Friday, May 17, 2013


In my last post, I may or may not have suggested that it was time for me to train for another marathon.  Since then, I ran the Indy half marathon and didn't have the best day.  I am not sure what the issue was, but everything cramped up half way through.  I faught my way to the finish and ran about 6 minutes slower than my goal time and slower than I ran a 13.1 mile training run just a few weeks earlier by a minute or so.  This was not a terrible time, by any means.  But it reminds me that on any given day, things happen that are not under my control.  In most race distances, you can roll with those things.  And even over the course of 13 miles, I could adjust my thinking to make sure I finished and still knew that I gave everything I had on that day.  But, for a full marathon, those uncontrollables can be a lot harder to roll with.

And so I waver.
And I find myself unable to take the steps to commit to the goal of a full marathon.
I have one picked out.
I now know the date that I would need to start training.
But, I haven't started making a plan.
I haven't paid a race fee.
I keep thinking about running a half marathon and running faster than my last one instead.

I know that I can handle the training.
I know that I can run a full marathon.
And, I kind of, really do want to make this my goal.
But there is this mental thing that is holding me back.

Maybe it is the two years of running at a too hot and humid Chicago marathon. (But, I am solving this one by not running Chicago and waiting until November to run a marathon, when I am more likely to have cool weather.  There goes that excuse.)

Maybe it goes back to what I said to start, that I can't control everything.  And no matter my training and preparation, race day can throw me a curve ball.  And that is a lot of training and prep work in hopes that everything will come together on the right day.

My friend Barb is wavering on a goal too.  I told her I would do mine if she does hers.  I am waiting for her to commit first.  Because, I am supportive like that.

I took a full two weeks off of running after the Mini.  I am not very good at taking time off, but I needed it mentally and physically.  All the way through college, I took a week off after fall cross country and two weeks after spring track.  Those two weeks were always the hardest.  But the best part was that I was so ready to run again when it was time.  This seems to be working its magic yet again.  But, it has taken me almost the full two weeks to even begin to start thinking about what my next goal should be.

Perhaps, what I need to remember  and wrap my head around, is that times and goals are really meaningless.  The real reasons I run have nothing to do with those things any more.  The real reasons I run have more to do with how it makes me feel on a daily basis, and the personal challenge of getting out there and working hard.  And whether I chose to run another half marathon, or go for the full shabang, I will be doing that.  So it doesn't matter which way I choose.  I just need to choose.

Or I will just wait and follow the Stick Horse training plan that Erin is working on.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Just Keep Running

People always ask me if I have run Boston.  And the truth is that I have run several Boston marathon qualifying times, but I have never chosen to run at Boston.

And then, there were two disastrously hot Chicago Marathons. The first one found me finishing an hour later than I knew I was capable of and the second one found me in the back of an ambulance right after the half way mark.  I said I would never run another marathon again.

But I kept running.

And I am training for a half marathon that is only two weeks away.
And my times are good and getting better.

And then this past Monday happened.
And even though I have never even been to Boston, I felt it in my core.
The running community, although large, is small.  My local paper had quotes from the many local runners who were in Boston on that day and I knew almost everyone of them.  If I hadn't talked to them personally, I  at least knew who they were.  One was a parent of one of my middle school kids.  And I talked to her about how scary it was being here, and not being able to get through to her mom and know where she was.

Yesterday, I ran my last long training run for my half. And I wore my Boston colors.  More than likely, no one I passed would have any idea as to why I was wearing those colors on that day.  I wasn't doing a group tribute run or hanging a sign.  But, I was morning the loss of innocence of a community of runners.  And I was doing it my way, as I always have when it comes to running.

Nearing the half way point of my run, I was meeting my son who would run the second half of my run with me and I noticed a man getting out of his car with several small children.  He looked at me in a way in which I knew that he knew.  And then he gave me a thumbs up.  A community.

And we keep running, because we can.
And because I can, I am re-thinking my vow to never run another marathon.  I may have to run two.  One to, hopefully, qualify for Boston and then....

I move up an age group this year.  I have an extra 5 minutes of qualifying leeway to work with.  But it is more than that.  I keep running because I can.  And also, I want to honor those who can't, and the city of Boston. And I want to honor my running community that has given me so much over the years.  And if this is my way to give back, I will do it.  And I will just keep running.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Before and After

According to my last post on this blog, I missed the deadline for my once a year blog post.  I don't know if I will start posting here more often or not.  Daily Mile fills a spot in the daily logging and commenting of my running.  But sometimes I have more to say.  There is a lot of thinking that goes on while I run.  Some of it is about running and a lot of it is not.  And since I have so many friends who are now also runners, I thought that I might as well share a little bit more about me and running.  This post is not about showing off, but it is about my journey as a runner that continues to wind itself in around and through the rest of the pieces of my life.

If you read through my entire blog archive here, you may have picked out that I was once an almost very good runner.  Now I just run.  I rarely race.  But I have been racing more.  And when I say more, I mean that I am up to two or three races a year.  Quoting one of my previous posts:  The funny thing about racing, is that for years, I didn't want to race.  A big part of this was that I had spent years racing and chasing personal records, and medals and championships and I didn't need to do that anymore.  Another part of the non-racing, was that I knew, in my head, that I would never be able to race as fast as I once did.  I did not have the time and the energy to commit to training, and plus, I am not getting any younger.  Those speed demon days were over, but I have my PRs burned into my brain, and the thought of racing and being so many minutes away from those PRs, made racing a non-appealing thought.  (If you want to read more about my history as a runner, read through this post.)

With enough time and space, the PRs now seem like another lifetime ago.  I run.  And running is important to me.  And I need running.  But my life is so much more than my identity as a runner.  And my kids have gotten older, my times have gotten faster, and I enjoy the challenge of getting faster, even if that still doesn't translate into PRs.  I love running for how it makes me feel, physically and mentally.  For me running is not about medals, or tshirts, or winning, and yet....I like getting faster. It is more about the personal challenge than anything else.  And as part of my challenging myself, I decided that I needed to throw my PRs out into the air and let them fall silently to the ground.  Because those are my Before 3 Kids PRs.  Whatever times I run going forward still count and are still my Personal Best for the 2nd half of my life.  So below you will see two sets of PRs, the Before PRs and the After PRs and they both count, because I said so.

mile: 4:58
5K: 17:06
10K: 36:39 (I didn't run a 10k very often so this is the one I know about, might be others?)
Half Marathon: Can't find a half result from Before
Marathon: 3:20 (ran Chicago on no training after I graduated from college, got married, went on a honeymoon and moved across the country, but it is still my PR).

mile: ha ha ha ha! I just ran a 6:06 during my mile repeat session.  Pretty sure this is my new mile PR.
5K: nope, haven't raced one.
10K: 43:20 (course was long but that is my official "PR")
Half Marathon: 1:52 (this was three years ago and I have run faster than this in training, but no official half marathon since then, so there it is).
Marathon:  Nope - Not since two really hot years in Chicago made me re-think ever running a marathon ever ever again.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hey Look! Its Me! With New Goals and Everything!

It is about time for my annual running blog post.
Since I am not really blogging anymore, this is more just a check-in to update this page so that the last thing here is not about my comeback from knee surgery.

My comeback is already complete.  My knee seems to be all better.  At the end of last summer, after spending time running with my oldest on our vacations, I realized I was in pretty good shape and I actually signed up for a race.  I know, shocking.

The funny thing about racing, is that for years, I didn't want to race.  A big part of this was that I had spent years racing and chasing personal records, and medals and championships and I didn't need to do that anymore.  Another part of the non-racing, was that I knew, in my head, that I would never be able to race as fast as I once did.  I did not have the time and the energy to commit to training, and plus, I am not getting any younger.  Those speed demon days were over, but I have my PRs burned into my brain, and the thought of racing and being so many minutes away from those PRs, made racing a non-appealing thought.

But, what I did need, was motivation to get up in the morning.  I needed motivation to run more than the 4 miles a day that I was running.  I needed motivation to feel fit and not stuck in a rut.  So I signed up for a 15k.  And I mapped out my training plan.  And I raced the heck out of it.  And I was thrilled with my time.  Not because it was a PR or because I won a prize, but because I got out of bed every morning and worked hard, and was pretty darn happy with my improvements, and was happy with my accomplishment and I remembered why I love to run.

Sometimes, I am embarrassed to post my training. Because I have a lot of friends who run and they are working just as hard, or maybe harder than me to run the times they are running. And I never want to discourage anyone. But the truth is that I am nowhere near as fast as I once was. But I do still love it and what running does for me physically and mentally.

After a couple months of a break from training for anything, I realized that again, I really needed motivation to do more.  So, I found and picked out two races.  They are the same distance and on the same date, both 10 mile races.  One will be flat and fast, but it will be a drive away.  The other is hillier with trails, and not nearly as many people, but local.  I still haven't decided which one I will sign up for.  It may depend on my boys' baseball schedules and Violet's track schedule.  But, I have a training plan, and I am in week three of training (with a week off for some minor surgery).  Last Saturday, I scheduled a 3 mile time trial, and I ran way faster than I expected that I could.  I was still a good 3 minutes from any PRs.....which is kind of hard to believe....that once, I was a full minute per mile faster?  But, I am at peace with that.  I am just happy that I can see progress.  I think, that I am finally far enough removed from those PRs that they seem like another lifetime ago, and I can create new goals to work for.  And who knows where I will end up?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What Else?

A few years ago, I realized that as much as I loved to run, running on the treadmill for 4 dreary cold months, or outside in the dark coldness, did not do as much for my soul as I had come to expect from my runs.  And so, I started adding in a few other activities.

I started and completed P90x three times.  I still ran on top of the P90x and I found that this combination was an incredible full body workout.  I had toned arms for the first time in my entire life.  Even when I ran in college, the weight training we did was light and was mainly targeted to help us get stronger and faster for running.  P90x gave me a little bit of everything and I liked it.

But, the P90x program AND running was very time consuming.  Plus, I had to be up and ready to workout by 4am.  Plus, I started to have knee and leg pain that culminated in me having surgery on my knee a few months ago.

In the intermediate time period, before my knee diagnosis, I began backing off the running and backing off any P90x that worked my lower body and I started just doing the upper body strength workouts and yoga.  A yoga day is a part of the P90x program, but it is the same yoga workout every time.  To add some variety, and with the knowledge that I would never have the time to go to an actual yoga class, I started downloading yoga practice sessions from the Yoga Today website.  I love that they have weekly free classes.  I love that they are always adding new classes.  And I love the variety of practice types and levels.  My favorite instructor is Adi because her practices tend to be more athletic and strength based and less of me trying to twist myself into impossible poses.  She has a lot of practices that include core strength and specific practices for runners, or climbers or hikers.

And I found out that yoga did LOTS for my soul.  I also believe that it has helped lower my blood pressure and increased my flexibility and arm strength.  Last night, I did a yoga practice after a particularly stressful day and I could really feel the tension leaving my back and shoulders.  And my upward dog stretched out the stress in my chest and back and the twisting poses tightened my abs.  Now I can feel myself craving more.

I am slowly increasing my running times and distances.  I am probably taking it easier than I need to, but I am cautious and I want to make my sure that I respect my knees and and help them to give me many more years of running.  And what I have discovered over the last few years is that just as I enjoy running on different terrain and different trails and different routes, my body likes the variety of different workouts and different muscle use.

I am always looking for the time and opportunity to throw in an active adventure or two.  But, since my time seems to be limited, my current fitness goals are:

1. to continue increasing my running, three times a week still, for now. My thought, is that when I reach 30 minutes of running and my knee is not sore on my off days, I can start adding in short runs on those in between days.

2. to do upper body strength work twice a week

3. to do abdominal workouts 3 to 4 times a week.

4. to do at least one yoga practice a week.  Even though I prefer working out in the morning, my evening yoga last night was so very therapeutic, I may try to do a second yoga practice a week, in the evening, on a regular basis.

This still seems like a lot.  But, all these things are usually done by 5:45 am.  So, my final goal is to get enough sleep so that my 4am alarm makes me actually get out of bed.  Because, on the days that I do, my days start off on the right foot, and I feel centered and ready to begin the day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Starting Again....

I started this blog quite a while ago, while training for a marathon.  I quit posting here when I quit training for marathons.  But, I haven't really quit running.  I haven't quit trying to be active.  I haven't quit craving that post-run endorphin high.

About 7 weeks ago I had surgery on my knee to remove some torn cartilage (It had been torn before, probably from playing soccer, and it had been repaired before).  I also had some cracks and fissures inside my knee cap that were causing pain and some arthritis.  I also have a partially torn ligament that is hopefully going to just stay partially torn and still allow me to do what I want to do.

And so, I took some time off from running and I am starting again.

I am up to 15 minutes of running, three times a week.  That is not quite a marathon.  But, it is running.

It is not where I was.  But it is good.

I don't think I am going to use this blog to track my runs.  But, I think I will use it, on occasion, just to remind myself how much I like to run.  Or I might not say anything at all and just direct you over to that widget over there that takes you to the Daily Mile, where I have been logging a few of my runs.  Or I might forget to log them over there also, and I might just be enjoying running and being outside.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Where I Am Right Now

I started running again yesterday. I have run two days in a row. Just 4 miles each day. Running makes me feel better. It even helps me deal with my kids more productively. I will continue to run, even after the bitter disappointment of the marathon. I don't exactly have a plan right now. But, I know that I am going to run in a Thanksgiving Day 6 mile race. I know that I want to spend some time on the weekends running on the trails during this, my favorite time of the year. And so I begin again.

A week out now from the marathon, I am able to have a better perspective on the experience. Especially, after talking to others and reading some race reports, I realized that it was just another bad day. And in some ways, my body shutting down like that was a blessing, because it did for me, what I probably would not have done on my own; stop. On my own I probably would have carried on torturing myself and still not getting the goal I wanted.

So, yeah, I am still disappointed, but it is a whole lot easier to get a handle on now. I would love to say that I would just jump into another one in the next month or two and get that Boston time. I am still in good enough shape, physically. But, as much as my perspective has changed, mentally, I don't think I can right now. My heart and my head are just not into the distance right now.

Running has given me so much through the years. And I have been at this a long time. Really, I already have two Boston qualifying times from my first two marathons 10 and 8 years ago. Plus, I have all the other accolades and positive experiences from years of cross country and track. A trip to Boston to run the famed marathon would have been awesome and maybe one day I still will. I still have time. But, for right now, I gave it my all two years in a row and it is time for other goals.

One of the cool things we are doing this summer is taking our two older kids on a 4 day backpacking trip in the sierras. I haven't backpacked since I was a teen and I can't wait. I would also love to introduce Dash and maybe even Jack Jack to running in some local road races. And there are a lot of local road races I can jump into and maybe work on some of my long lost speed again.

Never say, never on the marathon. But, this is just where I am right now.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Just What I Needed

I ran 20 miles today. It was great. Really. Who needs to do the actual marathon when you feel that good running 20 miles? The weather was perfect. I started out before dark and the Mr. and Jack Jack met me at mile 10 with Gatorade and energy gel. I was determined to run the first part not too fast and I accomplished that. Without really even trying, I ran the 2nd half, almost a minute per mile faster, finishing about 10 minutes earlier than I thought I would. I had been feeling terrible for a few weeks. Not sick, but not right. And then Dash was in the hospital. But, finally, this week, I felt like I got back on track. So, in three week, comes marathon day. Unfortunately the marathon does not start at my favorite time to begin my runs (5 am), so I am hoping that the weather will be much better than last year, because I am ready to go.

cross posted at That's Life v 2.0

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

So Not Good at This

I can't seem to post on here regularly. Which, I suppose is fine, since who really wants to hear that I felt like crap all last week and did the same run over and over again trying to feel better? Or that one morning I had to spend so much time in the bathroom that I actually ran out of time to run?

So, I am back to hitting the highlights. Over a week ago, I ran 21 miles. The first 15 felt great. The last 5 were terrible. I hate the heat and humidity. I am seriously not running the marathon, if I wake up and that is the weather we've got. I did that once already. I do not feel the need to punish myself again. The last 5 miles of this long run were too hot and too humid. And I felt like poop.

I spent all of last week trying to recover from the 21 miler. I think I might had a bit of a virus or something. Because I had a massive sinus headache all week. I never did get sick, but I felt overwhelming fatigue. So, either I over did it the week before, or I was slightly sick. But, either way, I took it way easy and tried to recover. I am finally feeling better this week. But, the goal was a 20 miler this weekend, and I am still going to play that by ear. If I am not ready, I am not going to push it. The 20 miler can wait until next weekend. Because I won't be any less prepared if I only run 2 20 milers instead of 3 in preparation for the big day.

Monday, August 18, 2008

End of Last Week, Beginning of This One

I have given up keeping track of days and weeks left until the Chicago Marathon. But if you look right, into my side bar, you can see a handy dandy little gadget that counts down the days for me. Also, if you are so inclined, you too can join the dailymile and become one of my friends (so far I have 2, that's it...) and log your miles and workouts over there. It is even easier than blogging!

So, last week:
Friday: 9 miles. I got to start after the sun came up. That was nice. I ran slow and easy, more than just a little afraid of the fact I was running 9 and then needed to run 19 the very next day.

Saturday: 19 miles. I did two 9.6 mile loops, so my total was actually 19.2 miles, but I tend to be an overachiever. I started at 4:30 and the sun did not come up until well into my first loop. The advantage to this, was that even though I hate doing loops, the second loop, actually looked much different than the first loop, mainly because I could see. I had a nasty powershot at the half way point (Razz is not so good, I ordered a whole box of vanilla, it tastes like cake batter, much better, because I can't seem to find it in any stores around here.) I ran pretty slow the first half, but the second half I started to roll, and I ended up running 8 minutes faster for the 2nd loop.

Sunday: Resting

Monday: 8 miles. Ouch....probably should have run easy yesterday to work some of that out. Today was painful. It was supposed to be 10. I cut it short, there was no point in going on any more. Oh well, the good and the not so good.