Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Must Be Crazy

“If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.” My friend, Christine, says this all the time.  She reminds everyone she trains and inspires of this on a regular basis.  She is right.  My running experience has been a series of challenges. Starting to run was a big challenge, and then there are little ones like pushing out another half mile when I am ready to call it a day.  It has been a cold week for many across the country.  To some of you, 10 degrees may be nothing, but that is not normal for New Jersey.  Tuesday and Wednesday, that’s about where we were and with the wind, it made it feel like 2 degrees Fahrenheit.  I did not run at 5:30 A.M. like I would normally do.  I had the week off (sort of), so I decided to wait until later in the day when it was a whole 2 degrees warmer. I threw on my hat, turtle fur, layers, and jacket and stepped outside.  MAN IT WAS FREEZING.  But I knew I would warm up, so off I went straight into the headwind.  It would be easier to run with the wind to my back, but I decided just before I stepped out the door that I was going to challenge myself to do something out of my comfort zone.  Ironically, Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” came on just when the wind was at its roughest.  Feel free to call me crazy, but it was fun.  Now 20 degrees isn't so bad anymore.  

And then there was Sunday morning’s 18 miles.  This should not be a problem.  I have done 18 miles successfully a couple of times before.  Today should be no big deal, but I was wrong.  I have been waiting for this run for a good month.  I mapped it out and drove the distance many times from my house to Main Street Hopewell and back.  There are a few hills; one particularly long and steep.  I imagine that to be my own "Heartbreak Hill."  The run to Hopewell was good.  I was feeling great and things were going well.  I tripped a couple of times and twisted my ankle slightly, but I was still going strong.  Just at the turn around point, I got hungry and I realized that I had not been fueling up during the run.  I also remembered that I did not have dinner the night before...which is never a good thing before a long run.  But anyway, I downed a gel shot and kept on going.  As I ran up the hill I contemplated which type of hill would be easier.  Long, steady incline, or short and steep? Which would you prefer? I still haven't decided yet. I am still learning how to run both.  But after the hill my left calf and shin began to ache.  No, they hurt, but I kept going.  I can run through the pain.  What doesn't kill you makes you strong, right? We shall see.  

My pace slowed down, but I was still moving.  Then at mile 15 I switched to a run/walk.  I really should have had dinner last night and gone to bed at a decent time.  Note to self: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! Then at mile 16, I mentally lost it.  Ever cry and run at the same time? It's not very pretty.  There was an old man on the trail who got really concerned that I was bawling.  I told him I was fine and his response was, "it's never fine when a girl cries!"  Sweet old man.  He wanted to call someone to come get me.  I considered that many times during the run, but I knew if I could push through I would be fine.  I thanked him for his concern and told him I was going to get my 18 miles in today no matter how long it took and if I had to crawl the rest of the way home.  When he heard what I was training for he laughed and told me I was crazy.  So, maybe I am, but I can't wait to see how this challenge changes me when I cross that finish line.  Remember everyone, "If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you."

....Please help me reach my goal of $5,000 to raise money for the Massage Therapy Foundation:  THANK YOU. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Music Takes Me Places

I can't believe it's been over 3 weeks since my last update! What in the WORLD have I been doing besides training for a marathon?! We had quite a few parties.  New Year's and a few birthday' my daughter's and then my 34th.  Wait no, I'm 36.  I think. Sorry.  I am not one of those people that fakes my age, I just stopped keeping track after 30.  Thirty starts the decade celebrations, which means I don't have to celebrate until I'm 40.

But I have been running a lot.  I have logged 156.83 miles since the start of my marathon training.  I challenged some friends to running the most miles in January. (I am winning by the way...don't tell them.) I issued this challenge to make sure I would get out there on those ridiculously cold and dark days.  It's working so far, and I am pretty sure it pushes some of my friends to run a few more miles then they would have. I also issued the 100 day burpee challenge to family and friends as well.  We are on day 19.  Don't know what that is? Google it and give it a try.  It's a love/hate thing.

Last Sunday I had one of my best runs ever.  Half-marathon distance of 13.1 miles.  It was a cold and extremely foggy morning.  I threw on my reflective vest and put the Bond Station on Pandora.  I haven't listened to them in forever and it was perfect.  Along one of the park trails I could see a shadow up ahead.  It definitely wasn't human.  It was too big to be a bear.  I kept on running toward it.  Then like something out of a movie scene, the fog parts and a huge, beautiful black horse passes through.  The music that was playing provided the perfect soundtrack to it's entrance.  It was majestic.

Athletes focus on every aspect of their training.  I am not sure what marathon runners do, but I can't think about running for that long.  Of course, it will take me a little more than twice their time to finish one.  My mind constantly wanders.  I think about work, family, shopping lists, laundry, etc.  Some days I imagine a completely differently world.  Shortly after the horse, the music to James Bond 007 came on and instantly I turned into a secret agent.  I quieted my steps and sprinted from tree to tree.  Okay, maybe that's what ninjas do, but I think you get the idea.  Next I was William Wallace, Jack Sparrow, Trinity, Pocahontas....and that gave me an idea.  What if I just started running around town in a different costume? People do it during races, but how many people do you see randomly running around town as cupid, or a superhero? Maybe a clown suit? Don't be surprised if you see an update about that in the future.  But like I said, it was one of the best runs ever.  I didn't reach my personal best, but I came close and I felt great.

I am really busy this weekend and won't have time for a long run.  I really need to get it in, so I moved it to Friday.  It was a terrible run.  My calves felt tight and immobile, my feet hurt ,and  I had aches in pains in various places.  The wind was biting cold.  It felt like skiing, except without the skis, snow, speed, and hot chocolate in the end.  Only hours later I discovered that I went out in the wrong sneakers.  How does one do that?! I have been sore since. Great excuse to get a massage!

And on a side note, still no bear.......................................................................................

                                         (My favorite sign along one of my routes.)

Please donate to my cause "Running for Research" with the Massage Therapy Foundation