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Thursday, June 26, 2014

the power of orange


i don't care if it's your first or 8th marathon.  you still have "that moment".  that moment is where you are not sure if you can continue on.  it's where self doubt creeps in and all confidence you may have had flies by the wayside.  it is what you chose to do in "that moment" that can make or break your race.  here's my story from charlevoix....the marathon that taught me the most about myself:

3:45:00

the only good thing about turning 40 this year is that i move up to a new age bracket and gain 5 minutes on my qualifying time for boston.  after crossing the finish line 20 minutes before disaster struck in boston in 2013, i just knew i had to go back.  so badly, in fact, that i attempted to requalify in a race just 1 month after.  needless to say, that didn't work out so well.

so i set my sights on a marathon this summer in charlevoix.  i trained in the polar vortex, battled injury, and trained some more.  on marathon day i woke up to a perfect morning for running.  i toed the start line with a few friends from my running class and had zach cued up on the bike to cheer me along.  some of my closest friends would be at the finish line to celebrate my BQ (boston qualifier).  my mom and other close friends anxiously waited by their phones for updates from zach.  how could i not do this today?

it couldn't have been a more beautiful backdrop with lake michigan glistening in the distance as we started off.  my first 16 miles were effortless...on pace to run a 3:40 which was my goal to be 5 minutes under my qualifying time.  everyone needs a little wiggle room!  i saw zach at every 2-3 miles where he flashed his camera. i was all smiles. i am high fiving kids, thanking volunteers, and passing people, offering them words of encouragement as i zoom by.

probably around mile 8 feeling footloose and fancy free

then something happened around mile 16.  i was tired.   panic started to set in.  10 more miles of path laid in front of me and i was already freaking exhausted.  in the distance i saw zach with his camera, poised to capture my elation.  not so much.  

this picture says it all.  i am about to throw my spibelt to him and call it some not-so-nice names.  needless to say, the camera went away after this shot.

"i can't do it anymore", i tell him.  "i am just so tired", i complain.  my husband's response is, "do you want me to get the car?".  no, i don't want you to get the car...maybe a ride on your bike...

self doubt settles in as i try to press on in full concentration mode. with every water stop, i creep down to a walk. my pace drops and i realize that my boston qualifying dream could be slowly slipping away.  at mile 21 i need to be at 3 hours to be on pace.  i am at 2:59.  i keep telling myself  "keep it steady. keep it strong" over and over.  remember all those folks i passed?  well, some of them passed me.  there was one women that i had been trading places with the whole race.  she, also, was in an orange tank top. she flew past me (i swore she was on rollerskates), touched my elbow and said something like "you got this.  stay strong".  i would have responded but i was listening to kelly clarkston blaring in my ear "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  stand a little taller."

keep it steady.  keep it strong.

i kept her in my sights for the next couple of miles and then when we got off the path she disappeared.

full on concentration mode.  probably around mile 20 or so.

i somehow make it to my last water stop at mile 23.  zach is waiting there, looking a bit concerned.  i yank my headphone out of my ear and he calls out to me "you can still do this.  but it all depends on what you decide to do these last 3 miles".  my response to him is "i don't think i have it left in me". 

friends,  i could have SO easily given up.  i was SO tired.  my quads were screaming.  my hamstring felt like it was going to rip in half.  i couldn't imagine that i had anything left in me to stumble through 3 miles, let alone finish 3 miles at a pace faster than what i started at.  my grasp at boston was slowly letting go.  

so i had a little talk with myself. a little come to jesus.  i thought about the victims at boston and their strength to persevere.  i thought about a friend's little girl who would never herself feel the joy of running, but has the strength to fight Alexander's disease. i thought of a young mother whose life tragically ended on a morning run. i thought of a strong young woman that never gives up, despite a muscle disease that now has her wheelchair bound yet she continues to run races with a buddy in a freedom chair.  then, i thought of everyone who believed in me.  and i slowly started to believe in myself.  

i dug deep.  i am not sure where it came from but i just took off.  one foot in front of the other.  mile 24 approaches. you can do this.  katy perry screams in my ear that i am a firework. in the distance is my orange tank top friend.  just get to the orange tank top friend.  mile 25. in a fog i look at my watch. it is going to be close.  i mean, really close.  zach appears next to me on his bike. i give him a nod. i know what i need to do.

pour. it. on. 

mile 26.  i round the corner and see my friends screaming at me.  and then, i see the finish.  i sprint for the end, cross the line and stop my watch.

3:44:39

i look up and there is zach.  "you did it!" he says. i can't believe it.  i don't know what to believe.  the friend in orange finishes behind me and embraces me in a huge hug.  she tells me that she has qualified for boston 15 minutes ahead of her goal.  and she thanks me for pushing her the whole race.  funny, i thought she pushed me.  my friends come tearing down the to finish and it's sweaty hugs all around.  no tears yet...i sweat out all my salt.  

the friend in orange gives me another hug as we leave the finisher's chute and says to me "i knew as soon as i saw you along the course that we'd be running strong together.  it's the power of the orange. we did it!!". funny, i thought the same thing.  the power of orange.  boston, here i come.  


"it's always been inside of you...and now it's time to let it through..."




Saturday, March 22, 2014

haters gonna hate

i really hate a 5K. 
ah, i guess that is a bit harsh.  but give me a marathon or half marathon any day over 3.1 miles.  with a marathon you get to warm up during the race; you've got hours to make up time.  a 5k you'd better start all out or else you are done.  with a marathon you are expected to eat a big old breakfast (and dinner!) before the race. unless you'd like to see that all over again at the finish line, you'd better be eating just a banana before your 3.1 race.
That is exactly why one of my goals this year is to run more of them.  Yes, they are fast and furious, but then they are done.  My torture begins today with the first 5K of the season: The Run for the House.  This is my 4th time doing the race;  I guess you'd say we have a little history together:

2013 (my current PR finish that i won't come close to touching today 20:52)
http://timeframephoto.exposuremanager.com/p/13rfth_5k_finish/13rfth-5kfinish-0020_11_241_2#sthash.TTqBkFAc.dpbs

2012 (21:24...again, pretty sure that's not happening today either)
http://timeframephoto.exposuremanager.com/p/12rfth-5k_finish/12rfth-finish-19_11_153_8_1#sthash.2VJYGGS7.dpbs  

spectacted in 2011.  lazy ass.

2010 (23:38 dear God i hope i beat that today...)
http://timeframephoto.exposuremanager.com/p/10rfth-awards/10rfth-awards-18_11_38_9#sthash.1EYsN1ht.dpbs

Will let ya know how it goes.  Main goal:  get out there and have fun.  And stop being such a hater.

Until next time, run happy friends!

**21:25 for 2014. i'll take it!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Dear Running Streak. Dear Marathon.

Dear Running Streak,
Well, it's been real fun.  58 days of nonstop running.  Through rain, sleet, snow, ice, wind, and early mornings (2:50am!).  Alone, with friends, or on the treadmill. We even had a couple of nice vacations together.
It's been real fun.
But here's the thing.  It's time for me to take over.  My dream is bigger and badder than you are.  I will test her body in ways that you couldn't even imagine.  And when I really start to ramp up her training, she will hurt.  She will be tired.  And, she will need a day to rest. None of this "just-running-a -little-2-mile-fluff-run-so-I-can-say-I-went-out-today" business.
So, it's been super cute while it lasted but this BAHG (big ass hairy goal) of re-qualifying for Boston in June?  Well, it trumps you.
Sorry to break you guys up.  It's not you, it's me.
Thanks for the ride.  Maybe we'll come back to you after June 21.
With love,
The Marathon

Dear Marathon,
First of all, that is a bit pretentious of you to put "THE" in front of your name.  I get it, 26.2 miles is no joke.  Quite the accomplishment.  Nonetheless, I think my gig is pretty sweet and nothing to blow over.  Not many people can run everyday for a week, let alone a whole year.  I don't think you give my end goal enough credit.  It IS hard to run everyday, all the time.  I guess I am too demanding and not very flexible with her time.  I get it. I understand.  
You two have fun doing your "marathon thing".  16 weeks of long miles, sweat and possibly tears. I hope you gain that 5 pound marathon weight plus a little more.  And don't come crying to me and my "little 2 mile fluff run"  on the eve of that last 20 mile training run...
Rats, there I go again. Sorry. I am being too harsh. You both deserve this...working to go to Boston again. Who am I to stand in your way?
I'm not bitter.  I promise.  Though, I may need to "unfriend" you on Facebook because I won't be able to stand hearing all the great times you share together.
Take care,
Your Running Streak

The marathon wins.  16 week training begins next week. Still follow me here as I jot down my highs and lows on the road to Boston 2015. 

Until next time...run happy friends!

yes. it's still winter out there.

well, it keeps on going...

day 56: inside for 3 miles.  treadmill, dreadmill. ho hum.
day 57: a few miles before run class...a few miles with run class... a few sprints...almost 6 miles
day 58:  happy birthday to kara!  a 5 mile run to celebrate

this could possibly be the most boring post i have ever done.

i will tell you that i fell off the detox wagon.  fast and furiously.  it started with needing some coffee to get me through our umpteenth snow day of the year.  and then, of course, i needed some wine later that evening to balance things out.  then it followed the next day by continuing with said coffee, and then sneaking a few crackers and. peanut m&ms.  then yesterday the wheels completely came off.  more crackers (i have slight love affair with triscuits), happy hour beer, cheesey baked ziti (havoc on my belly), another late night beer and onion rings. Fell off the wagon?  I'd say more like catapulted!

Until tomorrow...run happy friends!

Monday, February 17, 2014

snow.cold.wind. repeat

snow.cold.wind. repeat for like...ever.
day 53-the day the streak almost ended because my legs begged me to take a break.  but the sun was out.  quite the rarity around here these days. so I laced my sneaks and away I went for 4 miles.
day 54-just beautiful. 4.5 miles of running inside a snow globe.
day 55-the sun peeked out again in time for me to get 5 miles in.  tonight threatens more snow. sigh. 

on an unrelated to running note, i have started a little cleanse diet for myself.  i found that i have eaten naughty food and drank more naughty things than I really should be.  i feel sluggish and blobesque.  yes, blobesque is a word.   and always having a stomach ache is not cool. and shoving fistfuls of wheat thins in my face at work is super-not-cool.

anyway, i won't bore you with the details of the cleanse but basically doing smoothies for breakfast and veggie/fruit/nut/seed based meals and snacks for the first week.  no booze. no caffeine. so my love affair with strong Starbucks, cold cans of Diet Coke, and big glasses of red wine is being put on hold.  i imagine that next week i will bring the coffeemaker back on the counter (yes. i hid it.).  and, i am sure there will be a special occasion next week that warrants a beer to be drank (if anyone knows of any random holiday next week please let me know).  gradually i add back in seafood, gluten free grains, eggs, etc.  here is the plan if you want to check it out:
http://www.wholeliving.com/153124/how-2012-challenge-works/@center/152870/2012-whole-living-action-plan

wish me luck.

until tomorrow, run happy friends!


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Keeping on keeping on

Whoa.  I have 8 days of running that I have not kept up to speed on here!  I can't even say that I have been super busy...I suppose I have just been keeping on keeping on with the streak.  Rumor has it (within the rumor mill of my head) that this streak will end soon.  I am not sure when that will be, but with marathon training looming ahead for me, and the injuries I had last Fall, everyday running when hitting those big mileage numbers may not be in the cards.  I am at peace with it.  My marathon goals and qualifying for Boston are bigger than this streak.  It's not a matter of IF I can qualify for Boston again...it's when.  I made my Spring marathon commitment...Charlevoix June 21 (guess that is summer).  If it doesn't happen then...well, a Fall marathon may just have to happen.  I can't really say why I am so drawn to running Boston again.  Perhaps its because the whole process was a feeling that I can't quite explain: The hard work of training to qualify, the pay off of actually qualifying, the anxiety of applying to run the race, the anticipation of race day and finally toeing the start line.  


Oh yeah.  And there was the 26.2 miles after that where feeling like a rock star doesn't quite explain it. Then, the emotion of finishing the oldest and most elite running event in the world.  Yeah, I can't wait to do that all over again.

Then, what should have been the biggest party of my life, besides my wedding night (which was a pretty big freaking party), turns into the terrorizing scattered mess that has rocked my being forever. 

You know, I still have my "after party ticket" that they gave everyone when you picked up your bib at the expo.  The party was supposed to be held down by Fenway Park and we were going to drink Sam Adams 26.2 lager until the aches and pains of running 26.2 miles went away.  We were going to rehash the race, every single mile, relishing every little moment from Hopkintown to Boylston Street.

We never did get to that party because it never happened.

I use that ticket now as a bookmark.  It is tattered and wrinkled.  And whether it is 2015, 2016 or 2017, I can't wait to bring that ticket back to Boston and truly have a Post Race Party. Because we all deserve it.

Whoa. Not sure where all that came from but it felt good to get it out.

Well, the streak lives on.  I won't bore you will the details of the past 8 days of running but I can tell you the highlights:
Day 45 I ran my longest distance since NY Marathon!  9.5 miles
Day 47 a run with my pretty friends and snow covered eyelashes 5.25 miles

I hit day 50 with some of my favorite Running 102 friends in class for 4 miles of hillwork
Day 51 brought me inside to the Jenison Fieldhouse at MSU to run with my Master's running team (sounds a lot more fancy than it really is).  Coach Jim pushed us with a speed workout that still has my quads sore!
Day 52 9 miles on the snowy streets in DeWitt with my Boston Marathon buddies.  

Until tomorrow, run happy friends :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

an international affair

i took the running streak international baby.  i couldn't take the cold.  I couldn't do the snow.  I couldn't stand the ice. so off to mexico i go.

day 38 - one more day of snowy cold for 6.5 miles.

day 39- 6am flight to mexico meant waking up at 2:50 am to get my run out of the way.  yes, the younger version of me would have been stumbling into my dorm kitchen, dipping copious amounts of pretzels into a variety of dipping sauces in a drunken stupor.  the 39 year old version of me is hauling her ass into the marriott courtyard fitness center to run 3 miles on a treadmill while watching "Philadelphia" on the treadmill TV. between sobs i finished my early morning run.

day 40-slightly (understatement) hungover from both the mexican sun, humidity and tequila, zach, his friend and i get almost 5 miles in running within the beautiful resort just after sunrise.

day 41- 3 miles on the sugar-sand of maroma beach. quiet solitude. 

day 42-4ish miles on the roads of the resort.  stumbled upon a quiet path that had signs lining the way warning of various animals one may encounter along the way. uhhhh yikes.  needless to say, i did a tempo run back to my room.


day 43- 2 last miles cruising along the beach. well, not really cruising.  just soaking it all in.  literally.  because today i leave to go back into cold cloudy michigan country. and i laid on a bed on the middle of the beach (literally...a bed on the beach!) and was grateful for it all.




day 44-2.5 miles was all i could muster on the treadmill.  home sweet home :)

until tomorrow, run happy friends!