Archive | May, 2013

Some marathon quotes

29 May

Before I get into the quotes, let me just say that I did not anticipate feeling nearly this good post-marathon.  In fact, by Monday night, I was thinking about when I would do another.  Not if.  WHEN.  Sweet.  That being said, I’m having a hard time taking a “rest” week (and really it should be 2 I think).  Yesterday, I went to Durand with my boys.  Eric had to do speedwork, and I took Picasso for a long walk.  I purposely did not wear a sports bra so I couldn’t run, but still found myself jogging very short segments (VERY SHORT–the girls need to be properly restrained if I’m going to be bouncing around).  Tomorrow, we have our Thursday night group run, and I am going to do another walk. But I am ready to get back into running and training, and need to pick some targets. And I am SUPER excited to be running long runs and training with Bethany, our neighbor who is going to run her first half marathon this fall!!!

 

Anyway, when I ran Corning, I had a bunch of quotes that I pulled to motivate myself during my run.  It was fabulous, so I decided to do it again for Buffalo.  It did not work as well the second time around.  Honestly, I loved having so much support on the course, and the loops of the course instead of a point-to-point probably made that much easier to coordinate than it would’ve been at Corning.  In Buffalo, I was distracted enough by my spectators–I didn’t really use the quotes, and they didn’t really compare to the boost I got every time I saw a friend or family member.  But in case someone out there is looking for a list of quotes to use, here are the ones that I compiled (from various sources).  I didn’t write down who said these things because that would’ve taken to much space on the papers.  Hahaha. 

The moments we think we can’t are the opportunities to prove we can.

Embrace the struggle and let it make you stronger.  It won’t last forever.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a lion or a gazelle–when the sun comes up, you’d better be running. (This is from a fable thing.)

It is a shame for a woman to grow old without seeing the strength and beauty of which her body is capable.

Wherever you are, be all there.

She stood in the storm and when the wind didn’t blow her away, she adjusted her sails.

Run with your heart, not with your legs.

Runners don’t die, they just smell like it.

Running’s a pain in the ass, but it sure gives you a nice one!

When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on so long in the first place.

Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.

What you are doing right now is good enough.

Trust yourself–just run.

If it hurts, run faster. You won’t feel better, but you’ll be done sooner.

Courage.  We all suffer.  Keep going.

A river cuts through rock not because of its power but because of its persistance.

Breath through it.  [This one helped me the most out of the ones I did pull–which was really only about half.  I found myself repeating it like a mantra a few times on Sunday…]

Don’t stop.  Keep going.  Push harder.

So that’s that.  I need to find a way to burn some calories because I am eating like it’s my job.  I’m starving.  Major case of the rungries…:)

The Sherpa

28 May

Once upon a time, there was this guy who I liked.  We talked every night for hours online.  But he never wanted to see me in person, and I just didn’t get it.  The only time he invited me “out” was to come run laps at the Nazareth College track.  I was obviously not about to get sweaty and gross and show how sorely out of shape I was in front of a dude who I thought there might be some romantic potential with.  I ended up going to the track a few times, but just to walk around.  I decided a few different times that there was no potential there and gave up, but one or the other of us always rekindled the friendship and the conversations would just flow again.

 

Eric and I were most definitely good friends before we were anything else.  When I think back on our “romantic” relationship, sometimes I think about how “fast” we moved–we were engaged within 7 months of “officially” dating each other.  Some of my friends even expressed concern over the “pacing” of things.  But the reality is we had been friends for well over a year before we started dating.  We were engaged for over a year before we got married.   And we balance each other out in many ways, and I see it more and more with each day that goes by.

 

When Eric and I first started talking, we’d argue a lot.  About religion, politics, life.  I “hated” him–but I love arguing.  I didn’t hate him.  I looked forward to our hours of chatting and arguing.  And it’s one of the things I’ve always loved about Eric–that he challenges me to think and defend and push myself.  I love a good mental challenge.  But I never realized how far he’d push me physically.

 

We had bought our house, and while we house hunted, we’d gone to Breuggers Bagels every weekend for breakfast first.  One morning, I saw a brouchure for their 5k run.  I picked it up while we waited for our delicious unhealthiness, and saw that if you did it, you got 3 free bagels.  “Ummm how far’s a 5k?” I asked.  We finally went for our first run together when I’d decided that 3.1 miles wasn’t that far for free bagels.  Don’t judge me.  I love bagels.  Haha.  We made it to the end of the street (maybe .1 miles) and I stopped to walk, gasping for breath, puffing away on my inhaler.  He just looked at me incredulously, said nothing, and walked alongside until I was ready to run another .1.  I doubt if we even made it 1 mile that day.

 

It was a SLOW start to running.  He ran the first 5k with me, and I finished in something like 31 minutes.  I was miserable through most of that race, but he just ran next to me the whole way, til he let me cross the finish line first.  I didn’t think I wanted to do it anymore–this running thing.  Better off to just pay for the bagels, I told myself.  But for me (for us?) running was a slippery slope.  I jokingly tell everyone that runs their first race that this is how it starts–“I’ll just do one to cross it off my bucket list” and the next thing you know, you’re 20 miles into a marathon, silently cursing yourself for ever thinking this was a good idea. 

Anyway, we registered for another 5k.  And then another.  I ran at night mostly, afraid that people might see me running and *gasp* sweaty or in pain or upset. I distinctly remember saying to him “What kind of person runs 5 miles???? You’d have to be out of your mind!”  Most people that know me probably don’t think of me as a particularly shy or unconfident person, but there is a side to me that is definitely a little like that, and Eric and running forced me to come to terms with that.

So we ran, and the 5ks got easier.  The miles started adding up.  I would venture out by myself sometimes, even during the day!  I still refused to call myself a runner, though.  But I was making gains in my confidence, slowly but surely. 

We signed up for a 5 mile race.  Then a 10k.  Then a half marathon.  I finished the first half, swore up and down I’d never do it again, cursed him out for signing me up and telling me how much fun it would be.  I laid on the couch the rest of the day after that first half, huddled under a blanket, pissed at him and pissed at myself for walking most of the second half of the race. [Side note: I was injured after that first one, for 6 months no running and PT and it sucked and I started to wonder if I was a runner, since I missed the running, now that it was off the table.]  But the next day, I started thinking about what I could do to improve. 

In 2011, after finishing my second half marathon, I mentioned casually that I was starting to see myself possibly, maybe, kind of sort of running a full marathon someday.  There’s that confidence issue, rearing its ugly head.  A couple days later, I came home from work and Eric proudly announced that he’d signed me up to run the Corning Wineglass Marathon.  When I asked if he’d run with me for the first one, he informed me that he was running the half, and he’d see me at the end.   He was beaming, so proud, like he’d done something great.  What the hell?  You must be joking. 26.2 miles????

It went relatively well, but I was adamant that I wasn’t ready to run another marathon.   Besides, we wanted to have a baby, and while my intention was (and is) to run through my pregnancy (if/when), I don’t know that a marathon is a good plan while pregnant.  So we tried. And tried. And tried.  And the trying went from fun to frustrating, and I found myself in a dark place where I didn’t know what I wanted or who I was anymore.  In the meantime, we saw Krissy Moehl, an ultrarunner, and I mentioned, again in passing, that I thought that maybe I could run another full or even an ultra!  [I might not be able to have a baby, but I COULD run for hours and hours and hours.]   Eric said “well duh. Of course you can!”  and sure enough, 2 days later I got an email at work from Buffalo Marathon, confirming my registration.  5 minutes later, I got one from Eric, saying, “surprise.  I know a girl who’s going to run a marathon when I see one, and the day we saw Krissy, I knew.  I will be your sherpa–I will run all your training runs, and be right there by your side all the way through.  And you’ll do great.”  This time, I wasn’t mad.  I laughed.  Apparently this is how marathons come about.  How far I’ve come since that silly girl stood in line at Breuggers, scheming up ways to get free bagels.  The only thing I knew for sure was at the end of this race was a world of pain (and pride, but mostly pain haha), but at least Eric would run my weekend runs with me.

 

And he did.  Every Saturday morning, he was there by my side.  Friends would join us for chunks, but he was there for almost every mile of every run.   He pushed when I needed it, telling me to stop  complaining, slow down, speed up, chill out.  He told me to be smart when I needed it, reminding me of how strong my training had already been and making me stop running when my knee was hurting or I was feeling pukey.  Telling me to take an ice bath, foam roll, stretch it out, do some strength training, ice my knee.  He was my coach.  There through thick and thin, pushing me to do my best, but not to hurt myself or do too much.

 

Sunday morning, when he left me at the start, I started to cry.  I don’t know why, but I suspect mayebe it was because it was the first time in months that I was going to have to do a long run completely alone.   I frequently view running as  a giant metaphor for life.  There are rough patches when you want to give up, there are times when you feel really good.  There are moments to celebrate and moments to try to forget about.  Sometimes you are working hard, sometimes you are crusing along, and sometimes you are in between.  We joked a lot after that initial email about him being my sherpa.  But the metaphor of Eric being my sherpa is not lost on me.  The sherpas who help mountaineers climb Everest carry stuff, find safe routes and provide the knowledge and encouragement for climbers to reach their ultimate goals.  And Eric does that for me.  In running AND in life. 

 

So when I went to the starting corrals alone on Sunday, I felt cold and lonely at first.  Like I’d been ditched.  Except I wasn’t alone.  Even though he wasn’t running, Eric had plans for a busy Sunday morning (which I’m sure kept him busy plenty of other mornings, afternoons and nights, too).  He worked hard, organizing friends and family to meet me throughout the race course.  AND he and Leanne rode their bikes around the course, being my “crew”–grabbing gear as I ditched it, refilling my water bottles, and shouting encouragement at me.  For some reason, on Sunday, my mind and body didn’t want to cooperate.  Eric helped me push through all of that.  He picked people out for me to try to catch.  He reminded me of the good work I’d done leading up to the marathon.  He shouted “Nino’s and beer!” over and over (he may have wanted me to finish faster so HE could get to the pizza faster haha).  When I wanted him to leave me to die alone, he didn’t.  Sometimes he told me to get over it and sometimes he just let me wallow in my self-pity.  “What do you need? What can I do for you? “he kept asking.  There were points when I didn’t even respond, lost in my own discomfort and pain, but still acutely aware of him riding away slowly to wait for me a little ways down the road.

I felt like complete crap for most of the last 16 miles of the race.  Yet I remember smiling a lot.  How could I not?  Everywhere I looked, there were people who loved me and who wanted me to do my best, and my best was exactly whatever I was doing at that moment.  And those people were there because of one person’s love for me.  And the magnitude of that choked me up and even brought me to tears a few times yesterday and today.  And along with all of my friends and family, he was always there.  In moments of extreme pain or mental weakness, I found myself looking for his orange (and Leanne’s pale blue).  Even if they weren’t watching me, seeing them nearby let me know I wasn’t alone. 

And that’s the cool thing about being married to Eric.  I know I’m never alone.  Even when sometimes I really want to be (like at Mile 22, when what I wanted most was to crawl into a bush on the side of the road and take a nap), my partner in crime is always there, maybe not right next to me, but just up the road a ways, waiting for me to catch up.  Or just behind me, telling all of the people behind me that he is sleeping with me, and how lucky is he for that?  Or rallying friends and family to his favorite chant: “Hooray for Shme! Hooray at last! Hooray for Shme, she’s a horse’s ass!”  Even though I was hurting, suffering, miserable, I couldn’t help but laugh and smile through it.

If you had asked me back in 2006 when I first met him if I thought I’d marry him, I’d have laughed.  If you had asked me if I thought I was capable of running a marathon (or two), I’d have laughed hard enough to cry.  Yet here I am, sitting in my house tonight, surrounded by streamers, balloons, twirly-do’s and toilet paper finish banners that I could run through  (secretly decorated by friends who couldn’t make it to Buffalo, but wanted to participate in the Sherpas for Shme movement).  And I’m crying again.  I said in my first post that if I had to summarize my 2nd marathon experience up in one word, the word would be love.  And I owe that to the guy sitting next to me on the couch, who I love so much.

So the last  person, and the most important person I have to thank for my amazing marathon experience is my husband, the most amazing Sherpa a girl could ever ask for. I love you mucho, Eric, and I am so thankful for all of the amazing ways you have shaped my life and made me a better, stronger person, physically and mentally.  So when is your next big race, so I can take a turn at sherpa-duty??

marathon

Leanna Banana

27 May

When I found out my mom was pregnant with Leanne, I was excited.  I had just learned to knit, and I ended up knitting her a new born dress and headband.  In her baby picture from the hospital, she has the headband on.  She was in the NICU for days after being born, and I remember being so sad that I couldn’t hold her right away and that she couldn’t come home to be with our family.  I remember worrying incessantly about  her. 

 

She came home.  She was perfect.  I still remember holding her in the rocking chair, rubbing her downy hair until she fell asleep, thinking there was nothing more perfect in the world than holding a sleeping, newborn infant. 

 

My mom and dad asked me to be her godmother.  Oma is also her godmom.  My favorites. 

 

She asked Eric if she could ride along with him today.  To be part of my “crew.”  She rode her bike for the whole race–I have no idea what the farthest she’s ever rode is, but I’m guessing today surpassed that by a lot.  Eric estimates that they rode at least 27 miles. 

 

While Eric was my boisterous (surprise surprise) cheerleader, Leanne was more subdued.  She’s always been pretty quiet.  When she was little, if she didn’t want to talk, she’d literally just stare at you and blink, like she could somehow blink you away.  She is a woman of very few words.  So I wasn’t surprised that she was quiet, riding next to me and giving me encouragement that only I was aware of.  She was the quiet, calm influence to offset Eric’s rowdiness.  And it was perfect.

 

When we got back to the car today, I said, “How are your legs feeling?” “Fine.  My butt hurts though,” she said with a smile.  I laughed.  She was laying on a lounge chair today in the bright sunshine, taking a catnap.  She deserved it for sure.  I’m sure there were points today where she wished she hadn’t volunteered to ride all around Buffalo today, collecting my throw-away clothes, refilling waterbottles for me, and supporting me.  But she did it.  Because she’s awesome.  And I’ll bet that someday in the future, she’s going to be running a half or a full.  And you can bet that I’ll be there for her!

 

I’m so proud of her for the beautiful, caring and smart young woman she has become.  That girl is gonna go places for sure!

Sherpas for Shme

27 May

Unbeknownst to me, Eric organized a gigantic group of friends and family to provide some much-needed encouragement throughout my marathon.  I owe them so much, and I want to give shout outs to them!

1.  Jamie and Mike–My first “surprise,” and boy was I surprised, not realizing who was holding the signs until I registered that one of them was about “shme” and shme is me!  They provided motivation to get up and over a big, long hill not once but twice, and then raced around the city to see me in a few other place, too!  In addition, we’ve run some training runs and I ran part of the Flower City Half Marathon with Jamie.  It was really good to see them, and I feel so blessed to have met them and to be able to run with such cool people who always seem to be trying to inspire other people to run faster, farther and stronger! (and bike and swim those things, too!)

2.  My siblings–They were so excited to see me, and then we didn’t end up seeing each other in the race.  Sad.  But seeing them this afternoon, getting hugs, having them fight over who I was going to race with next weekend (they’re doing some 1.8 mile fun run for kids), getting a water color letter from Emily, having them look in awe at me.  Man, I feel like a hero with them, and that is a cool feeling.  Being a big sister is the best.  Sometimes I get sad that we don’t have kids yet, but the truth is that I have “kids” in them, and it’s a really special bond that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

3.  My dad–who was trying to find me, and I just happened to see and scream out to.  My dad has always been so super supportive of my athletics, taking me to soccer games, not caring when my teammates and I played in the mud after a rain game, coaching or co-coaching, analyzing the performances afterwards.  So it’s cool to have had him at a running race, now that my athleticism has translated into running.

4.  My mom–She ran the half, and I knew she would be somewhere just in front of me.  On the first “out and back” loop, I saw someone her size, wearing a yellow shirt, with hair in a pony, and screamed, “YEAH! Go Phyllis!”  5 minutes later, I heard her screaming, “GO SHEILA!”  I have no idea who I cheered for (clearly not her), but I was glad she saw me and proud of her 2:03 half, even if she’s disappointed in herself.

5.  Katie “Kirch” and Ryan–Eric had warned me my next surprise was “just around the bend,” so I started looking and surprised them! hahaha.  Kirch has been friends with Eric for a long time, and even though her and Ryan live in Buffalo, when we hang out with them, it’s like we’re hanging out with people I’ve also known for a long time.  It was so cool to see them! 

6.  Oliver and Sam–Oliver came running up to jog with me up a hill.  I stopped to walk partway up and he didn’t say a word about it, which surprised me, because I anticipated him yelling.  Haha.  When we got partway, I noticed Sam, too!!! So cool!  He ran me to the top of the hill, told me him and Sam loved me and would see me in a couple more miles, and left me to do my thing.  Sure enough, a couple of miles later, there they were again, cheering and telling me to go!!!!!!  That it was all downhill (lies haha).

7.  Joe–Makes fun of me for puking in my hand.  So he made me a puke spot.  As I was running, I noticed someone with a toilet seat (bc he was flapping it to make it clank together for noise haha) and thought, “what the hell?” and then I realized who it was “OH! Those are MY people!”  So I now have a toilet seat with a garbage bag attached that says “puke here” on it.  Awesome!  Plus he brought the next Sherpas down to see me, too!

8.  My in-laws–I feel really fortunate to have in-laws who are so supportive.  We usually stay at Eric’s parents’ house when we’re in Buffalo, and they’ve gotten very used to us getting up early, sneaking out and running for hours.  They always watch Picasso for us (to be fair, grandma LOVES spoiling him haha).  And seeing them at mile 20 made me smile.

9.  Chris–I should’ve ran with him at Flower City–I KNOW I’d have had my sub-2 then!  Sadly, I didn’t.  Today, I made the same mistake, going out too fast.  Chris joined me for a run around the 20 mile mark.  He did not give in to my requests for a. a bike or b. a car.  He did suggest finding me a unicycle, which made me laugh.  When he left me, he said, “I’d love to run the rest of this!” and I said, “You want my bib?” haha.  It was good to have him run with me for a chunk of this race!

10.  Kevin, Liz, Barley–Liz did SO many early morning long runs with me.  In the cold, the snow, through stomach issues, while I complained.  She is steady as ever–I don’t think anything flusters her when she runs, and she had a very calming influence on my running.  Kevin would drive around with their dog, Barley, meeting us at various places and offering to pick us up Tim Hortons or anything else we might need.  He never cared that it was early morning.  He was just there.  So I was surprised, but not surprised, to see them there!  It meant a lot. 

11.  Uncle Marty, Aunt Lisa, Jacqueline–Apparently, Eric and Uncle Marty talked a few times, and Eric thought they missed me.  But there they were, and they saw ME as I was turning to follow the full marathon course.  It was cool to see them out there, and I hope Uncle Marty got some free beer at the post-race party! haha.

12.  Chris and Jackie–Around mile 26, most of these wonderful people were waiting for me, cheering me on as I ran the last, excruciating part of the race.  So imagine my surprise as I turned the last corner and saw my little brother and his girlfriend, jumping and screaming like crazies.  I couldn’t help but smile through the pain and wave as Leanne and Eric pulled up on their bikes and joined in.  Then tonight, our conversation went like this:

Me: I don’t feel as bad as last time.

Chris: What do you mean “last time?” You’ve done this before?

Me: Yeah.

Chris: OH this is not your first??? Why the hell did I come out for it then???

Hahaha.

I have to write separate posts about Leanne (aka Leanna Banana aka Baby Girl) and the Sherpa of all Sherpas (the gobbla da gobbla –Swedish Chef), Eric.  They get their own. 

 

But without all of these amazing Sherpas, I would’ve had a much more difficult race.

 

In addition, I feel like I owe thank yous to:

Gustavo–for being so patient with me at Fit 1, and for helping to make me stronger and always staying positive.  Seriously the best trainer ever.

Jen P–for running my last long run with me, and for the sponge candy and card and motivation and hilarity and reminders to be awesomesauce and go on adventures.

The TrailsRoc crew–for all the good luck comments, training runs, and motivation.

The Tuesday Trots and Thursday night runners–for LOTS of training runs and a reminder to make running fun–toward the end of this training plan, I stopped having fun.  THEN we started Trots, and suddenly the fun was back in it.  I’d be lost without them.  ❤ you all.

My principal from 57–sent me a really nice email wishing me luck and telling me he’d be praying for me.  It’s cool to have a principal who’s supportive and cares about me as a person AND a teacher.

Bethany–for making me feel like a rock star.  She is an amazing runner herself, and I find her journey into more serious running motivational and impressive.

All of my other friends–for understanding that training takes a LOT of time and always encouraging me and supporting me.

Most likely I’ve forgotten someone in all this.  My brain is pretty fried at this point.  But I feel so blessed and thankful to have so many amazing people in my life.  I couldn’t have run a marathon without all of you, and I love you all.  In fact, if I had to summarize this marathon, I would have to say that my word for it would be love.  Outpouring of love from so many people and I am so thankful that I don’t even know what to do to truly say thank you.  You are all amazing.

 

**EDIT: In one final marathon surprise, we came home yesterday afternoon to find a big Buffalo Marathon sign on the front door.  “What is that?” I asked Eric, getting out of the car at the same time as our neighbor called over, “You should warn me when people are going to be in your house so I don’t call the cops!”  Apparently our friends, Eric, Julie, Claire and Murphy, couldn’t make it to Buffalo, but wanted in on the celebration.  So we walked in to a house filled with balloons, streamers, glitter, twirly-dos and toilet paper signs–hooray for shme, she believed she could so she did, a water stop sign (over our sink ha) and a finish line tape to run through.  Flowers and a card to top it all off.  Thanks guys, for making sure the weekend ended on a memorable note! 🙂

race recap–Buffalo Marathon

26 May

You can read my previous posts to see my thoughts going into this race.  Then read on for my recap…Part 1.  There will be 4 parts–race recap, Sherpas for Shme recap, and 2 special posts for 2 special people. 🙂

 

My plan today was to run 9:30’s until mile 20, then either just soldier on OR pick it up.  I never thought I’d be running 10 minute miles.  I haven’t run 10 minute miles in a very long time (except on trails haha). 

 

We got downtown a little later than planned, and I knew I needed to get to a porta potty.  Eric and Leanne (my sister) were riding their bikes through the course, so I knew we were going to have to split up.  So I  took a couple pictures with them, then said our goodbyes.  I was getting all choked up, then Eric was like, “just watch at mile markers for people–you never know who you might see.”  I started crying and had to hurry away from them.  It was about 40 degrees, and we had to stay in the shade between buildings, and I realized shortly after they left that my throw away gloves were in my coat I’d just given to Leanne.  So I had my tank, capris, zip up cardigan/sweatshirt and arm warmers.  I jumped in what I thought was a short line, but waited for 15 minutes.  Unreal.  While waiting, I continued to cry.  The lady in front of me turned around, saw me crying and was like (all sympathetic), “oh hun is this your first marathon?” “no,” I choked out.  She just looked at me like I was crazy, and I didn’t really know why I was crying, so I couldn’t even explain my strange behavior.

 

I lined up with the 4:10 pace group.  I’d read stuff online that the pacers for the Buffalo Marahon aren’t so great, so I wasn’t sure.  We took off.  I wasn’t even a mile in when I ditched the zip-up.  I thought we were going to fast, and sure enough, my first mile was a 9:19 and the pace group was way ahead of me.  Not knowing what to do, I picked it up to catch them.  Mistake.  I was cruising, though, and Eric’s wise words, “Mile 20 doesn’t care how good you felt at Mile 6” kept coming into my mind, but I was going.

 

When I got to about mile 7ish, there was a gigantic hill.  Just long and I was like, you must be joking.  But I was like, well once you get over it, then it’s done and behind you.  No.  No it was not.  Because it was part of the out and back part of the course.  Lame.  Anyway, this is where I started to struggle a little bit–there wasn’t a good way for spectators to get down to this section, so it was pretty quiet AND it was really getting hot in the sun (I’d ditched my arm warmers around mile 4 or 5ish).   Also, I noticed my sock seemed to be twisting in my shoe, and the seam was in a bad spot, but I didn’t want to stop to fix it.

 

HOWEVER, right before this point, I noticed a funny sign–today is your 26.2 mile victory lap–and I was thinking about how this was aligned with my thing that the victory in marathoning is the training, because THAT is the time consuming part.  So I’m smiling like an idiot at this sign, then I notice the one next to it, that says “Shme runs for beer” and I’m like, wait…Shme…that’s me…and I look up and it’s Jamie and Mike!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I was shocked.  I also knew my dad and baby sisters should be up ahead, so that kept me cruising on.  I saw my dad by sheer chance, screamed “dad!” but he didn’t turn til I screamed his first name.  I was glad I saw him, but sad i missed the girls.  I saw Jamie and Mike again (because it was an out and back section).  Around mile 10, I started to really think about quitting at the half way point.  I could run hard for the next 3 miles, then just be done for the day.  Quicker to the beer.  As I was coming up towards the split-off for the half marathon, people were sprinting by me to finish.  I was so jealous.  Then I heard “GO SHEILA!” and looked over and there were my aunt, uncle and cousin!!!!!! I yelled back “this shit sucks” and turned right, towards the rest of the marathon.

 

At mile 14, Eric and Leanne passed me on the bikes, Eric cheering about how good I looked and proudly telling the other runners nearby that he’s “hitting that.”  And then I tripped.  On what?  Nothing.  I didn’t fall, but I slammed my foot into the ground and was immediately in excruciating pain.  I was hobbling and Eric was like, “what are you doing?”  I have a blister and I think it popped.  No you didn’t.  Yes.  I did.  I have to stop.  No you don’t.  Please just leave me alone.  I sat on someone’s front steps, took off my shoe and sock, fixed myself (no popped blister!) and carried on. 

 

At this point, I’d already started pulling my quotes.  They did not help today.  Fail.  But then I started to see more people I knew.  Every time Eric and Leanne would stop, he’d tell me, “your next surprise is right around the next turn.”  It was amazing.  All of these people coming out to see me, cheer me on, support me.  They brought signs, a toilet for me to puke in (haha no joke–I saw it from afar, thought, what the hell, then saw who had it and I was like, “OH it’s my people!”) and ran with me.  They had misters, offered to try to find me a unicycle (but refused my requests for a bike or car or skates).  They told me they loved me, that I looked great (surely a lie) and that I should go get the “losers” and show them what’s up.  It brought me to tears more than once–all of this love and support and care.  I’d later find out that Eric had coordinated through an email called “Sherpas for Shme,” planning to have support for me at many of the final miles.  More on that later.

 

Around mile 21, I started cramping in my back.  It was excruciating and I could stretch it out.  It was spasm after spasm, and I wanted to cry or lay down on the side of the road.  But the sooner you finish, the sooner you can fix it.  Another half mile, and my calves and hamstrings started to cramp, too.  I went by a neighborhood aid station where kids had bananas, and almost took one, but I was nervous how my stomach would feel, so I skipped it and just kept drinking water. 

 

The run did not go how I’d planned at all.  I know if I’d have been more conservative at the beginning, I would’ve felt better toward the end, when I was running well above 10 minutes (to be fair, when I was RUNNING, I wasn’t, but I was also doing a lot of walking at this point).  I knew I would finish (Chris and I had this talk at mile 20, when he told me that I would finish and I said, well yeah.  I knew I would…just how long would it take…) 

 

But I finished.  Even though at the halfway point, I was done mentally.  I pushed through it. 

 

What I love are all of the people who were helping each other out.  The spectators, dancing, holding signs, rushing from one place to another to see their runners, the volunteers, up early to pour water and ring bells and direct traffic (at one intersection, a guy stopped a car just before it hit me, and I said “oh thanks so much for saving my life.  I would hate to die by car–I prefer death by running.”)  And the other runners.  At mile 25, some girl saw me walking and said, “OH come on, we’re almost there.  No walking!”  She ran by, but then I came upon her walking and I repeated what she’d said to me.  She laughed and started to run with me.  Then she took off and that was that.  Never saw her again haha.  Apparently Chris and Jackie saw 2 people fall down before the finish.  One lady kept trying to get up, butcouldn’t, and the cops came and picked her up.  Another one was picked up by other runners, who carried her across.  THAT is cool.  It is cool to me to see how many people are cheering each other on, encouraging each other, pushing each other.

 

So yeah.  This got really long.  I will post some other details later.

 

Official time: 4:22:56

Corning time: 4:35:something

I’ll take it.  Not what I wanted, but still a PR, I finished, and I am walking up and down stairs SIN problema.  We’ll see how that goes tomorrow.  hahaha.

‘Twas the night before marathon…

26 May

‘Twas the night before marathon and all through the house…

The girls were snuggled in bed after teeth-brushing, prayer-saying, and tuck-inning (we’re pseudo-babysitting my siblings, who are really not young enough to need babysitting anymore, sadly), the dog was getting lots of attention from my brother, the boys and leanne were watching the hockey game…

…and I was strangely calm.

I’ve been anticipating being nervous. I was relatively nervous at the beginning of the week. And yet, as the week has gone on, I have become more and more calm. I keep thinking about my training, how strong I’ve become. My only twinges of anything resembling nervousness (it’s not nerves, it’s more just acute awareness, I think) are when I notice a little dull aching in my knee or hip (all that relative rest and I’m still noticing it–or maybe I’m just noticing it more because I’m thinking about it since I’ll be running farther tomorrow than I’ve run in almost 2 years).

I don’t know how to describe what I’m feeling—I guess mostly it’s just resignation.

Tomorrow morning, I will run 26.2 miles. It will hurt. I will be tired. There will be times that I want to quit. But I will soldier on and go the distance. Eric and Leanne will be riding their bikes, meeting me at different points on the course. My dad and little sisters are going to be down there, too, he thinks around mile 7 or 8. My aunt might come out. My in-laws are going to try to make it down, maybe around mile 21 or 22. I’ve never had even half of this kind of “crowd support.” I’m not sure if I’ll like it or not. I can be very emotional when I’m running. I hope seeing them doesn’t set me off and make me cry. Haha. I have my “inspiration” quotes all self-laminated (which is what I did before Corning, so I did it again for superstition, I guess). I will post them post-marathon. I have my clothes laid out, my timing chip on my sneaker, my post-race bag packed, and my water belt all ready to go. I made my breakfast sandwich–peanut butter on white bread = breakfast of champions.

By this time tomorrow night, I will be basking in the post-marathon glow (aka not able to sit on the toilet to go pee). I will have been soaking my legs in the cold pool, foam rolling, refueling with Nino’s, rehydrating with beer/wine coolers (haha) and ready to plan my next big adventures! To all of you who helped me through training, I love you and tomorrow, my success is your success. Blog post about that to follow.

But first, I run 26.2!!!

ready

24 May

I am starting to get pumped for Sunday.  I know it will hurt, I know it will be difficult, but I know I can do this.  I am more ready now than I was for Corning.  By a lot. 

 

Before Corning, I’d do my long runs (which were fewer and shorter than the ones I’ve done this time around), and have to sleep for hours afterwards and rest my legs for a couple of days before resuming running.  This time around, I am mostly good after the run–Derby Day was a great example, running 20 miles in the morning, then being in heels, partying until 2 am that night! 

 

I KNOW what to expect this time around.  I know it’s going to hurt, but I have lots of little “tricks” that I can use to help me get through those tough moments.  I have a race-day plan (going with a pace group and then breaking off if I feel good anytime after 18 miles.  I KNOW how much stronger I am this time–physically and mentally. 

 

Re-reading my thoughts after Corning was cool.  I know I am ready.  Last night, surrounded by runners after my last “speed” session, I was just looking around at everyone, happily eating and drinking and talking, and I felt so good.  It’s this indescribably feeling of being a part of this amazing little running community–my “sweat sisters” (and brothers!) who I owe so much to.  Without them, Sunday wouldn’t be possible.  And I love them all so much for the pain I’m about to go through! 🙂

 

I am sincerely hoping I can sit in little kid chairs on Tuesday morning.  😉

Race Recap–My first marathon, the Corning Wineglass (originally posted 10-2011)

24 May

Going into the marathon, all I could think about was “what does it actually feel like?”  I wanted to know how bad it was going to hurt and when it was going to hurt.  Everyone talks about the physical parts of the marathon and the mental game once you’re running it, but everyone neglects to talk about the mental stress leading up to a marathon.  The fear of the unknown, if you will.  Maybe i’m the only crazy one that experienced this.  But i seriously doubt that.  I wasn’t really nervous.  I was just curious and felt unprepared, since I didn’t know the answers to my questions.

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In any event, I learned pretty quickly the answers.  At mile 6, I told myself that I had 4 more things to do and then I could do whatever I wanted the rest of the day.  4 5-mile runs.  Nothing to it.  But by mile 7 in the pouring rain and 38 degrees, my left calf/achilles started cramping.  I was doing butt kicks to try to loosen it up, but nothing really seemed to help.  But it was mile 7.  I was NOT about to stop.  In fact, I was planning on running the entire race.  Walk was not in my vocabulary. I’d already passed the 4:25 pace group, and I was feeling really good about that.

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By the half marathon point, I was feeling good.  I’d run a 2:10, which is a PR by a lot.  I started having serious thoughts about a stellar 4:20 finish.  Those thoughts took me to mile 14ish, at which point I started to realize how tired and cold I was.  I dropped a sopping wet glove trying to get some frozen skittles to eat (yes. skittles are my race food.  they are fabulous. :) ) and I stopped to pick it up.  But then I realized that I actually was warmer without the wet gloves, so I threw them.  And then I realized how much my legs were already hurting.

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I kept plugging away.  I made it to mile 15 without too much incident.  I had put on my ipod, but the rain was making the ear buds slip out, which was annoying me.  So i put it away at mile 16, telling myself I now had just 2 5-mile runs.  Easy peasy.

By mile 16.5, I was really hurting.  Too early to hurt like this, I kept thinking.  Then the other part of my mind would yell and curse, don’t be negative to yourself.  Chin up.  Focus on your form.  Count your steps.  Put one foot in front of the other and just keep doing what you’re doing.  Around this point is when I started to pull the motivational quotes that I had created for myself.  The night before, in a moment of resignation (yes.  it’s really going to rain on race day.  you need to be ready for that.), i self-laminated them with packing tape.  Thank God.  So i pulled them one at a time, every half mile or so when I needed to dig a little deeper.  I tried to keep talking to people who were out spectating (they loved my “will run for wine” tank) and thanking the race volunteers (their job may have sucked worse than mine to be honest).  Thanking people really helped make me feel less awful.  Around mile 17 or 18, the 4:25 group passed me.  I was disappointed, but I watched them run by and decided I didn’t really care.  I was doing the best I could and would hold on and hopefully not get passed by the 4:40 group.

I made it to mile 21-ish and I don’t really remember too much about the course or what I was thinking all that time.  From 21-25, I also don’t remember too much.  I remember a lot of pain, and I remember looking at my Garmin, disappointed to see how my mile splits were slowing down so much.  I had gone from a 9:45 pace to a 10 to a 10:15 to a 10:30 to a 10:50 in just a few short miles.  I had pulled a quote, though, that “whatever you’re doing is good enough for now” (something to that effect) and it helped, so i kept that one handy as a motivator and decided to stop looking at my pace.  Around mile 22, I’d run out of water in my bottles on my belt.  So i stopped at a water station and had someone fill up a bottle.  A little bit later, i had to do it again and I couldn’t even get the top off my bottle.  Some guy grabbed it from me, filled it and put it in my belt for me.  I swear he was an angel.  I don’t even know what he looked like.  I don’t remember what stop it was.  By that 30 second water stop, restarting running was more painful than anything I’d ever experienced.  I wanted to just walk, but I knew if I was going to beat various people’s times (there was a list i had in my head of who i’d like to beat), walking was not an option.  I told myself I was not walking anymore because it hurt so much to start running again afterwards, but by 24.5, I had to stop for 30 seconds again.  I had thought at this point I could talk myself into finishing without walking just because it was only a mile or so left, but it really required some digging to keep going.

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At mile 25.5, there were people from brightroom photography there, and I wanted to break their cameras.  I don’t need any more bad pics of myself out there.  But I was too tired to break cameras.  And I wouldn’t have been able to run to get away from anyone who wanted to come back at me for breaking their stuff.  So i just soldiered on.  The last .2 was murderous.  I saw eric right before the finish out of the corner of my eye, but I was focused on the finish.  I crossed at 4:37 gun time, which is 4:35 chip time (chip starts when you actually cross the start line, which when you’re not an elite, means you have to wait for all the fast folks to go first).

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Eric came up to me to hug me at the end.  I was all wrapped in my space blanket, but i was freezing and my legs hurt.  I did not have the melt down that i thought i would, but I did cry a little bit and blurt out that i hurt so bad when eric asked how it felt to be a marathoner.  I didn’t even recognize my voice because it was all thick with tears.  We walked up and down the street a bit, then went to the car so i could change.  I ate a bunch and drank a bunch, then we came home.

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Yesterday I hurt a lot.  Going down stairs was the worst.  And i had a weird thing with my lower back on my spine, which felt like there was a bruise there (but there’s not).  But i wasn’t too bad i didn’t think.  I was surprised.  Last night, around 3 am, i woke up in severe pain.  Everything hurt.  My whole back, my quads, my ankles.  I couldn’t go back to sleep because it hurt that bad.  I went to work this morning to leave sub plans and i came home.  Yesterday after working a full (and long) day, when i took my socks off, my legs had swelled so much that the socks cut into my ankles and left marks.  can we say cankles???

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I’m hoping today is the worst of it and I will be able to go for a really short, easy run this weekend.  I’m planning on the elliptical on Thursday, just to get my legs moving a bit.  We’ll see how the swelling and pain are though…

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In any event, I’m glad i did it, and really proud of myself.  Running a marathon hurts, but really eventually you forget how bad it hurts and you just keep going.  You can’t really think straight, and that’s a good thing.  There were over 600 DNFs between the half and full, and the 4 people who were supposed to qualify for olympic trials didn’t even come close.  The winner of the race should have ran a 2:19 and did a 2:33, so i’m looking at my time and saying if he ran almost 15 minutes slower than he should’ve, then maybe if the weather had been better I’d have done a 2:25, which was what I’d kind of wanted.  When i start thinking what ifs, it’s dangerous.  Because I like to try to find out answers to what ifs.  Which means I gotta run another marathon.  Just to see.  New goal?  4:15.  I think I can do that, especially knowing now what to expect and how to train better.  Game on.

One week to go…

19 May

I am officially one week from the Buffalo Marathon. I don’t remember being this nervous last time around. I suppose part of that may be that last time, I had no real expectations. I knew about what time I’d like to run. But my real goal was just to finish the race, and there was never a point where I thought I might not finish. I was not dropping out, I just wasn’t sure how long I’d need to get to the finish line.

This time around, it’s a different story. I have a much better idea of what to expect. I have a better idea of what my body is capable of. I understand (at least a little bit) what I will be thinking/feeling during this race. Or, as the case may be, what I won’t be thinking/feeling, since most of the last 6 miles of Corning are still a blur to me.

Last time, I don’t remember being nervous or disliking taper week this much. I had read about how people say they feel like they’re going crazy, not doing enough, being lazy. I don’t remember feeling like that, though. I remember being really content to be “lazy” and run fewer miles and relax. This time, while there is an element of the contentedness, I am nervous, too. My quad/knee/hip have been giving me a lot of problems in the past month or so. I have been rolling, tennis ball cross-hatching (that’s not what it’s called–I forget the name for it) and taking it easy. But there’s still a nagging soreness. Maybe I’m just more aware of it because the race is so close now. Or maybe there’s something really wrong with my leg (it’s the same one I hurt a few years back training for my first half). Or maybe I’m just overthinking everything.

So this week, I have a few easy runs planned. I have some yummy foods ready to go (and about to go in and cook and prep some more). I bought a new shirt to race in, and it’s adorable and sexy and makes me feel great (although I think it looks weird with my water belt…but whatever…I’m not going to look cute on Sunday for very long anyway haha). I have already begun the pointless ritual of obsessively checking weather.com, sometimes multiple times a day to see what the weather is going to be like for race day (even though they don’t get it right for tomorrow, so there’s really no telling what 7 days from today will be like). I still have to write my “inspiration” quotes (I did this at Corning and liked it–different quotes to pull out when I was struggling and think about those instead of how bad my legs hurt or how much I just wanted to stop).

In any event, they recommend that you set various goals for yourself. I wasn’t going to make them public, but then I decided why not. You may as well know about them, too. I read somewhere once that you should set 3 goals for yourself. Goal A is the one that you are sure you are going to meet if you just do your thing. Goal B would be if you had a really great race. Goal C is if all the stars line up perfectly and you feel amazing. So without further ado, here are my goals.

Goal A: Run faster than my first marathon, which was a 4:35:38. Barring injury, there is no reason that I can’t run faster than this.

Goal B: Run faster than a 4:15. I am relatively certain that I will do this, but who knows what weather and my quad/knee/hip are going to do on race day…

Goal C: If I run faster than a 4:10, I will seriously be ecstatic. I am also kind of sure this would be possible, but not positive. I have a horrible habit of going out way too fast and then dying in the last chunk of the race. My recent half marathon debacle is proof of this for sure. That being said, this time I think I may go with the 4:10 pace group, just to keep myself even keeled and see how I feel towards the back end of the race. If I can, I’d like to try to drop my pace and kick it in. We’ll see.

So that’s that. Taper week continues. 🙂

taper

13 May

Cut back weeks and tapering are the best parts of marathon training (except for post-marathon glow haha).  Every couple of weeks, you get a week of easy running and a shorter long run (so 15ish miles instead of 20), and that’s supposed to allow your legs a chance to recuperate for the next weeks of heavy running.  Two weeks before the marathon, you taper–shorter and shorter and easier and easier runs, to really let your body heal up before the stress of 26.2.

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The past few weeks, I’ve had some “cut backs” in terms of my weekly runs, but my long runs have been…well long/hard.  I did 16, 18, 20, half marathon race, 20–all back to back.   And now I am paying for it in the form of hip/knee problems. 

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Even though I want to run hard still during the week, I also know that I am not gaining much (if anything) from these workouts at this point.  The hay is in the barn (I learned that idiom because of running ha).  What’s done is done, and now I just relax, let my body heal itself, and prepare for the race.  But it’s really hard to go off the plan and trust that I’m ready for this.  Really hard.

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This weekend, I run 8-10 miles.  That’s so short.  During the week, this week and next, I run some easier, shorter runs.  I eat mostly healthy.  I foam roll and tennis ball, especially my left quad, which I’m pretty sure is the reason that I’ve been having knee/hip issues.   And I wait.  I get my motivational quotes together (this helped a little bit between 16 and 20 last time around–after that everything’s kind of a blur).  I decide what to wear.   I visualize myself kicking ass. 

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After the race, we will swim in Eric’s parents’ pool (it’ll be cold, which will feel great for my legs–help reduce the swelling a bit).  We will eat Nino’s and drink beer (I had thought I’d really want to drink wine after Wineglass, but I ended up not drinking any alcohol for a few days, so we’ll see if the beer thing actually comes to pass).   I will foam roll so that I am hopefully much less sore this time around (last time I was in so much pain the second day after that I wanted to crawl into a hole somewhere and die). 

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In exactly 2 weeks, I will have finished marathon #2.  Hooray!!