Chicago Marathon #2 of 2

So it got warm and it got warm fast……(if you want to read the first post start here)

Here is a pic just 3.5 miles later at mile 16.5 and I was hot!  But don’t worry, there is no stop in my head, maybe slow down but never to quit.

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I was thankful for carrying my fuel belt with water because I was able to utilize the water stations to refill and then drink freely as I continued on and try and fight off any leg cramps that do happen to me at most marathons (big accomplishment #2).

Since I had no idea how I was doing on time, I just kept pushing on and when the clocks read 5 hours and 28 minutes at one point I was thinking, “this might be my slowest marathon ever but let’s just enjoy the race”.  I think that really helped me relax and realize it is just finishing the race that makes me a marathoner not the time (accomplishment #3).

At mile 25.5 we found ourselves running through a huge crowd that was very quiet and for fun I threw my arms up in the air and got the crowd cheering.  It was so much fun to hear them cheering for us marathoners because at this point, we were all going to finish the race.  Even better was the fact that when the race signs said one mile left, I had started to run and did not stop running until I crossed that finish line (accomplishment #4).  This was the first time I have been able to run the whole last mile.

When I finished I was in tears.  Happy Tears, exhausted tears, some upset tears because I thought it was my slowest ever, but then back to happy tears because I did it!  #5 was in the books.  I was able to talk to my daughter shortly after I crossed the line.  She was getting texts while she was at school and called me to tell me Congrats right after I finished.  So sweet!

Marathon #5 in the books

Marathon #5 in the books

I finally found Dave after what seemed like forever and a very long walk to the runner family reunite area.  We were able to hang out in the beautiful park, enjoy the wonderful weather and reflect on the huge accomplishment that I had just completed, oh and see that really my finish time was 4:49:39 with an average pace of 11:03.  Yeah, not my slowest and really when I look back to April (5:13:58 with 11:59 pace) what a huge improvement (accomplishment #4).

We all have lofty goals when we begin training for huge races like marathons and sometimes these lofty goals tend to block the whole idea of doing something because we love it and it really is something that not a lot of people attempt.  I am no different.  I wanted to have my fastest time ever but that was not to be.  I wanted to run sub 10 min miles but again that was not to be.  I wanted to have fun and that did happen.  I wanted to be more comfortable and not start the self-doubt early in the race making the race miserable and I was more comfortable and really never had a doubt that I could and would finish.

This church was at mile 13 and loved the sign on the side of it.

This church was at mile 13 and loved the sign on the side of it.

Most of all the biggest accomplishment of the Marathon #5 and Accomplishment #5 was my recovery!  I did not struggle with the major calf cramps from the past although those were there.  I was able to take a 3 mile walk after the race although very slowly.  I had a great massage the next day and was still able to put quite a few miles under my feet touring the city the next two days post marathon.  I would say if nothing else besides the fact I just ran a marathon, my body said, “you are strong and if you want to (no rush) we could do it again.”

Right now, I think I will just focus on some halfs but I am sure another full or two will be in the future.  🙂

Three days later my first run post marathon and last run in Chicago before heading home.

Three days later my first run post marathon and last run in Chicago before heading home.

 

I hope the recap was worth the wait.  Thanks for reading.

 

Chicago Marathon Recap #1 of 2

chicago8Sorry for the delay in my Marathon Recap of the Chicago Marathon and let me apologize about the length but it is full of pics too so enjoy and I did divide it up into two different posts so you have to come back tomorrow to get the end.  🙂

Well…. I finished.  I also finished over 23 mins faster than my marathon in April.  Unfortunately it was still not to the goal I had set but more on that in a little bit.

The weather for the trip could not have been better (well, it could have been a little cooler on Marathon day but definitely a beautiful day).  We arrived in Chicago on Friday afternoon and made it to our Airbnb residence for the next 5 nights.  Here is the view:

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After taking Uber to the expo to pick up my bib it was time to relax and get ready for my first ever group shake out run with Another Mother Runner.  On Saturday morning, I woke up and ventured down to take my first adventure on the Chicago Transit system to make it to the meet up location.  I do have to say I was impressed.  It was easy to get around and pretty cheap too.  (Let’s just say that we did not use Uber after we figured out the subway)  Here are some pics of the run on Saturday morning…..

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Sarah in the middle is one of the creators of Another Mother Runner. Go check out their website here and get some cool another mother runner bling.

Great shot at Lake Michigan and the background of Chicago

Great shot at Lake Michigan and the background of Chicago

At the "Bean" in Grant Park with another running group we hung out with. So much fun.

At the “Bean” in Grant Park with another running group we hung out with. So much fun.

I was so happy to have spent some time getting the nerves out of my system and thankful to meet so many other mother runners.  But we all know that the day before the marathon you should not walk around too much so we opted for a River Boat Architecture Tour on the Chicago River.  It was a great idea and there are some fabulous buildings along the river.  Take a look….

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Sunday morning arrived and believe it or not, I was not really nervous.  After all, as my other half says, “You’re a pro.  You have done 4 other marathons.”  Well I am not really a pro but I am beginning to really learn what works and does not work before races and have developed a sort of routine like visiting the bathrooms early because they fill up as the race gets closer and then sitting in the corral because we didn’t even get started until 8:20 which was almost an hour after the race started (that’s what happens when you are in the slow group but I did not mind.)  I look pretty ready for the race here:

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Right before I said Goodbye to Dave to head for the Corral.

Right before I said Goodbye to Dave to head for the Corral.

 

Once we got going I was very excited.  I also tried to not let the excitement get me to go out fast and I would like to say I did a great job of that but really I have no idea.  Why you ask?  Well, let’s just say that my wonderful Garmin watch does not like the very tall buildings of downtown Chicago and since that is where we are running I was at a loss for pace from almost the very beginning.  My first mile went pretty well but when my 2nd mile chimed on my watch and I was nowhere near the 2 mile mark according to the course and the clocks where off because they started with the elite runners I knew I could not trust the watch so it was time to just run based on feel.  Now I am not sure you have ever tried running by feel in a huge race (45,000) runners but if you haven’t and I really didn’t train that way, trying to do it for 26.2 miles is a little bit of a challenge.  Really I did not let this factor into my mind though and focused on enjoying the race.

Right after mile 2. Who needs a working Garmin? Im having fun.

Right after mile 2. Who needs a working Garmin? I’m having fun.

Even though the weather got up to 75 by the end of the race, it was a beautiful day to run.  The first 13.1 miles where pretty much in the shade of the huge buildings of downtown Chicago and through the parts of Chicago that had lots of trees and were very beautiful.

In fact, a little side note… I did something I never thought I would do.  At one point in Lincoln Park, I did jump off the course and find coverage in some of their draping trees and gave back to nature.  Hey, when you have to go and you are only at mile 5 and the bathrooms are all 10 deep at each water stop you do things you would never do before and really I had no desire to pee down my leg which I have heard some people do.  Yuck!

Anyway, back to mile 13.1… I felt great.  It was the best I have felt at the halfway point in a marathon EVER!  (big accomplishment #1)  Here is photo proof:

A big thumbs up for just over halfway!

Little did I know that after mile 13 was the heat wall.  Apparently when you leave the downtown area there are no more tall trees and the buildings are shorter too so it’s just you and the sky (oh and those 44,999 other runners)!  So it got warm and it got warm fast but more on this tomorrow…..

Motivational Monday 9/28/15

 

Less than 2 weeks!  In less than 2 weeks I will be done.  Okay maybe not done but my 5th marathon will be in the books (I am optimistic that it will be a success).

I have now almost completed training for 5 marathons and it is true if you want to change your life train for a marathon.  Each one has been different.  My spring marathon I completed during the snowiest winter ever, completing four 20 miler runs on a treadmill (needless to say I try to stay a long way away from treadmills for this training plan!).

This summer brought it’s own challenges of relentless heat and humidity which only started to subside last weekend right after I finished my last 20 miler.  That’s okay, my hope is that it will not be this hot and humid in Chicago in two weeks.

So this brings me to my quote for today.  It’s one of my favorites and something to think about on this wonderful Monday!

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Happy Monday!  I hope you have a fabulous day!

 

Lots of changes and no telling when that’s going to stop…

change3Sometimes I feel like I continue to apologize for not blogging very often and then other times I think to myself that I will blog when I’m ready.  I guess you can say I’m ready…. I don’t know….. Maybe I’m not…. Okay maybe I am a little bit.  😉

There has been a lot going on besides training for my 5th marathon which I think that alone is pretty taxing on ones time but no that is never enough for me….

We are still in the middle of our remodel on our home that started in April, I guess this is what happens when you only hire professionals for the big stuff and we say to ourselves with confidence that we can do the rest.  Well I guess you can tell how that is going or maybe you can’t because you can’t see it but it is going very slow.  We have a bathroom that is small and almost completely done and then the one that has the shower that only has flooring, shower and a toilet (it’s all the essentials, right!).  Good news is that our kitchen is no longer in our living room and our house is very liveable and we could even invite people over if we were ever home to do so and we would only be apologizing for a few things undone.  So those are some good changes…

We are both changing jobs in the same month which I am sure will not cause to much stress (insert sarcasm here)!  Mine is at least with the same company but a new role with about a ton more responsibilities because it is running a new facility.  I can do this (at least that is what I keep telling myself).  I also tell myself that the people who hired me think I can do this which does help too!  So tomorrow is my last day in my very familiar, somewhat comfortable role as a clinician and on monday I begin to take on the responsibilities of program director very close to home.  I sometimes feel like that this is the moment that all my other jobs created me for (I hope that makes sense).  It’s the role that without the other jobs in my life I don’t think I could handle but now seems to be a good time to try something new.change4

My other half will be taking on a new challenging role in an established company about 40 mins away from home.  We are very hopeful that this will be the last transition he makes in his career.  It seems over the past 5 years the companies he has gone to work for have not turned out so well and have eventually closed their doors which is very stressful on my end but we are pretty sure this place has some long term stability.  Yeah!!!! So another good set of changes…..

Now on to the running part (I know you thought I would never get there!)  This seems to be changing too for the better.  I am doing the same running plan as my last marathon but added an extra day and the exciting part is that I am not having to do it all on the treadmill like I did for the spring marathon (I never want to do that again!).  Today I went for an eight mile pace run and I neglected to look at my training plan before I went out and thought I remembered it saying 1 mile easy, 6 miles at 8:38 pace, 1 mile easy.  So that is what I tried to do.  I struggled at first and had trouble getting into the pace but then just decided to relax.  When that happened I began to get faster and in the end my last two miles were 7:57 and 7:49 and they felt pretty easy.  I don’t know how that happened but I think it comes from all the crazy track workouts and sprints I have been doing in the insane heat and humidity.  So once again some changes…..

Really our whole life is about change, isn’t it?  I feel like if I don’t learn something new each day or challenge myself in some way each day I am not making the necessary changes in my life to be a better person and/or a better runner.  I really do want to be the best me I can be!  (sounds very crazy but it’s true)  I want to get the most out of my life because as I tell my clients, “We are never promised another day and we should really live in the moment and that is why it is called the present, it is a gift.”

change5So there are lots of changes going on in my life and as much as I am resistant to those changes because of the anxiety they create, I also want to welcome them with open arms because without them I will not grow, progress or change and I need to do that to live!

Falling apart yet falling together….

falling apartOver the past couple of months I have felt like this quote but I have been unable to notice things actually falling together.  This is very hard to admit because I like to think I am a very optimistic person who can find the positive and just persevere.

Yes this is why I have just kept things to positive, motivational quotes and Juneathon,  oh and I began marathon training AGAIN!  (I’m starting to think I am insane)

Well recently I have noticed things beginning to actually fall together.

Whew…. glad to have that happening.

I recently (Monday) accepted a position closer to home with the same company and more responsibility (more pay too)  but a next step in my career which is scary and exciting all at the same time.  Our house is finally getting back together after the remodel that started in April (hoping to be done by the end of August at this point).  My other half’s job has extended him until the end of August too which helps my crazy stability need.  So I would say things are falling together.

Sometimes I sit with my clients and work on trying to help them piece their lives together while mine feels like it is falling apart.  It is much easier to help others than keep the focus on ourselves.  Then I would find myself coming home and feeling extremely anxious and practicing coping skills to deal with this anxiety which you guessed it, includes lots of running!

I do feel like each time I go through one of those overwhelming challenging times I try to at least learn something and try to improve myself.  So far I have learned that I need to relax and realize that things happen for a reason and eventually things fall back together.  Sounds easier said then done, but I’m working on it!

Any challenges for you recently?

I’ll update on the marathon training:

week #4 – working hard, hot, humid and hopeful that this is all beneficial in the colder temps of October in Chicago!