Sunday, 20 November 2011

My Second Marathon

That's me - after completing the Mount Desert Island Marathon on October 16, 2011. I was shivering, hence the shoulders being up around my chin. Also of note is the dress. I bought two of them over the summer - I love, love, love them. You may purchase yourself one at . This one is called the ruu-muu - it has a huge pocket in the back, like on a bicycling shirt.

I know last year I said I would never do another marathon. The first one was not a very good experience, other than the joy over having done it. But the pain was horrifying. So, imagine my surprise around January when I decided I really could do another one. The first day I had this thought, I registered for the race, because it fills up quick and I also wanted to do it before I could change my mind. My daughter had already decided she was going to run the race, and I told her I would go and be her biggest fan, but I would NOT do another marathon. I called her to tell her I WOULD do the marathon.

In the 10 months of training, I changed my mind several times. I thought I had irrevocably decided not to do the race on July 30 after I completed my first 18 mile training of the season. I made a mistake in my calculations and ended up doing 19 miles. I had a blister with its own ecosystem on my right foot. I soaked my feet in the Boulder Creek after I was done, which was one of the finest moments of the summer. (but after scrolling through my photos from the last year, I realize that this training had a huge amount of fun associated with it!)
That day, I came home and lay in bed wondering how I would ever get up again. My left foot hurt so bad. I thought I had plantar fasciitis, I went to the doctor several times and my doctor thinks I have stress fracture and ordered an MRI. I have yet to have the MRI, because I think I didn't want to know. Anyway, on July 30, I had a dinner plans with a man I have been dating since May. We were going to a very high end restaurant downtown. I thought I might have to ask him to pick up a wheel chair on the way over, because I wasn't sure I could walk. That was when I decided that I didn't want to continue to do this. I told my coach I was done - I would do half-marathons, but I wasn't going to spend my weekends being unable to walk - and ruin my budding relationship with this nice man!

Me in my fancy running dress and the cutest jacket on earth, purchased at my favorite running store on earth, Runners Roost Lakewood.

I was registered for the Divas Half Marathon in Vail, Colorado on August 21. I had a room reserved at the race hq hotel, so I went up for that. I woke up that morning with a migraine and decided not to do it. I went for breakfast at the hotel and ended up eating with a couple of strangers who were running the race. I told them I had a migraine and wasn't doing it. They murmered sympathy, but then one of them said, "too bad you won't get the medal." Well, I wasn't going to miss out on that medal, so I did that race with a migraine. And it was hard! I don't know how they advertised that race as being "relatively flat" - I would like to meet their relatives! That was hilly as hell! But I had so much fun! At the finish, a fireman puts the medal on you (oh, baby!) and they hand you a long stemmed rose and a flute of champaign (which I gave to friends because I don't drink). In the last couple of miles, you get a tiara and a feather boa. It was super fun, and I had a great time.

And then, on September 25, I did a half-marathon on trails, the Bear Chase. It was hard! I logged my worst time ever for a half-marathon. But I had so much fun! There were three or four river crossings, many hills, and miles of single track, sunshine and beauty.
As I did this race, I considered that I COULD do the marathon I was registered for. There is no time limit, there is an early start for slow people, it is on paved streets, and it is at sea level. As long as I wasn't trying to be competitive, and as long as I wasn't going to beat myself up for my performance, I COULD do it! I sent my coach a sheepish e-mail asking her if she thought I could do it. She immediately sent me a new training plan. I had one weekend to cram in some long mileage, and then I was tapering!

So, off I went to Maine to do my second marathon. I didn't have high expectations. In fact, I had some pretty bad fears based on my first marathon. I had one idea foremost in my mind - to have the best time I could have without driving myself crazy. And I think I was successful. It is a great race. I cannot say enough about it. It is small. If you like crowds and fans cheering at every turn, this would not be your race. If you like a flat fast course, this is not it either. It is hilly. It is never flat. But it is unbelievably gorgeous the whole time. Every square inch of it.
There were so many special moments along this race, it would take another whole post as least as long as this one already is to detail them. Some highlights were: my daughter and I were together through maybe half of the race. We separated at about 7 miles when I had to use the woods (not many porta potties along this course), met up again at about 15, and then separated for good at 20. She was suffering and wanted me to go on without her. It hurt me to do that, but I understood her wanting me to go. (she hadn't trained much and was in five finger shoes.)
I loved this race. I enjoyed it. In the last 2 miles, I did what I won't usually allow myself to do... I cried. I was alone and I was crying. There were only struggling, limping people left on the course. I actually passed a couple of them in the last couple of miles. I was crying because I realized on a cellular level that I was doing this thing. I will be 60 years old in December. I know there are good athletes still at 60, but for most people who are 60, they are not out doing marathons. And no matter what it looked like or how long it took me, I was doing this. Not talking about it. Not dreaming about it. I was actually doing it. I decided I was never going to minimize what an accomplishment this is. I don't need to qualify it with how long it took or what my finishing place was. I did it.

After my marathon last year, one of my friends talked me into buying a "26.2" magnet for my car. She had to put it on the car for me. I thought it was "boastful." I thought that if it took me over 7 hours to complete a marathon, I probably ought not to claim it. After a few months, I took it off my car. After I was done with the Mount Desert Island Marathon, I put that magnet back on my car. Because no matter what, I am a marathoner.

And for next summer? I am planning an Olympic Distance Triathlon.

But I am not ruling out another marathon 100% - only 98%.

p.s., if you are looking for advice about how to go about training for a marathon, I would suggest finding a running group in your area and joining. It is worth every bit of investment of money and time. You learn so much and make friends with wonderful people who are so healthy and positive. I have a great coach who has been a great friend and has taught me things I never knew I needed to know! (Like wearing a plastic bag and a therma-care wrapped around my waist before a race on a cold morning!) And as I was commenting to my friend on Saturday as we watched the other runners go by, there are sure some good looking men in that group! And women too - but we aren't too interested in good looking women.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

My Marathon!

On October 17, 2010, I finally completed a marathon. After thirty years of dreaming of running a marathon, I finally did it. It was awesome. Long Beach Marathon, Long Beach, California. It was a good one. Another blogger has done a great job of blogging the whole marathon - his experiences are very similar to mine and I saw most of the same sights and people. I was happily surprised that I wasn't in featured as "can you believe this old lady is out here?"

And then, I have to tell you, I had a few problems. You can see that if you look closely at my time... which is not even accurate. It was worse than that! In the first few miles, my back started cramping. I thought it would work itself out as it frequently does. But it only got worse. I still was determined to enjoy myself and do the best I could.

If it had ended at 15 miles, I would have had a great race. But marathons go beyond 15 miles. They go beyond my 20 mile longest training workout. I discovered the true meaning of "hitting the wall." I never really knew what that was. I had "intestinal problems" which made me hit every porta-potty from about 12 miles to 18 miles. And my back was hurting so bad. At a couple of points there were people with "the stick" who had volunteered to roll it on your legs, or whatever. I asked if they could roll it on my back. It provided tremendous relief. (I bought one after I got home - it is awesome.)

At a point or two, I thought to myself - what the heck am I doing out here? I am old, I am not a skinny little runner. I am slow. I am not your typical marathon runner. I thought of some of those folks who wish anyone taking longer than 5 hours would just stay home.

And then I remembered a stupid movie I saw a year or so ago. About a silly man who said he was going to run a marathon and hadn't trained and had no clue. He was pitiful. I thought about myself watching that movie and wanting him to finish the marathon and how I didn't think he should just stay home. So, I figured, I had paid for my admission to this thing, I had trained seriously for six months. I was having a bad day, but I still could finish it and have my marathon.

I was in so much pain, at one point a woman came up behind me and told me, "it's your race, you have eight hours to finish it, don't sweat it." That was nice.

There were many special moments. The race was awesome. The course was pretty and flat and there was lots of support and lots of spectators. The first 8 or 9 miles were along the ocean which I loved. Winding through neighborhoods in Long Beach was really fun for someone from the arid mountains of Colorado. So different! On Sunday morning, we got to pass by churches full of people. At one point, I saw a house with a Broncos flag waving in the breeze. Very nice! A couple of times nice people walked along with me in the last 10 miles. It is so nice to have a conversation to take your mind off the pain!

One of the most memorable moments came just after I finished though. I had gotten my medal - it is a nice one. I had gotten my little space blanket. I had gotten a little bag with apples and bananas, and some water. And then a man came and put his hand on my shoulder and thanked me. I couldn't imagine why he would thank me, so I asked him.

He said "I have been behind you for miles and miles. I was in so much pain, and I could see that you were in pain, and I knew if you could keep going, I could keep going." Wow.

It was not the experiences I would have wanted to have. I wanted to be able to stay strong and finish strong. But I did not have that experience. I had a different one. It might have been an abysmal performance, but I did it, and I will have that for the rest of my life.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Training for a Marathon

This is a picture of my shadow - I was trying to take a magnificent photograph of the front range of the rocky mountains while I was walking this morning - and ended up with a bunch of crazy photos on my iPhone - this is one of them. And the fuel belt does not make for a svelte looking shadow, I must add. Walking and chewing gum? Maybe not so easy...

I am truly training for a marathon. I have not managed to do one before. I have done 5 half marathons, but never a whole enchilada. And funny, I never finished a half and said "Gee! I wish I had 13.1 more miles to run!!" But I have always wanted to run a marathon. And at the age of 58, I figure it is now or never.

I love, love, loving my running club. It is so wonderful to have these wonderful people to meet up with at 5:30 on Saturday morning. Yes, 5:30. A.M. I love that too.

I have backed off some other commitments, so I am thinking I will have time to keep this blog a little more current. Would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Frozen Shoulder

I have got a frozen right shoulder! Thankfully, this does not affect my running - or fast walking. My training is on track. And going well. I am extremely happy with my decision to join the running club - it is awesome to have people to meet every Saturday morning. It is a major motivator.
But a triathlon this summer? I don't know. I need to get in the pool and see if I can even do a breast stroke.
I am doing the few exercises my ortho dude gave me.
I have an appointment for PT next Friday.
Aging is not for the weak-hearted.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

April Stuff

Well, I did something very daring in April. I joined a roadrunners club. And I am very excited about it.
Here is the sad thing (for me). I have always known this would be a dilemma, so it always kept me from joining a club. But I just wasn't making the kind of progress I need to make in order to do a marathon this year and I needed to take drastic action - hence the club. Back to the sad: I am too slow to go with even the slowest runners, so I joined the walkers.
The happy part of that is that they are excellent walkers. These are no slackers. These are some very fast walkers. They are accomplished walkers. Most of them have finished half-marathons and some of them have finished my coveted goal - a whole marathon... walking! Probably faster than I could "run" it.
So, I have happily joined them. I have a plan - a multi-colored spreadsheet. I have followed it faithfully. April will be my first over 50 mile month in over a year. I am very excited.
It is so much more motivating not to be always alone. When I have told someone I would be somewhere, it is easier to be there. And so much more fun.
I plan on doing the Bolder Boulder in May (that was my first race - in 1987!) and a mountain (I edited out the name since my blog was coming up in searches for that race) half-marathon in August. I am registered for the Boulder Marathon in September, but I don't think I will be able to squeeze a 26.2 out of that. I think I will do the half. I am not sure what full marathon I am going to do, but I am going to do one in Fall 2010.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

March Progress Report

I can't believe I have left this blog alone for four months! I have actually been training. I have actually kept that weight off... but did not lose more. But I did manage to keep weight off over holidays, a death in the family, a car going south and costing me thousands and thousands of dollars, a workplace that has decreased in size by 50% - having to lay off my assistant, etc...... It's been stress.

I registered for a MARATHON. It is in September. It is The Boulder Marathon, the one I have always wanted to do. It is local - which means it is at altitude. But as you may have gathered from the first paragraph, I have had some financial "issues," so doing a destination marathon is not going to happen this year. I really have to work to convince myself that a marathon at all is going to happen. 26.2 miles. Wow. I know the state I have been in when I have finished every single (5 of them) half-marathon. I have never once finished a half and said - "Wow! I wish I could run another 13.1 miles!" But I have always, for my entire life, wanted to run a marathon. And if I don't do it now - at the age of 58 - I will never do it.

I need to register for a spring half - I haven't done so yet. The one I wanted to run filled up before I registered. So, I will likely run the Colfax - it will be the first time I have repeated a big race. I try to do different ones all the time. It is in early May.

My training - I am up to 7 miles on my long run now. I am waiting for it to get up to 40ยบ to go out and run 7 this morning. I am trying out my new fuel belt. I have never worn one before. As you can see from the photo, I have a new pair of shoes - Brooks Adrenaline (how freaking cute are they?) and a new bra that match. Very important for your shoes and bra to match. I have worn Brooks Trances for the last three or four years, it was quite a leap for me to switch it up and get the Adrenalines.

So, I think I am on track. I have so much more to say, but I have to get ready for my run! I can't wait to catch up with you all. So many bloggers have moved on, but some of you remain, and I know there are new folks for me to get to know. Can't wait!!!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Progress Report

T7 si Treadmill
I gave myself a goal of losing 15 pounds before I would post anything on this blog again.

And I did it! Woo! Hoo!

I can actually live at this weight.

I will continue on my food plan (Eat Clean Diet - thank you Tosca Reno!) and hope to lose more weight, but I feel FREAKING AWESOME right now.

After getting a freak October snowstorm where I had over 2 feet of snow at my house, I decided that I just needed to purchase myself a treadmill so that no matter what I could get a work out in.

So, I got a treadmill. It is awesome to get up early in the morning and hit the treadmill wearing freaky clothes, sweating like a nut, panting as I am going too fast for comfort, and doing all this before it is even light outside! Very good purchase.

Last week's mileage was 13.1 miles. I thought it was a wonderful coincidence that I did a half-marathon. I certainly didn't mean to. My run yesterday was 5 miles. I think it was a bit too ambitious with hills. I think I will go back to flatter long runs. I have added hills into my 3 mile runs, and that is OK. But I am still not feeling that strong, so I think I will cut myself some slack on the long runs for a while.

Here is my plan...
  • For the remainder of 2009 - lose another 10 lbs.
  • Build my base mileage - get at least up to being able to do a comfortable 10K
  • Register for the "winter race series" - 3 races, 1 in Dec., 1 in Jan., 1 in Feb.
  • Run a half marathon in Spring - hopefully in an exotic and fun location - suggestions?
  • Run a Real, Live, 26.2 mile Marathon in the fall, leaning towards Richmond - suggestions?
That's my plan. Hope I can do it.

(People advertising diets are advised to go elsewhere, I will delete your comments. Thank you.)