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What to Wear? What to Wear?

As a runner, we tend to become obsessive as race day approaches.

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Checking the weather

Deciding on race attire

Checking the weather again

Changing what we plan to wear again.

It’s one of the reasons I like to make my flat runner the night before a race too because then I can see how it all comes together and make any final changes.  I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that thought too.

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As an added bonus it makes a nice picture

 

For many races, you just never know what the weather will bring and you just never know if you’ve dressed appropriately until race day.   The NY Half was no different.   When I signed up, I imagined a traditional Spring race where the weather might be a little brisk in the early morning, but very comfy when the race was finished.   This year was a little different.

It may be mid March on the calendar, but someone forgot to tell mother Nature as she is holding to winter.   That being said, part of deciding what to wear is knowing your body and how you need to dress.   Every runner is different.   I have 2 friends that I run with when I can.   Between the three of us, we are dressed for three separate seasons.   One is always dressed for the coldest possible temperature.    One is dressed what is probably considered appropriate for the temps.   Then there is me…. Usually dressed in shorts with long socks unless it’s mid winter.   That’s because I know how I run.

I run HOT.

You could say that I’m one hot Mama.

You could say it, but it just doesn’t sound right,

but it is.

Here is the thing though even though I know this about myself, I was doubting what to wear to the race. I kept thinking that I should wear long sleeved shirt instead of arm sleeves and maybe I should wear Capri’s instead of shorts.  The problem is that I run in knee length compression socks, so Capri’s turn into full length pants.   Now the reason I was doubting myself is because I was listening to what everyone else was planning to wear, but they were dressing for their race not mine.

Race night came and I had a final consult with Dawn on my wardrobe.   She reminded me of my vest and I added that into the mix which I’m glad that I did.

I was prepared for the early morning pre race chill.   I had throwaway sweatpants and robe which I wore to the start.   Once I removed them in the corral,  I’ll be honest I was cold, but quickly warmed up once the race started.   Even removing my throw away shirt by mile 2  which I ended up just tying around my waste.

In looking at my race photos, you can see that not many people chose the same way as me.   Not sure why because I was comfy while racing.   I kept moving my arm sleeves up and down.   Gloves off and on.    I honestly believe that if I had added layers or longer pants my run would not have been so good.  I was just right (for me).

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I dressed not to impress but to keep from overheating.   Believe it or not even dressed like this, I was sweating.    I will admit that the back of my upper arms were feeling the chill from the wind burning some with cold.    I think if I were to run another cold day like this, I might choose different arm warmers.

One thing that I would do differently though is check a bag.   I didn’t really think it through and didn’t realize bag check was right there when you came out.   After the race I was meeting up with everyone at a Starbucks.  We did have a car that was parked in the city the previous day to drive home in that I put extra warm clothes in for after the race.    The only problem with that bag is I exited the Park at 61rst street I believe and I needed to go to 81rst street.    Walking that far after a Half isn’t bad.   Walking that far while your dressed for summer with only a heat sheet isn’t good.   Thank God when someone was getting ready to throw away their head sheet, I asked them if I could have it.    I used that as a skirt.   I’m thinking without that second heat sheet, I would have been in trouble as I was shivering some.

All was good though when I entered the warm of Starbucks and got a hot latte to warm me up.   Plus by that point, I knew that my bag was not far away.   The driver of the van was nice enough to bring the bags to Starbucks, so from that point on all was good.

In the past, I have dressed for the weather at the start.   I found it is so much better to be cold at the start and even finish, but be comfy on my run.

Today was that day:)

Do you run hot or cold?

 

 

 

Today Was The Day

Today was the day.

Was it everything I expected?

No.

It was more!!!

As always, I will have a lot to say.   So this might take a few days.   Today we will talk the basics.     As I mentioned we were leaving at the crack of the crack of Dawn at 5:00 AM.   This meant getting up at 4:00 as you must have time for a cup of coffee, to get ready, and lets be honest time for coffee to work it’s magic.  (Yes, that is important to us runners).

I was lucky enough to be part of my running groups Clown Car again.   There were, I believe, 14 of us.   It’s nice when you get a group like this because then it is not expensive at all.   Plus the driver will take a group picture.

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As my friend asked is this a group of homeless people or just people trying to stay warm in the cold before a race?

The van dropped us off close to the start where we were able to make a pit stop at a fast food restaurant.   Once we got to the start everyone went their own separate ways as we were starting in different corrals and waves.   Luckily, Mary, was in my corral again.   We were lucky enough to start the NYC Marathon in 2016 and it was nice to have her to chat with pre-race.    Once the race started though, I was on my own.   I kind of like that (usually) in a race.

Going in I had decided on a very conservative pace to start with.   I was bouncing between 11 and 11:15.   I think I picked that because I knew that I would go out too fast and if I picked a slower pace than even out to fast wouldn’t be too fast.    My paces reflect up and down which is fine for the way I intended to run the race.   I walked when I needed to but I still would not say that I took it easy.   I also pushed.   I ran a hard race.   I worked hard and I finished with my realistic A time goal.

Official time was 2:31:29

It was a good day.   My Garmin showed more than the 13.1 but that might be do to too much bobbing and weaving.   My paces were up and down with the course and my plan.

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This worked for me.   It might not be what a coach would recommenced, but for this day this was perfect.   In looking at the faster paces at mile 8 & 9 that might explain my feet starting to hurt at that point.

My mantra was “This is your race.   You need to run it your way.”

And I did.

The best part was I enjoyed myself.   I helped someone bob and weave to cross the street.   I took pictures along the way.   I just enjoyed the experience and before I knew it, I was pulling into Central Park.   I will admit the hills of the Park were not that enjoyable, but crossing the finish line in the Park was awesome!

More tomorrow, because to be honest I’m really tired.

What did you do today?

And Now It’s Over

Don’t worry that doesn’t mean it’s bad.  Really.

Seriously

First, I have to say that I was right in picking up my race goodies.    The shirt is nice although it’s green this year which threw me off.   They have been blue the last couple of years.   No socks or hat which is sad because I saw the hat they give for the Hat Trick and it was really cute.   It was a nice snow cap.  Those signed up for the Grand Slam do not get all those goodies which is a little odd.   That being said though,  Grand Slam entries got a really nice backpack.   One that I can actually see using.

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Yesterday’s trail race was just what I said to my friend it would be.   A hike in the woods with a little running in between.   I ran yesterday trail run of less than 4 miles in just under an hour with an average pace of 15:37.   It was a pretty trail.   They are correct  their description of it too.  “The course includes plenty of rocks and short, steep climbs to challenge the most experienced trail runners, but even novices will find the terrain runnable.”  I would want to run this trail again.

I went into this as I said not be be a complete idiot and just to get my goodies.   I had thought that I might go out today for the 5K and 10K.   I even  set out my clothes out and set the alarm.    When I woke up, I felt good as I stretched in bed.   Once I got out of bed,  I felt that heal discomfort that Plantar Faciattis brings in the morning.   Nothing unrunnable.   Nothing I haven’t run through before.

So why am I sitting here writing this and not cruising down the highway then?

Because as I said yesterday, I wasn’t planning to be an idiot just a partial one.    I don’t really even think that I was an idiot for yesterday though.    And as I’ve also said in previous posts, I also need to be tough enough to do what I know needs to be done for long term recovery.    Yes, I’m sad that I will be missing out on today’s races, bling, and fun.   That being said I need to thing long term. I’m not a day trader and I’ve got nothing to prove.   I also know especially with shorter races(at least for me), you can’t help but push yourself faster than you should.  I’ve got to think of what is good long term as I’ve got some friends in town waiting to run with me.   That’s more important than a shiny medal and I’ve already got a few of them.

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Besides there is always next year!

Plus I must admit that it will be nice to actually have a weekend at home after being away these last two weekends with Chicago Marathon and then College tours.   It might be nice to see my family.

 

 

Done is Done

 

5:48:52

Done is Done!

Some people might be upset with an almost 6 hour marathon.

I wholeheartedly admit there might be a time that I might have been one of those people.   I am not today.   I will be 100% honest with you…..

I am happy

I worked my ass off.

I didn’t stop.

Ever.

I never thought I wouldn’t get to the finish line.   I also knew that I had such a wonderful support team.

I went into this marathon with no real plan other than to finish.  No paces.   I knew that I would be doing walk/run.   I had thought I might start with a pace group, but did not.   I just ran.   Maybe this isn’t the smartest way to do it (ok it’s not), but this is what I was going with.

Once again I went out too fast.  I  REALLY, REALLY, REALLY tried not to.   My first few miles  went like this…

8:54, 10:02, 8:24, 8:36

I knew this was not a good way to start.   I knew that this was way fast.  Even at my best, this is not the way to start a marathon.   I wasn’t following the plan.   I wasn’t walking.   I had not even turned on my timer at this point.   I heard my friend’s voice in my head telling “SLOW DOWN!   STICK TO THE PLAN.”

I even texted her that I heard her in my head and that I was trying to be better.   Her texts of support continued during the day and I knew I wasn’t in alone.

At this point, I turned on my timer and made a conscious effort to slow down and stick to the plan.  During a race even if you are not planning to race it is so hard to do.   You are so caught up in the excitement of the day.   I was in it for the long haul, so I did what I could.   I will say that I did not pay attention to my pace.   I was watching   my heart rate as I did on training.

I saw my sister and brother-in-law twice on the course.   The first time around mile 5 which was wonderful, but the second time was key.    They were waiting for me at mile 21  I knew that I had to make it there before they needed to leave for the airport.    I had been slowing down at this point, but I was determined to make it to them.  At this point they were my destination, not the finish line.

I made it to 21.

Hugs

Goodbyes

Unbelievable support

Spectacular.

Then it turned to counting down the miles.

It was hot but I’ve run in hotter weather.   It was humid but I’ve run in more humid weather.   That being said,  I don’t do heat well.   I ran through every hose offered.   Took ever sponge filled with water handed out.   Put the ice in my bra when offered.   And on occasion dumped water on my head at water stations.   The heat was sapping my strength, but not my will to finish.

I kept pushing forward.   I ran when I could.  Finally, I reached a point where I could no longer run.   My legs were dead.  My foot was hurting.   Even with this I did not stop.   Moving forward.   Slow but steady.

I admit that by mile 25, I did start to get emotional.   There were tears.  Partly because of the discomfort and partly because as much as I wanted to run, I just couldn’t bring myself to run.    By this point, my emotions were just raw.   The ups and the downs of the marathon are real.

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The tears dried.

The moment passed.  My head was clear and I was focused.   Never stopping.  Never quitting.   Moving forward.

I proudly walked across the finish line.

This marathon was always about proving that I could do it and

I DID!

This was the slowest marathon that I have ever run, but one that I know that I worked the hardest for.   Someone asked me if I was happy with my time.   Hell Yeah I am.    Any day that you can finish a marathon is a good day.   I am proud that I was able to push through and get the job done.

Done is Done!

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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.

 

 

The Ungettable Get

Sometime we want things in life that we just can’t have.   Sometimes we want things in life that will never be.     Sometimes we are so busy looking backwards that we stop moving foward.

Sometimes…..

It is so easy to get bogged down in the would have, should haves, and could haves in life.

If only…..

Sometimes it is easier to stay in the mud because the thought of moving forward is scary.   I’ve said before that change while not always good is always inevitable.    Just because you know something is true doesn’t mean that you don’t stomp your feet, cross your arms, and scowl at the new normal.

Last week I ran a local 5K right here in my town.   I ran it last year and it was a fun race made even better by so many local faces both in the crowd and in the pack.   Plus it is a charity race with the proceeds going to good causes.   Last year I ran this race just to run it and run fast.    I pushed myself to a 26.26 finish.

This year, I knew I was not anywhere in shape to run like that but I still wanted to push myself.   I wanted one fast mile.    It was a hot night like last year, but I still went out with all I had.    I pushed my first mile to a 9:16 pace, but that was it I was out of gas after that.   In my mind, I knew it would be true, but in my heart I needed to see.    Mile two was an 11:44 pace and mile three I was able to pull in an 11:16 pace (thanks Jen!).    Finish time 33:49.

Here’s the thing.     I know my finish time wasn’t bad.  I know that I’m lucky to be running.    I know that I’ve got to build up again.    All that being said…..

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At the beginning of the race, I told my one friend that I was going to go out fast but that she would be passing me on the course.   She might of thought I was joking but I was dead serious and dead on.   She passed me around mile 2 by which point I was doing walk/run.   I ran with her and one of her friends.    I may have complained a bit.    One thing that I said that was so true is that “I’m not where I was, but I’m where I should be.”   I hate that it’s true, but I know it is.

Will I get to where I once was in my running?

Who knows.   Maybe

Does it matter if I’m never as fast of a middle of the Packer as I was before?

Not to anyone else and I need to let go of expectations.

Is it time to readjust my running goals?

You bet.

Who knows what will happen?

Not me.

  Maybe it is time to give my body  to adjust to this new normal.   Maybe it’s time to get back into running shape.   Maybe it’s past time to let go of expectations.

With that, I’m once again re-evaluating.   The wheels are turning.    I’ve been training for Chicago.   I’ve been getting runs in (for the most part).   I’ve also been walking as needed.    I’ve actually been toying with a run/walk marathon training.    You know what?   My average running time for my runs has been good.

Work  in progress.

As always…. Pushing forward.   Not giving up and doing what I need to do.

One day at a time.

One run at a time.

 

 

 

It’s Nice to Say Hello

Race Recap – Part 2

Now some may say that I have a certain style or flair when I run.   Me, I just say that I like to have fun.    For the most part I do usually wear pink, but sometimes I do like to take it up a notch.   NJ Half was going to be one of those events.  Another Mama and I conspired to bring tutus and skirts for everyone:):)

There may have been some initial grumbling (ahem), but everyone went with the program.   I love it when a plan comes together.

Then off we went….

During the course of the race our group separated slightly.    I was still running with one of my friends, when someone came up from behind and asked, “Are you accidentally Running Mama?”

I have to say that I was surprised to say the least.    But then I recognized her from her online profile too!    We were able to chat a few miles and actually meet the “real” person behind the curtain.  There is something to be said about meeting someone in person that you follow online.   It’s funny because in a small way you feel like you already know them.   I would love to meet her for another run as it does seem like we have run a few of the same races.   She mentioned that she saw me in the Bronx but we didn’t’ get to connect.  I’m glad we did this day.  I will say that for a brief moment when we spit a VERY, VERY, VERY small part of me was sad that I wasn’t running the marathon.   That is right up until I realized how close to the finish line I was.

There are a few people that I know online that I’ve met up with at various events and it is always fun.    It’s funny too because it wasn’t till almost a mile in that I was like, “I think it’s time for real introductions.”   And of course, we both wanted a picture together.

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Later she shared this picture on her instagram account and wrote something very nice and made me want to run with her even more.

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That is the awesome thing about running and runners.   I’ve actually met people at races and chat the entire race with them.   Some I never see again.   Some become Facebook friends and I still never see again.  Then some become real friends.   There is something about running with someone that takes away the pretenses.   You can’t worry about impressing someone when you are trying to run.   This is why running friends get to know you better than most people ever will.   Running does not take the place of a good therapist, but there is something to be said for knowing that you can open up to your running friends the way that it might be hard to do eye to eye over coffee.

I will say this is another one of the many reasons I don’t usually wear headphones during a race.   I love to listen to the sounds of the race – the spectators, the footsteps, and the opportunity to chat or listen to those around me.   Obviously, this depends on my goal for the race but I’m never coming in first anyway:)

Do you like to chat while your run?

 

 

 

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?

Run and Run Some More.

You can’t be a runner long without hearing the expression

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Sometimes it’s funny to hear.   Sometimes it’s annoying to hear.   Sometimes, I even say it.  It really depends on the way it’s said.

But there is truth to this.   Sometimes we overthink, over analyze, and just forget to enjoy the beauty of the actual run.   This weekend was different.

There was a part of me that wanted to run my races as races and not run them the smart way to run them to put myself in best position for NYCM.   Part of me wanted to attack those hills in Bethlehem.   Part of me wanted to see how if I could have run these races better than my first year of racing.  Part of me wanted to test my legs and feel the burn in my lungs.   But I needed to remember that in 20 days, I will be standing at the start line of the NYCM and then it will be go time.

I will say though that there is something to be said about running a good race, a smart race, and a fun race with friends.   We had a blast running together.   You get to chat away the miles.    You get to take in the course a little more.   You get to stop for photos if you want and you may even meet people that you might not meet otherwise.

 

Bethlehem is a really pretty course.   It was still a very tough course and those hills are wicked.

rw2016_6

Wicked!

It’s funny, I the first year I ran this in 2014 I didn’t know what to expect.  I went into it with the race mentality.   I had great finish times.   In looking at my results now, I’m actually shocked.   In my age group, I was 41 for 5K, 29 for 10K, and 50th for the Half.   Although not racing this year, I still was in the the top 100’s for my age group.   I went into this in 2014 not even knowing if I could finish these races and now it’s a stepping stone for a larger race.   All that being said, I had a much better time this year.   In 2014, I ended up not only running the races by myself, but starting them and ending them alone.   I may not have ran as fast this year, but I had a much better race experience.   I had fun.   I laughed  until I cried at one point.

Life is better with friends!

I am so happy that I ran this again and would love to do it again.  Maybe with some more friends (hint. hint).

Whose in for next year?