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Just This Once

When I ran my first marathon,  I went with to it with the running Mama who was the little birdie in my ear telling me that I should register because after running the Runner’s World Hat Trick I was ready.   I was probably an easy sell, but without her nudging I would not have registered.  She had everything in place and needed a room mate, so it all worked out.

I was all set.

I admit that I was a little sad that my family was not coming to see me, but that was understandable and for another post.    During my training, both my mother and “baby” sister who lives across the country (literally) were my biggest cheerleaders.   They had both expressed how they wanted to be there, but I was really ok with it.    My mother is not one to travel by  herself especially to the city and my sister is on another coast.

The day of the race comes and off we go.    When this race took place, both the half marathon and marathon were not only the same day but started together.   I went into this with no expectations as I really jumped in last minute with only one ever 20 mile training run.   As I was heading into the mid point of the marathon, I could hear the finish line for the half.   The announcer was clearing stating how If you are running the marathon, please stay to the left.   All half marathoners, please go to the right for the finish line.  THE FINISH LINE.   This was disheartening to hear.   At this point, I was thinking that there would be no shame just to run the half and was planning to go right.

Until…

Then crap, I had to run a marathon.   My mantra became, “your sister did not fly across country for you not to finish.

So I did.

Towards the end of the marathon, my sister ran onto the course to give me one single rose to carry across the finish line.   I took it, looked at it, and gave it back to her  telling her it was too heavy.

Yes, I really did.   I think the rose was made of metal.  Ha!

Once the race was over, there were many hugs and before my family and I parted ways my sister informed me that she only did this because it was my first marathon.

One year later…

This time, I am running Marine Corps Marathon.    I am going to DC on my own.    That is until my sister informs me that my mother and her are hitching a ride with me.   She flies in and off we go for a road trip to DC.

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Once again, she joins me towards the end of the race.   This time she brings no rose.   I  am dealing with some stomach issues.   She hears me drop the F bomb a few times, curse the stupidity of running a marathon even going on about how stupid it is for people to want to watch, and then listens as I tell her never again.

I finish.

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Once again, we both say never again.   I won’t do another marathon and she can’t keep flying across the country.

Then NY.

My sister although a California girl  but a huge part of her heart is in NY City.    She watched the marathon a few times when she lived in the City.    How could she not come in now.    This time she can not stay for the end as she literally had to catch a plane, but does maneuver herself around the city to see me a few times.

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She is not there this time to hear me curse the never again, but we both have the same thought.   We can’t keep doing this.

Then Chicago…..

I am not going alone this time.   I am going with another Mama Runner.   It’s all set and it’s all good.   Then a text from my sister.   Her husband happens to have something in Chicago that week.   She is going to fly out and meet him and then stay for the marathon.

So it seems like no matter how often we both say never again, we keep meeting like this

and

It will be a wonderful thing.

 

 

Was It A Waste?

I’ve been talking about the marathon a lot.   I probably will continue to talk about it a lot.  In a recent conversation,  I was asked since I didn’t reach my goal if I thought having a Coach was a waste.   I’ve got to say emphatically NO.    I’m sure that we have all heard that expression, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”    The same is true with having a Coach.    A Coach will guide you, prepare you, and get you were you need to go but it is up to the runner to take the final step.

Here is why I think that not only was it not a waste that it got me to the finish line.

My Coach has prepared me.   She gave me the tools that I needed to not only get to the starting line, but haul my behind to the finish line. Did not always take the tools given, but they were there for me.  That is on me and not her.

Training was hard.   Training on some days was much more intense than I wanted.  Training was never a walk in the park, but that wasn’t what I wanted either.   You can only get out of something what you put into it.   I also know that due to my life, I did not do everything that I needed to do to be ready for a 4:30 marathon.    If I had followed the plan, I’m sure I would have gotten there.   Besides she is a Coach not a miracle worker!

Here is the thing, I and I don’t like the way this will sound because I don’t think of it as a failure.   I blew the 4:30.   She gave me everything I needed in training and even for the day of the marathon to get me there.   She was upfront and honest about the fact that 4:30 was pushing it for this race.   That being said, she gave me the paces, encouragement, and tools to use.   I just  let myself be carried away till I ran right into the wall.

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This is the wall.

This is the face of someone trying to pull her shit together and get it done.

This is the face of someone who knows that she needs to keep moving and not give up.

I think if I hadn’t been working with my coach, I would not have known how to push through this wall.   She gave me the tools that I needed to push through, keep moving, and squeak in under 5:00.      Yes, I am also a stubborn mule who doesn’t give up easily.   That is true.   That being said,  all of the training, hard runs, and insight gave me what I needed to dig deep and know what to do.

Preparation.

No it may not have been pretty, but I kept going.

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I walked when I needed to.

Yes, I kept smiling because I’m in the NYCM!

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I ran when I could

and most of all

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I crossed the finish line!!!

And life is meant to teach us lessons.   I have no regrets, but I did learn the lesson of listening to my Coach.

Just because something does not work out the way you wanted or expected, does not mean it is a failure.    Failure is never trying in the first place:)

Still NO Regrets

I said no regrets for NYCM and I have no regrets.   I didn’t get the 4:30 I was hoping for and squeaked in at 4:56:04.

NO REGRETS

It was an amazing day that started off at 5:45 AM  with a van ride with a bunch of amazing women to Staten Island.   Couldn’t ask for a more inspiring group of women to spend my time with.    Once the van dropped us off all we had to do is wait and wait and wait some more.    My wave didn’t start till 10:40, so it does make for a long day.

But an awesome day.

nycm4You’ve got to have fun while your waiting:)

Then off to the corrals and they really are named correctly.   We were herded in like cattle, but no one seemed to mind.  Luckily for me one of these Mama’s was in my same corral and wave!

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Then we were off!

As I said before, I was going to run this race with no regrets and I have none.   Did I get my 4:30.   NOPE.   You know what?   It doesn’t matter.   You’ve got to have goals as a fiend told me yesterday.   These were big goals as far as my spotty training goes.   I had a plan.   I had paces and you know what it all went out the window when I was running.

I am the cautionary tale.   A marathon is a whole different beast than any other road race.   Pace is key.  I know this and yet I seemed to not care yesterday once the race started.   That is why it is important to run a marathon different than lets say a half marathon.    Well, I didn’t:)   I went out the first two miles as much faster than expected and then it went out the window.

I let the crowds carry me.   I bought into the feeling you get at the beginning of a race of “I feel amazing”  and “this is awesome!”

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This is the face of someone who is feeling good.    But that feeling can only last for so long when you run the first half like you don’t still have 13 miles to go.    I ran the first half in 2:09 and change.    As expected, the second half was much slower.

I have never hit the dreaded wall before in a marathon, but I think that I can say that I hit it yesterday.   And right where they tell you that you will hit it – Mile 20 I ran a 14 minute pace.   My bad.   I must also say that ran might not be the right word.   I walked a decent amount the last few miles.  I really had nothing left to give.   My legs were like lead, my hands and lips had the tingles.   I was honestly afraid I would pass out.   What kept me moving forward was the thought that if I stopped that I wouldn’t start again and if  I passed out I wouldn’t finish.   Finishing was all that mattered!.   So onward I went.   I walked when I needed to and I ran when I could.

It was during this time that I realized even without making my goal, I had no regrets.   None!   I set out to finish and I did.   As I said to my friends, you can’t really say it’s a bad day when you can say you finished the New York City Marathon.  I am not just saying that either.   It was a great day and I am blessed beyond belief to be able to say that I did this amazing race.

Yes there is more to the story, but it is now time to soak in some bath salts:)

How was your weekend?

New York, New York

9 plus 1 – Check

Expo shopping done – Check

I realized this was the first time that I really spent any time at an expo.   It was well worth it.   The excitement of it.    You could just feel the energy.   Plus there were deals to be had!  I may have gone overboard, but I don’t think so.   Besides, I really am only planning to run 1 NYCM, so I need to make it worthwhile!

Bib Pick-up – Check

Photo Opportunities with friends – Check

Gear ready for morning – Check

I am ready as I will ever be.   I’ve trained.   I’ve prepared.   I’m ready

I’ve got a plan too.   You know I like a plan.   If said plan works out I will be rocking along to my 4:30.    What’s my plan you ask?

Well my coach thinks that due to the course that a pace specific plan will work best.   Yes, I wasn’t expecting that either, but I like it and it excites me.   Plus, I’m hoping that worrying about keeping on pace will keep my mind occupied.   We all know that running really is a mental game and I’m mental enough to take this challenge on.

Now tonight all I have left to do is take a nice relaxing soak in the tub and get my pace chart ready.

It’s go time!

Good luck to all running and there will be more to the story:):)

 

 

No Regrets

5 Days

Yup that’s it.

The taper crazies are not setting in as I’ve got too much going on and could use the time away from running.   That being said, it doesn’t mean that my mind is not going.

I’ve been looking at the course.   I’ve been thinking about my goals.   I’ve been thinking about how far I’ve come and it’s been far.

Very far.

I started this journey just a few short years ago.    I think it’s been 5 years now.   How the time goes.

IMG_2278This is me when I started going to the gym.   When I decided it was time.    When never having even done a 5K, I signed up for my first Sprint Triathlon.    It was during this training that I realized that running wasn’t so bad.    That is was actually something to be enjoyed not just endured.    That I would miss it on days that I didn’t run.  That it would bring people into my life that I adore.   It also taught me that I could accomplish things I could only imagine if I just worked hard enough.

Then I thought about my last marathon (can’t believe I use the word last and not only).    I ran Marine Corps Marathon in 4:38:14.    It was a solid race, but there were things I would have done differently.   There were regrets.

 365840_210208824_XLarge(As a side note, I am only 10 pounds lighter here than in the picture above but look at those solid legs.    Remember the number on the scale can lie)

Now back to the story….

The other day I went out for 6 miles.   I spent a good portion of that run having a pep talk with myself reminding myself how far I’ve come.    I reminded myself that I’ve come even further since MCM.    That I am stronger now.   That I have already proven that I can go the distance.   That this year alone I’ve already run more than  1050 miles and still going strong.  Last year I literally was going out at the end of December to hit 1000.    That I am better trained that I was for MCM.   That I’m stronger and faster.  That I need to run (not walk) away from the NYC Marathon with one thing…

NO REGRETS!

Yes, a little phycing out is a good thing.

I came up with my goal.   A realistic goal according to my coach too.

So what is my goal?

I want to run the NYCM in 4:30.

I’ve got a goal and now I’ve got a plan and don’t see a reason why I can’t reach it either.

No regrets.

As long as I give it all I’ve got.    As long as I don’t give up.   As long as I push to the end.

There will be

NO REGRETS

Calling Dr. Google

 

Even though I didn’t get out for my long run Saturday, I plan to do it Sunday morning.    Sometimes you have to change things up especially when life gets in the way.   I once again slept in this morning as honestly I’ve not been sleeping the best.   Problem was that I slept in too late to get a run in or I would be late for an important appointment.   I thought to myself, “no worries, I’ll just run when i get back from picnicking at my mother’s house.”

  Well when you don’t get home till almost 10:00 and you’ve got 12 miles on your schedule that run just isn’t happening.

Nope.

Now, it will have to happen in the morning.   Without a doubt.   I am getting and planning to stay back on track for my marathon training.   I’ve got reason to be committed (other than the obvious that I will be running the NYCM).   I now am 100% positive baring any injuries that I will be running.

What am I talking about you ask?

You did ask, right?

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So during this somewhat stinky summer, I had to get a biopsy done on 3 nodules on my thyroid.   I’m not a fan of needles in my neck, so I was more concerned with that than the actual biopsy.   I will say that according to my consultation with Dr. Google who my lawyer friend told me was not licensed to practice in this state; I had high expectations of being told that my thyroid would need to be removed.   The results came back fine for the bigger nodules, but they wanted to retest the smallest one as results were not conclusive.   Ok.   Another round of needles.   Yeah, me.

Waiting…..

Waiting….

Phone rings

“Hello this is So and So from Dr. So and So’s office.  Don’t worry the results don’t show C, but the Dr. would like for you to come in to go over your results.   She has an opening today.   Are you available?”

Yeah, that’s never a good thing.

Off I go to the Dr’s who says in a nutshell that the results are once again not able to determine if it is bad or good.   Blah, Blah, Blah more medical information.    Bottom line is we need to take your thyroid gland out.

Me, who expected this months ago but then pushed it aside after first round of tests is shocked.   My main concern because I’m a crazy runner, “Can I push it off till after NYCM?”

That’s totally rational.

“Sure no problem.   Call Surgeon So and So now though to set up appointment as he is in leadership position and it’s hard to get into see him.”

Following Dr So and So’s order, I call the next day and this hard to see Surgeon So and So can see me in two days for my consultation.

WHAT???

So this consultation was today.   I feel much better after meeting Surgeon So and So.   He gave me the clear ahead to wait till after the marathon, but not much longer after that.  I liked that he knew that my body would need to recover after running such a long distance and the fact that he said the surgeon who would assist him is also running NYCM.

So now this reignites the fire.   It removes the cloud that has been hanging over my training and it also adds a little motivation as he might ask how I finished in said race.   Would hate to not have a good finish time to tell him.

So while all is not perfect.   While I may be freaking out a little or a lot depending on the time of day, I’m better knowing what is going to happen.   There is a plan.   I’ve been told that I like a plan and it is true.

Time to get myself moving!

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Do you have a plan?

Come Back to Me……

After many months, I was FINALLY able to get a much need run in with a friend tonight.    The beauty of your running friends is they will tell you what you want to hear, sometimes things you don’t want to hear, and just listen while you ramble on too.   It’s a special thing:)

We were talking about my training and her training as she is also doing New York.    We both have similar goals except that I’m not really sure of my goals right now.   Things are kind of up in the air, but she made me laugh telling me not to be a “teenager and just do it.”    She further pointed out that my training has been getting back on track and that if I give it just a little more time so will my head.    Part of that has to do with once the kids get back in school and I can get back to my normal schedule.

Here’s hoping.

I said to her that it has really been a difficult summer and it is even ending on a not so fun note.   All of these things are have not totally sucked the life out of my training because I am finally able to get my workouts in.   Maybe not all of them, but I’m getting better.   I’m getting back doing what I need to do, it is just sucking my get up and go.

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I’ve said before that part of my problem is that last year when training for Marine Corps Marathon, I had committed goals.  They were concrete.    I don’t have that this time.    I am missing the drive that I had.   I am trying to find it.   I really am, but part of me keeps questioning in the end what does it matter.    I know it would be a source of pride to me to run a marathon in 4:30 or under, but other than that what will the point be?   I have PR’d in various events.    In looking at Athlinks today, I realized that there were a few events that I finished decently and one I even came in first in my age group.   Of course, there were only 4 women in that group but still.   I’m wondering……  What does it matter?

I not only love  to run, but being a runner is part of who I am now.    If I were to never run another race again (that’s not happening – don’t panic), I would still need running in my life.   I love running, but I’m growing weary of training.   Not physically, but mentally.

I know all this mumbo jumbo in my head is due to all that has happened this summer.    You can’t loose a loved one and not think about what is important in your life.  I wish that was all, but like the commercials says “but there’s more!”

I am committed to running the New York City Marathon.   I am committed to training for the New York City Marathon.     I am committed to finishing the New York City Marathon.   I just wish I knew how I wanted to finish it and what I want out of race day.

It feels good to say that.   It feels good to know that.

That is the one thing that has fallen into place today while other things were falling out of place.   I do know that I am committed to New York which will mean that I will be committed to training for it.   Like a child whose old toys is about to be thrown away, I did not realize how important this has become to me until the prospect of having to bow out became a possibility.

If there sounds like there is more to this story, there is but I’m not at a point to share it all.     In the scheme of things it’s not anything tragic or bad, it is just something that I have to deal with.   Like laundry, some things just need to be done.    When the time is right, I will let you know.

 

Can You Do It?

It’s hard not to compare yourself to others.   I wonder if it’s human nature.

Yesterday I completed my longest run since my 50K.    I ran 14 miles and to be honest, I didn’t run the whole thing.   During this time, the baddest BAMR that I know was completing her I believe third FULL Ironman.   She truly is amazing.

You know what?

Her amazing and mind boggling feats do not cancel out my hard fought 14 miles.

You know why?

It’s an apple and an orange.

Because I am in competition with no one but myself.   Yes, right now, I am not the best competitor, but still.

Some of us (and I admit sometimes me too, but only briefly) think….

I’ll never be as fast as….

I’ll never run as far as….

I’ll never be blah, blah, blah…

You know what?

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It’s all noise.   It’s all a distraction.   It means nothing.    It keeps us from our potential. For a long time I let what others could do that I couldn’t hold me back.  I haven’t in a long time.   I have the feeling that Meb and others at the top of their game don’t do this.   Not because they are better than the rest of us (which lets be honest, they are).   It is because they have confidence in themselves and their abilities.   Yes, it’s probably much easier to do if your Meb, but there can only be one Meb.

 For the average person, having confidence in oneself is hard.   It means putting yourself out there even just in our own mind.    Sometimes we talk ourselves out of something by saying we can’t do it.  On some level it is easier to doubt ourselves than to try and then fail.  Hence the reason I haven’t really committed to a diet:(

Here’s the thing though……

If you don’t put yourself out there, how will you know what you can do?

Now I’m not saying that we all need to run marathons, complete an ironman, or even run any races.   I’m saying that we need to be honest with ourselves, our goals, and what we really want.    If you never set any goals, how will you know when you’ve gotten to where you want to go?

I have a friend whose goal is simply to run 3 times a week.   Another friend wants to qualify for Boston.   Others streak every day for a mininimum of a mile.   Some have BIG goals and others are just starting out and want to be able to run a mile.    No matter what the goal, no matter how big or small you think they are, it important to have them.

I’m beginning to wonder if this is my problem with my NYCM training.   Yes my goal last year was to quality which I did, but now I really don’t have a goal.   I’ve already run 2 road marathons.   Last year I set a private goal for the Marine Corps Marathon of finishing in 4:30 which I missed by 8 minutes and 14 seconds (yes, the seconds count).   So maybe part of my problem is that in the back of my mind I’m wondering if I won’t be able to do it this time either.  A little self sabotage goes a long way.

There is a saying that I love about children.   It speaks about how children become what you tell them they can or can not be.   The same thing applies to adults though.   If your inner voice says you can’t do something, you won’t ever do it.

So it’s time I take my own advice and remember……

It’s better to have tried and failed than to never have tried in the first place.

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What are your goals?