Breaking Out Again (of this rut I’m in)

May  I be painfully honest? I have really not felt like running since Grandma’s Marathon on 6/18/16. In fact, I’ve really not felt like doing much of anything-except sleeping! It’s summer for goodness sake, what’s WRONG with me???

I tend to internalize crap that I shouldn’t. Like having a crappy race experience when I know I am capable of so much better! Oh there are other things like not hearing from my kids for weeks, worrying about my mother’s health, and thinking about the project I need to get done for work. Some things are out of my hands, this I realize. Other things, like knowing I should be training more (or better) are completely in my control!untitled (89)

I refuse to blame it on age, because I have always believed that age is a number. We get out of anything what we put into it. I know 90 year old people that have more energy and spunk than a lot of 40 year olds (and younger). I am definitely not a lazy person, but I have discovered that I am definitely one who gets bored easily. I thrive under pressure. I am always looking for that new experience and adventure.

I have never followed just ONE running plan. I tend to glean from a few different ones and adjust them to my schedule. I also admit, that as a nurse on my feet for 12 hours for 2 days in a row completely drains me mentally and physically. Running is usually my outlet, but then again, I have been in a rut of sorts.

So I decided that I needed something more. I need accountability to help me get through the rough spots. So once again, I hired a trainer to get me to the finish line of my next marathon pain free and under 4 hours. The last time I did this was early 2014 before my first Boston qualifier. It’s so easy to get lax when one doesn’t have someone pushing them and expecting more out of them. PLUS, when I have spent the $, I expect to get my money’s worth! It is definitely no quick fix. I MUST put in the work!

Variety is the key. I love being around people who are constantly trying to better themselves and do not accept mediocrity. The dumbing down of our society as a whole is so frustrating! I have mentioned before that I am SO thankful for the high school teachers who pushed me and didn’t let me get away with less than my best! I will forever be grateful for my college prep teacher who instilled in me a HUGE vocabulary!

So once again, discipline is key. July first will be the start of my training for the Marine Corps Marathon this fall. No more rest days when I need to be training. No more talking myself into less miles than I should be running. I need to “get out of my head” and be a little selfish with my time.

Would I like my kids to visit/contact me more? Certainly! Would I like for my mother to be completely healthy? Of course! But those are two things that are completely out of my control. What is in my control is the goals I have for myself and the steps it takes to get there. That means core work every day even when I’m sore and running when I don’t feel like it! 049c711c262d57cf3909b8a1cfa92bb7

Everyone experiences low spots in life, it is the human experience. Realizing that  you are not alone is a major step to breaking out of ruts, no matter what it may be. Maybe it’s not running. Maybe it’s life in general. The news media certainly doesn’t help with making our world a cheery place. Depression is real. It is nothing to be ashamed of. It is treatable, and you are not alone. You are not a weirdo or a freak of society.

This month marks 7 years that someone I was close to chose to take her life. She is missed every day and her contribution to society is forever gone. It doesn’t have to be this way. Reach out-there are people who truly care and can help you through this rough spot.

Sometimes we can get so down on ourselves that we can’t see the beauty of our lives for what it really is. ALL lives matter. Whatever you’re going through, don’t let it defeat you!

“I choose to be strong by being soft and pliable rather than inflexible, brittle, and hard.”–Affirmation by Wayne Dyer from Living the Wisdom of the Tao, verse 76

Hope to see you out on the road or trails!

Stephanie

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

 

 

Oh the Agony of da Heat & da Knees!

IMG_20160617_150710323

Catchy title eh? It should more appropriately be called, “A Tale of Two Cities” but I think that was already claimed by Dickens & it was set in London & Paris before the French Revolution. I could have called it, “Three Strikes You’re Out,” (appropriate since it’s baseball season), or I could just lay it all out there in Stephanie style and tell you how I see it.

This is of course, my experience with running Grandma’s Marathon 2016, which just so happened to be it’s 40th anniversary. Anniversaries are lovely things, but that is fodder for another blog. Note the featured image. It was 64 degrees and overcast the day I arrived in Duluth, Minnesota. I was thankful that I had seen fit to bring my long compression pants as rain was in the forecast for race day (they weren’t needed after all).

The Expo: It intrigues me to experience different cities/marathons and their expos. Having just experienced Hospital Hill in KC, for the umpteenth time, it was quite the contrast (as much as the cool temps from the upper 90s in KC)! It was held in the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center or DECC. One had to go through most of the vendors to get to the packet pick up area. That was fine, as I got to sample some wonderful coffee-“Arco” brand that I made sure to purchase at a local grocery store and bring home. The “problem” as I saw it was that it was way too congested. I thought Twin Cities was asses & elbows, but this was much worse! I like to shop at expos and tend to spend too much money, but I couldn’t seem to think of a thing that I needed at this one! I picked up  my bib/packet without much fanfare, got my freebies, and left.

IMG_20160617_142017098

On to locate the Motel. Duluth is beautiful by the way, and if you have a chance to visit, I would highly recommend it! I should mention at this juncture, that the whole premise of running this marathon was camaraderie with some of my fellow running group rock stars. I would have liked to have gotten a New York qualifying time, but I wasn’t training for it in particular. I was mostly “along for the ride.” Having said that, the “group” which arrived in various fashion-planes, trains, & cars (ok, maybe not trains), were planning on having dinner together at a pizzeria just across the state line in Wisconsin.

Nutrition & Fueling: I have learned through the years, that I cannot eat past 4pm before race day & expect good outcomes. Since the group was meeting at 5:30pm, that meant that eating would most likely commence a little after 6pm & not end before 6:30pm or 7pm. Not a good plan for me. I was in bed by 8pm.

Race Day: 0300 alarm, out the door by 0530 and just in time for shuttle bus to the start at Two Harbors by 0545. It was 33 miles to the start from the motel. The course ran along Lake Superior, ending in Duluth. My group had boasted that this was a “flat” course, with one hill toward the end. I beg to differ. To me, it was like 24 miles of Rockhill Road in Kansas City. There were a few downhills, but not many. I was just pleased as a peacock that it was not raining and that the temp was 70ish to start. Still a far cry from the 90’s in KC.

My people showed up group by group, depending on where they stayed. It was a great sight to see the orange finally arrive! A quick photo and we all headed to our respective corrals (if you could call it that). Supposedly, 9600 people were registered to run the full marathon. I had no plan, other than to hover from the 3:45 to the 3:55 pacers.

I should have hit the porta-potty the final time before the start, but I didn’t, lying to myself that the urge would pass. It didn’t. Thankfully, there were the familiar blue vertical rectangles along the route before even hitting a mile. I had to stop, knowing I would be thinking about it the entire time and not doing my best.

That taken care of, I tried to make up time by sprinting-never a good idea at the start of a race, especially on what appeared to be mostly uphill! I caught a glimpse of one of the running group girls, caught up to her & we chatted for a bit. There was a random runner (female) with some odd coin type skirt thingy over her shorts that kept “jingling.” I can’t tell you how much I wanted to rip that thing off of her! How freaking annoying! By mile 4-5, I took in my first GU and my first Saltstick cap by mile 6. I was feeling actually pretty good and on my normal pace.

It was great to have volunteers handing out cups of ice, because the temps were starting to increase. By the halfway point, I was at around a 2:04 and was starting to feel a bit fatigued. Fatigue and heat I can handle, but what was about to come, I could not.

I started to feel a little niggle in my right knee around mile 16. “Crap,” I thought. “Maybe it will just go away.” I was hitting every water station and walking through them. It wasn’t cramps, but the old IT band from many months ago, laughing at me. Another girl from the group showed up at one point and we ran some together until she needed the porta-potty. She caught up to me and passed me as I needed to hit the johnny room again (so much for nutrition planning)!

Nothing smells quite as horrific as a porta-potty on a hot day in June, especially when one is having digestive problems and feeling some queasy. At that point, I decided that I just did not care about time anymore and I just wanted to finish. I could handle this-two 10ks & I had it whooped! By mile 19, the wheels fell completely off as BOTH knees were crapping out and I decided at that point that I was just going to have fun and get through the final 7.2 miles any way that I could. So I started taking pictures.PhotoGrid_1466433879970

It was after all, a beautiful course. I made sure to get in some photo ops with the locals, Elvis seemed to be popular :PhotoGrid_1466433694350I think it’s around mile 22 that Scenic Hwy 61 crosses over into Duluth. All I know is that I was going to capture this monumental moment. Every time I saw the “First Aid/Dropout” signs, it was oh so tempting!!! Ok-only 4.2 miles to go! My knees were screaming. I tore my sweat rags and tied them around both knees. I was hot, nauseated, and hurting. So thankful for the people along the way who graciously sprayed us!

A fellow runner, who ironically was having IT band problems as well, offered to take my pic in the sprayer. Runners are so awesome! It wasn’t long after this when a couple more from my group passed me & were aiming for a PR. I tried to stay with them but the knees said, “no way!” I then employed the 1 min run/30 sec walk routine. This worked for awhile. Finally mile 23. There was a guy with a beer bong, and boy was it tempting! Anything to numb the pain!PhotoGrid_1466433559856

“Only” a 5k to go! As any marathoner knows, the last 5k is mostly mental-especially on a good running day. I just kept thinking, “Okay, I can walk 10 min miles and be done with this beast in a little over 30 minutes.” I didn’t even notice the hazard signs that had gone up.

FB_IMG_1466452079534
Photo credit: Runner’s Edge

“Full steam ahead!” I only wished. The same girl from early on caught up with me again and another whom I thought had long passed me. We had about 1.5 miles to go and I thought I could finish with them, but the last little downhill on the brick road was too much for the knees and I had to walk once again. My time between miles 25 & 26 was 15 minutes. I told myself I would at least run (hobble?) the last .2. I just wanted to be done and get that damn medal!

I did finish in 4:50:45-my third worst finishing time ever in my 9th marathon! The first was KC Marathon in 2011 at 5:17:56, followed by Route 66, 2013 in Oklahoma at 5:04:37. All three times (three strikes) were a result of IT band flares. I have no one to blame but myself.

Two tales (in pics) of beginnings and endings:

What Went Wrong & What I Learned: Every run-race or otherwise, should be a learning experience. Yes, it was hot & humid and is estimated that over 2000 people dropped out. No, the course was not what I expected. I never look at a course prior to a race. But I had just done Hospital Hill for goodness sakes! As I reviewed my Garmin, I had a  pretty good race up until mile 13-16. Heat has never really been an issue for me. As a rule, I like hills. My problem was laziness. What???

Let me explain. Since I qualified for Boston for 2017 last fall at Twin Cities, I kind of let things slide. Especially after I got sick in March and had to forfeit the 100 miler I signed up for. I have taken a LOT of rest days, and not pushed myself like I know I should have. As I said before, I really did not have a goal time per say for this race, but somewhere between 4 and 4.5 hours would have been desirable. I am 10 pounds heavier than this time last year. True, a lot is muscle, but I have more around my middle than I like. For the past three years, I have been consistent with core work to strengthen my back, and hips. I have not done one lick of core work this year mostly because I find it totally BORING! I have weak hips, back, & glutes. I have work to do.ChZrZ5mWMAErX2T

Hopefully I will have a better report after the Marine Corps Marathon this fall. On the flip side, this was one of the funnest marathons I have ever participated in because I was there with my local running family. They are the best and I am so glad that our paths have crossed. They are some of the MOST hard working, dedicated people I have ever met & who NEVER give up! They truly made this a memorable weekend.

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”

–Dean Karnazes

Hope to see you out on the roads or trails!

Stephanie

Next up: Stars & Stripes 5k on the 4th of July and taking on Psycho Summer 10 miler 7/23!

 

 

 

Running is Glamorous & Sweat is…

In case you missed it earlier!

Life Begins When You Let It

WordPress tells me that it has been 16 days since my last blog post so I thought I’d better get after it!

After contemplating the many issues plaguing the world, I could have written about a handful of them. Things like how I think political posts on social media are idiocy at it’s finest,  how debates about zoos, children, & gorillas are multitudinous, how swimming in alligator infested swamps at night is utter foolishness, or how those who believe the mainstream media are completely simpleminded (ranks right up there with the readers of the Enquirer), but that would take weeks. So instead I will focus on the glamorous residual effects of running-that is, how lovely it can be. (Disclaimer: I am not a poster child for the subject of this blog).

I don’t know how they do it. “They” are the cutie patooties who still look as fresh & beautiful…

View original post 697 more words

Running is Glamorous & Sweat is…

WordPress tells me that it has been 16 days since my last blog post so I thought I’d better get after it!

After contemplating the many issues plaguing the world, I could have written about a handful of them. Things like how I think political posts on social media are idiocy at it’s finest,  how debates about zoos, children, & gorillas are multitudinous, how swimming in alligator infested swamps at night is utter foolishness, or how those who believe the mainstream media are completely simpleminded (ranks right up there with the readers of the Enquirer), but that would take weeks. So instead I will focus on the glamorous residual effects of running-that is, how lovely it can be. (Disclaimer: I am not a poster child for the subject of this blog).

I don’t know how they do it. “They” are the cutie patooties who still look as fresh & beautiful after a run (or workout) as they did before prom (not afterwards with those back seat shenanigans)! You know the type-perfect makeup, smiles on their faces, nary a hair out of place. They take the most flawless selfies afterwards.

I don’t know how you “loose” arm fat. I would think one would want to tighten that crap up! (Beauty but no brains perhaps)? And do people really smile on a treadmill?!

stock-photo-beautiful-group-of-young-women-exercising-on-a-treadmill-at-the-gym-167065421
I don’t know what they are on, but I want some!

I don’t know about you, but I look like a sick cow with a hangover when I’m on the “dread”mill.

A popular photography company back in the late 80’s, early 90’s was one known as
“Glamour Shots.” I guess there are a few still around for those who like to feign “glamour.” Honestly, with photoshop and the ability to alter digital images, I don’t know why anyone would PAY to have this done. That is MY opinion of course, so take it or leave it.

I like to dress up occasionally and to look like something other than what the cat drug in when I go out. But I really love taking candid shots of others or as I like to say, “capturing life.” My kids think I’m daft. That’s okay, I am-and the apples don’t fall too far from the tree! So to get back to “running as glamour,” I shall now share with you some of my “glamour shots.”

I don’t think any advertising companies are going to be calling me anytime soon.

I will try to be brief -humor, arr, arr (only us “old” people get that, but believe it or not, there was once a sitcom called “Mork & Mindy” in the days of three channel T.V. from whence that phrase came). At any rate, I will TRY to highlight the finer aspects of the glamour of running.

Glamorous run faces:

I have tried to anticipate the photographer and tweak a little smile:

GivingThanks5K-2015-61-XL
Semi Smile?

Glamorous Finish Line photos that look like you are being a wimp & carrying an umbrella!

_20160418_073624
Not Mine!

Glamorous bodily functions:

Glamorous gourmet foods (may cause spontaneous puking on a long run):

10743834_10205359438171569_1218967244_n
Yummy Gels

Glamorous bodily smells:

Glamorous after effects like chafing and pain from foam rolling:

Glamorous after photos with sweat in the eyes:

Glamorous photo ops with celebrities:

 

10706390_10204797868532679_2068693705_n

Glamorous Accessories:

Glamorous feet/toes: Who needs polish when your toenails are always black?_20160527_161242

Glamorous Imagination:

So there is my not so comprehensive list of the glamours of running. At least all of my toenails have grown back in time for sandals, I’ve only chafed once (work to be done on those inner thighs, but I’m blaming the material in the shorts), and I’ve only bought 5 pair of shoes so far this year. Since I didn’t get to do the ultra I was planning, there has been no pooping in the woods (yet).

Running has brought me many glamorous things, but I am quite certain that I will NEVER have a booty that looks like this no matter how many squats I do. That’s okay because then I’d break the bank with new clothes. CJ_BumXXAAAS6XT

There are always butt implants and boob implants, but…why? Oh, this society we live in! I would have to learn a whole new way of running and well that’s just TOO much down time!!! I love my glamorous self, my glamorous health, and my glamorous running friends. I must confess that the gams are a nice by-product of running as well.

The moral of the story-embrace you for you. Whatever it is you’re committed to-the good, the bad, and the ugly. Above all, embrace health. We only have one body and when it breaks down, parts are pretty sparse. Most people take better care of their vehicles than they do their bodies. Fight the fight, live long, and capture those life moments!

I love ME, flaws and all.

Oh-and you’re still wondering what sweat is? Wet and sweaty of course…duh!

Hope to see you out on the road or trails!

Stephanie

P.S. And I didn’t even talk about the glamour of spitting & snot rockets!!!

Photo credits to whom they rightfully belong.