Tuesday, February 25, 2014

moving on

Well, my race on Sunday did not go as well as hoped.  Not even close.  I'm no stranger to bad races, but this one probably hurt the most.  My goal had been to PR, which meant finishing under 1:46:48.  That did not happen.  Instead, I finished about 15 minutes later at 2:01:59.  A time I would like to forget.  I was so excited and feeling very ready going in to this race.  I was ready to run my butt off, push through the pain, and cross that finish line knowing that I gave it my all.  I was ready to put my legs to the test.  I was ready to race.  Unfortunately, my legs had other plans.

So what happened?  To be honest, I'm not exactly sure.  I got to the race about 45 minutes early and met up with Stephanie, who was also trying for a new PR (she did it!).  We got our numbers, used the bathrooms, got ready, and were on our way.  The start was down the street a little ways from where we parked.  It was a little chilly, so we very slowly jogged to the start to warm up.  We lined up by the 8:00 pacer and waited for go time.  I stretched and tried to keep moving as much as possible to keep my muscles warm.  After a few minutes I noticed a little bit of a burning feeling in my legs.  I didn't think much of it and figured in would go away once I started running again.  A few minutes later, it was time to go.

Miles 1-5 were great.  The plan was to be consistent and stay as close to an 8:00 pace as possible.  Mile 1: 8:02 (perfect!), mile 2: 8:01 (right on!), mile 3: 7:57 (yes!), mile 4: 8:00 (on top of the world!), mile 5: 8:14 (uh oh).  That's where things took a sharp turn for the worst.  Suddenly my legs felt very tight and my muscles were burning like crazy.  I don't know what happened, or where I went wrong, but my legs decided they no longer felt like running that day.  I thought maybe if I stopped to stretch that it would offer some relief and I could somehow salvage this race.  I was wrong.  Very very wrong.  Every step that followed was painful.  This time my mind was saying go, but my legs just kept saying no.

I wanted to quit.  I wanted to throw in the white flag and give up.  I think for the first time ever I shed a few tears during a race.  I couldn't believe it.  I couldn't believe after feeling so ready, how horribly bad I felt from mile 6 to 13.1.  In that moment, I had absolutely no desire to cross the finish line.  I was mad.  I was mad at running.  I was mad at my body.

There were many bad thoughts that went through my head after the race on Sunday.  There were also many more tears shed on the drive home.  I felt defeated.  I started to question everything.  Why am I doing this?  Maybe long distance running isn't for me.  Maybe I'm just not cut out for this.  Maybe I'm not strong enough.  Maybe I should just give up.  I can be pretty good at negative self talk some times.

After a couple of days of thinking and reflecting, I'm ready to move on from this bad race and look forward to the next one.  I received many words of encouragement and support, and reminders of why I really do love running, which I am so very thankful for.  I was reminded that one race does not define a person, we need the bad races so we can fully appreciate the good ones, and there will be more races, and more opportunities to be great.

This race taught me the importance of respecting running for what it is.  It is hard.  It's a challenge, and that's what makes it so exciting.  Good races are good races for a reason, everything clicks.  All of the training and hard work pays off and you have a moment of greatness.  Those moments are what make it all worth it.  Those moments make the bad races forgettable.  Those moments are what I will continue to run and train for.  Those moments make it all worth it.  

beautiful sunrise from the morning of the race    

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

race time

Well, it's that time again!   Time to race.  On Sunday I will be running the Half at the Hamptons at Hampton Beach, NH.  I have never done this race before, so I'm excited to give it my best shot.  From the website, it is promised to be one of the flattest courses in New England with a total climb of 115ft. If you've spent any time running in New England, you know a flat race is hard to find.

This makes me very happy

The week-of-the-race anxiety has begun and I'm feeling a mix of emotions as race day approaches.  My goal for this race is to PR, which means crossing the finish line under 1:46:48.  My training lately has been going well and I've been feeling really strong in all the workouts.  I know I am capable, but I'm scared.  I'm scared because I know that means returning to that pain place, and not giving up when my mind starts to challenge my body.

When I PRed in the half marathon last May, I was ready, I was excited, and I was confident.  I felt the burn in my legs, the fatigue, and the struggle, but I didn't give up.  I was determined to cross that finish line under 1:50.  And I did.  Following that race, I struggled through the rest of 2013 to find that same fight and determination from start to finish of a half marathon.  Instead, when things got tough, I got frustrated and doubted myself.  I gave up.

Dove gets it.  I have to too.

This year I've already taken some pretty big steps to improve my health, my confidence, and learning how to believe in myself.  I'm ready to find that fight and determination once again.  I'm ready to see what these legs can do.  I'm ready to let go of the doubt.  I'm ready to race.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014


I've been struggling lately coming up with things to write about.  Training is still going well.  Winter is still here in full force, to my dislike.  I've still got a pretty good case of the winter blues going on.  So, I just haven't felt like I've had much to say, or any fun running news to report.

I did, however, get some fresh ink added to my body a couple of weeks ago.  I had been wanting to get another tattoo, but wasn't sure exactly what.  When I lost my favorite little wrinkly man, Manny, in November I knew I wanted get something to remind me of him.  I thought for a long time about what to do.  I have a scar on my right wrist that is from him.  He was a little jerk from time to time, but I loved him just the same.  I knew I wanted to somehow incorporate the scar in the tattoo, or have a tattoo around it somehow.

After a lot of brainstorming, doodling, and drawing on myself, I decided I wanted 4 paw prints.  The first one around my scar, and the three other staggered up my arm, facing me.  I was very nervous to actually go and get it done though.  I have other tattoos, but being on my wrist, this one would be the most visible (I have one on my foot, which is very visible in the summer because I live in flip flops.  But, it is still hidden when I'm at work).  I was nervous about what people would think when they saw it.  I made an appointment anyways, and went down to the tattoo shop.  Still feeling a little nervous, I got out of my car and looked down at the ground.  Staring back at me, in the snow, was a paw print.  When I saw that, the nerves went away, and I knew this was what I wanted to do.

Manny meant a lot of things to me.  Tattoos obviously aren't for everyone, and are frowned upon by many.  Personally, I see them as way to express yourself, your beliefs, and what is important to you.  This year is about moving forward for me, living life without hiding behind an eating disorder, and believing in my abilities.  This tattoo is a reminder of all of those things, along with helping me feel like Manny is still by my side.

Do you have any tattoos?  What do they mean to you?