Tag Archive | Marathon

The Calm Before the Storm

I’ve recently been asked on more than one occasion and in more than one way,

“Are you ready?”

My response has been all over the place, but it really is a loaded question.

Am I ready?

Yes and No and everything in between.

I’ve done the training.   Not like training in the past but ultimately I do think that I’ve done enough to be ready.    I’ll be honest, for all the bluff about knowing I will get to the finish line; I do have some doubts.   Small doubts, but doubts just the same.  I actually think these doubts will work in my favor.

I know that I can run this distance.   I’ve done it before.   I’ve done it more than once.   Muscle memory aside, I’ve also know mentally what it takes to push through when you want to stop.   Who remembers me literally crying when running Chicago?   I still got to the finish line.

I also know that each race is different.   No two marathons are alike.   No two races are alike even if it is the same course.   With knowledge is power.   I have the knowledge of how hard this day will be.   I have the knowledge that it won’t be a walk in the park even if it ends in Central Park.  I have the knowledge that my body can go the distance.    I have the knowledge of knowing that no matter what I will continue to move forward to get the finish line.   Most of all, I have the knowledge to know how sweet it is to cross the finish line.

I think this knowledge is bringing a calmness to the preparation of the day.   I am looking forward it tremendously, but I am calm about it.   No nerves.   It  will be what it will be.   I think this will help me.   The no expectations.   The knowing what to expect.   These things will help me to keep myself in check.   EVERYONE is excited at the beginning of any race.   The trick is to know that what you feel like at mile one is definitely not what you will feel like at mile 20.    So the knowledge that I have in how hard the end of the race will be will keep me from not following the plan.   I t will keep me to be realistic in my pace, my expectations, and my finish time.    This will not be a BQ.    This will not be a PR.    This will be my slowest marathon.   I am ok with that. It is this knowledge and peace that will help me to keep my head on and my feet moving:)

effort

 

Is It Worth It?

Running a marathon is hard.   It is hard for everyone from the first place finisher to the final finisher.   It takes dedication, pain, time, and so much more to not only get to the start line, but to cross that finish line.     Often during marathon training season a runner will question their sanity, their endurance, and their sanity again.

Recently I’ve been mulling around the question in my brain…..

At What Cost?

I’m part of many online running groups and have been for years.   I will say that being part of the Moms Run This Town group is what took my running to the next level.   It introduced me to a group of amazing and dedicated runners whose experience I learned from and helped prepare and gently push me to take leaps of faith in my running.    I really owe that group to where I am today.

With any running/training group there are people for all over the spectrum….. From full Ironman competitions, 100 mile events, 5k’s and any other number of amazing feats.   There are also people whose feats are amazing just for getting out the door.   Everyone determines their own path in this world and just because someone does not take their running “to the next level” does not make their feats any less praise worthy.

Each person chooses their own path.   Their own destiny.   Their own finish line.  Some great feats are obvious to all, but some are not so easily recognized.

Recently I was taking with a woman from my Hypopara athlete training group.   We were talking about various treatment options, comparing levels, and symptoms.   She by trade was an amazingly organized person and created spreadsheets tracking her levels, dosages, and such.   Have to say that I was in awe of what she did and felt like a bit of a slacker, but I’ve never been that organized of a person.   Anyone want to create spreadsheets for me?  Ha!

During our chat,  we talked exercise.   Her doctor who is also a leading doctor for Hypoparathyroidism has different mindset than mine who is also a leading doctor. Hers does not want her to do strenuous exercise because then she must up her calcium intake while my doctor does not think this is an issue as long as my levels stay good.   I do need to up calcium levels during exercise and while I do not take a tremendous amount of calcium compared to some people with the disorder, I do adjust on days that I push myself adding almost 1000mg or more depending upon intensity/sweating/distance.

She asked me a question that I can’t seem to shake….

Is it worth it?

My immediate response was yes because I get so much from it.   Great cardio workout,  hopefully help to maintain weight which creeped up, friendships, and honestly the most important… The peace of mind it brings.   The clarity that I get when my mind ponders things during a run I have not been able to duplicate elsewhere.

Still…. I ponder….

Even with these things I need to ask myself, “Is it worth it?”

Pushing myself can be difficult.   I’ve recently realized that my calcium drops with my cycle but even at my “normal” levels there are issues.   And while I have adjusted and continued my training,  I have been pondering what to do after NYC Marathon.

The marathon is a tough beast.   It is unforgiving.   It is intense.    It is harsh, but in the end and at it’s core

IT IS A BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING JOURNEY

For now, it is worth it.

fd0282994ece078d885b3af9e1b58726

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.

Chicago8

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!

Chicago11

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

MCM11

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.

MCM4

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.

nycm16

 

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.

 

 

Nothing to Prove; Nothing to Loose

maya-angelou-quotes

There is a lie that I’ve been telling myself.   I think it’s a lie that many runners tell themselves.   I’ve been thinking that I haven’t been working hard enough because I’m not working as hard as I used to.   But it is a lie, it is a bold faced lie.  I’ve been comparing paces and distances to last year when I was at my peak.  I am far from my peak now.  I have been getting out there.   I have been getting things done.   Putting in miles.   Then when I was out on a run last week, I had an epiphany…

I have been telling myself an even bigger lie.  The biggest lie of all….

Ready…

Here it goes.

Ready for the truth?

I don’t want to train for a marathon right now.

Now, I don’t mean the, “Oh, I wish I didn’t have to run 12 miles tomorrow.”   I mean I just don’t want to train for a marathon right now.  I  just don’t have the drive or desire right now to push myself the way I should be to train for a marathon.   I have no doubt that I could push myself to be ready to run a marathon in April.   The real crux of it is that I don’t want to do it.    I’ve got a whole host of reasons why it would be good to push myself to do it, but I also have a whole host of reasons why right now is not the time to push myself either.

The bottom line is that I have nothing to loose and nothing to prove.  I am just not feeling it.   I know with training that I could do it.   I just don’t want to do it.   I know this is a shocking thing.   It is shocking to me too.

Runners are a funny group.   We will run through injury.   We will push our bodies past the point of sanity.    We are always thinking, I’ve got to go bigger, faster, further.    I’ve been there and I’m sure I will be there again.    There is nothing wrong with that line of thinking.   Just as there is nothing wrong with recognizing that sometimes we need for various reasons to slow down, to not go as far, and just enjoy running for running.

After writing this post, I went to the NJ Marathon site and changed my registration from the marathon to the half-marathon.   I thought that I would feel sadness.   Feel like a sense of failure or something.   I felt none of that.   I felt a sense of relief.   I felt a release of pressure.    As I said before, I’ve got nothing to loose and nothing to prove to myself or anyone else.  I also don’t want to push myself to the point where running is no longer something that I enjoy.

Sometimes it is best to take a step back and that is what I plan on doing.

Have you stepped back?

 

 

Lucky, Lucky, Lucky Me

My Mom is a very lucky woman.   Really she is.    The first time she went to a casino which wasn’t till she was in her mid 40’s, she put a few coins in a slot machine and all the bells started to go off.    This was repeated many times like almost every time she goes to the point that the one time it didn’t happen she was confused.   She also has the same type of luck with lottery tickets.   Never hitting big, but always just enough at just the right time.

It’s funny because the other day she was at my house showing my family her latest Christmas Scratch off where she won $400.   Perfect, right before Christmas.    My hubby was joking that as much as I’m like my mother why couldn’t I have her luck when it came to lotteries.    Then I realized that I do just not the lotteries that pay you cash.

Seriously.

I threw my name into the Marine Corps Marathon just on a lark.   Actually forgot about it.

Got in.

After the New York City Marathon which I got in with 9 plus 1 on the runner’s high I threw my name into the Chicago Marathon lottery.   Really not expecting much as only half get in.   I thought the odds were worse than that till I looked this morning.   Again forgot about it until a friend texted me to ask if I got an email.

chicago

Got in.

How does this keep happening to me?    Yes, I know it happens because I keep putting my name into these things but I really never expect to get in.   Never.

So I realized this morning, that I do have my mother’s luck.   I think my hubby would prefer if I had different lottery luck, but for a runner this isn’t a bad kind of lottery luck to have.

So apparently, I will be running Chicago.

I might need to start running again for this to happen though:)

Don’t worry, I’m on it!

 

Let The Games Begin

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

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

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

BUT

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

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

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

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

I’ve got this now.

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

fd0282994ece078d885b3af9e1b58726

 

Come Back to Me……

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

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

Here’s hoping.

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

my-get-up-and-go-dont-leave-me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Can You Do It?

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

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

You know what?

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

You know why?

It’s an apple and an orange.

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

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

I’ll never be as fast as….

I’ll never run as far as….

I’ll never be blah, blah, blah…

You know what?

20140429-144653

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

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

Here’s the thing though……

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1484103_622769931126137_927190818_n

What are your goals?

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!”

945019_10204089024858375_774358394750037621_n

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?