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I’m Ready

I’ve been having a rough go of it lately. I’ve been stuck. Afraid to move forward.  Afraid of not being enough.  Afraid of things out of my control.  Afraid of failure, but who defines success and failure?

I’ve been stuck wandering in the fog for so long that I thought I would never see clearly again and even though I knew my vision was impaired I clung to it.   It is only after you come out of the fog that you can look at things with open eyes.   I’m ready now.   After one false start after another, I am truly ready now.   I can feel the difference.

I am looking at things clearer than I have in a while.   I do not have 20/20 yet, but really does anyone?    We all carry so much baggage that colors our world.   The trick is knowing what to hold onto and what to let go.   What really sucks is when you pack for summer only to find out that you are stuck in winter.    It is a work in progress, but I feel like I’m getting there in many aspects of my life.

As for my running….. I can finally say that I am coming to terms that things will be different.    Things will be harder.   My body will need more recovery time and be more sore than it had in the past.  I will wake up and my my body will ache.  Things will not feel the same.

BUT…..

Many things will remain the same.

I will still get peace of mind and clarity when running.

I will still feel the accomplishment of finishing a run.

I still will bond with friends while running.

I will still cross finish lines and most of all I will still run for me.

With this acceptance, I am finally able to let go of the ego that I spoke of.   I thought I was holding onto something, but really I was keeping myself from moving forward.   I am tired of standing still and am ready to move on from the past.    One of the reasons that I couldn’t commit to training was because somehow I felt less because I would pick a plan that the pre-hypopara me could have easily kept to, but the me of today can not.   Maybe there will be a day, but that day is not today.

I’ve been thinking of the NYC Half a lot.   NYRR always puts on great events, but these big events are spectacular.   The crowds.   The running on closed NYC streets.   It is an amazing feeling to run through Times Square like this race does.   As I said before, I want to enjoy it.   I want to be ready for it.    I want to embrace where I am today.   Not yesterday.   Not tomorrow.   Not next year.  Today.

So with this thought process, I picked a training plans for Training Peaks for a half marathon with a 2:30 finish time.   Now, I will be honest…. I am not sure that I can do a 2:30 finish.   It might be just a hair out of where I am, but it might not.   It is also much more realistic that 2:15.   Besides you will never know what you can do if you don’t push a little more than you think that you can do.  So I will push, but I will push wisely.

It is time to face this with open eyes, laced up shoes, and the knowledge that as long as I am doing the best that I can that there is no failure.   Failure is not trying.

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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:):)

 

 

If I could just Shut the Little Man Up!

This morning started off just right.   Actually woke up right before my alarm.   Had a good night sleep, although maybe not enough.    Got up and was ready for the Queens 10K Crew to pick me up.    Moving right as scheduled, then the brakes get put on.

Literally.

We could arrived to Citifield right before 7:30 giving us plenty of time to get to the start line at 8:30.   At least it should have been more than enough time!   We literally did not park the car till 8:30.

The frustrating part is that there was more than enough parking, but they just didn’t have the lots open.   It was annoying.   It was frustrating.   It was not the volunteers fault who were directing traffic.   Someone made a mistake or underestimated or something, because it was ridiculous!

Queens10k_16Why oh why when there is this much space did we have to wait an hour to get into the lot.   Crazy!

Then we had to do a 3/4 mile jog to the start line and literally jump into a corral and start the race.

Not the best way to start.

The corrals were crazy croweded probably due to people such as ourselves getting to the start line late.    Elbow to Elbow.   Bob and weave.   Stop and go.  Crazy start.

Then I settled into it or as much as I could settle in.   I was on pace.   I was on the money.   Then The little man in my head would not shut up as much as I told him to.   Physically, I think I may have had it in me today even with the heat.   Mentally, my mind just was not there.

Queens10k-16_2Look at these beautiful negative splits……. Backwards!

Mentally, my head wasn’t in the game.   As much as I wanted to pretend it was, it was not there.   It did not help that I did not plan my music accordingly causing thoughts to pop into my head that I had no business thinking about while trying to run a race.

Physically, there is no reason that I needed to walk during this race.   Mentally, I admit that I took a few walk breaks.   There was a point that I almost gave up and walked.  At the end, I did push it but it was too little too late.   It was just not my day.   You need these bad running days to appreciate the good ones.

In the whole scheme of things, it is just a race.   It is not a make or break thing that I didn’t PR today.   It would have been nice, but at the end of the day (to me) I know it really doesn’t matter.   There will be other days, other races, and other PR’s.

And you know what?   As much as I’m going on that the race wasn’t my race, I ran it faster than last year. I still ran it pretty decently even if I walked a time or two.   I still finished with a good place and overall my pace was good.     Was it the race I wanted?   No, but those are the breaks.

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I finished in 59:14.

So I was under an hour this year and still not a bad race.

Overall 5093 out of 9,982

Women 1594 out of 4,814

Age Place 110 out of 432

So I really think I need to shut up that it wasn’t a good race.   I know that I could have pushed myself and run better but I mentally didn’t care.

Every have one of those days and realize in the end it wasn’t so bad?

me too:)

We’re All A Little Crazy. Aren’t We?

I’ve got a race tomorrow.   A race that until very recently, I had forgotten that I signed up for.   A race that I signed up for in my sub 2 NYC Half haze.   I wanted to race it again and I didn’t want to chance the lottery, so I signed up for a few races.   Then I forgot about them.
These things will happen.   Now I am running a 10K in Queens.
I’m going to be bold
I’m going to be crazy
I’m going to push the envelope
And
With any luck that means I will run fast
Very fast for me
No I haven’t been doing speed workouts, but I’m still going to go for it
Last year I ran the Queens 10k in 1:00:47
My 10k PR is 57:08
So I thought why not go for 55
Crazy, I know!
I’m not ready
I’ve been running slow
I’m in a rut
But
Still..
Maybe this is what I need.    I really think it is.
Why Not?
I may crash and burn
But
Maybe
Just maybe
With a little luck and some unicorn magic
I won’t
I’ll never know unless I try.
Now I’ve put it out there and you know too.
If I crash and burn, at least I will have tried.
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The Good, The Bad, and the Awesome!

I’ve run in NY many times.  Maybe not compared to some people, but a lot for me.    I’ve run enough last year to qualify for the NYC Marathon.  That being said nothing prepared me for the feeling of running the NYC Half Marathon.    It was amazing on so many levels.   I loved it so much that I’ve already signed up for two more Boro races to qualify to run it next year.   I don’t want to chance the lottery and I would love to do this run again.

Why?

It was AWESOME!

Yes, it really was.

Now there are some thing logistically that weren’t so awesome, but you’ve got to take the good with the bad.  For example:

Early wake up call

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Yup.   Early.   I needed to leave my house by 5:00.   I require time to wake up, have some coffee, eat a small breakfast, and not feel rushed.

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Then there is the fact that the start and finish line are at totally opposite locations which makes for a great race, but not so exciting when the race is over.    We decided to park at the start line and had to take the subway and then walk a bit to our car after the race.   Not really bad except it was cold and we were not really dressed for it.  On a positive note, it did give us a chance to cool down with the walk.   Plus we parked literally around the corner from Magnolia’s Bakery.   Finally though, if you’ve got a fun group to take the walk and subway with it really doesn’t matter anyway.

Magnolia Bakery

Need I say more.   Oh my.   So good!

Security.    I get it.   I really do.   There was only one entrance to the park for runners.   We had to go through metal detectors and have our stuff screened.   I get it.   I really do.   I applaud all NYRR and Police Department does to keep the runners safe.  That being said, I really think if there was someone out to do something bad, they would not pose as a runner.   I really don’t.  I was having panic attack as once we finally made it through security we had to make our way through the park to our corrals.   I honestly for the first time at any race thought I would miss the start of my corral.

That’s it for my complaints.   Got nothing.

And these things I wouldn’t even say too bad in the whole scheme of things.

Now the good parts that makes it so awesome.

When you do a big race like this there is a level of excitement that you really can’t get anywhere else.   You’ve got the news coverage.    You’ve got the huge crowds with over 20,000 runners.   Then you have the spectators and volunteers.

But what made it so special?

The course.

Really.

Honestly.

Can’t wait to do it again.

Seriously

The race starts in Central Park where you run the first few miles.  Then the magic happens because you leave the park shortly after mile 6.   You running down 7th Avenue towards Times Square.   As if that isn’t enough, you then run down 42nd Street until the West Side Highway coming out near the Intrepid.   Then you run through Lower Manhattan and cross the finish line.

You don’t have to be familiar with the city to know how awesome it would be to run through the streets.    That being said, as someone who has been to the city, driven in the traffic, and knows the congestion of all the vehicles; it’s nothing short of awesome.    I was having so much fun running these streets that I literally had to slow myself down.   The crowds in Time Square are incredible.   When I was running by, they were starting the kids 1 mile race in Time Square which just adds to the excitement of it.

I even took my phone out and took several pictures while staying on pace if I do say so myself.

 

Then if that isn’t enough, there is the finish!

The medal and the sense of accomplishment that finishing brings.

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And I would like to add one more thing.   The post race snack bag.   Some races you finish and you get an apple and a water.   Not here.   Every finisher gets their own personal bag with a big water, a Gatorade, and apple, some pretzels in a reusable clear drawstring bag.  No picture because I was too busy consuming.

What is your favorite race?

 

 

Trust In The Training!

Trust is a funny thing.    Trust is something that needs to be earned and is sometimes hard to do.    I had to go out on the ledge and trust my coach, my training, and myself.   These are not necessarily easy things to do.   I trust my coach but trusting in ones self can be harder.  Sometimes the doubt creeps in, but I shut the door on it in New York City.

I had a great race.   I had phenomenal race.   The stars were aligned.  The sun was shining and it all came together.    I pushed the doubt and the fears to the side.   I took a leap of faith and went with it.     I started the race with the knowledge that I could do this.    I had a plan.   A plan that my coach helped me develop.   All I needed was to stick to the program and trust in my training.  I went out as planned, but almost got sidetracked early on by the 2:00 hour pace group.   They blew past me around mile 2.    At first I think that I tried to stay with them, but I stopped myself.   They were not following my plan.   They were running a different race.   I knew what I needed to do and they were not doing it.   They were going out too fast for me.   I let them go.   It was hard at first, but I had my mantra that I kept repeating to myself.   It was not a planned mantra, but it was fitting.

TRUST IN YOUR TRAINING!

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It was that simple.   I needed to trust in the hours that I’ve logged.   The miles that I’ve ran at pace.    The fact that I had done the work to set me up to do what I needed to do.   What I needed to do was not what everyone else needed to do.   So I let them go.   I trusted in my training and my ability to get it done.

I was in the zone.

A friend that I went to the half with came up to me a few miles in.    I actually said to her, “Karyn, just so you know I’m not being a Bitch.   I’m just in the zone.”    I needed to run this race by myself.   Some things are like that.   You need to do them by yourself.   This was that race for me.   I needed to focus on my pace, my calculations, and moving forward.  She understood.   (Love you, lady).

As I ran, I knew where I needed to be.   I had a pace band in my pocket that I didn’t use during the race; but had done some calculations ahead of time.   I kind of knew where I needed to be when.   I added up the time I needed to hit as the miles rose.   I was hitting my targets.  There were times that I had to reign myself in as he race was so exciting.   I was trusting in the training and not trying to bank time.

My plan was to run consistently till around mile 10 where I would pick it up a little more.  At that point my mantra became NO REGRETS.   By this I meant that no matter what, I would not have regrets because I was doing all I could.   I also meant that I would not give myself an out.   That I would continue to push it and fight for the sub 2 because the only way I would have regrets is if I backed down.   So NO REGRETS.    By mile 12, I was pushing it pretty hard but trying to make sure as to not burn up.  I knew I would be close.   I knew that I was going to need to give it all I had at the end.   So I saved a little fuel in the tank and when I hit the 20K mat, I pushed it even harder.

NO REGRETS.

You can’t have regrets if you’ve done everything that you’ve needed to do.   If you’ve given all you have.    I dug as deep as I could go and I did it!

1:58:59

A minute to spare:)

I honestly can say that if somehow I didn’t make my goal, I would have been happy with this race.  Honestly, I am not saying that because I reached my sub 2  goal.   I was telling myself that that last 3 miles.

That being said, I am over the moon with reaching it.

This was an amazing adventure.   There is more to tell, but this is enough for now.

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The Unraced Race….

I was planning to run a race recently.   I was registered for it at least.   A race that I ran last year and really enjoyed.    I signed up and was planning to go.   I wanted to do this one even more after reading a little more about the person the race was in honor of in the Marathon Woman book.   He seemed like such an interesting person that I thought it would be great to run in now that I actually knew who he was.   What was that race?    The Fred Lebow NYRR Half Marathon.   This was also the first year that they were giving out medals.   Exciting stuff.

Then the East Coast got hit with a little storm you might have heard about.    A little blizzard named Jonas.    Now NYRR does not cancel any of their events easily.    Bibs were picked up.   Weather was checked.    They were waiting to see if they could still host the event and maybe change it from a scored event to a non scored which has happened before.    They very wisely decided Saturday evening to actually cancel the event.

Boo Hoo.

Since they already had the medals, anyone registered was able to pick theirs up.   One of my fellow MRTT Mama’s picked up our medals.   At first I thought that since I didn’t actually race the event since there was no event that I would give my medal to my youngest son who often drools over Mommy’s medals.    Then I saw the medal and gave it a second thought.   I did run this event last year and didn’t get a medal after all.

Fred

Now a lot of people get hung on “well I didn’t run the race, why would I want the medal.”    I’m sure not everyone picked theirs up.   We all have our superstitions…..   Some will run a half on their own in order to justify keeping it.  I didn’t feel that way.   I wasn’t planning to race it, so much as just finish it.  I was going to use it as a training run.  The truth be told, race day is just a part of an event.   There is all the training and preparation to even get to the start line.   I think in a situation like this where the event is canceled is very different from someone who does not show up at an event when run.    Part of me also realizes that I might feel different if I hadn’t run this event in the past.

Every sport has it’s superstitions and traditions.   Each runner has their own.   There are some who won’t wear a race shirt to the actual race and will only wear it once finished.    I wore the hat for a run 2 days before the scheduled event.   It’s nice and toasty.  I think I may have worn a race shirt on race day before.   Truth be told the I usually don’t because I am a creature of habit.   I may change the accessories, but my race outfit is usually very similar.    My race pictures will attest to this.   In some pictures, if it wasn’t for the bib it would look like the same day:)

Now this being said, I will admit that I would not by a  MCM Finisher t-shirt until I actually finished the event.    I thought I might bring bad luck if I bought it the day before at the expo.   I would say based on the line for them after the race, I was not alone in my thought process either.    Obviously not everyone felt this way though because I’m sure they sold a lot at the expo.

Truth be told there is no right thing or wrong thing to do.    I would never tell someone they had to do it my way and I certainly would not want someone to tell me I had to do it their way.    Each person has to make the decisions that are best for them.   That works for them.    Anyone who says otherwise probably isn’t reading this blog anyway:))

What are your race superstitions?   

Dreaming the Possible Dream

If you recall last year I was chasing that little thing called the 9 plus 1.   For those who don’t know what that is (even though I know you all do), it is a way to qualify for the New York City Marathon the following year.  I am lucky enough to live close enough to NYC to have made this a viable way for me to get in.   It is not “hard” to do, but it is a commitment of both time and effort.   Thanks to my running friends, I was able to do it!

Now the thing with doing the 9 plus 1 is that even after you complete it, you still must register for the marathon or all that hard work is for naught.   Registration for the 2016 opened today at 12:00.   I believe that I completed my registration by 12:15.   It’s a strange exciting feeling to know that I will be running the New York City Marathon this year.

It’s funny I never imagined that I would ever run a marathon.   Then when I started to think about it and get caught up in the excitement of my fellow Mama runners, I thought well maybe I will one day run the NYCM and check marathon off my bucket list.   Yet, now I’ve done 3 marathons to date and New York will be my 4th.  That being said, I’m looking forward to being able to say that I’ve done New York.   Come on it’s like the expression says, “If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere!”

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I know that NY will be different than the others.   I know NY will hold a special place in my heart as my love for running and some amazing friendships have been developed chasing the dream.   The good thing about dreams though is that reality is always so much more than you imagined.

I am also so excited that I am now one step closer to NYCM as could be shown by how quickly I registered today.

I once thought that NY would be it for me.   That I would hang up my running shoes next to my medal and put the crazy business of running behind me.   Then I realized something…..  There is no putting this behind me.   There is no going back.  I’m an addict.      It apparently is now in the blood.   I will continue to run.    I will continue chase other dreams.   Dreams that have not even been dreamed yet.

What do you dream of?

 

Living the Dream!

As you read yesterday, I ran the Staten Island Half this past weekend.   What I didn’t mention in this post though is that I did it!   Now I don’t mean I did the Half because you know that already.    I mean that I completed my 9+1 plan!!!!!

9+1

Words truly do not express how I feel about this.    It is like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders as this has been months in the making having started this journey in January with Fred Lebow Half and ending with the Staten Island Half.   The cherry on top is that not only did I qualify for running THE NEW YORK CITY MARATHON in 2016, but also the NEW YORK CITY HALF!!

Now, I know that I could not have completed this task alone.  I would not have been able to do it.   As the saying goes, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”   In this case, I got by with a lot of help from my friends.   First of all this is the amazing group of women who inspired me to push myself not only in my running but to push myself to dream of doing things I would have never thought possible for me.   These are the women who showed me that with hard work and dedication I can do anything I set my mind to.   These are the women who took a newbie under their wings when I didn’t even know anything about needing actual pace for a race.   Remember my story of my first half?    I have to admit that although there is still so much that I don’t know, I am no longer a newbie.   They helped me in ways they don’t even know by never making me feel less because I am slower than them or didn’t know what I was doing.   They shared themselves and their knowledge so willingly with me.  These are also the women who without making it so fun to run, I would have stopped.   Yes, I now love to run.   Yes, I now need to run, but that all started with this group of women who got me to this point.    There is also the logistics factor because with them I was able to make it to these races.   Yes, I probably could have done it without them, but I’m not really sure that I would have wanted to or it would have been so easy to do.   These are also the women that I have so much respect, admiration, and love for.

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As we all know, I did not grow up dreaming of one day running the New York City Marathon.   I was someone who grew up hoping not to be picked last in gym class, but that is the beauty of growing up.   You realize that all that doesn’t matter because you no longer need to wait to be picked for anything life has to offer.  You create your own future, dreams and if you work hard enough anything is possible.   I may have come late to the party of wanting to run the NYCM, but I have now made that dream a possibility.   It is in my reach and I just need to wait because it will happen.   Although, I’m really not one to sit around and wait for things to happen anymore.   So in the meantime, I’ll be out chasing other dreams.

What are your dreams?