I had a blog up a couple days ago but removed it...so for those that have their readers telling ya I have a blog before this one, it's gone. I won't go into the why's other than I read it hours later and it made no sense. Kinda like this blog's gonna be. bahahahaha!
First, let me start off the bat by stating my allergies are over the top intense. I wish I could take my eyeballs out of their sockets and let them soak overnight in some major chemicals! I don't leave the house without nasal steroids, sprays and plenty of tissues attached to my hip! Ya know that warning on the side of the nasal spray bottle: NO NOT CONSUME MORE THAN 5 CONSECUTIVE DAYS! Yea right! I may be burning a hole in my nasal cavity, but dangit, I can't breathe without the stuff!!! Look at the chart below, notice how Colorado is entirely in RED??? That's indicating max pollen count - but no one has to show me, I'm dying here, kids!!! I think I'm moving to Maine in April next year...look what a pretty green shade that state is.
Next on the agenda: I can't run. My legs won't move. Seriously! I've had three miserable runs this week which has just left my confidence in the toilet. We're not talking any major running either. Tuesday I cut my 800's to 400's mid-way because they weren't happening. Wednesday was suppose to be 5 easy miles. Ran 2 at the indoor track at the gym and called it quits (and instead did some weights/core stuff). Thursday was suppose to be 5-6 at MP. Made it to 2.5 miles at a pace not even close to what I once hoped would be MP and feeling like I was going to up-chuck at any second. Suddenly, I had to pee. Bad. Stopped at the bushes (one must do what one must do!) and took care of that but when I started up again to run, the legs wouldn't cooperate. I ended up doing the shuffle/run/walk torture the next 2.5 to my car. Yeah, THAT boost the old uncertainty and fear knobs up a few octaves. I'm certain part of the culprit to my demise this week is the red zone from above ... but there's other issues going on here. And I know what they are. Mostly.
I need to say you guys are the most AWESOME support system alive. I mean that; I'm not sure I'd even get on that plane next week without y'all believing so much in me (let's recall the brutally honest email where I asked those close to me to 5-word describe me and the vast majority said: emotionally need :) ). Nevertheless, my mind's a tangled web over Boston (no duh!!). I'm totally discombobulated. Not in a race-performance anxiety way, but here lies the problem, and probably part of my legs not functioning right now:
I am not even close to the condition I need to be to crank out this marathon in one strong and solid piece. I've done enough of these puppies to understand this - and I accept it but what's tormenting me, and occupying every spare space in my pea-sized brain right now, is how to run this race given the situation. 1)Do I just take my time and run it slow and have a great time along the way, high-fiving everyone along the way, snapping pictures along the course? I remember so little about the course last year, I was so internally negotiating my way to the finish line I couldn't tell you very much about the sights along the way. Or do I 2) just get out there and run my hardest best, knowing my "best" is going to be pretty lame? (And my "best" doesn't mean a PR, my best simply means being in the best marathon shape I can possibly be, having done all the work I needed to do to get on that start line feeling fresh and ready to run!) I'm having a hard time assessing which is better for me - either way, I'm going to have to dig deep into the adrenaline reserves to finish. I can't fully wrap my brain around killing myself for a 4-plus-hour marathon. But then where's the challenge in lollygagging my way through 26.2 miles? A challenge is a challenge and I'm all over that...part of me feels I need to see what I'm made of when the tank is only half-full. I've never been one to just go out and "enjoy" a race; this was always a tug-of-war with my old trainer, he would tell me to go into a race for "training" and I just always struggled with this idea - as I do now. Last year he wanted me to run Boston in 4-hours so I could "experience" it. This idea never sat well with me and, I worked way too hard to get there to just go and casually run it so secretly I told myself (and no one else) that I would give the race my all and I finished in 3:51.
In my silent inner-conflict, I phoned-a-friend, (or emailed-a-friend - but that's not an option like in "Cash Cab" or "Who wants to be a Millionaire" haha) for advice. Bless Meg - she has a heart of gold and a soul to match; she sent me a beautiful card this week (outside it reads: The mind determines what is possible. The heart surpasses it) and inside she wrote to run with my heart. But I'm not sure where my heart is. Where is it, Megsie??? I struggle with this constantly. My friend, Tim, who you wouldn't know via blog world but he and I went to high school together and became reacquainted through FB last year. He's a running maniac like Meg, having ran a billion marathons and ultras, and getting ready to run his first 100K in a couple weeks (I can't even imagine!). He gave me the following advice below today ... for which I am totally grateful and felt I should share parts. His words in blue, my thoughts to this in pink:
First, you're definitely trained for the distance. 26.2 miles will be a cakewalk for you. What you're worried about is speed. Yes, that's IT! Finally, it's been identified what my true problem is. I am NOT in prime shape to run this sucker FAST! Not as fast as I want, at least. It's comforting to hear he believes I have the endurance - this has been weighing heavy on my mind. One thing checked off. If I were you I'd do almost nothing but speed work for the next week. Forget the tempo runs. Do short sprints. Keep up the heart rate. Working on the quick foot turnover and form that you'll want to use during the race. Maybe do one moderate hill session this weekend and imagine it being Heartbreak and you pushing over it with ease. Do workouts where you push hard but SHORT and sweet and you know you could do more at the end. This will give you something positive to focus on. Don't overdo anything in the next week to "make up" for feeling un-ready. Rest is key now. Don't even bother to run Sat or Sun before the race. I'd skip Friday as well if you have the slightest doubt that your legs still feel heavy. You can't undertrain at this point. You can only overtrain now. You want to get to that point on Saturday before the race where your legs are jumpy and you're annoyed you're not allowed to go run. Wow. Okay. This is not what I would have thought to do at all but it makes perfect sense to me. I'm done with the long run, I can't cram in any more distance, but I can work a little on the leg turn-over.
Second, spend time visualizing the run, about how you'll be smart enough to start out slow on the downhill Me?? Start out slow??? Every marathon I've ever done well, I've started out slow (very few, mind you!). My mega marathon friend, Maureen Roben, who's run an astonishing 4 Olympic Marathon Trials (google her name, you'll be impressed), has repeatedly told me for every 30 seconds you run too fast in the early miles, you'll pay 4 minutes/mile in the end. Yep, done that once or 10 times. Okay, Jilly, start out slow! and you'll pace yourself through the first 13, and then keeping the legs fresh enough to push up the hills eeks! These hills scare me. I didn't get in the glute work in after I finally got to feeling better. And it shows!
Third, wait until the day before the race to decide if you want to go all out, or just take it easy. Okay. This will give me a few days to play with my mind with some more running under my belt and see how I feel. you pack then decide on Sunday and stick with that on race day and don't change strategy mid-race. How many mid-race decision changes have I done in the past?? Plenty. If you decide to take it easy during the race, then enjoy it knowing this momentary setback will push you in the future and that next time you won't be spectator-running, so enjoy watching the fellow runners, the sights, and the fans. I LOVE the idea of this. Love it!! But can I get my mind to do it??? If you decide to go all out, do it and accept it if you fall apart at mile 20. Yep, that's a huge worry. Last year I fell apart at mile 22. My stomach cramped up so bad; I had a very serious discussion with the Running Gods and told them I was done marathoning. I wasn't, of course, it was just a mid-race temper tantrum, but I have had long periods of downtime after miserable marathons in the past...and I don't want that again. I don't want the race to turn into such a fiasco I won't want to run one again. I truly want, more than anything right now, to come back and get into prime shape. I miss how whole and clean and pure my body feels when it's running well. That's no shame. Hum.....
Fourth, you may feel heavy but I bet you can lose a couple of pounds in the next week. My weight is NOT at marathon training weight and I know enough to know I don't run well for long at the current weight I'm at. I'll be brutally honest with myself, I didn't fight hard enough after I got sick to get it back down. I lost the fight - and I know the reason why: I felt alone...which I'll touch on in a little bit. That may not seem like much but it'll give you a good mental boost and it'll make you feel lighter on your feet. You know how to eat good high energy/low calorie foods. I'm guessing he doesn't mean I can have chips, pizza, beer and my absolute favorite: red velvet cake everynight??? Crap! Yes, I DO know what to eat as he says. I will do it! Do it and don't fuck up between now and the race. Believe it or not, this is PRECISELY what I needed to hear! More on that below, too. You have a huge pig-out meal coming post-race that you're going to enjoy. And what a pig-out fest I'm going to have. Sugar-coma here I come!!! Do of course get in that high carb meal on Saturday night. Def!
Fifth, decide now that you'll deal with your personal life on April 21-ish A LOT of personal issues have been weighing me down lately, which I don't like to bog you down with. This is a big reason why I failed to fight and get my head wrapped around this Boston thing after I got sick. I will do my best to not think about anything while in Boston-it's not like anything can be "fixed" while I am there anyway.
What I have learned through this whole training cycle for Boston is this: I do not run well by myself. Let's recall that post where I asked some of my closest friends to list 5 things about me (or 7....??) and one of the reoccuring threads was "emotionally needy." Even the brutally honest daughter told me the same thing. I'll put myself out here and tell you that it's true - I am! And what I found out in this journey is that I do not operate well with my training alone. I need validation, accountbility and just someone to throw ideas around. I run better when I know someone is there making sure I'm doing the right thing. It doesn't matter how many races I've done or the fact I've been running for over 30 years, I run better with someone there. And I haven't had this this time around. It's one of the reasons I LOVE being a running coach - I fully understand the need!I had dinner with Tara last night; she is just so sweet and we had a lot of fun. She gave me this absolutely wonderful necklace for my birthday and I just have to share with you - isn't it just so perfect??? I seriously had to fight back the tears when she gave it to me, I was so deeply touched. I'm certain she thought I was a babbling idiot and would just shut the heck up about my Boston woes, but she held her tongue and just listened. She's truly amazing!
Robin asked if I would post a link to her friend, who lost an amazing 100 lbs, on my blog. Her feat is incredible and am glad to do it - please go over and vote for her friend to get to NY, if you have time (click on her name).
I have to be honest and tell you that I'm probably never going to hold a give-away or post someone's give-away; I can't, it'd make me manic to keep up with it all and this blog, when I started it over a year ago, was to write about my running from my heart. My ups and downs, triumphs and sorrow, trials and tribulations, fears and joy - and how I am affected by each. I want to share my journey of my "quest to refine my soul" with you so that you never feel alone in your thoughts. My blog is about me, the true me, and this who I am. We area all kindred running souls and I'm blessed to have found you all.
So what am I going to do in Boston, how am I going to run it? Ahh....I think I know and probably you do too, but I'm going to toss the two around a few more days. My friend, Dennis, is going to take me out to the state park tomorrow (where tree pollen is abundant - yea!!!) and run some fartleks and hills with me...I know it will help settle the craziness going on inside - I think it will be just what this chick needs! All is going to be good, one way or another - it truly is!
I have more things to share with y'all but I'll leave this post for now as it's getting pretty lengthy as it is - I'll get another post or two off before I go (and promise it'll be shorter :) ). Thanks for all your support on my last blog - wow! My cup runneth over! Believe me when I say this: I will carry each and every one of you along with me in Boston next week.