True Confession Thursday: Payback

Monday marked 8 years since I did this to my son:

0_194480_10150168153170159_1644064_oFor payback, I got to host eight (read that 8) 6-8 year old boys for a few hours of jumping at a trampoline park and then jacking them up on cupcakes and letting them run around like maniacs at my house.

Oh did I mention it was the day after my blowout of a 20-miler and I had only gotten 2 hours of sleep after it?  Yeah that kinda happened.

Payback’s a funny thing….

That said, 8 years ago I knew my life was going to change.  It was going to require me to dig deep and become a person I never knew I thought I was capable of being.  A (literal) fiery ball of energy, wit and most of all love and compassion entered this world and completely rocked mine.  I was instantly transformed and continue to be day after day.

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Happy [belated] Birthday Strawberry!

The Taper Game

On Saturday the crew and I worked our way up the coast a bit to visit some family and attended “opening day” for a local yacht club – no not our typical Saturday of basketball, soccer, and sweat.  After a loooooong (especially if you’re 6 & 8) ceremony, they handed out sparkling cider & champagne for a toast.

For 10 minutes, the boys remained tortured holding their glasses of sparkling cider, but unable to drink the liquid goodness.  I turned around and saw this:

IMG_3115Watching every bubble float, smelling the sweet nectar…but ah ah ah – no taste.

Getting to taper for a marathon is kind of like that.  Months of feeling the sweat, tasting the electrolytes, feeling the pound of the pavement over and over and over…and well, you get it…but no real sense of what the 26.2 is going to look like.

You finish your training on tired legs and just wait for your body to get rest, restore and prepare for the 26.2 miles that lies ahead.

The close of my training wasn’t pretty.  

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Why yes, my son did take a nice crotch shot of my icing my groin.  I may have forgotten the ice was there and was doing my “best dramatic post-long run pose”.

Actually none of this training cycle was pretty.  At best, it was improvisational marathon training – at worst, it was a bunch of haphazard long-runs tossed in with a slightly more than average mileage sandwiched between a ridiculously busy winter schedule.  Work,  doctor’s appointments, school events, practices for this, that and the other, orthodontist appointments, soccer games, family priorities and sickness of every sort imaginable kind of dominated the training and I just did what I could, when I could do it.

And it ended with a 20-miler that went down in a ball of fury leaving a trail of self-doubt, regret and frustration about what’s going to happen in 3 weeks.  Grrrr.

Of course, I started out my final (and sadly first) 20-miler all ready to kill it.  I was mentally set to run 4 perfectly timed 5 mile blocks and while I got through 15 of them in spectacular fashion – the fatigue of not enough cutback weeks and sleep deprivation set in and miles 15-20 were about as spectacular as a bad Lifetime movie, which is to say, it was so bad that you could hardly look away.

Taste, but no real picture of what it’s going to look like.  I sure just hope it’s better than the final chapter of the training.

What’s your best taper story?

How do you stay mentally tough after a really bad final workout?

True Confession Thursday: Whatever It Takes

Last week I had Dr. Scott check out my IT band as it’s been really tight on long runs and I’m scared paranoid petrified cautious about injuries this close to Boston.  Dr. Scott suggested to have someone video tape me running, which is, you know, super easy when you’re on the trails running solo.  Anyway, I finally suckered some random guy walking his dog to video tape me running for 20 seconds.  #whateverittakes  I’m really happy he didn’t run away with my phone.

Yep, Tinkerbell shirt and hat on backwards (it was hot) - "13 year old boy, meets 13 year old girl" fashion.

Yep, Tinkerbell shirt and hat on backwards (it was hot) – “13 year old boy, meets 13 year old girl” fashion.

Later that evening I got home and the boys were naturally asking (aka, read: complaining) about what I was cooking for dinner.  Chicken piccata, risotto and steamed asparagus.  They really have such a tough life.

Chocolate:  Mom, aspawagus is awesome.
Me:  Because it tastes good?
Chocolate:  No
Me:  Because it’s good for you?
Chocolate:  [getting annoyed} No
Me:  Why then?
Chocolate:  Because it’s the only vegetable that makes your pee smell weally bad.  I’m going to eat a WOT of it.

#whateverittakes

It’s also been super foggy here in the mornings in SoCal (I know, we have it really rough) so I’ve been opting to wear my neon shirts on TOP of my jacket – yes jacket and it’s 50 degrees, I’m a SoCal weenie.  Unfortunately this is messing with my running ninja look (the all black I typically sport), but I do have some visibility and I get home from my run in 1 piece instead of bent over the hood of a car.  I know, I might be starting a ridiculous fashion trend.  #whateverittakes

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The other day #runger struck me something fierce and hard and I found myself pounding scrambled eggs, toast, and a spinach salad mid-day.  Unfortunately I had to run 1.5 hours later.  Not my favorite 6.5  miles, but it was the only chance I had to run. #whateverittakes #heytherelunchnicetoseeyouagain

I crashed the Road Runner Sports Girls Night Out by showing up with two wild & crazy guys.  (Desperate times, the only time I could squeeze in a much needed purchase) #whateverittakes

Wild and Crazy guysWait…not those wild & crazy guys….THESE wild & crazy guys

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How have you done whatever it takes this week?

Elusive 20

Friday – 6 miles hill repeats
Saturday – 19 miles running, 2 miles walking
Say What? Strides

It’s now T-4 weeks until Bean Town.  And honestly, I was (am?) feeling woefully unprepared.

In an ideal training world, I would have at least four 18-20 milers under my belt by this point in time.

On Saturday, what did I have?  Oh yeah, that’d be a nice, round…err…ZERO

I set out for my long run this weekend hell bent on finally getting in an 18+ mile run.  I haven’t hit any of them and thanks to mother nature, illness and poor planning, each of my 13+ mile runs have sucked.

And the 15-17 mile runs I’ve had have ended with my legs acting like Vanilla does when we go out to dinner:

Fatigue, party of 2.

Fatigue and crabbiness, party of 2.

SUPER encouraging.  SUPER.

This weekend’s goal was 20-22.  I only got 19 in because my IT band was pissed off and led to general misery.  Minus the pain – I felt great.  Wait, what?!?!

Honestly, minus the pain I felt I could have easily gone another 3-4 miles.

Huzzah?  Who’s legs are these?

I’ve got one week left to get another longer run in and I’m waiting to see how my IT band is to decide what to do.  Honestly, my whole goal for Boston has been to go healthy.  I don’t want to come this far to blow up now.  The name of the game this training schedule has been improvisational training, so why quit now?

Where’s your fatigue wall these days?
Lately it’s been around the 11 mile mark and I just have to push through.  For some reason 5-6 has been ugly too.

What races is next on your list?  Tell me about your training and goals!  I need some final motivation!

True Confession Thursday: Sometimes I

7 miles
Silly Should’ve Been Slow Strides

Sometimes I think my kids subconsciously know I’m literally “cornered” when I’m in the shower and come to me with the woes of the world and the need for a referee RIGHT THEN.

Sometimes I end up talking on my phone during my run and run too fast for slow, easy runs.

IMG_3081.PNGFor some of you this is not a fast run (or it might be ridic fast for some of you…remember it’s not how fast or slow you’re running, but what you should be running), but though I was running almost 9 minute miles. .  I was on the phone from mile 2-6 and tied my shoe in mile 4.

Sometimes I get woken up to leprechaun kisses in March.

Photo on 3-12-13 at 6.35 AMSometimes I just wish I could freeze time and bottle this up forever….

IMG_3058Sometimes I walk into my kids rooms in the morning singing in a falsetto opera voice just so the first thing I hear from them in the morning is a giggle before the fighting and whining begins.

Sometimes I take an extra long shower so I can’t hear the kids bickering as loudly.

Sometimes I am so grateful to the person at the Gu product packaging lab who designed the package to survive the washing machine….twice.

What do you sometimes do?

March Half: Team Gab Virtual Half

13.1 Miles
Solo Race Strides

Back about a month ago, I signed up to run the Team Gab Virtual Half Marathon because it’s for an awesome cause, and I used it to fill my March half quota in my seeking to do 12 in 12.

I set out without any watch and turned my “voice notification” off my MapmyRun app so I had no idea how fast I was or wasn’t going.  I stopped to take pictures, hit the bathrooms and even walked .6 of a mile while trying to stretch out my IT band…and still ran a 1:51.  So it wasn’t too shabby of a race 🙂

Though I do have some pros and cons to send to the local race director:

  • IMG_2384-002Pro:  Awesome job on the start time and managing to work it in between the rain storm
  • Con:  The course was really muddy and slippery.  I literally almost fell “banana peel style” on abut 5 snails throughout the run.
  • Pro:  The course scenery was beautiful – sunshine, clouds, rainbows and perfect temps
  • Con:  The local race director kept rerouting the course mid-race to include more and more sets of hills to make the race “more challenging”
  • Pro:  The bathroom lines were super short

imagesI opted to sport my new ProCompression socks I won from Danica.  They sent me my favorite neon green color which I love for early morning runs to help keep me visible to drivers.  Katie, a Mom from school and Karla, my grocery checker, all said they saw me running the Team Gab race that morning.

I find this remarkable since clearly people off the street can not only see, but recognize me in my ridiculously bright socks, but the car flying around the right turn barely notices.  Grrr…I digress.

On Saturday, Heather hosted a local, small self-paced race and the boys and I grabbed a mile lap with a few local runners.  Check out these crazy kids….(oh and, and Sarah and Traci – and yes, Traci and I color coordinated our run).

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Photo Courtesy of Heather

Have you ever done a virtual race?

What’s your favorite type of training terrain?
I actually really love[hate] to train on long, moderately inclined hills.  I feel I’m getting the most for my workout.

The Physical Exercise of the Spiritual

13.1 Miles
Virtual Day-Early Race for Gabby Strides

Disclaimer:  Today I’m delving into an area I don’t talk about much – faith – notsomuch religion, but just spirituality…so if it doesn’t strike your fancy, feel free to skip on and rejoin us when we get back to our regularly scheduled programming – no offense taken here.  

Thursday night, I tuned into my local hourly forecast to see what was in store Friday morning for my day-early virtual half marathon for Gabby (and Heather).  100% chance of rain in the am.

Fabulous.  Good thing the forecast was 100% wrong.

I set out for my miles and began the run that would remind me why I do all of this in the first place (’cause let’s face it *most* of my runs lately have left me wondering why).  After a 4am wakeup call to get my work done, I set out around 6:30 in the break between the rain storm.

The first half of the run was an unleashing of my heart.  The worries, the concerns, the stress – mirroring the weather – were clouded in prayer, processing and silence.

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As I continued my run, I was filled with a lightness  [and that little rainbow in the sky along the route was a nice little bonus too].  But the second half of that run got me thinking was what I mostly appreciate about long distance running – it forces me to go beyond myself.

If you know me in person…you know I’m a very spiritual person.  I used to be very religious, but I found that got me in all sorts of trouble and left me with very little faith and so very many rules, and I lost sight of the heart and soul of what faith was and got stuck in “doing stuff like I should”.

In an increasingly individualistic society where self-sustenance and independence reign supreme, I find the physical discipline of stretching myself beyond my physical abilities to be a very spiritual reminder of the fact that I (personally) need to be dependent on someone who is greater than I.  When I’m pushed to the ends of my physical ability, I have to tap into a different part of my mind and soul that I don’t regularly exercise during the mundane day to day, where while it might be tough, I can usually fend for my own.

That emptying of self leaves room for me to be filled with more of someone else, and quite honestly, it extends me beyond what I thought was possible and makes me a better me.

Do you have a “spiritual” side to your running?  
I’d love to hear about it!  In fact, I’d love to compile all of the different spiritual insights of running and post a blog about it from a variety of perspectives one day.  Feel free to post your response or even email it to me and I’ll aggregate them and post away!