Father’s Day Fun… Juneathon 15/30

Today was supposed to be a long run day but instead I opted for a hike up a mountain with my other half for Father’s Day.  It was cross training.  It also wasn’t nearly the mileage I needed to go but it was fun and a great way to spend a beautiful day.

Here are some wonderful pics of our journey.  Enjoy!

Juneathon update: (PS – we are halfway through!)

3.75 miles with a 1000 ft elevation gain

A nice walk through the woods.

A nice walk through the woods.

In the winter this is a ski slope, steeper than it looks.

In the winter this is a ski slope, steeper than it looks.

Sitting in the chair lift almost at the top.

Sitting in the chair lift almost at the top.

Pretty nice view.

Pretty nice view.

Ski map!

Ski map!

I can see Boston off in the Distance.  Way, Way, off in the distance.

I can see Boston off in the Distance. Way, Way, off in the distance.

At the top!

At the top!

Our reward back at home.

Our reward back at home.

 

Mummy/Daughter Day… Juneathon 14/30

Sprang out of bed early to go for a run, okay really it was a telemarketer calling at 8am on a Saturday  (why?????) that made me spring out of bed.  With a wakeup call like that, there was no way I was going to go back to sleep.  So I turned it into a “let’s get this run started” kind of moment, besides I was going to spend the afternoon with my daughter in Boston so I needed to get it done.  Ate a few chomps, drank some water and headed to my favorite 5 mile route (maybe not my favorite but one that has varied terrain like hills and some flat spots where I need them).  It went well and I finished feeling pretty good.

Headed back home to shower and have a late breakfast with the fam.  Then my daughter and I headed out to Boston.  For Mother’s day/my Birthday, she had purchased two tickets to the aquarium and then she had planned dinner at a fun little restaurant nearby all on her dime and we were off to redeem it.

We drove 45 minutes into the outskirts of Boston and took the subway in, changing trains several times but it was very enjoyable.  I love spending time with my kid.  We made it to the aquarium and had some fun time petting sting rays, clams, and starfish as well as visiting the penguins and huge fish tank in the middle of the aquarium filled with cool fish, eels and turtles.

After the aquarium we walked up to a well-known pastry shop for cannolis to take home and then it was off to dinner at The Barking Crab.  There is nothing like eating the seafood you just got to see in the exhibits at the aquarium.

It was a wonderful afternoon hanging out and walking around an awesome city with daughter.  It has been so much fun being her mom all these 19 years and I am looking forward to watching her grow into an adult.

(Oh I forgot to tell you that my daughter calls me Mummy so that is why the title is Mummy/Daughter)

Here’s some pics to enjoy of our day.  Oh and my Juneathon update for the day:

5 mile run

2-3 miles of walking in Boston

Happy 14th day of Juneathon!

Headed in on the subway.

Headed in on the subway.

Petting some stingrays

Petting some stingrays

Penguins!!!!

Penguins!!!!

Sea turtle.  Too cute.

Sea turtle. Too cute.

Coolest thing ever!  Sea dragon!

Coolest thing ever! Sea dragon!

She wanted to take home a penguin.  Being a good mom, I said "no"!

She wanted to take home a penguin. Being a good mom, I said “no”!

Off to the North End for some pastry's

Off to the North End for some pastry’s

Yummy!!!!

Yummy!!!!

Taking a little break by Boston Harbor

Taking a little break by Boston Harbor

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More Harbor!

A wonderful day, complete!  Inbound to home!

A wonderful day, complete! Inbound to home!

 

Looking for Bling…

pretty cool medal to add to the collection

pretty cool medal to add to the collection

I have to admit, I look at the race bling before I enter a race.  I even sometimes don’t even enter a race if they don’t give away medals at the end.  Not sure why I do this but I guess it could be because I am wanting a reward for working so hard to get to the finish line.  (Please don’t say I’m the only one who does this)  There are some races I run because they were what I started with and they were the ones that pushed me to go farther, like the Lone Gull 10K in September.  I will never be in the top three who gets awards but my time has gotten better each race and I like to push myself in it because although it runs along the ocean it also has challenging spots that are very hilly.

But back to the bling….

The really cool medals!

The really cool medals!  Wine stoppers

I once signed up for a race the night before because the medal was so cool and I needed to do a long run that weekend anyway so why not do it with other running friends.  This year’s medal for the OKC marathon is huge and weighs a ton.  I didn’t realize how big it was until I put it next to last year’s while I was hanging in my room.  I guess it has lots of semblance too since it was the “Worst Best Marathon Ever” so it better be a big reward.

OKC marathon medal.  On the left is this years, in the middle is last years, and at the end is the year before.

OKC marathon medal. On the left is this years, in the middle is last years, and at the end is the year before.

As I prepare for this weekend’s half marathon, I find myself not real excited about the bling because it  isn’t that great.  Shame on me! I’m excited about the race because it is the same course as my PR in February and then I was still training for the marathon, now I’ve run the marathon and this should be a relaxing run by the ocean on what is supposed to be a beautiful weekend.  Not saying I’m going to PR but it would be ideal conditions.

Oh I get side tracked so easy….

Anyway the bling…. I started thinking after my short run at the gym today that really I get more than any race bling has to offer.  Through all these years (about 4 years) of training, I have gotten into incredible shape.  Not that I’m bragging but I found a couple of abs (which is nice, now I’d like to find the rest of the six pack), my butt is very perky, and I have great legs if I do say so myself.  Now I feel like I’m bragging but that is not what it is.  It is more I can visibly see the changes in my body.  For my insides, I make better choices when I eat (okay most of the time but I still enjoy wine and ice cream) and I feel healthier.  Then there is the mental aspect.  I am able to process things faster, have more energy even when my body says your tired my mind keeps us going, and I just feel nicer (most of the time).  There is also the race community.  Wherever I go there is someone who is a runner, training for a race or use to run who I have great conversations with.  That is so much fun!  This is race bling I never counted on but it rewards me each day as well as on the race course when I finish.

This is how I store my race bling.  I know very fancy.  Don't be jealous of my fancy $2 command hooks!

This is how I store my race bling. I know very fancy. Don’t be jealous of my fancy $2 command hooks!

So I will continue to choose some races due to their race bling because really I am a girl who likes to have some sparkly things but I will continue to remind myself that I wear my race bling every day and I am so thankful that I can be so healthy now in my 40’s and hopefully it will continue for many, many years.

How about you, every chosen a race because of it’s bling?  If so, what race are you planning on running, maybe I will join you!  What is the best race bling you have ever gotten?

Worst Best Marathon EVER! – Part 2

(At last publishing, we were off…..)

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A little after mile 7 seeing my friends and family and getting my fuel.

I was missing something… missing something crucial… ENERGY!  It was gone.  I had sat for 2 hours and my body was tired.  I was hopeful that it would come to me, so I kept pushing onward.  It was cloudy, a little damp and in the low 60’s.   Not the most ideal situation to run a marathon in but if it would have stayed that way, it would have been doable (you might already know where this is going).  Well what happens in Oklahoma after a storm is that the clouds clear away, the humidity sets in and the beautiful blue sky becomes clear, filled with bright sunlight and heats up to around 80 degrees!  Not great marathon weather.

The first 10 miles were slow and steady with the realization that this was probably not going to be the Boston Qualifier I trained for but I could still have a better race than last year.  I could tell the other runners were having some of the same thoughts because we were all packed together.  In years past, we all seemed to separate pretty quickly and run our own races.  It was almost as if we knew we had a long way to go and we wanted to stick together.  I was able to see Dave and my friends at about mile 7 and he told me later, that he knew there was a problem (and there was, I just wasn’t sure how bad it was about to get).

Starting to get hot.

Starting to get hot at 13.1, beginning to pace self for what is going to be a long race.

When I saw my supporters at the halfway point (13.1) the sun had begun to pound on us all and my right calf had decided to cramp, at this point DNF was not gonna happen if I could help it.  I told Dave that this was going to be a long race but to bear with me because I was going to finish.  So I moved ahead.  Runner’s isolation began as we all crossed over the bridge to the lake where there are not many spectators because if you get there, you can’t get out until the race is over.  It is two miles of all of us depending on each other and that is what happened.  The runners began to take over on the crowd support.  The winds were whipping off the water about 30mph and the sun was beating down on us.  Some started walking, some like me tried the walk run method just to get through the miles and oh yes that calf cramp that was making itself known in my leg.  We as a running community would pat people on their shoulders as we went by saying things like “You got this”, “Hang in there”, and “You can make it”.  It was so nice to hear and see and great to be able to take my mind off the pain by helping others too.

We emerged to large crowds in the relay hand off area and it was great to hear the crowds, reading your bibs and saying your name, cheering us on.  Mile 17 became a blur due to the pain increasing and the conditions but I knew that I would see my fans again somewhere just past 18.  And there they were!  Cheering me on.  They made me run a little faster, added a little pep to my step and carried me to the upcoming hills that I knew would be difficult.  But again DNF was not in my vocabulary!  By now my calf cramps held me back to about a 12 min pace of walk, light jog and the thing that would make me transition between was spasms in both calves.  At about 23.5 miles something happened that scared the crap out of me.  My calves seized!  Both of them.  I didn’t know what to do.  I couldn’t move my feet.  I felt as if my feet were stuck in mud, I couldn’t even will them to keep going.  A spectator looked up from her chair and said “Is there something I can do for you”.  I just asked her to help me by holding me up for a minute, being hopeful that the cramps would pass.  She ran over to me, held me up and tried to calm me down.  You could see all the muscles in my legs having spasms.  Scarey!  We stood there for a few moments, she helped me lean over and try to stretch out.  She offered to get the medical officials but I waved her off, I had come this far and I was going to finish!  I asked if she would walk with me for a few steps and she said yes.  We walked about 50 feet and I was feeling a little better.  The crowd around all began to clap and provided great support.  Then I was off, okay I was shuffling but I was moving.

I was having leg spasms about every 20 steps or so (I didn’t count it but it seemed like a lot) but I was moving.  Then it happened again.  At about 24 miles in my legs seized again.  This time I was close to a course marshall.  He asked if I was okay and I said “no”.  I asked him to come over and hold me up for a minute which he did.  He then informed me that the medical tent was just up ahead and he could get them to come down at which I nearly dropped to my knees and started crawling because I did not want to be pulled off the course this close to the end.  I looked at him in the eyes and said, “I just want to finish, can you help me?”  He responded with a “Yes, what do you want me to do”.  “Walk with me, hold my arm and walk with me.  It’s only about 2.2 more miles if that is okay.”  He said, “Let’s go!”  And then we were off, me shuffling, him in his work boots.

IMG_2101[1]His name is Scott, I call him Marathon Scott.  He kept my mind off of my legs seizing, was there to hold me up when it happened, there to hand me water, powerade, and bananas along the last few miles.  We had other runners stop to offer to help me and talk with us as we trudged along.  But the answer we always gave was “not everyone gets an escort to the finish and now Scott is going to get to finish his first marathon.”  We got lots of cheers and there were tears in my eyes most of the last few miles, not just from the pain but because of the support, the fans, the runners, and the other course marshals.

When we turned the last corner towards the finish we picked up the pace and even a light jog at some points (followed by lots of leg issues).  I told Scott that when we get to the end we need to raise our arms up and jog over that finish line, I could collapse after!  The crowd began to yell for us louder and louder.  I saw my friends cheering and crying on the sides concerned for their friend who was being escorted by someone to the finish (but I also think just really happy to see me because those last few miles had taken forever!)  We crossed the line.  At the time it was the biggest victory just to cross but what I didn’t know was the battle that was about to begin… cue medical tent!

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Scott and I at the finish line

Scott and I got our picture taken by someone at the end, I picked up my medal and new t-shirt and sought out my family and some food, cause I could not eat another pretzel or drink anymore water or powerade.  But my legs had a different idea.  My family and friends found Scott and I as we headed toward the medical tent.  When we made it inside they asked me to get up on the bed and put my legs up in the air.  Upon sitting on the bed, my legs unleashed.  They unleashed all the pain that I had just put them through.  The spasms were so bad, I was screaming, arching my back, reaching for arms to grab and take the pain way and just wanting someone to make it all stop!  But little did I know that this was just the beginning.  My friend who is a therapist gathered my head, got in my face and walked me through breathing.  It took about 1.5 hours for the cramps to stop, there was lots of ice, lots of rubbing, lots of me just trying to calm down, and lots of eating pretzels and drinking water/powerade.  (Someone asked me today if it was worse than childbirth and I said yes because at least you can get drugs then!)  Finally able to hobble out after 2 hours, I was unsure whether I ever wanted to run again much less run a marathon again.

Now I look back … yesterday was my first run since that crazy Sunday… and I think, yes, I want to run again, yes, I want to do that marathon again.  Not because I am cray, cray.  Okay maybe I am that, but because it was the Worst Best Marathon Ever!

 

My new friend Ryan in the med tent.  2 hours of leg spasm fun!

My new friend Ryan in the med tent. 2 hours of leg spasm fun!

Relaxing with my friends, my new medal and a great glass of wine!

Relaxing with my friends, my new medal and a great glass of wine!

My new jewelry!  Love it, Earned it, Now time to train for another one!

My new jewelry! Love it, Earned it, Now time to train for another one!

775.50, 11.5, 1670, 26.2

No, this is not some special code.  These are some very important miles.  The first one, 775.5 is the amount of miles I have completed since I signed up to run the OKC marathon again.  Some days I can feel all of the 775.5 insanemiles on my body while other days I am in disbelief that I have gone that far.  While yet other times I begin to question whether this is even enough.  Then I gather my thoughts and just think, what are your expectations this year and how does this compare to last year (which was my very first time to run the marathon)?  The answer, it’s a huge difference.  I know so much more this year, how to fuel better, I have stronger core than last year, I’m running faster and farther, and this will not be my last marathon (why, because I’m insane but also insane and seeing improvements I like).

taperingThe next number, 11.5 miles, is the amount of miles I have left to go before the marathon.  So really those are just taper miles which most of them are done kind of slowly just to keep my legs stretched out and get rid of this extra energy.  These miles also allow me to think and pace.  Practice a little more control because I don’t know about you but I go out fast which is great if you are running a 5K but not so great if you are running a 42K.  I have also found that as I run these last few miles, I struggle.  I struggle with nerves and side pains and leg aches.  But I think this is normal.  I always heard that if you have bad dress rehearsals you’ll have a good show.  So that is what I’m going for because I really think most of it is nerves, I’m prepared for this.

1670 miles is the amount of miles I have to travel in order to get to the starting line, halfway across the country.  I am ready to travel and see my family and friends, I know it will be great to see everyone.  As I watched some of the television coverage of the memorial service that happened this past Saturday (April 19) in Oklahoma, I was reminded again why I run.  As I watch television each night leading okcmarathonchairup the Boston Marathon, I am reminded why I run.  For me it is for the people who cannot whether they were hurt badly in Boston or Oklahoma, or were killed by the two senseless acts, we are a people who overcome and persevere.  I also run for myself.  Not to be self-centered, but I run because of how it makes me feel.  That feeling of accomplishment as I push through one goal and achieve another, go farther than ever before, do things I never, ever thought I could.  I run to get out of my head.  As a person who has struggled with past traumas and battled depression, I run for my mental health.  Believe it or not running motivates me and refreshes my inner soul.

And finally there is the 26.2 miles that may seem like the end but is really only another step in this running adventure.  They say the marathon does not begin at the starting line the day of the race but it starts the day you started running.  I didn’t always think I could or would run a marathon but here I am signed up, trained and feeling pretty ready for this next 26.2.

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Mental Toughness

mentalIt’s important but sometimes we don’t spend as much time working on it as we do the physical.  I’m talking about the mental, the things we tell ourselves, the part that keeps us going when all we want to do is quit.

Yesterday my mental toughness was tested and quite frankly I almost failed (Yippee I didn’t but I was on the edge).  As a part of my training it was one of my last long runs (the last one is next weekend) and this was supposed to be good.  Well in my mind it was gonna be good.  I had the nervous stomach (like a race), I had the restless legs that were aching to get out there, the route was planned out, my pit crew (Dave) was gonna ride along and entertain me as well as fuel me as I went.  I also had the doubt that I could actually run 22 miles because it would be my longest distance since last year’s marathon.  Sounds like it’s gonna be a rockstar kind of day! mental1

So off we went to the local rail trail.  Dave dropped me off to go run a few errands and we were gonna meet up about an hour into the run, which would be perfect because quite frankly biking along side someone is probably hard because I’m not going all that fast!  5 minutes after he left my mental toughness was tested.  What I couldn’t see up ahead and around the corner was the fact the rail trail was still iced over.  I was thinking “great, now what, I have run or do something for the next hour because although it is 50 degrees, I’m in shorts and Dave won’t be back for a while.”  So I did what every crazy runner would do, I kept running, running and hoping that the ice would go away.

Well it went away for about a total of a mile but then it was patchy, slushy, and just overwhelmingly disheartening.  I wanted to quit.  In my mind when I saw the first two miles on my garmin in the 9’s I started beating myself up.  “oh this is great, why are we doing this, is this really gonna help you train?”  That is when it hit me, it’s gonna train you mentally!  If you can get through this than you can get through the marathon because this is the area you need to work on right now.  I’ve spent the last 8 months working on the physical and now as the date gets closer I really need to concentrate on the mental.  The mental is what is going to get me across that finish line because physically I’m ready.  So I reframed it and thought, okay hips and legs, let’s get the feeling for running for a long time!  Guess what, it worked.  Especially when I was ice skating for miles 5 and 6 and finally turned around knowing that biking this would be no fun for Dave.

mental3I had to rethink how to get those miles 11 – 22 instead of a somewhat flat run I had to change my mentality to where I had been training on the hilly area that I could keep running to from the rail trail.  So back to Devens I went!  Nothing like taking on lots of hills after you have taken on the obstacle course of ice.  I kept thinking, “you will be stronger for this.”

I’m proud to say that I pushed through the hills and the garmin times that didn’t get much better, but I did it.  Physically it was a challenge, but mentally it was a moment of conquering something huge.  I wanted to stop about 1000 times and could’ve with some great excuses, but I didn’t.  Now I look at my times and I think, if I made it through those obstacles, how nice will be it be to be on a course where really the only obstacles will be other runners and maybe the weather.  Because now I’m mentally stronger and I have this run to prove that I can overcome.

This mental toughness is something that can translate into our lives.  My work is all mental, teaching others to change their thoughts into more optimistic future oriented thoughts, to strengthen and discover what they are made of and make the most of it.  Build up their mental toughness!   Mine is on track how about yours?  How do you build your toughness?  Do you need to or do you have a story of how yours was built?

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