Sunday, December 9, 2012

13 Races In 2013??

I know I haven't been very good aout blogging lately and part of that is I always kept this like more of an online training journal.  It was a very useful format while I was training for the marathon, but since then I haven't had a goal and I also haven't been running much.  All of that combined meant an empty blog.

Now, with the help of mind clearing PT, I am looking at my running in a new light.  I think for awhile I am going to focus more on strength and building a better base.  With that in mind, I am doing way more fitness workouts than I am running miles.

Another blogger friend mentioned something along the lines of "if I only blogged about my runs, I wouldn't have much of a blog"  True statement.

So for 2013 here are my goals:
A Goal:  Run 13 races in 2013

B Goal:  Do two fitness/strength workouts per week

C Goal:  Blog shorter blog entries and blog more often

D Goal:  (this is the one that scares me) Try a Tri

My D goal should maybe be moved up to my A goal, but I am just not prepared for that right now!  Although, I DO believe if it is a goal worth having, it should be a goal that SCARES THE CRAP OUT OF YOU-and a Tri my friends does that for me!!

More to come....Thanks for patiently letting me work all this out!

Much Love XO XO

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'm Running!

That is it!  That's the big news, but it is actually really BIG news!
Runs since April have been hit or miss and frankly less than appealing.  I have started physical therapy and I am over the moon with the results.  I am not "healed" but I have run several times without pain and in fact some pain has went away after runs.  This is so different from what I had been dealing with!

I also have been busy starting up a Moms RUN This Town chapter here in Kirkland.  I truly feel passionate not only about my running but also helping encourage moms to run whether they are just taking their first walking steps to helping more "seasoned" runners find races and all around just to keep everyone motivated!  It's kind of that theory where working outside yourself actually encourages you along the way.

Well, that is it.  Quick and short-not my norm!  It is the day before Thanksgiving though and I will have a race report on Sunday!!! (OMG- A RACE REPORT!!)  Seattle Marathon 5k-here I come!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Missing: 1 Blogger

Again it's been awhile since I have shared.  There is only one reason for my absence:


This revelation came to me a few days ago while I was running.  Yes, I have been running. Not much and Not fast, but my feet have been moving quickly in front of one another. Here is a list of things I am most embarrassed about:

  • My audacity to think running a couch to marathon program was a good idea
  • The fact that I have a running blog and I haven't "really" been running
  • The fact that I am horribly out of shape-yes I ran a marathon and I am still HORRIBLY out of shape
  • The fact that I let myself get caught up in the "I must be a thin hot mom to fit in with everyone"-Since when in my life have I ever wanted to "Fit In?!?!"
  • The fact I agreed to run with a great group of women running bloggers when I really haven't been running, or blogging!
  • The fact that I took so little care of myself that  I finally had to get injured to finally see that fact!
  •  I had to  fess up to all of these facts and plenty more!

As you can see there has been a whole bunch of soul searching going on over at the Mertel homestead. Motherhood changes you and I wasn't prepared for all the mental changes that went with it.  I also naively believed in the whole "oh you are fit, you will be back to your old body in NO time"  RIGHT!!!  You gain 50# and don't do a lick of exercise the entire time, and you really think you will just pop back into place-at age 39 no less?!?!  WHAT WAS I THINKING???

Also, I have never really been wrapped up in the whole "You need to look this way or that to fit in" thing.  I don't believe in a "diet", I believe in eating food.  REAL food, not the processed crap that comes from a box.  My mom makes fun of the fact that there is a weird vegetable served with almost every one of my meals I make (that to her means squash LOL-I love her but veggies aren't her thing)
So how did I find my self "dieting" ALL summer long?  I spent more time counting calories and limiting food.  I spent time reading diet books and planning meals that were unfulfilling.  In fact I would often just skip eating because what I was "suppose" to eat just sounded horrible.

This then led to my whole summer feeling like a haze that flew by me.  I was often disoriented and spacey, not to mention incredibly moody and frankly downright miserable to be around!  I slept horrible and I was ALWAYS exhausted.  In fact I went to see both my General Practitioner and my OB/GYN trying to figure out what was wrong with me.

About a month ago I ran across a Facebook page Go Kaleo on MomVS Marathon's page.  Her statement was simple (and I am totally paraphrasing what my mind read)  Eat when you are hungry, eat whole food, move your body every day.  The rest will fall into place.
Now she said a lot more than that, but that is what my mind read because that had been my EXACT philosophy for years!!!

So right now I am focussing on repairing my relationship with my brain in regards to fitness.  My marathon messed with my brain.  I had to realize that not every run needed to be 5+ mi during the week and 10+mi on the weekends and all runs don't have to be faster than 9mm!

Some days I run now for 20min.  I try not to notice how many miles I ran.  I just try to focus on the fact that I ran them pain free and that I had energy to run them in the first place!

I've stopped weighing myself and I have started eating regularly again.  I feel great!  I am sleeping easily again, I am no longer cold all the time, I am still a little cranky, but come on!  I have a 2.5yo and a 3.5yo!  Who wouldn't be a little nuts!

I am currently working on all over body strengthening.  I have never been a weight lifter or gym goer for any other reason than cardio and that is no longer acceptable.  Even though I am not a fitness "beginner" I have decided to start all over from the beginning.  I am following the Go Kaleo First 100 days program and so far I am on day 10-well actually day 11, but I had to do day 10 workout today.  I can already feel a huge difference in my body.  It is quite shocking in some ways.  The biggest difference is the energy I have.  On top of the prescribed workouts, I have also been taking one or both of the kids for a nightly stroll.  Not fast but not slow.  Just a kind of mind clearing walk to end the day (this was also a habit I followed for years that I dearly miss)

So there is your update.  I am going to keep my progress up to date and let you know how it is coming along.  I am half tempted to do the before and after pics, but frankly I may need a few glasses of wine to work into that idea!!

I forgot to share this great story!
I am a believer in things happen as they should and this is a prime example.
I noticed just the other day that my scale was out of batteries, so I changed them, hopped on and was immediately disappointed.
Fast forward to yesterday.  I decided to give the old scale a shot as I have been feeling less jiggly so of course that means the scale should have some good news, right?!?
Hopped on the scale and what do you know? It was out of batteries again-or was it???  Maybe this is the Universe's way of saying LAY OFF THE SCALE WOMAN!!!
I get it-I can take a hint.
Scale is in the trash

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I've Got A New Goal, And I'm Scared

This recently has become my mantra it seems.  It also in my opinion is a good one to have.

Well, I didn't blog about it, but  had my lovely Women's re-TREAT weekend where we state our goal preferably for the year.  Last year my goal was to run a marathon before I turned 40.  As timing would have it, I ran the marathon in my 39th year.  The time was right and I was so glad it worked out that way.

So what to do for my goal for my 40th year???  {Big Gulp} I have committed to running a marathon in 4hr or less as my goal for he year.  I can't believe I have this goal honestly.  This means I have to shave a full half hour off my current marathon race pace.  YIKES!!!!  It's not impossible, but it will take some work for sure.

So I've started my new job this weekend.  Yup-I have to consider it my job for awhile, or I know myself and I will blow workouts off like they were tumbleweeds blowing over Hwy 80 in the middle of NV!!!!
So in honor of starting my new job, I ran a route I have never run before.  I ran out my door and ran 7mi (ok 6.89) around my 'Hood.  In the past I have always run out my door.  This house though sits on top of a hill (many hills) and there is no way to get to it that has an easy grade.  I can run up a few of them, but my need to "Kill The Hill" makes it so I have to walk once I get to the top.  The particular route I took, I chose because it had a tiny it of trail to run on-which I LOVE!  This meant though that I had to go up two super steep hills.  I choose to walk them-no shame here!!!

So there you have it.  Right now I am using the Train Like A Mother-Half Marathon, Finish It Plan that I am going to segue into the Train Like A Mother-Marathon, Finish It Plan.  I am pretty sure that those plans will get me on the right path to a sub 4hr Marathon.

Also, I have planned my races to hopefully make this a reality.  In February, I am planning on running the Huntington Beach Marathon-Surf City 2013 and then either Portland MarathonVictoria Marathon,  or some other flat fall marathon.  I am pretty sure 2013 will see me crossing the finish line with a timed goal.

It is a little unnerving stating aloud that I have a time goal.  That freaks me out WAY more than anything.

Wish me luck!  I'll update I'm sure.

Me Lighting my goal for 2013 and making it realClick here

Monday, August 20, 2012

Don't Look Back In Anger

I was thinking about this post and instantly I thought of the Oasis song "Don't Look Back In Anger" (link just in case it's been awhile since you've taken a listen)

I keep getting caught up in what I'm NOT doing these days instead of what I AM doing.  Hello negative thinker, where did you come from?!?

It's not a secret times are tough around the old Mertel homestead.  Motherhood seems to frequently take over in a very overwhelming way for me.  Never BC (Before Children) would I think I would be this negatively affected by having children.  I am a positive person-sometimes I have to work at it, sometimes it comes naturally.  Either way it comes, that is the general state if mind I like to live in.  So imagine my surprise when I realized that negative would come creepin' into my life through all sorts of cracks in my exterior.

The good news is recently I have become aware again that this is a choice I am living.  Things don't have to be this hard even if they are hard.   I know this.  Working with Cardiac Surgeons for 12yrs made me very aware of that.  Surgeons can scream, patients can die, but if I stay above it than I am. Conversely,  children can scream and meltdown, but I can stay above it.  Right???  We shall see.  Operation "Stay Positive" is on in full affect.  Pray for me please!!

So without dwelling on all the posts I haven't written and all the workouts I haven't done, let's focus on what I have recently done.  I have finally gotten a gym membership.  After lots of himing and hawing I decided on a membership to the YMCA.  Mostly because they had everything available but also because childcare is free and unlimited and also, when I go back to WI, I can use the Y there.  This is Mucho Importante as I am planning on a February marathon (if all goes as planned) and I will need to do some training runs in December while I am home for my sister's wedding.

What else is positive you may ask?  Well, I have actually cross trained AND lifted some weights.  I have also started doing some focussed core strength workouts.
More importantly, I got over the unexpected today and used Dimity's Outlook "Don't Think Just Go" when life took an unexpected turn this morning.  The original plan was to go to a 930 spinning class.  With Ryan waking up at 845 and then crying until 859 about his yogurt not being right, then the fireplace repair guy showing up at 905, I realized that 930 spinning was out of the question.
Fortunately the repair work was done in NO time and then the crazy crying child told me he wanted to go to the "Y in Seattle"  which is somehow what he thinks I am saying when I say the "YMCA".  Either way it served a great purpose.  I told him 1. he had to eat the yogurt before we could go as he couldn't be hungry at the Y and 2. he had to quickly get dressed so we could go.  I knew there was a 1030 Yoga class that I could make IF I didn't think about it and just started moving everyone out the door.
The good news:  We Made It!  just barely in the nick of time, but we made it.  Some tears along the way and I was a few minutes late, but WE DID IT !!!
I realized I needed the relaxing down time more than an active workout anyhow.  I also got a peaceful shower in...which is alway nice!

On that note, I realized that I am supposed to be training for the Seattle Half Marathon right now.  Lucky for me I am using the Train Like A Mother-Finish It Half Marathon Plan.   Today I had a "Fun Workout" on the books, so hooray for me-I did the proposed workout.

So that's that for one day.  Good stuff will be coming along, as well as a little more action here in the blog-o-sphere.

Have a Great day!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Anyone Want To Go Streaking????

Well, it is no secret my motivation to run/blog has been at about ZERO since my race in APRIL!!  Good Lord!  That was in the spring.  Granted summer just started here last week, but still!
I had less time and my children were harder to work around, yet last year at this time, I was running no less than 15mi/wk.  Now I am lucky if I get 15mi/MONTH!!

BLEH!!!  What is my deal???  I ask you this as if you have some magical answer.

I think there was such a big let down after my race and I missed the discipline so much I just let it go.  I tend to be an all or nothing kind of gal, and right now I have nothing planned so I am giving it nothing :P  Not smart for the long haul, but it is my reality.

Also, I am combating the months of guilt I am feeling for taking so much time for myself and dedicating my time to my running.  Now it breaks my heart to think of leaving the fam to go out for a few hours to run.  Then tack on a few hours to re-coop and blog.  Basically take all of Saturday out of the equation.

My husband ROCKS and he is very encouraging.  It is just my inner turmoil that is holding me back.

I thought of doing a full this fall.  Then I thought about signing up for a half in October.  I did neither.  I do for sure have a race in November-a half that is notoriously hilly and always wet and rainy.  I have no intention of thinking I will PR that race (and I certainly won't if this attitude keeps up!!) but I do need to train at least a little bit.  If anything, I need to run more than a few miles per week.

There is good news!

This weekend I will be going on my yearly re-TREAT!!!  A women's only running/SUPing/Yoga weekend.  I know that this is a goal setting weekend and I KNOW I will come home reinvigorated.  This most certainly will put a little snap in my action!
It also will be an anniversary of sorts.  I met my first running partner at the re-TREAT.  I set my first marathon goal.  I was introduced to the Run Like A Mother community.  I also decided to start my blog all because of one weekend away from my kids and husband.

Maybe I just need another weekend away from the family to remind me it is ok to take time for myself again.

I also know that we are on the precipice of a big family change...NO we are not having more kids...but the kids we do have will be starting preschool in exactly one month from TODAY!!!!!  It is only Wednesday's and Friday's from 9-12, but I can only imagine what that is going to mean for me.  I'll be honest as much as I love my kids, I so need a break from them some days!!  Quite frankly, I'd say that they are REALLY excited to have a break from me.  Good God I can be hard to live with!  Even more so when I haven't gotten in a run consistently.   Yah, it's a vicious cycle that I seemed to get looped in:

I'm guilty to spend time running
I'm guilty because I am so gosh darned grumpy because I am not running!!!

Does anyone see the definition of insanity described above???  Believe me, it is not a fact lost on me.

Clearly this is still not motivation enough for me to do something about it.  SO-

I'm streaking.

It is a pretty popular thing with real Bloggers right now to do a month of something challenge.  So like a month of Jillian Michael's workouts, or ab work, or get the picture.  So I am going to Streak for the month of August.  At least one mile everyday.  I have no other plan than that.
I am not going try to plan out miles and freak out and become paralyzed into inactivity because I can't meet the days planned mileage.  Yes that is happening right now...4 on the schedule, but only have time to bang out 3, I just Do None!!!  Hello!!! How does that make sense???  Yah it doesn't!  So minimum one mile.  Who can't find time for one mile??  I mean if I am just doing one, I know I could do it in under 8min-so figure 10min max  I don't even have to put on running clothes for that!

Now the fact that it is August 2 only occurred to me after I came up with the big plan to streak.  Please don't be a hater and remind me I didn't run on August first!  I will run on September first if it makes you happy :P  Hopefully by that time I will have a race plan laid out by then.  I haven't figured out the logistics, but I am going to try for a race a month for the rest of the year.

Also, I know I want to do another spring full, but I am going to negotiate around my 40th Birthday.  The hubby is taking me on a vacation anywhere I want to celebrate.  Keeping that in mind, I have to decide if I want to be gone for my Birthday and figure out a race that will work with that time line

Phew....It feels good to get that off my chest!  I use DailyMIle to track my workouts, but I think I am also going to keep checking in on here.  It worked so well during Marathon training to keep me going, so I hope to get back on track by using the same forum.

Wish me luck!  It feels like I will be needing it :P

Friday, June 22, 2012

For Reals....I'm Back!!

The good news is my dry spell is up!  The bad news is you will be hearing a lot from me again :D
I have felt so lost and unmotivated.  It took doing a lot of Bikram Yoga to really get my running groove back.  How funny is that!?!?  My legs just were not recovering and the thought of running seemed as appealing as eating rotten eggs!

Then I noticed all sorts of friends and family talking about their races and their runs.  I will admit, I was getting jealous.  I knew the feelings they were feeling and darn it, I wanted to feel that good too!  And yes, I am one of those crazy runners who relishes in wobbly legs and exhaustion that can only come from hours of running.  Mostly-I miss that clarity that seems to overcome me somewhere after 5mi, closer to 10mi.  I love Long Long runs!  I think that is why for me, I am hooked on the full marathon.
A half marathon is nothing to sneeze at and I cheer for every single one of my friends who finish one!  For me though, it isn't long enough to commit to a training plan.  This is most likely due to the fact that the first time I ran one, I did it as a training run.  The distance became insignificant to ME (please do not be offended if this is your longest run to date it IS a significant distance that you should be proud of)

I think this will be a flaw that comes back to bite me in the arse.  Let's face it-who knows how long I can run such long distances.  Right now I am training conservatively, but I have big goals for myself-and NO I am not ready to put those out there just yet.  I have murmured these goals to a few people and they have all been supportive and know no better so they think I can achieve it.  I do too, but not right now.  I know my time is coming.
I digress.  My 1/2 marathon flaw.  I hope I will get excited by the distance in the future, but right now...meh!

So I bet you are guessing what is on my schedule right?  Right now I have not put the money in yet, but-I have started the training runs to do the Victoria Marathon in Victoria, B.C. on October 7, 2012.  I am really stoked about it and hesitant all at the same time.  I vacillate wildly from day to day.  One day I am 100% in and the next I feel like I will barely be able to find the time to run 3mi let alone 20mi training runs.  Mostly it is due to the fact that it is summer and there are so many fun things to do!  I hate that my family will be waiting on me to finish my long run, then they will deal with my slow as a snail walking pace later that day.  Training for a spring run had the downside of training in rain, snow, and ice.  Training for a fall run means that all those long runs will be done when all the fun stuff is going on.  Granted, I can get up at 5 to run instead of 7-that should help.

Oh the ramblings of a mom on a Friday night who has a little girl who wants her daddy to put her to sleep!

This week has been busy.  I did not blog about it, but last Saturday was my first long run (6mi) since my full.  It went great.  Michelle and I took it fairly slow.  She was just at the end of a pretty bad cold/flu and I hadn't run that far in a long time.  Plus we had A LOT of catching up to do.  So that meant lots of walk breaks and lots of chatting.

I ran on Tuesday (3-easy), Wednesday (4-negative splits) and today (3-easy).  I have a long run of 5mi scheduled for the weekend, and I am not sure when I am going to fit it in.

The Rock N Roll Seattle is going on this weekend and Alma and I will be spectating together.  I am super excited to give back as a supporter!  Every person cheering meant the world to me as I was running.  I know they weren't cheering for me, but I pretended they were.  So, hopefully, I can give someone a bit of a boost tomorrow.

I almost forgot!!  On Thursday I was privileged to Co-host a house party for Sarah and Dimity at Another Mother Runner.  It was so great to get a bunch of mother runners together and have a nice night of mingling and chatting.  They had awesome giveaways including a jogging stroller worth over $500!!!  I was so happy to help them pull things together as they were two of a few people who really made me believe I could even train for a full marathon while I had two toddlers.

Tonights post seems kind of boring.  I felt like I needed to do a little house keeping and catching up before I started really posting about the good stuff.  

I learned SO much while training for my first and i know of plenty of things I will do different/smarter this time.  I look forward to sharing them with you.  
Once again thanks so much for following along and for supporting my journey of being a Mother Runner!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Knock Knock Knock....Motivation??? Where Are You????

This sucks.  No other way to put it.  I have never been LESS motivated to run with the exception of pregnancy and post-partum.  I have no idea why!

I don't know.  Every time I do run, I feel great.  I feel like a moron for not doing it every day.  Then the next day comes and the thought of running sounds as appealing as a stick in the eye.

It's lame.  I feel good.  I don't hurt at all anywhere (which I know plenty of runners on Injured Reserve that would right now would die to be able to run 1mi)  The kids are willing to watch a movie for a half hour so I can jump on the mill-so time is no excuse.  Truly I have nothing.  The hubby even asks if I am going to run.  It's so weird.

I had my plan of action all written out through AMR and I did pretty good until this Tuesday.  Then it all fell apart.  Aside from one day of yoga, I have done nothing!!

I did buy new running shoes today which is always a treat.  I'm thinking that may help?

I also have no goals right now.  My next race isn't until November.  It is a half and honestly I just don't feel that excited about it.  I know the weather will be horrible-it always is-and frankly that is not a problem for me.  I spent all last winter during an La Nina` training for my spring half.  As much as I hate the WA weather, I have no problem getting out in the rain and cold and running.  How strange is that??

UGH!!  This is nuts!

So here are my thoughts-
I start prepping to run the Seattle Marathon like a full.  Meaning I start to ramp my miles back up and start training on July 23.
OR I start streaking and see how long I can get.  Minimum of 1mi /day every single day.  No excuses.

If you are down in a rut-how do you get back your fitness MoJo??? Anyone-Anyone??

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Chirp...Chirp...Chirp....Chirp...Hear Those Crickets??

Yeah, so do I.  It has been awhile since I have been here.
I never imagined after all the time and miles I have put in since last fall, that I would say I have run exactly four days.  CRAZY talk I tell you!

I also had lofty expectations of doing the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred while I was recovering....yeah right!  I ended up with the worst case of flu I have had in years....starting timely on my 39th birthday.  Great.  That was followed up with my daughter finding 5:00am a great time to start the day.  That really put a kink in my "Mommy Morning Alone Time" AKA my time to run.

I also have been battling some sort of ramdom fatigue.  Of course, you would assume that with two toddlers, I would just be tired in general.  This is not the case for me most of the time.  The fatigue has been increasing since I was training.  I chalked it up to training and having toddlers.  As time has gone on though, it has become clear that something is VERY off with my body.

I have a family history of Hypothyroidism-My sister in fact had one lobe removed last week as it has become cancerous.  The second side was biopsied and the cells have gone on to Mayo for further testing. It seems they can't figure out exactly what kind of cells they are looking at.  Please say a quick prayer for her if you are so inclined.  She is getting married in July and we all want her to get some good news before her wedding.

I also have a family history of premature menopause.  Great.  In fact, I am late to the menopause game if I am on my mom's side of the family's timeline.  As far back as my mom knows (my Great Grandma) they have all been finished and period free by 38 at the latest.  Let's just say I have plenty of symptoms...bleh!

Either way I think my hormones are WAY off and I am seeing a Dr. this coming Tuesday.  I am hoping that we can figure something out sooner than later.  I am convinced I will have a BQ time once I can actually get my energy back!!

I have run though.  The first attempt was horrible!  It wasn't quite a month post race and my legs and knees felt like I had fence posts jamming up my legs with every step.  Felt great right?!?    Actually by the end of the run, my legs loosened up and it wasn't bad.

I decided that my body was not healing enough on it's own, so back to Bikram I went.  I have found either you LOVE it or you HATE it.  I have a very strong love for sweating out a weeks worth of sweat in one hour and a half session.  There is just something about walking into a room that makes you sweat that I find appealing.  Nuts-I know.  A great studio just opened up by my house. Bikram Yoga Kirkland has great instructors and a lot of class times.  The only problem is trying to find a time I can go.  During the day is hard-no childcare and night time classes start right at dinner time and bedtime for the kids.  I am committing to a twice a week practice through the month of June though.

Which brings me to my current training plan.  The Lovely Ladies at Another Mother Runner AKA the Run Like A Mother crew have put forth the June Challenge.  They challenged everyone to fill out a month of fitness and then keep track of your workouts. You need at least five training days per week and at least one rest day.  If you complete the challenge, you get a bumper sticker.  I thought this would  be a great way to just get back into the habit of making time for myself again.

I started my June 1 with a run, and it felt great!!!  It was on my trusty Mill at 7:00pm while my hubby put my beautiful baby girl to sleep.  I did some Fartleks just because I needed to run off some steam, but I knew I couldn't keep my top end pace the whole time without being frustrated.  So my warmup/cool down pace was a 6 and my top end was a 9.  My workout hovered mainly in the 7.5-8 range and I ran for a total of 3mi.  I was happy with that for sure.  I am however convinced I need new shoes and I have a sneaky suspicion that it is my shoes that have been causing my achilles tendonitis this whole time!!!  After each time I have run, it has flared up.  This shouldn't be happening after one run.  Last night was faster, but even after the easy runs it flared.  So off to shop for running shoes HOORAY!!

Well, you are all caught up.  Nothing really that exciting, but I thought if I got back to the blog I would get back to the run.  Makes sense.  Let's just hope this doesn't become a blog about menopause before 40 instead of running marathons before 40!!!

Just in case you want to see what my sched is for the month-here you go

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I did it! 26.2 is in the bag :D

(Adding at the end-There are a lot of details and this is quite long.  I really wanted to remember everything as I already seem to be loosing a little bit of the moment. Thanks for reading along!)
We are loaded into the car and the children have stopped screaming.  Seems like a good time to put a few thoughts together.
What a crazy few days it has been.  I have certainly missed California there is no doubt about that.  Not just the weather, but how open and friendly the people are around here.  The pace of life is so much slower-not quite Southern slow, but slower none the less.
The children are handling traveling better than we could have imagined.  Such a blessing!  I would say things were going smoothly, but that would be a lie.  Ryan’s favorite thing to say right now is “Stupid” and follows it up with throwing something.  Grand.  It is better than the other night as we were walking in downtown SLO, all of us starving looking for a place to eat, Ryan decided that was the best time to use a curse word for the first time in his life.  Standing at a cross walk, “GodDammitGodDammitGodDammit”  I being the great mom that I am decided to completely ignore it hoping it would stop quickly.  He was saying it but not very loudly thankfully and I hoped and prayed he would get over it before he kicked up the volume notch.  It seemed to work and I haven’t heard it come out of his mouth again thankfully.  As you may have guessed, this came from me.  I curse VERY infrequently around the children, but last week was not a banner mom week.  I had hit my limit of patience and at one point I yelled “God Dammit Just Stop!!!”  That is all it took.  He did not say it that day, but I knew he was saving it up for Just The Right Time To Use it.  Oh, my boy is smart one I tell you.  
I know what you are really here for though, a race report.  I don’t blame you.  That has been the whole point of this right??
Races tend to start early.  For good reason, who wants to be running in the middle of the day in the high heat?  Also, I can’t imagine starting late like they do at the RNR Las Vegas (a 5:00pm start)  What would I do all day long?
This one seemed to be REALLY early though.  It was a point to point race and they had us meet at the finish and then shuttled us to the start. This being there first race, I think they over planned a bit-I will not complain being the planner I am.  So this was their schedule:
3:30-4:00 you need to arrive to catch the shuttle (there will be no shuttles after 4:20)
5:00 Line up for Marathon
6:00 Start of the race
WTF????  Seriously?  Did they think I would really get to a race 2 1/2 hrs before the race?  Ummmm, nope not moi.  I had the cab pick me up at 3:50 to drop me off just slightly after 4:00.  I was one of the last people to get on the first bus to the start.  There was no one else in site!  They had something like five shuttle busses-luxury coaches by the way, not school busses or vans, full on tour busses.
We got to the High School parking lot where they had us wait to line up.  So I finished getting ready there.  I did not want to wake the entire family while I prepped, plus I had no interest in getting up before I absolutely had to just to put on some body glide and sunscreen.  
I sat quietly next to a few ladies trying to stay warm.  We all started to chat a bit as we woke up.  I met a lady in her late 60’s early 70’s who had run marathons in all 50 states and on all 7 continents.  Amazing!  She recapped a few races for us which was great.  She even agreed that this was a little early for the event.  I was even more impressed that later on I was running with her during the race.
So after waking up so early, I had plenty of time to hydrate.  This is something I wanted to make sure I took care of.  After the MI Half feeling dehydrated in the first mile, I did not want to repeat that little mistake.  I am pretty sure I made my week long goal to drink water until I floated!  There was a downside to this.  I had to pee every five minutes it felt like.  Waiting for the start I think I went a dozen times!  OK, not that much, but it could have been.  
They walked us over to the start.  I had debated what to do with the pace group option.  I knew that I wanted to finish in under 5hrs.  I also knew that I *thought* I could finish in about 4 1/2hrs.  I had asked around and got the advice from more experienced runners to not follow a pace group.  They normally run at even splits or so which may be difficult for me as it was my first race.  After debating the pros and cons I remembered the most important piece of advice I have received and that is to “Run your own race the way that feels right to you”  With that in mind, it felt right to try and follow the pacers.  At the start they went over their plan for how they were going to run the race.  It seemed like a doable pace to me.  Splits ranging from 9ish min/mi to no slower than 10:40 min/mi.  That was the pace I was doing for all of my long training runs, so I thought, ok I’ll go with it as long as I can.  If I fall off so be it.  If they are going to slow I will pick it up.
Then gun went off just slightly after 6:15-I know this because Mike texted me and I heard it beep just before the start of the race.  Wouldn’t you know it-within the first 5min after crossing the starting line, I had to PEE!!  Damn them for keeping us standing around so long!!!  Damn it that I drank so much water!!  I decided that I was going to just stop at the first porta potty and get it over with.  I was not the only person with the same problem.  The line was at least six deep.  I did stop my Garmin at this point.  More out of habit I think than anything.
Of course with that many people, I lost my pace group but I really didn’t think much about it.  I was actually really relaxed and I was not going to fast.  I felt smooth and in tune with myself.  I was actually VERY Zen at that moment.  I am not sure when it happened now, but I think it was somewhere in the next three miles I caught sight of the 4:30 pace group sign.  It was not hard to miss.  One of the pacers-Larry (Larry Cucumber if you ask Ryan) had on micro shorts that were hot pink animal print!   They looked straight out of the 80’s!  He was a real man to rock those I tell you!  This was only his fourth marathon and he was a local.  He did a great job keeping us pumped.  He would count down the miles and give us a Woot Woot! at every mile.  We also had Rocco as a pacer.  This was his 69th marathon, so he was kind of the lead guy.  They both wore hot pink pacer shirts, so when I saw those manly men in all their hot pink glory-I started to cry for reals!  I knew I could catch them and most likely, if I could catch them, I would finish in 4:30ish time.
As I was catching up to them, I noticed one of the guys near them had a small flag pinned onto his shirt.  It was a Armenian flag paying tribute to those who had fallen in the Armenian Genocide 97 years ago.  You may not be aware of this historical fight, and if you are Turkish, you will say it did not happen.  I knew nothing about this event until I met my friend Nicole several years ago.  She is Armenian and is very active in the Armenian community.  She also has done mission rebuilding work in present day Armenia.  For this reason, seeing this man running in honor of the victims just felt right.  I pulled out my phone to take the only pic of the race.  We chatted and became fast friends.  I found out he runs about one marathon per month and dedicates each mile to a different victim.  He wishes he could honor all of them, but he realized that there was no way to do it for all of the 100,000+ victims.  At this point he has honored 13,000 and will continue for as long as he can.
Most of the race went by smoothly.  I did have to stop to pee again, but I was quick and I knew I could catch my pacers again.  I was just feeling good!  I knew there were some tough hills between mile 17-22.  Because of this I had told MIke to try and meet me out on the course at that point.  I knew I would need a bit of a mental lift.  As that time got closer, things just were not feeling quite right.  
I had to pee yet again :P and I also was having a hard time getting my shoe tied right.  I had also stopped a few times to retie the stupid thing.  We planned on meeting at Tank Farm Rd.  I knew it was coming up and I swear I asked every person along the route how far it was to Tank Farm.  In my mind if I could make it there and see my family, I could get through the rest.  
By this time, I pee’d again and I lost my friends of the pace group and I was just struggling.  I was putting one foot in front of the other and that is all I could do.  As I was running up to Tank Farm Rd, I realized I had run the route too quickly and my family wasn’t there.  I literally stopped on the course and just stood there kind of not knowing what to do.  I called Mike and he explained that they weren’t letting traffic just flow and he knew he would miss me so he was moving on to a different spot so he could at lest see me once.  I took every ounce of my being to not be furious.  Clearly this was not his fault-he had never tried to spectate a marathon before let alone with two toddlers in tow.  I know how hard it is getting the timing right with our two crazies along, but DAMN IT I NEEDED THEM!!!
Believe it or not I was still just standing there kind of frozen.  I didn’t know how to start running again.  I had to do something because I knew I couldn’t just quit for no reason.  So, if I couldn’t see them in person, I had to bring them to me.  I was having a hard time picturing them in my head believe it or not.  The one thing I could do though was to hear Ryan’s voice in my head saying “C is for Celiophesis, D is for Diplodocus” We have a dinosaur A-Z book that we read every night and when we are in the car I will say a letter and he will tell me the corresponding dinosaur.  I went through the whole alphabet twice.  As I finished the second time, I crested yet another hill and suddenly I had this overwhelming sense of calm and the words “you’ve got this” went through my head and I knew that I did, so of course tears came again.  
At this point I was really running alone.  It was a field of 2,000 runners both half and full combined and of that it was only about a third running the full.  So, that meant I was running with people either pretty far in front of me or pretty far behind me.  We were also out in the middle of nowhere wine country-which was gorgeous, but it meant there wasn’t a single spectator.  Also, water breaks were about two miles apart.  That meant I had some time to pull myself together.
At this point, I knew I was going to make it to the finish.  I knew it would be in under 5hrs.  I also knew that things were not easy right at that minute.  I also became ok with walking up some of the hills.  Believe it or not, I also did know I would most likely finish in around 4:30.  We had banked about 4min or so when I fell of the pace group so I knew I would be ok.  
All of this happened around the time when the course looped back into itself for a portion of the race.  I stumbled on some of the half marathoners who were still out there walking it out.  I felt so much pride for them.  There was a lady that reminded me of my mom.  She was out there giving it her best and I could see she was in pain and not doing to great, but she was going.  I think I yelled something like “keep going-you’re doing great” but honestly I was a little delirious myself at that minute.  For all I Know I said Gabba Gabba Goo Goo.
We finally were getting back to civilization!  Thanks Be To God!!  I love rolling hills that produce wine, but I am not sure I want to run in them again soon!  At mile 23 The Hash House Harriers were there with beer and oh I wanted one SOOO bad, but I was actually having a hard time breathing and I didn’t think I would be a good idea to imbibe.  In retrospect, I think I drank too much water.  That can be just as bad for you as dehydration.  I had been drinking Nuun in my water bottles, but on the course I drank water and an electrolyte drink called Fluid that I had never had before.  I am not sure how much electrolyte is actually in that.  I know next time I am going to drink a little more cautiously.  
Just before mile 24 I got to kiss my husband and babies.  They were like a mirage.  My babies cheeks had never seemed so smooth and perfect as they did in that second.  I swear I just wanted to eat those baby cheeks right up!  Right at that point was a group of ladies holding up a “Run Like A Mother” sign.  It fueled the tears that were already in my eyes!  They had seen me kiss the kids and they yelled “Go Mommy!!”  That was a great kick for sure.
This is where I get kind of pissed.  Just past them we ran on a bike path. No Big until we got to basically an overpass that went over some railroad tracks. It was straight up and you had to wind around four times up and four times down.  I had to walk.  There was no way my legs could go up that incline and in fact, the down was even more painful!  My quads were screaming as were my calves.  My toes all felt bruised.  Nothing was right.  But, I kept moving one foot in front of the other.  Just keep swimming-right Dory?!?! 
Mile 25 came in a gorgeous neighborhood where everyone kept telling me you are almost there, just one more mile to go!  Then with less than a half mile to go on another path was an enormous hill that again was quick straight up.  The volunteers kept saying, just get to that tree and it is all downhill.  I had to walk and I was FURIOUS!!!!  If I had to walk I told myself I would run the last mile for sure.  I didn’t.  Honestly there was nothing I could do.  I could not move my legs up that hill in a running fashion.  I did as much of a quick shuffle as I could, but honestly-it was walking.  The good news was it was downhill all the way to the finish.  Just as I crested the stupid hill, I could see the shoot to the finish (because the hill was steep enough you could not see the finish line until you crested the hill) and there was my family.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude and happiness. I felt more joy in those moments than I have at any other time in my life except at my wedding and when the children were born.
As I crossed the finish line, I had the most amazing smile on my face.  I had played this moment in my head many times-for years even- and every time it ended with me a sobbing mess.  In reality, I was just overcome with peace and happiness that was simply embodied with a smile.  
Wouldn’t you know it-there was Larry Cucumber!!  They had finished less than four minutes in front of me!  He said “Sarah!” I hugged him and started to cry at that point.  Not the gusher I thought would happen, but tears none the less.  The ladies handed me my medal and congratulated me.  I was beaming!
I have no post race letdown, I ran exactly the race I should have.  It felt perfect!  In fact I now look at marathons differently than I do any other race distance and it is for the good.  This distance is for me.  I have found something I LOVE to do.  I know I will change a few things, but I don’t know if I will always be chasing the PR with this distance.  I am almost at peace with not trying to go fast and finish in under four hours.  Almost. ;-)
So what did I learn.  
Well, first- you can over hydrate.  I know I did this.
Secondly- try your hardest not to travel far to your first full with toddlers.  This should be self explanatory.  The hardest thing was coming off the course and in less than two minutes I was back to mom.  I had a toddler melting down before I even had a chance to stretch.  My legs were seizing up on me.  It was miserable.  Navigating the post race area was a nightmare with a toddler who gets overwhelmed in crowds of people.  There was no time to get post race bananas and oranges or BEER for Pete’s sake!  It was all we could do to get my gear bag and find the car.  I gave up trying to walk to the car and asked Mike to bring it to me.  Thankfully Alma turned me on to Recoverite by Hammer.  I had bought two single serve packs...just in case.  Of course I used both as a post race meal was not going to happen soon.  I did get a nice shower in while Mike to the kiddos to the beach.  I slathered on Biofreeze from the tips of my toes to the tops of my thighs.
After we walked around SLO and got a meal in, we headed back to the hotel pool.  This was a welcome sensation on my legs!  The hot tub was a God send.  I am not sure if that is a good idea or a bad idea, but it felt good so I went with it.  
Now two days post race, my quads still remind me I did some work, but overall I feel amazingly great!  I plan on giving myself the full 26 days to recover.  I am so happy to say I made it through injury free!  I really could not have asked for a better experience.
Oh, in the hot tub, I ran into a couple who ran the Half but had originally planned on running the full.  The wife had an IT issue, so they both ended up doing the half.  The gentleman had run 44 marathons, so I asked him “how was this course? Hard, easy, average?”  He told me that it was very similar to Big Sur.  Not an easy course, but not the hardest by far.  I also asked about running up the overpass.  He said he had to do the same thing in one of the San Francisco races, but it isn’t common.  All in all he said it was a tough course for a first timer and my time was great for my first one on a course like this :D :D :D :D  I felt like I was super human-even if he told that to me just to make me feel good (which I really don’t think he did)
In the end my Mantra of “Be Thankful” was completely manifested in  the moment.
Peace and Love

Saturday, April 21, 2012

23 Hours To Go!!!

How about a little pre race catch up...
I haven’t recounted a few of my runs including my last two long runs before my taper.  Really, there is not a lot to say.  They were easy on the scale of things.  Twelve miles and Eight miles respectively.  I had the Lovely Megan along for both of them and the Lovely Lindsay joined us  for the eight miles.  I love running with those girls!  They make me feel so young!  They are both still in their 20’s and I would like to say I felt pre-30’s when I run with them, but that would be a lie.  In fact the opposite is true...I am acutely aware of my age and place in life.  As they chat about finishing school and starting their careers, I talk about my now past career and my children.  I have in fact turned into “That Lady” who talks about her kids non-stop and really has nothing else current or relevant to say :P  They don’t seem to mind and frankly I kind of like being the “Responsible Mom” in the group.  That is not a phrase that has been thrown in my direction up until recently.
Well the big weekend is here.  I have survived the taper....barely.  I have heard rumors that people hate the taper and have no idea what to do with themselves in the last few weeks leading up to a marathon.  I, did not have that problem.  I in fact was MORE than thankful for the limited amount of miles that were on the schedule.  In fact there is not a chance I could have run more than I did.  
Virus after Virus has taken over our house including one that kept my never sick husband home from work.  I somehow pulled through with just a few aches and sniffles with an added scratch in my throat here and there.  I fully expect my body to break down next week  when it washes its hands of me and says  “There, I did my job, now go to bed and leave me alone.”
We have survived the first leg of our trip (barely).  The flight went great!  In fact this has been our easiest flight since we have had children.  The car pick up was not as smooth, but we saved $600 by taking a cab to an offsite car rental instead of using the airport one.  Less than ideal catching a cab with three suitcases, two strollers, two car seats, four backpacks and two screaming toddlers.  The kids and I hung out at the airport while Mike got the car.:P
After a quick visit with the hubby’s family we got on the road for the three+ hour drive to SLO.  Within  the first hour, it became very clear that Miss Pooh was VERY overtired and falling quietly to sleep was not in the immediate future.  This became clear about the time that she had her hand down her throat forcing herself to throw up blueberries all over her car seat and PJ’s.  Quick trip to the gas station and we got back to go.  Now we are cruising along on the 101 in the pitch black.  What else to do other than blog :D
I have run the spectrum trying to decide how to approach my race.  Just because I am who I am, I need a goal.  I would LOVE nothing more than to be one of those people who could just run it “for the experience”.  Not happening.  I keep telling myself to do that, and I know I will be present in the moment during the race, but there has to be a goal.  So here it goes:
A Goal:  Finish the race injury free with a smile on my face. (This has been my original goal since the minute I started training and frankly it is VERY realistic)
B Goal:  Finish between 4:30-4:59hrs with aforementioned smile and health.  This is pretty likely unless the heat is more than I can take or if I can’t keep myself under control and go out too fast and burn out too fast.
C Goal:  Finish around 4:15.  This isn’t exactly like the sun, the moon, and the stars aligning, but this is a good guess for everything going in my favor.  This is also my predicted time based on my most recent half marathon (which has me finishing at 4:13) and my 18mi run.  I feel as good physically and mentally as I did right before my 18mi run.
So what does all that mean?  Basically I would be over the moon if I met my C Goal and I am going to try my hardest NOT to be disappointed if I meet my A Goal.
I did somehow get a blood blister on the bottom of my foot today wearing flip flops-damn you Sun in CA!!!!  I am obsessing slightly, but I know there is not much I can do about it so I am trying to roll with it.  Plus I am on vacation!  I am obsessing less about just about everything right now luckily!
It’s going to be warm.  Warmer than anything I have run in in over four years.  I could obsess about that for awhile, but not much I can do about that either, so we will roll with that too.
So there you go.  Up to date and ready to roll.  We have a 6am PST Sunday start, so if you feel so inclined think of me around that time (or a few hours later when I will need the help) and send me some mental love to help carry me across the finish line.
Thank you all again SO MUCH for following along.  This has been an incredible journey and I am so glad I put this out there.  It has kept me motivated to keep going when I couldn’t find the motivation in myself.  I have been nervous at times to be fully open, but all of you have shown so much love and support, I couldn’t think of a reason not to share.  I am going to go back and read all my posts tomorrow night before I *try* to sleep.  I think that reliving the journey will put this all into perspective again.  Oddly right now this seems really easy, like no big deal.  I remember thinking what sort of an amazing feat it must be to run a marathon.  Now, I still think it is amazing for other people, but for me...Meh.  I oddly am STILL struggling to think of myself as an athlete let alone a runner.  How weird is that!!  I run tons of miles, but don’t think of myself as a runner.  Yet ask any muscle head at the gym that hops on the treadmill for 10min and they will say “Yeah, I’m a runner”  Just one of those things I guess.
Well, I am rambling now.  Time to sign off.  I’ll be back with the post race after Sunday.
Love and Peace to all

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Saw A Ship A Sailin'...A Sailin' In From Sea...

So if you do't have toddlers, you may not be familiar with this rhyme.  It's a favorite of Pooh's and it came to mind today in the shower.  A shower that was taken in peace while BOTH babies napped at the SAME time!!!

This has not happened in over a month, maybe even longer.  I don't think it is a secret anymore that the kids have been having a tough time which means mommy hasn't had it so easy either.

I have found there is beauty in having children 12mo apart, that is after the first crazy year.  One of the best things is they reach developmental milestones at exactly the same time.  That is tough going into it and while you are in it, but it is scrumptious when you come out on the other side knowing that you won't have to do that again for six months or fingers crossed a year.

Now don't get me wrong.  I am not nieve or silly enough to think that after one nap everything is going to be back to normal.  After going through this now for three years though, I DO know that we are within weeks (if not less) of things going back to the lower level of chaos that buzzes through our house.  I can manage that.  Sure to some it may look like a piece of cake and to others it may look like something out of a carnival sideshow.  It is our reality though and one I can live with.  The past month....whew...let's just chalk that up to a really bad nightmare.

Like I said I am not foolish enough to think that tomorrow Pooh will wake up at 8:30 like normal and Moo at 7:00, but I DO know that neither will be up at 5:00.  Yes, they are actually that predictable :D

What does this have to do with running you may ask?  Nothing really, but at the same time everything.  This means that I know that my morning runs will be returning again an quite frankly I have missed them.  Sure I have been fitting in runs, but I honestly miss the quiet house and the "Me" time I get before everyone wakes up.  If I had wanted that delicious alone time the last few weeks, I would have had to get up at 4:00am after having resettled Miss Pooh back to sleep around 1:00am.  That was just not happening.

I did fit in my treadmill run today amongst the craziness of a normal day.  I had my MIL come over as I had a Chiro appointment and she was going to stay with the kids.  I also had my "Sick With A Virus-Which So Help Me God If He Gives It To Me I Will Kill Him" Husband home as well.  Quick Chiro, Quick Home Depot, Quick home to give kids a snack, and Quick onto the Mill.  I knew everyone was needing to leave me by noon so I had to be speedy.

Got on the mill and thought I was prepped with Downtown Abbey so I could do 8 mindless miles.  Well, got on board, started watching and wouldn't you know it-only season one is on Netflix!!!  So it ended at mile four and I was scrambling quickly to get something on.  At the same time the entire family came downstairs and both adults looked like kids waiting for birthday cake...they thought I was done.  I knew by the look on their faces I wasn't going to get my full eight in.  They are the type that would not say so much-they aren't quite as direct as I am- but I have been around them long enough to know what is on their minds.  So I clicked on an Another Mother Runner podcast (available on iTunes) and tried my best to get as much in as fast as I could.  I ended up with a 6.7mi run in exactly one hour.  Better than not running is how I chalked that one up.

Quickly got my Pooh to nap while the hubs put the Moo in his room and he fell asleep as well.  Who knows how long today's nap will last.  I for one am not waking them up.....oh I hear my Moo.  That was good enough for a catch up that's for sure.

Have a VERY Happy Humpday all!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Big 2-0! Let The Taper Begin!

I usually try to get a little artful with my blog titles, but this was too big of a deal to give it any other name that what it really was.

Twenty!!!  20!!  T-W-E-N-T-Y!!!!  That. Is. A. Lot. Of. Miles!

Let me just say, I feel like I have shook my funk and I couldn't be happier.  In all truth, this run was not really much to write home about.  Everything leading up to it is truly the big deal.  Let's discuss.

It is no secret I have been struggling personally.  I have been having a very difficult time managing my home right now and it is truly overwhelming me.  This was my undoing before.  It is what spurned me to run again.  It has been the reason I have loved every. single. minute. of. training.  Running is the only time I can truly be free of my responsibilities and just be me.

Going into this run this week I was just not mentally prepared.  I knew no matter what I would run all 20mi, but I knew mentally it would be a struggle.  I also "hoped" that I could move on mentally so I could finish all 20.  I was terrified that if I didn't get my troubles out of my head, every pounding step would be twice as hard as it already was going to be.

Pre-run Waiting For My Alma

Post 20 With Alma Throwing Down The 2-0
All day Saturday I had this overwhelming urge to run all 20mi on my treadmill.  It has been raining for days and quite frankly I could not stomach another run out in the cold pouring rain.  I know that running in the rain all these miles has given me a mental toughness that has been earned.  That does not mean I enjoy it by any stretch!  I put out my feelers to all my running friends who have been at this for much longer than I have been and the general consensus was that I needed to get out there and just do it.

I want to interject here that this will be the second time writing this blog post.   Thanks Blogger....grrrrrrr

Knowing in my mind that I was going to run outside, I did the only thing I could do, Pray!  And pray I did.  A Lot!  I was blessed with the best running weather I have had in all my training runs.  The temps were perfect and the sky was full of broken clouds that let blue sky and sun filter through.  It. was. amazing!  The wind made it cool enough for my long sleeve shirt and pants.  If not for said wind, I would have been overheating!

The day did not start off as great as I would have liked it to.  Miss Pooh had a rough night and then woke at 500 followed quickly by my Moo waking at 520.  I let Alma know we should meet closer to 800 as I tried in vain to get the children back to sleep.  Why I try to do this I will never know (insert eye roll here)

We got to the parking lot and frankly I just did not know how to proceed.  It was kind of overwhelming. What clothes should I wear?  How much water should I burden my sherpa with?  These were all just things that were prolonging the inevitable.  I needed to take those first steps quickly or I was going to loose my backbone.

Let's address my sherpa for a minute.  Alma and I have gotten to know one another over the last few months as she has braved many long runs in the miserable rain with me.  She is great company and we have very easy conversations.  Even though she is great, I never expected her to be along for 20mi!  She recently has had a plantar fasciitis problem in her foot and hasn't been able to run.  She decided she would come along with me on her roller blades for all 20mi.  Now of course my first thought is GREAT!!!  Who wouldn't want company for the several hours it was going to take to run the 20mim.  My next thought is "she is F@!%ING NUTS!!!! I have only roller bladed a handful of times.  All of those times resulted in humongous blisters on my insteps that made my feet hurt for weeks.  I mentioned this to her in the parking lot and she looked at me and for just a mere second hesitated.  I should add here that I think this is only the second time at most that she has been on her blades and the other time was quite some time ago.  She decided to go for it though and was not only in for the whole 20 but also was willing to bring water and other provisions for me.  Really?  Who does this?  Someone who is AWESOME!  That's who!

So we set out on our adventure.  Alma had to work through a few growing pains on her blades and I had to work through the mental demons that threatened to end my run.  The start was slow going.  I knew I was going to have to empty my head and Alma was more than willing to listen to all my woes.  She listened with an understanding ear and didn't try to fix it or give suggestions as I think she understood that these are not problems that can be fixed rather things that will work themselves out with time.  It was just what I needed.

This went on for quite awhile.  By mile four I was still in a funk and worse yet everything on my right leg from my knee down was off.  I had a pull on my medial knee, my shin was burning and worse yet my instep was on fire.  Can you say Plantar Fasciitis!!!! I was scared shitless.  I told Alma we had to stop a minute.  I took a Gu and stretched.  Alma looked at me and asked if I wanted to walk?  I said No let's just go and see how it goes.  Miracle of Miracles-I was fine!!!  Not only was I fine, I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders!  It felt like in that moment I had let go of everything that had been holding me back all week.  It was amazing.  And just like that we were off on our adventure-for real this time.

We still went slow.  I just knew that I had to keep a light pace and Alma joked it was a good thing as she could not blade much faster.  She worked her way up hills and held on if she could for downhills.  I tried helping her, but she insisted that I run and not get tripped by her.  Honestly I was more scared she was going to fall down and hurt herself even more!

The middle miles were pretty uneventful.  We made a potty stop at McDonald's in Kenmore and at mile 10 (the turn) we ran into Melanie whom I had run with earlier in my training.  She is currently training for the Settle Rock N Roll in June.  It was great to catch up with her.

The mood was still light and I still felt really good.  Sometime around mile 12 it started to feel real.  We were still a long way from home and it felt like it would be a log time before this whole thing was done.  I think it was right around this time Alma looked at me and said "I'm pretty sure you are going to feel better than me tomorrow" and honestly I kind of knew in my gut I would too.

When we got to mile 15, it felt finally like we were in the home stretch.  That is my normal 10mi turnaround and I know every step of those five miles like the back of my hand by now.  I know every curve every hill.  More important, I know that we would most likely be running into a head wind any minute.  I was not disappointed.  Within the mile the wind was blowing in our face.  Now I'm not talking little puffs of wind or a light sustained breeze.  I am talking full on sustained wind that screams down the river valley.  It was worse today than any other run I have done.

By mile 18 we were into new territory and the wind continued.  Alma tried her best to keep the mood light but with the wind taking her words away it was all I could do to focus on keeping my feet going forward.  I think she could feel my need to focus so we just pushed on.  It wasn't bad.  It didn't hurt.  I wasn't tired,  It was just something I wanted to put my whole self into.  I wanted to be in the moment with every step I was taking.  I wanted to be thankful.  I wanted to savor it.  In some ways, I didn't want it to end.  I truly felt free.  I felt like this was just me and only me.  No matter what no one could take these miles and steps from me.  I did this all by myself (well Alma was there but I think you get what I mean)
Right about mile 19.5 Alma had a fall and I felt do awful for her!  I wanted to stop and help her, but I told her if I stop I won't be able to start again.  She urged me to just go.  She was back on her feet in no time. We both finished the 20mi and I think we both felt it was an amazing accomplishment and we were both glad it was done.

Poor Alma.  As suspected she ended up with a huge blister on her instep and her ankle was bloodied.  In the end what she thought would be an easy cruise along with me, turned into a very challenging workout.

In the end, most of miles were around the 10mm mark and I was down with that.  If I finish with times like that I will still be under the 5hr mark (by quite a bit) and that is all I hoped for when I started this journey.  For awhile it seemed like I might smoke those times, but I have been brought down to earth and have been humbled by my training.  I know that I will finish all 26.2mi healthy and strong.  I will finish and that is the most important part.

So two weeks of tapering and we are off on a pivotal trip as a family.  There is still work to put in, but from here on out it is all about staying safe and healthy and sane.  This has been such an amazing experience.  I can't wait to see how it will all play out!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Realigned Expectations.....Check

I have spent a lot of time thinking this week about a lot of things.  One of the main things on my mind is my reaction to the MI Half last weekend.  My reaction is absolutely ridiculous.  I know this logically, but there is some weird niggling thought in the back of my head that keeps telling me you should have done better.

Really??  Why???
Were you training for that particular event?  (No it just happened to be part of the training plan.)
Have you truthfully been putting in all the work? (No.  I have not.)
Wasn't this your first Half race? (Yes, but I have run 13mi faster)
But weren't those 13.1 flat miles? (Yes, but I thought adrenaline was supposed to pick up your pace)
Umm, yeah but weren't those some really big hills and have you done one single hill workout? (umm, no)

Here is the reality.  I have not been working nearly hard enough lately.  I have three midweek runs on my schedule each week and for at least the last month I have only done two per week.  I still make every long run, and my mileage is still increasing, but the reality is I am not putting in the full work I should be.

Tonight while I was rocking Pooh Bear before bed it came to me.  I actually chose the lowest mileage marathon training plan there is out there.  I chose it to just finish.  That's it.  I did not choose it because I was going to get a rockin' time.  I chose it because I haven't even made it to my one year runniversary-I am truly doing a couch to marathon program.  Seriously-how well did I think I would do??
Apparently I thought I was going to come out and be some sort of natural phenom that was going to rock out huge long fast miles.  NOT!!  See that is the thing.  I never had thoughts of grandeur until I crossed that Half finish line.

So what is the deal???  This is just my ridiculous competitive side.  You see I am pretty competitive in most things, but I am MOST competitive with myself.  It is never good enough, fast enough, efficient enough, thought through enough, just never enough.  No matter what happens, I can somehow spin it to something I did not do enough of.

My son isn't eating right now and lives on air about three days per week, clearly this is because I did not introduce him to enough foods early enough like I did with Elise.
The kids aren't sleeping enough or they are falling asleep at wonky times, clearly this is because I did not pay close enough attention to their cues and I missed their routine tweaks.
I can't ever get this house clean, clearly this is because I am a lazy oaf with nothing better to do.  Forget the fact that I spend copious amounts of time keeping my children from killing one another or themselves for that matter.
You name it.  If it happens in my life I can make it my fault.

Now the running is truly my fault and that is what is really digging me.  I know that I am selling myself short because I have slowly slipped back into putting myself last.  The Hubby has been working LONG and LATE so really no relief.  Plus with the double trouble birthday month just hitting our house and all the developmental joys that go along with it-I don't think I have to expand on that much further. It has gotten to the point where everything comes first and my runs come last.  I did not get this far by doing that, but that is exactly how I got to be so miserable in the first place.

This is where I would love to puff up my chest and tell you that is all going to change starting now!  The reality of it is it's not.  I have no idea how I am going to change it back.  I don't know how to make it work.  I am not 100% sure how I was doing it before.  I mean I do and I don't.  I do know what was different, but I know right now it can't be like it was then.  So what to do?

I don't know.  I don't have the answer.  That's kind of why I had to come here.  I thought if I just started working it out on paper something would come to me.  Something magical.  Something like what should have carried me across the finish line in under two hours. HA!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Look At That Honey MaMa-She Don't Give A Sh!t

How do you know you are running your first  half marathon that is super hilly and you did not fuel correctly?  Could it be that you are delirious and in your mind you call yourself Honey MaMa and are laughing out loud because this is your internal conversation:

"Look at that Honey Mama-she's crazy-she don't give a sh!t-She just attacks those hills-disgusting-oh look-there she is running in slow-motion"

Clearly that is not how the story goes, but that played over and over and over in my head as I ran up yet another hill making the count at least 172-and there are still plenty left to go.

Just in case you don't know what I am talking about and you want to know what the fuss is all about- Here You Go

So here we are in a step-back week in training.  After last weeks 18mi run the reward for getting ready for a 20mi run next weekend is a 14mi run.  I had not yet run and "official" Half Marathon and I thought it might be an important step in the training process.  Not all, but most take the logical progression of 5k-10k-something bigger-Half Marathon-Full Marathon.  I being the genius (or should I say Crazy F@#K) I am decided to toss conventional wisdom aside and sign up for the Full Monty right off the bat.  This was basically the last weekend I had to fit in a Half and I am glad that I did.  I learned many things along the way...some I knew but down played and other things were a complete surprise.  Like for example:  I feel the most powerful and strong when I am running and I look down and see my shadow in front of me.  I can see my ponytail swinging from side to side and for some reason it feels like my feet barely touch the ground.  Now if only I could pocket that sunshine for every run right?!

Let's start with some positives as there are many.  I also like to think of myself as a positive person.  I don't prefer to dwell on the bad but today I did have a few low moments that put a bit of a cloud over my day.  Positive first though.

  • Today I ran my first Half Marathon in just a touch over 2:01.  Not bad at all for a first time attempt.  As this was my first-it was an instant PR, which I forgot about until just now!  Double yay!!
  • I have not yet had my "Runiversary" I have been back at running for well under a year and when I first laced back up I could not even run a full mile in under 10:30min.  Now I run 13 straight for 9:11mm average.
  • I don't hurt.  This amazes me the most.  Nothing is tight, nothing is knotted, nothing is fatigued.  I truly feel the same as I did the other day after 4mi.  This may be a different story tomorrow, but for now let's go with it.
  • I got to put the 13.1 magnet on the back of my car.  Even though I had run 13mi before, I still would not concede that I was a Half Marathoner.
  • I was able to run the race I should have run.  Even though in a few lines I am going to tell you how disappointed I was today, the reality of it is I ran the race the way I should have to keep me in the perfect condition for the real deal in less than a month.

So now let's talk about my disappointment.  First I want to say that as I crossed the finish line I was elated.  I finished strong and healthy-goal accomplished!  My negativity did not start until I walked into the door at home.  It was like a scene straight out of Lord Of The Flies.  My son was literally bouncing off things still in his PJ's, screaming like a wild banshee.  My daughter was not screaming (which almost scared me more) but she was walking around with no pants on.  This I came to find out was because she had just gone potty.  And last but not least my husband was on the couch wrapped in a blanket and looked pretty much like the living dead.  Now before you get all worried that some crazy illness is going around our house-you will be happy to know that No he was not sick that Yes he was just hungover.

A few things here-I am not bashing my husband, so please don't do so either.  He is a great guy who works his tail off for us and honestly puts my running needs in front of his need for a release without batting an eye.  He very seldom goes out for beers with his buddies and if/when he does, he is very responsible about it.  Except every once in awhile.  Now I would like to blame Mr. W as it seems to be a recurring theme. The last time the Hubs felt this way it was also after a night with Mr. W.  I think I see a pattern here.

If you are familiar with my husband-you are already laughing at the fact that he was in the condition he was and he had to take care of our two wild toddlers.  If you have not had the great fun of meeting my husband's hangover-let's just say he puts up a good fight with the Exorcist and in fact I would say beats Reagan hands down in the spewing department.  Quite frankly I have never met anyone who gets hangovers as bad as my dear husband.  Not only is there a lot of vomit involved, but it lasts pretty much all day rendering him completely useless.  This by the way was the first time he has had to care for the kids in this shape-I don't think I have to add, I am pretty sure this will be the last!

So back to me. I walk into this mad house and instantly the wind goes out of my sails.  Instead of basking in my glory and rehashing every mile to the hubs-I in fact get the honor of getting the house back to order.  He has fed them, but certainly hasn't taken them out for their walk yet so that is first on the list.  So super quick shower-no time for ice- throw on some comfies and get the kids in the car.  Food??  Refuel?? No time (ugh)  Although I did get some more water to drink which I really needed.  Load them up and start to drive.  It also happened to be nap time and there was no way I was going to get them both to sleep-oh God how I WISH I could have napped-so a long drive into the mountains it was.  They both calmed down and fell asleep and that is when I started going over the race in my head and started thinking of all the things I could have should have done.

Let's take a look at the splits and go over it shall we:

Elevation Gain
Elevation Loss
Avg Pace
Best Pace

As you can plainly see I fell apart going into mile 8-half way.  You automatically think Oh you went out too fast.  Maybe, but honestly it didn't feel like it.  It felt very comfortable.  Plus I really focussed on not going out out guns blazing.  I held back from the bob and weave and found a comfortable outside line.  I actually was pacing behind another female runner and we were really in a groove.  My breathing was even-even up the hill climbs.
I could tell pretty quickly that I was not fueled properly.  In fact I would say that I felt dehydrated within the first mile!  Not a good way to start a 13mi run.  I also ended up needing a lot more Gu than I would have ever guessed.  Thank goodness I brought along my running belt stocked with Gu and one 10oz. bottle of Nuun.  There is NO WAY I would have finished running if I did not have those things along.  I usually shoot for Gu about every 4mi or so.  Today I needed on at mile 3, 6, 8, and 11.5.  Mile 8 was tough, not only did I take a Gu, I also felt something in my shin.  Being the nervous Nelly I am about injuries I pulled it over and stretched and mentally decided to slow down.  This is where I am pissed at myself.  If i wouldn't have mental broke down right there, I could have finished in under 2hrs.  And don't doubt-it was a mental give-up.  I can wrap it up in any pretty box I want, but the reality of it is I know I still had enough in me that I could have given just that little bit more to have a sub 2hr finish.

Oh well.  I know now how important fueling my body the day before is.  This has bee a repeating theme during this entire training-must eat better-must get more food-Now I know the reality is I need to stop talking about it and just make sure that I do it or I will bonk out there for real during my full.  I don't know how much Gu you can take before you totally loose it, but I am pretty sure that every 2-3mi for 26mi would not be a good idea!

On another happy note-as I was walking away from the finish line, the kids teacher from toddler group happened to be there and she spotted me.  My frazzled brain took a minute, but I was so happy to see a familiar face.  She gave me a hug and I started sobbing (yes I was sobbing as I finished too) just for a minute but I was so thankful to see a face that was happy for me.  I ran today alone as I have many times before, but having the family at the 12 k's of Christmas made me realize I kind of like having a support crew with me.  Logistically this race was a nightmare so I had no expectations of the family coming.

Well that seem like that's it.  Maybe I am just tired because there sure seems like more.  OH!  That Stupid iPod!!!!  I have vowed before I was not going to run with it-but then it was so awesome for my 18mi run, I thought I was back on the saddle with it.  NOPE!!  I was so irritated with my playlist I wanted to rip the thing off my body and send it over the cliff into the water!  My jury is still out as to wether or not I bring it for the full.  I think I would do better without it, but I get scared that I will get to a mentally tough spot and would find some comfort in my tunes.  AGH  I don't know :P
Self portrait pre-race with my BAMR shirt

My new magnet-looks more like I need a car wash!  You may not be able to see it, but the sticker  in the window is "my sport is your sports punishment"  I have always loved that quote and I got the sticker for free at the expo for being the 100th credit card customer!  See Already a winner!!