Something’s gotta give

When life gets in the way, something has to give…

My marathon fell smack dab in the middle of my two busiest weeks of work in I don’t remember how long. Which means taper and racing and recovery all fell at oh, a really bad time.

Trying to fit life into your life isn’t always easy. And sometimes, something has to give. In my case…it was my blog.

For two weeks I’ve just been too exhausted to be creative. So my apologies to all of you.

I mean on one hand, it was nice that taper week coincided with 10 hour work days because I didn’t stress over not being able to get in runs. Lol But it also led to less relaxing than I wanted.

And last week, due to post-marathon brain and continued work crazies, I just didn’t have the brain power to write my race recap from Vermont City. I’ve tried to start it a few times…but it’s just not coming together.

This week, I’m finally getting my groove back and the creative juices are flowing once more.

I will try to get my recap done. But if I don’t – I’ll just say this…

The Vermont City marathon was freaking awesome. It was the most fun I’ve had in a non-Disney marathon. And I would run it again in a heartbeat. Amazing crowd support, gorgeous views and just a great upbeat vibe. I ran to all with a smile on my face and a spring in my step – even during the hard final miles.

I’m resetting now. Work is calming down. And I’m back relaxing, running, training and blogging.

Hope you’re all also finding how to fit life into your life. And that whatever has had to give, comes back to you as well.

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Be Present

Two simple little words that made a huge difference on Sunday.

Sunday was my last long run before the Vermont City marathon – a planned 22 miles. And I headed out early feeling calm and ready.

But, sometimes things don’t go quite as we plan and we end up needing a mantra to get us through. And sometimes that mantra finds us.

All was well until mile 10 when I stopped to pull my gel out of my pocket. And seeing a group of cyclists headed towards me ( knowing it could get dangerous if a car joined the mix on this narrow road), I opted to eat my gel there and wait for them to pass.

As soon as I started running again, everything felt tired and heavy. And the mind games started – you know…question everything.

I told myself it would get better. I told myself, just make it to 11 and see how you feel.

But I am an overthinker. In both life and running. I’m always planning ahead and then stressing over things that are like 2 months (or 5 miles) out.

I tried to calm myself with my usual “clear your head” “let it go” “just stop” kinda stuff. And I got to 11, then 13. And then, the my mind bounced around again.

I was thinking ahead to the next gel, and how far can I make it before I have to walk. And just generally worrying myself.

Then two words popped into my head. Be Present.

Just pay attention to where you are. Be in the mile you’re in. The rest will happen as it happens.

Stop and smell the lilacs. Bark back at the dogs. Watch the birds fly by.

Just be…

And I got to mile 16. And reminded myself again. And then to 18. At 18 I decided I was going to walk 1/4 mile so I could eat my chews. But after 1/10 of a mile I realized I didn’t need to walk and started running again.

To mile 19.25. Where again I was going to walk a 1/4 mile, but was fine with 1/10.

And I hit mile 20 feeling good. And ran all of mile 21, to actually a little past it. I took one last walk break of about .15. And then ran strong to finish at 22.02.

Looking at my watch I smiled. Because I realized that I if I can do this again in Burlington, I could walk the last four miles and still finish under 5 hours. Something even a month ago I wasn’t sure I could do.

I’m ready to taper. I’m feeling really good about the work I’ve put in. And I know, when I tow the start line in 11 days, I just need to remember to Be Present. ūüôā

Love the run you’re in

Sometimes, the run you get is exactly the run you need.

Even if you maybe kinda had the mother of all meltdowns before heading out the door.  LOL  Does anyone else do that?  Get SO worked up before going for a long run?  I mean, its not like my self-worth is based on how fast or how far I go on a Sunday.  And yet, sometimes it feels like it is. So I get buried under this imaginary pressure.

Especially as its now 25 days to Vermont City.¬† And this training cycle has been less than ideal.¬† Stuff going on every other weekend, challenging weather and well, this darn hamstring thing that just will not go away.¬†¬† Although in retrospect, its continually improving.¬† It just doesn’t always seem like it.

So yeah, facing the idea of 20 miles in the rain Sunday morning in addition to all that other stuff….I kinda freaked.¬† (Sorry babe!) And then went all suck it up buttercup and went.¬† And was greatly rewarded.

The goal was to start slow, and stay slow and see just how much of it I could do.¬† The 18 miles two weeks before, was a lot less running than i’d have liked.¬† So I had to tell myself, it doesn’t matter how slow this run is…if it helps you run them all.

I didn’t look at my watch…I felt it beep the miles, but I refused to be ruled by a number.¬† I saw a hawk sitting by a pond.¬† I saw a gorgeous fox run across the road.¬† I got a text of encouragement from the hubs (Thanks babe!).¬† I spent a lot of time telling myself to Get Out Of My Head and just run.¬† It got damp and it rained and my fingers became useless.¬† I found an aquatic creature out ‘swimming’ too.

I remembered Shalane saying at some point during the marathon it felt like she wasn’t even wearing shorts, and I knew EXACTLY what she meant.¬† LOL

When I hit mile 14 somehow miraculously still running, I aimed for 15.¬† When I hit 15 I tried for 16…¬† At 17, and still running (albeit likely slower) it started to become a mission.¬† And at mile 18, still running, I started to smile.¬† Cuz now it was game on and there was NO way I wasn’t finishing these miles running.

When my watched beeped the magical sound of mile 20 complete….I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.¬† Instead I texted my running friend (who was out running her long run in a matching outfit (twinsies, yay!)) and said “I ran the whole f@$%ng 20”.¬† I then slowly and gingerly ambled into the house (I finished .05 from my door – convenient!) and said “Guess what I just did!”

At that moment, it was the Best Run Ever.

I was tired.¬† I was sore.¬† And I was so incredibly happy.¬† Its not where I used to be…but it doesn’t matter. Because it was exactly what I needed that day.

A side note… today is also 5 years from the day I broke my hip in a running “accident”. Two weeks after my 3rd marathon (Boston 2013).¬† Spending four months on crutches and rebuilding almost from scratch for my 4th (Disney – January 2014) was a challenge.¬† Yet now here I am training for my 14th.¬† Its all about perspective.¬† Belief you can overcome anything…and that you can’t keep a good runner down.

Keeps Getting Better

I am oh…. thisclose to being back to normal. ¬†I can almost taste it.

I was running SO much better this week that I felt almost silly for spending close to 8 weeks wondering if this is my new normal. ¬†If i’d ever be my self again. ¬†The non-injury is finally down to one little tiny spot that still makes my knee twinge if I overstride, but we can deal. ¬†We have KT tape. ¬†And its magical…

Of course this progress comes just in time…as we’re a mere THREE DAYS to the season opener of Spring Racing. Yay!

First…how did the weekend go? ¬†Well, the hubs and I drove over to another part of town on Saturday for a 3-ish miler…and its going to definitely be one of our favorite run loops. Swans, waterfalls and just enough rolling hills to keep it interesting – and by mile 3 we had a great pace going (his fastest mile to date).¬†IMG_7544.jpg

Sunday was my long run. ¬†This marathon training cycle has been weird for me. ¬†We’ve had just enough weekend plans that i’m only getting in a long run every other weekend. ¬†But i’m trying to find that life-run balance and not freak out over missed 12-milers. Sometimes family and friends are more important. ¬†I just plan around to get in the ‘big runs’. ¬† So Sunday was a 16 miler – and I really wanted to run as much of it as possible, since 2 weeks ago i’d only run 10 of my 14.

I made it a full 13.1 before my legs were all WHAT?  And not only that Рbut I did it without needing to stretch every couple miles.  YAY. (I know РI feel silly being excited, but still.  I AM!)  But this was more my legs having lost some endurance than that anything was bothering me.

I ran / walked the final 2.9 for an even sweet 16. ¬†And then did the runner math…which leads me to believe that if I had to run Vermont City next weekend, I could pull off a 5:30 finish. ¬†And hopefully with another 53 days to go, I can pull off a sub-5. ¬†A far cry from a PR…but I’m really earning this one, whatever it turns out to be. The ones you have to fight harder for, usually mean more.

Anyhoo…. like I said, its almost Racing Season and i’m so happy. ¬†I haven’t done a race since the Dopey Challenge and what a long three months it been. ¬†I’m so ready to put on a bib and get back out there.

I’ve got four races on the schedule between now and June 1st and i’m looking forward to all of them:

  • Newport Night Run – April 7th
  • BAA 5k (part 1 of the distance medley) – April 14th
  • Providence half-marathon – May 6th
  • Vermont City marathon – May 27th

I’ve got different goals for each but fully expect to have a blast at them all. ¬†First up:NNR

The hubs is joining me for the Newport Night Run this weekend and i’m SO excited to race with him again. ¬†Even tho i’m making him race in the dark for the second time this year (lol) he’s a good sport about it. ¬†Newport encourages neon and reflective – and we fully intend to look like the 80’s threw up. ¬†ūüėÄ

If you’re running it too – come say hi, i’ll be the one in ALL the neon and a pink sparkle skirt.

Post-It Challenge

There is power in post-its.  A few simple words, written on one, can make you do things.

It can encourage, it can remind, it can keep you from eating crap.  LOL

See this week, my friend Amanda decided that she needed to break the post-year of Disney races carb cycle (you know, where you aren’t logging long runs, but your stomach hasn’t figured that out yet). ¬†And she needed a post-it to do it. ¬†So she wrote herself a note.

Another friend and I decided, sure, why not, and did the same:IMG_7524

Simple enough.  I also vowed to drink ALL the water (my water bottle holds 32 oz РI filled it twice).

But there needed to be a punishment for disobeying the post-it.  And, when one of my friend strayed (its okay Рcake IS pretty darn hard to resist), it was decided that push-ups would be the punishment.  That slice of cake called for 20 of them.

I got through day one NO problem….Day 2, was a little harder. ¬†The new post-it read “great job yesterday, keep going” ¬†I should have been more specific. ¬†LOL

I did okay all day long at work (Tho I verified my peanut butter was allowed. ¬†It was.). ¬†And driving home, when I was about to have some mike & ikes I paused, tried to figure out how many push ups it would be and decided it wasn’t worth it.

However, I really wanted a glass of wine last nite (I caught someone’s cold and my throat is killing me) and was going to have one, pushups or no.

After a lively discussion of ‘wine is fruit, its fine’ to ‘pushups per carb’ to ‘proportionate share based on the cake’s punishment”, I decided 10 was enough. ¬†Tho apparently a second glass was going to cost me 20 more. ¬†I only had the one glass. ¬†And did the 10 pushups.

Today is day 3 – and i’m thinking today’s post-it will say “Be Strong. ¬†Be Good. ¬†Eat Healthy” ¬† This is actually kind of fun… ¬†any of you ever tried it?

In other news…the non-injury just keeps getting better! ¬†While visiting family this weekend the hubs and I got in a really fun 5k run around Lake George – its so nice there in the off season. ¬†ūüôāIMG_7515

Which is great Рbecause Spring racing season is just around the corner.  First one will be the Newport Night Run on April 7th.

And we got this….because we are Post-it Strong!

Moments of Brilliance

That’s how I described my long run this weekend to a friend who asked.

It wasn’t great. ¬†It still isn’t ME. ¬†But it had moments of brilliance. ¬†And that’s progress.

At this point, i’m just happy for progress. ¬†I’ve been stretching like its my job, only running 3 days a week, doing strength work in the affected areas and still hoping that “faith trust and pixie dust” can add an extra edge.

Because, while as we face our FOURTH freaking nor’easter of the month, I know that racing season is rapidly approaching and i’m still kinda freaking out about the Vermont City marathon. ¬†After this weekend’s run tho, i’m feeling a lot better about it.

Because see….something finally went right. ¬†Around mile 4.

The first 3 miles were the usual – my hamstring feels wonky when I land, my hips aren’t doing what they should – but I knew i just had to work through it.

Just after I hit mile 4, everything opened up and I was running like normal. ¬†I don’t know how and I didn’t even notice until I started down a hill and was like WHOA, nothing’s shaking. ¬†I’m not questioning every foot placement. I’m running without thinking about running.

SWEET!

I ended up running to mile 10 – which actually is 2 miles further than the last long run – before the first walk break. ¬†I did have to stop and stretch every couple of miles, because things started to tighten back up. ¬†But that’s better than walking.

I did a total of 14.5 miles. ¬†At 13.17 I stopped my watch because 1), it was 3/17 and its ‘cute’ and 2) because I didn’t want longer walk breaks to screw up my recorded overall mileage pace. ¬†LOL

I still have a long ways to go in the next 70ish days, and I know that Vermont is going to be a slow marathon, but according to runner math, if all I can run is what I did this weekend and then walk the final 12, I can still finish under the time limit.

When I was running I had a mantra going – Every Step is Progress. ¬†I kept repeating it to keep my spirits up. ¬†Because its hard when you can’t run like yourself. ¬†When your slower pace feels as hard as your faster one used to. ¬†But attitude plays a HUGE part in running.

And while i’m calling this a non-injury (and as god is my witness I will never do standing dead lifts again) it’s still a road to recovery. ¬†I’m still coming back from something (albeit something stupid) and I have to be proud of the fight.

Everything but the kitchen sink

When you’ve been weirdly “injured” for a few weeks, and you realize it’s oh, around 90 days until your next marathon, you kinda start to freak out.

You check the race time limit to see if you have a chance even if your training is less than ideal.

You panic, you have a bit of a meltdown, and then you go zen. And you decide to throw everything but the kitchen sink at whatever the hell is wrong with your legs.

So over the past week I’ve done yoga, I’ve stretched, I’ve foam rolled, I’ve done hip exercises, I’ve foam rolled again. Yesterday I even got on the stationary bike.

And today…I actually had my best run in 3 weeks.

It wasn’t “normal” but it was progress. I called it at 3.5 because I knew they legs were starting to get wonky and I needed a happy run more than a longer one.

So it looks like all this rehab work is working. Yay!!!!

So I’m gonna keep doing what I’m doing. Rolling and resting and running smart. That way when the bigger miles kick in I’m ready for them.

I’m realizing that my chances of a marathon PR are extremely unlikely now. But that’s okay. The goal for this one now is just to survive the training and get my legs back.

We can do this.

PS… I think it’s a hip/glute issue.

PPS…the race time limit is 6 hours. No problem. ūüôā