Tag Archives: 26.2

2014 Year in Review: Numbers and Math and a Preview of 2015

My father is a numbers guy and that has always bugged me. Whenever I mention a social gathering/race/whatever I’ve just attended, his first question is always “How many people were there?” When I point out that sorry, I wasn’t aware I was supposed to be counting, he starts throwing out estimates. “Were there about 20? More than 30?” It gets on my nerves for the simple fact that my brain isn’t wired that way. Numbers are my enemy. I’m a known generous tipper because of my inability to do simple math in my head. I would suck on the Price is Right because fuck if I know what a broom is supposed to cost. The only time I obsess about numbers, however, is in relation to my training. Here is what my 2014 looked like in numbers. My dad would be proud.

In 2014 I completed 2,198 miles:

I ran 1,794 miles

I biked 375 mile

I swam 28 miles

I ran 2 marathons with a PR of 4:29:10 (which included at least 5 potty breaks)

I ran these marathons in 2 new states (scratch Utah and Indiana off the long list!)

I ran 6 half marathons with a PR of 1:50:10

I ran 3 of those halfs as a pace group leader

I ran 1 half marathon through 2 countries (I heart you Detroit International Half Marathon)

I finished 1 half marathon holding the hand of the man I love

I ran 6 5Ks with a PR of 23:47

I entered 3 sprint triathlons and successfully completed 1 (damned open water anxiety)

I missed out on 3 races I registered for due to being hit by 1 car

I peed in the woods 2 times

I pooped my pants 1 time

And on that final (brown) note, I will end the data. I’m very proud of my accomplishments in 2014, even though it ended on a frustrating note with inexplicably slower speeds, including a 10K I ran in 1:01. Ouch. I’ve been going out for shorter runs lately and trying to really push myself and I’m happy to say there is still some speed hidden inside of me, I just have to work for it.

Though I’m already registered for two marathons in 2015, including the Skyline Chili 4-Way at the Flying Pig in Cincinnati (that’s a 5K, 10K, and full marathon all in one weekend), my main goal is to run less in the coming year. I feel like a lot of my training runs lately have been for the wrong reasons, whether to prove that I’m tough or to be like the cool kids who run 50+ miles a week. Running less will also give me time to swim more, which will help me achieve my main goal of 2015: swim an open water 5K. Right now the idea sounds ridiculous and I’ve been afraid of telling people for fear of being laughed out of the room. Really? The same girl who couldn’t finish 750 meters in a sprint triathlon is going to finish 5,000?! What can I say, I love an impossible challenge (unless it involves math). I love how strong swimming makes me feel and though I have a long way to go, I’m willing to put in the effort. I see many more group swims with the FAST Masters Swimmers in the coming months.

The past year was thrilling and difficult and exciting and terrifying and shitty and wonderful and I can’t wait for the adventures and life experiences the new year brings.

 

 

 

 

 

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MY HIGHLY ANTICIPATED NEW POST, BRACE YOURSELVES!!!!!!!

Oh, hey there! My it’s been a long time since I’ve updated this thing. I’ve been BOMBARDED with requests to update my thousands upon thousands of readers with an update of my activities, and I’ve never been one to disappoint. So get yourself a snack and a beer and get settled while you read back on some of the exciting things I accomplished this past summer/fall:

1) I got hit by a car! Okay, this isn’t necessarily an accomplishment, but anytime you collide with heavy machinery it definitely makes the memory bank. One August morning I was out for a training run and crossed an intersection at the “walk” signal. Glancing over my left shoulder, I didn’t see any drivers turning right into the intersection. Unfortunately, a black SUV was turning from the far right turn lane and hit me with their front passenger mirror and front end. They also drove off, bastard! Anyway, I was lucky to walk away relatively unharmed. I sustained a bruised calf muscle and tendonitis in my left foot that took me out of the running game for nearly a month.

While I’m totally healed by now, my speed and endurance have not returned. At all. In fact, I’m practically back to the speeds I was hitting my first year running. It’s been humbling for sure, and a bit disconcerting. Running feels extra difficult lately. I’ve scheduled a doctor’s appointment to rule out any vitamin deficiencies, or cancer or AIDS or whatever.

2) I ran my fifth marathon in my fourth state! MEDALS AND RUNNING ALL THE STATES!!! I knocked Indiana off my list by running the Indianapolis Monumental on November 1st. I had no great expectations for this run. My lack of long runs due to my accident and slowing speeds made me adopt a “fuck it!” attitude. I knew I could finish, and that’s all I expected.

What I didn’t expect was how much fun I’d have. Indianapolis is a fun town- clean, safe, and full of bars and good eats. The architecture was also stunning. I made this trip with my friend and running-buddy extraordinaire, Mary Beth. After our respective races we ate and drank away the soreness.
Oh, and for the record, I finished in 5:02:06. Blaaaah. Whatever, I got my medal bitches!

3) I finished a triathlon without freaking out in the water! By far my proudest accomplishment this summer. On September 14th I completed the Holly Recreation Area sprint triathlon, held by Tri To Finish. It was one of the first chilly mornings of the fall and temps were in the low 40s. The scenery was pretty and serene and helped calm my out of control swimming nerves. I finished the swim, slowly but surely, and proceeded to one of the hilliest bike courses I’ve ever experienced. In fact, I saw many an athlete walk their expensive tri bikes up the relentless hills.

I, however, stayed on my 1,000-ton road bike and never walked. I ran the 5K with no feeling in my quads and crossed that finish line with immense pride. I did it! Finally a successful sprint triathlon in 2014! I fell in love with Tri To Finish events so much after this race that I entered their contest to be a sponsored team member in 2015. What does that mean? I have no idea! But they claim they pick “heart over speed”, so thank God for that. I submitted my pitch yesterday. Fingers and toes crossed!

4) I paced more races! Along with my Your Pace or Mine buddies, I’ve been fortunate to pace two half marathons this fall- The Brooksie Way and the Clarkston Backroads. What’s better than running a fall half marathon? Running for free and inspiring other runners, of course! I absolutely love pacing and can’t wait for more opportunities. There’s even been talks of YPOM being asked to pace the Charlevoix Half Marathon, which all my millions of readers will recognize as my favorite half marathon EVER.

So what’s next? I’m currently training for the Rock N’ Roll New Orleans Marathon on January 25th. My super-awesome-boyfriend Shawn will be running with me, although much faster and further ahead of me I’m sure. Jerk. Mary Beth and some wild YPOMers will be joining the fun as well. I would love a PR, no matter how small. In the meantime I’m cleaning up my diet (haha not really), doing more speedwork, and waiting to hear what the doctor tells me in regards to my recent sluggishness. I’ve also been hitting up the pool more often in hopes of an epic and wildly stupid goal I have for next summer…you’ll have to stay tuned.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your tips for getting over a running slump below!*

*Besides rest, because that would just be silly.

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Racing and Pacing and Beer Chasing

RACING

Hey, didn’t I run a marathon recently?

Officially it’s been a little over two weeks since I ran the Salt Lake City Marathon, though it feels like ages ago. You can probably tell by my reluctance to write a recap that the race didn’t go quite as well as planned (the other reason being my master procrastination skills). My official finish time was 4:29:02, which is officially a 30-second PR, but I was hardly in a celebratory mood after finishing this marathon. My run was plagued by stomach issues so severe that I had to stop FIVE TIMES to use the port-a-johns. Every stop I saw my goal time slipping further and further away, and I even thought about quitting. However, in the midst of my despair, I thought about how I was getting that medal whether I finished in four hours or six hours, and to stop acting like such a sore loser. I had trained in below freezing wind chills and through personal turmoil, so I wasn’t going to let a “crappy run” (see what I did there!) ruin a good time. And in the end, I did have a great time running Salt Lake City. The course was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and I had some of my best friends there to cheer me on. Life was truly good that day.

My next marathon will be a return to Charlevoix on June 21st. I’ve been cutting back on sugar, which I believe to be the culprit of my crappy experience (I did it again!). Nothing but plain bagels before long runs from now on, and absolutely NO CAFFEINATED GU! I’ll be experimenting a lot with pre-long run nutrition in the next month, which will hopefully get me closer to my goal of breaking four hours.

PACING

A few months back a message was posted to the Your Pace or Mine forum asking for volunteer pacers for the Let’s Move Half Marathon in Mt. Clemens. Though it was a week after my marathon, I knew I would have no issue pacing the 2:20 group and happily volunteered my novice services. I figured it would be a fun new running experience, plus I get to run a half marathon AND get a medal for FREE! I had a blast with my pacing partner, telling horrible jokes and feeling kind of like a badass when people marveled at my ability to run a half a week after a full marathon. I can’t wait for more pacing opportunities in the future, as my race addiction is quite expensive. Below is a picture that captures the sheer joy a free race will bring:

I am ever so white.

I am ever so white.

BEER CHASING

This past Friday I ran ANOTHER FREE RACE thanks to the kind people in the Southeast Michigan Runners Facebook group. The race was the Hightail to Ale 5K held at the Atwater Brewery in Detroit. Full disclosure: I am not a fan of Atwater Beer. I had tried their IPA in the past and it was pretty gross. However, my favorite kind of beer is always FREE, so I was excited to run a 5K that gave you not only a free beer, but also a pint glass, shirt, and bottle-opener medal! Add in a nice jaunt along Detroit’s Riverfront, and this race was pretty much perfect. Despite hosting over 4,000 runners I was able to PR according to my watch, though my name is mysteriously absent from the official results. Hmm. Oh well, it was a fun Friday night race and I got to see a lot of familiar faces. Metro Detroit truly has a tight running community.  And as for my free beer, I tried the Dirty Blonde. It was…okay.

My next race will be the Fifth Third Riverbank Run in Grand Rapids, my first time doing this famous 25K! Speaking of beer, a stop to Founders will be absolutely necessary. After that, I’m giving racing a rest until Charlevoix. I think my body and wallet will be grateful.

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Pre-Marathon Ramblings: Salt Lake City Edition

Full marathon number four is less than two weeks away, and like most everything else in my life, I’m in complete denial about it. My training has been adequate at best. I’ve had lots of high-mileage weeks; however, in the month of March I blew off many long runs. When all of your training partners get injured, and the weather is out to kill you, and not to mention all the fun of getting a divorce and starting life all over again, running a third 20 miler doesn’t sound so appealing.

My heart will also be heavy knowing that while I’m off running with friends half-way across the country, my entire family will be gathered celebrating Easter and my grandmother’s 95th birthday. I already missed everyone at Christmas, and I could use a good dose of Gudme dry-humor to lift my spirits. Also weighing on my soul is the incredibly difficult decision to re-home two of the cats Randy and I shared. Since I’m unable to take all three (and he’s taking none), it was my only choice. I feel better knowing that I have found some good places for them and they will be taken care of, but still, they were my family. It’s not something I’m going to get over any time soon. In fact, I’m crying as I type this.

I’ve been told two things recently by some very practical men in my life: 1) Focus on the positive, and 2) Happiness is a choice. In the midst of all the sadness there are many positive aspects of my life I’ve been ignoring: I’m able to run. I get to see one of my best friends in Utah that I rarely get to see. I get to keep one kitty, my first kitty, the one who reformed my “dogs only!” attitude. I have wonderfully supportive parents and friends. And last but certainly not least, I have someone in my life who I love and loves me back, inspires me to be the best version of myself, and most importantly puts up with my stress-induced mood swings. If you’re reading this baby: I love you and have no idea how you do it. You deserve a medal more than I do.

And as for happiness being a choice, this past year has taught me how true this really is. I doubt most of us wake up in the morning feeling amazing and stress-free and excited to go into work. If you do, go fuck yourself. Seriously though, we all make a conscious decision to put on our game faces and do the best we can. If we’re lucky something may make us laugh, or we’ll see a good friend, or there will be birthday cake in the office kitchen. Otherwise, all we have to depend on for our happiness is ourselves. I’m sure that if I keep trying to focus on the positives in my life, happiness will come more naturally.

Well, this really had nothing to do with my upcoming marathon, but sometimes you’ve just got to let it all out, you know? And whatever I left unsaid in this post will be demolished on the pavement of Salt Lake City. And if not, there’s always the Charlevoix Marathon. Or my first 50K in September. Or the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Good God, what have I done?!

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Obligatory Post About 2014 Goals

Hello Dear Readers (Wow I have Readers!):

I’m about four weeks into 2014 and already I can tell it’s going to be challenging, Polar Vortex aside. Between life, work, and run-ventures I’m going to have a full year. I have a lot to look forward to and much to stress over as well, which makes every day an odd mix of excitement and anxiety. Below I’ll try to make sense of the days that lie ahead in 2014 by outlining my two major goals for the year:

1) Live on my own and enjoy it: In a month or so I’ll be moving in to my own place, all by myself, for the first time, EVER. I’ll only have myself to depend on financially and all the bills I’ll be paying out of my less-than-stellar income sure have been a wake-up call. I’m not afraid to work two jobs if need be but I’d also like to be able to enjoy time out with my friends and my hobbies. Finances aside, the freedom involved in living alone will be fun. I can run when I want, watch what I want, cook what I want, or just walk around in my underwear with the radio on full blast like I usually do when I have to house to myself.

Speaking of my less-than-stellar income, part of this goal is to make myself more marketable, whether by new certifications or by working towards a new degree. First I need to figure out what I’m good at and what I’d enjoy doing for the next 30+ years. I’m getting by, but I’d love to get ahead, and I doubt “Really good at music trivia” is a plus on a resume.

2) Finish four marathons and a 50K: Holy shit what have I done?! Marathon #1 for the year is on Sunday, the Ohio Northern University Polar Bear Indoor Marathon. You read that correctly, 211 laps around an indoor track (I can’t wait to write a race recap!). Marathon #2 will be the Salt Lake City Marathon on April 19th. I’ve pegged this one as my PR Race, and I really hope to finish in 4:15 or less if the elevation doesn’t kill me. Marathon #3 will be the Charlevoix Marathon, which is tradition. If anything I’ll look at it as a training run for my 50K. Speaking of that, I’ll be running the Woodstock 50K on September 6th. Why? I figured if I’m going to run 31+ miles, I might as well do it the year I turn 31. And last but not least, I’ll be running marathon #4 in November, the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. If I don’t meet my time goal in the mountains of SLC, there’s always flat Indiana.

Thanks goodness I’ll have my favorite training partner Mary Beth to join in on the pain in Salt Lake City and Indianpolis. Why have I signed myself up for such madness? Well, I like the discipline of training for one. Secondly, it gets my mind off of my implosion of a personal life. Thirdly, I love running adventures with friends. The memories and laughs they create are priceless.

I’m thinking these two main goals will be enough to keep me occupied through the rest of the year. There are other smaller goals I’d like to accomplish if I have the time, such as volunteering at some races, swimming and biking more, maybe even completing another sprint triathlon. I’d also like to read more and am toying with the idea of not having a television in my new place (I doubt I’ll be able to afford cable anyway). Despite my whining about money, I am truely rich in love and support from my family and friends. No goal would be possible without them.

What are your 2014 goals? Anyone out there as crazy (or crazier) with their race schedule than I am?

 

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To New Beginnings

The end of the year 2013 is fast approaching and I can’t help but start looking back. This past year definitely flew by, probably because I was having so much fun for the most part. Some of the highlights:

1) Running six half marathons

2) Running two full marathons

3) Completing my first sprint triathlon

4) PRing my 5K and 10K

5) Starting a new running/”boozy breakfast” tradition with my friend and favorite running partner Mary Beth

Through running and other exploits, I’ve developed several new relationships in the past year, which is amazing for an introvert like me. I firmly believe that fate has brought every one of these people into my life for good reasons. This past year I also said goodbye to my tumultuous twenties and hello to 30. I admit it was a relief. I can definitely say I entered this new decade with more confidence and a better sense of self than I’ve ever had. However, this better sense of self lead to some questioning of areas in my life in which I’ve been unhappy with for a long time, which brings me to the not-at-all-fun part of 2013:

1) The end of my marriage

2) The beginning of a life on my own

I won’t go into the details of why I’m getting a divorce. Those closest to me know the reasons. While the reasons have not been popular with many of my friends and family, the support I’ve received has been outstanding. It goes to show that when it comes to friendships, quality truly outweighs quantity.

The events that lie ahead will be stressful, which does frighten me. I’ve already chewed my nails down to the bed and lost weight from having a constant upset stomach. Oh, and did I mention the random crying spells, usually at work? However, my motto through it all has been simple, “I’ll live”. With the help of family and friends to make me laugh and hear me cry, and running to clear my head and relieve stress (and the occasional Bacardi binge), I know I’ll make it through this mess.

The upcoming year will be one full of new beginnings, new adventures, and new accomplishments. Somehow I’m going to complete four full marathons and a possible 50K. Yes, it’s almost as though I’m running away from life. But I don’t care. Despite everything, I am excitied for everything to come. My calendar may still read 2013, but my mind is already celebrating my life ahead.

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Don’t be Lead Astray by an Australian Accent: Lessons Learned from my Third Marathon

Long story short: On Sunday, October 6th I ran my third marathon, The Wineglass in Corning, New York. My chip time was 4:29:34, which means I ran about 13 minutes faster than my last marathon. Of course I’m happy about that, but I was hoping to shave a good 20 minutes off of my previous time.

Short story long: Why the hell did I pick some obscure marathon in Upstate New York? For starters, a big group from Your Pace or Mine were going and their persuasive ways convinced me it would be fun. Besides, when I signed up back in December 2012, Randy and I planned to visit some of his family who lived in the area and make a lovely trip out of it.

Fast forward to a week before the race: I was involved in a car accident in which our car was totaled and Randy got a new job. Randy and I both agreed it’d be better for him to stay behind since a new job is more important than a marathon. Since we were down to one car, I pleaded to my YPOM buddies for a ride to New York, and was given an offer I couldn’t refuse: Three ladies had rented a house in a winery and one of their housemates had backed out. For only $125 for three nights I could hitch a ride with them and stay in a house instead of a dingy motel. SOLD!

After a seven-hour car ride we arrived Upstate. I can’t even describe the beauty of the Finger Lakes region. The buildings are historic looking, it’s full of quaint downtowns and marinas full of sailboats, and the valleys surrounding Lake Geneva were full of trees changing color for fall. Here is a picutre I stole from online of a waterfall we visited in Watkins Glen:

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Freakin’ gorgeous, right? I would go back in a heartbeat.

For those who don’t know, Corning NY is where Corningware is manufactured. For those of you who aren’t married, Corningware dishes are those things your mother demands you put on your registry and they really come in handy when making casseroles. Anyway, my point is that glass is a big industry in Corning. There’s even a glass museum! Hence, the Wineglass Marathon. Every participant received a wineglass and a small bottle champagne along with a custom glass finisher’s medal.

Now, on to the big event. I’ll break it down by the three main lessons I learned while slogging through those 26.2 miles:

1) An Australian Accent Does Not a Good Pace Group Leader Make

When lining up at the start line I noticed there were pace groups. My goal time for the marathon was around 4:25 or faster. So, when I saw the 4:20 pace group, I figured I’d be able to hang. Besides, the pace group leader was Australian and extremely charming, cracking jokes and taking our mind off of impending doom. I stuck with his group and miles flew by listening to him tell tales of the many marathons and ultramarathons he’s completed.

His charm started to wear thin, however, when for some odd reason the subject of Islam was brought up. Little did we know, our goofy Australian pace leader was a closet bigot! He didn’t think too highly of Muslim people and warned us that all Americans would perish at the hand of Islam is we didn’t read the Koran and educate ourselves. Needless to say, this was not the conversation I wanted to be listening too. I started distancing myself from his group soon after. To be honest, I was beginnning to feel exhausted as well. The sun had come out and the 100% humidity and 75 degree weather were killing me. It was obvious that 4:20 was an overly ambitious goal given the weather conditions.

2) Don’t Listen to Bigoted Australians When it Comes to Your Personal Hydration Needs

So, you caught the part above about the crappy weather, right? Well, a smart runner, especially one like me who sweats like a whore in church, would take careful measures to keep properly hydrated. Well, my dumb ass listened to Mr. I-Hate-Muslims-Australian who instructed us not to drink any sports drink until mile 21, and only take tiny mouthfulls of water at each aid station. Maybe for someone like him who runs ultramarathons in 90 degree weather, that advice would work. For an average runner like me, listening to that stupid logic cost me precious time in the last 10 miles. I felt dizzy, my head was pounding, and I didn’t even have the strength to say “thank you” to the volunteers handing me precious, precious Gatorade. By that point it was too late, I was officially dehydrated.

3) Wear Shorts That Fit

Again, it bears repeating, it was hot. At some point around mile 21 I began taking full cups of water to pour all over myself to cool down. It felt good, until my shorts became so soaked that the weight of the water was causing them to fall down. I can’t describe how fun it was to have to constantly pull my shorts up every few steps for six fucking miles. At least the fear of displaying a full moon in my marathon photos took my mind off of the dehydration.

Somewhere around mile 24 I swore off marathons forever. After I was able to recover for an hour, I settled on no more marathons in heat and humidity. Despite the weather, I would highly reccommend The Wineglass. The scenery was beautiful, the aid stations stocked, and volunteers cheerful. The food spread after the race was plentiful with pizza, bagels, fruit, and chicken noodle soup. The only thing I had an appetite for after the marathon was a cold can of Diet Coke, and by God it was the most amazing can of Diet Coke I’ver ever had in my life.

I have no marathons on the horizon until January. I’m enjoying being lazy and running when I feel like it without a plan. However, it would be nice if my “marathon training appetite” adjusted accordingly. I’m giving some serious thought to running the Salt Lake City marathon on April 19th, 2014.The best thing about Utah? No humidity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Charlevoix Marathon: A Weekend of Running, Family, and Road Bananas

Beans offers a congratulatory handshake.

Beans offers a congratulatory handshake.

You all know I hate writing race recaps/reviews/whatever you call them, simply because I’m not good at it. Someone who is good at it is Jeff over at Detroit Runner. You can read his recap of running Charlevoix here. Now, on to my nonsense-

Long story short: I did it! I finished marathon #2, the Run Charlevoix Marathon, in 4:42:42. Now, the official results page shows a different number about a minute slower. But the number I’m posting is the one the race announcer quoted as I crossed the finish line. Race Announcer Man would never lie! The “gun time” can suck it.

Short story long: I will now break down my marathon experience highlighting the most important aspects, like…

The Weather! Around 55-60, extremely humid, with a light mist. The mist felt great and helped cool me off. It also lead to some epic chafing.

The Swag! Wow, Charlevoix really outdid themselves this year! Instead of a long-sleeved tech shirt, we got a really high-quality cotton T-Shirt (gender specific!), a performance hat, and running socks with “CVX 26.2” printed on them. Nice!

The Medal! Oh, only the most beautiful medal in all marathons, in my limited opinion. You can kind of sort of see it modeled by my cat above. It’s a heavy one, with a cool stained glass effect. It really captures the beauty of Downtown Charlevoix.

Aid Stations! They were plentiful and stocked with water, Gatorade, GU, and Twizzlers (??). The volunteers were friendly. Lots of port-a-potties as well, and yes I had to use one at mile 3.

Crowd Support! Almost non-existent. This is a small race, if you thrive on cheering strangers and bands at every mile, this race is NOT for you. I, for one, zone out so much while running that the apocalypse could be occurring around me and I wouldn’t notice, so it didn’t bother me.

Scenery! The full marathon course had several beautiful views of Lake Michigan. The overcast weather added to the mystique of the water. I’m not a very religious person, but there were points where I couldn’t help but thank God for the ability to run and for the gorgeous land around me.

Best Marathon Moment! Seeing my mom, dad, and Randy (and my parent’s dog Barley) cheering me on at mile 24. I wasn’t expecting them to be on the course at all! Their support helped me push through those final miles with a smile on my face.

Worst Marathon Moment! Stepping out of the port-a-potty at mile 3, I stepped directly into a massive puddle in the grass. My entire right foot was soaked for the remainder of the race, though with the 100% humidity I hardly noticed.

Funniest Marathon Moment! Seeing my brother Jeff wandering along the side of the road at mile 25. Apparently he grew impatient waiting for me to finish so he started walking until he saw me. “What are you doing here?” I asked. “I found you a banana if you want it. It was on the side of the road,” he replied. No, I did not eat the road banana.

All in all, it was another amazing weekend spent in Charlevoix with my family and running a PR. I would’ve liked my time to be more around the 4:30 range, but shaving 37 minutes off of my first marathon time is nothing to sneeze at. Plus I can honestly say I never hit the dreaded wall. I was sore, of course, but my energy was consistent throughout. Now, I have my sights set on the Wineglass Marathon in New York in October. Marathons are beasts, but for the first time I feel like a worthy foe.

 

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Random Thoughts: Pre-Marathon Edition

This Saturday I’ll be running my second marathon in beautiful Charlevoix, Michigan. There are lots of thoughts flowing through my little pea-brain as I lead up to this occasion. Here are a few:

1) The general non-running population has no clue what marathons are like, nor do they care. The number one question I get asked when I tell people at work I’m running a marathon this weekend is, “Oh! How many miles is that?”, which is often followed by, “Why would you do that?!”

2) I’ve been having many pre-marathon nightmares lately. My favorite so far was that I finished the marathon, but the race director refused to give me a medal unless I ran the half-marathon as well. Other dreams include forgetting my headphones, socks, or showing up to the race in high heels.

3) I don’t remember feeling as stressed and nervous leading up to my first marathon as I have for my second. Maybe it’s because I know what I’m in for- all the pain, fatigue, boredom…why am I doing this again?

4) I’ve been battling a sore throat since Monday. It hasn’t gotten worse but it hasn’t gone away either. I’m sure it’s just a bad combination of stress and acid reflux. My friend Swiss informed me that St. Blaze is the patron saint of throat ailments, which is appropriate since my throat is on FIRE! (lol Catholic humor).

5) I’m very fortunate that my parents have a home in the Charlevoix area, which allows me to turn the marathon into a “race-cation”. My parents, brother, and Randy will be Up North this weekend and I’m looking forward to unwinding after running 26.2 by floating around Lake Charlevoix with a drink in my hand. I’m also happy to be visiting Short’s Brewery for the first time! They have a peanut butter and banana beer!!!!!!!

That’s it for now! My next post will obviously be my marathon race report, which will hopefully be all about how I PR’d the shit out of Charlevoix. Have a great weekend all you runnerds out there!

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Going all the Way

Before I get started on my intended post, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I had the honor of meeting ultra-running superstar Scott Jurek over a week ago. He gave a presentation at VegFest in Novi on April 21st and stayed around to greet fans and sign books. I tried writing a recap of the event but I hate writing recaps. I’m not a journalist, I’m just an idiot with a WordPress account. Just know that Scott is extremely nice and inspiring and everything you’d hope he’d be in real life. I got my copy of Eat and Run signed and ate many delicious vegan cookies.

The message that Scott inscribed into my book, “Dig Deep”, may sound cliched, until you actually have to do it. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m currently training for my second marathon on June 22nd. Marathon training is all fun and games until the really long runs pop up on your training plan. This weekend I had an 18-miler planned. My biggest obstacle wasn’t finding the time, or any physical injury. It was that voice in my head telling me I couldn’t do it.

Last year when I was training for my first marathon, I probably only fit in four runs longer than 13.1. Each run ended in tears, frustration, and Bacardi. I tackled 16 miles last week with no issues. But 18 miles? My little pea-brain somehow processed that number as far more impossing, eventhough it’s only two more miles. Though I’m a stronger runner than I was last year, my confidence was still shaken by memories of last year’s training disasters. “You’re not going to make it the entire 18 miles. You’re going to give up. You’re going to get bored. You’re not good enough” was my mantra all weekend.

The morning of the run didn’t show much promise. I was supposed to meet up with some Your Pace or Mine buddies at 7 a.m. Some minor family stress had caused me to stay up too late and drink a bit more than I should have. My right knee had a dull pain and I worried about furthering the injury. On top of all that, the two cups of coffee I drank weren’t doing their job. I chugged Pepto Bismal and cried to Randy to find me any reason to call off the run and crawl back into bed. “See how you feel in 15 minutes,” he told me. I went into the closet to put on my running shoes. When I came out, Randy had found the Rocky Theme on his phone and was blasting it for me. “YOU CAN DO THIS!” he shouted. With a send off like that, how could I give up?

I met up with my friends on time and just started running. Physically I felt fine, but mentally I just couldn’t imagine myself completing the entire run. After six miles, I announced that I’d be happy with 12 miles and that I’d turn around and run home. The group wasn’t having it. “You are going to finish this run! We will bully you into finishing!” I fought against the nagging thoughts with any positive ones I could muster: “My knee isn’t hurting.” “I think it’s finally Spring.” “I don’t feel like I have to shit my pants!”

Had I been running alone, no doubt I would’ve thrown in the towel way too early and felt like a failure all day long. Instead this awesome group of ladies pushed me out of my comfort zone forced me to realize that I, Laura, could in fact finish this run and be a proper “Marathoner”. I “dug deep”, as Scott told me. Plus the group’s sense of humor was just as sick as mine, and time flew by before I had a chance to complain.

Our bodies are capable of so much, yet a negative outlook has the power to kill all of that potential. Confidence has never been my strong suit and that’s not something that’s going to change overnight. However, I’m going to start practicing positive visualization before challenging runs. It sounds silly, but I’ve read that simply imagining yourself completing your goals on race day has tremendous benefits. And if I happen to imagine crossing the finish line and running into a giant tent full of Bacardi, kitties, and gorgeous men waiting to rub my feet, that’s my business.

Whatever works, right?

 

 

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