Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Long Run

Well today was delightful! We had amazing weather here for my final long run. It was brilliantly sunny and 60s degrees. I decided I need to take my butt off to McApline to help keep myself healthy in the final weeks. McAlpine is a beautiful, woodsy, soft-surface trail where you can get decent mileage in without have to double back much.
My shin was aching a bit in mile 5-6 and it was bit concerning as I haven't had one issue with them in this training cycle. I think they were tight from last week mileage and running some hills in Baxter yesterday. I was thinking about them way too much and knew they aren't going to be an issue once my massage gal, Katie gets a hold of them on Tuesday so I just need to get this run in without doing too much damage. Anyway my mind was wondering to them too much when I spot a gal coming towards me on the trail that looks familiar. Ahy! Anne Marie from the Charlotte Running Club, she is a bit faster than me somewhere in 1-2 minute range for 5Ks faster but she is doing a 15 miler just like me and we both have the same amount of miles left so we decide to tie our ropes together and giddy up on the remainder of the run. Some miles we are chatting it up that I don't realize we drop in the 8:00-8:10 range. It was than I tried to slow us up a bit but Anne Marie is a fast one so we spend most of our time together in the 8:20-8:30s range. It was nice though to have some one to chat with and made those miles past so quick. I finished the 15 Easy miles @ 8:38 average which was 2:08 total time. The chatting made me shin pain all but disappear of which I hope it was just something that will be an overnight fix.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Houston is not a big deal :-)

Say what!!! Houston - not a big deal??? Well it is and it isn't. In the grand scheme of my long term goals it is just a building block. Although short-term it is very exciting to see where the hard work of the last several months will take me on marathon day.
I think it helps me mentally to have perspective on how Houston sits in my long term plans. It is not the end all be all but a chance to see where my legs can take me. I am excited to see how I fair after 20 miles @ sub-8 paces and to see if I can close hard in the final 10K. In way, I feel like if I look at the race plan & execute it like a workout than everything will fall into to place. I think looking at it differently frees me up not to place to much emotional & mental value on the outcome just like a workout - yes, I want to nail the workout but there isn't a do or die mentality assigned to it.
I think in my last couple of marathons, I placed too much stress on myself for a great outcome and guess what "I choked". Yes, I had tummy issues but after lots of time to look back at those marathons, I think the pressure I placed on myself resulted in tummy troubles. I never felt that way in a training run and only in races so I think it was a direct result of pressures that I allowed in.
Marathons are funny and very different from other distances in that they test more than just your fitness. If the only thing that was going to be tested was my fitness, I would say confidently "hey I am for sure in for a great race". I trust my fitness and training like I have never before. I am keeping my fingers crossed & hoping my shoe selection will hold up for the distance, hoping that my nutrition plan keeps my tummy in check and that weather ensures good running conditions.
In the end these are not variables I can control so I can not worry over them. Yes, I can hope for the best on race day but in the end they are beyond my control. I give it to God to sort out that stuff and need my mind stay out of my bodies way to do what, Jeff and I, have trained it to do. And God willing - Run a kick ass marathon!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Taper Madness

Well it hasn't started yet but I suppose it will. I am thinking that I can use taper madness as excuse to do a bunch of on-line shopping. hehehehe I have $100 in cart at Brooksrunning.com and a few things sitting in both Amazon and Runnerswarehouse carts. All waiting for me to put in credit card information :-) I figure I just may have a weak moment during the taper that I will just have to have this stuff! hehe Right now though it is just fun putting them in my cart.
I am enjoying the day off and will maxiumum the rest today. I have no inclination towards mileage withdraws right now which I am sure will come on sometime next week especially when the kids go back to school.
Oh I am really looking forward to gettting my hair done next week. The grow out is ridiclous. I figured that it didn't make sense to have it done when I was in high mileage because A) It is would be always be up in a ponytail or braid and a hat. B) Running without days off and doubles sort of made it defeating to try and do it up everyday so in the last few weeks I was just ponytailing it and covering the roots with a hat.
Now that I will have a few rest days, less mileage and than post marathon I will have 1-2 weeks off of running it makes sense to me. It just makes perfect timing to get them done now and they really need it. Anyway this is something I am really looking forward to next week.
I know boring topic but this how the taper goes, you try to distract yourself with stuff that is not running related :-) So my obessession over the next week will be my hair. Should I have them cut bangs or just leave them long, should go with low-lights as well as highlights just for the winter months, and should I have them leave the length or take a couple inches off??? Lots to consider :-) I find it best to occupy the mind with others things in the first & second week of the taper.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Just do it

The common theme of the past few days is low energy and lack of motivation. I think the combination of the holidays & training finally caught with me. The frustration of forgetting things due to both having so much going was really getting to me. If you think I was absent-minded before :-) add in the demands of 74 mpw week and Christmas well I may of forgot a few more things and delayed in other things. My apologies :-) So the emotional roller coaster of these emotions I think took a little pep from my step.
I knew I had this workout to do today and really was NOT keyed up to do it. I knew I needed to change my mindset but as I drove to the trail I was still in a mess of I don't want to run today and I wish this was a rest day. Not a good way to start a key workout. I got to the trail and just turned off my mind and went through my warm-up routine. I figure I would not let my mind get in the way of what my body knows how to do. There is something soothing about a warm-up routine that puts erroneous thoughts out of range. Robotically I warmed up and than I was off easily hitting my 4 miles @ MP but than sorted started dreading the fact I had to pick up the pace for the final four. I told myself when I got to mile 4 - just do it and stop thinking about it. I easily and robotically nailed the last 4 miles @ 7:31, 7:23, 7:30, 7:24
I realized that I had to get out of my own damn way to get this workout done. If I let my mind at all in on this workout than it might have been abysmal.
Tomorrow I get a rest day and than some easy miles for the next 3-5 days. Ah - can you say taper!!!

Sunny Wednesday

So happy to have woken up to a brilliantly sun day, Nick's home to watch the kids as I head out for my last real tough workout before Houston. I have 12 miles on tap this afternoon with 8 mile tempo after my warm-up. I don't expect this to be run to be real tough as the first 4 are at MP and Last 4 are at HMP. I have be cautioned not to kill it :-) This is not the time to be going over the edge. This workout is just sort of to remind me how to work without much, keep the legs turnovering with taxing all my systems too greatly. The hay is the barn already and there is little to be gained by push too hard.
It is hard to tell if I will feel strong today during my run. The fatigue from the weekend really carried over through yesterday and into Monday & Tuesdays run. I had another morning trying hard to get up but again thankfully Nick was home so I didn't push myself out of bed till 9AM. Yep that's right!! That is about 10 hours of sleep!! Goal sleep for the next 2 weeks is 8-9 hrs of sleep. So when the kids go back to school and Nick back to work I need to be in bed by 9PM to get this much sleep. All this sleep will help my body & mind recover from the last 8 weeks and be fresh. It will also be good to have been so rest going into the final week as sleep in the days before the race maybe elusive.
I haven't had nerves yet at all but I really think I am just too tired and the holidays are a bit of distraction. I am hoping that I can put off taper madness till the days before the race and by then I will be so excited by the Olympic Trials that there will be no nerves. One can hope :-)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rainy Tuesday

Well it is pouring rain here and I am getting ready for an easy 8 miles outdoors in this wonderful weather. Still pretty low in energy and wish I could have sleep like 3 more hours this morning. I spoke with my coach about how tired I have been feeling. Yes, I was able to gut out 8 miles yesterday but it wasn't easy. Today I have another 8 so I know the energy may still not be there. He said he expected me to be this tired and than he had planned for me to go into my taper feeling very fatigued. WOW! It worked :-) He thinks I should start to feel better by Wednesday and progressively over the week to beginning of next start feeling really good.
We sort of discussed my race pace and race plans and that is really exciting to have nailed down so I can focus on my goals. I have both a outcome goal which as many of you know is sub 3:30 & top 100 women and process goal of enjoying the race, running with joy, smiling, staying calm, confident and focused.
It is nice to know that all the work has been done and I am just really working at getting back my legs and energy. Than staying fresh!
"Aim for the top. There is plenty of room there. There are so few at the top it is almost lonely there." Samuel Insull

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Final Push

I am sorry if I lead you all to believe this intense cycle has been easy. For weeks, I was handling it all with so much ease and excitement. I even pondered with my coach why I wasn't feeling tired with these workouts and mileage.
Well this weekend this all caught up with me big time! I was spent and thrashed the entire weekend. I was barely forming sentences on Saturday evening. And on Christmas Day, I keep sneaking into the comforts of my bed while the kids were watching Christmas movies and playing with their new toys. I had two recovery runs yesterday that I struggled with. I felt a very low amount of energy and felt I was on the verge of the flu while running. I knew it was just my immune system reacting to the lack of energy (carb) stores. I was feverish, clammy, nausea and achy. I drug my body slowly through these 2 runs. These runs were purely motivated by the will to do the necessary work and not of the joy of running. Although I was delightfully greeted by crossing paths with a few deer in my evening run.
For those you that haven't experienced that sudden dip in energy, it the running world this is called cumulative fatigue. And wow was I socked with it this weekend. I went to bed last night @ 9:30PM dreaming a day off but knowing I don't have one for 3 days. I am hoping today's easy run goes much better than yesterday. Hoping that all the eating of cookies this weekend restocked my glycogen stores and my run will have a little pep.
One plus of running high mileage over the holidays, you do a free pass to eat without worrying about gaining weight.
Today begins the official first day and week of my taper, although my plan does resemlbe much of a taper as I am still in the high 50s. So I have to keep strong for this final push of hard work this week and know that next week I can rest some, get my highlights done, maybe pluck my eye brows and paint my toenails.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Notes of Faith

Today I had my 22 miler. It was going to be a test of all the hard work I have put in and the mental capacity to overcome. Two weeks in the 70s and a hard 10 miler had my legs thoroughly fatigued. I felt the fatigue about 9 miles in and knew I had 3 more easy miles till the real work began. Prayers were set in motion at that point. Got to mile 12 with legs heavy and tired said one more prayer and moved onto my marathon paced miles. First mile clicked off a bit slow 7:58, mile 2 ugh 7:59, I needed get my legs turning over more quickly. That is when my miracle appeared. I starting seeing notes of faith written in chalk on the trail. I had passed this section only an hour earlier and these were not there. First one said Have Faith in a children's handwriting! What?? Okay I needed some faith to get my legs turning over, than Faster, Faster appeared, You can do it, followed by never give up, followed by God loves you, Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday Jesus, Keep Going and Good Job. My heart literally started melting and my legs starting moving. I passed the 8 year old boy that was writing these notes of faith and thanked him with my whole heart. He yelled to me Merry Christmas and God loves you. These words allowed me not to feel so alone out there and fueled my final marathon miles. 7:56, 7;53, 7:50, 7;50, 7:50, 7:5i, 7:46 - @ 7:54 for all my MP miles. Finishing these miles my mind and legs were spent. I literally wanted to stop. I mulled it over quite a few timesin my head 20 is as good as 22. I put in the work - you don't have to keep going. These thoughts were so so so enticing! And then the notes of faith started again - Don't give up, You are almost there, God loves you, Keep Going. I kept going to finish out my 22 miles with tears of joy streaming down my face. Who knew these young boys words would effect me so deeply.
Happy Birthday Jesus and Thank you!!! Merry Christmas to you all.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Marathon Pace Run & Running greats

So I thought I follow up emotional outburst in my last post with something that helped swing me out that sad spot. I shared my feeling with a very dear person this AM. She insisted that I not this emotional test get in my way and continue to focus on my joy and goals. Sometimes when we are the brink of doing something great, we will get tested by God or the opposite of all that is good.
I decided on need to focus on my big weekend of running as it the final push before my taper. It was been daunting to think about and struggle with having to complete this mileage in the midst of the holiday weekend. I went out for my marathon pace run this AM. It was amazing how easy my marathon pace is becoming for me to manage without an effort. The pace just sort of happens. Today I needed to not be aggressive at all as tomorrow I have a 22 miler coupled with MP miles at the end of the run. I had to make sure that I did not come out of the MP range of 7:50-8:00.
Paces hit 8:00, 7:52, 7:56, 7:55, 7:53, 7:56, 7;54, 7:47 @ 7:54
Although I was still a bit emotionally from my emotion distraction, I had to put it behind me and focus on this run. Little did I know this run would help me elevate myself above others opinions of me. I focused on the strength that will have to muster in a few weeks. I thought of 5 strong women runners who inspire me. I thought of what made them strong and the uniqueness of each of them that has propelled to being fastest women in the USA. Many people don't realize this but it has never been a more exciting time in women's distance running. In the past few years, we have watched many women emerge to compete on an internal level. Never in our lifetime has been there been some much talent in womens running.
I thought of each of my favorite distance runners -
Desi - Desirree Davila
She has a deep sense of self belief that slowly moved her from a good to average college runner to being with 2 seconds of winning Boston last year. She battled with some of the strongest Kenya women and out kicked one and came within 2 seconds of becoming to first American women to have conveyed spot in 20 years.
She has a quiet and shy demeaner but has shown immense courage, self-belief and pure guts. She slowly moved
Shalane Flanagan
Firece is the first thing to come to mind when you think of Shalane. Shalane has always been fast but in youth her strong competitive drive was a weakness. Why? This drive made her go our fast with all that she had and often burn out before the finishline. She had to overcome this disciplined racing strategies. Once was able to get this under control, she has been a force of strength, confidence and true natural talent.
Kara Goucher
Goodness through and through is how you describe this gal. She was not a great runner in high school and pushed really hard in college to be great but was often injured. She overcome years of injuries on & off and persevered when others would throw in the towel.
And let's not forget Deena Kastor.
She is the fastest American women and they only one in contention for the team that already has an Olympic medal. Her last few years had not be ideal as she dealt with a foot stress fracture and than was bed rested for 6 months before the birth of child. It was several months after the birth of her first child before she could run again. She describes in article that a 10 minute pace was all could manage for a month after returning to running.
All these women have one thing in common a believeth in themselves and faith that will serve them well on January 14th. I very much look forward to watching this event.

Please go away!

I realized yesterday that blogging is different than facebook. In the facebook you can control to some extent who sees your photos and personal information. In the blogging world, you open your content to everyone without restrictions.
I have been using my blog to document my journey and connect with family & friends that wouldn't otherwise know what I am up too because chasing your dreams sort of turns you into a hermit when you are juggling motherhood, wifedom, 60-70 mpw, and handling all of life's demands. I have really enjoyed writing even more for the benefit of getting my thoughts and words out like a journal or dairy. It has been therapeutic and empowering at the same time.
I noticed that my blogged was being viewed by some in Germany and Russia. How does this content extend so far. Amazing! I also realized it was being following by some of those false friends that I wrote about a few weeks back. That realization smacked me in the face and I was like I want to stop writing because this stuff is so personal. It is basically my running diary which makes the content vulerable and leaves me vulerable to the opinions of others. These false friends I would not invite in my front door by I am giving them access to my heart and dreams. This made me feel so upset and really considered shutting this blog down so they no longer had access to me. Yes, to some extent, I am at fault as I had invited some of these false friends to view my blog before I knew their of their true nature.
In the end this would only hurt me as I have grown so much and so have enjoyed having this blog as an outlet. That act would take away from my true friends. I know one friend who has been alongside me sharing our life & running joy & sorrows since we met at mile 20 of marathon almost 3 years ago who miss this blog tremendously (wink, wink).
So pubicily on this blog as witnessed by the guy in Germany and gal in Russia, if you are a false friend, you need not come here. You are not welcome here into my heart and thoughts.
*** If you are wondering if you fit in the false friend catergory. You probably do if you are at all wondering this. My true friends know without a shadow of doubt of my appreication and love for them.
For other readers that enjoy my blog - you are welcome here this is just a plea to those false people in my life to go away.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Being a Cheerleader

Many of this blog post are about me pursing my dreams to realize my potential as runner.
Funny how this dream came to me later in life when I enjoyed running even as a teenager. I never wanted to run competitively until now. It is funny at 38, many people think they are done dreaming and pursing something that 20s years old do.
Made me think about how in high school, I had always wanted to be a cheerleader but had no formal training like all the girls on the squad had. I had never taken a dance class or gymanstics class. I never went to cheer camp like all the girls had done for several summers. I just really wanted to be a cheerleader. I was in my senior year and decide to tryout. This would be last chance to be a cheerleader. Most of the girls on the squad had been on the squad for several years and had the background of dance/gymanstics. I remember practing my routine for hours on end before tryouts. I would stay up in my basement for 2-3 hours at a time rehearsing and trying to do things like eagles and pikes as I had never done them before. I would practice my splits for hours while watching TV trying to get my legs to lengthen. I showed up for tryouts with my best attitude. I remember the coach asking me if I would be open to be JV or did I just want varsity. I just wanted to be a cheerleader and didn't care which squad I was on.
So in my senior of high school, I made the JV cheerleading team. I was beyond happy and I remembered loving cheering at games. I was the loudest, most excited cheerleader on both squads and got to do something I had always wanted to accomplish. I didn't care what others thought of me being on the JV squad. Looking back at this accomplishment, I am very proud of myself for giving it a try when it didn't seem possible and not letting the fear of what others may think from accomplishing and doing something that bought me immense joy. I am sure at the time there were plenty of naysayers - it was high school but never did I let that stop me.
So in my late 30s, when it would perfectly acceptable to let my dream float past me, I will not do that. I will use the same mentality that propeled me to be a cheerleader to that marathon win one day!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I have a secret weapon

I got to talking with someone today why I want to go for my dreams at the current point in my life. He spoke about volunteering at a nursing home and what resonated with him about all the retires was they talked a lot about what they would like to have done or could have done if they had made it a priority. This made me so much more firm in my decision to focus solely on my running dreams for the indefinite future. We sort of discussed that there is no better time for me to seize the day. I have now have all the resources and knowledge in place, I have never been more sure of my ability to take to the next level, I have the best tools and have surrounded myself with the best people in the business. Also I have the best support structure and a major sponsor, my dear & loving husband who shares my belief in myself. For anyone that knows him, you know what a kind and compassionate human being he is and I am so lucky to have him. No one knows me better and loves me as endlessly as he does. He would truly go to the ends of the earth for me and this running adventure has taken him to lots of points in North America. He has been carting our children around to races since Christian was 1 years. He has trekked many miles on race courses so that I could see the kids at mile 5, 15, 20, and finish lines. He has waited in cold, rain, heat and other adverse weather conditions for me at finish lines with two young children. He has charted unknown cities and some questionable areas all to support my running adventures. He has dealt with the craziness of my tapers, my pre-race anxieties, my diva like needs on race day, and hugged me in both joy of my completing my goal and heartbreak and sorrow when it slipped away. That is just what he does for me at races. During training, he is super dad, entertaining the kids on the weekends when I have out of town tune-up races, long runs or just need extra sleep.
I truly have the best support crew in place and it truly is a team effort. Nick is my secret weapon to making my dreams come true.

Not afraid to be awesome!






I was thinking of the people I draw upon to fuel my ambition. There are lots people not only runners that weren't or aren't afraid awesome. Yes, sometimes being awesome looks different and it not the status quo.
There are few music artists that arent afraid of their awesome nature ..
All I have to say you go girls!!!
There are runners that are firece, gutsy & awesome! I hope all 3 make the Olympic Team.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Turning an off day into an IT day!

From my previous post you probably saw how excited I was to run a key marathon workout. I was all prepared and ready to go this AM. I headed to the trail to start my warm-up and they best way to describe how I felt during my warm-up is - YUCK! I felt off!! I was burping up my coffee and breakfast & a sort of clammy icky feeling was coming over me the further I ran into my 2 warm-up. Blah! Not the feeling I had hoped for when I envision my fabulous run. After I warmed-up, I did my strides and pre-run stretches and still felt YUCK!!! Oh phoey. I don't why I felt this way this AM and can't pinpoint even looking back. I decided I needed to make it a mile by mile effort and maybe turn the workout into a 4X2 rather than the 2X4 if I couldn't hold pace past the 3 mile mark. Not at all ideal but better than bombing a workout and take my confidence down.
My first mile of 4 mile effort wasn't too bad. My body resisted running this pace at first but somewhere in first mile I relaxed and the legs started to really turnover with a rhythm that was somewhat disorienting. I knew I had to work to control the pace better so I keep trying to rein my legs in. I couldn't let myself burnt out in the first set of 4 miles. Finished feeling solid and look at my splits - NICE - 4 miles in exactly 30 minutes.
7:33, 7:27, 7:30, 7:28
Onto the second set, I knew I had to keep the same rhythm but had permission to let the dogs out a bit in this set if I felt good. Well I did and my legs were turning over nicely and I just let them go without trying to rein the effort in.
7:31, 7:26, 7:24, 7:20
I was super pleased as I heading into the workout I was a bit distressed but happy to know that I can pull off a great workout even when I don't feel in tip-top shape. Especially since the original goal range was 7:30-7:40 and did get permission from the coach to push the pace a bit in the second set.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Getting Keyed up!

Is Keyed a word?? Anyway I am keyed up and doubley jazzed about my workout tomorrow. I love the feeling of excitement surrounding a key workout. Tomorrow I get to do a 2X4 @ HMP which should prove fun and exciting. I love workouts that push you hard but you have to hold back enough not to go to the well. Riding the line is really become something I have been enjoying in these threshold workouts. If you cross over that line than you jeopardize the purpose of the workout and prolong recovery. I have really become good at riding that line without dipping a toe on the otherside. I am not sure why all distance runners don't love, love, love threshold workouts but I totally love them to the nth level and wish they came around more than once a week! Crap I haven't done one in 3 weeks. Maybe that is why I am so excited tomorrow to come.
These runs allow me to run fast without feeling like I am going to die a slow death like speed stuff. Tomorrow should also be very telling in terms of how much my body has adapted in the last few weeks and give more feedback on how prepared I am to run goal pace in less than 4 weeks. After this workout, I have only have 2 hard efforts left. So I have to make the most of each mile I am running.
A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat,
determination and hard work. - Colin Powell

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Week in Review

I was excited to write this post at the completion of my highest mileage ever. I feel great physically. Mentally good but I have been way absent-minded. I have been forgetting lots of stuff, losing my phone, my car keys and generally sort of disoriented. I will take it since everything else seems to be clicking.
After my week of lots of miles and no rest day and my unusually strong effort yesterday, I thought I would be sluggish in my long run today. Day was not panning out as I had hoped, Kim, was suppose hang with me for a good portion of my early miles so I would have some company. She messaged me early this AM and let me know that one her kids was sick and wheezing. She had to spend a good part of the morning at the urgent care with him. Poor guy!
Knowing I had to go solo, I headed out the door to drive to McMullen. This really is the best place to get a long run in as you can loop and get water and restroom if need be and don't have to be on the road. Anyway I started off a tad sluggish but not too bad and at mile 3 into my run, I see a familiar figure on the trail. Woo hoo! It is my friend Stase, he is 10 miles into his 20 miler. He is a 3:00-3:10 marathon guy. I thought maybe I would hang with him for a few miles as he had 10 more and I have umh..16. It would to break it up to have some conservation going for a little bit anyways. Well we are running like 7:40s and chatting and I was like "whoa nelly" this is too fast for my long run but was surprised how easy I was able to chat and run at this pace. Stase didn't mind hanging back with me for a few miles so we slowed down to the 8:30s. It was nice as I was chatting his ears off and I didn't even realize he was struggling. We had 2 more miles till the completion of his 20 and he was becoming increasing quiet so I keep up the incessant chatting to help take his mind of the last 2 miles. His ITband was starting to bother him and he was feeling light headed as he didn't fuel well. We parted at his 20 mile and I had only 6 miles to run on my own. I thought I would fade after I left him. A couple of miles I did get a little slower but I wanted to get it done so I latched onto to another fellow on the trail that was moving at a good clip. Chatted with him for 2 miles and than I had to turn around for my last mile. Woo hoo! Easy 18 @ 8:46 average - Nice way to end the week.
Week in Review
M - 6 Easy
T - 8 Easy
W - 11 Progression Run
T - 8 Easy & Strides
F - 10 Moderate
S - 10 w/ 8 @MP
S - 18 Easy
Total Miles - 71

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Double Post

I hadn't planned on a second post to my blog today but I am just very jazzed about my run today. I had a marathon pace run which I had been starting to feel stressed about my new goal MP for Houston. I mean sub-8 minutes never was on the table till to a couple of weeks ago and now I had to start believing that I swing these paces for 26.2. Even early in the week fresh off my PR from Kiawah there was some doubt sitting there in the back of my head. As much as Jeff reassured I would be ready for Houston, I still was have believing him until today!!
Today I had 10 miles with 8 @ MP which may not seem like a lot but with legs that have been have putting lots of miles day in & out since Kiawah. Racking up miles like never before. It is a big deal to feel so fresh and at ease.
I quickly found MP and settled in. Ran comfortably and happy the entire way!
8:05, 8:01, 7:51, 7:58, 7:51, 7:53, 7:52, 7:45 - @ 7:55 average pace
So is 7:55 my MP - We shall see in 4 weeks!

Getting through it

“The best way out is always through.” - Robert Frost
WOW! How much this quote resonates with me today! It is making me reflect back on a tough August & September of killer workouts that have prepared me to be running strong & confident now. I have no issue with running all the miles and long runs now as it is nothing compared to my tough summer running 20X 300 @3K pace in 80 degrees & close 100 humidity of the summer with 30 seconds rest. I had so many of these "just get through it" workouts. I remember telling myself several times over only way to get done is to get through it. Just get through it. I remember bringing chalk to the track to use it to tally my intervals. When I would finally crest half way point and sense of relief would drift through my body and mind. I thought Jeff, my coach, was trying to kill me but no he was just making me stronger. It was funny as I was very resistance to spending August on the track. It was Jeffs plan and I was not real keen on it at all and remember so many emails complaining to him that I did not like this speed stuff one bit especially after a 10 X 150 follow by 20 X 200 workout. He listened to my complaints but didn't change a thing but told me I had to work on my weakness. UGH!! So a good part of September was also spent honing my speed.
In restropect, I can look back on all the summer mornings at the track, dying, than praying and being reborn on the inside lane with immense pride. Each one making me tougher, stronger and allowing me to endure more. There was such an amazing feeling to start workouts in the dark and slowly watching the sun come over the track as I was finishing some intense workouts. Finishing up and greeting the day with immense satisfaction that I survived what very few people could accomplish. I mean 20 X 400 shit - it aint no thing :-) I actually think the 20X 300s were way harder though :-)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Run 10 and Relax

I had easy 10 miler today that I really needed mentally and emotionally. I think some pre-race & pre-taper nerves were getting to me this AM as well all that I have to do with the holidays approaching, pre-run I felt very stressed. Before I left for my run I was just all over the map with what I needed to get done today and was very stressed. I had to be at the school for Christians Holiday Presentation and than planned to run afterwards. I left for my run as I planned to run at Riverwalk which is a nice trail near a river just 10 minutes from my home. I got there and I realized I left my garmin at home. UGH! I wanted the garmin so I headed home back to retrieve it. By the time I got started running I really had some real angst to work out. My mood just didn't allow me to stroll along at the slow end of my easy and by mile 3, I was moving very top-end of my easy range. I really had to work reign myself in as by mile 5 I was running 8:20s and just really working through some emotions I was having. I think I was able to get most of the angst out by mile 9 and settled down for a cool-down mile. Nothing like a moderately hard easy run to soothe ya out and make you think straight. I just hope that it didn't take too much out of the tank as I have 10 miles @ marathon pace on tap for tomorrow. I better start eating...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Miles of Thoughts

I had a thought today as I was stretching after my run. I realized that I am really enjoying all these miles. It hasn't been hard too to push through and do them. I am handling them with relative ease and good spirits. My running friend Kim, said to me a while back "you are going to miss all these miles". And today I realized that was going to be true. I have really enjoyed losing myself in running. Even after I ran in the late AM - I was already itching for another run by mid-day. I realized that I have 2 doubles next week so I decided to save the doubles till the real high mileage week. A big sye as I think that after next weeks high mileage that it won't be for another 3-4 months that I will get to run this kind of mileage again. I promised myself today to enjoy it while it lasts. I love the happy, relax and sedated feeling in the evenings from a day well spent.
Climb slowly, steadily, enjoying each passing moment; and the view from the
summit will serve as a fitting climax for the journey.
– Harold V. Melchert

It's not between me and them anyway...

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;...
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God; It was never between you and them anyway.
This poem or quote by Mother Teresa has freed me up so much emotionally let go of past hurts and forgive and give love rather than withhold love or kindness for fear being hurt or used again. Withholding this part of me was just hurting me in the end and when I let go and forgave and recommitted myself to giving mybest to everyone and everything (within reason) it was the most amazing feeling of peace.
I experienced this peace yesterday when my car was broken into while I was out running. Funny how you can be enjoying one of the best runs onthe most sunny & glorious day and unbeknown st to you are credit card is being used all over town. After this amazing run, I open up my car to grab my water and my passage window was open. Funny I don't remember leaving it down and than I see the shattered glass fragments. Blah!!! I walk around to the car to see the whole window out! There are several people in the parking all offering help. We immediately call the police. And than I remember when I left for my run, ther we these two fellas just sitting in their car. One got out and walked past me into the bathrooms. I remember feeling unsafe as he passed me but as soon as he went in the bathrooms I made my way onto the busy greenway and didn't give it another thought until the moment I realized my purse was stolen. They watched me from there car and waited for me tor leave, smashed my window, and charged $1000 at Target within 30 minutes and than made their way to TJ Max for some Christmas shopping. Luckily I realized my phone was not in my purse by in my jacket which was in the back set. Phewy! That would have sucked because Nick had just replaced my phone the evening before. All they got was my wallet with credit cards and no cash so nothing more than a hassle really.
Anyway back to the poem, It is funny because I am not mad or upset at those fellas who did this but rather a sort of compassionate sadness for them. It this poem is now sitting in my head to help me navigate the not so nice & kind situations. It is peaceful to keeo in mind that it is not between me and them but between them and their god.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Overcoming Frustration


Being at the beach today with my family today gave some time to reflect on why I felt disappoint & frustration when I should have been feeling proud and grateful. I finally made a break through mentally, while watching Christian running free on the beach and chasing pigeons. He was having an amazing time. Ah! Joy!! He was experiencing joy!!! OMG!! That is what I was missing yesterday in Kiawah. The pure joy of running and chasing my goals. I had got all mixed up when I got on the course and forgot to bring my joy with me.
I knew I was missing something and placing blame on the back luck of deal with life's obstacles. I just lined up with no joy in my heart. Than proceed to tear apart a PR. UGH! I think as runners we sometimes loss perspective a bit. I know I am so guilty of this and feel like I acted like a spoil kid that didn't get what he/she wanted as a present and had the nerve to throw that present back to the sender because it wasn't exactly what I wanted. UGH! How could I do that? Impatience got the best of me yesterday. I would have been so joyous at a minute PR last year when I was stagnating and could not manage 30 second PR.
I need to be proud of the fact that I have PRed in my last 4 races. That I was not tapered for this event and was running on fatigued mind & legs. Something I would tell a friend about PRing during marathon training is hard, you are running on fatigued legs, you are training for a marathon so your training is specific to the marathon and while you might be able to carry some fitness over from the marathon training, marathon training is so specific that you aren't going blow another event out of the water and if you do, than maybe your marathon training isn't specific enough and I would worry that you aren't fit enough for the marathon. Make any sense? Why can't I take my own cousel and listen to my own sense. My coach has urged me in the same direction & I am not sure why I was so frustrated but I need to let the experience good & bad make me a better person & runner.
I have to continue to do the work, find joy in the process, have faith & gratitude, and trust God to handle the details. The big PR will come. God's delay is not God's denial...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Against all Odds - Finishing with some awesome..not much but a little


In the beginning and most of this past week I was a bit over-dosed on confidence for this race. I had a few really awesome workouts leading up to Kiawah Half. Come Thursday I had my first bump in the road. During my 8 miles easy, my hamstring was acting very weird tight and achy. Truly out of nowhere after the run, I stretched and it seemed fine and it had good range of motion. It just so happen to have an appt for a massage on Thursday afternoon. I had Katie check it out and sure enough the hamstring was jacked up. Katie tried to get it release without working to hard because of the race. She was sure it had released. Phewy... I left her office not thinking another about it until I work up in the AM. OMG! That hamstring was so sore getting out of bed. I ran an 3 miles shakeout run with it and it was very concerning. Tried to shake off the feeling of dread and get on with packing for the trip.
Car packed, kids loaded and we off for the 3 1/2 hour drive Charleston. I am still a bit anxious but really trying to not focus on the hamstring. I sit on ice bags on & off during the drive. The first snaf on the trip started right as we are only about 17 miles out of Charleston. INCIDENT ALERT is blinking on the signs. Well than it states it only 2 miles ahead so we patiently wait in traffic for about 45 minutes to go these 2 miles meanwhile the need to pee had reached peak urgency. After we finally get going, I tell Nick we must stop to use the bathroom or his lovely car is going not smell so lovely :-) He reluctantly gets off at the next stop. Oh, just our luck and bus is disabled on the overpass and smack we are stuck again. It was so ridiculously that we had to laugh. Our trip to Charleston end up taking over 5 hours, we were frazzled & starving by the time we got to our hotel. No restaurants in the immediate area but a McDonalds. We get that for the kids and I am sure there is something I can get at the hotel as it is a full-service Marriott. No luck - not one pasta dish on the meal. I settled for grilled chicken and mashed potatoes. Not really sure if this enough but have a hot chocolate to ensure I am getting enough calories.
Anyway between kids bickering and be generally overly excited to be in a hotel, they had me at my wits end by 9PM. I had hoped to have them sleeping by 8 but it was still 10PM before I rolled away from Joey's sleeping body in our bed. I still had to get things ready for the AM and stretch. Just too tired and weary to even think of the race in the AM.
Woke up and was having to really force myself to get going, first thing that checked was my hamstring. It felt way better but the real test was going to be the warm-up, I tried to think positive thoughts but the vision of my hobbling back from mile 2-3 keep pooping in my head. We got to Kiawah and waited at least 30 minutes to get into the lot where they were shuttling runners onto the inside. Long lines made it so that I didn't get to the start till about 7:30. I had 30 minutes to get bib, bathroom, gear check and warm-up. That was the smooth part actually I was at the start at 7:56AM. Perfect, hamstring was a bit iffy and I figured I know in a few miles what the day held.
First few miles went well, I didn't feel amazing but my hamstring was not hurting so all looked good in my eyes. I settled in and ran comfortably...started smiling a bit and relaxing. Took a gel at mile 7 and in a mile I started to feel that familiar tummy cramping pain. No..not again!!!
I started to fade a bit in mile 10 and tried to rally but that damn negative talk was in full affect. I started thinking why me and this damn tummy, this sucks and this talk that was not helping me and was distracting from getting on pace. I was just hanging on at this point and not trying to overcome this tummy pain.
In retrospect, I think I lost focus of my goals somewhere between Friday AM and mile 7 so when the tummy issues started I was just not mentally with it and ready to do combat and overcome this battle within. Ah...
So with the urging of Jeff, Melody and Steph, I savor my small victory and take a few lessons learned to Houston with me.
One thing is I finished strong enough to pass all these man in this picture :-)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Everyday is Gift! Open it up and enjoy....

I am thinking about all the gifts I have received in my pursuit of my dreams. How lucky am I to have these gifts in my life for without them this happy path I am on would not be possible or even enjoyable and rewarding...
I think practicing gratitude daily helps me to remember all the those gifts that god & universe provides so that my life can be the beautiful creation it is...
I was inspired to write a bit about gratitude by another runners blog where they have a daily gratitude journal within their blog.
I thought I would just take a blog post to give gratitude and love to all those people & things that make this life amazing.
I am grateful for COFFEE!!! 2 Cups Please
I am grateful for the love & support of my husband.
I am grateful for 2 beautiful & healthy children.
I am grateful for the gift and joy of running.
I am grateful for a healthy body that allows me to purse my dreams.
I am grateful for a healthy mind that allows me to purse my dreams.
I am grateful for the spirit that knows I am worthy of this pursuit.
I am grateful for the people that have been brought in my life to help me purse my dreams, Jeff, my coach, Katie, my massage therapist, and Ryan my soft tissue ART guy. I am not sure these simple words truly express the depth of my gratitude to these unique & caring people.
I am grateful for the special few faithful friends that cheer me on and truly believe in me.
I am grateful for having the resources to have a happy & comfortable life.
I am grateful for the hope that everyday holds.
I am grateful to those that have inspired me, those that have come before me and have showed me the way, that share their gifts with the world so that others may find a path to happiness & contentment and begin to believe in themselves and their dreams.
I am grateful for those artists that write songs that inspire you, tug at your heart and remind your spirit of how good it feels to hope, dream and live!
Live on and be happy!!!
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
— Albert Schweitzer

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Calm Confidence

What is this strange feeling I have about me of late?
Happiness and contentment in the face of impending achievement. I have never felt this relaxed in the days leading up a race that I intend to race. It is almost like a since of knowing that all will be well. And it will be well..I am confident in my ability to executed the plan and I am at ease with how much discomfort I may encounter. This discomfort has been my training partner for the last several months. I do not fear him but rather welcome him to my side. I greet him with a smile in acknowledgement of his presence and know he will be with me for away so I find away to be happy & calm in his presence. For without him, I will not be doing what I am meant to being to doing. He is the reassurance that I am on the right path.
I plan to practice dealing with him in Kiawah. I don't really have time goal but a goal to greet my friend, run with him and let him push me to knew limits so that I can send a new message to mind & body that more is possible for Houston. Although anytime sub-1:40 will be very delightful!
Confidence is courage at ease.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ah!!! My Stars a-line for Kiawah this week!

I want to jump and down and tell anyone in listening distance!!! My stars have aligned for this weekends race!!!! Yippee for me :-)
What am I talking about!!! Boys cover your ears and hum like you can't hear!!! My period started today.. Woo hoo! Woo hoo! Can you feel my excitement! There is a buzz in the air. Yeah it is a gray and crappy day out but my period started today so all is right in the world. About now I am sure you are thinking she what is smoking!!!! What I am talking is this recently article I read http://runningtimes.com/Print.aspx?articleID=22415 - you can take a minute to read if you so care but basically this study says that it is most ideal for women to race mid-way through their monthly cycle. Freakin A - stars aline - guess whats in 3 days?? My hormones, plasma level and ability use glycogen will be ready for a peak performance. Woo Hoo - Good news ahy??? So know you can see why I am over the moon about my period showing up today!! Now I will keep a look out at for other freak occurences to further prove to myself that I am meant to run strong and fearless this week.
Peace out and may your stars be aligned!!

Disclosure

For anyone that reads, I just want to disclose that I do not know how to use the edit function. I can't seem to figure out so whatever :-) You'll probably notice some spelling or grammer errors but I think you'll be able to follow my meaning with me being a great editor : ) Thanks for reading.

The Presence of Others

I have been carefully to surround myself with the peoples who energy matches my
own. I have been delighted to be remind of how I have several people in my life
and community where are my energy is compatible. Meaning its does not take energy
away from me to be in their presence and I am not taking energy from them rather we
are sharing our energy and creating more positive and happy energy to take in
our lives. You know these type of people when you leave their presence. They are
the people that make you happy and are smiling to yourself when you walk or
drive away from them. They are the people the enrich your life as well as you
enriching their lives. You come away so happy you had a chance to cross paths
with them at that moment in time. I describe these people as having compatible
energy levels. These are the people I want to attractive into my life and work
nourish those relationships. It was so nice running to a dear and similar person
in so many way, Rebecca S. - you know who you are & I like you just the way
you are!!! And to the 2 lovely ladies, Kim and Erin that shared such a great
morning run in the pouring rain sharing your happy spirits with me. Thank you
for supporting me!!!! I have much gratitude for you all.
"Anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but
it requires a veryfine nature to sympathise with a friend's success." -
Oscar Wilde

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bam! There it is..

Okay the writing has on the wall for several weeks and coach confirmed it this AM! My revised time for Houston will be sub 3:30. What!! I know! It is exciting and terrifying at the same time. He has been hinting around in many ways for weeks about it - first it was "you are ahead of schedule", than it is was "you are WAY ahead of schedule" and than there was the "you have officially jump into an entire new fitness range". I think on some level I knew it but to have official is beyond words!! Part of me though is like wait "Jeff - are you sure? How do you know for sure?" but than I utimately have to Trust him as has coached 100s of runners and many being of the elite and sub-elite level to know for sure. If Jeff tells me I am ready for sub-3:30, I have to trust him! He has not been wrong yet! He has always prepared me for exactly for what he thought I could accomplish, he has never been overly ambitious but rather cautous, he has been within seconds of what he projected my finishing times at my last 3 races.
With that I have to get mentally siked to prove my fitness at Kiawah so that I have the confidence to go Houston with this new goal!!!! Freakin sub 3:30 - can you say sub-8 minutes miles for 26.2!!!!
Don't ever let anyone tell you that hardwork, faith and perservenace don't pay off!!!
“To succeed, all you need to do is get up one more time than you fall down.” — Unknown

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cutback Week

My cutback week went well. Funny I think I experienced some lingering muscle tightness all week from the 22 miler which the lower mileage seem to help resolve. In the beginning of the week, I felt pretty beat up & tight in lots of places calves, quads, hamstrings, hips, ITband..just about everywhere :-) I was diligent to do the little things like stretching, sticking, foam rolling, got a great massage and by yesterday I started feeling good. Woke up this AM feeling like I tapered for 2 weeks! Ah :-) Nice feeling after a hard workout yesterday 6 X 1 mile @ 10K pace with 60 second rest. Loved the work out as my body easily found a rhythm and sailed through them without feeling fatigued.
M - 7 Recovery
T - 8 Easy
W - 1 W/U, 4 X 2 Mile @ HMP, 1 C/D = 10 Miles
T - Rest
F - 9 Miles + Strides
S - 2 W/U, 6 X 1 Mile 7:07, 7:08, 7;07, 7:04, 7:04, 6:56, 2 C/D = 10 Miles
S - 6 Recovery
Total Mileage - 50 Miles
Nothing like a cutback week with no long run to make you feel revived and ready to attack the final 6 weeks.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thank you Dr. Seuss

Anytime I hit a bump in the road, I like to grab the book "Oh the Places you will go" By Dr. Seuss.
If you haven't had the pleasure of reading this book in a while than it is a must grab book from your children's bookshelf. If it isn't on your children's bookshelf than it a must for a Christmas present. Or if you don't have children buy this book as a gift to yourself.
I found myself recently cheering marathoners at the half-way point on the Thunder Road course - Cheering - "You have places to go, get on your way" or "Today is your day, you have mountains to move, get on your way". I think the runners were so taken off guard by the words that they were startled out of their haze and smiling. Just maybe those words helped them through the next 13 miles. I know that many of the pages of this book are filled with so much wisdom that have brought me out of the sadness of disappointment, frustration when things are happening as I had hoped or they are the reassurance of the happy confidence that I had been feeling.
Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places! You're
off and away!“ - Dr. Seuss
Remembering that life will have its life ups & downs that you can choose how to repsond. Remembering that you have the power to choose with path you want to go down if you are in the right mind set.
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll
decide where to go.
You'll look up and down streets.
Look 'em over with care. About some you will
say, "I don't choose to go there."With your head full of brains and your
shoes full of feet, you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
Dr. Seuss
In a marathon and the marathon training, you will have ups and downs. There will be times and days you don't want to go on but on you go through weather be foul. There will be times when odds are stake against you with life getting in the way of your goals. I, myself, have experienced my share in this training cycle - asthma and allergies, husbands work schedule making him late a lot, kids getting sick and interrupting my training schedule, kids getting sick and getting me sick with the tummy bug, tight hip flexors, tight glutes, tight hamstrings, tight you name it, loss of energy, calf strain, loss of motivation, and the list could go on..Life will always get in the way....
OH! THE PLACES YOU'LL GO!
Except when you don't.Because, sometimes, you won't.
I'm sorry to say so but, sadly, it's true that Bang-ups and
Hang-ups can happen to you.
Just deciding to push on can be so powerful and know that these hangs up and bangs up are just a test to see if you really want something bad enough. Would a journey be truly worth wild if you didn't meet with challenges. These challenages make the journey and accomplishment so much sweeter.
I recently told my friend Kim about her next marathon build up, yes it will be hard but we wouldn't be doing this marathon thing if it were easy. We don't go for the easy route. If something you truly wanted was just handed over without immense effort - what would it be worth in your heart??? It is the work and effort that goes into the accomplishment that makes it worth gold in your heart.
Be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Brayor Mordecai Ali Van Allen
O'Shea, You're off the Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain
is waiting. So...get on your way!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Surround Yourself with People that Believe in & Your Dreams

I think that living a in world like Baxter Village makes one think you have to be friends with everyone. For those that don't know what I am speaking of this, Baxter Village. Let me take a moment and give a clear picture of this world. It is a beautiful planned community (think Pleasantville meets the Truman Show) in South Carolina. In this community you have everything, pools, parks, elementary school, YMCA, library, small businesses, shops & restaurants, & planned activities. All this great community comes at a small price, your neighbors are everywhere and they know a whole lot about you. There are social circles to navigate carefully through so that you don't end up being part of the gossip which I am sure is impossible to avoid.
I have spent 3 years trying to be a friend to way too many people. I came from Seattle, where people are relaxed, live & let live attitude, kind but they keep to themselves. I am not sure if the climate is why people generally keep to themselves but in general unless you are real friends you aren't chatting it up with strangers or acquaintances pretending to care. Seattle peps keep to themselves and the people that their friends & family. When we moved to South Carolina, I was overwhelmed with outgoing and friendly everyone is here. People here stop to chat and include themselves in your business without reservation. Being the happy and outgoing person that I am I thought I had to be like this and open myself of up to every neighbor in the community. What I realized in this 3+ year journey is that you can't be friends with all these people. Yes, you can be kind and caring to them but not true friends. You have to create boundaries and only allow people into your heart & mind that are going to be true.
True friendship and the kind to value is something that takes love and attention. It is a two way street where both people love & care for each other. Not one person does the caring and the other person does the taking.
I realized as I go on this path to pursing my dreams that I need to only surround myself with true friends. True friends that believe in me and my dreams. Life is too short and valuable to let false friends come into your heart and harm your potential and dreams.
A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are. - Unknown
I once read that you had to stand guard to your mind & heart. Allowing in only those people have the capacity to extend the friendship that meets your standards.
Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend. - Albert Camus
I am lucky and thankful to have some true friends that help me to dream and believe in myself.
I am most thankful for my soul-mate, my forever friend and love of my life, my dearest friend & love & husband - Nick :-)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Just liked this quote :-)

"I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” ― Audrey Hepburn

Who Says....

If you have a daughter between the ages 4-16, you probably know of Selena Gomez. Beautiful girl with one amazing voice! You probably heard the song "Who Says" a billion times...
I was listening to song with my daughter yesterday and so touched by the words. Dancing with my daughter I realized these words go to the core of our dreams...Who says you can't be everything you set out to be??? Only you can say...I want to live this way and show my children that their dreams and who they want to be it determined only by them. We are only limited to own ability to dream and believe.
I am no beauty queen, I am just beautiful me. You have every right to a beautiful life!
I feel if I live in this manner I will past this legacy onto my children to always believe in their beauty and be everything that want to in life.