Sunday, November 16, 2014
Running the TCS New York Marathon two weeks ago this morning was without a doubt the toughest feat of my life but brought me a pride and joy that’s hard to put in words! (some parallels there with giving birth:) I confess I went into this with a bit of uncertainty I had trouble shaking as my training schedule had even less miles on it than I ran prior to running my first Marathon, the Marine Corp Marathon, last year. Last year’s schedule was labeled “beginner” due to my “very prone to injury” status and three weeks after MCM I was injured yet again, having to D(id)N(ot)S(tart) a few early 2014 races, thus the uber conservative schedule this time.
Due to the predicted high winds race morning we received notification all tents and structures would be removed from the start line and along the course, baby was it ever chilling cold!! Warmed by spending time with my friend, Nancy, and sharing brief moments with the runners in Starter Village from all over the world.. Brazil, London, Australia, and the list goes on.. I don’t recall our talking to a single runner at start who was from the USA, I was excited to get the show on the road! When I finally got corralled more than 3.5 hrs after arriving on Staten Island, teeth still chattering, I was ready for what I knew would be an “experience” to remember.. the first race I’ve ever run where most of the runners kept their sweatshirts, gloves, & hats on as we started across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge with gusts of up to 40 mph. What outer wear HAD been discarded was flying about. I fought to stay upright being blown sideways & a tad diagonally forward. My Garmin GPS showed a 15 min/mile pace & since that’s my average walking pace I thought, hmmmm... so much for pacing LOL! I did however watch my lap pace during those early miles & could hear my Coach’s description of how to run this difficult course.. I felt achy early on & thought I’d shake it but I didn’t... At mile 9 I began feeling a strain in my left calf and glute which was unexpected as I’d had no trouble with this side of my body before. I was “on pace” the first half of the race when my body began telling me it was struggling... way too early to be feeling this much wear! I made an executive decision at this point to extend the walks I was taking as I took in fluids, realizing I’d have to if I was going to finish vertical. Disappointment nearly ruled me mentally but only for a brief instance, when I looked around at the cheering crowds, took in the beauty of the diversity around me, the relentless cheering from total strangers who instantly became encouraging friends, so proud of their home/borough and so welcoming, the children all bundled up & out there with their signs, high 5s all around, “BAM, hit here for POWER” read a child’s sign.. you can bet I did! ...circling back at one point when I missed the tiny hand of a precious little girl after having high 5‘d the rest of her family. With bands playing, spectators dancing all around celebrating every runner, I was filled with a joy I can’t describe & I couldn’t erase my smile. I have a dear friend who reminds me daily to “embrace my joy”... I thought of this and all I could do was smile and absorb the reality of what I was doing and what was taking place around me, fully realizing the blessing of what I was experiencing!!
I walked so much of the final half engaging the same strategy I employed late in my MCM route, “run till you can’t, walk till you can... repeat.” Because I had a Garmin malfunction at the start line and again mid-race, I had no idea of my time, which I’m thinking was a good thing :) My husband was at mile 17 to cheer me on as my sidekick and biggest “fan”. The wind had blown my bib loose at about mile 15 and when I texted him to get his ink pen out & have it ready at mile 22, he replied, “it’s ready” and didn’t ask why... smart guy!!! We did bib surgery, poking a new hole & reattaching it and I carried on with my journey, 4.2 miles to go.. oh my, it was HARD while at the same time AMAZING and WONDERFUL!!
With 3 fuel liquids still in my belt (oops, so much for timing my nutrition with a watch mal-function and a foggy mind), a Garmin watch I could not make any sense of, and a tired body, I entered Central Park which was lined with the loudest cheers yet, I didn’t think that was possible, and I saw yet another child with her family. Tears flow as I’m reminded of her beauty, another of God’s reminders that He and everything on earth that truly matters to me were with me in spirit as I completed the final miles of this difficult journey. She took my heart to my brother, Greg. As I reached both hands toward her, she patted my hands with hers and that’s all the strength I needed to cross that line... with my phone/camera in hand, I video’d the final minutes across yet another finish line with multitudes of tired and weary runners...
It’s funny how perspective works in terms of how we view life. While my finish was not what I had dreamed about, even though I went into this one not knowing what to expect without standard training, I had no room for discouragement. No matter what we runners say, we have expectations of ourselves and set ourselves up for disappointment when we don’t meet them. Not knowing what my time was till my husband texted it to me and thinking it was much more off my mark than it was, I was elated to say the least, but I can honestly say that for the first time in my short running career, it was the experience that made this the race of a lifetime. The experience of the race itself, time with my husband who was willing to forgo a vacation in order that I might run the race of my dreams, the experience of celebrating this part of my personal journey with my fellow Americans from all walks of life and from all cultures... the experience of EXPERIENCING first hand what this amazing, bright and shining city of islands represents.
One doesn’t have to be a runner to get weary during the journey and to allow discouragement and exhaustion to rule. If this strikes a cord with you, I encourage you to look around you, whom among you is there to encourage you and cheer you on. Whose world can you brighten by slowing down to pay attention, providing a hug or a smile!! It’s only in the giving that we receive. While a successful finish is the goal, the joy is in the journey and helps us redefine the word success making every finish line a positive experience that energizes for the road ahead!!
Saturday, May 10, 2014
PART 2 of MY CONTINUING SAGA..
I hadn't intended to write the previous blog but I guess it sort of explains how I came to the place I've arrived at today and serves as a "catch up" to what's been going on in the world of Deej, albeit only a fraction of my reality, my BIZZY BIZZY life!!
As noted in my final blog of 2012.. I ran a half-marathon in Indianapolis, (my State Capitol), in Sept 2012. I was probably in the best running shape of my life, I had trained hard that summer in prep for what was to be my first Marathon in the fall and I was "primed" (in my mind) for a PR because Indianapolis is flat, especially compared to the rolling terrain I train on routinely. Long story short (the long story's in my Oct 2012 blog HA!) It was an unseasonably warm day, tornadoes were striking all around us causing them to have to remove most of the mile markers & signage and we were warned the race might be "called".. I ran my heart out, went out too fast (of course).. sweat like the HAWG I can be while running & wasn't able to get enough fluid in me... it was the 1st (and only) race I've ever run where the timing chip didn't work.. my clock time was just over 2:01 and while I'd like to think my chip time would have reflected the sub 2 hour I was going for, I'll never really know for certain.. I bonked in the last half mile & walked much of it and collapsed with every muscle in my lower body seizing in cramps just after crossing finish... oh my, what a day to remember!!
THAT leading up to my report of RUNNING INDY again, but this time with my daughter running as well and with much better conditions surrounding the experience; unseasonably cool rather than unseasonably warm! THAT, I could handle!! Here's a cut & paste of my recap:
ONE AMERICA 500Festival Mini Marathon:
I went into this one a tad nervous, not that I didn’t trust my recovery plan which had me running no further than 6 for my long run and was depending on cumulative fatigue, but after my 5, 4, 6 last weekend I was unusually achy and it didn’t want to let up which made me a bit fearful my Periformis Syndrome (or whatever it is) might rear its ugly head mid race. Despite my fears and with a sick stomach (dinner didn’t settle) & no sleep, I toed the start line in a 48 degree temp with 15 mph winds. My daughter was racing as well which was a huge bonus to the whole experience. The early miles were a bit rough but surprisingly, I felt I crossed over a threshold of energy at just past 5.5 and when I entered the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track soon after (home of the Indy500), I was exhilarated! Quite an experience for this born & bred Hoosier! At mile 7 I remember thinking, “I’ve surpassed my training mileage” and I was so energized as I exited the track at about 8.5 I couldn’t believe it.. who feels stronger the further they run when they’ve been down & out for so long!! At 9 my tummy & “associated systems” tried to talk me into visiting a porta-potty but with much prayer I held on & made it through the “moment” electing not to take in any more fuel; I knew I had it!! When I felt I was pushing the pace too hard I let up on the gas just enough to assure I’d get through the remaining miles & I walked each of the 3 Gatorade stops I made. I felt some tightness in various areas of that right leg but it wasn’t bad. As I passed 10 I realized my comeback was in the bag and at 11, with thoughts of my husband and son at finish and my daughter laying all she had in her on the track as well... I soared. As I saw those black and white flags lining the road and the “Finish” ahead, I thought of my friend who lost her husband one year ago that very day and with her on my shoulder and in his honor, I gave it all I had left in my engine... I did it... I’m back!! 10 mins slower than my PR but still #51 of 675 in my Age Division.. and I’m determined, the best is yet to come!! :)
Highlights: Losing my visor at 5.5 in a wind gust & chasing it down. Calling my husband, my mom and my in-laws while on the Indy500 track to let them know they were with me. Medaling my daughter who said she had the best run ever and posted a pic of herself and me labeled: “I’ve inherited her love of running”.. :) it doesn’t get much better than that!!
Saturday, May 10, 2014
I could hardly believe it when I saw that I last blogged in October of 2012! Shame on me :( life gets busy indeed and with a full time job, a Mom & Brother to oversee care for and a blessed opportunity to "do life" with my hubby, 4 children and 2 grandsons, I confess to using Facebook as my "quick, in & out" communication mode but I love stopping by from time to time and seeing how my Spark friends are doing.. forever grateful for what Sparkpeople has brought to my life!!
As I read my last blog that October, it occurs to me all that's happened since then and while there have certainly been many challenges, it helps me realize what determination will do for a person if we hold tightly to it and allow it to drive us. As noted in that blog, I ran the Iron Horse half-marathon as a Marathon training run that following weekend, then the next weekend, what was to be my final long training run brought me a plantar fascia rupture in the final half mile. The Monumental Marathon I wrote about didn't happen and I was out for about 3 to 4 months. When I returned, I trained smart and carefully for the Flying Pig half-marathon in May which I was to run with many Spark friends when the weekend immediately prior to the race, I sprained my hip flexor doing some single leg warm-up lunges a bit too quickly... I rested a week & attempted a conservative run/walk alongside my Spark friend, Janice.. we had a blast but I paid for it :) out another several weeks before healing enough to train for the MCM Marathon set for October 2013. My conservative training plan went well and I had a great 1st Marathon but not the best recovery from it.... as smart (again) as I tried to be, following my post Marathon recovery plan to a "T" with very few miles on my schedule, tightness in my Achilles three weeks later brought pain from "no-where" I'd never experienced before and within a run's time, what we came to determine was a stress-fx of the right medial ankle reared it's ugly head. Another 3 months went by before I was able to run without pain... then on Feb 13th, shortly after my return to training, I took a Pilates/Yoga class where I apparently strained something, bringing pain to the hip and all down the lower posterior chain along the right leg... an irritation I'm still dealing with today :) HA! "Is that a smile she just typed???" :) you betcha it IS!! You see, I'm on the other side of all that now. Life's not always easy and there are certainly many distractions that can get in our way but with that determination I speak of.. a determination to journey on, is deep rooted in me. The joys I've encountered in my journey far outweigh the struggles.. it's just the struggles that weigh heaviest on our minds. I don't want to miss a single step that will carry me to the adventures on my personal path... those I know without question await!!
Now for the blog I came on here to write... 2 (plus) years later.. running INDY (again)! Part 2... (coming next)..
Friday, October 12, 2012
Just gonna throw this out there... when I take time to think about what I want to share in a blog, it never gets written... HA! I accuse my Daughter all the time of being an “over-thinker”, she comes by it honest!!
I am about to end week 13 of my 16 week Marathon training program and following my final long run this Sunday (with a half-marathon sandwiched between), I’ll begin my taper.
When I last blogged, I shared an overwhelming (to me) experience of attempting a PR in what proved to be a very daunting half-marathon in Indianapolis. My training up to that point, and seemingly the first few runs following, was going so well.. in fact, far too well. I feared at any point I was going to hit a wall or something. I mean, wasn’t my 16 miler or 18 miler or 20 miler, at least ONE of those supposed to leave me in tears, doubting my ability to run further?? I can’t say they were EASY by any means, but they all left me invigorated and I felt good. It wasn’t, however, till my 20.4 (oops, overshot my estimation of how far to the car), that I really felt my body could carry me 6 more. I had 20 more on the schedule for the following weekend, but that was not to be.
As I noted in my half-marathon blog, the day before that half I had run a short 2 miler in my “go to” shoes; my trusty Asics Nimbus 12s that brought me back (both mentally & physically) from the 2 stress fractures I had suffered last year. After months of dealing with what I’ll refer to as “foot & body manipulation” issues prior to the fractures, I turned to a neutral, cushioned shoe and for me they worked well!! The pair I had been training in (my 2nd pair) had reached over 370 miles & I never push shoes that far but Asics no longer makes the shoe and has since had 2 upgrades. In fact, I had ordered this pair from Amazon and had trouble finding another pair I could afford, outside of E-Bay. I decided I was going to have to give in & buy another shoe or try the upgrade at some point in time & reviews of the next upgrade were mixed. I tried both the Nimbus 13 & 14 and the 13 felt better on my foot. I also ordered a pair of Brooks Ghost 5s which had received good reviews for a cushioned neutral but I had problems with the way my arch fell in the right shoe (go figure), they didn’t feel right so I sent them back. And for the 1st time (during this 2 miler), I felt the cushion inside my “oldie goldie go tos” was breaking down, not to mention the fact the tread was bound to be worn & rain was in the forecast for this half. So on race morning, in a rush to get to Indianapolis for hubby to meet a client & to get to the Expo & check in to the hotel, I stopped by the store & bought the Asics 13s.
The race (as I blogged) was quite the disaster, high morning temps & high humidity with a severe storm nearby moving close, sweating buckets at start & starting out faster than I should have, I began to ache just over half way in and the aching became almost more than I could bear 3/4 into the game. At mile 12.5 I felt I was going to hit the wall & doubted my ability to even finish. My hips & low back ached throughout the run which I attributed to the weather conditions, my off the charts sweat rate and the reality that I was pushing myself beyond reason wanting that sub 2 hour PR. Following this race weekend, I ran (in these shoes) a 16 & an 18 when I discovered my first “black toenail”, I decided with swelling feet at these distances they were probably too tight & took them back to exchange for a 1/2 size larger & with more room in the toe box, these felt good. So all is well and I run the 20.4 miler (with the final 4 at racing speeds as I was running late for my Grandson’s birthday party). All was seemingly well until the following week.
The night before this 20 miler, I had noticed swelling in my left ankle which I suspected came from a TRX workout I had done that day, suspending in plank position with my feet in the straps & twisting from center plank to side. I had a bruise on the medial aspect of that ankle & began to ice. I iced often & rested it a few days (missing my 2nd 20 miler in the process), but no regrets, it did the trick & that ankle was much better. On the Sunday I was supposed to run that 2nd 20 miler, I attended a family reunion & wore the new Asics 13s, something I rarely do but hey, they matched my T-Shirt & Jeans well :) That evening, my hips & the lateral part of my right lower leg (peroneals) ached so badly I took ibuprofin to relieve the pain... something I rarely do, not a fan of meds if I can avoid them. From that point on, those peroneal muscles & the calf have been tight & I was actually running in pain (left ankle pain flared back up as well)... cutting back on mid week distances, it didn’t go away, I couldn’t run 3 miles without hurting & I was beginning to doubt my ability to do my Marathon.. after all the weeks of satisfying, wonderful training runs, after all the sweat I had lost running in brutal 100+ summer temps, I was in tears at the thought when it finally hit me, DUHHHHHHH... “it could be your shoes!!!!!”...
... so I dug out my oldie goldies from the Salvation Army donation bag I had just placed them in, and I ran a mile in them. Wa La... NO pain, only a tad in those peroneals but not pain, just a tad of soreness. In the midst of all this I had ordered a pair of Nimbus 12s (one of the only remaining available) from E-Bay. They didn’t feel quite right & I had given them to my daughter. I retrieved them, so now I have 2 pair of my trusty Nimbus 12s. When I run in my oldie godies, I feel almost no pain but have to admit I feel the road a bit; not as much cushion as usual, they’re clearly breaking down & I’m not sure they’ll carry me thru a Marathon. When I run in the E-Bay pair, I still feel aches in those lower right leg peroneals & calf... what’s a girl to do?? With 7 tomorrow, 20 to 22 this Sunday (which I’ll do by running a few miles, a half then a few miles more), and a taper in my immediate future... time will tell :) right? What’s a girl to do...
Hmmmm.... Jeff Galloway’s the keynote speaker at a pre-race dinner I’m attending this weekend, maybe he’ll know... no worries... I won’t bore him with my saga :) I’ll save that boredom for all of you!!!
Monday, September 03, 2012
I heard my name & my town announced as I approached the line, I walked several yards to the medal table where a kind volunteer handed me my medal, a banana, a water & a rose and then... oops LOL can you believe I totally forgot to stop my Garmin... so I turned my wrist, pushed stop & glanced at my screen which read: TA DA... 2:00. LOL I had to laugh at my absent mindedness (a/k/a as y’all have heard me refer to it “mental pause”.. after all the work & racing to reach that sub 2 I didn’t even think to stop my Garmin). Soon after a lady walked up and used a handheld device to scan my bib. Someone later told me they thought this was for “back up”?? I don’t know, I’ve never had a timing device that looked like the one on the back of my bib.
So I walk the finishers walkway (best term I can think of LOL) and as I stop to have my pic taken so I’ll have a memento of my historic home state half, my right calf began to cramp. After the photo I looked for hubby & son but they were nowhere to be found. Turns out they couldn’t find a parking spot within a couple miles of the race & were caught up in traffic due to the closed roads, but I didn’t know that, Jay had my phone. So I walk, (as cramping is coming & going in calves & toes & now a hip cramp), toward a tent marked “massage”. Just short of that tent the strangest thing happened, my calves, hamstrings, quads & hips literally all “seized up” & my entire lower body stiffened as it would in a seizure... I couldn’t stand on my feet at all, had no feeling in them and thank goodness I was on a sidewalk but near the grass so I just folded at the hip flexors & hit the grass on my (nicely padded lol) butt bone & fell to my back. I was so embarrassed as several people ran over to see if I was okay. I sat up & assured them I was only cramping and as I attempted to stretch it just hurt worse. Once I got myself stable enough I devoured the banana (up to that point any food sounded yuk)... I massaged & stretched as best I could, borrowed a phone to try & reach my hubby and after about 20 mins I made my way to the massage tent as a nice older lady offered me her umbrella to use as a cane. I waited about an hour for my turn but the massage techs were medical experts & this guy was incredible! (and quite gracious to work on my soaking wet, muddy body). He worked on active release, massaged my muscles, used a (blow dryer looking thingy) to roll over the muscles affected. He worked over my lower half over 20 mins & I felt so much better which was good considering I had to drive our son’s car home (for some needed repairs).
Hubs had finally met up w/ me and we spent a wonderful day with our Son then headed home. When I checked online for official finish times.. I couldn’t find my name and a search of my bib number showed it was assigned to another runner. By morning, however, this was cleared up but unfortunately, my chip apparently didn’t work :( they showed a blank in the chip time slot and my finish time was my clock time of 2:01:33.
I ran my heart out and was so disappointed that I couldn’t determine for sure if I got my sub 2. I think I did because I believe it took me over 1:33 to get to the start line but I’ll never know for certain. I don’t even know if the clock time equals the time on the lady’s scanner. But none-the-less, I accomplished an updated PR by 6 seconds lol (gotta look for the positives) and my clock time gave me a pleasing age group and overall finish for an ol’ chick :)
My hubby reminded me that I know what I accomplished and nothing else matters. I truly have taken his words to heart. As I continue to train for my Marathon, which I’ve said all along is my #1 priority, to finish healthy & VERTICAL, I must take the positive I learned from Saturday and push/run forward. I have to admit I questioned whether I can truly do this considering my 12.5 mile bonk... but as hubby reminds me, I will hopefully not be dealing with a looming storm & 90+% humidity on November 3rd in Indy... 2 months from today!!!
Thank you my friends for your ongoing support... I’ll continue to be there for you as you have been for me and may we all take our lessons in humility well and value them for what they’re worth which is MUCH.... very LARGE (as my family would say)!! And as I did when I crossed finish and hope I always have mind to do when I run.... I point to the Heavens and say thank you Lord, for a healthy body and an ability to run the race that is set before me.. may it never be for my glory but for yours!!!
Get An Email Alert Each Time DEEJ4FITNESS Posts