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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.

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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?

I’m Back!

Two years ago I tackled the Runner’s World Hat Trick.   It was my first BIG event.   At that time, I trained specifically for this event with a training plan that I purchased from Runner’s World.   It was a good plan that had me ready to run it.   I was driven to run it and run it fast.   I even went to this race by myself and I did well.    I did so well that I brazenly thought, “Why not run a marathon now.”   Of course, I did have a friend who planted the seed and pushed me along:)

Fast forward two years later and I’m back.   Things are different this time around.  This is not a goal race.   This race is different as I’m not even viewing it as a race.   I’m viewing it as training for New York City Marathon.   I’m also not the same runner that I was two years ago.   I’m stronger and used to these long runs now.    That being said,  it is still difficult when you cross that starting line not to want to give it all you’ve got.

But….

This isn’t my Rodeo.

This isn’t my goal now.

Eye on the Prize.

NYCM is just around the corner and this isn’t the time to run crazy.

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Yes, I could have attacked the course faster today, but it would not have been a wise or smart move.   Luckily for me, I wasn’t alone today.   I was running with some other Mom’s Run this town who actually were doing four races in three days for 26.2 miles.   I’m only doing three races in two days.    And if more lucky, a few of us wanted to run these miles at an 11 minute pace and we kept each other in check.    Alone, I probably would have not run a smart race.   Together not only did I do what I needed to do, but we got to chat the miles away.

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Win.  Win.

It is amazing to me how when I first started running an 11 minute pace was a goal.   Now it’s literally an easy running day.   Although I was saying today that this course is not really a course that I would want to try to PR as it is such a hilly course.   I also realize that I may be as fast as I’m ever get at this point.    I’ve run my sub 2 half.    I think that be the best it’s going to get for me.   So why not enjoy the ride (or run).

Tomorrow is another day and another race.

We will see what the day brings.   Then it’s taper town for New York which will be my rodeo.

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 Tomorrow brings another 5 AM wake up call.   Another race and another outfit:)

 

 

 

Seize the Day!

It is not an exaggeration to say that I ran one of the best races that I’ve ever run yesterday.  The weather was optimal for running.   I ran a smart race.   I had beautiful pretty splits.   I felt good.   Great running time and a nice finish.   What more could a girl ask for on a Sunday race day?

The funny thing is that this was another race that I went into without an actual plan.   Nope.   Nada.   Clueless.    Like any tutu runner, I was more concerned with coordinating my outfit which I do believe that I did so perfectly.

bronx10m_5  Mission accomplished!

When walking and getting into the corrals with my MRTT Mama’s, I was saying that I was just going to run the Bronx 10 Miler as a training run.   I was just going to run it at a solid 10:30 pace like many of my training runs.

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Gun goes off and we are off.   I start off with my friend Kim.   I tell her just go ahead as I don’t want to affect her race as I’m going to be going slow.    She goes her way, I go mine.   Then a funny thing happens as I’m trying to maintain my 10:30 pace, I realize that I’m going too fast.    I feel good.   I know from experience though that starting out too fast can be a real problem, so I change my mindset to running a smart race.

Seize the Day mentality.

I still have not thought on overall time, but I figure I will try to just keep my splits good.   I did runt them faster than I was trying, but I was feeling good and felt like I could maintain the pace.    I figured that it was only 10 miles and I could just keep going.

It seemed to work for me.  I did a couple things to distract me from the actual running during the race.   First, I listen to those around me while running.    I listen to the sounds of the feet, conversations, and just pay attention to where I’m actually running.   Kind of taking in the sites.   One of the other things that I did was take the time to say Thank You to every Police Officer that I ran by.    Just a simple, “thanks officer.”    They probably were like who is this crazy lady in red, but I figured they deserved it.

Then I get to the finish line which this year is on a downhill as they changed the course a little.   I’m feeling a stitch in my side, but I push it hard at the end.   Why not?   I can always breathe after I cross the finish line.

So my non race strategy really paid off!    I think that I am more happy with my splits than my actual finish time.

Now hopefully, I will be as happy with this run this morning as I get ready to head out for my 15 miles today.   At least I am running a slow pace!

Let the training continue.

NYCM marathon bound.

 

Take Credit Where Credit is Due

It has to be said….

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In the last year, there have been several running news stories about people committing fraud during a race.   Some have gone to extremes to either claim to complete a race they never had any intention of completing, faking a chip time, or just lying about the whole thing.   I have never understood that mentality.

Never.

This is why I am having such a hard time with my chip time from the Iron Girl.

I believe in giving credit where credit is due.  I also believe it is wrong to take credit for something that isn’t true.  In my heart of heart I know after some thought that maybe not that my chip time is wrong, but that something is wrong.   And the thing is it pisses me off.

I am pissed not because I’m pretty certain that I didn’t run a 19:12 5k.    I am pissed because I intentionally didn’t wear my GPS watch so I could focus on running the way my body felt.  If I had worn my watch, I would know what I actually ran and how fast I actually ran it.

I am pissed because I trusted the race organizers to have not just an accurate chip system, but also have the proper race distance for the course.    This is actually what I think happened.   I’m not sure.   I’ve run this race enough to know the course somewhat, so it does feel the same.   That being said, I know there is something off.   I am really just not that fast and I’m really not sure what happened.

Now, I know that there are some people who will be like shut the blank up already.   I respect that, but as my real life friends will tell you, I am nothing if not honest.   Like all the time.  Brutally honest, but in a nice way.   They know not to ask me a question that they don’t want my truthful  answer to.   I am not a yes Mam kind of gal.   So I just want the truth.

Here’s the thing though, I’m not sure if I will get the truth but I’m certain it is out there.   I’ve been comparing not just my times from 2015 and 2016 but the some times of those that I saw that ran both years that were top finishers.  EVERYONE is much faster.   Obviously, everyone would have different times from year to year.   That being said, everyone is consistently faster by at least 5 minutes.   Now granted I am not crazy enough nor do I have enough time to do a statistical analysis nor would I even be good at doing it.   I just know that I looked at a few people and this is what it appears to me.    So I’m thinking that somehow they messed up the course and shortened it.

I’m pissed.   Not because they shortened it but in looking and thinking about this, I realized that even though I know in my heart that I didn’t run a 19 minute 5K, I might have actually still run under a 25 minute 5K and I will never know.   I feel robbed, cheated, and a little bit of a fraud.

Now I know that there is nothing that I can do.   Although, I did email Iron Girl organization to verify the course.   I know that if I had the time or inclination I could go down to Sandy Hook and do that myself.   Knowing me, the next time I am down there I just might do that:)     That being said, when asked what my 5K PR is I will still go with 26:26 which really is a rocking time.

Has this ever happened to you?

 

 

 

Believe the Unbelievable

It’s been a LONG Day, but it’s been a good day.   I’m guessing any day that starts with a 4:00 AM alarm will be long.    Those are the breaks though on race day.

Today was my what appears to be annual trip to Sandy Hood Gateway National Park for the Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon.   The race that started it all.   The race that is always full of surprises and always worth doing although I question why on the drive down.

The morning had to start at such an unsightly hour because I needed to allow extra time to pick up my bib.   I will say that I normally like to pick up my bib, rack my bike, and get my bearings the day before.   This is not always possible when you are attending your son’s soccer tournament in the blazing heat.   That being said, it was all good.   Really only made for a slightly earlier morning.

Arrive with time to pick up packet, rack my bike, and set up transition.   I’m good to go.    Have swim cap and goggles and ready to make my way to swim start.   Hold the phones…. Swim is cancelled.    Apparently the current is making it unsafe.   I will say that I was disappointed, but I would much rather they side with caution than someone get hurt (myself included).   My very first Iron Girl Tri the swim was way wicked.   Everyone complained that they didn’t cancel it.   Then today many complained that they did.   Can’t win.

So today I did my first Duathlon.

Run, Bike, Run

It took a bit for them to reconfigure, but once they did it went without a hitch.   The beauty of being in the older groups is that I didn’t have to wait so long to start my run.   I think I was off by 7:45.     We started off with an out and back of 3 miles.   Why they didn’t do the full 5K, I have no clue.

So off I went watchless.   It was strange not starting my Garmin, but this was supposed to be just do what the body says you can do day.   It was supposed to be an easy recovery day especially after yesterdays 11 miles in the disgustingly hot weather.

First run feels good.  Get back to transition and really nothing to do except put on a bike helmet and suck down a Honey Stinger.  Bike sucks and only because I literally did not train or ride my bike ALL summer long.  Also might have been helpful to bring another gel with me.   Oops.   Get back to transition and I feel like I’ve been sitting on a horse all day not a bike for a little more than an hour.

I will interject to add that on the bike portion I knew they made the right decision about the swim as the wind was wicked and the white caps were plenty.   I will also like to add that I was starting to think that my name had changed to “on your left” which is what people say when flying by you (or me).   I admit, that I should have ridden my bike more or at least a little bit.

Go out for the second run.   This one being the full 5K.   I feel like my bottom is still in the saddle and I REALLY want to walk.   At this point, I decide though that I am going to run the whole thing.   I am just going to keep moving.   I dig deep as the saying goes and remind myself that this is nothing compared to a 50K (Ok it is, but you say what you say to keep yourself moving).   I also remind myself that this is how I’m going to feel come mile 22 of NYCM, so I just need to keep moving.   I know that I’m running brisk because not only can I feel a little stitch in my side but I’m breathing pretty heavy.   I’ve got no watch.   I’ve got no clue and I know if I slow down that I might just stop.  I also don’t feel like I’m dying, just like I’m at the end of a race

Just keep moving.    Going to make it to the end without walking.   This is it.

Cross the finish line.

Yeah!!!

Get my time.

Holy Crap.   This can’t be right????

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Now my question is why would I question it?    I know the course.   I know that my bike time is right about where it was last year.    If my times were in slower, I would never question.   Why is it so hard to believe the good stuff?

One of my friends suggested that I never run with a watch again::)   Ha!

I will say that I am in shock.   Last year my run was 31:53.    My fastest 5K was over the summer at a local 5K where I ran 26:26.   This is unbelievable and I keep expecting them to tell me that they made a mistake.    The won’t because official times were released and apparently I do run much faster without a watch to tell me to slow down.

Now all I need to do is see what m coach says about m easy recovery run that I was supposed to do.  So much for easy recovery run:)   Really shocked

It was a great day and even though I went into it by myself you can never feel alone when your surrounded by a group of Tri Women!

Now it is time to put this to bed and myself included.