Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Climb

In 48 hours, everything we have been working towards will begin with a starter's gun.  And the funny thing is, I have come to realize that it will not be that 26.2 miles that will define me as a person, as a runner.  It is the in between.  It is the 18 weeks leading up to this that have made me a stronger person, both physically and mentally. Sure, runnning for 4 1/2 hours (or more) proves you have physical and emotional stamina, but I believe it is the 500 plus miles leading up to it that shows your resolve.  It's the sacrifices you make to get those runs in:  missing kids events, not going out with friends because of a long run the next day, trudging through a 8 mile "mid" distance when you'd rather be curled up on the couch watching The Food Network because you ran 15 miles a few days before.

To my friends and family that have had to listen to my pre-marathon stories and complaints.  Thank you so much for all of your support and words of encouragement.  They mean more to me than you'll ever know. 

To any members of my running classes, thank you for being a part of my running dreams for our community and the YMCA.  You all tell me that I inspire you, when it is YOU that really inspires ME.  I have seen you all dig deep and accomplish things you never thought you could and that is amazing! It is most of you that I will be thinking about at mile 20... 

To Sam and Tyler, thank you for hanging out with the babysitter and in tot watch all those times mommy went out for long runs for hours at a time.  Mommy loves you both very much!

To Zach, thank you for all of your support throughout this running spurt of mine.  I know you work hard long hours and travel like a madman and sometimes put your running on the backburner for mine.  I so appreciate that more than I tell you.  You are my biggest cheerleader and even though you'll be back in Michigan (doing the most important job of watching the boys), I'll be able to hear your words of encouragement and support in my head the whole 26.2 miles.  Love you babe xoxo

To my running divas, I can remember running around Lake Geneva when we were training for the Capital City 1/2 Marathon last summer and discussing the possibility of "someday" doing a marathon together.  And now here we are. 
To Danielle-our original running coach-thank you so much for your words of wisdom when we were first embarking on this journey.  If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have ever thought I could teach at the Y and inspire others like you did for me. Can't wait to run with you on Saturday!
To Staci: Our newest Diva, I am so glad that you are in our little running group and I have gotten to know you better.  Thank you for pushing me to run harder and faster.  Your speed and grace have me in awe!  Fantastic job in Chicago on Sunday and I am so grateful to have you cheerleading for us in Baltimore.
To Peg: What would we do without Peg...the momma of the Divas.  You take such good care of our group and we love you for it! The fact that you are making the trip to Baltimore just to cheer us on shows us how much you care!  I only can hope that I look, feel and run as good as Peg does when I am a "grand master".  Peg you are a true inspiration!  You rocked Chicago and we are so proud!
To Lisa:  I am so glad to have my "marathon virgin" running Baltimore with me!  Thank you for always making me laugh during long runs, sharing stories to make the miles go by a little bit quicker.  I am so glad we stuck together in running after those cold Lake Geneva swims when training for the Tri together and have become closer friends because of it.
To Sara: What can I say girl, you are the one who got me into this whole long running gig!  If it weren't for you, I'd still be doing my 3 miles on the treadmill.  Thank you for pushing me when I didn't think I could do it and believing in me.  You have a heart of gold and I am so fortunate to have you as my long lost sister ;o)  Even though you said you'd never do it, thank you for coming to Baltimore with me to run your 2nd marathon.  Too bad it wasn't NY...maybe next year ;o)  Love you xoxoxo

I have had this song in my ipod for a while now and everytime I hear it, I can't help but think about the last few months.  (who knew Hanana Montana/Miley Cyrus could be so inspiring?)

I can almost see it.  This dream I'm dreaming.  But there's a voice inside my head says "You'll never reach it".
Every step I'm taking.  Every move I make feels lost with no direction, my faith is shaking.
But I gotta keep trying, gotta keep my head held high.
Always gonna be another mountain.  Always gonna want to make it move. Always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes I'm gonna have to lose. Ain't about how fast I get there.  Ain't about what's waiting on the other side.  It's the climb.
The struggles I'm facing, the chances I'm taking.  Sometimes might knock me down but, no I'm not breaking. I may not know it, but these are the moments I'm gonna remember most, yeah, just got to keep going.
And I, I gotta be strong.  Just keep pushing on.
Always gonna be another mountain.  Always gonna want to make it move. Always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes I'm gonna have to lose. Ain't about how fast I get there.  Ain't about what's waiting on the other side.  It's the climb.
Keep on moving.  Keep climbing.  Keep the faith, baby.
It's all about the climb.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

7 days and 7 miles

This time next week my toes will be touching the start line.  What started as me registering for the NYC marathon to "just see if I would get in" has led me and my closest running buddies 1 week closer to hitting the pavement in Maryland for the Under Armor Baltimore Marathon.  Just writing that gives me butterflies in my stomach and goosebumps on my arms.  I still can't believe it!  7 more days and 7 more miles (literally...our training calls for a 3 mile run and two 2 mile runs before the race) until I hit the ground running for 4 1/2 hours of running bliss.  Oh my.  Did I just set a goal?  Hmmmm...let's just say 26.2 miles of running bliss...

And if that isn't close enough for comfort, tomorrow morning Peg and Staci will be hitting the streets of Chicago for 26.2 miles.  I know they are on their way to the Windy City as we speak but I wish them the best of luck.  I sure wish I was there to cheer them on but I think they know we are all there in spirit. I know they are going to rock it out and be BOSTON BOUND!

This next week will be pretty tough for me both physically and mentally.  The last week before the marathon is the dreaded taper, where you drastically decrease your miles to conserve energy for the big event.  For me, it is when I second guess my abilities to actually run 26.2 miles.  Already I am having "marathon dreams" where I am replacing actually running miles with dreaming about it.  Good Lord.  I can't get away from it!!!

I've come to believe training for a marathon is a bit like having a baby.  Your body is put through hell for an extended period of time (marathon training: 18 weeks. pregnancy: 40 weeks). You can't stop eating..especially towards the end.  No matter how much you prepare in the days leading up to it, mentally you are never really ready.  You are super excited at first but as it comes closer you start to get nervous and anxious.  You second-guess yourself:  Can I complete the marathon?  Will I be a good mother? You are an emotional disaster. 

But once the day comes, you can't believe what your body is capable of doing.  You push it (literally) to its limits.  And you are rewarded with a miracle, an awesome accomplishment. 

Except instead of nursing a beautiful cherub faced baby, at the end of the marathon you'll be nursing nasty blisters, swollen feet, cramped calves and sore quads.  Oh well.  It's still worth the effort.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

a prayer to the marathon gods

Since my visit to the church at mile 18, I have been feeling especially spiritual.
Here is my prayer (plea) to the marathon gods.  Feel free to use it for your marathon effort as well.

Dear Marathon gods (and I do know there has to be more than one of you to get me through this ordeal):
I don't ask for much, but if you could see to it that the following criteria are met leading up to and on my event in Baltimore (enter city) on October 16, 2010 (enter date) I sure would appreciate it:

1. Please keep me from injury from now until my event.  This includes, but not limited to, any mishaps on my last training runs, any stupid klutzy injuries resulting from day to day activities (as in tripping down stairs, walking into walls, etc.), any other random accidents and the like.

2.  Please keep my health intact in these last couple weeks before the marathon.  I will do my best to Lysol, Clorox wipe and bleach the crap out of my house, wipe down every door handle and light switch and hand sanitize like a motha around germy children, but I may need you to intervene.

3. Please assist in maintaining my sanity while I taper and keep me true to the taper.  When Hal says "3 miles" that means just 3 miles. Nothing more.

4.  Please help me so I don't eat my family out of house and home.  Help me recognize that I am tapering so there is no need for me to stand in front of an open fridge every hour on the hour.

5. On that note, please help me make smart nutritional choices that will be good fuel for the race. Steer me towards whole wheat bread and not beer.  Grapes and not wine.  Peanut butter and not peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies.  You get the drift.

6.  Please let me get to Baltimore (enter city) with no issues.  No delays and no lost luggage.  Hotel room in order and ready on time. Packet pickup runs smoothly. Look, my type A self will already be on level "orange".  No need to bump it up to "red" quite yet.

7.  The weather.  I can't talk to you enough about the weather.  Here is what I am aiming for: overcast, with the sun peeking out just as we cross the finish line.  Dry with no humidity and absolutely NO precipitation.  I mean it.  None.  Race start time temp around 55.  Finish temp mid 60s.  After that, feel free to do whatever the heck you want Mother Nature.

8. Please let me pick out the appropriate clothing to wear for above said weather without bringing my entire closet to Baltimore (enter city).  If you comply with #7, you can skip fulfilling this request.

9. Please let mile 20 feel like mile 5.  I know this is asking a lot but I have faith.

10.  Please do not allow me to pee in my pants, poop in my pants, vomit, snot, drool, dry heave, or emit any other bodily functions inappropriately throughout the run.  In fact, if I could keep all bodily fluids inside my body for the duration, that would be fabulous.

11.  Please let there be lots of cheering smiling faces encouraging us along the way.   If I look like hell, please forgive them for lying to me when they tell me I "look strong" or "look great".

12.  That being said, please do not allow said fans to say at mile 24-25.5 that "you don't have much further to go!".  If there are fans that feel the need to utter these words, please place them at miles 26 through 26.1 when I truly do not have much more to run.  I mean it.

13.  Please let me finish the race with a smile on my face and without collapsing after the finish.  If I could actually run across the finish line that would be super, but I am not beneath crawling across it.  And please, DO NOT let someone pushing a double jogger stroller with 2 heavy preschool children in it and/or an 80 year old granny pass me just before I finish.  It could ruin the moment.

14.  Please apply this prayer to any of my girls/guys running this marathon with me, or doing one on another day.

15.  Please give me the will to want to run again after this endeavor.

Thank you.  I hope I am not asking too much. Amen.