Thursday, April 27, 2017

Boston Marathon Documentary

The last two evenings I have been on the couch watching Marathon, the documentary about the Boston Marathon Bombing and some of it's victims. So, the last two evenings I've also been in tears.  It is a powerful, well done documentary.  I hesitate to say "good" because while it is well done and worth watching, it is so very heartbreaking.

As a runner and a woman, safety is often on my mind when I run - I've addressed that in the past on this blog.  However, I have to admit that safety at a race absolutely never enters my mind.  I assume that I have nothing to worry about during a race, that the race directors and support staff are there to ensure everything goes smoothly.  It doesn't occur to me that other people would want to cause harm - or it didn't prior to the bombing.

When I ran Hartford last October I was surprised and unsettled by the heavy police and military presence.  I didn't mind that they were there, and was pleased that security was a priority. But it is startling to see guys in body armor, with their dogs - one of whom came dangerously close to my butt while I was sitting in the grass! - and various equipment.  It's a sad reminder of Boston and the tragedy that was the bombing.  It's changed how big races are run, orchestrated and executed.

I really cannot wrap my mind around what that day must have been.  It was difficult to watch the documentary with the scenes from the aftermath of the bombs.  So many people with such grave injuries.  Lives changed forever in a split second.  My heart breaks for those families that have struggled to regain a sense of normalcy since.  Because while it is out of the headlines, they are still to this day dealing with the aftermath.  They will always be dealing with the fallout and the changes to their lives.

Boston was always a bucket list item for me, and now even more so. I feel like I want to run it to pay homage to those who've suffered, to run when they can't, to show the world that they can't take away our will to run; we will not be silenced by fear.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to qualify, but it's definitely a long term goal of mine. And certainly to go and spectate, at the very least.  I am inspired by those who were affected by the bombing, and I know I will carry them in my thoughts during my runs.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Marathon Monday

Watching the Boston Marathon always get me so emotional.  I cannot imagine what running that course must feel like.  Well, maybe a little bit I can. I certainly fantasize about it.  The crowd support looks AMAZING.  I tend to run smaller, less populated races and I think I miss out on the boost from the crowds.  My half in May is largely a quiet race, small field and limited cheering.  Sometimes, you  need that cheering..lemme tell ya.

Anyway. Boston. Yes, it is a wild fantasy of mine. Is it a possibility? Who knows. First I need to get a marathon under my belt where I run it, and finish it in the course time allotted.  It still stings that I can't search my results for Hartford because I finished after the cut off and it's not recorded. So - that first.

I firmed up my plans - race in May. Maybe run a few smaller races over the summer - XC series etc. and strength train all summer. Half training starts again in June/July and a hard push to October when I'll run the Mohawk Hudson Hannaford Half marathon.  I haven't settled on a training plan yet, but I am leaning toward AMR Half Marathon Race plan.  I want a plan that's going to push me a little bit outside my comfort zone - I am learning I need to do that more often so that I get comfortable being uncomfortable.

I know that I am capable of more, and I want to see that. So that's my plan. And then after the half in the fall, maybe I'll train for a spring marathon. That will depend on how my half goes - and whether I want to push for a PR with another half, or change course and pursue the marathon distance again.  Living in the Northeast I have access to so many great races, I'm excited for the opportunity to choose what comes next.

A little aside - yesterday's run was brutal.  I feel like my legs haven't recovered  from this weekend's long run which was a hard one.  I met the local volee' ladies again and we ran up a mountain.  It was hard, and I walked a lot. I could've used more sleep and probably more fuel. We climbed 1400 feet, and the group split up on the way down the mountain; I felt like I was holding them back and was fine to go it alone for a bit. It took me much longer than I would have liked but I finished it.

Mentally it was a tough one for me - I wanted to quit, I considered asking Greg to pick me up at the Gatehouse. I wanted to quit running forever; forget about the half in May, forget all of it! I had a real emotional temper tantrum.  I didn't quit though, I kept going even if I had to walk and I finished that darn run. Isn't it funny the headspace we can get in to? I want to learn how to get myself out of it more quickly, or better. One step at a time, right?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

And for my next trick

So Philly was over...what now?  I still felt strongly about "never again" on the marathon. But I also have dreams of a sub 2 hour half.  Perhaps I'd work on that.

I registered for a local half in May that I ran last year and enjoyed despite it's (not so) rolling hills.  One hill was NOT rolling. It was steep. This year, I'll be ready.

I don't expect that I'll sub 2 this one - I'm not trained to, but I am training to come in under my current PR of 2:25.  A 2:15 is a realistic possibility.

One thing that I am often lacking is strength training.  So I signed up for the AMR traditional half plan and have been incorporating their strength as much as possible and also some kettlebell work.  Mostly swings and dead lifts.  My plan right now is to race in the spring.  Take a little time off of training and put some serious time into building my strength: May-July and then pick up training for the fall.

I've not decided on what to do for the fall race-wise.  I'm looking for something fast and flat-ish.  To keep working toward that sub 2 goal.  I have some options in my immediate area but am also open to travelling.  I don't know that I'll make it back to Philly in 2017, it may be a last minute decision.

I ran this weekend with some local Oiselle volee' and it was great! I am not at all accustomed to running with others, or talking while I run.  They were speedy and I had to PUSH, but I appreciated their chatting at me while I ran.  The wind was NO JOKE. We ran over the Walkway and back - coming back was brutal.  But we ran 10 miles in 1:46 - my fastest 10 ever.

Lesson?  I need to work on pushing myself when I am solo.  I ran that ten, didn't feel totally trashed but had to work at it.  I have to get out of my comfort zone if I'm going to meet my goals.  I really appreciate the lesson that long run taught me!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Still here!

I'd almost forgotten about this little blog o'mine!  It's hard to find the time to get all of the things done, and this fell by the wayside.  That said, it was nice to re-read some of my older entries and I am going to make more of a concerted effort to post on a more regular basis.

When I wrote last, I was struggling post-marathon.  I continued to struggle.  I managed to get enough runs in where I felt like I could handle Philly without totally killing myself.  Philly was so much fun!! I was a little nervous travelling by myself to meet women I'd never met in real life, but off I went!  Everyone was so wonderful.  We had a great time.  My roommates were wonderful.  Beth, Carla and Ava were funny, kind and easy to talk to.  We chatted a bit, grabbed some dinner and then made posters with Dimity and MK - I felt a little star struck I think! And headed back to the hotel for an early bedtime.  The next morning was a quick shakeout run before we all went to the start.  Dimity led us through our Silly Toes and we jogged to the start.

Look at all these smiling mother runners!

 I hoped I'd be able to run well.  I planned to stick with some ladies as long as possible and see what happened.  I tried not to put much pressure on myself (easier said than done!).  I ran with the pack for quite a while - Dimity and I had a nice chat for a bit and she encouraged me at the point I started to flag.  She even took my arm warmers for me and was super encouraging. I wanted to quit.  I didn't feel great (looking back I was under fueled) and she kept me going.  Eventually I pulled away, and felt great for a bit only to hit the wall again.

At this point I knew my hopeful goal of 2:15 wasn't happening.  It was also a bit warmer than I expected which likely didn't help.  Anyway - it wound up being my slowest half time, I cramped up at the end and hobbled through the finish line. Oh well. I still had a GREAT time!

That night one of the BAMR's Kelly hosted us in her beautiful home.  We all had a chance to relax, eat and chat with our coaches. It was a lovely lovely evening - one I will hold as a special place in my heart for a long time! I got to spend time with Sandra and Melissa from Hartford, and meet lots of new ladies!  Sunday was the marathon - I did not stay to spectate because duty calls, but those ladies CRUSHED it in really awful race conditions. Drastically different from our race- it was cold, and SUPER windy.  Kudos to all those finishers!

I am so grateful to have found this BAMR crowd - the support and knowledge is tremendous.  I am so grateful to Dimity and Sarah for what they've built and continue to build for the mother runner crowd.