Friday, November 29, 2013

Anything is Possible

Thousands of people around...but all I can hear is the incessant beating of my heart, so much that I think others around can hear it. The frigid autumn air envelops me, but all I feel is the adrenaline flowing through my body. The pure anxiety was unlike anything I'd experienced...and I had brought it upon myself. It was like a crazy drug that you would pay good money for. The streetlights shone and numerous specks of reflective apparel filled my peripheral vision. The tears that welled up in my eyes made my vision clearer than it has ever been.  I was about to embark on a journey I had never experienced...but one I was well-trained for. The first starting gun went off and a calm flowed all through me. It was time. Throughout the miles, there were feelings of doubt, feelings of euphoria, feelings of pain, feelings of excitement, impatience, you name it...All I could think about was turning the last corner and being able to see the finish line...the culmination of months and months of dedication. As that moment got closer and closer, emotions were becoming stronger and stronger.  And then...there it was. The 26 mile sign. I was going to do it. I was going to do something I never thought I'd do. And as soon as I did that, I knew anything was possible in life. I once sold myself short, doubting my capabilities...but the fantastic sport of endurance running has changed everything for me...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

An Amazing Running Experience

I realize in starting this post that I haven't written in quite a long time.  After the heartbreak of not running the Philadelphia Marathon last year, and the long road to recovery (mental and physical) I had, even thinking about running made my heart ache.  However, that whole experience just made me appreciate running and the sport itself even more. I took the time off I needed to heal, and came back an even stronger runner, a stronger person.

Yesterday I had an amazing opportunity to be an official pacer for the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon in Grand Rapids, MI.  I went into it a little bit anxious, a little bit intimidated, and VERY excited.   I had no idea what I was doing, really...but I did a lot of research beforehand on the role of pacers and tips to stay on target, so that put me a little bit more at ease.   This was my 6th half marathon, so the distance was something I knew I could do.   The biggest challenge that I was worried about was keeping a steady pace because I have never really had to do that.  I was a 10:30 pacer, which is quite a bit slower than I am used to running, so I had to make sure I didn't lose track of my speed.    I printed a laminated bracelet of all 13.1 splits so I knew exactly where I should be crossing the mile markers, and also obviously had my Garmin watch with me.

The thing that made this experience so amazing was just knowing that I was helping so many women in accomplishing new personal records, getting to the finish line of their first half marathon, and even being a source of running knowledge and answering questions people had.   At the starting line, I had several people ask to get their photo with me, because I was going to be their leader for the race.   It almost made me feel like a celebrity!  I knew right from that moment that being a pacer would be the most rewarding running experience I have had.  As soon as the gun went off, I had the most fun 13.1 mile run I have ever had.   Between getting pelted in the face with tiny ice balls and running through muddy grass and sharing lots of stories and laughs with amazing people, the ear-to-ear smile never left my face.   After the finish, a few women had even sought me out to personally thank me.  I can't even tell you how awesome I felt that I actually helped people.

I would absolutely love to do this again, and hopefully I will be asked to come back next year to pace the same race!

Now, onto the Lansing (Half) Marathon next weekend!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Marathon Training - Aborted

Unfortunately, with my hips being in the condition that they are in right now, and the lack of miles I have put in recently because of them, I have decided to forego the Philadelphia Marathon.   This is incredibly disappointing and heartbreaking for me, as it has been all that I could think about for the last 5 months.  I am confident that it is the right decision, as I am still in pain a week after a measly 3 mile run.  All I can do at this point is rest and try to get better so I can begin training for another.  I know that if I would have tried to go out and do it, I would be laid up for much longer.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Week 12 - Marathon Training

Update:   The hip injury seems to be slowly improving, and I have been getting back on the road.   I did a couple of 3 milers with pretty minimal pain, so that is incredibly encouraging.  I am planning on doing a 8ish miler tonight.  I know that I have missed one of the most crucial weeks of training, therefore my marathon won't be quite as fast as I had planned/wanted. My plan of just doing one marathon may have to change just so I can redeem myself after Philly.   Damn this competitive nature!!   In the meantime, the marathon is simply all I can think about when my mind wanders.   I am about to move my office and my home and run a marathon all within the next month.   It is all pretty overwhelming, but also incredibly exciting!  Times like these, I feel, are what define me as a person.   I always tend to stretch myself as thin as possible and seem to thrive on running on fumes (and caffeine).  Will update again soon.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Week 11 - Marathon Training

The thing I feared the most about marathon training has happened.   I have an injury.   I am not actually sure what it is, but I have taken 6 days off already and it is not getting any better.    It is in the hip flexor/groin area.    This whole situation is frightening me.   What if I can't run Philly?   What if I can't get in my 18 and 20 mile training runs?   Do I really want to do a marathon that I don't feel ready for?   There's a lot of things going on in my head...All I can do right now I suppose is hope for the best and just try to do whatever I can to heal this so I can get back to training.  My mood has been sour and I know it is because I haven't been running.    If anyone actually reads this, please keep me in your thoughts!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Week 7 - Marathon Training

I am now into the part of training where I am really ramping up mileage.   I am beginning to realize how much sacrifice and determination this endeavor really takes.  I've passed up many opportunities to do "fun" things because of runs I had to complete.    There are days where I literally drag my feet out the door.  It is totally worth it to me, though.   I don't feel bad about spending a night in because of a long run the next day.   Crossing that finish line in November will make it all worth it.   I am beginning to think about that moment every day.

There is a half marathon about an hour from here next weekend I am thinking about running, just to see where I am with training.  Hopefully my job will allow me to participate in it.  This past weekend I competed in an 8-mile race on the island in which i live.   I ended up finishing in 1:07...which is a 8:27/mi pace...the same pace as my last I know I am improving my endurance.

Until next time...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Week 1 - Marathon Training

So, marathon training officially started this week.   I am feeling pretty confident at this point.   The only thing that may hinder my mileage is my work hours.   I figure as long as I can get in at least 3 runs a week and keep my long runs consistent with the training program, I should be golden.  I can now say..."I am training for a marathon."   That feels pretty damn good.  Physically, I haven't felt this good in a long time.   All the hip flexor and calf/shin issues I was having earlier in the year seem to be subsided for the most part.  My toenails are growing back from that wicked Lansing Half Marathon in April.   Feeling good!