Category: running (page 2 of 32)

My Cup Runneth Over

20140912-232146-84106104.jpgEverything is a song these days. And we’re singing it out. Whether it’s “Can You Hear the People Sing” from Les Mis or the cheer the boys came up with to celebrate the occasion of finding a license plate from one of their favorite states (Ohio!), we’re belting it out and it makes my heart sing right along with them. Even after hours. Sometimes, after we’ve put the kids to bed, we hear what sounds like Manchild singing the triumphant national anthem of a distant country. Where did he learn that? Oh, right. It’s the national anthem of Paraparaparaparafeetland, a strange and funny country which Micah has been telling the boys about at random times over the past few months. Each addition to the story leaves Manchild red in the face and nearly doubled over with laughter. Micah knows just what buttons to push to get that kid rolling in the aisles — or singing in the top bunk. Neither of which are bad places to be.

But if we’re not singing, we’re talking. Mostly Little Miss, who seems determined to get this speaking thing down. She follows along when I read stories to her, saying what I say, testing out the words. Micah and I can’t help but say what she says right back at her. Her little voice is irresistible and begs to be heard again and again — even if our efforts are a poor imitation. It’s especially amusing to hear her talk about Pokemon or Shaun the Sheep — two of her brother’s favorite things. Sure, they fight and argue and wrestle and drive me nuts, but they are also really happy to be together and share things with each other.
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With school starting, however, Little Miss is a bit on the outs. Sometimes she cries when the boys leave in the morning without her. But she and I have been spending more time together and that’s a treat. We’re learning the ABCs, matching mama animals to their babies, and chanting, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,” (well, she chants, I man the controls) as we ride the bike to pick the boys up after school. And at pickup she isn’t afraid to lay her claim: last week she practically chased Squish’s class down and invited herself to be part of it. Squish held her hand as the class walked down the ramp to the meeting spot. Heart bursting

The start of school also means more running. The kids and I managed to get out about once a week during the summer: Little Miss and Squish rode along in the stroller, Manchild pedaled his own bike. We stopped at playgrounds and took water breaks. It was hot and hard and slow and not frequent enough for me. But it worked for the summer, and now it’s just me and Little Miss, cruising around almost as much as I please. We can get more miles in and do it faster and I’m starting to feel like running is part of my life again after a 3-month lull.

And here’s one last thing to share before I wish you a happy weekend: I loved this story by Peter Sagal about what to do if you’re going through hell. Give it a listen. I think there’s something to it. 😉

Monday on Good Morning America

It turns out that some people think it’s a bad idea for 7-year-olds to be left alone for short periods of time. Some people have even gone so far as to say that no one should be left alone ever. (Or maybe that was just one person, but still. No one? Ever?)

And it looks like a lot of people want to talk about it. This is a good thing. I think we should talk about it. I think we need to have a conversation about how to teach our children to be more independent and how to give them a little more freedom in a world that is so fearful for/about kids that we get yelled at if we let them ride their bikes half a block ahead of us. Our kids need to be given space and opportunity to grow into capable human beings who can take care of themselves. It’s our job as parents to be in tune with them enough to know when and how to give them that space and those opportunities.

This week I’ve been floored by the amount of attention my essay on Babble has been getting. It was picked up by the Daily Mail, I was contacted by several news stations and a radio show (if you want to listen, my segment starts at 20:17), and just tonight a film crew from Good Morning America came by our apartment to film a segment for tomorrow’s (Monday) show. (It’ll be in the second hour, in case you want to tune in. And I’ll post a link to it afterward as well.)

Even if I’ve been floored by the response, I stand by my decision: my son was ready for a little more responsibility and a little more independence and Micah and I prepared him and taught him and gave him a chance to spread his wings a little bit in a safe environment. If we keep this up, he may just be ready to be a contributing member of society when he reaches adulthood.

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Just a note: I know that lots of people are expressing their opinions and that not all of them are being very kind about it. It doesn’t really matter to me. I cannot make good parenting choices for my kids if I am parenting to quiet the critics, so I don’t listen to them.

Beauty and Brains

“You may say most positively that ‘Susan is pretty and Sandra is bright,’ but all Susan will remember is that she isn’t bright and Sandra that she isn’t pretty.” — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

We talk so much about teaching girls to be themselves, to nurture their talents, to not be afraid to do or be anything. But then we also praise them so much for being “pretty” or “cute” that it would be easy for them to get the idea that being pretty is the only thing to be. I am for sure guilty of this. My daughter is only 2 and it’s already a habit for me to praise her beauty every chance I get. It’s kind of a problem because she may get the sense that no matter what I say, her true value lies in being pretty.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I have definitely felt that way. Growing up, I was the Sandra to my sister’s Susan. Everyone told me I was smart. It seemed like they were complimenting me. It seemed like they were trying to tell me that this was a good thing. And yet it felt a lot more like a curse. I was told that is was probably the reason I didn’t have a lot of friends and the reason boys didn’t ask me to dance (apparently, my big brain was super intimidating?). Even my youth leaders seemed perplexed by what to say to a girl whose “intelligence” outshone her looks. It wasn’t until I was receiving scholarships my senior year of high school that I started to feel a small amount of validation that being smart was actually something to be admired and celebrated.

I know that there could have been other things going on. I am a reserved person. My face is hard to read and that makes me seem unapproachable. But during those extremely formative years of my life, all I could see was that the “pretty” girls (including my sister) were getting a lot of attention, and I was . . . not. I felt like this trait that I had, these “brains,” was talked about it like it was worth something but it wasn’t really valued at all. It was worthless and so was I.

It has only been recently that I’ve started to unravel the truth that the value that I have as a person is something separate from whether I am pretty or smart or approachable. At that time, I had been working really hard to earn the love and attention of others. I wanted to prove that I was worthy. It was crushing when I felt like my efforts were ignored or unappreciated. But about a year ago something turned in my head — and my heart — and I could kinda sorta see that there were at least a few people who liked me because I am me, and not because I can bake pie or run fast or because I’m somebody’s sister or friend or because I am or am not “beautiful.”

Then last spring this idea came into focus a little bit more when I went to the Women in the World Summit and heard Ken Burns say, “Eleanor Roosevelt would not have become who she was if she had been made to feel like she was pretty.” So much of the work that she did — helping the downtrodden, fighting injustices, bringing attention to the overlooked — she didbecause she felt that she couldn’t get by on her looks alone, that she wasn’t worth anything if she didn’t do it. 

Later that same day I listened to a panel of women talk about how girls pin so much of their self-worth on whether or not the selfies they post online get a lot of “likes” or comments. It hit close to home for me. I admit it. I don’t post pictures of myself very often because I don’t feel like I get “good feedback” (or any feedback). And I let it tell me that I’m not beautiful, not worth praising, not worth anything — that people don’t like me. When Rashida Jones, one of the panelists, suggested that girls and women be encouraged to invest more in their “appreciating assets” — their heads and their hearts, rather in the “depreciating asset” of physical beauty, another small wheel turned in my head and this idea became a tiny bit clearer.

I’ve been thinking a lot since then about what it means to be “beautiful” or to be a “beautiful person”and last week I had the chance to sit down with a dozen other women to talk about it. There were so many insightful, thoughtful, and helpful comments. Some of the best:

“Every day I look in the mirror and I tell myself I’m beautiful. In fact, I’ve only seen myself ugly once. That was when I was angry. I told God, ‘Thanks for letting me see me ugly,’ and now I am never angry.”

“I want to tell people that I love them, but what I hear myself saying instead is, ‘You look beautiful today. I really like that dress.'”

“When I think of all you ladies, I don’t see what you look like as much as I see the things that you are doing, how you are helping others, that special moment I got to see between you and your child, your talents and what you are contributing to the world.”

“People don’t think about you as much as you think they do.” (Which is possibly the most freeing realization I have ever had in my life.)

“I have a friend whose default position is, ‘They like me.’ She just tells herself that everyone likes her, and then they do, because she’s not afraid of them.”

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With all this coming into focus in my mind, I was bold enough to post a photo of myself (not exactly a “selfie” since Little Miss was actually the photographer) to Instagram. It’s not a glamour shot by any means, but it is me — my face, my story. When I first posted it, I held my breath a bit and waited to see if anybody would “like” it — or me. But then I talked myself down and remembered: people aren’t voting on how pretty I am or how much they think I am worth. I posted the photo to tell my own story, and whether or not they like it is irrelevant. It’s fun, but it doesn’t change the fact that no matter what people think of my looks or my brains, I can still be a beautiful person — someone who is kind, generous, thoughtful, patient, selfless, sensitive, honest, cheerful.

Some Kickin’ Cute Clothes from Kicky Baby

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Sharra first told me that she was coming up with a line of children’s clothes last fall as we were running through the park with our kids in the strollers, as we do nearly every week. I hadn’t known that she was a fashion designer/seamstress. I knew she was a runner, a cyclist, a yogi. An art conservationist. A good conversationalist. A totally hip mom. A supportive and patient wife to a man with a lot of responsibilities. And an all-around fun friend/great person to be around/model of who I want to be when I grow up. But of course hidden talents abound in Brooklyn and Sharra was revealing to me one of hers: she makes kid clothes.

Real, live kid clothes for real live kids that move and run and kick and climb. Clothes that are bright and colorful and stylish and . . . just what you want because it’s just what you ordered.

At the time, back in the fall, I didn’t know all this. I just knew she was a self-taught seamstress and she was trying to work out the kinks in some of her patterns before she went big and launched her Etsy shop.

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But then, a few months later she needed some models for her clothes and because I like nothing better than to be able to tell people that my children are models, I jumped at the chance. Squish and Little Miss went with the program and gamely let me change their clothes 5 times in 30 minutes and twirled and kicked and stretched and stood and sat for photos in Madison’s photo studio/bedroom.

And OH MY GOODNESS. The clothes! SO CUTE! Harem pants! Pinafores! Bibs! Bubble shorts! In infant to 5T sizes! I die. So beautiful. So fun. So perfect for little people and the parents who want them to look like the adorable children they are — and not like little adults.

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Of course we had to get a pinafore for Little Miss.* Obviously. Sharra sent us some fabric choices and then waited patiently for us to peruse them and debate among ourselves for a couple of weeks before we settled on elephants and flowers. And then she surprised us by having the finished product to us basically the next week. Such service!

Now, many of you know that Little Miss is still mostly wild animal, and has not yet evolved fully into the civilized human being that she will one day be. But in the pinafore you wouldn’t know the difference. She looks the picture of a ladylike little person, but the cut and fit are perfect for allowing her to climb and jump and kick and swing like the monkey she is inside.

Clearly, I love the pinafore. Just like I love all the clothes that have come out of Sharra’s workshop. And because Sharra is such a generous friend, she’s giving MotherRunner readers a 25% (!!) discount on Kicky Baby clothes through the end of July (!!). Just message Sharra the promo code motherrunner25 when you make your order on Etsy.

Find Kicky Baby here! And be sure to order before July 31 to get the discount!

 

*Full disclosure: Sharra kindly provided the pinafore for me to gush over review on the Internet, just as I have been doing in person since I first laid eyes on her work.

A Mile In His Shoes: My Dad

Well friends. We’re in our new apartment. It has a balcony with a view of the Freedom Tower. It’s next to a train line (we can hear the train running by every 9 minutes or so — good thing there are only 2 cars on it!) And I finally made it out for a run with Madison (and the kids) this morning — after an entire week of just not having the time. Things are slowly but surely coming together and maybe (just maybe) in a couple of months our new place will be put together enough that maybe (just maybe) I’ll give a little tiny house tour. (Little and tiny because that’s how much space we have.)

But. It’s been months (months!) since I asked my dad to let me spotlight him here and I thought that now, with Father’s Day right around the corner (and with my notes from Women in the World still packed away), would be a good time to share the results.

So, without further ado, here’s my dad.

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Who are you?

Wallace Blackhurst

I have graduate degrees in Economics and have taught at universities both east and west of the Mississippi. Spent most of my career working at the administrative headquarters of a religious organization. Currently retired. I live in Utah, am married to Barbara Sue and have 12 children (7 boys, 5 girls).

Can you walk us through your typical day?

Being retired, I now spend most of my time doing things I always wanted to do but never had the time for. I just finished a multi-year project to renovate one-fourth of our large home to create a separate apartment.

Once each week I go to the homes of my grandchildren who live nearby and read to them. I’m once again training to run a marathon, so I try to work in a significant run nearly every day. I allocate time every day for intellectual stimulation. My favorite is home-based college lectures on a broad variety of topics. I’m the leader of a men’s group at my local church and am involved in other service opportunities as well.

What is your perfect day?

Making progress on something that matters to me. That involves me in activities I don’t necessarily enjoy in and of themselves, but I do immensely enjoy their outcome (see “do-it-yourself projects” indirectly referenced above). My perfect day includes some of this kind of progress, plus physical activity, intellectual stimulation, and making at least one thing just a little bit better.

What is one of your biggest challenges as a parent/person? How do you deal with it?

I want it to be easy to be me. But the me I want to be is better than the me I am. Closing the gap between the me I want to be and the me I am is my biggest challenge.

What is a story you always tell?

My memory no longer warns me that I’ve told a story before. I would have to consult my children to find out which are the stories that I repeat.

(As his daughter, I can say that there a couple of favorite stories. One of them is the time he was on a Boy Scout campout (possibly a Jamboree?) and he and a friend noticed that the Dutch ovens had just a few coals on them. Realizing the food would never get cooked with so little heat, they piled on a bunch more hot coals. Enough that not only was the food cooked, but the cast iron was too. If my memory of the story serves me right, it melted. The scout master was so amused he had the melted lid etched with their names and the dates of the scout trip — or something like that. 

I also like the stories about when he was a kid and his mom never took him to the hospital — even when he got in a bike accident and nearly cut his ear off.

And it’s always fun to hear the birth stories from his perspective. All 12 of them.)

Do you like to run alone or in groups? Why?

I always run alone. The obvious reasons are that I’m slow and have trouble keeping up with a running partner, and that I become so winded that I can’t carry on a conversation with that person anyway. But there’s another reason behind these. I’m towards the introvert end of the scale. Some introverts, and I’m one of them, are best able to replenish their reserves when they are doing something alone. So I run for rejuvenation and renewal.

What is your best running moment?

When I feel like I’m at, or tying into, a beginning. So I love to run in the morning when the sun is rising over the mountains.

If you could do anything over, what would it be?

Raising a family, but not because I feel like I didn’t get it right the first time. I really enjoyed raising my family. There was always tons of energy flowing around me, emanating from my children. I got involved in new, interesting things that they were interested in, and that I wouldn’t otherwise have been part of.

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(That’s Dad, nearly jumping the fence to cheer on his kids!)

What is your favorite mantra? (or what would you put on a t-shirt?)

[Drawing a total blank here.]

Do you have a power song? What is it and why does that motivate you?

When I was a teenager I read science fiction because it opened my mind to the biggest stage I thought there could ever be. Then about ten years ago a human resource consulting company came to my office and asked me a lot of questions that didn’t seem relevant to anything. Several weeks later they told me what they had found out. They said I was a person that always had to be involved in the most important thing, whatever that was. I thought nobody knew. It was true, and it was why science fiction thrilled me. Anything, including music, that opens the drapes of my mind and allows me to see a long ways off, either in space or in time, is a thing that motivates me and gives me power. At this point in my life, looking back at what has already happened and forward to what is yet to happen, just about any spiritual anthem is my power song.

What is your favorite book?

Good to Great. How small and unheralded things–consistently applied over a long time–can bring about big and beneficial change.

What’s for dinner tonight?

Whatever Barbara Sue fixes.

Here is a bit more about my father the runner . . . something I started a long time ago and still plan to finish— maybe even this year. Let’s give it up for my dad! (And thanks, Dad, for letting me spotlight you! Love you.)

A Race of One

Lining up in Boston with all those thin, sinewy gazelle-ish people, knowing that just about everyone there takes this marathon-running thing seriously and probably worked really hard just to get there, can make you feel like such an imposter.

I don’t belong here.

I can’t really run that well.

I’m still new at this.

I’m not as fast as I look.

It’s a little surreal and a lot intimidating. I hear people talking about their pre-race rituals, about that time they ran a marathon through a downpour with a sprained foot, about their plan to kick it into high gear at the halfway point. And although it is tempting to feel like I really don’t belong there because I really can’t compete with them, I try, instead, to remind myself that I’m actually not competing with them.

I’m running my own race. Against me and my inner coward, my inner sloth, my inner egotist. And the goal is not to win, not to beat anybody else, but instead to be brave, and true, and humble.

I can’t compete with anyone else not only because we run at different paces, but because we’re coming from different places. Some are coming off of injuries, others are having the best race of their lives. Some have really specific goals and others are there just to have fun and soak in the atmosphere. This is serious business for some and a 26-mile party for others.

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It’s hard enough to remember that on the race course, when you actually are running a race. But it’s even harder in real life. So hard to remember that I’m not competing with any other mom, or writer, or woman. I can’t be “the best wife ever” — I can only be Micah’s best wife ever. I don’t need to feel inadequate or unworthy or like I don’t belong. I just need to be me.

And even when there are people all around me doing the things I want to be doing, people who look like they are living the dream and crossing the finish line while I’m still slogging through, I can’t be discouraged by their success (and my implicit failure) because they aren’t running the same race I’m running. Maybe I’m coming off an injury, maybe I’m just getting through this while my mind and heart are somewhere else, maybe this is just the first step in a long journey.

Whatever the case, I need to keep my eyes on my own page, my feet in my own lane, my heart in my own race . . . and feel lucky to line up next to so many people who are courageously doing the same.

Micah’s Got Next

For weeks and weeks I’ve been looking forward to being DONE with the marathon. I was so tired of running every day, so tired of pushing the darn stroller with two kids in it, so tired of logging miles. I imagined that my post-marathon life would be full of playdates and free time, that I would have more time to write, more time to sleep, more time to cook, more time to . . . not make myself so tired.

But then the taper happened. I rested up. I was less stressed about logging miles. And running was fun again. I wanted to do it everyday. I wanted to run a marathon every year at least. I wanted to be as fit as I am now for always. I wanted to never. stop. running.

And of course, that is still the plan. To never stop running. But for now, it’s time to pass the baton. I’ve been telling Micah for months that he’s got next. It’s his turn. He’s been holding my horses for me for a couple of years and, now that his body is feeling better, it’s time for him to go get his. meandmicah

As much as I want to sign up for all the races while I’m still riding the post-race high, I need to catch my breath. So I’m going to stay true to my word and pull back a bit. I’ll still run, yes. I’ll still race, even. But Micah gets to do what he wants to do first, while I hold the horses along the sidelines.

And while I still (always) put my family first, I’m hoping to focus a little more on my writing. Maybe get a little more sleep. (I never realized how awesome 8-hour nights were until I tried it for a whole week!) Possibly be a better friend. But mostly, I want to be as supportive of Micah and his goals as he’s been to me and mine.

It’s only fair.

Boston 2014 Race Recap

My happy list seems to have worked. Seriously, if ever I started to think about the little twinges or aches I was starting to feel, if ever I began focusing on how many miles I still had to run, I just looked down at my arm and thought: “Puppies!” or “Micah!” or “Wait a second, I’m in the middle of a 26.2 mile dance party!” and then everything was all better. Or mostly better. It was an excellent exercise in re-direction, as well as an effective strategy for managing pain. Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Note to self: Do that again.

But even before I got to the part about running, marathon day was already going better than expected. Because all 5 of us were sharing a hotel room, Micah and I had to go to bed early and despite pre-race nerves and fears of sleeping through the alarm, I managed to get a decent night’s sleep and to feel rested when I woke up at 4:30. (And yes, I always give myself 2 hours to get ready before I have to leave for the race.) By the time I was about to head out the door at 6:30 to catch a train to catch a bus to get to the start line, the kids were just waking up and I got to give them hugs and kisses goodbye.preracepinning

A smooth ride to Boston Common and a surprisingly short wait in line to get on the bus (last year I think I stood in line for nearly an hour — this year I got on the first bus that came once I was in line), and I got to spend the next 30 or so minutes talking to Ellen, a nanny from Seattle who was running her first Boston. It turns out her nanny family has 3 kids who matched up in ages almost exactly with my kids, so that was fun. We got off the bus and went our separate ways. I still had about 2 hours before my 10:25 start, so I waited in the porta-potty line, then got a bagel and some water, then waited in a (longer) porta-potty line, then sat down (on some grass) to wait until my wave and corral were called to march the march to the start line. 

I’d only been sitting for a moment when who should appear but Christy! The chances of me finding her among the tens of thousands when she didn’t have her phone on her were slim at best, and yet there she was! What a blessing. We waited out the rest of the time together: chatted, wandered, stood in another (even longer) porta-potty line, said a little prayer together, and then discarded our extra clothing on our way to the start line, where we said our good lucks, gave hugs, and parted — she to her corral and me to mine.

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The gun for my wave had gone off more than 10 minutes before I started the race, and the actual beginning of the race was 25 minutes before that, so the race clocks were somewhat meaningless to me. I had my phone tracking my pace and progress, but I decided to turn the volume way down low so I couldn’t hear my splits. My hope was to run by feel as much as possible, and to not get so caught up in the splits that I started stressing if I was off or getting slower. I’d read something recently about running in “zones:” the first 14 miles or so of the race should be in the “yellow” zone — a comfortable pace where you can still talk in sentences. The next 10 are in the “orange” zone, in which you push the pace just a little bit more so you aren’t quite able to get a whole sentence out. And the last two miles are the “red” zone, where you give it all you’ve got left.

That sounded great in theory, but I did wonder if increasing the pace would coincide with decreasing energy/fuel levels and end up being a wash. Still, I kept it in mind.

Mostly, however, I tried to stay positive, smile, and soak in the atmosphere. This was pretty easy to do for the first 16 miles. I felt good, I felt strong, I had no complaints. I did miss seeing my family at the 10k and the 13 mile mark (I was looking on the wrong side of the street), but still. Everyone was yelling my name! I was the mostly popular girl on the race course. And knowing that people saw me and were cheering for me was really energizing. I tried to smile and acknowledge and give as many high-fives as I could.

And then, at mile 16, my name tag fell off. And suddenly, the race course was a very lonely, anonymous place.  (I remembered later that last year I pinned my name tag on, instead of relying on the athletic tape to hold the whole time. Lesson learned.)

After that I had to focus a little harder on smiling and staying positive. My happy list came in really handy during that time. It was right when I was about to go into the Newton Hills, and lots of people were slowing down. I kept anticipating hitting the wall, feeling tired, wanting to slow down, and I had to talk myself out of it by noticing that I actually felt pretty good and there was no reason not to keep at it.

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Micah texted me and let me know that he and the kids would be at mile 22, so I had that to look forward to as well. I pushed up Heartbreak Hill and felt good to have the hardest part behind me. I scanned the crowds along mile 22, but they were pretty thick by then and I didn’t know if I would see them. And then there they were! I didn’t stop to give hugs like I did last year (I was feeling strong and knew I was on PR pace), but it was a boost to see them and to know that I had less than 4 miles to go.

And those last miles flew by. So many people cheering, so many sights and sounds and emotions to absorb. One lady held a sign that said, “Meb won!” I asked her if that was true and when she confirmed that it was, it gave me more fuel to keep pushing the pace. I turned on to Hereford Street and saw one man trip and several other runners stop to help him up. Another man had collapsed in pain just before the final turn onto Boylston Street. I saw the signs marking the 26th mile, and the finish line off in the distance and though it seemed really far away, I knew then that I had made it. I started trying to do some quick math to figure out if I’d been able to break 3:20 and, in my runner’s haze, thought that I had. When I crossed the line and my sister called me, I asked her my time and she said 3:20:40. I was a little confused. And maybe a tad disappointed. But only because of that hazy math I’d done on the fly.happyarm

Really, I feel great about how I did. My pace was much more consistent than my other marathons, and, in fact, my last 2 miles were faster than my overall average. I ran my best, felt good the whole time, and came away with a new personal record — and greater determination and hope that I can get into the 3:1X range next time around, or the time after that. 

And that, perhaps, is an indication of a really great race: one that leaves you feeling good, but gives you something more to reach for as well.

 

Shout out to Christy and Madison as well, both of whom were undertrained and coming off injuries. Christy ran a solid 3:42 after spending much of her peak training nursing a cumulative ankle sprain. And Madison gutted out 19 more miles after cramping up at mile 7. Couldn’t be prouder of those ladies and their courage and determination.

My Mind Is All Over This Marathon: Final Thoughts Before Race Day

I bought a new pair of shoes last week. The saleslady told me she couldn’t really recommend getting new shoes so close to race day, but I’d come home from my latest long run with a bruise on the bottom of my left heel and I was somewhat desperate to feel like I was doing something to make things better. I thought a fresh pair of kicks might be just the thing.

It wasn’t until I’d left the store, still feeling good about my purchase, that I realized that it was fully and completely a mental game I was playing with those shoes. Anything to give myself a bit more confidence going into Monday’s race. IMG_7100

And that’s what it is right now: a mental game. Am I eating enough carbs? Does it matter? Do I think I’m eating enough carbs? Am I getting enough sleep? Only if I think I am. (Okay, that may not be entirely true, but I think it kind of is.)

I’ve been going over my training log and with tomorrow’s 2-mile shakeout, I’ll hit 600 miles since training started on New Years’ Eve. That’s a lot of miles. More, I’m sure, than I’ve done any other marathon-training cycle. But will more miles mean a faster finish? A more comfortable race? A stronger second half? I know I’ve done a lot of slow, hard miles pushing the stroller. Will that help or hurt my finish time? I’ve done better quality speed work than I have in the past, but not as many workouts as I had planned. Who knows how that is going to effect my race?

And, of course I didn’t get to finish the longest of my long runs. I’m telling myself it won’t matter on race day. Those five I missed that day — or the 25 other miles I missed that week of illness — aren’t going to make the difference between a good race and a bad race. Only my attitude and expectations can do that.

And with that in mind, I’ve started a list of happy thoughts to keep me smiling through every. I’m determined to savor the experience. I do have time goals, of course. I’d really like to PR, which means I’d need to run a 3:21 or faster. Better yet, I’d like to break 3:20. But what I really want is to feel, when I cross the finish line, that I’ve run my best, that the training was worth it, and that it’ll be fine if I take a break from marathons for a couple of years. I don’t want to finish feeling like I could’ve done better, or that I wanted more from that race, or that I need to redeem myself . . . at least not right away.

But I’m going to try to leave after-the-race for after the race. (Ha! As if I don’t already have a hundred thoughts and hopes and plans and wishes!) Until then, it’s all happy thoughts and, full night sleeps, and lots of carbs.

ps If you’d like to follow my progress as I run from Hopkinton to Boston you are welcome to. Sign up for athlete alert here. My bib number is 14258.

 

The photo is from my long run two weeks ago, when I ran from Lincoln Center, down the West Side Highway, around the southern end of Manhattan, and over the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn. 

I’m Not Sure I Remember How To Do This

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Well, 22 miles turned out to be 17. It was cold and rainy. I had eaten only a couple of real meals since Monday. My digestive tract was still wonky. But Christy — who is coming off a sprained ankle to run Boston — and I pounded out 17 miles. At about mile 14 I started getting a little woozy, so I decided to run home, which, of course, was still 3 miles away. And, of course, the whole way home I was thinking, “Maybe I could gut it out for another lap around the park.” Between those thoughts was the more rational side of me saying that I’d be lucky to make it to the end of the block and to not be stupid by trying to get all those miles just for the sake of getting the miles.

I try not to be stupid most of the time, so home I went. And once I was there, I felt much better.

So I’m back up and running (<– I did that on purpose) just like old times. Only I still feel slow. And with the race less than 3 weeks away, I’m starting to be nervous. Do I really know how to do this? Does my body even remember how to run fast? I’ve put in lots and lots of miles these past 3 months — but not as many fast ones as I’d like. Nearly every run has been an “easy” slog pushing the stroller. What’s going to happen when I take that away?

I guess we’ll have to wait until April 21st to find out.

 

(The photo is from the last run I did before I got sick. I took Manchild to school and ran home over the Manhattan Bridge. I love this city.)

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