Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Post-Boston Stuff

My internet is down at home today ERRRR); I feel lost and disoriented without it. Like a junkie without her fix, I can’t get online and do what I need to do. Frustrating. So I’m at Panera Bread Co having an ice tea and filling ya all in on Jill land post-Boston. This will be a hodge-podge of stuff, all random of course, cuz I only have about a half hour to crank out an update! I apologize for being so far behind in blog world due to this lack of connection to the world! Hopefully back up tomorrow, Mr. Internet Man is suppose to come tomorrow to fix this mess!

First, I have to say a HUGE thank you, again, for all the Boston well-wishes and the birthday wishes/cards that were sent to Meg for the little celebration afterwards (and all the commented ones in my blog, too). I had a great time opening the abundance of cards and reading your sweet messages. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am so blessed! The post-race celebration was exactly what I needed. I got back to the hotel probably an hour before the festivities were starting, and even then, after a short little meltdown after due to just the whole release of Boston being over and the journey I took to get there (more on that someday), I got to the party about an hour later than planned. I wasn’t the last one there (ahem, Katie) but nevertheless, it was a great evening spend in the good company of dear friends.
That Meg girl thinks of EVERYTHING, even a pink cupcake. It was devine!
I don't have time to link these bloggers but from left to right: Meg, Katie A., Jenn, your truly, Bethany and Ryan.
Bloggie friend birthday cards. THANKS, guys!!

Okay, remember me whining about that agonizing heel problem in Boston? Well, it’s been bothering me upon return, too, when I started back up running again on Monday. I researched and researched online and went to a running store here and everyone was telling me the dreaded Plantar Faciitis. Well, okay, but I no longer think so. Typical PF problems are tightness of the muscle in the arch of your foot which causes a lot of pain when you wake up (I had none) and stretching helps (I have nothing to stretch). More research and more talking to couple running experts and I totally fear I have, and I’m going to whisper this because that will make it less-so, a stress fracture in my heel (gasp!!!). I’d rather have the PF!!! I talked to another soul today and he thought maybe it was just bruised so suggested I start with new shoes (got ‘em) and take a couple days off (okay) and then start out and see how it feels. I could go into a lot of babbling denial words like how I barely trained this season … but I’ve felt this little annoyance since last summer (though less-so painful than now) and if I go back and look at my insane running last year, well I can see it. But let’s hope for the best and see how plan A goes with the new shoes and a little rest. Dang it!!! cuz I can’t even tell you how relieved I was to have Boston done, finished, caput, finit-o, so that I could spring back and get into prime racing condition again. I've been feeling soooo good. I guess if something serious is going to happen, it’s better it happen now before I get into the middle of training, like what happened for Boston, and my whole desposition is shot along with the training. Okay, enough of that!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ryan, twin #1, ran a 5-mile race on Sunday. Well, he attempted to run a 5-mile race and was doing superbly when, at mile 4.5, he suddenly couldn’t breathe. A bunch of runners around him stopped to help him and an ambulance was called. Talk about scary, we couldn’t find him after the race and knew he should have been there as we saw him at mile 3 and knew he was running well. Well, to make a long story short, he fell off his bike about a week earlier and the handle bars jabbed him in the chest and apparently, after chest x-rays and EKG’s confirming he didn’t have any chest or lung damage, he bruised his insides and they were shouting to him to stop just a half mile before he crossed the finish line. Talk about scary!!!!!! I can’t even express my gratitude to those runners around him who stopped to help; who knows if they were on course for a PR and this was just “their race” – they stopped and helped. It makes me tear up just to think about it. He's okay, just needs to take a couple weeks off running to heal. Hum....couple weeks off sounds familiar (above).....
Ryan at mile 3, looking good and very strong (ran a PR 5K in the midst of this)
Ryan at mile 4.5 :(

Finally, my friend, Leslie, is about to do her first full Ironman Triathlon this coming weekend in St. George, Utah. Leslie’s an amazing woman – a mother of 3 with the littlest just turning 2, works, wife, friend…she cranks out all those titles and trains an astonishing 4+ hours/day. Everyday. She sent me this cute little pink arm band today and asked me to wear it Saturday, as she will also be wearing hers, when she races in hopes of qualifying for the granddaddy of all Ironmans: Kona. If you can, please send her some cheers, she’s been having some leg problems and hasn’t been able to run in 3 weeks so the marathon portion is scaring her a little right now, I know she'd love the support!! She has the biggest heart and is always so nice and encouraging to me! GO Leslie, GOOOOOO!!! My pink wrist band and I will be screaming our lungs out for you Saturday!!!

Oh, I do have to share a little bit of a race report from my awesome friend, Tim, who just completed his first 100K in Kansas. He is the one that gave me the advice before Boston when I was concerned (freaking out) about my speed, or lack thereof. I thought it was funny, in the midst of what I'm certain was just dreadfully painful:
Lap 1: RUN OVER CHIP TIMING MAT, Dry trail, mud, mud, rocks, stream, mud, hill, roots, mud, rocks, rocks, mud, rocks, dry trail, mud, aid station, mud, mud, rocks, hill, rocks, stream, roots, mud, roots, hill, rocks, jagged wet boulders, jagged wet boulders, cliffs, jagged wet boulders, stream, mud, mud, rocks, hill, mud, mud, washed out trail with 10 foot cliff, mud, hill, mud, knee-high creek crossing, mud, rocks, mud, AID STATION, hill, mud, mud, rocks, mud, hill, mud, mud, rocks, rocks, mud, hill, roots, stream, mud, rocks, stream, rocks, STUBBED TOE, mud, mud, mud, mud, rocks, roots, ankle-high creek, mud, rocks, rocks, AID STATION, mud, roots, mud, rocks, mud, dry trail, mud, dry trail, mud, roots, roots, mud, rocks, rocks, mud, dry trail, hill, mud, hill, rocks, roots, roots, rocks, mud, hill.

Lap 2: Dry trail, mud, mud, rocks, stream, mud, hill, roots, mud, rocks, rocks, mud, rocks, dry trail, mud, aid station, mud, mud, rocks, hill, rocks, stream, roots, mud, roots, hill, rocks, jagged wet boulders, jagged wet boulders, STUBBED TOE, cliffs, jagged wet boulders, stream, mud, mud, rocks, hill, mud, mud, washed out trail with 10 foot cliff, mud, hill, mud, knee-high creek crossing, mud, rocks, mud, AID STATION, hill, mud, mud, rocks, mud, hill, mud, mud, rocks, rocks, mud, hill, roots, stream, mud, rocks, stream, rocks, mud, mud, mud, mud, SOUL HAS BEEN SUCKED INTO THE MUD, rocks, roots, ankle-high creek, mud, FACEPLANT, rocks, rocks, AID STATION, mud, roots, mud, rocks, mud, dry trail, mud, dry trail, mud, SMASHED HEAD ON TREE, roots, roots, mud, rocks, rocks, mud, dry trail, STUBBED TOE, hill, mud, hill, rocks, roots, roots, rocks, mud, hill. SMELL OF BURGERS AND BRATS - MMMMMMMMMMMM, COERCED BY PONY-TAIL GIRL INTO DOING ANOTHER LAP.

Lap 3: RAIN BEGINS. Wet trail, mud, mud, rocks, stream, STUBBED TOE, mud, hill, roots, mud, rocks, rocks, mud, rocks, wet trail, mud, aid station, mud, mud, rocks, hill, rocks, stream, roots, mud, roots, hill, rocks, jagged wet boulders, jagged wet boulders, cliffs, jagged wet boulders, stream, mud, mud, rocks, hill, mud, mud, washed out trail with 10 foot cliff, mud, hill, mud, knee-high creek crossing, mud, rocks, mud, AID STATION, DARKNESS SETS IN, HEADLAMP ON, hill, mud, mud, rocks, mud, hill, mud, mud, rocks, STUBBED TOE, rocks, mud, hill, roots, stream, mud, rocks, stream, rocks, mud, mud, FACEPLANT, mud, mud, rocks, roots, 5 MILES LEFT, WALKING REST OF WAY SO I DO NOT KILL MYSELF, ankle-high creek, mud, rocks, rocks, AID STATION, FINAL THREE MILES = 70 MINUTES, mud, roots, mud, rocks, mud, wet trail, mud, wet trail, mud, SMASHED HEAD ON SAME TREE, roots, roots, mud, rocks, rocks, mud, wet trail, hill, mud, hill, rocks, roots, roots, rocks, mud, hill, FOLLOWED A FLASHLIGHT TO THE FINISH, CHIP MAT GONE, BURGERS GONE, BRATS GONE, THREE LOVELY FOLKS LEFT, PONY-TAIL GIRL EVEN GAVE ME A HUG.


It’s friends like Leslie and Tim (and y’all) that make me get up each day and run my guts out. Enough said!

Run strong, friends!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Finally, Boston!

Okay, okay, I’ve stalled long enough, time to Boston. The happenstance of life in the non-marathon training world seems to be crazier upon return than it was before I left, so I apologize to all those curious as to how my Boston experience unfolded. I’ve been stewing thoughts for several days, trying to formulate words into complete sentences that are coherent enough to not seem like a contradicting blubbering idiot. Not an easy task for someone whose emotions are still all over the map.

I’ll start by quoting my fellow Bostonian marathoner blogger, marathon maiden, “So many emotions going through me right now. And somewhat surprisingly disappointment isn’t the first.” Her surprising non-disappointment emotion is because she raced superbly with an awesome finish line time. My surprising non-disappointment emotion is because I did the complete opposite and finished with the worst marathon finish time ever of the 15 marathons I’ve ran. Crazy, I know!! But something I learned out there on that course last week is that sometimes, not every race is about that illustrious finish line time. For the girl who always felt she had to over-train for every race so that clock read some grand number each race, I never thought I’d hear myself say it but my pathetic 4:30 finish actually was a number as gratifying on a whole different level than say, a PR number.

I had so many wonderful moments that it seems nearly impossible to do them justice with my meager descriptions. I think I’ll try to sum the weekend with a picture/description format so the words will paint a clearer story.

My girlfriend from home, Sheri, came with me. Sheri’s a non-marathoner but an awesome cheerleader, so she’s definitely in. We grabbed sandwiches in the airport within seconds of touchdown in Boston, here’s Sheri devouring hers:

Finally, after months of email planning for the weekend and developing a special e-world friendship, meeting Meg face to face finally was so exciting – she is just as personable and sweet in real-life as her blog-life reads. We instantly removed the “e” from our friendship and bonded like we’ve known each other for years. This picture is actually on my last day there but it’s the only one I have of just her and I so I thought it fitting to insert it here:

Sunday morning was the blog-fest brunch; it was so much fun to meet so many bloggers, many of whom I didn’t even know. Morgan has some excellent pictures of all those who attended so click on her name if you want more pictures, I’ll just include the ones at my table for the sake of this blog not being a 16-hour read. Clockwise: Emily (sweat once a day), Ryan (our love on the run), your truly, and Bethany (our love on the run). Excellent start to the weekend!

One thing I learned is that girls from California pack a LOT of clothes, but they were definitely the best-dressed:

Meet up with Rick (marathonman101108), and his lovely wife for a bit at our hotel as they headed out of town for a little R&R weekend. It was like 3:00 in the afternoon and yes, I hadn’t had a shower yet due to a really fun last minute expo seminar and lunch with Marcia (gotta love myself sometime when I asked Marcia if she wanted to do lunch only to get to said lunch and realize I have $7 to my name on me. ADD moments never leave you, even on vacation race trips. Thanks, Marcia, you are sooo much fun and I loved hanging with ya!!!). And yes, I felt like slime, and looked it:
Sunday night dinner with my dear friend, Elaine:
Monday wake-up came early and we all scrambled to get our acts together and out the door. I had hoped to get a picture of Meg and her track-club friend (and my other roomie), Jillian, before we all went our separate ways, but Meg left to get coffee and I had to meet my other girlfriend, Elaine, in the lobby so alas, I could only snap a quick pic of Jillian (who Meg deems “super model” – which is obviously fitting) as she was gearing up to go:

Meet Elaine in the lobby (Ryan Hall walked right past me while I was waiting for Elaine - a pretty surreal moment), pick up Marcia (Running off at the mouth) at her hotel along the way to the bus line, and find Katie A (One run at a time). Katie’s already been in line and is hesitant (bitching) to remove herself from the insane-ness of these long lines and start over with us but my persuasive powers (and me constantly reminding her it was my birthday) pull her over to our line so we can all hang together. I think she was glad she did; I mean, she got to hang with us AND I had a birthday balloon bopping everyone around me in the head from the wind (Meg had given it to me me to wear so she’d find me later at the Athlete’s Village. Which, unfortunately, we never did). Elaine, Marcia, me, Katie A.:
The start area is insane, like Woodstock but with sober people. Each line for a porta potty looks like the start of a 5-K back home. Still have that damn balloon and I never did find Meg with it, so I popped it – I was fearful someone was going to bop me one, it was hitting one too many participants in the face. Marcia, me, Katie A.

Katie A. coming out of the lovely facilities:
Marcia and Katie mere minutes before the big event (somewhere in the potty line, we lose Elaine. I was sad!):
Katie and I at the start:
This is kinda where the Boston weekend turns a little “touchy” for me. Katie, who is in corral 15, says she is running back with me in 18. I beg her to go with her group but she says she wants to start off with me for awhile, even though I say I’m not running fast, only running in survival mode of 9:00 – 9:10 min/miles (whereas she normally runs in the low 8’s and me in the mid 8's). She has Big Sur the following weekend so maybe she just wants to conserve, or maybe she just can’t get enough of my awesomeness, either way we start off together and run about the first 13 miles. We laugh, we high-five, we complain about how uneasy and forced the slow pace felt. I was having some major feet problems and her, being over the flu just a couple days earlier, was struggling. But I snapped some fun pictures in the middle of our big whine-fest:


Gross leopard leotard woman (seriously, wth???):
My friends from RW I saw around mile 7 (me, Andrea, Elizabeth):

Katie again - her signature pose:

Cups galore:

At mile 13, my bladder, which was screaming to relieve itself from mile 1 (and me being too anal to stop for the massive potty lines en route), was about to explode and I HAD to stop here and take care of that business. I told Katie to take off and I’d see her at the finish in our designated “B’ sign spot. I have never been so relived to pee in my life; age and large bladders are not bff’s. After that almost 6 minute stop, my quads decided to hold a protest and revolt from further movement. My toes, apparently from all the downhills at the beginning, were swollen and hitting the ends of my shoes, causing me to actually curl them up while running now. Not an easy task, mind you. My right heel, which has been bothering me on and off for the past several months, was screaming. And the bottoms of both feet ached like nothing I’ve ever, EVER experienced (curse myself for not wearing those new insoles which I deemed “bothersome” before I left). Starting back up from this bathroom break again was proving to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And when you’re hurting bad at mile 13 in a marathon, you know it’s going to be a very, long, drawn-out second half.

I kept moving but it was slower now and when I got to the infamous Boston hills at mile 17, I decided I was just going to walk them; it was not going to do me any good to deplete any remaining strength on these beasts, there was still 6 miles to go after all this hill madness so I figured walking was the best way to conserve. Was I deflated? Kinda. I figured I’d have to walk at some point in this race so it was fine it was now, but what was bothering me so much was the fact my feet hurt so bad and I still had a major chunk of this thing to crank out. The crowds are enormous here, too, and ya sort of feel like you’re a big loser walking and they’re looking at you like, “Get your fat ass moving, girl!!! Yeah, well, whatever. I was there, qualified to run it, they were not. That stuff just always bothers me for whatever pride-related reasons, especially going by Boston College, where masses of college kids (mostly drunk – ha) assemble and scream their lungs out (I’m certain many could not speak for days after!); I have never in my life seen so many people congregated in one spot…yelling. It sends a chill right down your spine.
Anyway…..fiiiinnnnaaaallllly, get to the top of Heartbreak Hill at mile 20 and I’m spent. HUH? The idea to conserve here really didn’t pan out and though I was able to start running again, my feet were telling me that it was going to be at a ridiculously slower than snail’s pace and there was nothing I could really do about it.

I’m just slugging along for a few miles and when I get to mile 23, some mighty force above made me look off to my right and there I see Katie. Hurting. I couldn’t believe it. I ran over to her and she was literally in tears; she was having horrible leg cramps and told me she wanted to quit. No way, no how! I had her stop walking and stretch her legs for a few minutes and told her I was sticking by her side to the end, no matter how slow we went. Really, at this point I was beyond pulling any miracles out of my agonizing feet, an extra 15 or so minutes tacked on to my finish time to walk her in was A-ok with me. It was better than A-ok, it was the ONLY thing to do. After a little stretching, Katie actually felt better and so we took off walking a lot, running a little – yet somehow laughing and smiling the entire way home. She told spectators and runners around it was my birthday and it totally made my day when those around me started singing Happy Birthday; I’m certain somewhere in that mix of laughter, I shed a tear.
Katie Mile 24:

Me at Mile 25:

Coming down the home-stretch on Boylston Street with Katie arm and arm is an experience I will never, ever forget. It occurred to me that this…..this is the perfect illustration of a true friendship.
There is always a nugget for me in every marathon, a lesson that cannot be learned any other way than in 26.2 miles. I am certain had I not found Katie at mile 23, I would have finished this race feeling miserable and deflated. Instead, Boston #2 will go down as one of the best marathons ever, on a totally different level. Do not underestimate the intimacy of running and the people with whom you share those miles. It matters! When you are lucky enough to share your Boston birthday with intense feet pain, in the most under-trained condition you’ve ever been, but with a friend by your side, you learn that laughing and suffering are not mutually exclusive. I had a blast! A birthday I will never, ever forget!

As my friend, Garbo, posted on my RW blog, “I have always thought the key to running is having fun and sharing a kinship with fellow runners. In that department it sounds like you definitely smashed your P.R. Excellent run, chica. Well done.” I may not have thought that as I stood at the start line of Boston, but I honestly do believe it now. This is the lesson I learned in Boston this year!

I wanted to wrap up the whole Boston thing in one blog, as I didn’t want this thing to drag on forever, but this one got pretty lengthy, despite my quest to condense it as much as possible….yet I haven’t touched on the post-race emotions and fun-filled blog festivities Meg threw me after, so I will sign off for now and cover that later this week. But I can’t close without big HUGS and heartfelt THANK-YOUS for the amazing send-off comments – I am truly blessed for all the kindred soul friendships out there. I can’t even express in words how much that meant to me and carried me through. Thank you!!!!

"Everyone who finishes the Boston Marathon has their own great moment in sport - each one of us on this day has achieved greatness." -George Sheehan, M.D.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Let's Get This Boston Thing Rolling...

In final countdown hours; here’s a few random thoughts, the first few things that pop into my head in the next 15 minutes (total randomness, I can’t really think more than a few thoughts at a time right now):

· I am stoked I PR’d with last blog being longest. blog. Ever! Thanks, Mark, for giving me such an honorable title.

· I can’t find my running sunglasses. Eeeks.

· Weather temps for Monday look ideal – 58 and mostly sunny. That’ll change, don’t worry! After gale-force head-on winds in Tucson for 17 miles, wind is the one weather factor I detest most. It can snow for all I care, just please don’t blow! Of course, if I endure winds of 35 mph, I can use that as a valid excuse for a 5-hour marathon!

· I need to purchase some crappy throw-away gloves. I threw mine away at mile 1 in Atlanta. I now have none.

· I was sleeping well earlier in the week, but jinxed that when I told someone I was, cuz now I’m not.

· I’m eating pretty well. No 3-wishes Genie magically rid my body 7-lb of excess weight overnight – I was, and am, still 7 lbs over marathon weight. Oh well. But I have not screwed up by eating a ton-o- crap; I just seem to be starving and inhaling every protein in sight – way more proteins than I am burning. One more protein-ish day then welcome carb loading. And 3 more lbs. I still love me my spinach/banana protein smoothie - YUMMY!!!

· My washing machine suuuuucks! It gets to a certain point when it decides it wants to stop, locking the front-loading door, and not start again for a few hours. Nothing I can do but scream at it. That helps!

· My twins got their braces off yesterday….I am O-fficially done trekking to the orthodontist – for. ev. er. Until one of them loses their retainers. Which will probably be next week.

· Found my sunglasses – they were on top my head. No joke.

· Ran 5 miles today. They weren’t easy, I won’t lie. My body’s ready for a 10K, not sure how I’ll pull off the last 21 miles. In the end of those hellacious 5 miles, I tried to pretend it was the end of the marathon and I had to push thought it. Trust me, it felt like the end of a marathon. I made it. Phew!

· I vow to never run another marathon in the condition my body currently resides.

· I’m pondering a half marathon, just to jump start some speed work, a few weeks after Boston. I love the half marathon.

· I had to pee so bad at the start of Boston last year, and I went about a zillion times before the start. I seriously considered jumping off into the woods along the side of the race, like all the men did. Thankfully, I found a porta-potty at mile 3; it wasn’t officially part of the race potties it was some construction site and tucked far off the road. I darted across hoards to get to it. No line. Score. I wish I didn’t have a bladder of a 46-year old.

· I heart BBQ potato chips. I could seriously consume an entire bag in one sitting. Man, it’s been a looooong time.

· I need to remember to look up more this year during the race; I couldn’t tell you any landmarks other than Wellesley College girls roaring. And all the hills…Newton to Heartbreak. Oh yea, I could tell you every single degree of incline per step I took in those hill.

· I’ve change insoles in my shoes, as I tend to do for a marathon, but they aren’t cutting it; my feet were on fire tonight, and not in a speedy-way, more like an ouch-way. Old ones back in.

· I rarely watch television, but I watched House a couple weeks ago and I’m totally hooked.

· I need to get my iPod playlist loaded.

· My new shirt to wear in Boston has a much larger pocket in the back than I thought; it's going to hold all my garb perfectly (and probably start killing my back)! I’m all about pockets so I can load all my crap in there: gels, Perpetuem (if I take it), Advil, Aleve, Salt tablets, biofreeze. I love to start a big race with something new to wear, if long as they aren't orange shorts!

· Finally….I may not run exactly the way I want to in Boston….but I can’t even imagine a better way to spend my 47th birthday. How many people get to run Boston on their birthday??? Me, for one!! I will gut this race out; sometimes it’s enough to simply have the courage to get out there and try!

I don’t think I’ll have time to blog again before I leave so want to say, again, thank you for all your encouraging words and believing in me. I am blessed!!

Now let's get this baby rolling and let's do some running!!!!!! Woohoo, I'm ready to go!!!!!!!

Run strong, friends, run strong!!

Week 14 2010:
Week’s Running totals: 28
Running Total for 2010: 578.45
Weight training: 1
Swim: 1

Friday, April 9, 2010

Boston Decisions.....

This post is going to be all over the map; a vast array of randomness - cuz that's just how my mind's operating these day: skitzoid!

I had a blog up a couple days ago but removed 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.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Week 13 / Welcome to Taper Hell

Week 13 2010:
Week’s Running totals: 48
Running Total for 2010: 550.45
Weight training: 2
Swim: 0

Taper madness has begun: my back hurts, my knee hurts and my head is spinning. Yep, I’d say everything’s right on course!

I’m always edgy during taper; perhaps it’s the excess energy, usually expended in miles now turned into restlessness. This, combined with a heavy dose of worry as I sit and question everything: my training, my abilities (or lack thereof), my nutrition, my aching back, my now aching left knee, and mostly my sanity. I have done all the work I can squeeze in, now it’s time to take this taper and mitigate the worries.

I worry about race day jitters, my aching back (do they make battery operated heating pads? Or do extension cords come in 26.2 mile lengths?), the curious throb in my knee, the taper nutrition, the race day hydration, the night before the race sleep, the night before the night before sleep, race pace, stomach cramps, weather, bonking and crashing at mile 17 when the hills hit hard. I worry about catching germs at school and staying away from as many as I can, I worry about my Denver to Boston flights and missing my connection in DC in time to get my race packet on Saturday, and I worry about being away from my boys for 4 days while I venture to the other side of the good ole U.S. of A.

I worry about letting people down who have believe in me and have supported me though this incredible, yet heartbreaking, journey o f mine. My family at home, my friend here and scattered across the nation, and mostly you bloggie friends who have been the absolute BEST support system out there – ever! I know that’s not a good thing, but I always run better when I know I’m going to bring a smile on someone’s face for doing job well-done.

My taper includes a great mental preparedness. Every approaching marathon (this will be #15) feels like final exam week….like a countdown until I have a serious evaluation of the lessons taught in recent months. A marathon, no matter how many I've done, is never easy for me. A marathon is like one of those prime workshops for me, I have always been one who learns by the book but must practice in order to become. For me, it’s not about muscle strength, lung capacity and facing fear – these things are daunting enough as it is. The true lessons for me are always the soulful lessons of the heart, and I never know the Professor well enough to know what questions will be asked of me.

Jilly, it’s mile 17 and the infamous Newton hills are around the corner. Your back is killing you and you know last year you nearly died a fast death at mile 22. Do you:
1) Have a complete melt-down, panic and start walking
2) Pretend to gag on a GU so you have a valid excuse to slow to a snail’s pace.
3) Trust your abilities to handle the upcoming hills.
4) Crank up your iPod, put your head down, and start praying.
5) 2 and 4.
6) All the above.
Oh yea, testing anxiety never really goes away for me, even as an adult. Trials come hard and fast and unexpected, as they do in life (a loss of a job, a separation, a sick child, a loss of a loved one, a friend’s sorrow, anything…). I want to be doing the best I can with what I have before me, in my running and in my life. Have I trained to the best of my ability in this Boston journey? No. And that scares me. But I know I can do it and when the test comes, all I want now is the courage to be ready!

“There comes a point in the race when you alone will need to decide. You will need to make a choice. Do you really want it? You need to decide.” - Rolf Arands

T-minus 2 weeks and counting. Godspeed to everyone out there running the Boston marathon….or whatever race you’re running -- be it a marathon or a 5K or just another one of life’s test that’s thrown at you, may you have the courage to be ready to accept it!

Finally, Jennifer gave me the "Super Support Award" - what a sweetie. Thanks, Jennifer!! :) I think about 3 boxes of tissues will fill my 34A's just fine!!
I am so far behind in blog world, sorry! I'm back at work tomorrow (sigh) and can get caught up. ;)
And finally in other news, my client, Brian, ran his very first race yesterday - a 1/2 marathon trail run in Indiana. He rocked it!!!! He remained calm at the start and listened to me to stay back at the start and was picking off people left and right at the end. You ROCK, Brian - way to go!! So very proud!
Here’s a few pictures from my days in Boston last year! Enjoy!!

My neighborhood girlfriends threw a little "good luck" dinner (me in the gray shirt)

Arrived in Boston, my first day there, with my besty girlfriend, Karen, from Iowa

Trying on the race shirt to see how it fits (is this the ugliest color ever? At least I can wear it in on an evening run and be seen!)

A guy at the expo rolling out my tight hammy with "the stick" - oh man, that hurt!

Boston Finish line on Bolyston Street

A Redsox game on my birthday, the day before Boston!

Walking home from Fenway; I loved this street with it's gorgeous rowhouses

The banners which filled the lampposts

My favorite rowhouse. It has violet-colored window panes in many places

My dear friend, Elaine, and I at the expo (again). She qualified for Boston on her very first marathon. She is awesome!

Entering Athletes' Village (now the 2-hour wait begins. UGH!)

Making my way to my corral (18). Massive hoards of people!

About a half mile to go. Yea, it looks like it huh???

Texting isn't easy to do when it's freaking freezing and I am dead!

Very proud of this medal!

Post race celebration upon return to Denver with some dear girlfriends (me in the white shirt)

Opp, this one got out of order. This was a huge banner that was drapped somewhere along the course. People could write on it and my friend from Iowa, Karen, wrote that nice little heart. I never saw the banner on the course, I have no idea where it hung.