So…what now?

When you have completed the biggest run challenge you’ve ever done…what’s next?

My friend said to me that Sunday, “You just finished the Dopey Challenge, now what are you going to do?” I’m going to Disney – oh wait. Lol

instead… it’s time for the three R’s. Rest. Recovery. Registration!

Because a runner without goals, is an unhappy runner. So this Dopey girl….is entering

Unicorn Mode!

Yep, it’s time for me to finally complete my set of unicorn medals and add the BAA 5k, 10k, half and medley challenge medals to my set of 3 marathon ones. 🙂 I want #alltheunicorns!

This year is the 5th Anniversary of the the only time I ever DNF’d. Me and a few thousand other runners. It wasn’t our fault. And thinking about it still raises so many emotions (anger, sadness, frustration). Since running the Boston marathon again this year wasn’t an option, this feels right.

I’ll still be able to cross the marathon finish line (during the 5k) marathon weekend, and that will be enough.

That logo above? It’s on the awesome raw threads tank that I ran my training run in this weekend. And it will likely be my race shirt for all 3 races (or at least the 10k – it’s probably gonna be hot in June).

Also, because I needed a marathon to train for too…Vermont City here I come!

Yep, I’m gonna go run with Meb again. 🙂 The last time I ran with him he won the Boston Marathon. I still remember running on the course in 2014 when the cheers of “an American won! Meb!” were passed along from runner to runner.

So I’m hoping this time the victory will be mine. You see, I want a shiny new PR. My old one feels a little dusty and it’s time to replace it.

It’s gonna take a lot of work, but it’s good to have goals. And if I believe in myself enough, and train my butt off, I know I can do it.

We’ve rested, recovered and registered. Now it’s time to get to work. 🙂❤🏃🏻‍♀️

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I kissed a unicorn and I liked it

How to train for a hilly marathon…
1. Run Hills
2. Kiss Unicorns
3. Embrace the suck

With 26 days to go until the Adirondack marathon, i’ve reached my peak mileage and am trying to face the fact that I don’t think i’m going to do well at the race.

Maybe its the weather, maybe its the strength training affecting my runs, maybe its stress, maybe its just a major slump. But even Big Papi had one and came back better than ever, so if it is a slump, I just gotta hang in there and muscle through until it breaks wide open.

Saturday was the first of my two 20-milers. And I spent a couple of days debating which I needed more – hills or an easy route I could build some self confidence on by doing well. I consulted my sole-sister coach. And she reminded me that running is 90% mental and the rest is all in your head… and to do what my instincts told me.

They told me – chase the unicorn.

Buried in the middle of the hilly park that I had to avoid a couple of weeks ago because of a 5k, is a unicorn statue. And I hadn’t visited in a while, so I mapped out an out and back (with a couple of loops in the middle).

My Adirondack simulation route – elevation chart…

Saturday morning was delightfully chilly…so I put on my lucky shorts, my disney marathon tee, my favorite turquoise sparkle visor, packed my buddy pouch full of gels and took off.

I wanted to run easy…to not push and save energy for the later miles. I cruised along enjoying the cool air and crushing the hills. And after a fun short steep one on my first loop of the park discovered this view…

As often as i’ve driven through there, i’ve never noticed. We just see SO much more on foot. And I continued on. And when I hit the ‘zoo’ after a long downhill, I said hi to the goats.

Second loop I found the unicorn. And with a kiss for luck (and a couple selfies) headed down the hill. 
 And down to a lower section i’d never been too. Where I found some crazy wooden flowers (and a nice clean portapotty). Of course, I regretted that detour when I had to go back UP the hill i’d been down. But its all good.

And when my watched beeped mile 10 I decided to stop on the stone wall and relax a minute to have my gel and water before heading out of the park and back along the route. Which was now some long downhill with a few ups. And by mile 13 my calves were mooing. Uh-oh. I stopped to stretch and knew I needed to refill my water because it was getting sunnier and warmer.

Yet, when I stopped at the only store between myself and home to buy water, it kinda didn’t work. It’s a small cafe in a garden center. And there was a group of girls getting fancy coffee drinks and after 5 minutes I gave up and left.

And at mile 14 when I had my next gel I kind of had a meltdown. I was hot, I was thirsty, and had my iPod had wifi service where I was, I might have called for a ride home.

And I had an epiphany…my body was reacting almost exactly like it did when I ran Adirondack in 2015. The hills had my legs like burnt toast and knowing how far I had left my mind started to play tricks on me and the doubt crept in.

So I stopped for a moment. Took a breath and sucked it up. I started walking. And made a deal with myself – 1/4 mile run, 1/4 mile walk, repeat. And sure, each mile got a little slower but I was still moving.

At mile 18 I was home and ran in to get some water before finishing the last 2 miles. I was hot and nauseous and SO dehydrated. But I was not giving up. I dry heaved a bit and the hubs said to me “well, if you’re going to throw up, maybe you shouldn’t go back out. Then again, if you throw up outside, its all just nature” hahahaha thanks babe!

I went out. With the plan to just walk the two miles. Also knowing, no way was I just walking. So I threw in some short run sections, just because. And…I finished all 20. The overall pace was slower than i’d hoped. But, I survived. I managed my mind and my legs and I never truly gave up.

And what have I learned from all this? That my next 20 miler i need to:
– Wear compression sleeves or socks
– Plan better water stops
– Run more hills
– Let it go 

The Adirondack marathon will never be a PR course for me. I think I will always struggle. Its the nature of the route. And while sure, i’d like to think i’ve gotten wiser and stronger as a runner and that I should be able to run it better than in 2015, I also have run enough to know that you can’t predict what will happen in a race.

So, I need to view this less as a race and more as a 26.2 mile adventure. A loop around the lake with something shiny at the end. And I love shiny things. 😁

Do you believe in magic?

When I was twelve I had a favorite bookmark. It was a field with a unicorn (which was my favorite animal at the time) and a quote – “some things have to be believed to be seen”

The fact that I still can exactly picture it 30 years later must mean it really struck a note.

I do still believe that there are things out there that, if you keep an open mind, will make themselves seen. The world works in mysterious ways.

This year, my third year in a row running the Boston marathon (and likely my final) will be special.

Not just because the race icon (mascot?) is the unicorn.

And not just because “third time’s the charm”.

And not just because my bib number starts and ends with 3 (32013).

But because together…it’s greater than the sum of its parts.

It’s magic.