Friday, January 25, 2013

Cold and Contentment

Sitting in Starbucks this morning waiting for my friend and partner in running this morning to show up, I was reminded of just how normal I think I am - and how the rest of the world may not have the same view.

Sitting there in my two layers of running tights, Smartwool shirt, short-sleeved technical shirt, running jacket, hat, scarf, and mitts - and running shoes of course, watching the snow gently fall outside, and trying to shake the chill I had gotten running from my car to the coffee shop, I was asked not by one, nor two, but three different people if I were actually going running outside.  The short answer: but, of course.

Being a runner and living in the north, where snow and cold are common in the winter months, and being part of a larger running community, I find it completely normal to run outside all year.  (After all, doesn't everyone do it?)  I don't even think about it too much.  In fact, beyond contemplating how the weather impacts my wardrobe, I don't really think about it too much at all.

Of course, there are exceptions.  For example, when the temps dipped to around zero degrees this past week and the windchill was in the negative 20s, I did opt for the treadmill and the track.  However, if I were feeling a bit more spritely and not in that post-marathon (love how I can work that into every post?) lull, I probably still would have gone outside.

To the greater world around me, though, I imagine it must look a bit odd - running in this weather.  Most people are cursing the cold and wind, and here we are embracing it.

Sure, the conditions weren't the best.  The footing was awful, and the wind was biting at times, but is there any better time to feel alive than in the cold winter air, when you can see your breath in the cold, and your fingers and toes tingle from the frosty air?  I don't think so.  I love winter running.  In fact, I love it so much that when I am asked if I am running outside in the cold, I think about the question in about the same way the inquirer thinks about the activity I am undertaking.  How odd!  Why are you asking?

Today's questions, however, didn't make me feel odd at all.  In fact, rather, they made me feel more like a rockstar. Maybe it was the snowfall or the caffeine, but I think everyone there was in a jovial and magnanimous mood.  I felt I was in a small way a source of wonderment for those curious few, and apparently I looked approachable enough to ask - not a given from this Detroit-raised gal.  Who knows.  Maybe I inspired someone to lace up their shoes, bundle up in layers and give it a try himself one day.

As to the run, it was great fun kicking through the snow.  Three friends showed up instead of the one I was expecting, which of course triples the fun.  Additionally, I saw two other people who I happen to know just hanging out.

There are days when things just come together and I feel at peace.  This was one of those days.  I love the feeling that I am part of a community, and it's great to have a day when you have the peace of mind to slow down and realize that despite the wind, snow, and cold and a gloomy sky, things are good.  Running does that for me.  It really helps me tap into that peace-of-mind part of me and helps me see the good in things.  Hopefully it does for you, too.
Happy Running!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Post-Marathon Recovery is a Pain in the Big Toe

So, you ran a marathon. What have you done for me lately? This is what I asked myself this morning, as I sat here grinning ear-to-ear knowing that my morning run had been pushed back a day, leaving me to, well, pester you all.

I am still a newbie when it comes to recovery efforts, and I usually end up doing something I regret later, so I am really trying to take it easy in these first few weeks back - you know, before I roll over into 50K training.  Luckily, this time around, I am still so fatigued from the effort of running the marathon that any major jumps in activity have been impossible.

Here's the breakdown of what I have done since the 26.2:

First Week: OFF, except for walking around everywhere on vacation
Sunday: 6 miles treadmill, slow and with walk breaks
Monday: 2 miles track, slow, followed by approx. 2 miles on the elliptical
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: 4 miles treadmill, slow and with walk breaks
Today: OFF

I am not too bothered by the general fatigue I have been feeling.  I know by following up the race with a week of vacation that I didn't exactly optimize my recovery: food choices weren't the best, too much wine and/or beer, and generally not a lot of sleep.  I accept the fact that it might take a few weeks to get back up to snuff. 

Right now, though, I am trying very hard to balance getting back into the swing of things with not overdoing it.  I count myself lucky that I didn't pull something during the marathon where I would now have to deal with that.  In fact, unlike when I did Lakefront Marathon a year and a half ago - where I had pains that cropped up from the start and I had to deal with them the entire race - Disney was mostly uneventful.  I was pretty comfortable running the entire time - except for getting tired towards the end.  The only complaint my body made had to do with my feet.  The pounding really got to them after a while.

In fact, maybe not surprisingly then, the strangest fallout from the marathon has been a lingering soreness at the base of one of my big toes.  It's a strange sort of soreness, and it didn't crop up until three days post-marathon.  I was doing toe lifts.  Don't ask me why.  I think I was amazed that my feet still worked after all the pounding they had taken.  Anyway, I was wiggling my toes around, isolating my big toes, lifting them, etc., showing off to myself essentially how strong my feet were, until they weren't.

See, apparently, doing toe lifts a few days post-marathon just because you can is a dumb idea, because not long after doing this little exercise in foot-strenghth ego-feeding, I developed this weird pain.  It's weird in that it doesn't hurt to walk or run, and it doesn't hurt to lift or move my toe around.  It hurts though when it is touched.  In fact, it's bothered by actions as benign as putting a sock on or having the shower water fall on it.  I have no idea what that means....irritated a nerve?  Pulled a tendon?  Also, I would say that big toe doesn't move as snappily as the other.  It seems a little slow on the uptake.

This seems like only something I could do, and I want to smack myself on the forehead every time I think of it.  After all, who needs to be doing toe lifts on the beach anyway?  At the time, it was probably the only part of me that WASN'T sore.  Now it's the only part of me that is.  Go figure.  Luckily, it is not an "OW!" sort of pain, more of an "I-wonder-what-that's-about" sort of pain.  In other words, I can live with it assuming it doesn't get worse.

In the meantime, I have gotten onto those resolutions I mentioned a few posts back and I have started the core program Hubby found.  The program involved a couple of arm-weight exercises yesterday, and now my arms are sore, too.  It's nice to have balance, right? 

Happy Running!

How do you handle post-race recovery?  Any tips or tricks?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Disney Marathon Race Report

Is it a sacrilege to have a running blog and NOT post a race recap after a major goal race has been run? Probably, so here is my attempt at a wrap-up of the Disney Marathon. The problem is that it was such a great race - and a fun vacation all around - that it is hard to neatly and concisely write up the event.  So, here's my attempt.  Warning, though, this is very much written just as it occurred to me.  It's very much stream of consciousness.

What's to say about the Disney Marathon?  It was a really fun run.  I had a great time (as in enjoyed myself), but not a great time (as in how fast my legs carried me).  In fact, it was the slowest marathon I have ever run - not that I have done that many.

My official chip time was 5:28:46.  (My watch time was 5:22, but I did pause it for potty breaks.  Of course, my watch also recorded 26.6 miles, but that is another story....)

While 5:28:46 (or even 5:22) is a far cry from the original goal time of 4:40 that I had originally set for myself, it is perfectly in line with my revamped goal of just finishing and having fun.  Strangely, with that finish time, I still placed in the top half - barely - of total finishers.  That still blows my mind - the fact that I could finish in five and a half hours and still finish in the top half of a very large field.  That should give you an idea of what this race is about - it certainly isn't about speed.

For me, race day morning started at 2:55 a.m. when the alarm went off.  Talk about a rude awakening.  I can't remember the last time I had to wake up that early....oh right....I think N-E-V-E-R.  We were staying on the property at the lovely Polynesian Resort, one of the host hotels, so aside from actually getting out of bed, the pre-race preparations and transportation were really made easy.  Of course, it helped too that Hubby had run the half marathon the morning before, so he already had everything figured out.

After getting dressed and doing the usual potty breaks, we headed downstairs to Captain Cooks - a little cafeteria style eatery on the first floor, which had opened early for runners.  I was really happy to see they were selling those instant Quaker Oats cups and bananas, so I picked up those as well as a juice to share with Hubby and a cup of coffee.  I mixed up the oatmeal and then carried everything off to the monorail.  An easy ride over had us to Epcot and the race start before 4 a.m.

4 a.m.! What the...??!?!  Trust me, if it were up to me, I would not have been there that early.  We were told in our pre-race information that they wanted us on transportation by 4 a.m. and in our start corrals by 5 a.m.  Since I was traveling with Hubby, who likes to be insanely early to race starts, this is what I got.  To be honest, this was the hardest part of the race for me.  It was hard to get up and moving so early, but mostly I hate getting to things early, because I hate to wait around.  In fact, that very thing is what will probably guarantee that I am never tempted by the Goofy Challenge.  Who wants to do that two days in a row?  Well, not me.

Hubby and I got to the start and were there when they opened the gates for us to start our walk to the corrals.  After a bit of a walk, we finally made it to our corrals.

Hubby and I at the start....
As Hubby was in corral A and I was in corral D, we said our good-byes and went our separate ways.  I think I was in my corral by 4:30 or so.  Then it was a long wait until my 5:56 scheduled start.

Huge TVs set along the corrals kept us entertained with pre-race hoopla as
20,000-some runners continued to stream in. 
Notables like Jeff Galloway were interviewed, and Mickey,
Donald, and Goofy made an appearance too to send us off.
Finally, around 5:30 a.m. the first runners were sent off to the cheerful explosion of fireworks.  Rather than having one start and then letting the corrals filter out as they may, each corral had its own start with countdown, fireworks, and everything.

By the time the gun went off for the Corral D start, I was fully energized and ready to RACE!  Well, ready to shuffle forward anyway.  Congestion at the start of the race was unbelievable.  Couple that with the fact that we were in fact running in the dark and you have the makings of a slow start.  In fact, looking down at my watch to check my pace, I was startled to see I was running slower than a 13-minute mile.  (The sad part is that I felt like I was going too fast!  haha)

This is a Galloway-endorsed event, not to mention that I think a lot of people just do it for fun.  That being said, the one complaint I could make about the race itself has to do with the number of walkers.  That may sound odd coming from a gal who employs a run/walk method herself.  However, when you have that number of people doing a run/walk, you are surely going to come across some folks who do it poorly.  And, I did.  If you are going to walk during a run, then move off to the side.  Don't just stop in the middle of the path.  And, for goodness sake, do NOT walk five abreast, when the path only fits five.  Of course, most people doing the walk breaks were very considerate of those behind them, and the couple of cases I have mentioned here were overwhelmingly the exception and not the rule.  I even learned a thing or two from the hardcore Galloway folks, like raising your hand before walking.  I didn't know that was a common practice but apparently it is.  You learn something new every day.

I think my main gripe with the race congestion is that it never let up!  This is the only longer distance race I have done where the crowd of runners NEVER thinned.  From start to finish, it was essentially shoulder-to-shoulder.  While it was nice for once not to feel like I was just left in the dust, by the last quarter of the race I really wished I had just been left in the dust.  :)

So, back to the start, ... Having sat in the start corral for an hour and a half after finishing that lovely cup of coffee, I had to pee.  Badly.  So, given the first good set of porta-potties in the first mile, I had to stop to take a bio break.  I wasn't the only one and ended up waiting in line for several minutes for a turn.

Getting back into the run, I was finally able to start enjoying myself.  I didn't worry about my pace at all, which of course takes a lot of stress off of a race.  I went into this knowing I was undertrained and with bigger goals on the horizon.  So, I really just planned to run for fun, taking a one-minute walk break every mile, as well as walking through the water stations, and I stuck with that plan until mile 20 or so.

There were a lot of highlights to the race - fun moments running through the parks.

Magic Kingdom was definitely my favorite.
Cinderella's Castle was all lit up, and as the sun
was coming up, I got there just in time to really
be able to appreciate it.
We even got to run through the castle, which was fun.
Saw a lot of princes and princesses, not to mention every other Disney
character you can think of.  Due to the long lines to get a picture taken
with them, I only queued up once for a photo op.  
The Disney Speedway...who knew they had that?  I actually dreaded running
this track thinking we would bake, but it was actually nicely shaded for the
most part.  I don't know who the car owners were (a classic car club?), but the
whole track was lined with neat cars to look at.  
Of course, these guys were my favorites....
...And this guy.  Don't know who the runners
Coming into Animal Kingdom, they had a line of goats to greet the runners...
So cute, but this is the guy I finally waited to get a picture with - Rafiki!  My kids
understand why! 
Despite the fun of running through the parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Speedway, ESPN Zone, and Epcot), there were also a lot of boring moments.  The parks are not connected to each other, of course, so there are many stretches on roads, running past the water treatment plant, going through back storage areas, etc.  Wherever you were, though, Disney did make it fun.  There were plenty of characters along the way you could have a picture taken with.  Comedic entertainment was provided, music, and trivia signs and inspirational signs.

There were about 20 water stations on the course, so for once I didn't worry about carrying a water bottle.  With a high temperature forecast for 80 degrees, I was careful to alternate between water and Powerade for hydration, and as the day wore on I started dumping water on my head at every stop.

Even being so far back in the pack, there was no shortage of water and the volunteers were encouraging us to douse ourselves with water to stay cool.  There was one sponge station where they handed out sponges, and that was nice - although I think they could have done that again.  There were also a ton of medical stations where they were doing who knows what.  I never stopped at one, but I was impressed with the HUGE vats of Biofreeze they had with pump tops. I have never seen so much Biofreeze. Towards the end, I considered getting some for my quads which threatened to seize up, but I ended up passing on it and was fine.

Nutrition-wise, I took three sleeves of Clif Blocks with me, cut in half.  My plan was to eat three blocks every 45 minutes, which seems to work well for me generally.  As I approached the time when I would have wanted that third set of blocks, though, I noticed that I was starting to get hungry - like give-me-food hungry.  Strangely, it was right around that time that a banana table popped up.  Talk about providence!  I ate a banana in place of the planned Clif Blocks and felt great.  In fact, timing-wise, I was able to do that again later in the race.  So, my food intake looked like this: Blocks, Blocks, Banana, Blocks, Blocks, Banana.  That worked out so well that I am trying desperately to think of ways to carry bananas with me when I run.  I never had tummy problems, in fact no discomfort whatsoever - and I wasn't hungry.  Bonus!  (As a side note, to the gustatory-minded, they handed out mini chocolate bars towards the end, too, but I passed on those.)

I have to say that this was the first marathon I have run where I actually ENJOYED the experience.  This is definitely the one to make me say I like going 26.2 miles and the challenge of it and I want to do it again.  Now, I am not sure if that is because this was DISNEY and not some other race or because I have finally gotten used to the IDEA of doing the marathon distance.  I guess my next race will help me sort out the answer to that.  What I do know is that despite the aches and pains I had fun.

As to the run itself, having only done an 18-mile training run leading up to this event, I was a little worried about when I would bonk - because I knew it would happen at some point.  I was pleasantly surprised when I made it past mile 18 and still was sticking to the one walk break per mile and I even made it past mile 20 with that.  At mile 20, though, I did start losing some of my enthusiasm and that is when I decided to pull out my Sansa and listen to some music.  Finally, by about mile 22 is when I decided to go to a two walk breaks per mile.  I knew it would happen at some point, I just didn't know when.  That I made it that far, though, was a small victory for me.

EPCOT! Finish is lens is blurry from all the sweat....
...Otherwise this picture would be a lot better.  I even tried to wipe the lens off,
but as you can see from this (second!) picture attempt, it did no good.  Ah well.
It would have been a nice picture!
As we entered Epcot - where the finish would be - and at about Mile 25, I started getting slightly emotional.  This surprised me because I thought I was beyond that at this point in my running life, but I guess not. It's nice to know you can still be moved.  I knew I was going to finish, and after my DNF in September that obviously meant a lot to me.

After choking back the tears at Mile 25, the finish was a bit anticlimactic, however.  :)

All in all, I was very impressed by how well Disney took care of the runners.  From the number of water stations and medical stations on the course to the constant reminders to hydrate and cool off, they really wanted participants to enjoy themselves.  Crowd support was phenomenal (not something I take lightly given how slow I am), and even at the early hour of the start there were a ton of people there to cheer you on.  Every park was lined with supporters cheering encouragement, although the stretches between parks tended to be quieter.

At the finish, they had misting stations to help cool runners down as well as bags of ice they were handing out.  I took advantage of both and probably made quite a sight with my ice bag on my head.  Volunteers were imploring people to drink up and rehydrate.  Massages were available at the end, but for a price and I hadn't brought any money with me.  Shuttles were there with clearly marked signs ready to whisk runners away to their hotels.

In the end, I guess I cannot say enough good about this event.  It really was fun.  I enjoyed walking around the parks later that day and the next with my race bling and shirt.  It was fun to see everyone else taking pride in their accomplishments, too, in the same way.

I am grateful to have a body that could allow me to do this, and I am grateful for the people in my life who support me in doing this.    Happy Running!

Marathon shirt as modeled by Hubby.
Proudly showing off my marathon medal.
Found my happy place after the race...a hammock strung between two palm trees
on the manufactured sandy beach of the Polynesian Resort.  I probably could
have hung out there (literally) for the rest of the day, but I ended up rousting myself
so that I could join Hubby, the GPs, and my kids at the pool - where I had a mai tai.
I know.  Life is rough sometimes, isn't it?  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Can One Resolve to Worry Less?

I have never believed in making resolutions for a couple of simple reasons....1) I can't seem to keep them, and 2) As stated in a previous post, I feel if you want to make a lifelong change you shouldn't set a start date to it, you should just go for it at the time it occurs to you.

But after reading one resolution-related blog, article, and Facebook status update after another this past week - from people I admire and trust - I had a bit of an epiphany.  I have a sneaking suspicion that people who set goals for the year might just get more things done.

Ok, did I just state the obvious?

Hard to know. Anyway, I started thinking, maybe I should just hang a couple of goals and intentions out there and then maybe, just maybe, I would actually accomplish them.  It seems like that might work a bit better for me than NOT having goals or resolutions and then - surprise - not accomplishing anything.

So, here we go....

Running goals:
  • A first ultra - a 50K in May (I am already signed up, so don't know if this counts as a new resolution)
  • Another Marathon (TBD, although an idea is in the works) - Fall
  • Another mud run
  • Fall 50 Pairs Relay - depends on if the person I would pair with wants to do it
  • Dipsea - I really want to do this race, but since it is extremely hard to get into and would involve not a little bit of travel, this is really up in the air....This is more of an intention that covers the next few day, I want to do this.
Other Fitness-Related Goals:
  • Clean up my core - By doing this four-week core program, which my hubby randomly found in a book, over and over again until I can go on to other core activities.  
  • Stretch more - I.e., commit and go to a weekly yoga class again.
  • Get the kids outside more - I want to find more ways to get my family involved in outdoor activities together.  In winter, that means snowshoeing and sledding.  E. and LG love the latter, but the former is obviously an acquired taste...and they haven't acquired it yet.  But I am going to keep trying.  I also want to see if I can get them up on cross-country skis this winter - at least once.  
Mental-Health Goals:
  • Try my hand at meditating.  I have already started this one and I am happy to report I can meditate for about 3.7 seconds before my mind wanders to my to-do list, wish list, shit list (not that I really have one; it was just the only other list word that came to mind).
And, this brings me back to my big goal... The big nebulous, intangible one...
  • BIG GOAL: Worry less.
Ugh. Ok.  So, this is one of those goals that no doubt is doomed to fail simply because of the unspecificity of the problem.  And, what's the problem?  Well, I am a worrier by nature and I almost feel like something is missing if I don't have something to be worried about.  In fact, I would say I am sort of attached to worrying.  Why?  I am not sure.  Born that way?  Nurtured that way?  It gives me something to do?

So, I want to try to shut this down.  But how?  I am going to start with baby steps.  Since I am an avid runner, I thought I would start there, and the part I am going to focus on is injury.  I am going to try to stop worrying so much about injury. I have a tendency to worry about every little twinge that comes my way, but I am going to try to tell myself to not do that.

First, if someone else is injured, I am going to stop automatically assuming that I will come down with the same ailment. (It's their problem, not mine.)

Second, if something does twinge, I am going to make note of it and then stop thinking about it.  Ninety-nine percent of the time, yesterday's twinge becomes today's nothing.  So, I am going to assume that every twinge today is tomorrow's nada - until it's not.

So, there you have it.....only days after stating how much I hate resolutions, I have completely flip-flopped and posted a bunch of resolutions.  And, I am going to put a start date to them - after the marathon.

Because as everyone knows, when starting anything new, you wait until AFTER THE MARATHON.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Winter Wipeout

"Oh, this is going to hurt."  That was the thought going through my head as I made my painfully-slow, but all-too-fast descent towards the cement during my most-recent face plant episode.

Yes, it's true.  Unbelievable.

I always joke that I can't run on the trails in the weeks leading up to a major race, because I always trip.  However, maybe I need to revise that now to include the roads as well.

During my last long-run of this training cycle - an eight-miler the week before the marathon - I managed to trip on a lip in the sidewalk and send myself sprawling.  Luckily for me, I somehow managed to catch myself with my hand and then roll onto my shoulder.  So, except for some bruising in the shoulder today, I actually don't feel too bad.

This brings up another thought, though, which is is it possible that the only two times in my running history that I have completely wiped out in icy conditions during winter running have not happened on ice but rather on a perfectly dry patch of cement?  It's embarrassing. now I am not sure what to do.  If I can't run on trails before races, and I can't run on roads before races, what does that leave me?  I thought the indoor track until my friend (and the only witness to my wipeout) pointed out that she has managed to trip on the track.  Hmm, the elliptical?  I am almost afraid of flinging myself off the machine at this point.

So, there you have it.  I think the only logical conclusion is that I should give up all activity the week before a race....perhaps just plan on sitting on the couch and eating chocolate.  Although, with my luck, I would probably choke on it.  Well, there's some food for thought.

Happy Running!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Marathoner or Just Someone Who Runs Marathons?

Am I a marathon runner?  (Rhetorical question, no need to answer.)

I know we have all seen posts proclaiming that you don't need to run a certain speed, a particular distance or a set event to consider yourself a runner.  The bottom line in these messages is if you run, you are a runner.  And, I firmly believe that....  Well, "firmly" in a standing-in-four-inch-spikes-while-balancing-on-a-skateboard-on-the-deck-of-a-ship-in-the-midst-of-a-rolling-storm kind of way.  After all, I know a lot of people who run who I wouldn't consider runners.  

Sacrilege, you say!  Unsupportive snobbery, you say!  Perhaps.  But I do believe there is a world of difference between someone who runs - even daily - for exercise, but could take it or leave it, and the person who runs only three times a week but would go insane without it.  I know people of both varieties.  The latter I would firmly declare is a runner.  The former, I'm still a little unclear on.

You see, to me, a "runner" is someone who is kind of, sort of obsessed with it.  You know, someone who .... shhhh....don't say it out loud, someone who is maybe, perhaps, just a little bit addicted.  

Hmm, interesting.  I think I just answered my own question.  I was going to do this whole post on how while I feel I am a runner, I don't really consider myself a marathoner - how despite having done two marathons and almost completing a third (and having a fourth coming up!) I still can't quite bring myself to hang that moniker around my neck as easily as the finisher's medals I have received.  The ability eludes me, like trying to view something through a shifting fog.  I was going to throw that out to the world wide web and ask how can that be.  However, I think I just answered my own question.

I don't feel like a marathoner, because I am not addicted to them - yet.  I am obsessed with the idea of doing them, but I can't not live without them.  

This all came about as I was reading another person's blog post on how running a marathon - as opposed to a shorter distance - is a life-changing event.  How the commitment to training and sheer difficulty make the accomplishment of it transformative in a person's life.  Reading that, though, I was challenged.  With the few marathons I have run, I have failed to feel afterwards anywhere near the same transformative effect that I felt after running my first half marathon, and I wish I knew why.  Certainly, the marathons were harder.  Certainly, they were intimidating.  Certainly, there was a level of commitment that just can't be matched by a half marathon training program. But, the truth is that I felt more transformed, more in awe of having done that first half marathon, than I ever did with either marathon.  

Maybe my inability to call myself a marathoner has to do with the fact that I know I can do more, but I am not addicted to them.  They have never called to me like running in general does.  After running my first half marathon, I was hooked.  I wanted to keep running.  I wanted to do more.  It wasn't easy.  God knows, it's never been easy or come easily, but I wanted to keep at it, keep plugging away.  After the marathon, meh....take it or leave it.  

Like an avid runner who can switch to the elliptical or a CrossFit class at any time, I can drop from a marathon without much thought.  The idea doesn't devastate me.

However, slowly, a transformation is taking place.  I don't know if a marathon will ever give me that big transformative effect or feeling of awe back - the one I felt after my first half marathon, and the one I felt after doing the Pikes Peak Ascent - but the idea has gotten hold of my brain that I want to do more of these things.  I want to work for them more.  I don't want to throw in the towel.  Maybe as my ability catches up with my desires, I am slowly becoming more addicted to running 26.2.  And, maybe then, I will be able to call myself comfortably and without hesitation a marathoner.

Either that, or I should quit now while there is still time.

Happy Running!

Friday, January 4, 2013

"Que Sera Sera" - F**k that!

So, is this the taper?  I have run two days in a row, and here I sit on my designated rest day itching to go running.  Hmmm, interesting.  Itching to run on a rest day does not usually happen, so I will take this as a good sign.

Only nine more days until the marathon, and I feel confused.  I am super excited for some reason....and determined.  More than anything I want to finish this race and have a good time doing it.

There is a small voice inside of me squeaking, though, what if you fail?

Normally, I am not one to contemplate failure too much.  Things will be what they will be.  And, my philosophy of late has been more if I can't finish a race then so be it...I don't finish it.  However, in 2012, I had two marathons I intended to do but did not - switching from the Kalamazoo Marathon to the Half was a no-brainer at the time because I was injured and didn't think I could recover quickly enough, however giving up on the Jungfrau at Mile 24 - while necessary - still sticks in my craw.   And, there is also a part of me that wonders if my philosophy of "it will be what it will be" isn't a bit to blame for my giving up on those two races last year.  Maybe if I had more of an attitude of Fuck what will be, I am doing it, those failed attempts wouldn't have happened.

So, as this race approaches, I would be lying if I said doubts weren't creeping in.  I can't help but think, what's going to go wrong this time that I won't be able (or willing?) to handle?  When the going gets tough - like I know it will seeing as I only did an 18-mile training run - will I just throw in the towel again?  Or, will I be able to gut it out regardless?

I am hoping for the latter.  I have had some friends suggest that given my training, maybe I should just do the Half if that is an option, but not this time.  This time, I am tired of missing my goals.  I am determined to keep this one and to finish it so long as I am physically capable.

Of course, keeping a goal and morphing it into something more manageable are two different things in my mind.  So, this go around, instead of shooting for a 4:40 marathon, which I was hoping to do, I am just now shooting to finish - happily.

I am also going to do a run/walk trusty Galloway method.  I keep trying to run entire races, but I seem to always fall back on Galloway.  What can I say?  It helps.  Anyway, I plan on walking a minute every mile as well as walking through the water stations.  Since there are 20 water stations on the course, I figure I will have plenty of walking recovery time.

I wish the day were already here, because I know this next week of waiting may just prove to be harder than the race itself.  Oh well, just another exercise in mental fortitude, I guess.

So, as always, Happy Running, or as they say anytime you call Disney - Have a Magical Day!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I'm back...maybe

It seems the past few months I have written - or almost written - a number of these posts.  I'm back, I'm gone, I'm back, I'm gone.  Right now, I am back, at least for a while.  I don't know.  Sorry if I seem to be suffering from a bit of blogging-induced confusion, but such is life right now.  Just at a time when I probably have the most to write about - life has been rather topsy-turvy - I don't really have a strong desire to write.  Ah well.

In fact, I am kind of wondering what I am doing here now.  Maybe it has something to do with the whole New Year thing.  You know, that holiday everyone makes a big fuss over: new year, new you and all that.

The thing is, I don't believe in New Year's resolutions.  Why?  Not sure.  Maybe because I learned a long time ago that I just don't have the wherewithal to keep them.  Or, maybe it's because I feel that New Year's resolutions are by definition doomed to fail.

According to The Free Dictionary:
res·o·lu·tion  (rz-lshn)
1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
2. A resolving to do something.
3. A course of action determined or decided on.
4. A formal statement of a decision or expression of opinion put before or adopted by an assembly such as the U.S. Congress.

Well, forget that last one.  That's not pertinent to the discussion here.  The rest, though, are.  If a resolution means that you firmly resolve to do something, putting a time designation in front of it - even one as open-ended as "new year" seems to create an impermanence to the determination.  What am I trying to say?  Essentially, no doubt what others have said before, if a resolution has a beginning, that already implies that there is an end, too.  And if you are trying to make a big change in your life, then it's best not to invite any sort of limitation to it.  Just my two cents.

Getting back to blog writing, though, what am I doing out here now if not because of a new year's resolution?  I don't know.  I guess I miss writing.  I am not sure I will stick with it.  I read all these great blogs and see how inspiring the writers are, and I just don't lump myself in with them.  I don't feel very inspirational, but at the same time I have no desire to maintain an open diary to the world.  I am trying to figure out where I fit in.

In the meantime, life goes on.  I have a marathon in a little over a week.  After a month of holiday madness, vacation, and illness, I can honestly say that training hasn't been all that great.  I only ever made it to 18 miles on my longest long run (I was supposed to do 22).  So, at this point, it will be what it will be.  I am still determined to do the marathon - regardless of how long it takes me.  After switching to the half marathon from marathon this past spring and then only making it to mile 24 in my fall marathon, I am pretty darn determined to finish this race - even if I have to crawl the last eight miles (which I fervently hope I don't have to do).

Happy Running!