Week 20.5: Thank You

“I want to thank you for giving me the best day [one of them, anyway] of my life..” Dido, Thank You

Saucony-Strong see Mommy Run 26.2 Miles
I think those folks at Saucony must have run a marathon or two to come up with this ad! Training for and running a marathon really is about finding your strong. I know I did along this journey. All those mornings, getting up at 5 AM for long runs, running through the hottest part of a Southern summer, puking up all those icky runner foods on the side of the trail, icing every body part below the waist, really taught me I am strong and can do hard things.
I really want to thank Saucony for creating the 26Strong program and for believing in all of us. This program is an amazing thing and I hope they keep it up. Knowing I was part of something bigger than just my journey to 26 miles meant a lot to me. I loved the social media support and meeting my fellow Cadets online. I felt accountable to Saucony, to Competitor magazine, to my coach and to my fellow Cadets. It helped get me out of bed every single Saturday for 5 months. The free gear was great but the accountability was better. For a running company to believe in the average, every day runner like me, and to put their name behind me and my slow self, demonstrates that Saucony really gets us, the world’s okayest runners. It also shows they care about us and our successes, not just the elites. Their brand on my body was not going to be on TV but they put it on me, anyway.
I also have to say that the Bullet Running Capris (and tights) are the best running invention. Ever! I seriously don’t want to wear anything else! The pockets on the legs were amazing during my race. I had my fuel on my left and my phone on my right for easy access to picture taking. The compression is great, too. I also love my Rides. I am going to keep these shoes long after they have used up all their miles – just like moms keep their baby’s first pair of shoes! Those shoes got me through my first 26.2 miles. A new pair will get me through my next 26.2 miles.
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I also want to thank Another Mother Runner. Thank you, Dimity and Sarah, for giving me a forum to show other mothers that they can do this. I really, really mean that. Honestly, folks, if I can do this any one of you can. And you know what? I recommend that you do. You don’t have to be a marathoner to consider yourself a “real” runner. If you run, you are a runner but, if you have been considering tackling a marathon but think you can’t do it, stop thinking that right now. You can do this.
Thanks, also, to the AMR Tribe. Your belief in my ability to do this really meant a lot. Your support through social media has been a catalyst to my success. To those of you out on the course, who came up to me to congratulate me or who were holding up BAMR signs on the course and yelling my name, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I am going to walk my local turkey trot in a turkey tutu with my daughter tomorrow. I usually run it but that is not in the cards this year. Walking is good for you, too. I might run a few easy miles on Saturday afternoon (NOT morning) to see how it feels. I’ve got to train Carly for the Disney races we’re running in January so taking a lot off time of is not in the cards. I don’t suspect that extended rest is not on my agenda surprises any of you. My IT band and I are making up. It is slowly forgiving me and I promised it we won’t try to run fast! Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Week 20: I Lived – Philadelphia Marathon

“I owned every second that this world could give, I saw so many places, the things that I did, With every broken bone, I swear I lived” – One Republic, I Lived

If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon, running quotes, exercise, healthy mind, healthy body, healthy soul.

I lived both figuratively and literally. It was an amazing experience and, yes, I am going to run another marathon. First, I want redemption from the time my miserable IT band cost me. Second, I want to be there for Sissy and Heather to get to the finish of their first marathon. If you run long distances, I think you should run a marathon. There is no way to describe what it feels like. I’m getting ahead of myself, though. On Friday, the family got up and headed to the Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. They had a kids’ zone, which was a great idea and the first Expo I have attended where the organizers thought of it. Mike stayed with Colin and he got balloon animals and did arts and crafts.Great thing. Carly and I went to get my bib.

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When the man handed me my bib, it sunk in that I really had to run this thing. I mentioned that we were treating this like a vacation (which it was) so I was not focused on why we were actually here until that moment. I bought some race gear and, of course, some more headbands. If you see me every day, you know I have a ton of them and I buy more at each Expo. I stopped by the AMR booth, which was being manned by Sarah, to say hi. We ate at the Reading Terminal Market, which I highly recommend. Saturday was filled with more sight seeing. Colin was angry that he could not touch the Liberty Bell. I think, judging by his behavior on this trip, it must be hard to be three. We returned to the Expo and Carly and I hung out at the AMR booth with Dimity and Denise. I met Jo and Adrienne (my awesome pacers) in person for the first time. I ran in an anti-gravity treadmill and, if I ever win the lottery, one of those will be one of the first items I purchase! The effect was running at only 60% of my body weight and it felt amazing. So, basically, if I weighed the same as Carly, running would be easier!

10426528_10152373400637038_301462763307119936_n Dimity, Adrienne, Me, Jo and Carly

All day Saturday I was feeling really nervous. Saturday night, we had an AMR dinner at a nice Italian restaurant in Center City. I met many of the women who are a part of AMR. I also met Nicole, who I had been talking to on social media, who also runs for Oiselle. When I got back to the hotel on Saturday night, I felt very calm. For some reason the nerves were gone and I was really ready to run the race. I laid out all of my gear and pinned on my bib. We all fell asleep pretty early and, before I knew it, my alarm was sounding at 5:15 AM. Carly woke right up (a rarity) to head down to the lobby with her bike. The plan was for Carly and Dimity to ride the course on bikes to pop up along the route for support. Dimity and Carly had made signs on Friday night and I was looking forward to seeing them.

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Sarah, Adrienne and I left the other folks in the lobby and headed over to the start. There were so many runners! I have never run a race this large – even the Disney Princess was not this big. It took a while for us to get back to the Blue Corral since it was the last one. We met up with mother runner, Laura, who had loaned Dimity her husband’s bike to ride during the race. We started right by the Rocky statue at the art museum, a nice touch. The corrals were well organized and the waves started right on time. Mayor Nutter released all the corrals except our corral, which was released by the Governor-elect, who told us we were “the best people in America”. We all laughed at that and it became a joke we reused many times during the first half of the race.

IMG_2299The Start

The start was exciting, right in the middle of the city. Near mile 1, I saw Carly, Dimity and Denise. The first 10 miles were amazing, running through the city. There was good crowd support and lots of things to look at to distract from running (funny signs). Adrienne was an amazing pacer, reminding me to reel it in. We stuck to our intervals and stayed right on pace except for the 6 minute bathroom break (I hate stopping to use the bathroom during a race). I felt great and nothing hurt once my soleus warmed up. South Philly wins the neighborhood award because they really brought the party atmosphere at 8 AM on a Sunday!

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The plan was for Adrienne to peal off at the half finish and for Jo to meet me at mile 13.5. When we were running through Fairmont Park, though, there was a sign that said that the half marathoners needed to turn right but we were only at mile 11. Adrienne pealed off at that point and I kept running by myself. Once I was out of the park and down by the river, I decided to take an extra walk break to take off my arm warmers, which required removing my Garmin and Road ID, not an easy feat while moving forward. It is a good thing I slowed because Adrienne was able to catch me – it turns out the signage was wrong and it was not time to peal off!

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We ran and chatted until we got back near the start and the sign came for marathoners to turn left and half marathoners to turn right. I said goodbye to Adrienne and turned left. I was expecting this to be mentally tough but it really was not. I just turned left and told myself “half marathon #2”.

IMG_2307The split

Carly, Jo and Dimity were waiting at mile 13.5 and Jo jumped in with me. We did our intervals and moved right along. These miles were kind of a blur. We ran past the river on the beautiful course. This was my first marathon but I have run a lot of races and I have to say, this was an amazing course. Flat, beautiful views, great crowds. I highly recommend it. I cannot describe the feeling of being in the second half of a marathon. At around mile 15, my left IT band and knee started to get a little stiff. I am really not surprised it decided to give me trouble. I was expecting it. Ever since my speedy Raleigh City of Oaks relay race on November 1, my ITB has been unhappy. Out on that course, at the end of my 5 mile run, it seized up, something that had never happened before – every run after that over 10 miles it got really cranky. I knew I was kind of wounded going into this race with the tendonitis in my left soleus, my cranky left ITB and my right SI joint discomfort. These nagging things, though, were not enough to make me not do this. I just figured they would make the last miles of the marathon more painful than I would want them to be. I was right. What I did not expect is that they would make me have to walk so much.

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At mile 18, my IT band decided to become really, really stiff. Have you ever left a rubber band on a stack of papers and found it years later and it has lost all of its elasticity? That was my ITB. It did not want to bend where it met my knee. Jo and I shortened our intervals so there was still some running. By mile 20, it was obvious that running was not going to happen. My ITB and knee were so stiff they would not bend. The only way I could go in a forward motion was to keep my left leg straight and sort of drag it along. My feet were covered in blisters. I looked around me and realized I was in the crowd with the walking wounded. Everyone around me was hobbled. Everyone was, clearly, in pain. We did not let it stop us and most of us did not lose our spirits. We talked to each other, we encouraged each other, we commiserated together. There were lots of comments about never doing this again but I did not think that. Even with the pain and the fact that I had to walk, I never doubted that I would do this, again. Jo was amazing. She kept me talking and walking. She congratulated me on getting this done. I loved her for it.

IMG_2314 Jo got me this beer!

We saw Dimity and Carly a lot out there during the walking part. Carly was so sweet. I think she saw I was suffering and she kept asking if I was OK. I was OK. I was in pain but I was OK. At one point, around mile 22, I apologized to Dimity for my ITB and my walking. I think I felt like I was letting her down but she said for me not to worry about it.

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Right before the chute, Jo pealed off to be with Dimity and Carly. At that point, with a little over 0.3 miles to go, I started running, again. At least I thought I was running. To the crowd, it probably looked like some kind of strange lurching! It was seriously painful but I did not stop and when I heard Mike and Colin calling out “mommy” on my left and saw them at the barricade, I started to cry. I kept my eyes up at the finisher clock, with tears streaming down my face, smiling at the same time, and crossed the line. I stopped, bent over and looked at my Garmin. There was still a 5 at the front of my time so I was happy, given all that had happened. It was important to me to finish in under 6 hours and I did it, 43 year old ITB and all. I also was not last although not too far from it. Whoever came in last, you are a real hero in this race. A nice young policeman asked me if I was OK. I said yes and hobbled down to get my space blanket and a cup of Gatorade. The volunteers were handing out warm soft pretzels. Best post-race food ever!

I stopped for a post-race picture, clutching my pretzel and my space blanket. I don’t know why I did not take it off. At the next picture spot, I had the forethought to take off the blanket and lay down the pretzel but then I had to bend over to pick them up. Ugh. I managed to hobble down the rest of the incredibly long chute and make it over to the family meeting area. No family was there. Apparently, Colin walks slower than people who just finished a marathon. Carly was the first to reach me. She threw down her bike and ran to give me a hug. She was proud, which meant a lot to me. Colin was next and really all he did was give me a hug and tell me he was hungry because he is three and that is how it goes. Mike gave me a big hug and said congratulations. We slowly headed over to the hotel and straight to the bar, which was the same idea all the other finisher’s had! I managed to snag a table but I had to lift my left leg with both hands to get it up onto the barstool. It would not bend.

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This morning, my leg will once again bend. It hurts but it bends. My feet are covered in Band-Aids, which are covering my numerous blisters. I’ve only worn flip-flops around the hotel. I am sore but not as badly as I thought I would be. The first few steps out of the bed were hard but once I get moving, it gets better. I have a PT appointment tomorrow but Smruti is out on maternity leave so I will be seeing Kyle for the first time. I hope he has his Graston tools ready to go because this IT band needs some work.

I don’t think I have done this race justice with this post because I can’t put into words how it feels to run a marathon. It hurts and, I think that is obvious but, the emotions defy description. I never once gave up, mentally. Quitting, no matter what happened, was never an option. Am I disappointed with my time? Yes and no. I am disappointed my body decided to quit so I could not stick to my desired 11:30-12:00 per mile pace but I am not disappointed I finished in under 6 hours. In all honesty, my A Goal was to finish this race, in an upright position, with a smile on my face, willing to do this, again, because running, to me, is all about having fun and experiencing life. I met that goal. I also learned some lessons for next time because there will be a next time.

Week 19.5: The Streets of Philadelphia

IMG_2262My Thursday morning crew, yesterday, before leaving for Philadelphia.

So, we are in Philadelphia. I am sitting in the breakfast cafe drinking Starbucks and typing this blog post because in my family, the early bird gets to drink her coffee, watch the Today show and blog, in peace! I never sleep well in hotel rooms. It could be because I spent most of the night with little three year old feet shoved into the small of my back or because Carly had an asthma attack in the night and was up several times. Oh, well. I function sleep deprived on a daily basis so who needs sleep to run a marathon? (I seriously hope that it true).

My Soleus is unhappy today. The problem with tendonitis is that it is chronic. It is always sore in the mornings, now, and always takes at least 3 miles into a run to get happy. I guess it is good that I will run it for 26.2 miles on Sunday. Plenty of time to warm it up. I am somewhat in denial that I am in this town to run a marathon in 48 hours. I am treating it just like a vacation. We’re going to the Mutter Museum this morning to look at preserved brains in jars and skeletons because my family is into that kind of thing.

The point of this post other than to stave off my nerves and make y’all listen to the thoughts in my head? Music. I am a reformed party girl. She comes out if you play a little music so I run with music most of the time. My playlist is short because I imagine I will be chatting up my new running friends but I have to take it along. I’ve had a couple of folks ask about my playlist for the marathon so here it is:

Philly 26.2

1. Eye of the Tiger, Survivor – Yes, I went there.

2. Ready to Run, One Direction – When you have a middle school-aged daughter, you have to listen to this band. I must admit I like it.

3. Superheroes, The Script – I love this song. I will need to turn my pain into power during this race.

4. All About That Bass, Meghan Trainor – This song makes me laugh. Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.

5. I Lived, One Republic – “I owned every second that this world could give…”

6. Touch the Sky, Brave Soundtrack – this song was playing as I entered the Magic Kingdom and ran down Main Street USA towards Cinderella’s castle during my first half marathon. I will never forget that moment.

7. American Kids, Kenny Chesney – this reminds me of my youth…”growing up in little pink houses, making out on living room couches, blowing that smoke on a Saturday night”.

8. Rainbow, Robert Plant – “My hands shall not tremble, my feet shall not falter..”

9. Raise Your Glass, Pink – This is a classic party girl song so it had to be included.

10. Run, Run, Run, Michelle Lewis – speaks for itself.

11. Story of My Life (Workout Mix), One Direction – I just like this bubble gum music.

12. Like a Prayer (Workout Mix), Madonna – I am a child of the 80s.

13. Firework, Katy Perry – This song was playing as I pushed myself at the end of the Tarheel 10 Miler, entering Kenan Stadium, to meet my time goal. It helps me channel that person who could do that.

14. The Edge of Glory, Lady Gaga – I just like this and I certainly hope it is true.

15. Happy (Workout Mix), Pharrel Williams – if you hear this song and don’t start moving, I think you might have issues.

16. Pompeii, Bastille – I just like the beat on this one.

17. A Sky Full of Stars, Coldplay – doesn’t every running mix have to have at least one Coldplay song?

18. What Makes You Beautiful, One Direction – I will never forget standing in a parking lot at Epcot at 4 AM in full tutus waiting for the 5K to start, dancing to this song with Carly. She was so happy and so free in that moment, my heart just wishes for her to always stay that way.

19. Follow the Sun, Evermore – “Think of where you’re going not where you’ve come from, just lift your eyes and follow the sun”.

20. The Rising, Bruce Springsteen – I love this song. Period.

21. Holding Out for a Hero, Bonnie Tyler – I always think of Shrek, riding to rescue Fiona when I hear this song.

22. Shut Up and Dance, Walk the Moon – this was free on iTunes last week and it is just fun.

23. Geronimo, Sheppard – “Say Geronimo” is pretty much what this race is all about. Yolo, people.

24. Total Eclipse of the Heart (Workout Mix), Bonnie Tyler – is there any girl from the 80s who does not love this song?

25. You Shook Me All Night Long, AC/DC – this is my nod to the headbangers.

26. All Summer Long, Kid Rock – It was 1989, my thoughts were short and my hair was long and I was 17.

27. Push It, Salt N Peppa – I will never forget listening to this song 400 times a night in my Honda Prelude.

28. Live While We’re Young, One Direction – Yes, I am secretly a teenage girl.

29. Dancing With Myself, Billy Idol – when I was 16, my mom would not let me go see Billy Idol on a school night. I have never forgotten it so I still listen to this song in protest.

30. Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen – Needs no explanation.

31. Jack and Diane, John Mellencamp – “Hold onto 16 as long as you can. Changes come around real soon, make us women and men”.

32. Kansas City, The New Basement Tapes – I can do anything with Marcus Mumford singing in my ears.

I probably should go back upstairs now and take my dear husband some coffee. My first race post will come tomorrow, after I’ve gone to the Expo, met up with Dimity and the rest of the AMR Tribe and completely freaked out.

Week 19: The Edge of Glory

“I’m on the edge of glory, and I’m hanging on a moment of truth
Out on the edge of glory, and I’m hanging on a moment with you
I’m on the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge,
I’m on the edge of glory, and I’m hanging on a moment with you
I’m on the edge with you.” – Lady Gaga, The Edge of Glory

IMG_2255 Heather gave this sign to me for my birthday and I have it on my desk at work.

So, this title is a little dramatic, I admit, but I added this song to my epic playlist and I just like it. I can pretend I am on the edge of glory, right? I did come in first in my office football pool this week, which really is glorious considering the risky picks I made and the points values I attached to those risks. Also, considering that I am one of only two women in the pool. The other woman came in second so, clearly, we are awesome. I love college football and have enjoyed marathon training long runs as an excuse to sit on the couch and watch football all day and all night on Saturdays.

This week’s “long” run was only 8 miles (that did not stop me from watching football all day in my sweatpants). It felt great for the first 4 miles. Sara and I felt like we were flying. I had to slow down for the last 4 because I am my own worst enemy when it comes to pacing. Speed is my downfall. It ends up in more aches and pains than if I take it easy. I can run 20 miles at a slow pace and suffer few consequences the next day or I can run 5 miles at a fast pace and not be able to walk for 3 days! The choice is mine. I hit somewhere in the middle on Saturday. I have a stiff ITB. This makes me sad because Smruti fixed my soleus on Thursday and I was pain free for a few days.

IMG_2250Someone needs to blow the leaves off my deck.

So, what did I do with all my free time? I finished my playlist. I’ll post it later this week. I obsessed over the weather in Philly. It currently looks like this:

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Way to stay consistent, Philly. All this means is that I will take 4 potential marathon outfit combinations to Philly plus, a gazillon different coats, etc. for myself and the children. When I checked the weather 24 hours ago, it was not calling for rain. The rain is new today. I did not have a rainy day outfit picked out. I guess I had better get on that. Y’all know how much I love running in the rain (read the sarcasm). Also, how can it be a low of 30 degrees on Saturday night to a high of 57 degrees on Sunday? At least it is not predicting snow. Yet. This forecast has been so crazy for the past week, there is no telling.

I also spent some time trying to decide which pair of Saucony Rides I will wear for the race. I am partial to these turquoise ones but I think the red ones match my outfit better. I am sure all the people spectating the race are going to notice my shoes.

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I also spent a lot of time obsessing over the fact that the other three AMR runners received their pre-race e-mails with their bib numbers and corral assignments on Friday night but I STILL have not gotten mine. I checked my spam filter 1000 times. I e-mailed the race people. Twice.  I tweeted them. I got nothing. Really, I have spent nearly 5 months training for this race so I would like to have my bib number. I verified my registration on the website. Just one more thing to make a tapering mother runner crazy.

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I spent part of last week obsessing over the fact that Alison, my fellow cadet, had to drop out due to injury. Head over to anothermotherrunner.com to read her blog post about her emotional decision not to run Philly. I am sad.

So, I will spend the rest of the week trying to cram 9 days of work into 3 (I am off beginning on Thursday and will not come back until after Thanksgiving). I will spend my free time trying to pack for 3 people (Mike is old enough to pack his own things) and doing laundry for 4.  According to Dimity’s schedule, there is also some running to fit in this week. I have to finish my coding homework. I have to feed my family, carb load and find someone to watch the dog while we are gone. I also have to try to sleep and not lose my mind. Pandora just played The Streets of Philadelphia and I took this quiz on Runner’s World on Friday and got this answer as my ideal running city. Not even making this up.

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Week 18.5: Timshel

“But you are not alone in this
And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand
Hold your hand” – Timshel, Mumford & Sons

Maroon 5 - "She Will Be Loved"

 

As I sit here tapering for the race and going out of my mind because I cannot partake of my favorite drug, the runner’s high, nearly enough to battle the demons I have met this week, I decided to write a dedication post. I’ve said before that it takes a village to train for a marathon (if you do it the best way) so I want to thank my village.

Mike, my husband – Mike is not a runner. He can’t understand why I run but he understands that I NEED to run so he lets me. He has watched the kids for progressively longer and longer periods of time on Saturday mornings. He has gotten them ready for school so I can run on Thursday mornings before work. He has put up with a wife who usually falls asleep on the couch by 9:00 on Saturday nights. He does not do social media so I can’t tag him but I can say thank you, babe, for putting up with this.

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Carly, my daughter – Carly is my biggest fan. She comes to all my races and cheers me on. She rolls out my sore legs with The Stick. She watches her little brother so I can get in runs on the treadmill, tirelessly watching the same episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates with him. To Colin, I say, thank you for only mildly injuring your sister while she was watching you.

Smruti Shah and Suzanna Dupee – my PT and my massage therapist. There is no way I would have been able to make it to the starting line of this race without you two. You have kept my legs in working order for 5 long months. You’re also super cool people and I love hanging out with you while you hurt me!

Heather – I already said why I love Heather in another post. She has been injured. I’ve missed her but we’re going to tackle 26.2, again, in 2015.

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Alyson, Paige, Kelly and Nancy – our Thursday morning runs are the highlight of my week. I look forward to our campus runs and I love how we can talk about anything.

Sissy – She has been my Fleet Feet running group mentor for several seasons, now. Sissy and I are both health care attorneys so we are a lot alike but I loved her before I knew she was an attorney. Sissy always believes in me and such a kind person. I am going to be proud to train with her for her first marathon next fall.

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Sara, Laurie and Jen – Team Indiana Jones Fleet Feet Fall Full Marathon Training group. Where would I be without  you all this season? Still out on the ATT, throwing up or walking back to the store. I credit the three of you for pulling me through the longest of long runs. Laurie knocked it out of the park at the City of Oaks. Jen runs Richmond tomorrow. Sara had to drop out of NYC due to injury but we’ll make it to the starting line of another race next fall. Fortune and glory, kid, fortune and glory!

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Oiselle NC Flock – You ladies are so much fun and I admire all of you! Thank you for all your support and the Chipotle (Rose, I am talking to you).

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Nora and the rest of the crew at Fleet Feet of Carrboro and Durham – Nora, you had big shoes to fill but you’ve done a great job being our fearless leader and motivating us to do what once seemed possible. I feel like Fleet Feet is my version of Cheers because everyone knows my name, my favorite brand of running gear and chews. If you served beer, I might never leave.

Fleet Feet Half and Full Marathon Training Program's photo.

My Aunt Janet and my cousin, Tracy – you two have cheered me from affair and supported every annoying run I posted on Nike + on Facebook. Your support means a lot to me since my mom is not here to lend her hand.

Rachael, Allen and Rhian – you all are my fitness idols. Rachael has run 22 marathons and imparted her wisdom on me. Allen and I have known each other since kindergarten and Allen has run so many marathons, I don’t think we can even count. He also provided advice and hooked me into Yoga for Runners. Rhian is a cycle warrior and lent her support to me from afar. It meant a lot to me knowing I could ask for advice.

Saucony – thanks for believing in all of us and creating 26Strong. The free gear was also amazing. There is nothing better than coming home to random boxes of running gear on your front porch, sent from the Saucony fairies!

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Alison – we’ve only met from afar and I can’t wait to meet you in person. I appreciate you tolerating my Facebook messages asking “Do you think we really have to run that far this week?” and “Are you in pain or is it just me?”.

The AMR Tribe– y’all have been awesome. I can’t tell you how much it means to have other women, just like me, cheering me on.

Adrienne and Jo – y’all are awesome. On short notice, after it became clear that Dimity could not run the marathon, you agreed to leave your families behind fly (in Jo’s case) and drive (in Adrienne’s case) to another city to run 13.1 miles with another Mother Runner in need. I can’t wait to do this with y’all!

Last, but certainly least, Dimity – my very own Mr. Miyagi. You’ve read all my extremely long overly analytic e-mails. You’ve talked me down off the ledge. You’ve modified the training plan. You convinced me to do intervals, which I think is the reason I am still standing. You knew I could do this before I did. I know you can’t run Philly by my side but I know I will be able to look up from the course and see you on your bike. You also offered to be my pack mule so I don’t have to run with all my crap around my waist! My race pictures are going to be awesome with no fanny pack in them!

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Thanks, also to all my Facebook friends, many from high school and college. Y’all have put up with my endless running posts and some of you even read my blog and you did not have to!

T-minus 9 days until go time.

 

Week 18: Demons

“When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide
Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide” – Demons, Imagine Dragons

Happy Sunday Runday! #keepmovingforward @SPARKLYSOULINC #inspiration www.sparklysoul.com #sparklysoulheadbands #sparkleboost

 

Tapering is hard. It is harder than training. I’m convincing myself that I am losing fitness, that I should be doing more but I know that is not true. It is hard when you are addicted to something and you have to cut back.

This week has been a little tough. My soleus is strained from the 15 mile tempo run on the treadmill and my PR for the 5 miles at the Raleigh City of Oaks. It hurt a lot more than I would want two weeks before my marathon. I did not run on Tuesday. By Thursday, I was mean and testy. I saw Smruti on Thursday for an emergency appointment and she did Graston on it until I turned black and blue. It was much better. I was hopeful. I got stuck on the treadmill on Thursday night because it was dark, foggy, I had the kids and there are no sidewalks out where I live. It hurt more after the treadmill. She says she thinks I can still do the race. I just need to be careful between now and then and rest as much as I can.

I headed out for my last long run with Sara and Nancy at the crack of dawn on Saturday. I had planned 12 but could barely make it 7. My soleus hurt. A lot. Sara and I made it back to the store at 7.5 miles and I told her I felt like I should do more, that my leg was feeling better. She said I should rest. Could it be that it now takes me that long to warm up? She left and I ran another 3 miles to hit over 10 (sorry, Sara).

I can’t say I am not worried. I can’t say that major doubt is not creeping in because it is. The demons in my head are telling me that I should not be sitting around. They are saying that maybe my soleus and IT band will give out on me at mile 18 of the race. I need to stop the noise in my head and how do I normally do that? I run. See the dilemma? Instead, I am working on an epic 26.2 playlist for Philly. When I was 21 and had just graduated from undergrad, I worked at the CDC AIDS/HIV hotline. It was a good job with a great bunch of folks, many of whom were also gay. After work, we would head out to a gay dance club in Durham called the Power Company. I first learned about remixes at this club. We would dance and dance to the great songs, mixed by the DJ. It was the best bar in the world because the women could dance as much as we wanted and no one paid any attention to us! I did have to buy all my own drinks, though. My Philly mix is heavy on dance remixes and nostalgic tunes.

Speaking of nostalgia, my 25th high school reunion was last night. I saw people, who had been very important during my formative years, who I have not seen in 25 years. I’m not going to say they stirred up “demons” but it certainly brought back a lot of memories. We live in a college town and a handful of us ended up at a dance club with the college kids. Apparently, it was 80s night or something because the DJ was playing all 80s songs, which was pretty funny considering none of the kids in that bar were even born when the songs came out and the songs all had meaning to us, the old folks. We pretty much took over the dance floor. I guess we can still party like it is 1989! I’m adding more 80s songs to my mix. The nostalgia from my memories, tied to those songs, will keep my mind occupied on what I hear is a pretty brutal out-and-back for the last 13.1 after the half mararthoners finish their race.

I also received a pretty upsetting piece of news from Dimity. I will let her tell people as much and in what way she wants to about it but I will say that I will have to dig deep into my mental fortitude during the last half of this race to a level I am not sure I can. The demons are screaming loudly about this one.

IMG_0510 Chapel Hill High School, Class of 1989. Once upon a time, my wild curls were actually in style – no perm necessary! At least curly hair products have improved in 25 years!

Week 17: Danger Zone

“Headin’ into twilight
Spreadin’ out her wings tonight
She got you jumpin’ off the deck
And shovin’ into overdrive

Highway to the Danger Zone
I’ll take you
Right into the Danger Zone” – Kenny Loggins, Danger Zone, Top Gun Soundtrack

Eye candy for today.

I do love the Danger Zone. When it comes on 80s on 8 on my XM radio, I turn it up loud and pretend my Honda is really a fighter jet. Not really but I do enjoy the song in traffic. I often think I feel the “need for speed” when running and I tried that out this weekend. Not my best idea. I can’t walk down stairs today without pain.

Saturday’s long run called for 15 miles. It was windy, cold and raining on Saturday morning. None of my training partners were going to make it to running group and the rest of the group was only running 6 miles. So, I slept in until 8:30 (the luxury) and ran the mileage on the treadmill. This is not as bad as it sounds. I propped up my iPad on the ‘mill and watched The Spirit of the Marathon during my run. This is a great documentary which follows a few elite runners and some regular folks through marathon training for the Chicago Marathon. Let’s just say it was inspiring and I might have cried when the people crossed the finish line. The treadmill has a tendency to be hard on my shins and soleus. I was sore after the run. Smurti will be mad when she finds out I ran long on the treadmill, again.

On Sunday, I ran the Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon as a relay team for Team Oiselle. We had two relay teams. I love Oiselle’s overall message and I love the variety we have on our NCFlock team. Oiselle is French for “bird”. Everything has a flying theme, which I love. I don’t think Oiselle means “flying” in that you have to be fast, more like the freedom that comes from running. So, Allie, Ellen and Andie are all part of Oiselle’s Volee, semi-professional runners who are fast. For some perspective, Andie ran the Indianapolis Half Marathon on Saturday in 1:13. She came in second. Nikki and Rachel are pretty darn fast, too. Alyson, Laura and I are mortal runners but the team is so welcoming, I never felt bad about running at a slower speed than my fellow teammates. We’re part of Oiselle’s Flock. We mixed up the teams so each team had fast, medium and not so fast runners. I’ll bet you can’t guess which one I was! Everyone was so supportive of everyone else and no one focused on time. We have a couple of other NC Flock/Volee members but they could not make it to the race yesterday. Rose volunteered for the race and was a great cheerleader.

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I had the best time at the race, literally and figuratively. I asked for the shortest leg (5.2 miles) because of my 15 mile training run on Saturday. This meant I ran leg #3. It was really, really cold. We were very unhappy taking off our layers for that picture! Andie, Alyson, Laura and I took a shuttle to wait at our relay point. It was pretty ingenious that leg 3 and leg 4 handed off at the same location so we did not have to wait alone. Did I mention it was cold? Standing around in 30 degree, windy weather for 2 hours waiting to exchange is hard but the company was good. We followed the NYC Marathon on our Twitter feeds while we waited.

IMG_2369Me, Rachel, Laura and Andie

I got out on the course for Leg 3 which was comprised of miles 16-21 at the 1:39:14 mark from gun time. Let’s wrap our heads around how fast that is: my teammates ran an average pace of with a single digit number in front up to that point. When I headed out on the greenway for my 5.2 mile out and back loop, I was on the course with the fastest runners in the race. I have NEVER experienced a race from this vantage point. By the time I usually hit the course, it is littered with crushed cups, banana peels, GU wrappers and snot wads. The volunteers, god love them, are tired; the spectators, not abundant. Yesterday, I was surrounded by men. At my usual pace, I am almost always surrounded by women, which is just fine with me. These men were fast. They were sweaty. They spit a lot. There were no cups or smushed bananas to slip on. The volunteers were into it and the crowd was loud. I got passed a lot by single runners. I got engulfed by pace teams full of men in really short shorts.

I also got fast. Inspired by the speed of my fellow runners, the flat, scenic greenway and my music blasting on my iPhone, I ran the fastest 5 miles I have ever run. It was exhilarating. It was painful. It was my IT band’s danger zone. It got very angry with me during the last 1.2 miles of that run. I am incredibly sore today. It was worth it, though. We had a great time and my speediness earned me 20th place on Leg #3 out of 91 relay runners who also tackled leg #3. I’ll take it. I got passed by my friend’s 14 year old son, whose team of other 14 year olds from my daughter’s middle school, took 4th place, overall. Nothing like getting passed by kids your daughter’s age to make you feel old. When I am still doing this when I am 80, I will be passed by Heather, who will be 70, so I guess it is all relative. Oiselle tweeted out our race picture. Pretty cool.

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So, begins the real taper. A little more than two weeks to the marathon. 23 miles on the training schedule this week. Laurie finished the City of Oaks Marathon. I am really proud of her. Jen tackles Richmond on Sunday. Our little group is seeing all our hard work pay off.

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