEDOM!!!

A funny thing happened after I switched my registration from the NJ Marathon to the NJ Half.    As I said before, I felt a sense of relief and a weight off my shoulder.   More impotantly, I felt such a sense of freedom.   I don’t mean freedom to sit on my bottom, I mean a sense of freedom to run.

Seriously.

It was like I was inspired to start running.   You would think it would have the opposite effect, but nope.   It made me want to get out the door again.   Last night I even went to Honey Stinger Website and ordered a bunch of yummy protein bars, gels, and gummys.  (Have I mentioned that I became a Honey Stinger Ambassador this year?)    I can’t wait for them to arrive and incorporate them into my training.

A friend of mine summed it up perfectly…

I thinking signing up for the marathon helped get you moving after you recovery, but doing the half will probably help your running more.

Exactly!

I really think that if I hadn’t initially registered for the marathon, I would not have been pushing myself to start running again after my surgery.   That being said, going from the NY Marathon to surgery.  Then recovery from thyroid surgery and then jumping back into marathon training really did not give me a break.   It was too much.   Now without the marathon looming over me weighing me down, I don’t feel the pressure to train.   I can run just to run which is just what I did today.

7 miles today.

It felt great.   Now I don’t mean great in the sense that it was easy.   It was not.   I was huffing and puffing more than Lady Gaga at the Superbowl last night.   It was great because I was out with friends.   It was a beautiful day for running and there was no “I have to do this run.”   It was, “I want to do this run.”

I will also like to add that this is the furthest I have run since my surgery.  Yeah, me:)

So the lesson of the day…

Do what makes you happy:)

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Pushing on

Starting is hard.   Starting over is just as hard.

Really.

Yes, the first time you try something it is hard.   But the beauty is that there are no expectations.   Your going to give it a shot and see what happens.   Your expectations are just to do the best you can and get the job done.   It is hard.  It is painful.   There are doubts.   The trick is just to keep pushing on.

The problem with coming back from an injury or a break is that you have expectations.   You know what your body is or was capable of doing.   You remember how something that is so difficult now was easy just a few months ago.   It is hard.   It is painful.   There are doubts.   The trick is just to keep pushing on.

It’s been a few weeks now.    It is amazing to me how quickly the body falls apart (ok not really, but it feels that way).   It is amazing how something that took years to develop can feel like it disappears in a matter of months.    I’ve been happy that I have been getting out and getting some runs in.I’ve been steady.   I’ve been lucky that I’ve got a great group of friends to get out the door with.  I will say that I that my goal for right now is just to slowly and steadily build up.   Yes, I know that technically I am in marathon training now, BUT….

My goal right now is just to start back strong.    To come back smart.   The longest run I’ve done yet this year is 5 miles and I’ve only had one of them.   I walk when I feel I need to, but even then I keep the watch going.   I want to keep track of my real progress.   You know what?   Considering I’m coming back from 2 months of no running or any activity, I think I’m doing ok.   As of now, I am not putting any pressure on for the NJ Marathon.   I am happy that I am registered, because that is helping to get me out the door.   Come April I will be ready.   I may not be ready for the elusive 4:30, but I will be able to get the job done.

Right now, my goal is to run 4 days a week with 2 cross training days and one full sit on my behind rest day.   I’m still working out the schedule, but that seems like a good enough plan for right now.   As the weeks go by and I regain some of my former aerobic level and don’t feel like I’m not going to die while I’m out for a run then it will be time to revisit and revise.   This seems like a reasonable goal and plan.   Each run sucks just a little less and I actually did do one 3 mile run at a brisk pace.   So I’ll take it.

I think the trick weather your just starting out, coming back, or just going through a rough patch is just to keep pushing through.   Really what choice do you have?    If you stop then what are you left with?   Regrets and we all know how much they suck.  So I guess that means I will just keep on pushing on.

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What is the longest break you had before coming back?

 

Fake it Till You Feel it?

My new expression really seems to be…..

I’m just not feeling it.

So true.

I know I need to get running again.   This week I actually did start.   I’m proud to say that I went out for 3 three mile runs.    They were not fast.   They were not pretty, but they were all in a different season.   The first one was on a nice day.   The second one it was a cold rain.   Then the last one was run on a cold day with snow covering the ground.   That should count for something.

I guess it does, but

I’m so not feeling it.

Last month I had signed up for a 10K trail race.   I was smart enough to know that I would not be ready for more than that.   I realized that really I wasn’t even ready for that.   I’m sure that I could have gone out and got it done.    I’ve done crazier things than that in the past.    Like last year at this same race I ran what I refer to as a surprise marathon.   I was feeling it.   I had the drive.

Today and most days right now….

I’m not feeling it.

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It’s more than my running too.   It’s just the way I feel right now about most things.    I’m not sure if it’s hormonal.   I’m not sure if it is the medicine’s that I’ve been taking.   I’m not sure if is the lower calcium levels that I’ve been fighting.   I’m just not sure.   I just know that I have not been myself.   I’ve been going through the motions like everyone else, but my heart has just not been in it like normal.    I’m normally a happy go lucky kind of person and I know this just isn’t me.   I’m working on it though.

I have always heard that recognizing there is a problem is the first step.   I recognize that I’m just not myself and will talk to my doctor about it.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue with the fake it till you feel it mentality.   Besides whether I like it or not, I really am officially entering marathon training.   I will go through the motions until I find the joy that I normally get not just from running but life in general.

This weekend I plan to look at marathon training plans.   I do not plan to follow one to the letter T, but I do want to figure out which one I will use as a general guideline.   This marathon will be interesting.   My first big race back running after surgery.    My first race that I will be in charge of my training.    I think I will like the flexibility of it even if I won’t be as prepared as in the past.   Who knows….. I may surprise myself.

What plan do you follow for marathon training?

 

 

Let The Games Begin

Next week at this time I will hopefully be putting the final touches on what I will need for the NYC Marathon.    Hopefully, I will even be getting ready to sit down to a nice carb loading dinner too.

I’ve finally decided to take my head out of the sand and actually it has been very good.   All this talk about not being excited and admitting the truth of how I’m feeling has been freeing.   Dare I say it, it is even getting my a little excited.

I’m an avoider by nature.   I like to bury my head in the sand and not deal with things.   It’s often my way of dealing with things.    Dealing with things is messy, complicated, and means you actually have to face things.    So by pretending the marathon wasn’t happening, I could just go about my business.

BUT

When I pulled back the curtain, I got wise words of advise and incite from friends.   One friend really knows me well and she may have put the final nail in the coffin why I was feeling the way I was feeling.    It was the real thing that I was avoiding which was NOT the marathon….

My surgery.   See the way, I spoke about my upcoming surgery (getting my thyroid removed) was it’s after the marathon.   So if the marathon happens, by default that means then so is my surgery.    Yes all the other reasons for my non marathon excitement are true, but this was true.    When she asked me about it, it really was like a door was opened.   I heard and knew the truth of her words.    I will have to deal with this, BUT FIRST THE MARATHON.

Then another thing happened, in talking with my coach and friends we started talking about my training and goals.  My one running mama pointed out that the if I want to see the sites of NY, we can take a short road trip to see this and that I can run this race.   I realized something.   I think I actually want to run this thing.   I mean not all out I’m going to die run this thing, but I want to run this and I want to run this well.

I’ve got a lot coming up, but it’s time to be a grown up and face them.    I realize that I want this (the marathon not surgery silly).    I want it bad.    I want to hobble from the finish line of the NYCM knowing that I ran a smart race.   That I ran it to the best of my ability.    That my training was not just to get to the start line, but get my ass to the finish line too.

I’ve got this now.

And thank you to all my real life in person friends who have given me encouragement, kick in the behind, and your wonderful incites.   You are amazing and I’m so lucky to have all of you.

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