Week 11: Mercy

“You got me beggin’ you for Mercy
I’m beggin’ you for Mercy
I’m beggin’ you for Mercy
I’m beggin’ you for Mercy
I’m beggin’ you for mercy” – Mercy, Duffy 

 Train for a marathon, it’ll be fun.

“Mercy”! So, this is what my right knee, my left foot, both sets of shins, both quads and my right glute were all saying to me this week after last week’s long run and Tuesday’s tempo run. I could hardly walk on Wednesday and yet, I ran, again, on Thursday because that is what we do. We follow the training plan e-mailed to us by our coach. Except, when we don’t.

By Saturday’s planned 18 mile run, my residual soreness was still in high gear. It is mostly a stiffness. I feel like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. I can’t point to any one thing that hurts any more than anything else. My coach, Dimity, was in a van full of other Mother Runners running Ragnar Napa Valley with the BAMR Ragnar team (I tried to win THAT contest, but alas, I won the 26Strong contest, instead, and now I am in pain, instead of drinking Pinot Noir in Napa), so I could not e-mail her to ask her if I should make up my own cut back week and scale back the mileage. I also had the Ramblin’ Rose Triathlon as a relay team on Sunday morning, and while it was only a 2 mile run, and we did not care about placing, I still needed to be able to move in a forward motion. Then, there is the Rock N Roll Montreal Half Marathon on Sept. 28 and, I don’t want to fly to another country, be child-free with my husband for the first time in two years and not be able to walk, much less run the half, where I am hoping for a new PR.

I iced, foam rolled, medicated, rubbed with a Ben-Gay like substance that does not smell, religiously from Thursday morning through Saturday morning. I was still sore but I could walk without hobbling. What should I do? How does one reconcile one’s Type A brain with one’s 43 year old-been-training-for-a-marathon-for-11-weeks-high-mileage body? Of course, one asks all of her running friends what she should do, seeking permission to cut back! The universal response was to cut back. So, I did, and I only ran 12 miles on Saturday. I feel bad about it from a training perspective but I know it was the right thing to do. I have not had a chance to tell Dimity, yet, but I suspect she will back me up on this one and help me figure out what to do for Montreal. I also suspect my hoped for PR is in jeopardy but, I think I can handle it because, I don’t want to jeopardize the grand prize of finishing Philly. I may skip Tuesday’s training run this week and just go with Sissy for a light shakeout run on Thursday morning before we board the plane on Friday to fly to Montreal. We’ll see. I see my massage therapist tomorrow and she has magic hands that can fix a lot.

Here is proof that the Nike Plus Run app sometimes has a mind of its own. There is no way I ran a 5 minute mile during Saturday’s long run! Seriously, I don’t know which satellite was tracking me on this run but I certainly hope it is not one used for national security or to track the space station because it is wonky.



The Ramblin’ Rose in Charlotte was fun, with Heather as the swimmer and Carly as the biker (Team Two and Half Women). The run course was very strange, through the parking lot of the aquatic center, some weeds, some gravel, a major highway, a bike trail and a field. It was certainly not my fastest two miles and, I was hurting most of the way but, we finished! We also got free containers of my favorite brand of hummus at the end (Roots Hummus – made in small batches in Asheville – I could just eat it with a spoon, no chips needed). I basically run for hummus, I guess. Heather had the second fastest swim of all the relay teams because she is a rock star. I’m proud of Carly because she PR’d on the bike!

photo[2] copy


This morning, I feel better than I did yesterday. My right shin and knee are still sore but, if I take it easy this week, I may be ready to go for Montreal. I certainly hope so.


Week 10: The Rising

“Lost track of how far I’ve gone
How far I’ve gone, how high I’ve climbed
On my back’s a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile line

Come on up for the rising
Com on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight” – The Rising, Bruce Springsteen

IMG_2009Me and Laurie at Fleet Feet after our run.

I’ve been waiting for this moment and this post for a long time. I wanted to write about that moment when, while out on a long run, I felt like this was possible. A rising, of sorts, from my old, slow self to my new self. The self that can cross the finish line at Philadelphia, with my head up and some air still under my feet. I felt that this week. I have this song on my running mix and I listen to it each run, waiting for that moment.

I know this is just a blog about running and that training for a marathon is really just a lot of running. Lots of people have run marathons and it is really not that big of a deal, in the grand scheme of things. Really, though, it is about so much more than that for me. It is about all the years I spent overweight and not happy in my own body. All those times I doubted my ability. It is about all those times I told myself I could not do something but now I know I can. Running for me, is a catharsis of sorts. I really do leave all my fears, frustrations, stress, inadequacies behind me after a run. it is not something I can easily explain to non-runners without sounding cliched and a little insane. People who run for the love of running and not just because they need the exercise probably get it. It is an obsession, a drug, a necessity.

So, how did my rising happen? First, we had a break in the weather. It was overcast and pretty sticky but the temperature was only in the low 70s at the start of the run. So much better than last week. Second, Laurie and Sara needed to run 15 miles for NY. I only had 14 miles on my schedule but since they have been so kind about running extra mileage with me, I hung in there during the extra mileage with them. Third, great conversation. We talked about all kinds of things on the run this morning. It was great bonding time and made the miles fly by. Fourth, I fueled right with the right amount of carb loading yesterday and my trusty Uncrustable and hydration pack with Nuun Energy. I don’t know why I think that you carb load for races but not for long training runs. Why would running 15 miles on a Saturday be any different than running 13 miles in a race? I think I am going to have to pay less attention to Weight Watchers points and more to what works.


Yesterday’s run reminded me why I am doing this. For the love of running. For the joy, the freedom, the friendships and the sense of accomplishment. I know there are going to be times before November 23 when this is going to feel hard, again. Mentally, though, I needed this run. I have felt so much doubt these past weeks with the heat and nutrition issues that I was beginning to doubt if I had been overly confident in my ability to do this. I will still have doubts but, when I finished 15.2 miles strong yesterday and knew I could have gone a little bit further, I know that I just might be able to do this.

Plus, I think new running shoes always make everything better.


Week 9: A Pirate Looks at 43

“Yes, I am a pirate two hundred years too late
The cannons don’t thunder there’s nothin’ to plunder
I’m an over forty victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late” – Jimmy Buffett 

YES I AM A PIRATE!  http://www.buffettinfo.com/encores/5086-21-pirate-looks-forty.html#post6631

I turned 43 on Thursday and I ran 30 miles this week. I’m not excited about 43 but, it is better than the alternative so, I’ll take it. I often wonder, where my running is concerned, if I really am an over 40 victim of fate. I really wish I had started my running career prior to age 41. Would I be faster now and less achy after long runs? Should I have run a marathon in my 20s? Would I have been able to qualify for Boston in my younger days? Then, I tell myself, “better late than never” and just leave it alone. They say 40 is the new 30 but I don’t think 43 is the new 33! I am just tired and kind of achy.

Something this week that was really fun as part of Saucony 26Strong was to record the Another Mother Runner podcast with our coaches and my fellow cadet, Alison. We recorded it on Skype on Wednesday and it was great to gab with them about how the training is going. There was a lot of laughing, which I needed.

I ran 15 miles this morning. Longest run ever. Hardest run ever. I really need it to not be so damn humid. Why do I live in the South? I intended to take a photo of myself and my running friends at the end of the long slog this morning but, we were so gross and wet, no one wanted to have their picture posted, least of all, me! I really need to start taking some pictures to post on here and to remember all of this years from now. I did take this picture of my sweaty running clothes and thought I would claim I melted like the Wicked Witch of the West:



But, I’m still here. My pace was much slower today than it has been so I got mad at myself. I read an article this week in Competitor Magazine about running in humidity and how it greatly affects your performance. I have to keep reminding myself of this point. I made it through 15 miles, my longest run to date, but I can’t get over that I had to go slow. I also can’t wrap my head around the fact that I will have to travel another 11.2 miles after the brutal distance this morning. Someone please tell me it will all get better when it is not so hot and humid! I realize the race is not until November but doubt is creeping in about my ability to do this. The first 8 miles were actually really good. The last 7 were misery.

I really have to give credit for making it this morning to Sissy and Laurie. I ran 2 on my own at 6 AM before the group run. We ran 7 as a group because this was a cutback week for the Fleet Feet Full program (hey, Dimity, where are my cutback weeks?) and then, Sissy and Laurie agreed to run another 5 with me. Thank goodness for all the greenways around here because, if we could not have done at least half those 5 on the shaded greenway, I might not have made it. Sissy is a constant in my running. She has been on runs with me at least twice per week since January and I really could not make it without her. Laurie is a new running friend but I wish I had met her earlier. She stays perky and enthusiastic through the miles. Even though she is using the NYRR training plan, with fewer miles than me, she is willing to hang in there with me for the extra miles I have to run. I had to run the last 1.5 miles at the end by myself – there were a lot of walk breaks in there – running past the dumpsters behind Staples and the dry cleaner while everyone waited for me at the cafe at Whole Paycheck. Not so fun but I got it done. I started thinking I was too old for this shit. So, the graphic below is a fitting way to end Week 9 – I am the world’s okayest runner. That is going to have to be good enough for 26.2 miles.



Just finished my run! Ahhh happy to be home.  #home #fitblr #fitspo #running #fitness #motivation #inspiration #cardio #happy #healthylifestyle #exercise