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My first Triathlon - Lessons my Mother never taught me

Sunday, February 28, 2010

1. If you wake up at 4;45 a.m. the morning of your first triathlon because it is raining so hard that the windows are rattling, maybe you should just go back to sleep.

2. If you wait until race day to sign up and they post on the internet that only 50 spots remain, with registration starting at 3 pm the day before you plan to register, maybe you should just forget about it.

3. If you ask a friend who lives closer than you do to try to get you a bib at 6 a.m. when the gates open, and she calls to ask if you're REALLY sure you want to do this since the entire race site appears to be under 3 feet of water, maybe you should just say no.

4. If she then calls back to say she can't get you a bib because even the race registrars aren't there yet, maybe that, coupled with a rain comparable to Noah's 40 year flood, a serious ankle injury, a week of back spasms and aching legs should convince you to just go back to bed.

5. If you drive the hour+ to the race site, park a mile away and get soaked before you've even gone 20 feet from your car, stop and consider if you are mad or just stupid. If you aren't sure, ask yourself that question again once you get to registration and see just how wet, swampy and muddy everything is.

6. If you're still determined to enter a tri on this particular day, maybe you should consider training for it ahead of time. Even just a little bit.

7. If you're not convinced that this isn't the day to try something new, then at least prepare yourself mentally for calf deep mud puddles, 20 mph headwinds and the worst location to stage your gear - the end of the transition area farthest from the entrance/exit.

8. Finally, put a smile on your face and try to enjoy the experience, because you may never want to do this again... but when you finish, and you will finish if you put up with all of the above, remember that you can forever after say "I'm a Triathlete"!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LASOLLER 3/27/2010 11:21PM

    Girl,if you can do that you can do ANYTHING, you set your mind to!! Oh, I hope my first tri is not as eventful as yours. Your tale is truly unbelievable. So, do you want to do another one? I am really just curious I will feel after my first, if I want to do another, I hope so, but we will see! So far, I am enjoying challenging myself with the swim portion. Such a learning experience for me. I am really trying to work on swimming more relaxed. I still have a lot of endurance to build. Thank you for commenting on my blog. It always amazes me that people actually read them. LOL

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MSPLACEDAGAIN 3/11/2010 9:46AM

    Congratulations! emoticon

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    I am proud to know someone that actually wanted to, and DID complete a triathalon. I am proud of you, especially given the weather! You are a true competitor!

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HAPPY92003 3/10/2010 9:11PM

    You ROCKED! that tri! You have to be a little bit crazy to "tri", but I think that day was a little extreme:D Great job sticking with it (I wanted to leave after the run too, lol)

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FINDINGMEIN2012 3/3/2010 11:54AM

    WOW! Congratulations on your perseverance and drive - you ROCK!

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S318830 3/1/2010 5:19PM

    LOL! Nice job on persevering through all those obstacles to finish! I love the bike shot! Congratulations!

Comment edited on: 3/1/2010 5:21:59 PM

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LW8843 3/1/2010 8:46AM

    Way to go for not giving up. I am not sure I could have kept going.

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EVETROY 2/28/2010 11:28PM

    I would have gone home - or never left in the first place. You are a better athlete than me.

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JENNIFER124 2/28/2010 8:57PM

    you are a determined and stubborn woman!! and it serves you well!! way to go MS.Triathlete!! i am soooooooo happy for you-- thank you for continuing to pave the way for all of us.. i agree with Bev.. this is a HUGE statement on your part that you are willing to go to any lengths --- you will do the same with this surgery and in your recovery process.. a great victory this weekend~~ emoticon(did Bob take the pics??)

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SMALLERSHEEP 2/28/2010 3:47PM

    Hahaha! I love it. Congratulations, Crazy Lady!

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JUSTTRIING 2/28/2010 2:46PM

    Oh, this is just priceless. I love your dedication even if you are a little nuts (of course I say this with nothing but love for you Tammy)

emoticon emoticon emoticon REALLY!

Comment edited on: 2/28/2010 2:46:51 PM

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    CONGRATS!!! I'm doing my first one in August and I'm so excited! It was great to read and see pics about yours!

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BIENEGOLD 2/28/2010 2:31PM

    WOW! Well, good on you for doing it! I hope to do one someday, but hopefully my first won't be so...eventful.

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I also am VERY impressed! I know a few people that have run marathons, but you are the first that has one a triathlon!
Congratulations! Many times over!
What an accomplishment! I can't wait to hear more about your endeavor, and this was a beautiful blog.
Don't worry, I won't be out there trying to beat you!

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SWEETMNTHING 2/28/2010 12:36PM

    emoticon on doing the triathalon, Tammy! Despite all the obstacles you did it and now, as you say you can say you are a triathlete! You are very determined and there is no doubt in my mind the surgery is not going to hold you back!

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AUNTIE65 2/28/2010 11:51AM

    Wow - I think I would have never gotten out of bed if I hadn't paid for it already and heard that rain!! You are one determined athlete.... oh excuse me TRIathlete!!!!

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SORGIN 2/28/2010 11:09AM

    YOU ARE A TRIATHLETE! That is awesome, Tammy.

When I was reading this I would have been out by #1. This truly shows your drive and determination, not only with athletic events but life in general. Not much phases you and we all have a lot to learn from that attitude. You wanted to do this and now there are absolutely NO conditions in the future that "no" will be an appropriate response. And you now have the luxury of saying, "I've done that. I don't need to do it again."

Most people spend their lives avoiding tough situations. You take it a step further and find out first hand what you like and what you don't like. You get right in the middle of those tough situations. AND YOU LIKE IT! I think that's so cool. I am way more cautious and it's people like you who get me out of my comfort zone.

I just have to say that this is the PERFECT BEGINNING to your next adventure - post-surgery recovery. Your decision to have the surgery couldn't have come at a better time. Any earlier and you'd talk yourself out of it. Any later and you'd be in danger of irreparable damage. You are a person who is very deliberate, if not strategic, in her decisions and that is something I really admire. You know what is best for you. Most people never figure that out.

So, let me just suggest that you take that tri bib and photos and put them somewhere as a physical reminder you have gotten through rain, mud, wind, pain, under-training - and more. (And that was all in one morning!) The post-surgery recovery will be tough but you have proven time and again - YOU ARE TOUGHER!

You are very deliberate with your decisions and it does not surprise me in the least that you took on this tri and got it done. That's just what you do and it's a large part of who you are.

I think you are officially ready for the next stage of your athletic journey.


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    I am....nearly speechless. You are my hero. Tammy, I would never have gotten past #1. Way to go, Triathlete. Anxious to hear how each stage went.

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FIT_MELISSA 2/28/2010 8:24AM

    emoticon Tammy!! I am so impressed!! And you're right, you may never want to do one again but now you can say that you are a triathlete!
And you have a wonderful sense of humor about your experience. emoticon

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ROUXZQ 2/28/2010 1:31AM

    This is why I know you will be back better than ever after your surgery! You're an animal!

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Surgery in my future? (Part III)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Just an update:

I officially have a frayed peroneal tendon and synovitis. Translation: I'm not a cripple, but the pain will only get worse if I don't do something about it.

I have struggled with multiple medical opinions about what course of action to take... Today I decided that yes, I could just repair the tendon and be out of running for 6 months but I think I should go ahead and fix the underlying anatomical deformity that caused the tendon to wear out in the first place. So I will be undergoing corrective surgery for my club foot on March 11th, exactly one month from today.

My hope is that the surgeon will agree to fix my tendon at the same time, but if not, that surgery will follow within the next 6 months.

I will be off my feet for at least 6 weeks and then have very limited weight bearing movement for another 6 weeks. The rehab process is long and slow but with any luck I will be back to running within 18 months to 2 years. It seems like a small price to pay for long term health, right?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MBSHAZZER 3/5/2010 4:21PM

    Hi Tammy - sorry to hear about your injury. Mary, LIGHTNINGRUNNER, just had surgery for a peroneal tendon tear. I'm sure she can give you some good support!

Sending healing thoughts your way!

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S318830 3/1/2010 5:21PM

    I know I'm late to this one, but I'm glad to hear you're going to go through with the surgery. I know it's going to be tough to be taken out of running for so long, but I think in the end it's worth it. Do you have a place to swim?

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EVETROY 2/16/2010 8:26PM

    I know this will be tough - but I'm really glad you are looking at long term health. You deserve to be pain free!

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SORGIN 2/16/2010 8:17PM

    I know you wrote this last week and that some time has passed since these initial thoughts. I know this has to be pretty scary and I hope in the next few weeks it will begin to be less so. I've never had major surgery so don't know what that is like or what to expect. But I do know you'll be fine and that if anybody can get through this with flying colors, it is you. Your competitive nature will take over and you'll want to show the docs that you heal faster/better than anybody else. Ha! Seriously, I know the recovery won't be fun for you but it will be so worth it. And I'll be right here to see you through! We'll have to plan an event for two years from now.

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ROUXZQ 2/13/2010 12:12AM

    You take a lickin' and keep on tickin'. I know you will be back in the game better than ever after this is all done. You deserve good health. You deserve this. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

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JENNIFER124 2/12/2010 8:25PM

    Tammy-- easy for me to say but i think you should do this and go for the total corrective process.. you have MANY MANY years of running ahead of you not to mention other activities (crosstraining) and leisure with your DH.. to not have the surgery and keep the pain going just seems like selling yourself short -- now that i know what you really go thru i want you to have full mobility and to be pain-free which leads to less stress and so on and so on.. it really seems to be a vicious cycle.. go to the source and get this taken care of and you will be working toward your goal.. MARCH 11th!!we will all be there, Much Love to you!!!

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JUSTTRIING 2/12/2010 8:02PM

    Absolutely. You want to be able to run well into your 70's when you will qualify for (and run) Boston emoticon

Take care of the real problem now. Those months of rehab will come and go before you know it. I think you made a smart decision and it sounds like you have found peace with it.

Comment edited on: 2/12/2010 8:09:16 PM

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PAMTHEDREAMER 2/12/2010 4:38PM

I know it's a hard decision for you but I think you're doing the right thing. Get it done. And we'll all be here for you, you know! emoticon

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FIT_MELISSA 2/12/2010 4:28PM

    Bless your heart. I know that this is not an easy decision for you!! Let us know what we can do to help!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DEEJ4FITNESS 2/12/2010 3:36PM

    ABSOLUTELY Tammy! Decided to check in on you and as always, so impressed with your wisdom! A temporary fix is just that, temporary. I turn 52 soon and have total faith that you'll be in fabulous shape and running circles around most 40 year olds by the time you reach my age and be able to look back with satisfaction and pride that you did what was best for you and your future!!

Many races ahead for you girl and in the meantime; I know your Spark friends will walk right along side ya till you're ready to run once again!


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LAWRENDAK 2/12/2010 2:08PM

  Thanks for the update wish you a speedy recovery to get back to the running.

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KJHOUSTON 2/12/2010 1:27PM

    So sorry to hear that you have to have surgery. Your Silver Spies are here for support!

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BECCACOATS 2/11/2010 11:42PM

    emoticon Tammy... I feel that deep inside you are still pondering this. I would. I hope they do both at the same time. it will make this whole process easier on you and your body. Going through this another time will delay your healing.. OK now PLEA your case to the Dr. Quality of life... 1 under the knife and anastasia that leads to same rehab not 2...

I know and trust you will represent yourself well to the surgeon. I am very lucky to have one that listens to me and my concerns.

You will come above this doing and feeling GREAT!!! then there will be no STOPPING you.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MJD2GETHER 2/11/2010 9:54PM

    It sure is a big decision to make. I think that you measured it out and did not rush into it without weighing it all out. Things will be much better in the end. I will keep you in thought and prayer. You will be up and running again in no time at all. Stay strong! emoticonJudy

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AUNTIE65 2/11/2010 9:44PM

    So sorry this is happening to you, but so glad you were able to make a plan of action! Please let me know if you need anything!!

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    Hugs...this is a tough one. But, I feel like its a good decision. You know we'll be right there with you.

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LW8843 2/11/2010 8:11PM

    I'm so sorry to hear this. I can't imagine how you are feeling knowing you can't run for so long. The spies are standing beside you and will support any decision you make.

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WATERMELLEN 2/11/2010 8:06PM

    Tough decision. Maybe you would want to speak with people who've undergone this procedure? is there an on-line support group?

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Sparkfest Surf City and my joy at Competition

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Exactly one week ago I was on my way to LAX to pick up a Spark friend from the East Coast, one of 4 flying in for the weekend. A bunch of us had been on a team together all last year (some of them were actually on it since 2008) and we had become good friends, chatting daily about our journey's, our struggles and accomplishments. I think that one of the things that drew us all together was our running... so it was exciting to think about meeting for the first time and running a race together.

For lots of reasons we decided last May that we would all run the Surf City Marathon (or half marathon, or 5K) together this February. We talked about it for awhile, we each signed up for it, we trained together although apart, and we made our travel plans. The excitement kept building as the time grew near... until it was finally here! We dubbed our weekend "Sparkfest 2010 - Surf City" in the hopes that it was merely the first of many such meet-ups to come.

I have waited to write this blog with the hope that time and perspective would help me find the words to describe what this past weekend was like, and what it meant to me... I'm not sure yet if it worked, but I do know that I'm anxious to share the wonder that transpired between us!

We were originally going to be a larger group and so we decided to split up and stay in two different homes, instead of all camping out at my house. EVETROY graciously took half the group and the other half stayed with me. Unfortunately some of our original group couldn't join us ( emoticon) and we missed them but kept them in our thoughts.

I absolutely loved seeing my dear Spark Friends in 3D (as the wise BSTAKINGACTION called it!). They were/are exactly as I have come to know them, only better. There were no surprises for me, just unadulterated joy at the laughter we shared and the hugs we gave each other.

Isn't it amazing that of all the people in the world, all the people on SparkPeople, all the people who were on this team with us, that we clicked with each other? That we formed these bonds that run so deep? We joked and laughed about how for each of us, when we joined the team and everyone posted a message welcoming us to the board, we were hooked. Just like in the film Jerry McGuire (I paraphrase): You had me at emoticon!!

The other side of this weekend for me was the race. Some of you have followed my blogs detailing my running endeavors over the last year, my injuries, my therapies, my plans for surgery... and so for you this is no surprise... but I was still agonizing over whether I should run the full marathon (which I had signed up for) or the half marathon (which my friends were running)? I have come to accept that I love to compete against myself. Not so much against others... but I definitely get a charge out of besting my previous time, pushing myself to a new distance or tougher challenge than before, earning the bragging rights that come with accomplishment. I didn't want to trade that away by running the half...

I can honestly say that I am glad that I made the choice I did. I ran the half and finished in an acceptable time (acceptable being a relative term and used only to describe my own feelings about my finish time) and still felt good enough to enjoy the company of my dear friends and running club mates. Instead of regret that I couldn't carve another marathon notch in my belt I feel deep satisfaction that I matured enough (maybe?) to make a smart decision.

I didn't run my fastest race by any means, but I think I ran a smarter race than I have in the past 6 months. I conserved my energy and I protected my injury. I didn't suffer from leg cramps, nausea or IBS; I ran most of the last mile instead of walking most of it. And I set my sights on a young runner I know who had passed me earlier but was within sight ahead of me, and I pushed until I reached her. Together (she is the daughter of a friend) we sprinted the last .25 mile into the finish! I still can't believe that I had that much kick left in me, but I LOVED the feeling! As for the "Joy at Competition" part of this blog - I crossed the finish line a step ahead of her emoticon

I have to admit that I wasn't only driven by the competition to sprint to the finish line - the knowledge that my Spark Friends were all waiting for me was a huge motivator! I knew that I was the last in the group and so I wanted to get there and join them in the Beer Garden as soon as possible! Other Sparkers joined us for awhile too, as did some of my pace group from my running club. The sun was shining after 2 days of gloomy rain, the temp. was perfect and we all had the coolest medals around our necks! What more could a person ask for?

Our weekend didn't even end there... we spent the next day recovering and enjoying each other's company at the Spa... but I think I'll leave that for someone else to write about

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KGPOSSIBLE 2/17/2010 12:18AM

    I wish I would have known you were at the race. It sounds like you had so much fun together. I would have loved to say hi!

One of my fellow Spark Friends came to visit me from Michigan this summer. It is amazing how a friendship can form in cyberland but when it comes to "3D" (love that term) as you call it it there is really a special bond. I have met friends for life through Spark. What team do you girls post on? Did you say you are going to do the San Francisco Half?

Congrats on your run and your friendships....

Take care,

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SORGIN 2/16/2010 8:23PM

    You finished with the teen! You finished with the teen! (Don't forget that. Ha!) That proves you can run with the best of them. Thank you so much for all the hospitality and good will. I don't think there is any weekend that will quite measure up. You sure know how to make people feel like they never want to leave! I am so glad I did this half. It was great being on the Pacific Ocean and in the midst of green trees and grass. It was a welcome respite. And of course it was great to finally meet you face-to-face! It made me see that sometimes the race is ancillary. It's way more fun to have fun. If the race thing works out, great. If it doesn't I've still had fun! I'm glad you made the choice you did too, to run the half. It means we got to spend a little more time together. I love the photos and thanks for sharing this!

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ROUXZQ 2/13/2010 12:09AM

    Knew you could do it!

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JENNIFER124 2/12/2010 8:28PM

    i love your take on things.. i have been waiting for words.. of course to be home for more than 24 hours might help..haha.. pics are awesome!!! it WAS a great carrot to know that everyone would be waiting at the end.. and it really was a lot of fun!!! thanks for suggesting this, bringing the sun and hosting us fellow sparkies!! emoticon

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PAMTHEDREAMER 2/12/2010 4:30PM

    Loved your blog Tammy!
I admit to not knowing the exhilaration of 'the run' tho I've heard a lot about the 'natural high' a person gets from the experience. I can just imagine the temptation to go for more. I'm glad you made the choice to run the half 'cause you felt so good afterward. And tho our time was short I am so happy to have met you.
Btw-It's going to be a gorgeous couple of weeks here and no chains required.

Take good care

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LW8843 2/12/2010 8:02AM

    Sounds like a great time was had by all. I beleive you made the best decision to not run the full and be able to have a good time with your friends. Thank you for sharing about this wonderful time.

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AUNTIE65 2/11/2010 10:03PM

    Sounds like such a wonderful time.... what a great experience - makes me just a little jealous!!


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    emoticon I miss you! Thank you for posting this. I 've been waiting for the words to come and they just haven't been there yet...the emotions are just too big! You said it perfectly though!

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Rock 'n Roll AZ and Sparkfest* PHX-2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

[*Thanks to my dear friend SORGIN for coining the phrase "Sparkfest" to describe an informal gathering of SparkFriends, particularly when centered around an athletic event.]

This past Sunday I ran my 3rd marathon, my first without any race course support. I flew to Phoenix by myself, and while many of my friends from Spark People and my running club were running the 1/2, I didn't know of anyone else running the full. To say I was a little anxious would be an understatement! Add to that the stress of arriving in Phoenix at 4:30 pm the day before the race, with the expo closing at 6 pm and the fact that I had recently learned that I need surgery on my foot and ankle and you might say I was not feeling terribly centered.

I had vacillated all week long between doing the full, the half or not going at all (OK, I only considered the last option for an hour!). My husband wasn't crazy about my going, my son kept calling me an id**t for even considering it, but those of you who run know that the drive to compete is so strong... I just couldn't imagine backing out.
My orthopedist put me in a walking cast to rest my ankle as much as possible leading up to the race. While it was awkward, it certainly seemed to help.

The other reason that I really REALLY wanted to go to Phoenix was to meet some other Sparkers I had been chatting with since June! I met RUN.OR.RUST in San Francisco before we ran the SF 1/2 together; she is part of the CA Dreamin' Team... and I was excited to meet BOILERINAZ and GLOBALKEEWEE who have been inspiring me for the past 6 months!

Run.Or.Rust saved my day on Saturday when she offered to pick me up at the airport and take me to the expo. Talk about stress busting!! She brought her adorable son Alec and together we made it shortly before closing. I got my bib and my shirt, but they were already out of goodie bags emoticon. Most of the exhibitors were already packing up for the night but I made sure to get my beer wristband emoticon. Our plan was to then go by my hotel to check in and then head out to meet the others for dinner. Again, I don't know how I would've managed without Run.Or.Rust, since the expo was in Phoenix and my hotel was in Tempe... its not like I knew my way around either, having only been to Phoenix once many many years ago.

Much to my delight, our dinner group had grown to include CHELLELEIGH and LIL_BUCKET24, as well as 2 spouses and a friend... we were 10 all together!! As soon as I saw GlobalKeewee and BOILERINAZ I just had to give them big hugs - I felt like I was seeing friends I had been missing for a long time!

After dinner I went back to my hotel to get my race gear ready. Again, those of you who race know this can be an ordeal... Short sleeves or long? Shorts or tights? Gloves or not? Arm warmers or throw-away shirt? I had packed lightly so my choices were minimized, but it still took me 30 minutes to get myself together! I went to sleep at 11 pm, and set my alarm for 3 am. I had no race packet since I had no goodie bag, so as best as I could remember the marathon started at 6:30 a.m. and we were told to get to the busing area 2 hours prior to start time... I figured that meant I needed to catch a hotel shuttle to the busing area no later than 4:15 am. Holy cow, that was early! If I were superstitious, I might have quit before I started... I got into the hotel shuttle and took a big gulp of my coffee, only to cough unexpectedly and spew it all over the dashboard. OMG, I was so embarrassed! I wiped it clean with my shirt and apologized profusely. The nice driver assured me it was no big deal, but what a way to start the day emoticon.

As it turns out, I sat on the school bus waiting to leave from 4:20 until nearly 5. The only other people showing up at that hour were the Ultra runners. It was actually their race that started at 6:30, the marathon didn't start until 7:40! When we got to the start line village they were still setting up water, bagels, bananas and coffee. I was the first to get a pre race massage though - there are some perks to being early LOL
My massage therapist:

I wandered around a bit looking for the starting line... it was so early that they hadn't even put up the corral signs yet! I finally found it...

and found my corral soon after

Here I am in my coffee stained throw-away shirt (good thing it wasn't my race shirt!)

I chatted with a few people at the start and ran into some Lopers who I knew as well, and then we were off! I hate to admit it but in spite of my best efforts, I was desperate for a porta-potty those first 3 miles. I couldn't decide if I wanted to stand in line or try to run to the next one... but the lines were long and in the end the "next ones" turned out to be few and far between... so as I passed some spectators I started looking for open doorways to their homes... I actually asked a woman if I could go inside and use her bathroom! Bless her, she said yes and I was in and out as fast as I could be, and then on my way again.

In spite of my injuries I had set my usual 3-tiers of goals for this race: #1 - Finish (preferably in under 6 hours); #2 - PR, preferably breaking 5:45; #3 - Break 5:30 (my ultimate marathon goal). I was feeling pretty good and following my 1:1 intervals, trying to maintain a 12:37 m/m (5:30 pace) up through mile 9. I started thinking this could really happen... I could actually run a 5:30 marathon... but alas, it was not to be. I lost 5 minutes at the porta-potty stop at mile 9 (those of you who have experienced this KNOW just how awful this feels... to be on track for the race of your life only to be sidelined by someone else taking a long time to pee!). By the time I left my average per mile pace had dropped to 13 minutes, and I was never able to get it back below 12:49 . OK, I have learned on SP that if you don't reach your goal don't quit, just revise your goal! So I figured I could still break 5:45 and maybe even make 5:35 if I just keep pushing...

The sun came out and it started to get warmer. I kept looking for "Army girl" as I came to know her, another runner who had been pacing alongside me for miles before my potty break at 9, and finally I saw her as I approached mile 13.7 (she's the one in the blue shirt and black skirt). I pushed past her and never saw her again... Between miles 14 and 19 I kept pushing for my 5:45 goal, but I found myself slowing down. The pain in my ankle was getting worse, my calves were getting shocky-cramps and I had developed quite a few blisters on my right foot. I could feel them burning as they filled...

My husband texted me at mile 19 saying he had not had a good run that morning and wondered how I was doing... I told him I was on pace for a 13 m/m but that I was hurting and would have to start walking more... GlobalKeewee promised to meet me at the finish line and I kept texting her with my progress. It made me sad to think she would have to wait even longer for me to get there, but I just didn't think I could push any harder at this point. I had gone out too fast, had been too ambitious with my goals given the condition of my body, and I had seriously HIT THE WALL.

I thought of sitting down by the side of the road and having a good cry but I knew that if I indulged myself I wouldn't even make my 6 hour goal; THAT was not acceptable, so I kept going... "One minute at a time, one mile at a time" (my mantra from San Diego) kept me moving forward. I swear, those last 8 miles felt like an eternity. I had never before been so discouraged during a race emoticon. I had to accept that my dreams were not going to come true today, and convince myself that it was still OK. At mile 21 I took a picture of the race clock (unfortunately the time doesn't show up) so that I could always remember that I was still on track for goal #2 at this point, even if I didn't make it. I had STILL managed to get close to it...

My spirits were temporarily lifted near mile 23 when I came across a HASH** (**Hash House Harriers, a drinking group with a running problem) support stop. I just had to take a picture to honor my HASHing roots but I declined the traditional beer "down-down".

I knew I only had 5k to go but believe me when I tell you that it was the hardest 3 miles of my life! My pace had slowed to a virtual crawl and it was all I could do to keep moving... I thought of Dr. Martin Luther King whose birthday was being celebrated this holiday weekend... he famously said "If you can't run, walk. If you can't walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving." So I kept moving. My interval timer would go off telling me it was time to run and I would increase my pace from a hobbling stroll to a shuffling jog (trust me, there wasn't much resemblance to a jog, but at least I tried!). One foot at a time, one minute at a time, one mile at a time, until I knew I was almost there.

GlobalKeewee texted me that she would be waiting just past the blue balloons on my left as I approached the finish line, and SORGIN texted me that she was watching the finish live on the internet and waiting for me to get there and wave at her... To you both, I say emoticon It is because of you that I started running again at mile 26. I vowed to myself that I would finish strong and not let my temporary pain derail my efforts to break 6 hours! Final time: 5:54:03 (18 seconds longer than my last marathon in San Diego).

I immediately got ice for my ankle and then GlobalKeewee and I headed over to the beer tent LOL.

GlobalKeewee was a good friend and walked me back to my hotel before going home, and BOILERINAZ met me for breakfast before my flight Monday morning, insuring that my Sparkfest/Marathon weekend ended as it started ~ with my Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Wow what an inspiration! I would love to run but have not built up to it yet. My daughter is very active and runs cross country, track and plays goal is to be able to run with her and eventually enter into some races. I don't know anything about running races but I will do it one day! I work at a hospital in downtown Phoenix and was leaving work the morning they were shutting down the streets for the PF Chang race, hopefully next year I'll be there too!

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ROUXZQ 1/29/2010 9:06PM

    Tammy, I admire your strength. You are a Warrior, solid and true.

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DEEJ4FITNESS 1/27/2010 8:09AM

    ALWAYS an inspiration Tammy!! Thank you for taking the time to write this blog :) As I consider whether I should take on back to back halfs this Spring, it couldn't have come to my attention at a better time! You're one amazing competitor, even if (like me) your biggest competitor is yourself! No one understands a runner quite like a runner and I totally "get" you. Always wanted to run one out west; someday I shall!!

Nothing quite like spending face time w/ Sparkpals. Thanks for sharing!

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KAYAKID 1/27/2010 1:08AM

    Tammy, great job! you are one tough woman! you were hurt for the entire race. Wow! thats so impressive. I know that most non runners don't get it including family members. It not just about the running - with SP - we are a family. We are here to support each other. I learned this fall when I was at the Portland Marathon and supporting two of my favorite spark buddies. Keakman and Kashmir. they knew I was injured - hip issues. But I got out there and ran with them a couple of times. I did that because I am their friend and it put a big smile on their faces. It was a fun day! another Spark buddy Kgpossible and I volunteered at mile 25.75 handing out water and we got to see Robin and Kate come through the station. The neatest thing we told all the other volunteers to yell for them it was great! sorry for this long story but he shows what our spark friends mean to us.

You did awesome and I so proud of you!

good luck with your surgery and recovery!

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PAMTHEDREAMER 1/24/2010 8:21PM

    Whew! Great job Tammy! And Kudos to you! Spark friends are da'bomb! emoticon

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EVETROY 1/21/2010 12:58AM

    Mary and Jen are right - you are one tough cookie!!!!!

I agree with Becky too. New mantra - if you can't run, walk, crawl - just keep moving!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JENNIFER124 1/20/2010 9:06PM

    i just saw lilhalfpint's comment.. swear, i didnt copy.. thats a confirmation.. one tough cookie emoticon

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JENNIFER124 1/20/2010 9:03PM

    i really learned a lot from this hardest races.. the runs that really got me down ended up being my most valuable this past year... they are the ones i really needed to dig down deep and look past the obstacles and find ME in there somewhere..

i really admire all of your race weekend.. going at it alone for the full.. meeting new people(friends) and pushing the limits despite maybe it not being so popular at home..

CONGRATULATIONS Tammy!!! take care of that leg... and KNOW that you are ONE TOUGH COOKIE!!! i really admire you... emoticon

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LILHLFPINT 1/20/2010 7:00PM

    (wow, tammy. wow. you are one tough cookie. ::hugs::)

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CHELLELEIGH 1/20/2010 5:46PM

    It was so nice to get to meet you! Congratulations on your marathon and finishing even though you were in so much pain. Way to push yourself and finish strong!

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AUNTIE65 1/20/2010 2:53PM

    Way to go and such a fun race recap! Thank you for sharing your experience.......

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KJHOUSTON 1/20/2010 2:43PM

    Awesome job!

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MENT2BE 1/20/2010 2:01PM

    You are INCREDIBLE!!! What an inspirational blog and the pictures were awesome....just one regret. I didn't get to meet you this trip. I'm thinking San Diego in June is looking pretty good to Rock n Roll again!! When I do, your mantra is going with me...

"If you can't run, walk. If you can't walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving."

I agree with BSTAKINGACTION "Don't ever stop doing this (running or blogging!)"

emoticon emoticon emoticon


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LIVINFIT4ME 1/20/2010 9:10AM

    Amazing determination!! Great job. I'm very impressed!!! Now, rest up :-)

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RUN.OR.RUST 1/20/2010 8:41AM

    great job on your race! you proved how strong you are and you can do anything you put your mind to. I'm so proud of you!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    There have been quite a few times in the last month when I questioned my ability to complete a marathon and wonder why I'm going to even try. And, then, I read your race recaps and I totally get it. You are running these marathons with obstacles I'll probably not face and you're doing it with dignity, pride, courage and perseverance....for the love of running and the right to say, "I did it, darn it!". God, you must be so proud of yourself....cause I sure am!

I appreciate you sharing this, Tammy. It helps me to see that the mental processes I'm going through are totally normal and that I CAN do this. I've learned so much from your blog. Don't ever stop doing this (running or blogging!)

My favorite parts:
"If you can't run, walk. If you can't walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving." - MY NEW MANTRA!

"I thought of sitting down by the side of the road and having a good cry..." ME TOO!

"One minute at a time, one mile at a time"... I had never before been so discouraged during a race . I had to accept that my dreams were not going to come true today, and convince myself that it was still OK." IT HAPPENS TO ALL OF US!

See how much you've taught me?

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MJD2GETHER 1/19/2010 11:16PM

    OMG! you are amazing. I can't believe that you did it with all the hurdles you had to face. I am proud of you. Judy emoticon

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HUSKERGAL27 1/19/2010 10:51PM

    Thanks for sharing this. You are truly an inspiration! Way to go.

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JUSTTRIING 1/19/2010 10:33PM

    emoticon You did fantastic. I understand the mental toughness it takes when you set goals for yourself and at some point during the race you have to accept that you might not meet some or all of them. I experienced this with my first marathon.

You are truly inspirational. You kept pushing despite all the blisters, aches and pains. You will never forget that fact that although you might have wanted to quit, you didn't.

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BOILERINAZ 1/19/2010 10:16PM

    It was great to meet you! Glad all the AZ sparkers could get you the support you needed for the know we'll expect the same when we head your way to race lol! :)

You did awesome! I know that race was a challenge to get through but once again you proved mind over matter and did it! Your medal is a great reminder that YOU can do anything you set your mind too!

Hope you had a great flight back...enjoy some rest before your next race!

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SORGIN 1/19/2010 10:08PM

    I love this blog! You make me feel like I'm right there with you! Sorry it was a little cold at the start and that you were there so early. But all that adrenaline was put to good use! Sorry too about the long pit stop. That's the worst but what are you going to do?! You gotta go when you gotta go. That's when guys have a "leg up" on us girls. I forgot to tell you that Ginny was watching the finish with me. She was so excited. She looked for blue shirts and I looked for pink hats. Then we both saw you and screamed. It was so funny. What a cool feeling to see you actually cross the line! Your medal is beautiful and it sounds like your weekend was a lot of fun. There are Sparkers everywhere! YAY! Thanks for sharing this. You ran a fantastic race and prove time and time again that you are capable of accomplishing ANYTHING! CONGRATULATIONS! Now go sit on some ice!

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SMALLERSHEEP 1/19/2010 5:39PM

    Tammy, what a great blog! I really felt like I was there with you! What an inspiration! Thank you so much for sharing.


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BECCACOATS 1/19/2010 5:30PM

    Tammy ~ This was the best blog... Full of emotion, pain, agoney, Tears and Joy!!! We were all rooting for you and it's good to know it works.. Let me tell you.. I am VERY impressed with your ability to move and run with all of you structure issues...

I do still worry about you as I hope your not creating long turm injury to yourself.. OK that's the mom in me talking because I care.. I really do!!!

You guys are also the reason I push myself (not listening to my inner mom voice) I understand the rush and final Joy.. as I said all of you give me inspiration and I know I will never run yet I will do my darndest to speed up my walk...

Thank you for being the wonderful person you are and the inpsiration to all of us!!
Rock on my friend, Rock on

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My Sparkversary - a focus on the good!

Monday, January 11, 2010

One year ago I joined Spark People. I had joined a weight loss challenge at my gym and was looking for a way to track my food without writing the same thing down over and over again. An internet search for online food trackers brought me here, and for that I will always be grateful!

In the past year I have lost over 25 pounds and gained so much - self esteem, athleticism, a healthy SUSTAINABLE lifestyle and best of all, some extremely dear friends. I have not yet reached my goal weight nor have I reached all of my athletic goals yet either - but that's the beauty of my new Sparked life; I know that this is a journey and there will always be new goals to strive for.

What I have lost, in addition to body fat, is fear. Fear of failure, fear of change, fear of stagnation.

The tools I've been given through The Spark are going to be on my tool belt for life. They are getting used often and in varied situations, and they are developing the patina of a favorite personal treasure. How appropriate.

This community of fellow Sparkers has made the difference I was looking for in my life. I have been to convention, I have met up with some Spark friends, I have talked to many others outside the parameters of - but even as people come and go in my life, I know there will always be Sparkers out there to walk a bit on this journey with me, and with their company, my life will only get better!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SORGIN 1/19/2010 10:09PM

    I agree, it's the people I've met along the way who have made the difference. Of course, you are one of them! Thanks for being my Sparkbud!

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PAMTHEDREAMER 1/15/2010 10:42PM

    Happy Sparkversary Tammy! Kudos to all that you've gained-AND lost. ;)
I'm so happy to have 'met' you. Keep on Sparkin'!

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    Congratulations, Tammy! Good for you!


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DEEJ4FITNESS 1/15/2010 11:08AM

    Well HAPPY SPARKAVERSARY TO YOU TAMMY! And you'll make the journey all the more enjoyable for all the friends you Spark as well. Right along side ya in that journey I'll be... ~deej

Comment edited on: 1/15/2010 11:09:47 AM

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GLOBALKEEWEE 1/12/2010 6:31PM

I feel like I should be singing Happy Birthday, but that's not right...we need a SparkVersary song!
Here's to the years to come!!!

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NAVYMOM133 1/12/2010 8:12AM

    Congratulations on a truly GREAT first year of the rest of your life!! I am so glad you found Sparkpeople and even more glad we found each other !! ONWARD, friend!! There is a lifestyle to lead!!
emoticon Melly

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EVETROY 1/12/2010 1:12AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GMO_JEN 1/11/2010 11:36PM

    Happy Sparkiversary! It sounds like it was an amazing year, and you have accomplished so much! Congrats :)

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BECCACOATS 1/11/2010 11:10PM

    emoticon emoticon Tammy on your decision to become a better & Healthier you!!

I am happy that we have travled this journey together and Yes looking foe many more years ahead.. This is a life style change and with the tools in our tool belt and the support of our friends we will continue..

HAPPY emoticon emoticonSparkaversary

Comment edited on: 1/11/2010 11:11:05 PM

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DIANEONFIRE 1/11/2010 10:38PM

    Wow, mee toooo! I joined on January 10 two years ago. Happy Sparkversary. You look fabulous, darling! emoticon

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ROUXZQ 1/11/2010 10:34PM

    Happy Sparkiversary! So much in one year! That is pretty cool. I haven't lost all the weight this last year either, but you are right, it is a process. But guess what...... we are all still here and have not given up despite set backs. And that is what has made ALL the difference. We didn't just say "all heck, I blew it, I might as well give up!"
We are here, we are here, we are here!
We are here, we are here, we are here!
Horton hears the Sparkers!!!!!


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MENT2BE 1/11/2010 9:49PM

    Amen to that!!! I am right there with's only been 9 months for me but I feel the same way. A year ago running a half marathon wasn't even on my radar. By next Monday it will be history!! I love this community of 'sparkers' and hope I get to meet another one of them in person soon....maybe Sunday in sunny Phoenix!!

emoticon emoticon

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    Well said, Tammy. I'm so proud of all you've accomplished this past year (and am glad to see that you are too)...and feel honored to share this journey with you. We are going to have so many great adventures together! I've learned so much from you!

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