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.

 

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!

Slowing down and being resistant

resistanceI don’t know about you but slowing down is a struggle for me.  In everyday life, with everyday situations I work my hardest to get the outcome I want and know if I slow down I may not get it.  I work hard and want to reap the rewards.  But sometimes it takes slowing down to reap the rewards.

I know, I know, that does not make sense.  Here is my take on it.  We need to slow down to enjoy the journey.  We need to slow down and look around and appreciate what is there.  Appreciate what we are doing, the process.  Life is more about the journey than the end product.  And best of all I think the end product will be better because we have taken the time to enjoy the ride (Oh and life is a ride!).

Right now at our house there is a LOT of things up in the air.  One example is my house itself.  We are in the middle or mid beginning of remodeling.  Not quite sure how to describe it other than we have our living room floor in but plywood in the kitchen and bathroom, a toilet on our back porch and half my kitchen in my living room (which does make it easy to get a drink since the fridge is only 10 feet away from the couch!).   I want to speed this process up because it sucks to come home to chaos at the end of the day.  Also we have some transitions in jobs that are happening and that is a stressor I would much rather skip thank you very much!

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My local rail trail. What a beautiful place to run.

So how do I handle these things and not be so resistant to change, enjoy the change and the adventure.  Well for me, I try something new with running.  Why not?  It’s my stress reliever!  Today I began working on slowing down my running.  I know it sounds weird that I would try to slow down when most of the time we are all trying to speed up but I’ve been trying to figure out how to go father and keep a stronger pace.  All the stuff I have been reading has been talking about slowing down to be able to run further and actually in the end go faster.  I don’t know about you but I struggle to slow down and then by the end of my runs I am pushing myself to the extreme and then I am faster but at the expense of the rest of my body.  I’m exhausted, my old, tired body becomes more sore and struggles in the repair stage/rest stage.

Today I worked on trying to stay in a low intensity state of mind and time by running at what I thought was a low intensity.  You are supposed to do this with a heart rate monitor but I forgot mine so I went by feel.  I figured that if I went at least a minute slower than what I thought, I would be about 80% of my effort and hopefully in the low intensity area.  Not sure where I got a minute from but when I read about elite athletes they mentioned running some runs 2 mins slower than their actual race pace.  Since I am a weekend warrior, I figured one minute would be good.  The whole philosophy is to run most of your training runs at low intensity effort and the other 20% at high or moderate intensity.  Here is a link for a better description from Running Times.

I’m hoping it works.  Today it felt pretty good.

That brings me back to slowing down…

IMG_1475At first it was hard.  It was hard to wrap my head around being outside doing the 10 mile distance and it taking longer than usual.  It was hard to keep a slower pace.  It was hard to hold back.  But I started to get out of my head, look around a little more, just enjoy the fact I was doing something I really enjoy and feel each step.  It began to get easier, I started saying “Hi” to everyone on the trail, smiled a little more, and enjoyed the breeze at my back (then hitting me in the face on the return).  The benefit was that I enjoyed the journey.  When I got done, I was ready to be done, but I wasn’t hurting from pushing too hard, I wasn’t upset that it was in the 80’s and I should have gone out earlier, I was relaxed.  I felt like I listened to my body and my head was in a better place.  Overall I would say it was a success and I am looking forward to training for my next marathon this way and hoping that it will work.  And as far as slowing down and enjoying my everyday life journey, that still needs work but I think I learned some things to help:

1) Quit being resistant!

2) Change is okay and necessary.

3) I need to smile more and enjoy the journey.

4) Stay in the present moment embrace what is going on maybe even finding solace in the chaos.

5) The change will make you better and stronger!

It’s amazing what a good long run will do for your brain!  🙂  Happy Running!

 Anyone ever tried this plan?  Did it work for you?  How about slowing down in general, do you struggle with this as much as I do?

Quick snack after the run.  Cold pizza and a protein drink.  Probably should work on my diet next!  :-)

Quick snack after the run. Cold pizza and a protein drink. Probably should work on my diet next! 🙂

 

Finally Outside!!!

IMG_0996I was so excited today.  I got out of work and it was over 60 degrees with clear skies.  I raced (okay drove and tried to keep it within the speed limit) home so I could throw on my shoes and get a run outside.  Did I mention I was sooooo excited?!

Off I went with a goal of 6 miles because, of course, that is what the plan called for.  It became apparent very quickly that I was not going to make 6 miles.  My calves tightened up even after my repeated stops to stretch them out.  I started to get mad and aggravated but just decided to enjoy the weather and turn the run into a walk run because I didn’t want to hurt myself, after all I have a marathon in less than 4 weeks!

After making it home I spent a good 20 minutes stretching and rolling my legs and changing my attitude.  I wanted to run 6 miles but I only ran 4 so I changed my thought to, “Yeah, I’m glad I got to get outside and run.”

Ignore the reflective white legs!

Ignore the reflective white legs!

I was stressed about getting hurt and what am I going to do about the marathon so I changed the thought to, “I’m glad I took it easy because I would hate to get hurt before the marathon.  So glad that I can roll out my legs, put on my compression socks and relax so my legs will feel better tomorrow and for my long run this weekend.”

This is what I teach my clients all the time.  It’s about changing your attitude and your thoughts.  I try to practice it on a daily basis and I can say it was helpful today.  Now don’t get me wrong, I still want to get out there and run those two miles that I did not finish today but in thinking about it, I would rather be healthy to continue my training than push myself and get hurt especially this close to the race.

Do you ever have runs that don’t go like you planned?  What do you do?