Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My First Marathon......well almost.

So, Seattle Rock n' Roll Marathon - my first? Well, it depends if completing 25 miles well and then getting taken in by the medics counts. Oh, the tears that roll down my cheeks as I write this entry....
I ran over the first half of the race with my friend Michelle (who ended up qualifying for Boston!! - way to go friend!), she has a few Marathons under her belt and she helped to pace me and not go out to strong & certainly encouraged me. Our pace felt good - I felt strong. Around mile 16 - I remember starting to feel like I couldn't wait for the drink stops - I was SO thirsty. I had hydrating the day before, the morning of and drank at EVERY hydration table along the race - switching between water and electrolytes at each stop. By mile 19 or 20 - something was wrong - I was feeling right. It wasn't just an endurance issue, my legs felt strong - I was starting to feel a little dizzy. I knew I had my dad coming to join me soon to finish with me - so I kept my mind on that. By mile 22 or 23 - it was getting worse - I started to sway on the course - I was feeling weird! It wasn't pain - because I know myself - I can push through pain. I finally let my dad in on how bad I was feeling around mile 24 and he offered to take a walk break but in my stubbornness - I wanted to keep running - I was SO CLOSE, it was taking so much focus to stay upright - I was dizzy, my sight was getting blurry and my head kept flopping back - it felt like my head weighed 100 pounds. At mile 24 I was at 3:37 - on pace to finish under 4 hours! At mile 25 my body said this was the end of the race - I almost passed out, my dad helped me to the side and my dad and I sat staring at the 25 mile marker sign , listening to the cheers from the finish line, as the medics checked me out. The excitement of the finish so near is enough to keep anyone going - but my body wasn't listening. I thought if I sat there for a few minutes - i could at least slowly finish - forget about the under 4 hour finish at this point - I just wanted to cross that finish line. I tried to stand a few times and kept almost falling over. It wasn't my legs or muscles not being able to do it - this wasn't any ting that had to do with my training, my determination, my strength - I wasn't getting better - I was getting worse - it was hard to even talk without complete focus. They decided to take me to the medic tent. My heart broke as they drove me behind the finish line - I heard all the cheering, knowing my family and Friends were waiting there for me and I laid there with a million tough ts swirling through my mind and it was so disheartening. They let me know that I was very dehydrated and that my sodium levels were low. How?? What happened?? I was diligent in my liquid intake. I know that once your sodium levels drop you are unable to retain fluids - but why would mine have dropped so low??
I didn't get to celebrate with my family that had drove 3 hours to cheer me on, my friends, my best friend who had gone through all the training and excitement with me. As I was laying in the medic tent trying not to throw up, looking at the spinning tent roof, having salt packets poured under my tongue, realizing my time had passed me by to cross that finish line...I was thinking, Is this REALLY happening??, only one mile left!!! I was sad, mad & a little scared of how my body felt.

My sweet friend Julie showed up to check on me - when she should have been celebrating her victory of finishing her first marathon! She handed me my medal.....still haven't decided if I can hang it. Having a loyal best friend is a huge blessing, but I have guilt knowing that because she feels my joy and pain right along with me - that this is taking away from her experience a bit. We planned this whole "first marathon" together & I couldn't have gotten through it together. It is her time to be selfish and say "I did it!" I am so proud of her. My sister got pictures of her coming through that finish line in typical Julie style - with a HUGE smile on her face!

Julie & I before the race.

So, let's talk of the victories of the experience. So, yes I completed my 4 month training and ran a pretty good 25 miles of the race (even if I was staggering the last few!). I know that these accomplishments are something to be celebrated and I will. I have a feeling my sore muscles will heal a little sooner than my disappointment though. It may sound a little dramatic, but I truly did not know how much my heart was into this until now. The biggest celebrating is in reality of the amazing circle of people around me that have encouraged me through my training, ran beside me on long runs, have cried along with me and encouraged & celebrated me in the last few days, & that are here in my everyday life. To have family and friends in your life that cheer you on through your up and downs in life is truly a far greater victory than crossing any finish line!

Julie & I with our hubbies. Couldn't have done it without them!

My Dad & I - carb loading the night before. So glad he was there at the end to hold me up both emotionally & physically!

My Family that traveled to cheer me on & still are! Thank you guys - I love you.

Cards, Flowers & This sign is what I came home to - I have amazing friends!!

This may not have been my plan for this race, but when in life do things truly go according to OUR plan. God is teaching is & will teach me something through this as He does in all things. As my amazing husband wrote to me.."Life/Running is a Journey, and we have to learn to adjust and be open to adversity." Certainly many others have faced far more devastating adversity than this. I will use and take it to the next start line with me!

And so my Inspired Miles continue. Portland Marathon Bound - hmmmmm.???

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The POWER of the mind

Today I had my last long run of my Marathon training - which should have ended with a feeling of victory & confidence. First, I thought, probably naively, that it would be easy compared to all the miles that I have put in lately. It was not!! It was hard from beginning to end and my mind started to mess with me. To give a little history on one of my biggest mental blocks during this training. Last October during a half marathon that I trained VERY hard for and felt really good going into -I tore my anterior tibialis.

This was my trophy from the race!!

It took me out for a good few months and the beginning of my marathon training was very slow due to the advice of my doctor. I wanted it to heal right - so I laid off on hard sprint and hill training this go around and put the miles in and to take it easy when it hurt. No cross training - just running when it felt right. Needless, to say I am going into this Marathon in good ENDURANCE shape, but not the shape I wanted to be for this marathon. I have done all my long runs and only had to cut a few mid-week runs short due to pain and tightness. Anyway, my mind was going crazy this morning with fears and worries. About my injury, about choosing the right pace, the right gels (which have been giving me a little issues lately), hydrating enough, is this the time for me?, should I have trained harder? ect. ect.!!
So, I am going to be thankful that I CAN run, focus on what I HAVE accomplished and pray that my body and mostly my mind are friends with me this Saturday.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


in•spi•ra•tion (nsp-rshn)
a. Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity.
b. The condition of being so stimulated.
2. An agency, such as a person or work of art, that moves the intellect or emotions or prompts action or invention.
3. Something, such as a sudden creative act or idea, that is inspired.
4. The quality of inspiring or exalting: a painting full of inspiration.
5. Divine guidance or influence exerted directly on the mind and soul of humankind.
6. The act of drawing in, especially the inhalation of air into the lungs.
It seems as though I am beginning this whole blogging- running log quite late in the game of my marathon training, but hopefully not late in the game in perspective of the miles I have ahead of me in my running journey. My best friend and I are running the Seattle Rock n' Roll marathon in a week and a half (June 26th) - our first! Where better to start than on my taper weeks and during a week at the beach with my family. The beach…a truly perfect setting to be inspired, to have to time to be inspired and to actually sit down and write about it. I have to say that so many others running blogs have become encouragement to me that I thought I may as well join the fun! I do have to make a disclaimer that I am not as gifted with time management as the rest of you with posting or let's be honest - even checking my e-mail. I usually take care of whatever is right in front of me and my computer never ends in front of me some days. So, I am going to do my best to keep up with this and share thoughts on running and everything else that comes along with it.

Ok -I just have to say that in the definition that I included at the beginning - look at #6 - how perfect is that??!! Love it!

What inspires me to run??............ Probably the same things that inspire me through most things in life - but these are the things that swarm through my mind as I am pushing the pavement (or treadmill).
As anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I am quite the daddy's girl - so that is where my first memories of running began...in junior high going out for runs with my dad. So, how appropriate that my dad will be running the last 6 miles of my first marathon with me!

My incredible Dad who first sparked my love of running!

I have always enjoyed running, but have picked it up again in the last few years. My two beautiful children put a little hold on my running for a little while. My best friend and decided to run a half marathon together about 3 years ago (my husband ended up running as well - but vows to only do 10k or less from now on) - knowing that with little ones at home we needed to have a goal on the calendar. And so the journey began. At that time I was inspired by the challenge of running, the idea of having something of my own, the freedom of a break from the joys and challenges of being a stay at home mom. Julie & I chose The Surf City Half Marathon - knowing that a guarantee of a little time away with our hubbies and some sun would keep us motivated. Through my training it was so encouraging to feel like I successfully completed something that day –as I found that motherhood also came along with a never disappearing to do list. Even if a shower was not in the cards that day - it felt great to finish a run.

The day before my first half marathon my mom (my best friend) - was diagnosed with cancer. That day my whole perspective changed. I had to make a decision to be driven by fear and anger or hope – I chose HOPE (a little fear certainly crept in there at times). My sweet mom wouldn't let me miss my race. So I ran - I ran for her and found a whole new meaning to inspiration. As much as I remember that race being fun – I was in such a fog that I don’t even remember my finish time – somewhere under 2 hours. While I walked beside, sat beside, & lay beside my sweet mom during her battle with cancer - I would find time for a run & running became a needed escape from my reality and an on-call therapist. I ran hard (partly because if I was really sweaty then my tears wouldn't show!)...I had no PR's in mind, no goals in mind, no race on the calendar - I had HOPE in mind and was inspired by the thought of what my mom's body was not capable of. My sweet mom lost her battle with cancer 9 months later. Her beautiful face gives me inspiration! Every time I want to stop, slow down or think I can't do it - I keep going knowing that she is cheering me on and if she can fight the battle that she did...then I can do this. During this chapter of my life I drew from the strength of my little sister (affectionately called Sissy), my other family and friends that held me up during those days and still continue to as I heal from an incredible loss. I learned that my best friend and running buddy is not only the best support and encourager in running but even more so in the downhills of life. In truth, I know my real strength – the kind that cannot be explained, came from God - He gave me more strength than I ever thought I embodied. That is one reason I run today - I am inspired and encouraged by the strength that I have been gifted when it seems impossible to run or even stand strong. What strength does God reserved for me that I haven't tapped into so far? I am still strengthening - remain to heal. I will always be inspired by the life of and the battle my mother fought.. I take a part of her on every run. I look forward to the miles ahead of my life - good and bad whether the journey is in running shoes or not.

So, this marathon is in honor of her. The strongest, funniest, most generous, honoriest and most loving woman I have ever known. How appropriate that the Seattle Rock n' Roll Marathon benefits the American Cancer Society. Hopefully one day we will find the answers to this horrible disease.

My Incredible husband, my beautiful kids, my sisters, my best friend, my health, my other sweet friends, shared stories of successes and struggles from other runner's/women, a good runners high, fun running gear.....heck, even a good Justin Timberlake song( I know, I hate to admit it), some days just to get a break……… all inspire me to run. There is meaning behind our miles. What inspires you??

So, as I have been encouraged and inspired my so many others (even many of you out there I have never met) - now my cyber running journey begins. My miles ahead may not always be taken on with running shoes (I do like to wear a great pair of wedges too!), but they will remain inspired. Here are my thoughts whether compelling or random. I come with my sore muscles (remember I am in week and a half away from my FIRST MARATHON), my triumphs and failures, my goals, my fears and my thoughts on this mom's inspired miles.