Five half-marathons, four 5k races, three sprint triathlons, two 10k races, and one full marathon. All in one year, and all in memory of someone who never knew she was strong.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Some Talk Before The Action

I have been working on and promising a post, which is coming I swear! However, I have been kind of stewing over some stuff since the half marathon on Saturday and need to vent. (I have also been crazy busy at work, but who isn't?) First a quick race review:

This race was a small (300-400 runners) race in Pueblo, Colorado on an awesome course. It was part paved bike trails and part cross-country-ish, although the terrain never got too rough. It was cool to run along the Arkansas River, and I would love to run that course again anytime! The race was fairly well-organized and the people were super nice. A large portion of the runners were total elites and very impressive. There were several members of the Air Force Academy cross country team running (recognizable by their matching track suits that said just that) With so many elite runners on an out and back course, it was both inspiring, and maybe a little disheartening to see them on their way back while we were still so far from the turnaround. The turnaround was at mile 8 (we did a couple miles around the park before heading out), we saw the first runners headed back before we had even reached mile 5. I commented later that it would be so nice to be able to run it that fast, because by the time you’re done, you still have your whole Saturday left in front of you. You know, to run errands and get to the gym and stuff. Those runners were amazing.

Mike ran with me the whole time, and he plans to do that for the marathon, too. He said it is about me right now, and if he decides afterwards that he wants to attempt a marathon for time, then he will. He is such a good guy. Truth be told, he could run circles around me and easily could have finished in two hours. We crossed the finish line at 2:58. (That IS a PR for me, but not quite what I was after) I was on pace to get the 2:30 I wanted until mile 8. I think I actually bonked at the turnaround. I didn’t eat my normal gels or chews at mile 6. Not sure why, I guess I was just feeling really good and didn’t want to mess with it. Dumb. I also didn’t bring enough water. I purposely left extra fuel belt bottles in the car because I knew there would be lots of water stops. The water stop at mile 10 was out when we got there, having given all of their water to the faster people. I was desperate for water, and them being out kind of sent me over a weird edge. I staggered down the trail, determined only to get water and not caring about my finish time any longer. I get weird at the end of these races sometimes. Once I got more water, I was okay, but the stiffness had settled in by then, and I was a mess. If not for Mike pushing me, I may have resigned to just walking and been swept by the very strict three-hour course marshals.

After the race my hamstring was killing me, but after some QT with the Ironman version of ben-gay (had a sample of it from my Denver Rock n Roll goodie bag) I felt fine. Then next morning, my knees were slightly tired, and I had a mildly stiff left foot, but felt GREAT otherwise. This is a new feeling; normally I feel sore and broken for a couple days.

Anyway, the reason I have been kind of hermitting since this race is that it made me worry so much about the full marathon, which is 32 days from today. I have had some really great training runs, but I feel like when I get in a race situation, I get stupid sometimes.

I started thinking about what would happen if I DNF’d in Florida. After a year of buildup to that race, after so many improvements, after spending a ton of money for the trip, after telling myself I would do it, after promising to honor my mom’s memory, after everything! What if?! I have been feeling pretty queasy about it since Saturday, actually. And I am sick of being negative right now, when I need to be positive the most. So here is why I WILL finish in Orlando:

We still have our 18 and 20 mile runs left for training, and we have been training pretty well. While I’m nervous about those distances, I am excited to check them off the list, too.

I have been training at mile-high altitude for a marathon at sea level. This has to help some, right? And what about adrenaline? That counts for something, too, surely.

My injuries that have had me struggling so much until recently will be lessened following my last two acupuncture treatments. I am feeling stronger and healthier injury-wise every day.

Between now and then, I am cutting out all alcohol and carbonation. For some reason, both seem to affect my breathing at different times and I need to give myself every extra chance. Not getting to enjoy a few holiday cocktails with friends might suck, but I need to take a month off. So, that is that. Plus, I will surely run harder for a beer after 30 days without.

Mike. Mike is a huge motivation, more than I have even realized. And while there have been a few times I could have cheerfully punched him in the mouth because what I have been struggling for years to achieve comes so easily to him, having him there is going to make a huge difference (and I’m sure he might want to punch me on occasion, too, although we both remain decidedly non-violent towards each other and manage to leave it on the course. That is true love right there. )

Conclusion: I am trying to calm my nerves and be smart and get through this last month making the right decisions and training well and preparing myself mentally. After that, there is nothing I can do. I will do this. I will run (and struggle and lumber and stagger and push, push, push) for 26.2 miles. No more negativity.


  1. No More Negativity! You will do the training and you will do your best and you will be a marathoner in January! I know it and you know it so I am going to tell you one more thing!

    Believe and Achieve!!!

  2. I have been reading your blog (sharing it too) for months now.
    You are amazing. I am so impressed with your training and determination. It inspires me. No matter what you will finish. And we will all be proud of you...hopefully it can translate into being proud of yourself!
    Go be amazing!

  3. I have felt undertrained and unprepared for every single half/full marathon and ironman but have always managed to finish(I've usually only managed to get enough training in to finish). Just believe in your training and know that you are putting the miles in! You can push through the race if you did the leg work. Good luck!

  4. Race situations are different and we do get stupid. Just remember the race starts, we get thru it and forget about that. One foot in front of the other until we find our pace. Kind of like life actually.

  5. You wouldn't be normal if you weren't nervous. Happens to all of us, especially before attempting a new distances. As others have said trust your training...and not only that but use your training and do what you did in training during the race.

    I have not doubt you will do it.

  6. You'll finish the marathon, don't worry about that. As others have said, if you weren't nervous, then something would be wrong :-)

    With 32 days left, you have a lot of time to setup some structure in your training if you haven't already for fueling etc - make a schedule out of it to your needs i.e. water every 15min, food every 30 - or water every 2 miles....figure out what you need and write it down. In the race, go into somewhat program mode and execute what you've practiced. (share the plan with Mike as well so he can help with it)
    If there are going to be gels and electrolyte/carbo drinks on course, find out what they are and try to train with them so you know how you'll fair with them.
    Only other thing I'd suggest is to make sure you get a lot of good sleep as well - lack of sleep can cause more issues than we realize when exercising hard.

    You've got this, you have the training for it, you sure as heck have the drive for it - now to just fine tune your game before the race.

  7. I cannot even express how much all of these comments have helped me. By blogging and trying to be a part of this community, I have earned so much support. I appreciate every ounce of it and can't wait to check out all of your blogs and journeys. I am calming down slightly. And Believing and Achieving!! (thanks for your constant support, Christi!)

    And Erin, in a way, seeing your name here inspired my post today. How far we have come since those days at Doherty. :) Thank you for reading from way out in NY and for saying what you did. It means so much!! YAY!! Bring on 26.2!