A Great Day to run a Marathon

Sorry for my absence… I’ve been stressing about my marathon that happened today so I have not felt like writing.  But as I often promise, I will try to get a little better.  I know, I know… as a therapist  I should follow my own advice but believe me when I say (and have said before) I am my own worst therapist.  I do pretty good most of the time but become overwhelmed when it’s something like a marathon.

Today being overwhelmed actually helped.  I went into the race telling myself to slow down and just enjoy the race and shockingly that is what I did.  I had a great first half and in the second half battled with some leg spasms but slowed down, hydrated, and kept on pushing.

Then I met a new friend, Judy.  I thought she was struggling around mile 22 so I turned around and told her, “you got this”.  (Turns out she was on the phone and was saying “okay, okay”)  Anyway, I had started to walk a little and she came up and grabbed my arm and said, “we got this”.  We spent the next 4 miles, running and walking and talking.  It was the best.  She tried to push me at the end to go on and I said, “No way, we are doing this together.”  At that point she put her arm around me and I did the same and we ran across the finish line as the announcer said our names.  It was incredible.

I love the running community!  We go out as strangers doing something we love together and we push and encourage each other to finish. There were so many times along this course that I was able to run with others, encourage others and be the one that others encouraged.  I am so thankful that I have been given the ability to run as well as the desire to push myself.  I am sure I will do another marathon eventually but have decided that I really enjoy the Half marathon the most (okay other short races are pretty good too).  Today just reminded me that I can set some lofty goals and achieve them if I just put my mind to it (okay now I sound like my motivational Monday quotes, but it is true)!

I hope if you ran this weekend, you met or exceeded your goals.  And remember sometimes the goal is just about getting out there.  I did something I never thought I would be able to do…I had a great time running a marathon, met a new friend, got a PR of 4:34:46, and I’m able to walk today with little difficulty (we will see about tomorrow).

As always, enjoy the pics and have a wonderful week:

 

Very cold and windy at the in the corral.

Very cold and windy at the beginning in the corral.

I don't want to take off the sweatshirt!

I don’t want to take off the sweatshirt!

Here we go!

Here we go!

At mile 13, coming down the hill listening to the crowd and music.  (excuse the big headed man who decided to photobomb my pic)

At mile 13, coming down the hill listening to the crowd and music. (excuse the big headed man who decided to photobomb my pic)

Only 13 more to go!

Only 13 more to go!

Me and my new friend Judy!

Me and my new friend Judy!

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We look so good wrapped in foil!

We look so good wrapped in foil!

The new PR

The new PR

Stick a fork in me, I'm done!!!

Stick a fork in me, I’m done!!!

 

Race Recap: Harwich Half Marathon and a little self-doubt!

photo (8)Well, I finished!  It wasn’t my best time and it wasn’t my worst time but it was an accomplishment.  With this race I was able to finish The Cape Trilogy for the first time.  It was fun to be a part of these three races and I am glad I did it.  I think next year I will move on to some other races since there are a lot of races that occur at the same times as the trilogy races that sound like fun too.

But now back to the race.  The course is a beautiful, hilly course along the cranberry bogs and the ocean on Cape Cod.  I ran the course last year and I kept telling myself that there is a hill at mile 9 so be ready for it.  But I apparently forgot about all the hills in between and also got the number wrong.   It’s not mile 9, it’s mile 11.  Oh well.  I was hurting way before mile 9 or 11.  By this point, so much doubt had crept in about my marathon in 2 weeks, that I wanted to make the call from my phone at the finish line and see if I can defer until next year.  Why you ask?  Well I had some pain in my knee starting at mile 5 and it lasted until mile 8.  So the good news is that it stopped hurting or I just got use to the pain, I’m not sure.

So the finish was a relief.  It was also a relief that I finished in less than two hours.  That was my goal.  The official time was 1:54:56 and I was 22/97 in my age group (wow those women over 40 are fast!).  Anyway, I spent today in doubt too.  I’m headed to my running store tomorrow after work to have a chat.  I think I need new shoes and I’m scared to do too much before the 19th because I want to run the marathon.  I think I will ease off some of my taper miles, concentrate on strength building and stretching.  I am just a lot overwhelmed and trying to stay out of my head, which means I have to replace running with doing something so I feel like I don’t lose my fitness before the marathon.

The good news is, if you want to run a fun trilogy that is small, easy parking, and fast, The Cape Cod Trilogy is the place.  (I can’t wait to get my “free” jacket in February for completing the trilogy.  Dave says it’s not free because of all the money we spent staying on the cape and the amount of training I put in.  I disagree.  I would have spent that money on races anyway so this is an extra piece of running clothing I get for “free”.)

The bad news is, I struggle to get out of my head and I’m overwhelmed with a possible injury after working so hard to get to the start line of my next marathon, but I’m working on staying calm, getting out of my head and figuring out how I can still make it to the starting line.  I haven’t given up just yet!

Have you had these self doubt moments?  How did you get out of them?

Here are some pics to end this blog with happy moments…..

The bridge to the Cape the day before.  The conditions were perfect for the race the next day.

The bridge to the Cape the day before. The conditions were perfect for the race the next day.

The fancy shirt.  Never really a fan of light blue but it's not to bad.

The fancy shirt. Never really a fan of light blue but it’s not to bad.

Before the race.  A little cool but ready.

Before the race. A little cool but ready.

Finished my 6th half marathon.  So happy to be done.

Finished my 6th half marathon. So happy to be done.

The lighthouse and view at the most southern point of the cape.  Never been here and it was beautiful

The lighthouse and view at the most southern point of the cape. Never been here and it was beautiful

 

Don’t let someone take your happy!

happy4Today I was standing in line at Walmart and the person in front of me was buying something to eat from the deli.  I am assuming it was his dinner.  Well his card was declined.  He asked the cashier to put the transaction on hold while he went to the ATM to check his account.  I was the next customer in line and the cashier was struggling with how to end the previous transaction.  That is when I told him to just put his purchase on my tab.  The cashier was confused but I said don’t worry about it, I don’t mind paying for it.  In fact for me, it was a great opportunity to “pay it forward”.

I’m not saying this to brag and say look at me.  I’m more telling you because I felt really good, really Happy after I did this simple thing and then it happened.  I was driving home and this person driving almost hit me and then came roaring up and around me honking.  I started to get really upset.  I was driving with the flow of traffic and I was just the one he chose to pick on.  And I let him almost take my happy. happy3

I think there are moments in our day when we let others affect us so much that our once happy moods can change quickly.  We give others the power to change our thoughts, our enjoyment.  But the good news is, we don’t have to.  We have the power to control our thoughts, our reactions to things/events.  We have the power to not let someone take our Happy!

Today I just thought about the moment at Walmart and put into perspective that maybe the person driving so crazy needed to be somewhere fast for an emergency (at least I hope it was one because he was driving like it!).  No one was going to take my Happy!happy2

 

Supposed to be 22 miles, then 20, but crawled to 16.75 miles done!

Have you ever had one of those runs where it doesn’t seem like anything is really going right?  Well that was today’s run.  I was set to do my last long run before my next marathon in October and I was planning a 22 miler.  Well you know when I start talking in past tense that it did not go well.

Our morning was thrown off a little when a meeting that was supposed to happen got canceled so instead of going right out and going for a run, I laid around for over an hour.  That was probably mistake number one.  Then once I did get started I tried a new training plan.  It’s called a 5-4-3-2-1 run where you run easy for 1-2 miles at the beginning and then 5 miles at race pace, then 1 mile easy and so on and so on until you finish with a 1 mile easy run.  I thought it would be good especially since it was cool outside.  You know, try something new.  5.5 miles in, my stomach said “hey, you need to make a stop”.  So off into the woods I went.  This has never happened to me during a training run.  But on I pushed (after the pit stop), I was determined to make today’s run good.

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Beginning, during, and end!

As I got done with mile 9, I was thinking let’s turn this run into a 20 miler.  My body screamed “Yippee, that means we get to turn around soon”.  I made it to mile 10 and that is when my whole self said “this sucks! I hear it is better to undertrain than overtrain.”  I plodded along and talked to my other half who was biking next to me and made arrangements for him to go on ahead and bring the car a little closer than the 10 miles it was away.

Off he went to get the car and left me trudging along, now uphill, to our meeting point.  That is when my brain went into overdrive:

Why are you doing this?

You are never going to qualify for Boston!

Maybe you should just stick with 10K’s, you did great last weekend.

Time to walk

Burr, I’m cold

Can’t wait to get to that towel at the car so I can warm up

Maybe I should do more crunches.

Crunches really, you think that would help what is going on right now?

What is going on right now?

I think I see the car

Yippee we get to stop moving!

(There was lots more negative thoughts but don’t want to overwhelm you with how bad my thoughts were today!  What can I say, sometimes I am my own worst therapist.)

Now hours after making it home, a long shower, and refueling with dinner and an extra thick chocolate frappe, I continue to beat myself up about what went wrong.  Really I have no idea.  I just felt gross and Dave keeps telling me to chalk it up to a bad day because we all know that those happen.  So I’m working on that.  And I do remain hopeful that it was just one run and I can get out there tomorrow and complete the last few miles of the run and still have a weekend full of miles.  So right now that is the plan, at least 3.25 miles tomorrow to finish my 20 mile run and if it feels good maybe an extra 2 to get the 22 miles done!

Here’s to changing thoughts and to quit beating myself up!

Ever have a bad run?  What did you do to move on?

Enjoying a race

On Sunday I had one of my best runs EVER!  Or being a person who now lives in New England, I guess I should say, one of my best runs EVAH!  I didn’t even plan it.  In fact, my focus has been on training for the marathon in October and this was just one of the races that I have on my calendar.  This was one of those races I have done for 4 years now and keep coming back because it is wonderful.

When I first competed in this race, the Lone Gull 10K, there were about 600 runners, parking wasn’t a problem and there was breakfast at the end on the beach.  The only thing that has changed in the 4 years has been the amount of racers.  I say racers because now it has changed from running to racing.  It has become a USA track and field event, which means it attracts VERY fast racers.  The amount of runners has doubled, in fact there were 1361 runners registered for this event.  Okay, so maybe the parking has changed too.  In fact if it keeps growing, it may have to change locations because we maxed out the parking lot at the beach.

Yep, I said it, this race starts along the beach.  It is beautiful.  Nothing like starting a race next to the Atlantic Ocean, hearing the waves hit the shore, the wonderful smell of salt in the air and let’s not forget about the seagulls announcing their presence.   Here are some pics that Dave took, enjoy: (sorry for no real beach pics but believe me it is there!)

Getting all warmed up in the 50 degree temps.

Getting all warmed up in the 50 degree temps.

1300 of my closest running friends out for a sunday run.

1300 of my closest running friends out for a sunday run.

Already relaxin'!  Kind of floating on air.

Already relaxin’! Kind of floating on air.

Finishing up strong.  Serious game face too.

Finishing up strong. Serious game face too.

Having run the race so many times before, it was easy to relax from the beginning because I knew the course.  I expected to feel pretty bad for the first two miles but my body said, “not today, today you are going to enjoy your run”.  And I did.  My first mile was 7:28.  In my mind, I was like “holy crap, you need to slow down” but it felt so comfortable.  In the end, I did slow down but not too much.  I felt strong, knew where the hills were, knew when I could push it harder, and was so excited when I was finishing the race in under 49 minutes, this was my goal that I was okay if I did not make but deep down wanted to make.   My official race time was 48:16 with a 7:42 pace.  If I had run this 4 years ago I would have placed in my age group.  Now I think I’m somewhere in the 30th something for my age group.  Oh well, I loved it.  It made me remember why I run this race and why I run in general.

Sometimes, for me, running races becomes a lot about completing it, another race completed.  This run was more about enjoying it.  Taking a moment, being mindful of where I was, what was going on, and how I was feeling.  In doing this, I had the best race EVAH!

I think we do this in our daily life too.  We become overwhelmed, we don’t enjoy the moments in our day, we set expectations/goals and then work our hardest to live up to them or achieve them.  I discovered on Sunday that sometimes, enjoying the moment, enjoying the race, gives you a better outcome.

Have you ever tried this, enjoying a race?  How about your day, ever tried to just live in the moment and take it as it comes?