14. Total miles ran: 971.3 – I would have easily gotten 1000 if I hadn’t aggravated my PSOAS and had to skip some runs. Grrrrr.
15. Favorite motivational/inspirational quote of 2015: Nothing worth doing is easy.
16. Lessons I’ve learned: Don’t take finishing for granted!
17. Injuries I battled and overcame: still battling the aggravated PSOAS but getting better
18. 3-5 Most inspiring people: List their blog, twitter or instagram-wherever you follow them:
Tami – girl finished her 5th FULL ironman this year
Amy – she works hard, trains hard, and even when she doesn’t do as well as she’d hoped (which usually means she still did pretty well) she has a great attitude about it and just picks up and tries again. You can read her blog here
Nicolasa – she is training for the Boston Marathon with Team in Training. You can read her blog here
19. Favorite place on social media to connect with runners: Facebook
20. 2 goals for next year: 1. Finish a Half Ironman 2. PR 2 race distances
A year or so ago, I signed up to be put on the waiting list on the Facebook group I Run 4 Michael. Created by Timothy Boyle, the group pairs runners with someone who is unable to run. The runner keeps in contact with his/her buddy and dedicates races and daily workouts. I was finally matched in April and what a cool and interesting experience it has been. I have dedicated a few running races and this years’ three triathlons to him, and we’ve developed a really cool relationship that I hope will continue as long as possible. We were matched around the time I registered for the Disney Marathon and I was excited to have a series of training runs and a race this length to run for him.
In the meantime, a few local runners have gotten together in hopes to open up a Girls With Sole chapter here in Charleston. This program started not too far from my hometown in Ohio, and its goal is to offer girls who have experienced or who are at risk of abuse the opportunity to participate in athletics. According to a PSA Keep Her In the Game, girls drop out of sports at 2x the rate of boys. A few facts from the GWS website:
Regular exercise improves overall quality of life.
Girls and women who play sports have a more positive body image than girls and women who do not participate.
Women who are active in sports and recreational activities as girls feel greater confidence in their physical and social selves than those who were sedentary as kids.
Research suggests that girls who participate in sports are more likely to experience academic success and graduate from high school than those who do not play sports
I am fortunate in that I have never suffered abuse nor was I at a particularly high risk for it, however, I can definitively speak about exercises’ benefits towards mental health. Running helped me through a tough relationship, a divorce, depression, anxiety, and the trials of new motherhood. It has taught me confidence and shown me that I am more capable than I thought, and there is simply no reason why every girl out there can’t reap the same benefits.
So this race I am sharing my dedication. I will not only be running for my I run 4 buddy, I will be running for Girls With Sole, and hope that by doing so I can help get the program started here in Charleston. If you are interested in donating, you can do so here. Where it says “dedicate your donation”, if you’d like to choose a runner (ME!), you can type her name in the box. 100$ covers the cost for the entire 12 week program for one girl. You can donate any flat amount or pledge an amount per mile.
These girls need the confidence, friendship and achievement that comes with running, and we can help make that happen.
Sometime near the end of my training for the Myrtle Beach Marathon, Bryan requested that I not run another for awhile. I told him no problem. Training is long and tiring, and the 3 years between my 2nd and 3rd seemed adequate enough to me.
A few weeks ago I had a text conversation with a friend I don’t speak to very often. We were really close friends from elementary school until I moved to SC in 2004. Since my parents (and my ex’s) both still lived in Ohio we got to see each other at least twice a year when we’d make the trip up to visit. My last trip to Ohio was over 2 years ago when I was 18 weeks pregnant with the twins, and I haven’t seen her since then. She is a big (and very talented) runner and during our text conversation mentioned she had planned to sign up for the Disney Marathon.
I forgot about it after that.
Tuesday I had a cancelation at work and was browsing Instagram. I came across a picture that someone had posted, waiting for registration for the Disney Marathon Weekend to open. Registration started at noon. I had a kid scheduled at noon. At 11:55, he canceled.
Suddenly, my fingers, with apparent minds of their own, were clicking the “register” button, waiting in line for my turn, filling in my personal and credit card information. They were texting my friend to make sure she was in fact registering. It isn’t until January so I won’t start training until September/October, but the deed has been done and plans are in the works.
Somehow, magically, I have signed up for Marathon #4 in Disney!
It’s National Infertility Awareness Week, and I’ve been slacking on posts this year.
I’d be lying if I said a successful cycle didn’t lessen the sting of infertility, but even though I hardly write about it anymore (mostly because I am just not sure how at this point in my life) doesn’t mean that it isn’t still part of me. Yes, I write probably too many posts now about parenting, twins and toddlers because that is where I am right now and that was what this blog was meant to be about. Still, I can’t let the week go by without addressing it somehow.
I’m essentially re-blogging a post I wrote 3 years ago – an analogy that, as a runner, helped me explain infertility to those who might not understand. Running has been and is such a big part in my life that I find the analogy still fits.
I’ve finished two marathons.
It still feels weird to say that out loud. That, twice, I’ve trained, run 26.2 miles, and crossed the finish line. A feat I once related only to “crazy people” (well, that’s still appropriate) and people who run way too much (oddly now also appropriate).
When I started this blog, it began as a week by week training log for my second marathon, as I was preparing to do it mostly alone. A journey to the finish line. It also began as a place to log my fertility journey, as I was starting to feel more and more alone. Another journey to the finish line.
Infertility is a marathon.
At the start of the race, the excitement is palpable. We have all trained for this. We got up at the chirp of the alarm (and in my case, after several smacks of the snooze button) and regardless of the weather, regardless of mood, regardless of (most) illness, we ran. We ran 12, 16, 20 miles on a Saturday for no reason other than this day, this opportunity to run this race, cross this finish line, accept this medal, and feel this incredible accomplishment. We skipped movies and drinks and went to bed early. Months of runs, hundreds of miles. We are ready.
Adrenaline begins pumping right from the beginning, the first few miles a breeze. A thousand or more people in your exact situation are running with you, some a bit faster, some a bit slower, but it doesn’t matter. You’re all in this together. Even if you lose the people you started with, there are still plenty around to match pace with, plenty of energy left to get yourself there.
Discomfort begins to set in as the miles add up. The number of people begin to thin. You begin to realize just how far 26 miles is. You start to wonder what you got yourself into, and start the ipod search for your most motivating songs on your playlist. If you didn’t know you could run 20+ miles already, you might consider dropping out. But ultimately the vision of the finish line, the medal, the feeling of victory keep you going. Somehow, something pops up at just the right time that keeps you from declaring defeat – a random cheer from a stranger, a particular song, knowing who is waiting for you at the finish line.
Pain sets in around mile 20. The end feels so close yet so far away. Your body starts to scream at you. The group of a thousand you started with has dwindled down to 3 or 4. The slight envy you once felt for the faster runners has turned into full out jealousy. You know you’ve trained harder than most of them. Seriously? How are you all finishing before me? You begin to feel every step, every pound of the pavement. Any change in terrain is physically difficult to recover from. Curse words are becoming more regular. None of the three hundred Ipod songs are gonna do it, and even taking in half a Gu (an energy gel for distance runners) every mile doesn’t seem to be doing a darn thing. You hurt, you’re tired. You’ve gotta be the only one hurting this much. The finish line, though only a few miles away, feels like it’s never going to appear. The warnings that the true test is after mile 20 suddenly make sense.
Somehow, though, through combination of a force of will, stubbornness, training, and the few out of the group that stuck with you, you cross mile 26. And suddenly, though there are only a few runners left in the immediate vicinity, the crowd gets larger. You suddenly forget how sore you are because you can SEE the finish line. Somehow, you muster the energy to finish strong, because suddenly you hear your cheering section, the crowd clapping, the announcer calling your name. Somehow, you finished, and you feel incredible.
Also, you still hurt. But despite it, you kept running.
When I first stepped foot onto the pavement my first run, (which was like, halfway around the block before I couldn’t breathe anymore) – I never imagined myself running a marathon. In fact, even after my first half marathon several years later I thought to myself “who wants to essentially do this twice? No thank you!”
When I first imagined myself with a family, in my house with my white picket fence (though I’d really prefer a privacy fence at this point in my life), I never imagined it would be a problem. I didn’t even know what infertility was.
I’m still waiting to cross the finish line.
In retrospect, I survived marathon training one run at a time, one week at a time, one long run at a time. I survived the race, particularly at the end, one mile at a time. It still hurt, in fact, it hurt quite a bit. At the end my calves were so sore I literally hobbled to the car.
But I’d do it all over again. I’ll remember that day and who was with me for the rest of my life. All of the pain and exhaustion was absolutely, positively 100% worth it.
One day at a time, one mile at a time, I await the day I can say that again.
This post was created as part of The Analogy Project, started in order to help others better understand the infertility experience.
This happens after each marathon I’ve run- some version of the post marathon blues. Sounds silly, right? It’s a real thing.
I’ve actually enjoyed a more lax workout schedule and no real pressure to have to run when I do exercise. I’ve enjoyed practicing some more yoga lately and even hopped on the elliptical a couple days ago for the first time in months. What bugs me is no set plan for what comes next. Aside from the Sprint Triathlon series this summer and hopefully an Olympic Triathlon in the fall, I have nothing on the calendar. While this probably makes Bryan happy, its driving me a little nuts. Races give me schedules to follow, goals to set and things to blog about at least once a week, even if they are boring.
I can’t decide if I really want to keep recording “training” when I’m not really training for anything. I like the idea but it seems kind of silly. Since the jury is still out I guess I’ll just keep going.
Sunday – rest day. Sore.
Monday – rest day. Still sore.
Tuesday – rest day. Almost not sore.
Wednesday – Vinyasa flow yoga. Though I was no longer sore, I could definitely still feel some fatigue in my quads during the lunge poses. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
Thursday – interval yoga
Friday – rest day
Saturday – 20 mile ride. It’s my longest ride yet on the new bike so I think that counts for something. But the headwind on the way back SUUUUUUUUUCKED.
My motivation to run, perhaps not surprisingly, was lacking the week after the race (to say the least). I did fend off a little of the “blues” by researching a couple 5ks over the next couple months. I promised myself (and my chiropractor) that I’d focus more on swimming and biking once this marathon was over, but lets be honest: I’m still going to be a runner.
I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve been really gun shy after I hurt my back, and then after 2 weeks of the viral plague running rampant in my house, I was freaking out a little like crazy.
Friday rolled around and we were all miraculously healthy! Hooray! After work Bryan and I packed up the car, we picked up the twins and headed out. Packet pickup was at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, and other than a minor re-route because of the Family 5k going on, we had no problem finding it. I basically had to run in, pick up my number and shirt and run out because we wanted to get the twins to bed ASAP (it was already a half hour past bedtime at that point). From what I could tell in my quick trip in, packet pickup was well organized. All you needed to pick up your bib was your bib number. If you had downloaded the Its Your Race app on the website prior to the race you could look yourself up and find it, otherwise there was someone there to tell you. In fact, if you wanted to pick up a friends bib all you needed was the number – no name, no ID, nothing. Most races won’t let you pick up a friends bib without an ID, a permission slip, a mothers maiden name and a lock of hair (if they do at all) so it was nice to know there are some races that don’t make it that difficult.
We got to the hotel and as I’m putting together my gear for the next morning I find myself thinking something to the effect of “holy cow I’m running a marathon tomorrow”. Even though I’ve done a couple before, I think it will always be a big deal.
I don’t typically sleep all that well the night before a race and this one was no exception. I have this fear that I’m going to oversleep my alarm or forget to turn it on despite the fact that I’ve checked it 20 times before I lay down and another 15 afterwards (I mean, you never know). At 500 am my alarm went off and I showered (I like to shower the morning of races, it helps wake me up), ate a banana and some peanut butter and bagel and drank a measly 8oz of water, which will become significant later. It was a quick drive to the start so we left around 545. Bryan was nice enough to hang out in the parking lot for a bit so I could sit in the warm car. I ended up getting out of the car around 615 anyway though because even though I went to the bathroom before we left, I had to go.
Race start was 630 so it was still dark when I made my way out of the car. I didn’t honestly take much note of what was around me, but there were a good number of porta-potties, the importance of which any runner would understand. There was a line of course, but I only had to wait a couple of minutes. The start was split with the half marathon runners on the left and full on the right, with the pace goal clearly marked.
When I started training for this race my main goal was simple: finish injury free. At one point my chiropractor told me he wasn’t sure my joint could handle the training required for this and I think it was always in the back of my mind (and always a reason to keep going so I could prove it wrong). It was the reason I stuck with the Novice training plan and only ran 3 days a week. It was the reason I kept my milage low. The last thing I wanted was to be out of commission again. After I finished my 20 mile run feeling stronger than I expected, though, I changed my tune a bit.
I really wanted a 4 hour finish. I am notorious for starting races too quickly and dying at the end. I knew that my best bet in reaching that goal was to start slow.
The gun went off at 6:30 sharp and we made our way up to the start line. My slow mindset worked a little TOO well though, because I ran Mile 1 in 10:15, Mile 2 in 9:45 and Mile 3 in 9:39. Well, at least I couldn’t say I didn’t start slow.
The course was pretty straight forward – a few turns, a couple out and backs and one sharp turn that I can remember but nothing so obnoxious that it was worth complaining about. A good deal of the run was along the road near the beach but honestly its hard for me to enjoy scenery during races because I’m usually focused on what I’m doing. There was a water/Gatorade stop every 2 miles, a time clock every 2 miles and an aid station every few miles at the start and every 2 miles near the end. Food was available at mile 16 and 22 – Gu, bananas and oranges. If you downloaded the app I mentioned earlier, you could actually track a runner live. This came in handy for Bryan so he could figure out when to leave and meet me at the finish line with the twins.
The one downside to this race was that because I didn’t want to run in Charleston for a third time, I didn’t have any friends running so I ended up doing the entire thing alone. I broke the race up into thirds: the first 10 miles I’d run without anything, the 2nd 10 miles I’d listen to my audiobook and the last 6 I’d turn on my interval music in hopes I’d be ready to kick it up a notch. I’d fuel with the food I bought (puree baby food in a squeeze pouch, not kidding) at mile 8 and 12/13 and then use what the race provided after that. I know many advise against it but I also brought two ibuprofen if I needed it. I know my body well enough to know that I’m not going to miss a sign of major injury because I took two ibproufen.
After mile 3 I started to find my pace.
So remember that 8oz of water I drank before the race? Well even though I peed before we left the hotel, and again at the race start, by 1 mile in I had to pee. Seriously? I skipped the first water stop hoping I could “sweat it out”, but took some water at each stop after that. Each water stop had a bathroom or two but they all had lines and I didn’t want to waste 5 minutes waiting in a line. Honestly I should have gone somewhere in a wooded area. (I was really jealous of males at that point) By mile 8 I saw one with only one person waiting and stopped, but I still lost probably 60-90 seconds there.
At the first split (10k) I was at 1:02:22 – oddly a little SLOWER than I’d hoped.
Mentally I knew I’d have to pick it up quite a bit to hit 4 hours, but somehow I was able to keep myself in check and realize that if I started too soon I’d be suffering at the end, so I tried to keep it steady. By Mile 11 I started to feel sore. At Mile 12 I took the ibuprofen. I was still walking through the water stops and felt like my hip/butt was off. I stopped a few seconds to massage.
At the 2nd split (half) I was at 2:03:55.
By that point, gauging what energy I had left, I pretty much knew a 4 hour finish was out. I was averaging at 9:28 min/mile and needed a 9:09 to finish in 4 hours. Still, I figured I could easily shoot for 4:05 which would still get me a 5 minute PR.
The third split (18.3) I was at 2:51:14
The audiobook did a decent job of keeping my mind busy and pace steady until I hit Mile 20. I did stop to stretch for a few seconds once and was still walking through the water stops. The good news was, I had 6 miles left and had managed to pace myself well enough that I felt like I had enough in me to speed up. (The bad news was there was a headwind for the better part of the last 8 miles.) I tried to keep steady for 2 more miles and ran Mile 20 in 9:15 and 21 in 9:16. At Mile 22 I cranked the volume up and my speed with it. I finished Mile 22 in 8:41, Mile 23 in 8:36 and Mile 24 in 8:35. I had to stop and walk a couple times during Mile 25 and 26 but still managed an 8:57 and 8:45. I felt like I might throw up the last 2 tenths but I sprinted anyway. I’ll admit teared up a bit towards the end. Infertility, a twin pregnancy and 2 injuries before this and I was minutes from crossing the finish line of my 3rd marathon. For those couple minutes, I felt incredible.
Clock time: 4:03:59
Chip time: 4:02:48
I didn’t finish in 4 hours, but I beat my last finish of 4:10:16 by nearly 7 minutes. I mean, honestly, I couldn’t complain about that.
One of the things I love best about running is what it teaches me. Each race I’ve run I’ve learned something about myself that I either didn’t already know or forgot in the hustle and bustle. Usually, they remind me that I am stronger than I give myself credit for. This year, I learned that even with LESS running (3 days a week and cross trained 2) and lower mileage (I think my highest week was 36 miles), with a little planning and a lot of belief in myself, I can finish faster. Finishing even close to 4 hours didn’t even feel possible to me until a running buddy of mine suggested it was possible (thanks Tami!) I distinctly remember the last few miles of my 2011 marathon HURTING and I spent the last 4-5 miles wishing for the finish line. I was so tired at the end my legs almost seized up and I hobbled to the car, This year, I not only finished faster but actually enjoyed the entire race, ESPECIALLY the last few miles.
The best part was the fact that Bryan and the twins were waiting at the finish line. It was something I had always hoped for during our struggle with infertility. At 21 months old (to the day!), they are still too little to understand, but one day they will. And maybe by then they’ll both smile in a picture?
You know what I realized this means though?
With the right plan and motivation, a Boston Qualifying time is totally possible.
The madness never ends.
And because no post would be complete without them, Abby and Miles also wish everyone a Happy Valentines Day. 🙂
Monday 16 mile bike ride. With a short run week I took advantage of the warmer weather and took my bike for a spin. This is my longest ride to date on this bike, and I finally ordered a water bottle cage, tire tubes and a changing kit in case I have a flat so I can start doing longer rides soon!
Tuesday – 4 miles @8:22/mile.
Wednesday – rest day
Thursday – 3 treadmill miles at 9:32/mile. Miles was home sick (AGAIN) so we watched Pocoyo while I finished my LAST training run. I did this run at this pace on purpose so I could get a feel to start the race slow – I am notorious for starting races too quickly and hating the end of it. When I managed to run the 20 miler without feeling completely wiped at the end because we started slow I knew that no matter how I finished, this was key. (It ended up working a little too well – more on that in the race recap to come)
Friday- rest and travel day
Saturday – RACE DAY! By some miracle, despite 10 days of sickness in my house I stayed healthy! 26.2 miles @9:15 pace. Details to follow soon in my race recap!
Ugh, lets just call this week the week of the viral plague. On Sunday Bryan texted me to say Miles woke up covered in puke and, well, you know. From then on things only got more interesting, as he was sick from basically Sunday to Thursday and Bryan caught it Wednesday and is STILL sick. I have seen, heard or talked about more bodily fluids in the last 7 days than I ever care to, EVER.
Monday – 5 miles @8:22, and negative splits to boot. Bryan was still well at this point so took over sick duty so I could go out for a bit.
Tuesday – rest day
Wednesday – Yoga and 2 miles on treadmill @9:13/mile. It’s bad, I know, but I do NOT do well with vomit. After 3 days of that or the other (use your creativity here), I was already frazzled and starting to panic that I’d get sick. I almost did stress and anxiety yoga, but picked a shorter one instead. By the end of the day I was so stressed from the whining and general household unhappiness (because by this time Bryan wasn’t feeling well either) that I killed a couple miles on the treadmill after everyone went to bed.
Thursday: 4 miles speed work on treadmill. I kept Miles home with me for half the day. 1 mile warm up @8:49. 4×400 @7:03 with 4×400 recovery @8:49. 1×800 @6:40 (hey frustration works in my favor sometimes) and 800m cool down @8:49.
Friday: 30 minutes of yoga again after everyone went to bed. Miles was on the mend but still not happy, and so I tried to channel my inner zen again after everyone went to bed. I should add this yoga focused on detoxing poses – not sure if that helps or not.
Saturday 3 mile walk. Bryan was in bed sick all day, and I was still in a tizzy, so the twins and I went for a long walk.
Sunday 8 miles @7:55 average. The plan was more a tempo and I wanted to make the middle three miles the fastest. I tried for a 10k post baby pr but didn’t quite make it. I slowed down on mile 7 and then realized I could finish with an under 8:00 mile average so I sped up again 🙂
Total Miles: 22
So with 5 days to race day, I’m praying I stay healthy. I.cannot.get.sick. CANNOT. HAPPEN. I’ve banished myself the to the guest room and washed or sanitized my hands like a fiend.
Anyway, now for the fun part. For those of you who followed and/or participated in my Jord Watch giveaway, we have a winner!
The winner is Bethany Nelson! Keep an eye out for an email Bethany and thanks to everyone who entered!
Hopefully my next recap will come after I’ve crossed the finish line! Please send healthy vibes!
Man, there were weeks where I felt like I was just ready to be done. Now that I almost am, I feel like the time flew. Go figure.
Monday – rest day. Was still hurting a bit from the 20 mile run the day before.
Tuesday 4 treadmill miles @8:50/mile. Uuuuugh the treadmill. I am grateful to have one. Really, I am, but 9 times out of 10 I really do not enjoy running on the thing. I did a slower paced progression run. Mile 1 @9:22, Mile 2@9:00, Mile 3@8:40 Mile 4@8:20. I was happy to get off the thing.
Wednesday – another 4 miles on the treadmill @9:13/mile. My hip started bugging me after Tuesdays run and I didn’t have scheduled chiropractor visit until Monday, so I took it easy. Interestingly, this treadmill run wasn’t as annoying.
Thursday – 6 mile progression run. 8:50, 8:41, 8:34, 8:22, 8:08, 7:42. I couldn’t do that again if I tried.
Friday- 12 mile ride. It was supposed to be a rest day but I was done with work early and it was finally warm enough to ride my bike on a day I didn’t have a run scheduled. It was just SUPER windy.
Saturday – rest day/2 mile walk with the twins.
Sunday – 12 miles @8:25/mile average. 8 run with a group, 4 run solo. Last 4 miles at 7:51, 7:57, 7:51, 7:33. WOO HOO!
Also, can’t beat this scenery. I really need to run downtown more often.
Total Miles: 26 run, 28 including walking, 40 with biking.
2 weeks till race day and now I’m starting to get excited!