Thursday, February 16, 2012

Surf City Marathon

My initial goal was to get through the training and run the event injury free. Being injury prone for the last couple years made this goal feel lofty.

Once I accomplished my training goal I decided to up the ante and set my sights higher. How would I know what I was capable of if I didn't push my limits? I decided to “race” the marathon and give it everything I had. My first marathon (3 ½ years prior) I successfully ran and even Boston qualified. I knew my new goal wasn't far fetched.

Race day came and I felt confident. I walked up to the starting corral and waited with friends until the final count down. Bang! The gun went off and my engine went from idol to cruise control. I knew not to push the throttle. I stayed focused on breathing calm, keeping my upper body relaxed and tried my best to run efficiently.

When running a marathon (either Ironman or stand alone) I never think of the full distance. Why that would just be overwhelming and rather terrifying. Instead I think of each mile I am going to run down. As I passed one mile marker after another I was reminded of my training. I've never needed help finding motivation. My momma made sure I was stocked at birth. I am a person who has been humbled by injuries. Let's also not ignore the fact I keep aging up. What I needed was help finding confidence that had become lost over time. I found this confidence from my friends and family. They kept me company on long runs that scared me. They listened to my worries and complaints, and provided positive loving support. They joined me in post training feasting, although I don't think I had to twist anyone's arm. I'm now rambling on. What I'm getting at is they believed in me. They gave me the tools I needed to believe in myself. Although I was running this marathon solo, I felt my friends were running with me. As corny as it sounds – My friends and family are the wind beneath my wings.

Back to the race!

Everything felt good until mile 10 or 11. At this point the course took a U-Turn and I ran directly in to the rising sun. Oy! My eyes! I wore sunglasses but ignored advice to wear a hat or visor. Sweat poured down my face and stung my eyes. Blinding me as I ran towards the orange flaming ball. I ran without sight for a good 5 mins. Rubbing my eyes and praying I wouldn't “run” into someone. Thankfully it passed and I retained my vision without the need to stop.

The run went on comfortably until right after mile marker 20. In a matter of seconds my stomach wrenched and I spewed out my insides. Holy Moly! That was a disgusting first! My Gamin vibrated to alert me that I had stopped. Really?! So on I continued to run. My goal now was pick up my pace to reach an aid station. I needed to seriously wash my mouth out or I was going to get sick again from the taste. As I approached the aid station I grabbed whatever sports drink they offered and used it as mouth wash.

The last 10k felt like an eternity. I had thrown up all my GU and electrolytes and was now running on empty. I tried to channel caloric reserves from my rendezvous at Coldstone the night prior. Once I lost nutrition it was hard to keep a positive outlook. My legs wanted to run but my body and mind did not. The darkness set in and I started to walk. My head bowed in shame. I could only stand walking for a few seconds. I couldn't stand moving sooooo slow. I started to run again. This would only last a matter of minutes. I was too tired. I grabbed a banana from an aid station. I knew solid food would end up upsetting my stomach but it didn't matter. If I didn't eat something I would have ended up walking all of it. The banana wasn't exactly rocket fuel but it did allow me to pull my head out of my a** and run the last bit in.

I crossed the finish line at 3:43 – 7 minutes longer then my revised goal and a PW (personal worst). Although I didn't technically achieve my new goal; I still felt like a success. I did “race” the marathon. I continued to run after I puked. I did not DNF even though I secretly wanted to in the end. I stayed healthy training, during the race, and after into marathon recovery. I accomplished so much this day. I am a very grateful and proud woman for this experience.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What are you made of?

It's been a long journey to reach this place. What place is that? The mental and physical strength to be able to race. Tomorrow I will race my first marathon in 3 1/2 years. Initially my goal was just to be able to "do" the marathon distance again. Injury upon injury left my confidence shattered. Slowly I built it. One step at a time. One mile after another.

I have not done any speed work. I have done minimal mileage required. I have done what my body has allowed me to do. I have made it through weeks of training injury free. I have listened to my body and my mind. That has made me strong.

Racing doesn't mean I have to beat every other person. And I sure as hell can't beat myself. I have to work as a team - mind and body. I don't need to get a 1st place ribbon. What I need to do is push myself further then I've ever pushed. I WILL find my limit (hopefully not before mile 20!) and break that boundary. I will run win it hurts and I will do so will a SMILE and maybe a little bit of profanity.

  • Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.
  • Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.
  • A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
  • Promise me you will always remember – You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.
  • Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second.
  • Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion.  You must set yourself on fire. 
  • It is easier to go down a hill than up, but the view is best from the top. 
  • I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.
  • Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.·       Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent.
  • Celebrate your success and find humor in your failures. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Loosen up and everyone around you will loosen up. Have fun and always show enthusiasm. When all else fails, put on a costume and sing a silly song.· 
  • The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings
  • People think I’m disciplined. It is not discipline. It is devotion. There is a great difference.
  • It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.
  • Gold that buys health can never be ill spent.
  • I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.
  • Everyone has his burden. What counts is how you carry it.
  • Learn how to exhale, the inhale will take care of itself. 
  • Effort is only effort when it begins to hurt. 
  • I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.
  • Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts.
  • Anything I've ever done that ultimately was worthwhile... initially scared me to death.
  • I will keep a smile on my face and in my heart even when it hurts today.