"Whenever you think you are giving it all you have, give just a little bit more"

Monday, December 19, 2011

I lost that loving feeling...........

So I woke up this morning and decided I didn't WANT to run. First I skipped my normal morning run time to stay home with Tripp hang out and even clean telling myself I would run after I dropped him off. I dropped him off at school and decided I would push it back just a little to go tan, but during my tan I decided I was just going to skip it all together. I was going to go shopping do something without a schedule just enjoy me time. I did fight with myself the whole 20 minutes saying I bet Kara, Des, Janet, Shalane, on and on never just don't want to run. What is wrong with you? You are less than a month away from this big race its such an honor and you don't want to run. I even cried on my way to Target, what a loser I was skipping running and not even caring. Before you judge me and think wow she doesn't even deserve this I'll tell you how I think I got here.

Do you remember what it was like when you first started running? Just go and run, no Garmin, no time, no goal just go and run. Let your mind wonder, run until you thought that was far enough. It felt SO good! After I qualified for the trials I became this crazy obsessed person! EVERY run was a concern for me. Even on easy days I would strap on my Garmin and watch it like a hawk. "What mile one was 5 seconds slower than the last time I ran this course, why does this slow pace hurt so much push harder, crap I'm not going fast enough". It started to be that I wanted to push every day. My easy days had to be the same pace or faster than the one before. Workouts were great! Slowly the mileage would increase, some days were doubles, long progression runs were so awesome! I didn't really see what I was doing to myself.

Than I got this awesome opportunity to go to Japan! I was so super excited, but at the same time I didn't want to change the race schedule I already had. Which ended up meaning that over the course of 3 weeks I would only be home for 9 days with my family. Of course they were supportive and as most runners know when you are feeling good you want to run every race you can make it to. When I would tell someone my schedule they would say wow how are you going to handle that? Even Scott kept reminding me non of these races are going to be PR's you are just going to have to reconcile that, this is marathon training. I pretended like I was ok with that but than I was disappointed in my time in Japan, I was pissed that I ended up getting sick in Vegas and only running a 1:16 and than there was XC. I actually wanted to contribute to the team this year. They all just nagged at me. At the same time the few days I was home I was so worried about making sure I was spending time with my family that I had myself on this nutty schedule. It got to a point that I would make sure I was at my first run at this time than lifting/core was at that time and my second run had to start at this time. Most days all of that would be within four hours. I knew it wasn't ideal but I didn't know how else to make it work. I would run a ten mile, lift and do core than have my second run within an hour from finishing my first. It was wearing me out. Than to top it off I was doing everything alone not because my friends didn't want to run but because I was being a nut.

While walking through Target shopping I was trying to figure this out in my head. How did I get here? As my friend Bri reminded me earlier this week "Remember how bad you wanted this, this was all you worked so hard for". I could look at the last page of Running Times and see the picture from the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials and think "Wow that is so amazing look at those women" and not see that I was lucky enough this time to be one of the women in that race. I came up with I forgot how to LOVE running. Time, pace, distance, everything had become so much more important. I do want to point out this is no ones fault but my own. My coach wasn't the one pushing me to do this in fact he is more concerned with my recovery and workouts than the easy runs, I was doing this to myself. It's great to be competitive but sometimes you just need to listen to your body and run. After spending way too much money I was sitting in my car waiting for Tripp to get out of school reading Twitter when I came across Josh Cox tweet
"Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit" George Sheehan
This couldn't be anymore true! What was wrong with me I am in great shape, I love running I was just getting to myself this was stupid.
I picked up Tripp went home did a nice easy short run. No watch nothing just my nice 4.5 mile loop. Than tonight while the boys were wrestling I set out on my 10 miler. I put my Garmin on and promised myself I wouldn't look. Just run, run by feel, enjoy it who cares how slow or fast you run. The result???? It was the best run I have had in a long time. Just carefree and wonderful. I really do love everything about running! And want to know the funny thing? I ran it in the same time I always do! My body knows what the pace is, it wasn't slow at all. It was only different because I turned my head off and ran! I wasn't all worked up over anything. It was a cold, crisp, beautiful night and I enjoyed every mile of it! Sometimes I let my head rule everything. The races kind of frustrated me and I talked myself into thinking I'm not in as good of shape as I thought I was. The marathon is getting so close and I'll be honest I'm getting very scared! I've never run one before I always swore I wouldn't but now I am going to and not knowing what to expect was freaking me out. I've had a lot of issues with taking GU and drinks on my long runs so I told myself I was going to crash in the race. Let's be honest talk is cheap. I have been telling myself for so long now that I was going to run in the trials it's going to be awesome, no pressure on yourself just enjoy the experience. The truth is yes no one else has put pressure on me, but I have! I have a goal time and I want so badly to achieve it. But it's not the end all be all. There are four goals for this race.
1) Finish so you can call yourself a marathoner!
2) the acceptable time- you know the time you will run if not everything goes according to plan but you could run it on any given day
3)the realistic time- this is the one all of your training runs are pointing to. The time you will run if things go right.
4) the ultimate goal! Now this is the one I've only achieved at a few races.It's the time you put out there that you will hit if the running gods are on your side that day. EVERYTHING goes right and somehow you find this crazy extra gear.

I guess my point is I'm sure running is hard for everyone at some point. I'm sure even the girls at the top struggle from time to time with motivation, pressure or time issues. (Ok at least I hope!) I had a lot of people over this weekend for an awesome holiday party were I was asked several times "How do you do it? How do you run so hard? You make it look so easy" The truth is I have no idea how I do it and it is anything but easy! Even during the best opportunities it's a hard balance between family, kids, friends and running. The main thing is I really do LOVE running and I am so incredibly blessed with this opportunity to run in the OLYMPIC TRIALS! I can't even tell you the support I have from my community. All of my friends and family are excited for me! There is a chance I will have the most crowd support on race day so many friends and family members will be there! I even have that weeks vacation after the race with my brother/sister in law, nieces, brother and my amazing family to look forward to! I'm a VERY lucky girl!

So yes I am CRAZY! But now when I wake up tomorrow I will be excited to go run and the big race is getting so close!!!!!!! All in the span of a day I lost/gained, loved/hated, needed/dreaded and came to terms with running. I hope you all realize I am not being ungrateful I only wanted to share this with you so if you ever come to a point in life and you question why you are doing what you are doing that it's normal. And hey on the bright side I'm sure you aren't nearly as cray as me!!!!!!! :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When did I become that runner?

A little over a year ago when I first started to feel like I was getting really competitive I went to race the Garden of the Gods 10 mile in Colorado Springs. The race itself was pretty awful and hard but it was after the race that I saw an older women in her 50's walking through the crowd who had pooped herself. At that point I looked at my family and made a promise that I would NEVER be that person. If I ever felt like I had to use the bathroom or throw up I would just stop and drop out of the race. This last weekend that all changed............

Before the half on Sunday I had been very worried about racing at night. I have a touchy stomach so I knew I had to be careful. My game plan was wake up a little late, get my morning run in, eat a late breakfast around 11-11:30 and than my normal coffee and bagel two hours pre race. After a lot of walking I ended up eating at Max Brenner in Caesars Palace (PS finding a healthy place to eat in Vegas is a chore). I decided on an omellette with cheese, veggies and some potatoes. Half way through the meal I didn't feel great and had to force myself to finish my food: which is odd for me lately. During the last 6 weeks of marathon training I have been a human garbage disposal., but I chalked it up to nerves and finished the meal. I spent the rest of the day walking around a little and although I should have gotten off my feet I was a bit sick to my stomach and figured walking would keep my legs loose and calm my nerves. At least I thought that's what it was.

I made it through the day and proceeded to the start early to get my coffee, bagel and bib. This should have been my next clue of what was to come. I couldn't force myself to finish my coffee and all of you who know me know I could normally drink pots and pots of it. But again I chalked it up to nerves. I knew I wasn't nervous for the race as it was only the first half of my workout for the weekend and a good text of fitness for the trials. I was however nervous about getting my bib. The Rock n Roll races are always just so big and I usually have my stuff well before race start, but I got in to late saturday night to get to the expo. Sunday at the start was my only option. When I first talked to Matt (the awesome elite coordinator) he assured me it wouldn't be an issue, but again those of you who know me know I am a worrier. Once I found the solutions tent I started to calm down. The staff was so helpful I got my bib and was walked over to the VIP tent to wait the next 1 1/2 hours to race start. This is where Rock n Roll does an amazing job! Like I said it was a cold night and we were set up with heaters, restrooms, coffee, tea, and food.

Before I knew it it was time to warm up and here was my final sign of what was to come. I even said out loud "Man I still don't feel great I feel like I might throw up" Again I thought even though this is a no pressure race its normal to get jittery. Luckily we had Matt to walk us over to the start because I can't describe to you the mess that was the crowd of runners and spectators. As we got ready to roll I caught up with Mattie Suver an awesome runner I met in Philly. Both of us were just using Vegas as a "workout" and hadn't cut back during the week as we were in the bulk of our marathon build up. We talked about going out in a conservative 5:45ish which made me feel good. Running a half is so much easier together and having someone with the same goal calmed me.
Somehow we all made it to the start although not all together it was crazy. Shortly after the coolest national anthem I have ever heard at a race we were off and running. I went out in a pace I felt comfortable in jostling for position in the first mile for an open spot. I noticed a lot of girls in front and around me who are close to my ability so I felt good. We got to the first mile a little faster than I had planned (5:26)but it felt east so I didn't worry. The next few miles clipped off great. You know the races you have when you don't even look at your watch for splits you just hit the split button and keep on going? My legs felt amazing given the high mileage I had for the week and I was confident. That was soon going to come to an end. I got into this nice pack of five women shortly after the 5k and we were just steadily picking people off. Around 5-6 mile my stomach started to feel really quesy so I slowed just a tad tried to burp it out and kept plugging along. I could still see the pack I was good and well ahead of WO pace. I just couldn't get the feeling to go away so I thought one of two things you are either pushing too hard, these girls are awesome or you just ate too much today, don't worry the feeling will go away soon.Between mile 8-9 I knew I was gonna throw up. I desperately didn't want to slow and lose my position so I tried throwing up on the run. This my friends is when I realized I had become THAT runner. The one who would keep going at all costs, pooping, vomit non of it mattered. I wanted to stay on pace. Plus I figured once I threw up I would be fine. Unfortunately throwing up on the run must be a skill I don't have it ended up bending me over. It was pretty quick and painless so I kept on running. I caught back up to the girl I had been running with and thought I was going to be fine.

Soon I left the girl and was picking a lot of guys off but I still wasn't feel very good. I just couldn't get my stomach to cooperate. For a moment around 12 I though I am gonna have to drop out of this race I can't stop and throw up again I have already wasted enough time. Than I remembered back to my DNF at Mt Sac. That was the worst feeling I have ever had. I was going to finish this race no matter what. I don't care if I end up running a 90 minute half. Needless to say I was within a quarter mile of the finish and I couldn't control it this time I REALLY had to throw up. I stopped and was there for a good amount of time, it seemed like I was throwing up for an eternity! A medical guy came over to see if I was ok and being stubborn I just shrugged him off. In the process of throwing up 4 girls ran past me. I noticed every single one and as soon as I could stand back up I took off in as much of a sprint as I could muster. I managed to pass a couple but just couldn't get back to the other two. I crossed the finish line and must have looked like hell (or I was called in from the medical people on the course. Someone needs to make sure the crazy girl f14 is ok :) ) because the medical people were all over me trying to hold me. I told them I was fine. Honestly I was just more upset that I gad just had a great opening race and than all the throw up ruined the race as well as my pretty new racing flats! I still just assumed it must have been something I ate. Sadly I felt horrible on the cool down so had to cut it short, went back to grab my stuff and decided I needed the air so I was going to walk back to my hotel 3 miles away. I am very lucky I didn't get arrested because I had to stop and throw up in trash cans on my way to the hotel. People probably thought I was just really drunk. Sadly I spent the rest of my time in Vegas sick. Not exactly what I had planned and I was more upset that being sick was causing me to miss the second half of my workout Monday morning as I couldn't even get out of bed to walk, eat or drink without getting sick. Than my trip only got worse when I got to the airport and my flight was cancelled. I t meant I had to stay at the airport until almost 10 pm take a flight to LA, sleep there and hope to get on a flight Tuesday morning so I could make it to my son's play. This was turning out to be the worst trip I had ever taken!!!

Now that I am home and have had time to reflect on the race and weekend I have a lot of thoughts. First and foremost I am freaked out that 34 days from the trials I missed a couple of key days including a workout and some high mileage. I've never run a marathon before and all of a sudden I feel really unprepared and scared. I know it's silly given I am in great shape but missing a week is so scary this close! Second I am most proud of this race out of all the races I have EVER run. No it wasn't a PR, far from it actually, but I proved a lot to myself. I know that come Jan 14th there is going to be a time when I want to throw up I learned how to run through it. But I am most proud that I finished! I felt horrible throwing up and running and I feel like this was a point in my running that I realized I am a real competitor! I will give it everything I have! I still did ok I finished 10th in a really stacked field and my time wasn't horrible 1:16:15. I'm very proud of myself for being strong and gutting through it. Now I have two days home before I am off to Clubs and I am hoping this race will go a lot better :)

Monday, November 7, 2011


Sometimes running can really get in to your head. Since July training and racing has been going so incredibly well I have felt like the sky was the limit........THAN.....I went out and did a marathon pace workout at the Heart Center Half marathon. I don't really know why I was expecting it to go so much better than it did. Last week I really pushed my body Sunday running my longest run ever a 20 mile progression in just over 2 hours followed by a 9x mile workout on Weds ranging from 5:22-5:31. All my other runs of the week were 8-10 mile runs in the morning between 6:30-7 min pace and a 4-5 mile easy evening run. All week long my legs felt pretty spent, but I still had this great idea that my MP workout was going to be a lot more than just a workout, I was going to somehow run faster than that. I mean it's a race right my legs would just snap back at it. I quickly learned from the start that my legs weren't going to snap to anything. The guys took off pretty fast and I kept telling myself it's cold, the ground is muddy, icy, and just not perfect for me. Once we get out of this loop (close to 6 miles)and on the street I will be able to get in the swing of things. Truth was once we got out of the dirt my legs just felt worse. I think all of the uneven ground worked my legs so much differently than what I am use to and the mile markers were so off I decided to just stop looking at them because one mile would be 6 something than the next would be 4 something. It was really messing with my head and it didn't help that I was all alone. Long story short I ended up averaging just over 6 minutes for the half. I crossed the finish line and really wanted to cry! Which is so silly. Had this been a workout outside of a race situation I probably would have been a bit disappointed as I wanted to run 5:50's but not defeated. I knew going in the course was tough, but I still couldn't handle it.

Than this nice man walked over to me and said "Are you Wendy Thomas? I have been following you, your story is so inspiring." After talking to him for a bit another woman walked over to tell me "IT was so great seeing you run so fast! I was here watching my daughter and she is really impressed with you." I've been in this situation before and I have learned instead of feeling sorry for myself to these people I needed to thank them and appreciate this fact. For me it's hard. I tend to put a lot of weight on my shoulders and when I run a time that I feel is so slow I feel like I have let myself down, my kids down, my family down, my coach and all the people who believe in me down. Than I start to think why on earth am I getting the opportunity to run with team USA in Japan? I'm going to run horrible in the Vegas half, I'm going to let my team down in Seattle at the XC meet and don't even get me started on the trials.

Yes I came home walked in the door saw the sign from my kids, Our mommy rocks (yes that is still up from my half in Philly two months ago) and started crying. I spent the rest of the day really down on myself questioning everything. Luckily Sunday was the NYC marathon. I sat on my couch watching every second. Trying to absorb all the lessons I could, do not go out to fast, respect the distance, see how those guys are running with their bottle for a bit and just sipping, see the women falling in and drafting. At the same time I was following a friend online as he tackled the tough course. I was inspired!!! I could see on TV the exact point that Mary started to hurt, I could see online the exact point that my friend and others I followed started to struggle. All I could think is it would be SO much easier for them to just stop. But non of them did they all pushed and finished. After the race I began texting Corey to tell him how inspired I was by him pushing through and finishing. He was disappointed like I had been the day before. I told him how he didn't let anyone down he was amazing! Pushing showed so much about his character, how there are so many people that would give anything to run the time he did. His response took me out of my funk. He said "Does that advice work for you? :)" HE was right! That nice guy and mom were so impressed by me. No one other than me thought holy crap she just ran that slow. How did she go from a 1:13 to a 1:19 in a couple months. No one but me was thinking that (I HOPE :)). Races and workouts have been going better than expected for a while. I had one bad workout! Yes it was HORRIBLE, but I finished it. I wanted to quit at 4 miles my body was so tired and cold. But I didn't I pushed! That in itself was an accomplishment. I'm sure come January I am going to want to quit somewhere after 20 miles when my body just hates me. It's workouts like Saturday that will remind me I am strong enough to push through. I am in the best shape I have ever been in, but my body is working so hard I can't expect it to always be at 100%. I'm sure that was part of the reason Scott wanted me to do this race on tired sore legs. I've worked hard for all of this I can't let one workout get me down.

So thank you to all of you who support me and believe in me. It's all of you that make me finish a race when I want to give up. It's you that make me pull my head out of my funk! It's all of you that get me through the day to day struggle. I have to remember how blessed I am! I am going to Japan! I'm going to the trials! I'm going to have a kick a** time with my team in Seattle!

A friend sent this to me a week or so ago and I have a feeling I will look back on it a lot the next couple of months.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith"
2 Timothy 4:7

Now off to training!!!!!!