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

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fake it til you make it

This last weekend I got to participate in the first US National Road race championships 12k in Alexandria VA and had such a great experience. I can not say enough how much of an honor it was to be involved in the amazing field. USATF did a great job with everything! The course, hospitality, location and competition were all top notch! I can't wait for next years event.

Unfortunately my race was not as top notch as the event. The last couple weeks before the race I had thoughts of dropping out. I knew my speed wasn't back yet and lining up with girls going for the American record was really going to make it show. Yet ultimately being invited to this event was a big deal. It was the first one ever and you had to place high in a USA championship race to be allowed in. Since I knew what an honor it was I figured let's just go and do what we can and enjoy the experience.

As we were walking to the start line Sunday morning we ran in to David Monti who gave us some good advice...fake it til you make it.  I figured yeah why not. I know I can't hang with these girls but lets just pretend. Well right after the gun went off I realized how funny that was. You can not fake it in a field like that. At a mile I found myself very close to last place and started to have a pity party for myself. No matter how much you prepare yourself mentally to get a butt kicking seeing it happen is a lot worse. It's a weird feeling to be racing and feel so good but not be able to make your legs turn over and I was frustrated. Luckily I had my teammates in this race so I just focused on catching up to Mattie as I figured we would be able to work together to pick some girls off. Let me tell you though that was a rough mile working my way back up to her. She is one tough cookie! I have had 6 weeks since my marathon she has only had two and she was doing so good. Well it was so good to catch up to her I think after 5k it just helped me relax to run along side her. I was feeling fabulous and at the turn around was so happy to see Laura Thweat and Brianne running so well I couldn't help but cheer for them. My pace didn't change much while me and Mattie were running together. We were talking to one another and trying to encourage each other during our lack luster performances. Honestly at times it was almost comical. Yup it was happening we were not even close to what we should be but sometimes it's good. I came through 10k in 34:15 which is actually only 12 seconds off of my road PR and just pushed through to the finish. I knew top ten was probably not going to happen unless somehow my legs just magically came back but it's still not any easier when you actually cross the finish line out of the ten. Good for me when I crossed I saw the super sweet amazing Laura Thweat with a flag draped around her! I didn't even care about my pity party I yelled for her and gave her an air high five! Those of you who don't follow her or know her better get on it. She is just starting to show everyone what she is made of. Plus she is a great young lady so it's even better to see her do so well!

I'm taking away the positives from the weekend and actually am not at all upset. I have to be 100% honest. After Twin cities heart break I was planning on doing CIM. I wanted redemption and I wanted it now. So I jumped right back in to running full steam ahead and more excited than ever. Well once everything settled down me and Scott talked and with tears in my eyes and a broken heart we decided it was not the best idea for my future marathon career. I know it's the right thing to do but  after that decision I was not super excited about training. The thing is speed is something I have to work super hard at! It does not come easy at all to me so I knew this was going to be a humbling time of getting my butt kicked at every workout for the foreseeable future. So I was going through the motions. Speed sessions, predator runs, long runs, easy days just doing what I was suppose to without as much heart as I normally have. Well getting your butt kicked at a race will sure change your motivation :) I'm now super excited about speed work. I'm actually even excited about going to Club XC with my team and actually finally running a great XC race! Plus I am even more motivated for the usa half marathon champs!!! I want a new half PR so bad and it is on my birthday so it'll be a fun race! Also it probably doesn't hurt that I now have a marathon on the schedule. I can always focus better on speed when I know it'll help my marathon down the road and it is going to be so amazing to run Boston!!!!! So no more faking it til I make it. Time to put in some good old lung burning 400's, 800's and miles to kick this old ladies butt back in speed shape. Full steam ahead to the half champs and a new PR!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

I'm not mad anymore

It's been 8 days since I toed the line for my second marathon and I am finally done crying. I tried to start this blog many times over the last week but just wasn't ready yet. After a lot of tears, anger, second guessing and doubts I feel like this is my final stage of "grief".  I realize most people don't really care what did or didn't happen but this is my way of being done with it and moving on.

First let me say I have never been more confident in a race than I was when I stepped foot on the start line at Twin Cities. Every part of my build up went better than planned. I raced a lot more this build up and even on dead tired legs was able to get within seconds of my PR's every time, even on tough courses. Workouts were spot on and the paces even scared me at times. The night before the race Scott confirmed with me my game plan. Twin cities has an interesting but somewhat challenging  course since the last 10k climbs a hill for the majority of it. The plan was to go out at 5:40 pace no matter if that meant I was running alone or in a pack. It was the pace I had been killing in long workouts and the pace Scott felt was right for me. Knowing the last 10k was going to be the hardest I knew I just had to be tough mentally and expect pace could drop just a hair with the same effort. My one and only goal that day was to break 2:30 and I was so confident in it I could see the clock in my head. I knew if I could break 2:30 placing would work itself out and even if I was 10th I'd be so happy with the effort.  Scott has never given me a race plan that hasn't been accurate . He is one of the best coaches out there, giving us race plans and paces based off of the course and the work we have out in. I was 100% confident in what he had planned.

My splits
5:32, 5:49, 5:38, 5:32, 5:39, 5:41, 5:37, 5:38, 5:38, 5:37,5:43,5:43,5:45,5:49,5:43,5:50,5:49,5:56,5:55,5:53,6:12,6:31,6:38,6:26 and that's all I got I stopped hitting split.

The race went out exactly as I had planned. Sure the first mile was just a bit faster than I wanted but not crazy it would be ok. For the first half of the race the only person I knew was by me was Asfaw and I was happy to have company. We were very consistent hitting splits just as I wanted , sure a couple would be a second fast and some a second slow but I think that was the hills. My only problem was even before the race started my stomach was cramping and uncomfortable, but I chalked it up to race day jitters thinking like always once the race started it would be out of my head. Things were going so smoothly I couldn't even believe it. Miles were coming by faster than expected, I was getting my waters and gu easily and my legs felt completely relaxed. I was on a high! Until I took my gu and water around 11. My gu there had caffeine in it which I have taken before but it just seemed to push my cramping stomach over the edge. For the next six miles I didn't let it bother me. Sure it hurt but I was feeling too good other wise I was confident it was just runner belly and it would go away. But when I hit 17 I just couldn't control it anymore and I had to make a decision . Do I stop and use a bathroom really fast or just keep going and hope for the best. I couldn't decide what to do until we made a little turn and I noticed I had dropped Asfaw at this point I knew I had enough in me to keep pushing this pace to the finish so I wasn't going to stop. Sadly my stomach was too upset. By 18 I had gotten more room between me and the next girl but my stomach was getting worse and worse. I couldn't control it at all. In my head I thought the best thing to do was to stop taking my fluids and gu. I felt like it would just go right through me, besides I was only a little more than 10k out it would be fine. This may be the thing that ended up killing me but at the time it seemed logical I wanted this race so bad I could taste it. By 20 my stomach was so cramped up and my gi just wouldn't stop I kept trying to fight it but it just wasn't happening. Sometime before 21 Annie came up on me and I was in so much stomach pain I couldn't even fight it off. Yet in my head I thought just keep going you are still second and on a good pace. Shortly after she passed me though I couldn't give anything. I was running slower than I did on long runs. I don't remember a lot between 22-26 it was a really weird ,dizzy out of body kind of experience. I remember thinking just stop.stop at a medical tent but I just kept passing the, and pushing along. Portis passed me on the final uphill stretch either right before or right after 25 I'm not too sure. At this point I couldn't really see straight.everything was blurry and I was so dizzy all I could tell myself was run as close to the curb as you can. If something happens maybe you will fall into the grass. I can remember being really close to the spectators and the last thing I remember before the finish was seeing cute little Esther Erb and her cheek tattoo. Luckily i had asked kevin to be at the crest of the hill to cheer and push me into the finish because he saw me go down up the way from him. From what he says two guys helped me up and asked if I wanted medical, which of course I refused. Somehow I managed to push my way to the finish while asking my husband are any girls gonna catch me. What an idiot even when I'm out of it I can't turn the competition off. Kevin said when I ran towards him I looked like Slooth from the goonies and was really out of it. As soon as my legs stopped running they just gave out and I spent the next long while in the medical tent. Luckily Carolyn Mather was there to help me out. I was having a really hard time staying awake and the Dr's were trying to figure out if I hit my head when I fell. But when I finally snapped out of it Carolyn let me know I was 6th in 2:36 and that it was ok.

So fast forward. I finally found my way to my husband and as soon as I saw him tears were flowing. I was so mad. But let me clarify I was not mad at myself, my race plan, Scott, my training or anything like that. I was simply mad at my body. I had trained it to give me 100% on race day and it failed me.  I still don't know what it was. For a couple days after I was still having issues and not feeling well. Maybe I got some kind of a bug or maybe I ate something bad. Typically after a race I have a day to be mad if it was bad and than I'm fine. I could not shake the marathon let down though. I was a real peach all week. I've gone through a lot of  thoughts. One being maybe I should have just stopped. People have dropped out of a marathon for far less and I was really sick. I should have just realized it wasn't gonna be my day, cashed it in and done one in a few weeks. But would that have made me happy?  No way a DNF is the worst feeling there is! Than I'd think we'll at least I got my A standard out of the way even on a awful horrible day. I'm proud of myself for fighting on when it got tough. The easy thing to do would have been to stop but I found out what I was made of and I found out I am a lot stronger mentally and physically than I ever thought I could be.

So the race didn't go as planned but what it did do was give me even more of a fire. Last year there was no way I would have ever pushed the pace and take the lead. I raced the marathon from the start and for that I am proud of myself. Do I think I should have sat back and waited to the last 10k? No for two reasons. One I would have ended up sick regardless and than I wouldn't have gotten the A standard. Second you will never ever find out what you are made of always taking the easy way. The good old saying you miss 100%  of the chances you never take is true. If I could go back to that day I wouldn't change a thing. All the way down to becoming poop girl! Plus like a good friend told me. I have an awesome card to play on the kids now.
Oh that hurt
Oh that's hard
Oh it's the worst day ever
Oh you want to quit
Well it can not be as bad as loosing control of your bowel over and over in front of thousands of people and a camera crew to the point that you become so dehydrated you pass out!

See what can they say to that!

I now know not all is lost. I'm stronger for doing what I did. Running a marathon is already a up hill battle without your body physically fighting you. My next marathon can only be better. I appreciate all the emails, text and Facebook messages from people. Especially those of you who have been in this business a long time. It really did help me come to terms with everything!

So now what?
Well I'm already back to running two a days and feel great. Of course we will be careful jumping back in and I will listen to my body but I didn't end up with a marathon race I ended up racing 19-20 and running 6-7. Look for me at a marathon soon as long as all things cooperate!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What will you think about?

Recently I have been asked a few times what I will think about during the marathon and it got me thinking. 26 miles is a long way to go. During said 26 miles I guarantee each one of us will be faced with negative thoughts and at that moment you find out what you are made of. I'm lucky that my family is so supportive and my Aunt Machell, uncle James, Kevin as well as Chase and Tripp will be there. So my positive thoughts will be easy to come by and just hearing them will remind me how much I wanted to be in this race.

I'll start by remembering how badly I wanted this while I was injured. I'll remember the tears I shed of frustration , the amount of times I just wanted to quit , how I never thought I'd be able to be competitive again and how far I have come since than. The only thing that got me through my injury last winter and the first couple weeks of workouts that I just felt awful was dreaming of the finish line at Twin Cities. I thought of the finish line during treatments , needling, massage, icing and cross training. I've been visualizing this race for a long time now and I finally feel ready to take it on.

Most importantly I will think of all the sacrifice my loved ones have made. Marathon training is a challenge and time consuming for anyone no matter their job and as a mom it can bring some big challenges.

*my husband
 I'll remember all the times my wonderful husband had to sacrifice his time at the gym so I could leave early in the morning to do workouts in Colorado Springs which is two hours away. I'll remember all the times he had to get a late start at work which isn't easy at all since he owns his own business and is the only one having to answer to his clients. I'll remember how some of his clients are so supportive knowing why he has to sacrifice time and all the well wishes they send with him. I'll remember all the meals he cooked that I should have cooked but was either too exhausted after a day of 20+ miles or I was out doing my second workout of the day and he had dinner ready for me when I got home. Ill remember how understanding he was on weekends when keeping my eyes open past nine was just not gonna happen. I'm going to remember how much love he threw at me when I was so down on myself coming back that I didn't ever think I could do it. It's because of him pushing me and reminding me what I'm capable of that I am at this point today.
*My kids
Chase and Tripp have probably sacrificed more than anyone in this journey. When it all started I was just a mommy with no other care or responsibility in the world other than them. This year found me juggling them all over to get in training. These two boys would get carried to my car at 3:30 in the morning during their summer break so I could get to Colorado Springs for a workout. Some days they'd get left home with a sitter while I was in the springs and sacrifice some of the fun things we would normally do. They have to endure the crazy mom who is dropping them off at practice and strips down to her sports bra to go for a run around the fields. Or the mom that is so physically tired from her hard morning workout that she literally bribes them in to not going to the pool or lake and instead to see the new Chipmunks movie on a hot summer day. All because mom knew she could sneak in a little cat nap while the boys sat next to her entranced by the movie. The boys would even put up with bike rides in 100 degree weather so they could ride with mom when there was no onehome to  keep an eye on them. Meals on the go, meals at parks during runs, these two troopers have been so good for me during this cycle.
*My Aunt, uncle and cousins
Luckily for me I have these guys. They would wake up a couple hours before they had to on work days to help me get my kids out of the car from the long drive to the springs and they'd watch them. They would show up at local races to support me, take the kids at a moments notice even drive up and stay at my house to help with the kids when i was gone. They even travel to some races including NYC and this time TwinCities. The support is endless.
*Sammy and Rikki Houston
These amazing girls were my go to all summer. Day in and day out one of these two would be at my house bright and early during their summer vacation to help out with the boys. I wont lie without these two I wouldn't have had such a good marathon cycle. When I was young there is No way I'd want to spend my summer getting up early everyday, sometimes even 5-6 am. What's better is the kids really enjoyed spending time with the so it made travel and training less stressful.
My neighbor is simply amazing! She is always picking up the slack for me. If a sitter can't make it, if kevin isn't around, if the boys didn't want to go with me on a run, you name it Ranisa was always there to take the boys at a moments notice. Sometimes for short periods other times for a whole day. She would even help Kevin when I was out of town. She is basically the boys bonus mommy. We would be heart broken if she ever left. Not to mention she is a great friend who listens to me feel sorry for myself, rejoice and just there to have a bottle of wine when needed.
*My coach Scott
Scott has given me so much since I've started with him.he has taught me how to believe in myself and push myself harder than ever imagined. He is there for races, he is there for workouts and he is so supportive. Even when I think a workout is crazy and not doable i remember Scott would never set me up for failure and I get the job done. He has made me a runner I didn't think I could be.

Last ill remember the marathon is so much more than the race. I have goals for Sunday and I know I am capable of them but I also know the marathon is a journey. Race day is only the icing on the cake. I've become a much smarter and stronger runner this cycle. So no matter the outcome of Sunday I know I have come a long way in these last few months!

"There's always gonna be another mountain. I'm always gonna want to make it move. Always gonna be an uphill battle. Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose. Ain't about how fast I get there ain't  about what's waiting on the other side. It's the climb"

Thursday, July 4, 2013

No one said it would be easy but EVERYONE said it would be worth it

Well a lot has happened since my last post. I've started to learn how to race again and had a few respectable, if not exactly what I wanted, showings.

*Bolder Boulder 10k 36? Maybe and 4th female
*USA 25k champs 1:28:52 good for 6th. My highest USA champs placing.
*new York mini 10k 34:03
*USAhalf champs 1:13:17
*USA 10k champs 34:21 for 13th american (24th overall)

I am going to be the first to tell you that coming back from injury was not all rainbows and sunshine. I think I thought that since I got injured in the best shape of my life I'd come back fast. I cannot tell you the amount of time I spent on my Elliptigo in the rain, sun, snow and ice plus the hours I spent at the gym and PT. I had this crazy thought that I would come off of injury and be right back to my old self. Ha! It was ugly. A 30 minute run felt like death. I felt like a seriously over weight, out of shape, near never gotten off the couch with my bag of potato chips and beer woman. I am not gonna lie to you. I was weak minded at the time, which is my biggest annoyance, I thought more than once of quitting. I had the "well really I'm just a mom who did ok mixing it up with the big dogs. Why not just walk away now and know you did ok". Luckily my mom raised me to not ever quit before you have give it every damn thing you had and even than you keep fighting. So I kept slugging along. Honestly I had no business toeing the line in DC. My workouts had been mediocre at best and I was just afraid to run. All I can say is I'm glad I had a coach to push me to do it. Had not done that race I'd still be slugging along scared.  So I owe a big thanks to Scott,for so many things, but most of all right now for making me stop being a damn cry baby!

What's changed since the 10 mile? Well I made the decision to start heading to the Springs for a workout a week. Trust me when my alarm goes off at 3:30am on those days I really contemplate my sanity, but it's what's right for me. Don't know if you have noticed or not but my two teammates Brianne and Mattie have been killing it on the roads. I figured if I head down to do speed work with them it would give me no choice but to do it and do it fast or get left in the dust. Plus it has proved invaluable to have Scott on hand for workouts. One of the biggest challenges I've noticed post injury is remembering how to hurt. In races and workouts I'd get to a point that if it was uncomfortable I'd just slow down I mean I was injured forever really I should be going slower. Well that thinking doesn't work when you are with Mattie, Scott and even Curtis (Mattie's hubby). While I'm sure if Kevin were out on a workout yelling at me to go faster or telling me to get up with Mattie I may punch him, with Curtis it actually helps and makes me do it. Hmmm......maybe that's why Kevin won't take up running :) Anyway working out with my team has helped a lot. While my great workouts haven't really shown up completely in a race I know eventually it will.  I am just really happy right now to be mixing it up with some great ladies again. I just keep going out with the pack and hoping one of these days soon I won't get shot off the back!

What's next? Well guess what? It's marathon training time and I am SO damn excited I can't control myself. I have to be totally honest I do not enjoy most of the speed training stuff. It hurts, I'm old and I do not have good fast twitch muscles. BUT I know the 10k training will make me a faster marathoner so I do it and don't complain (ok I did complain when I had to do mile repeats on the track) but this marathon stuff....now THAT is fun. I am ready for the long grueling workouts that make me contemplate my sanity. I'm ready to see what my body can do. I'm ready to get a new marathon PR and really race the whole marathon without being terrified. There are a lot of amazing options in the Fall.  Part of me really really wanted to go back to NYC and do what I had set out to do last year, part of me wanted to try Chicago since so many ran so great there last year but ultimately I love doing the USA championship circuit so I will head to Twin Cities this year. Hopefully I'll be running marathons again and again and will have my shot at going back to the always wonderful NYC marathon as it is for sure a must do! This time around I want to do all the little things even if I don't feel like I have time. I want to make time to get to the gym and lift to keep those hips strong and healthy, I should probably start doing core again instead of choosing the glass of wine over it! I really want to incorporate my Elliptigo in for extra training

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The new me vs the old me

The old me vs the "new" me

There are a million reasons why the old me would have been mad about today's race
*Holy crap was that slow
*I didn't put myself in a smart place to run with a pack
*I lost focus while alone and splits were all over. 5:24-5:57
*Not a lot faster than my altitude 10 mile from years ago
*3 minutes behind my teammate
*Didn't make myself "hurt" 
*ran a workout not a race
*wasn't top ten
*didn't PR

The new me who has dealt with injury since December is  a lot different I am beyond happy. Can't stop smiling happy. Here are the reasons why. The reasons I kept repeating in my head as the race was going on.

*3 months ago I wasn't even running
*i was only a bit slower than when I raced the ten mile in 2012 (granted it was a bad race for me in 2012 but I was also in great marathon shape at the time)
*yes I was 3 minutes back but I did catch a couple people
*i ran the whole race solo in the wind and I did not self destruct (this may be the biggest accomplishment)
*yes my splits were sporadic but I think it was more not remembering how to race than fitness. I'd get to a mile mark and see the split and run faster and next mile would be good. 
*after 6 months of no racing I was still able to get 11th American. Not great but did I mention I wasn't even running.
*i feel like buying an Elliptigo was a justified purchase as it kept me in a spot to at least be a bit respectable after so long off.
*as much as I didn't want to run this race it gave me the fire to get home and just really get to work!
*For once I practiced what I preached. Told Chase to just have fun no matter what and the whole race his little voice kept reminding me to just have fun. 
*i don't feel like I raced, I feel like i got a good  workout in.
*i have a little bit of clarity as to what I want to do next.
*my knee did not hurt at all! No pain, no tightness nothing 
*longest effort I've put in since before Christmas!
*my body still remembers marathon pace

What do I do now? I have been very hesitant to commit to any races. Do I want to jump back on the track and go to nationals? Do I want to race the half champs?  Do I even want to race so out of shape? 
The race today gave me a bit of clarity. I just looked into it last week and realized i already have a qualifying time for track  nationals from my 32:48 last year, which makes me feel better. just knowing i have a little more time. So for now i think the best thing to do is register for USA track and field championships as well as the USA half champs. Stanford may be too soon for me to jump in to a 10k on the track. Yes it could get me a good effort and maybe get me a step closer to the shape I want to be in, but it could also end up with me having a bad track experience when I don't run what I want. I already have a love hate with the track  I don't need to push it toward the hate side. My experience with track last year was 
*I liked the first Stanford race
*the second (my DNF) seemed so intense 
*Portland track festival was so much fun! They played music while I was running. I loved it made me feel more relaxed
*Than the trials were just an amazing experience. 

So this year maybe instead of rushing speed and worrying so much I don't do Stanford and I do Portland again? For me the track is a place to get a PR right now I don't have PR legs. Could I in three weeks? Maybe but I could also do a fun road race between now and my next big one -the 25k champs. This gives me not only time but another race. For me I need to get back in and really remember how to push myself to the hurt zone. All workouts lately have been ok but even I can tell alone I'm just running hard and not pushing myself like I was pre injury. Maybe it is a little bit of being scared the injury will come back. Maybe it's just not remembering how to do it. I do know that is one thing I am really gonna work on before the 25k. Today I was smart, I knew I could not go out with the people I am use to racing with. I needed to be smart. Normally I race balls to the wall the first couple miles and just hang on as long as possible. Not being able to go out with my pack was so hard, I want that back. I want to race with my friends. Now that I know my leg can hold on I think I need to focus on getting me back. Today's race was just to test the waters, see just how out of shape I was and while I was worried I would just end up making myself more discouraged instead I found my fire! I hope to be back to myself on the roads very soon!!!!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What inspires you?

Over the last few months I've learned what makes a good runner. Before this "lesson" I thought a good runner was made by the amount of pain they could endure, the passion they had, work ethic and the list would go on in this direction. However once I got injured I quickly learned a good runner is someone who,  even when they are injured,  can keep their head up and do all necessary to stay positive. It turns out I am not a good runner! It's something I work on every day and even now that I am back running I'm fighting. For me it seemed like I couldn't have gotten injured at a worse time. I put my heart and sole into New York City all races leading up to it were not what I wanted but I didn't care I had my eyes set and I was ready for a big race. Well it didn't happen, I felt like I was knocked down, but managed to stay positive and turn my focus to Houston. To my surprise training just kept getting better UNTIL my body was done. So I did all this training for months just to end up injured. Understand I've never dealt with injury and I didn't deal with it well. For me it sent me into a sort of depression. I'm not going to lie I was so mad I just started to not care. I was eating crap I would never eat, drinking beer a lot and just feeling sorry for myself. I'd do all the PT stuff, weight lifting and so one, but what I wanted to do was run. When I realized I couldn't even run a lap at the gym in boot camp I started crying, yes in the middle of boot camp. It just seemed so unfair! I know I sound like a cry baby. Trust me I've had a lot of hardships in my life and I was able to make myself deal with them with the attitude my mom instilled in me. I'm a tough girl but for some reason this was the one thing I couldn't deal with.

I've blogged about how I really wanted to run people down on my Elliptigo while they were getting to enjoy running and I couldn't but what I haven't blogged about yet was the one woman who I didn't want to run over. The one woman who had no idea that her stepping foot out the door every morning made me change my attitude. Valerie Howard kept me going and I could never thank her enough!

Every day while taking my kids to school I'd see Val out running. I am telling you there were days it was well below zero and Val was still out there running. Days that even if I was healthy I probably would have been on the treadmill complaining about the cold. Not Val, not only was she out running but Val was out there with the biggest smile on her face.  It was her amazing smile that made me realize how much I wanted to be out there too. I wanted to be out there just loving the run! Last year was so focused for me. Don't get me wrong I loved it, I loved getting a new PR with most races, I loved pushing myself to new limits and seeing what it could do.  Yet I know I got a little caught up in it and stopped just remembering why I do this. I stopped smiling while I was out there I was too focused. Val made me realize how much I love this sport.

On a beautiful Colorado day I was out enjoying my Elliptigo (which basically saved me from losing my mind!) I got to thinking. How could I thank her? At this point I had no idea who she was and didn't really want to just chase her down with my car and give her a heart attack! During the ride I thought maybe I could give her a pair of shoes, I mean it was the least I could do for her keeping me from going off the deep end. When I got home I wasn't sure the idea was good at all but I emailed our team rep and adidas reps with my idea. This is when I realized what a good organization I am part of. Not only did they approve it but they loved the idea. Scott, Lauren and Cody were more than happy to get me a pair of shoes for Val. In a time when a lot of runners are worried about their sponsorship for them to be so giving made me even more excited to be a part of this team. It's great to know Adidas and BOulder Running Company care about more than just the elite runners. They really do want us to make a difference in our communities. They want us to be ambassadors for the sport, to really get people excited about running, to encourage people to keep it up. I know it's cheesy but it really warmed my heart! Not only am I part of a team that is full of incredible talent but I am a part of a team who has moms, accountants, engineers, teachers and countless other occupations yet they all still kick butt! For our team leaders and sponsors to be so supportive of us is something I know non of us could ever begin to say thank you enough.

Ok I really just ramble. Now I needed to find out who this amazing woman was without freaking her out. Luckily I have a friend in the neighborhood who seems to know everyone and Jodi knew exactly who I was talking about. I emailed Val immediately and asked if she would mind if I blogged about her. I explained what a help she was to me and she was thrilled. Val was very surprised that someone who had trained for the olympic trials was inspired by her. Val is a big inspiration to me, she has three children and still gets out there to run. After talking to her I can see she really just loves everything about running. She is one of the nicest people I've ever met. While I am back to training I can't help but smile every morning when I see Val out on her run. I'm not sure what inspires most runners to get out the door but these days when workouts are less than what I expect of myself I just think of Val. A woman who has so much on her plate but still makes tine to get out there. Last year Val also had an injury and she can relate to the feelings of sadness I had not being able to lace up.

With all the support my community has given me I feel like giving just one pair of shoes is not even close to what I should be doing to give back. T from now on I want to make sure to give back. If it's helping at races, helping young kids or just getting out more to talk to fellow runners. Even this weekend as I sit in DC waiting to run my first race I'm taking from all those who have supported me. My training hasn't been what I want and I can't even begin to know what to expect from myself but I do know it's a point to start. From here on I can only go back up and I will use Val and all the others as my inspiration!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

A touchy subject

I spent a lot of time thinking while I was injured and have tossed one thing in particular around in my head a lot but just wasn't sure if I should or could write about it, but I feel like its important.

As many of you already know growing up I dealt with bulimia and anorexia. I was never a fat kid or anything even close so many won't understand why I would choose to do that. Sparring you all the horrible details I'll just say with all the loss and pain I was forced to deal with growing up I believe I needed to find something I could control. I've had a lot of years to look at it and wonder why I'd choose this to control. I'm sure a psychologist would have a field day with this but I think it was probably a way not only to control a situation but also a way to punish myself for something I knew I shouldn't be doing. It's a very weird cycle that I'm sure no one can understand fully unless you have been through it yourself. I was very lucky that I found a man in college that loved me enough to help me quit and be strong for me when I couldn't. I struggled with it for years until I got pregnant with my first son and than I just stopped. I knew I needed to be smart and protect my little man.

Now fast forward to the present. I think the reason I feel the need to talk about this is because not enough people who have dealt with it are willing or maybe not able to. Plus I feel like running has gotten a bad rap in this department. If running is every associated with an eating disorder it is in a bad way. Typically you hear stories of runners who have become anorexic to get smaller which in turn they believe will make them faster. This is a story of running actually saving me from this. As most runners know when you are training you feel very powerful. Running makes you proud of your body, proud of how strong it is, proud of how resilient it is proud that it seems to make you this powerful woman. For me when I am training food is important it gives me the fuel to continue to be powerful. I NEVER think oh man I shouldn't eat that it's so fattening. I usually just let my body tell me what it needs. If I am craving a burger it's because my body needs the fat and protein so I eat a big fat juicy burger. At the same time I don't usually worry about my weight when I am running. There are times I will be a few pounds heavier and times I will be a few pounds lighter. The only time my weight bothers me when I am in training is if I get too light. I know this sounds ridiculous but if I get too light I runout of energy and can't maintain the speed and power. I have a lot of people tell me you are so skinny what do you weigh 90lbs? I know a lot of women don't like to talk about it but I do not weigh 90lbs or anywhere close! When I am in the thick of marathon training I am usually 110 and when mileage is down I am closer to 115. But no matter what my weight is I just make sure I feel powerful and energetic.

Being injured gave me a lot of time to think. There were days close to the end of the injury that I would think oh boy I better start running soon I'm getting a little chunky. Now I don't say this because I want anyone to tell me I'm skinny. Even as I thought the words I knew I was wrong. I am not even close to chunky but I think my head would just go back to the feeling of me not being powerful. Now I don't want to alarm anyone I would NEVER go back there! I just feel like its so important for people to know that running really has helped me. I'm sure there are other women or men out there struggling with an eating disorder and I just wanted them to know that while there is no sure way to cure it finding something that makes you feel powerful and strong will help! It doesn't have to be running it could be whatever you want but just find something that makes you feel like the best form of yourself!

Again I don't think enough people talk about making it on the other side of eating disorders. It's a mental thing and maybe if more people were open about it they could help just one person overcome it.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The good, the bad and the REALLY ugly......

My first experience with a real injury has been interesting. It's been 7 weeks of a lot of up and downs.  In hindsight I should have just pulled off of running at the first sign of injury, but you need to understand that anything I have ever dealt with in the "injury" department has been very different than this. Up until the IT band issues if I had a issue I'd take a day, a week or just be more careful and bam it would be over. So the first couple weeks of this injury I had the naive mindset that this too was just a little nagger. Maybe just maybe if I would have shut it down right away it would have been but I had all eyes set on that marathon PR so I pushed and I tried everything and now here I am 7 weeks later with a lot of new knowledge.

Lets start with the GOOD

*First I run for arguably the best team ever which I have always known but realized more the minute my hopes were shattered. I was hooked up with a great PT in the Springs and started my journey. An evaluation with a PT will leave you wondering.....how in the world have I not tripped over my feet, fallen on my face and broken my neck and that's just while walking. The GOOD news is we know exactly why I am hurt. I ran through 4 months of tendinitis in my ankle and while I was fine I was not running properly. My right leg that had the tendinitis is my stable leg (and trust me I use stable VERY loosly here) so with it being sore I was not able to use it thus putting all my weight on my left leg which is just pathetic. I think I would have more luck balancing on a pogo stick than on my left leg. After further evaluation I do not use my glutes or hamstrings at all. Result? A quad and IT band that have just been doing too much work over a 6 month period of marathon training. So the GOOD news is we knew the answer. Work on balance, strengthen those hips and teach the booty to do its job.

*Upon learning what I probably already knew I decided to get my little butt to the gym and go to boot camp. This was nothing a million lunges, squats and a bunch of other torture couldn't cure. At Work out West we have the greatest boot camp teacher ever. She knew I had to be in class because I was hurt otherwise I'd have my butt outside running. In a class of 50-90 people she would always make sure to throw something special in for me to not have to run. Upon talking more I decided to hire Kim to train me. We talked about my weaknesses and injury and she knew exactly what I needed to do.  My first few sessions have been great! Working with her has made me realize just how bad these weaknesses are. I am going to have to retrain my legs to do their work. Even in a glute based exercise like a squat or a lunge the only muscle that feels the need to work is my quads. YIKES! Kim really makes me work on balance and teaching things to fire, she is going to be great for me! I am going to come out of this injury speedy with a butt that knows what the heck it needs to do.

*One of the best things I've gotten from this injury? My Elliptigo! I am for sure a girl who thinks the only workout worth doing is running. But in my fight to keep myself ready to go for Houston I went and tried an Elliptigo out and I fell in love! Luckily I have a very supportive husband because he decided to buy me one for Christmas. I can not rave enough about this tool. Up until I decided to drop out of Houston I was on it on and off but the minute we realized this was an actual injury I have been on it every single day. On the days I am allowed to run I will use the Elliptigo as my second run of the day. The days I am off of running I will take it out for up to 25 miles and have been doing 110-120 a week on it. My family told me I look like something out of Whoville and I can't argue with that. I look a bit ridiculous. All I know is I can make myself work to the point when I come home I feel like I just went and did a nice long marathon workout and I am spent. The best part is now that I am back to running a bit I feel like I haven't missed a beat! After 7 weeks of only spotty running I thought for sure my first real run out I'd be running 10 minute miles but I am hitting my normal easy day paces with no problem! All of you injured runners should go try one out!

*I found a great Dr in town I never even thought of using. When I became injured and was trying just about every thing out there I heard that Eric Walker does ART and acupuncture. This has been a great thing for me. ART isn't exactly something I enjoy but I can feel the difference in my knee from it and I love the acupuncture. I'll be honest I've never really believed in any of that kind of thing but so far its working out well. I think both of them will be a good tool even as I get healthy.

*When something goes bad in your life you really learn things about your friends, your acquaintances as well as your competition. As a first timer in the injury boat it hasn't been super easy to deal with. Once I got over the fact that yes I was missing the marathon I spent a couple weeks enjoying myself. Spending more time with the kids, more time with my friends more time with my family and than it started to sink in this wasn't going to just be a couple weeks off. In that time I have had a sweet teammate reach out to me and give me great advice. I've always respected Cassie her opinions and advice. She is a very level headed smart women and she always helps me when I feel a little lost in this sport. The other person who really reached out wasn't one I would have expected. Kristen and myself have raced against one another in a lot of races. She is a girl I quickly realized would push me to my limits out on the roads. This is a great thing though! I learned a long time ago you are only as good as your competition and I always know when Kristen is on the starting line with me I will be running all I have that day. Maybe it's because we are both on the injured list right now but she has given me some great advice and I have really appreciated it. It's always good to hear things from someone who has been in your shoes. Knows how you are feeling and can help you figure it out.

*I realized just how lucky I am. There are times while training that I look at other people and think..."Wow how great would it be to be her. She gets to focus on just running. What I wouldn't give to be able to train, sit down for a healthy meal and take a nap. Go get a massage and enjoy it all by myself" After being out for a while now I realize just how lucky I am. If I had all the time to do that other stuff I would be going insane right now! My life is so busy with running around and kids that it has really been a great distraction from my pity party.


*Well number one of this list would be I didn't get to run Houston. Being so ready for a marathon and never getting the chance is awful! I don't know how else to describe it other than it feels like the worlds worst break up. You give yourself completely to this one thing, sacrifice other things along the way and than BAM it breaks your heart.

*Turns out when you are stressed out about your body not cooperating you actually have very little patience. This injury has made me feel like I am insane. One minute I can be all upbeat and positive that things will be OK. The next I am thinking why do I even do this. Lets be honest I'm not getting any younger I'll probably just be slower anyway. I am all over the place. :)

*During this little injury I also had a birthday. Great you say? Nope not great. I am now 34 and all I could think was crap you are really going to start falling apart now. Some of the girls on our team and ones we compete against are younger or as young as my brother. My brother that lived with us while he was still in middle school. My brother that we had a part in raising. This makes me feel very old and slow.


*When I am not running I feel just evil! Yes I have been on a machine at the gym next to a guy running nice and fast and the first thought in my head was....Oh he is so happy. How happy would he be if I just went over and pulled the plug out. BAM he'd be on his face in a second. HAHAHA that would be so funny. Yeah I know EVIL!

*I've also found myself complaining about the stupid new years resolution's at the gym. Really you all know you are going to be gone in a month anyway. Please get off of this machine so I can focus on staying in shape. The normal me would be happy for these people who are trying to better themselves. The new me however wants everyone to just leave the gym so I can get on my machines and not have to hear anyone.

*On my Elliptigo rides I have witnessed every pace of running out enjoying themselves. Was I happy for them to discover how great running is???? NO! In my head I was playing runner pac man. I would just visualize running them down on my Elliptigo and taking them out. Seriously I don't even like myself at this point......

*Probably the most entertaining of the Ugly was me out on what was suppose to be a 24 mile Elliptigo ride. When I left my house it was a beautiful sunny Colorado day. A bit chilly but peaceful. Sadly at my turn around point it began to snow. At first it was beautiful. I actually remember saying to myself. "This is why I love CO. Beautiful snow flakes on a crisp winter afternoon." That quickly changed when five minutes later it was crazy windy and snowing like mad. I probably don't need to say this but my cute green Elliptigo doesn't exactly have snow tires. Trying to get home as fast as I can I take a turn in what has now become 3 inches of snow and take a nice little spill. This was not a spill of a coordinated person. My Elliptigo went in one direction and I went in another laid out like a starfish flying through the air. I didn't catch myself I just biffed it. Right at a four way stop. Now what am I going to do deny it and say oh no it must have been the other girl in town riding an Elliptigo around. Um.....this is a very small town people know its me.

Now its time to look ahead. What is on the horizon? At first I wanted to get back into a marathon ASAP, but now I realize that would be a bad idea. I need to work on my form and weaknesses first jumping back in would mean Id be full steam ahead and chances are I would end up really hurting myself. Instead.....I am going to drop back down in distance. I want to hit the track a couple times again this year. Yes you heard that out of my mouth. The girl who hates it so much is actually excited to give it another go. Maybe my new found booty will help me be super speedy. Or it wont and I will just enjoy running some laps with friends. Regardless I am ready to get back to the happy go lucky Wendy who loves to run and wouldn't actually pull the plug on anyone on the treadmill. The fact of the matter is I really love running. I am in this sport because even as I get older it gives me a way to be competitive, meet amazing people and experience things I never would have without it. I'll be back out there at races soon and this time I will have more of an appreciation for it!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When life gives you lemons

Make lemonade........that's how the saying goes right!?!?! Well it turns out I am not a big fan of lemons or lemonade. Back in November when New York got canceled I tried to make this little saying in a positive way. I already had a trip planned to Mexico so I decided to turn it into.....when life gives you lemons you order a nice drink at the bar and ask for a twist of lemon. It worked right? 

Well it really seemed to work when I jumped back in to marathon training immediately after Mexico and things were going so well. When NY was canceled we decided right away Houston i ran well there for the trials, the course, weather and timing were perfect. It was a perfect plan. First week back to training seemed rough but than.  Things just started clicking. I can not tell you how excited I was.When I  first decided to run NY Scott and myself decided to take the whole year and be a marathoner. At that point we talked numbers. The numbers he threw out made me want to throw up.....are you kidding me. That's what the professional girls run not this mommy. Now fast forward to NY training. Things were good. Despite having tendinitis in my ankle I was hitting workouts far better than I had training for the trials. Ok now fast forward just a couple more months and I was starting to think those numbers were not only going to happen some day. They were going to happen now. In Houston. This is what I work so hard for. For things to click and my dreams to come true. 

Here is where it gets tricky. Running was going well, I am super competitive even when it comes to out doing myself in workouts. It was just a normal Tuesday. Drop the kids off at school at 8:05 get back to the house by 8:10, put out all your bottles and gels and off on the 23 miler. There is no time for slacking on these days. My youngest gets out of school in just a couple hours. We start our warm up and I tell my training partner "wow my IT band feels pretty tight". Having dealt with this before after the warm up Tyler had me stretch. Now we are off, on this particular Tuesday things were really clicking. Our first 7 mile loop goes by we grab our first gel and drink from our water station and drop them up the road as the neighbor looks at us funny. This is normal. I look down at my watch and tell Tyler oh man we may end up regretting this, our pace is pretty fast this early. Long story short we never paid for the fast pace we just kept picking it up and finished under marathon pace. Holy cow I am so pumped......but I could hardly walk. My knee was in so much pain. No worries I just ran my fastest 23 of course something hurts. Next day....ouch my knee is not happy. Hobble through a easy run and get home to my R8. Before I know it it's Friday and time for a workout. Hmm.....knee is a little tight. No worries roll it, run a kick ass predator run followed by even faster mile repeats. Sweet! Night time brings a short easy run and some pool time. Saturday was an ugly run and than every day after that just seemed to be worse. I took it easy, got an Eliptigo, saw a PT and tried a workout the following Saturday in the Springs. The workout started good I was hitting some great splits than bam. There it is knee is "locked" up. Stop massage stretch and try to finish. Got one more mile in and bam.....

At this point we weren't worried. My base and fitness was there. I could take a few days on the Eliptigo, stay fit cross training at the gym, I would work on strength training the weak spots and get treatment. Inthe last couple of weeks I've gotten graston, dry needling, massages like crazy, ART and acupuncture. Every day I was trying to be positive, I was way too fit for this to not work out. Sadly after every treatment I got didn't seem to help I felt a little defeated. Finally on Thursday last week I got ART and what do you know. I could run! I didn't push it at first just 6 miles and on the treadmill to make sure i could do it. It wasn't pain free 
but my leg wasn't locking up either. Next day I tried again I got a little farther. Yes this was smart. I was going to make it to Houston. Next day......pain....next day more ART.....today......run a few stop to stretch...run another stop to stretch...run.....knee locks up. Lot of tears on the side of the road.

Tonight I got a call from Scott. We both realized things weren't getting better like we needed. I know I'm moving in the right direction but sadly I've run out of time. My leg will not let me finish the race. I feel so horrible! I feel like I let down the race that was kind enough to let me in after NY, I feel like 
I've let down everyone who has worked so hard to train and support me. Yes I realize I am not the 
first person to get injured and have to withdrawal from a race. That being said it didn't feel any less awful emailing the race director to tell him how sorry I am. Nor did it feel great when I got a phone call to interview me on my withdrawal. The question has been asked.......what now? My first thought was I can just take a week get healthy and jump into a smaller race. You know why not Mardi Gras that way I could do two before the end of May. I am in such good shape I need to take advantage of this. Sadly the reality is I need to worry about my leg getting better. I have the exercises from the PT, I'll keep getting ART from Dr Walker, I am going to start working with a trainer to correct weaknesses and I won't push my IT band. Maybe it takes a week, maybe it takes longer. When it is ready I can make a plan. I'd love to do Boston? Or I'm sure there are a lot of other fabulous Spring 
marathons.  All I know is I won't let this ruin my spirit. I love running and competing!

So I guess I am going to take those lemons and make...............pie? Bread? I am not sure but I'm hoping I've had my fair share of lemons for a while.