Monday, June 23, 2014

Marathon Training Wk 3: Discontent

So I made it through week 3. Here's how my week went...

I've had this pain on my right side; my right quad, right calf, right ankle and even my right shoulder. I've tried to ignore it but finally decided to give in and be proactive for a change. I called my tried and true chiropractor and she got me in on Tuesday. I thought my hip may have gone out again from the road slant but it turned out to be related to my computer believe it or not! She asked me if I had been sitting in my work chair with my leg folded under me. I was like, how did you know that?? Apparently doing so had made my piriformis muscle very unhappy!

So after some reallyyyy painful time on her table, (with her working muscles I never even knew existed!!) I hopped off feeling instantly better!

Tues night I ran 3 pain free miles and felt great. 9:12 pace, time 27:39
Wednesday was my daughter Olivia's birthday. I ended up running my scheduled 5 miles but there's a story behind that one. My pace was 9:07, with my total time 45:54. Here's how it went...

Liv was tired and not feeling well on her birthday. She was grumpy. 

I was grumpy.

We celebrated, or attempted to, in spite of our grumpiness. The birthday girl picked pizza for dinner. I picked it up in a rush on my way home from work. It was a rush to celebrate before her soccer game then it was a rush after to get everyone in bed.

Her cute little smile here was the high point :)

Make a wish....

Still, I was exhausted. And did I mention I was grumpy? I also still had 5 miles waiting for me.

And guess what?

It was now raining.

After hosting my own private pity party, I finally took myself and my Corkins disposition and went to bed. With my running clothes on.

I laid there angry and ready to quit. 

I will never be able to sustain this. There aren't enough hours in a day. I can't work full time with an hour plus commute, parent 2 girls, maintain a small business, and train for a marathon. It's just not possible. The heck with it.

I wallowed in this as I laid in bed (still in running clothes) for a good half hour. Then I looked at the clock. It was 10:15. The thought popped in my head that if I left right then I could run and be back in bed by 11:30.

I'm not sure what got me up but I just got out of bed and walked out the door & started running into the dark rainy night. After pounding out my frustration & attitude the first mile, I settled into my familiar pace. I made the decision to like the rain & after awhile it actually felt good. 

I returned home much more centered. I offered an apology for my temper tantrum & went to bed, sleeping like a baby until 6am. 

Thursday was a 12 plus hour workday. It was also Bob's memorial service. I went into the service feeling sad. I had googled his name & absolutely zero came up. It was as if in the eyes of the world he never even existed. Interestingly, this indigent man with no family, no next of kin & no trace of an online existence, filled half of the church with people there to celebrate his life. Who came? His physician, people in his support groups, his Tops checkout girl, me, and many others. Bob had a way of connecting with all the people he came across in his daily routine & life. He connected in the moments that most of us rarely pay much mind to. I mean who doesn't text while the checkout person is scanning your groceries? 

Bob didn't. 

Note to self. Be more present.

I ran another late nighter Thursday when I finally got home, 3 miles, 8:30 pace, 25:35 time.

I was off on Friday so I did strength training at the gym and cross training on an elliptical machine.

My long run on Saturday was tough, especially the last mile. I planned my route Friday night. It was supposed to be a beautiful day so I mentally mapped out a 10 mile lake side route. I only live about a mile from the lake. The challenge with the route is that it's super hilly. My mind loves running it while looking at the view & the amazing homes. My body? Not so much. It was challenging to say the least.

You can see why I love it.

I found this little water station at a pump house along my route and got to have an unexpected drink! Hoping it was clean water :)

I knew better than this but I wore brand new sneakers. This is a big no-no on a long run. Fortunately I only ended up with one blister. 

I wish I could say that I got some new insight from my long run this week but I didn't. It was just really hard. I wanted to stop multiple times. I just can't shake this tiny nagging discontent feeling lately. I keep telling myself there is absolutely no reason for it. Everything is as it should be. Everything is as it needs to be. 

Just the same the tiny nagging doesn't go away. 

Maybe a small dose of discontent can be the first step toward growth and change. After all, acting on the discontentment with my life and my body drove me to run my very first mile 3 years ago, right? Maybe discontentment is the first step to something bigger, something better? All good but still hard to sit with when you are the one experiencing it.  

The only thing I know for sure is that I'm supposed to keep running. I'm supposed to keep going. Giving up is not an option.

Oddly, the mix of the pleasure and the pain of running soothes my soul. It makes me feel alive. I used to think that was strange until I started reading, Ultra Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes.

"During a period of great emptiness in my life I turned to running for strength..... 
Pain and suffering are often catalysts for life's most profound lessons."   Dean Karnazes  

Maybe there's a lesson around the corner. I having a feeling there might be.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Marathon Traning Wk 2: Long and short term goals

It's been a good training week, you guys! The past week has been full of bits and pieces that I was having a hard time putting together until today's long run.

Here's the nitty gritty running piece.

Tues 4 mile run, 34:02, 8:29 pace
Wed 3 mile run, 27:26, 9:08 pace
Thurs 3 mile run, 27:53, 9:16 pace
Fri off
Saturday 9 miles, 1:23:30, 9:13 pace, MYRTL exercises
Sunday cardio, weight training, MYRTL exercises

The 3 consecutive shorter runs were a little easier this week. My legs were less tired by Thursday than they were last week. Maybe my 42 year old body is getting used to this 20 year old training program?? I'm still pretty exhausted though so I'm not convinced yet! Nonetheless it's been encouraging to notice how my body is starting to adjust and feel stronger. I absolutely love that feeling!

So this week I had to make a decision. I let go of the Wineglass Marathon for this year. No one was getting back to me and I had to commit to the other marathon or I could be left "marathon-less" come fall! 

After lots of thought I decided I would do the local marathon. It seemed the right decision when I finally let go of the Wineglass. The Wineglass is amazing and definitely a race I want to do eventually. But it seems fitting that I cross the finish line of my first marathon in my home now, with my family and friends here. Corning and Elmira represent my past. It used to be my home. But my life is here now. 

So with that I made nice with it all!


The local marathon is a week earlier than the Wineglass, which translated into needing to play catch up! 

After getting lots of opinions and doing my own soul searching I decided this was the right week to get caught up & on track. So rather than do the scheduled runs for this week (this week was scheduled as a step back week 3,4,3,5 mile runs) I cautiously jumped ahead to next week's training. 3,4,3,9 mile runs.

It was a calculated risk. I was a little concerned about the peroneal tendonitis rearing it's ugly head. So in spite of wanting to run faster on today's 9 mile run, I ran it slow and conservatively. 

Every time I wanted to let loose I reminded myself of the marathon and my long term goal. I don't have to crush every run with a PR. Sometimes you have to let go of the short range goals if you want to achieve something bigger and more important. 

I started applying that to so many parts of my life. Specifically, it reminded me of my friend, Bob. 
Bob is a guy I know with mental health issues. He is a great big guy with long dark brown thinning hair and a stutter when he speaks.

I remember the first time I met him and exactly what he said to me as I was walking down the hall (And I quote) "Excuse me ma'am? You have really pretty hair." I liked him immediately :) 

We had lots of talks together about everything from his life in the 60's to politics to the local grocery store chain. We disagreed on many things, but the older I get the less that matters to me. I will take a genuine, kind person I completely disagree with any day over a fake agreeable smile. 

So Bob helped me a ton with a project I was leading. I was a little apprehensive bringing him in at the beginning. I take no credit for doing so. My co-worker actually pulled him in to help us. My co-worker would comment often to me noticing how happy & useful it seemed to make Bob feel. He was right. Bob beamed. 

At the end of the project, I invited Bob to the group celebration I put on. He called me 3X about the invitation! He wasn't sure he could make it. But the day of the party he was the first person there. 

Again, he arrived beaming. I had written a funny poem about the craziness of the project to read to the group and Bob was the first person I mentioned. He actually brought a ton of laughter to the whole project experience. I also handed out certificates for fun and he received "Mover Extraordinaire" He was on cloud 9.

The party ended and I was trying to clean up to get to my next meeting. Bob had asked me if he could please have a copy of the poem I had written. I was in a huge rush and I would be lying if I said I wanted to stop to make a copy for him. At first, I said I would make one and give it to him the following week. 

But then, for some reason, (one I will be forever grateful for) I changed my mind and made him the copy. The look on his face was priceless. He pulled out a pill bottle with change in it and offered me money for the copy. It sparked a long conversation where he shared with me that he had in fact been a published poet. We made a plan for him to bring in his poetry for me to read the next week.

He never brought in that poetry. 

Bob was found dead, very unexpectedly, in his apartment this past week.

I was shocked to say the least. I have since learned that Bob had been adopted as a child. He had no living parents or siblings or family. We at work were his only family.

So on my 9 mile run today I thought about Bob when I wanted to run fast but had to slow down. Sometimes you have to slow down in order to reach your long term goal. It's fine to aspire to be on time to meetings & such but you also need to keep your long range goal in mind as you move through life. Life is about so much more than meetings, being on time, speed, and finish lines. Life is also about the journey & the people you meet along the way.

I have learned 2 valuable lessons through Bob that I will surely remember for the rest of my life.

People always come first. 
And live today because tomorrow may never come.

So many of my life lessons come from the people & places I least expect. I'm so grateful running somehow helps me recognize them and pull it all together.

Rest in peace Bob. You made a difference in my life, my friend.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Marathon Training Week 1

Here I am. Once again. This will be my second attempt to run a marathon. Second time's a charm, right?

So are you wondering why I decided to do this? Me too! Just kidding. Sort of. The truth is that I am drawn to run a marathon for a whole bunch of reasons I am unable to articulate clearly. It just feels like I am meant to do it. Is that weird? I had come very close to running one last year when at the very end of my training, having just hit an 18 mile long run, I broke my rib. It was heartbreaking.

Since then, I have wrestled with whether to try again. I have been running without a plan and in spite of my running partner regularly yet kindly suggesting that I may need a goal, I have been running around feeling lost. 

I was afraid.

That's especially interesting considering my theme since Mother's Day has been "brave." I was actually asked to give the Mother's Day homily at my church. I had a hard time deciding if I should do it. I ended up saying yes after I went out for a run and in my head and heart asked my mom what I should do. As soon as I asked the question, the song, "Brave" came on. I immediately knew I had to find my courage to say what I want to say.... And let the words fall out. Honestly.... I included the audio link at the end if you are interested in giving it a listen :)

So back to why I have been afraid to just set the marathon goal again. It was harder to commit this time around. First, I'm guessing, because I knew what was coming. I had already had a taste of the hard work, the commitment required and the utter dedication needed to make it to the start line, let alone the finish. It's really hard. Really hard. And if it weren't everyone would do it, right? Like a friend told me last year, if you finish a marathon you are automatically a 1%-er. I'm still not exactly sure what that stat means, but I liked it immediately and I still do!

So here's how I found my brave and how I arrived at the end of my first week of marathon training for the second time.

I had this dream.

I was in a crowded room sitting by the 91 yr old marathon runner, Harriette Thompson. We both seemed to be waiting. As we sat there my mom appeared across from us the moment the thought of her came into my mind. She looked at me with an expression I had never seen on her face when she was alive. It was as if she were seeing me for the very 1st time. I broke the silence & said, "I miss you, mom."

My mom leaned in & wrapped her arms around me to hug me and as she did, she slowly disappeared into me. My arms were left wrapped around my own body. 

It all seemed so real. I woke up literally crying in my sleep but with this intense urge to register for the full marathon. My fear was just gone. I knew it was time to try again.

So on to the good stuff! Week one is done! Here's what my week looked like from a training perspective. I am using the Hal Higdon Marathon Training schedule:

Monday Rest day
Tues Ran 3 miles Fast!
Wed Ran 3 miles Not quite as fast! I started feeling 42...
Thursday Ran 3 miles A little fast
Friday Cross training at the gym and weights. Arms, abs, and legs
Saturday 7 mile long run, slow
Sunday Cross training at the gym

The above was fit in between working full time, my business, the kiddos soccer practices, piano lessons, 3rd grade orientation complete with a crash course in the Common Core (I will save that for another post!) and my sister Mary's 60th birthday!! My sister Mary got sick at 2 years old with a high fever. The fever caused her to have convulsions and her brain was deprived of oxygen. She went into a coma. First the doctors said she would never come out of it. She proved them wrong. Then they told my parents she would be what they called a "vegetable" all her life. Wrong again. Lastly, they said she would be lucky to live to puberty. You tell me?? She looks more alive and happy than most people I know!! It was a very special day :)

Oh and I almost forgot....a dog-napping! Some neighbors kids decided to go in the back yard and dog-nap our cute little Chloe! Look at this face...... Poor girl. I'm happy to say she is home safe and sound :)

So how has the marathon mental training been going? (This is hardest piece for me) I crushed my very first 3 mile run with a personal record of 23:43, a pace 7:53 per mile! I felt amazing!!! It put my mind set right where it needed to be.

The next day was harder and slower with my 3 mile pace at 9:02 per mile. My brain was a little less positive. The 3rd day I felt pretty tired. I don't think my 42 year old body is used to the consecutive running days yet but I ran 3 miles at a pace of 8:46 per mile. Think 91 year old runner. Endurance, baby. Gotta rebuild the endurance :)

I took Friday off from running and I tried to prepare for Saturday's long run. I decided I was going to make the decision to look forward to it. It was like rekindling a relationship with myself. My long runs used to be sacred to me last summer. I always came home from them more peaceful, centered and feeling like a real bad-a$$ :) So whenever my fear and lack of confidence crept in I reminded myself of all of those feelings. I kept my self talk positive.

And guess what?

Saturday's 7 miler felt great!! Well, the first mile sucked. Actually the first and almost half of the second. I argued with my brain during that portion. 

It was all the old stuff........My ankle hurts. I think the side of my right foot hurts. Oh man what if the peroneal tendonitis comes back? Wasn't it my left foot, not my right last time? What if I don't make it? I don't want to let people down.

But by mile 2 I had settled in my pace and I had gotten into my bubble. My body felt really strong. I loved the feeling of my tight, (albeit sore!) abs. It reminded me of my strength. Maybe that's part of my attraction to the marathon? It reminds me that I am a survivor. I'm strong. I'm alive. It connects me to something I can't explain.

Thanks for coming along this journey with me! I'm heading into next week feeling ready!! Bring it!

Link to my Mother's Day audio homily
Disclaimer: Keep in mind.. I am a writer, not a public speaker! This was recorded in front of over 1,000 people and I was reallyyyy nervous!