I’ve had this running post in my head since Wednesday of last week, and only just have a few minutes to sit down and get it out. I’m training for my 2nd Indianapolis 500 Mini Marathon. Indianapolis is my city and “The Mini” as we call it around here is always a topic of conversation every year. Last year was my first one and it was very enjoyable. It is 13.1 miles of people cheering for you along the sidelines as bands set up playing along the way. The route takes you onto the actual track for a loop and part of our downtown. I followed up that first 13.1 last year with the inaugural Women’s Half Marathon. Similar route but MUCH different in the support and entertainment arena. It is probably more like what most Half Marathons are like, you are running for yourself without much benefit of sideline support outside of the water and fuel stops and the handful of husbands and friends on the sidelines.
This year I signed up for both of those halfs again, and in my last running post I wrote about feeling kind of meh this year about training. Partially it was the been there done that aspect, last winter was pretty brutal and being a very beginner runner all of that outside training in the cold, wind, ice and snow served to fuel my inner badass. This year it just felt like, how soon will it get warm again?!? My right foot has been bothering me a little and I was afraid I was getting another stress fracture. So far I have still not called Dr. Hate because I am able to run with no pain and the pain I’m experiencing after has lessened. I picked up new shoes after Monday’s run and tonight I will be running on them for the first time.
Running is 20% physical and 80% mental. If you want to be able t push yourself and your body all of the miles needed to properly train and then race, you have to have something inside of you keeping you going. Some runners adopt a mantra, a phrase they can repeat to themselves to help them through the rough spots. Last year I had several, most of them were resolute tirades aimed toward all of the crap that I went through during the Almost Divorce. This year, I had nothing. I had nothing so badly I had even forgotten about the need or want of a mantra. I started this training program a few weeks ago woefully out of shape, as in struggle to even get a mile without walking out of shape. As I run more it gets better by leaps and bounds. Last Wednesday was pace trials. Our first 3 miler and a timed start. I followed through on my plan to drop from the advanced group to the beginner group and let both coaches know. Once they let us begin I started my run. If you haven’t ever trained with a group I highly recommend it. It is nice to have so many people around you, even if you start to spread out as the miles climb there is the comfort of knowing that even if there are LOTS of people ahead of you, there is usually also someone behind you. There are people you don’t know very well to talk to, there is always someone to give you some encouragement to just keep going. I started in a pack with about 8 other girls in my pace range and we kept up at about a 12 min pace for the first 2 miles. I ran without walking no problems for those first two miles, the street was ice from sleet and the rainy icy pellets were hitting me in the face. Cars were sliding on the streets we were running on and I started to feel it. The badass feeling was returning. I am conquering nature. We turned onto the part of the route I call Farley/Tukle home, because it represents the last mile or so and I started to slow down. This was pace trials I wanted to have as good of a time as I could, I wanted to be sub 12, not 12+. Then it just sort of popped into my head, run without walking. If I can just keep running without walking I can rock this to the best of my ability. For the next mile as our group started to spread out I ran that mantra through my head. Run without walking, run without walking, RUN WITHOUT WALKING! And before I knew it I was headed down the stretch of the last tenth of a mile and to a time of 32:36. I had found my mojo, I am conquering myself! It was an absolute breakthrough on several fronts. One it reminded me that I lacked a mantra. Two it reminded me that if you train, your body will respond. That you will never be as weak as you are in any given moment if you just keep moving. That your body is capable of so much more than you routinely ask of it and if you put the work in, it will reward you by responding. I walked away from that pace run knowing that I wouldn’t have to worry about walking anymore during training. If I do the miles and keep up the training, if I fuel and water my body properly then I will perhaps even be able to finish in a better time that last year, set a new half PR.
Saturday’s ran came and it was super windy, Saturdays are a times run, 45 minutes as far as you can go, a simple 22.5 minutes out and 22.5 minutes back. So group seems to stay a little tighter on Saturdays and I did a lot of talking about my weekend plans so I didn’t really need to call upon a mantra.
Monday’s run came and as I suspected the head coach placed me in the beginner group with the other girls and guys above 10 min miles. We did a 3 and I turned onto Farley/Turkle home I knew I would have to dig for that last mile. I didn’t feel like I needed to walk but I knew I needed to go inside myself and find a mental place that would propel me to the end. Then it came to me, respect the run. My mantra for this year will be respect the run and in extension respect the runner. A reminder to myself that what I am giving my body and mind via running is nothing but good and pure. That it is a gift to be able to run, to be alive to have the struggle of breath, to be married to have the support of my husband. It is a gift, this body God gave me, and I will respect it via the run. I will use the run to mold it. I will respect and cherish the clarity and endorphin rush running brings me. I will remember that The RUN isn’t something to be trifled with. RESPECT THE RUN!!!!
Happy running Lovies!
Running season started again for me last week. I signed up for my 2nd Indianapolis 500 Mini Marathon and the lengthy training program at our local Y. I haven’t run much since I finished the inaugural Women’s Half Marathon over Labor Day weekend. It started out innocently enough, taking a break to rest and bask in the glory of completing two halfs within a year. Initially I had plans in my head to run a third half in either October or November. But as the weeks progressed I found that i just wasn’t doing any training to get the job done. I hadn’t registered for either, so there was no immediacy to the situation and i just chose not to train. I ran a 5k Turkey Trot over Thanksgiving and hoped it would motivate me to to at the very least start a regular work out schedule of running 3 times a week and add in some cross and strength training. But it was the holidays and I was busy and full of excuses. I had also started smoking regularly again and the next I knew it was Christmas. I knew training would start on the 16th of January and that become I’ll just enjoy and slack off until running season gets here. I put about ten pounds back on during that time, not to mention the hard earned muscles I’d garnered from earlier training had turned to mush. I began last week very excited but knowing I am terribly out of shape.
The thing is, I am excited to be training again, and even though that first run last week in the cold and wind was brutal, I enjoyed it. Mentally this time is different. I’m not getting that runners’ high from these limited runs because at this point they are a struggle to finish without walking. I also sort of feel like I’m in a don’t really belong anywhere no man’s land. This year they are offering two levels of training, beginner and advanced. I didn’t want to mentally put myself in either of those places. I don’t feel like a beginner, I’ve done this before. I know what I’m doing and how my body will respond. The advanced program calls for higher mileage, and I am woefully out of shape. At first I was like, It’s no big deal, it is just more miles, I know I can do this so I signed both of us up for the advanced knowing it was all the same group and we could talk to the coaches and make the right choices on a run by run basis. Except for I don’t like living in case by case basis world, I like to have a set plan and stick to it. The Husband recently suffered a back injury that revealed he has disc problems in 3 places. He has gone through rest, has had one epidural injection to ease his pain and he agreed to sign up for the race and training program so we could do it together again. He probably shouldn’t be doing extra mileage and so far has declined to do so. His pace could be much faster than mine, when left to his own devices he runs about a ten minute or slightly less pace and I am still in the 12+ range, that is a pretty slow pace for a runner. None of the other runners in our advanced group are that slow. No no one is telling me I shouldn’t be in the advanced group, the advanced coach is one of my personal hero’s. He always comes back to the end for me and helps me finish my run, doesn’t admonish me when I have to walk for a bit and always gently coaches me to the end and pushes me further than I planned to push myself. But in spite of that I found myself choosing the 2 mile options vs the 3 mile advanced option last night. I made this decision mid run for reasons I will outline in a moment, but he was expecting to see me do 3, and had to go back and look for me when I didn’t do it. I inconvenienced him and caused him concern, I felt really badly about this. Though it only re-iterated what I already knew. If I choose to pursue the advanced path, if I choose to declare myself and advanced runner in this training group, I am always going to finish last on probably every training run.
Then there is the stubborn and injury factor. Last year I started out of shape and by mid February had run myself into a stress fracture on my right foot. I was in a boot, dealt with the mental and physical set backs and went on to run my very first half marathon with no problems. One of our coaches is very familiar with my stubbornness and it has been a topic already this year, spoken out loud in front of everyone. I don’t mind it, I know it is true and for me it is sort of a badge of honor. A lot can be overcome with stubbornness, but it can also cause a lot of problems. When I was training for the Women’s half I started to notice a familiar feeling in my left foot. I simply ignored it. I wear heels a LOT, my appetite for shoes and especially heels is not secret to those that know me. I wear them to work, I wear them on GNO. I like them high, the higher the better and most of my heels I wear on a regular basis are 4″ or taller. I’m already 5’8″ and I like being even taller in heels. I notice when I wear them that sometimes by left foot does not like this, especially in the part of my foot where the big toe meets the foot. This same spot started talking to me almost immediately last week after that first run. I’ve been ignoring it. Thinking maybe I will try to solve the problem with new shoes and the inserts I already wear to help prevent further stress fracture injuries. last nigh when I headed out for the 3, it started in the first half mile. I made the decision at the turn to do the 2 because it would be better for my foot. Maybe my foot would reward my scaled back effort by not hurting after. Bad news, my foot is unaware or unwilling to accept this plan.
So here I sit, not even two full weeks into another running season, wrestling emotionally with what all this means. I KNOW it means I should make an appointment to go see Dr. Hate, that I should start mentally planning to be in that damn boot on another foot for 4+ weeks and find a way to NOT repeat the mental pit party and slacking I indulged in last year. I’m already in a much better place. There isn’t a lot I’m wrestling with emotionally this year. I’m not hiding a 3rd chat career from my husband, I’m over PJ and all of the Almost Divorce shenanigans. All in all things in my life are quite good. So why don’t I feel more empowered and strong and badass right now? I’ve quit smoking all things, and I feel so much better having done so. There is limited nicotine and THC working itself out of my body. I’m mentally and physically healthier than I have been in the last 3+ years. I’m getting my brain back as each week passes and my mental acuity and focus continues to climb. I’m more focused and plugged in at work and home. By all accounts I should be feeling pretty good about myself right now. I don’t have anything mental to wrestle on runs other than daily life and work stressors. By all accounts I should be setup to push my body to even higher limits and bring my pace time down closer to the sub 11 minute mark. I should be in super runner ninja kick-ass mode, but I’m just not. Instead I just feel sort of meh about the whole thing. I sit here hiding from the pain in my foot, the feeling that I don’t really belong in that advanced group and wondering why on earth at almost 41 years old after everything I have triumphed over that I still feel the need to beat myself up as harshly as possible when things don’t go just like I expected.
I don’t have an answer. But I do know what needs to be done, it’s the same basic answer to all problems, put on my BGP and own it. So tomorrow I will call Dr. Hate and make an appointment, but I will also complete my scheduled 3 mile pace time trial and push myself as hard as my body and lungs will go. I’m going to downgrade myself to the beginner category and if later in training I feel like I can and should take on more mileage I will. There isn’t anything wrong with me if I choose to be smart instead of stubborn for once. If he says it’s boot time again I will do it without the pity party that accompanied last year. I can do upper body strength work outs while The Husband runs and I can pick up mileage as soon as he clears me. Rather than hide from the problem I can face it and make my contingency plan. Maybe it won’t be a new stress fracture and everything can continue as planned. In the meantime I will simply choose to BREATHE and not wallow in the meh. I’ll probably still be wearing 5″ heels on Saturday night though, a girl has to hold on to some stubbornness.
It’s the 26th and I’m a bit behind on my thankful for the month of November. So without further ado
#22: Running and Martini Curls: I had the pleasure of running in one of local Thanksgiving 5k runs. I chose to do the one closer to home and on the route I ran during the Mini training program. I’ve only run like 2-3 times since I finished my last half marathon. I need to get signed up for the next one in May, and the training program which starts January 16th. If I’m going to stay successful in my experiment to stay completely off Wellbutrin I think I need to incorporate regular working out to my regimen, as well as dump a few other habits. The Husband is completely out as a running buddy for a while as he has 3 bulging discs in his back, yes that is about as much fun as you might imagine. He has been in daily pain since mid October. Hood running buddy was walking it with other friends so I planned to just run it alone. I’ve been slightly experimenting with a run 5 min walk 2 min interval, and I am torn between sticking with that and simply training to try to run the whole 13.1, which is truly my preference. I signed for the race; I’m planning on signing up for a few others; as a way to force me to at ;least run a little through the holidays until blessed January 16th arrives and I’m forced into the Mon-Wed-Sat training schedule. Thanksgiving morning I talked The Husband and the Destroyer out of bed and out of the house at 7:15am to come and watch me run. The Destroyer wanted to do the kiddie run through the woods and we are trying to nurture them both into budding runners. You don’t need babysitting during races if your kids are running alongside you! Anyway, as we pulled into the parking lot I had the great luck of parking right next to my friend Martini Curls! This i super exciting because I haven’t seen her in a while, don’t get to see her nearly enough, and I absolutely love her to death. I met her years ago at a MNO in an over crowded private restaurant room. We shared our love of Vodka. You know those people who you look forward to being around because of how you know you’re going to feel just being around them? She is one of those people, whenever I am around her I KNOW she is going to be smiling and laughing and friendly. You can’t help but absorb some of her joy when you’re near her. I get super excited when I see she is going to be at a group event I am attending. AND>>> she recently started running!!!! Which means I have a hope and a prayer that she shares my below average pace of 12+ minutes and maybe I can keep up with her for the 3 miles. Turns out I can hang for the first mile and a half or so. I dropped back to walk and managed to finish in 36:20. Almost a full 3 minutes off my last 5K race time. It felt pretty great!
#23 My Readers: I don’t know If I’ve thanked you all properly yet or not, so let me take this moment to say THANK YOU!!!!! As Martini Curls and I got started at the 5K we were with another Mommy in the group. I’ve met her once or twice. And the One memorable time was the night at Champs when the joint salesman wanted to talk Project management with me naked in his hotel room. We-reintroduce ourselves and I mention meeting her before. “My life was a lot different then.” I laughed. Martini Curls look at me and says ” I love your blog. I read it every time it comes out.” ” Aww, thanks.” I tell her. I absolutely LOVE hearing that. I love it when you guys email me or call me or tell me when you see me that what I write matters enough to you to keep reading it. Thank you for reading whichever parts of this blog you do, I love writing it and I hope it brings you joy or understanding or helps you in some small way. Even you juts stop by and even if all it does it help you to laugh at me laughing at myself. I appreciate all 23 countries and rising of you!
#24 Bacon: Yes, bacon. Due to some family drama circumstances I had the ability to eat Thanksgiving in my own home this year at whatever time I felt like it. I had a bacon, egg and sharp cheddar sandwich on ciabatta bread after finishing my 5k. For dinner The Husband made: Smoked a prime rib roast, Smoked garlic cheddar mashed potatoes, Apple onion stuffing, Braised leeks au gratin with bacon. I made dill, garlic bacon green beans and the gravy. For dessert we had ice cream and fancy cupcakes because The Husbands Birthday is near Thanksgiving every year. After MiniMe said the prayer we all went around and talked about what we were thankful for. We were a few turns down the list and I was taking a bite of my leeks. Bacon. I am thankful for bacon. I had it again on my egg sandwich for brunch and again on my pizza for dinner.
#25 My SIL: My SIL joined us for Thanksgiving this year. She is The Husbands sister and one of my dearest friends. She recently moved further away and we do not get to see her nearly as much as we used to. And boy do I miss her. She is one of those people you can sit down with and cry both from laughing and from sharing all in the same visit. She has a beautiful heart and a stubborn will and she gets herself into some real pickles. But just like she loves me as is I don’t hold it against her when she leaves and my vodka supply is depleted, her bed is unmade and I have no idea when we w get to see her again. She is my favorite member of non-immediate family, hand down. She is my concert buddy and my vodka buddy and my pick on her brother partner in crime. This game is fun because it works both ways. I can help the husband pick on her too.
#26 New Husband: New husband does a lot of things differently than before AD Husband. We are starting into year 2 of being back together I am enjoying that most of those better things have stuck. Including no longer being an absolute Grinch about Christmas Decorating. Which we started today by picking up the new real tree and greenery. Then we had a great afternoon and evening in the cul-de-sac enjoying the weather and all of the adults were out doing the outside of their houses while the kids ran and played. I was puttering with my greenery churning out 8 swags (pics and post later) while he climbed on the roof and hung the lights. I looked up the street at all the screaming kids, my two among them, at all of the houses on our cul-de-sac getting prettier and prettier, and I thought “I’ve never been happier than I am right in this moment.” Thank God for new husband.
This week I logged 15 run miles. The most since training for the 13.1 in early May.
2.75 last night-unplanned, but much needed and followed by a VERY cold beer
I know I’ve said before that running is good for you mentally. I don’t think I can stress enough how much this is true. I have found that a a run can erase up to 50% of the impact of the stresses in my life and the help me process all of the items competing for my attention and time in my head. I’ve worked out many a seemingly impossible conundrum in my head on a run. Running takes me from stressed, worked up or over analyzing whatever to calm, strong and centered. If I’m happy running makes me happier. There is really no such thing as a bad run, there just isn’t. Even the runs that my body won’t cooperate for, or my mind lets negative thoughts in the weather doesn’t cooperate all serve to make me stronger. It makes me a better mother, a better wife and a better friend.
I kicked it into gear this week for several reasons. For starters I have a 13.1 race in 7 short weeks and though I’ve signed up for the race itself and the training program, I hadn’t yet started to take training seriously. This week that changed. A neighbor friend is also running the race and invited me to her 5 mile training run/walk on Sunday. She runs/walks in intervals 3 min run and walks 5 min. I felt I would rather just run the whole thing and get it over with, but it wasn’t my party and It’s not like I was going to get through all 5 miles without having to walk at all. I tell so many people what to do and problem solve for them all week at work and home with the kids that sometimes I just prefer to put myself in the back seat and go with the flow. I have run a handful of times since May, and since then in my state the heat and humidity has descended. The sun is hot and unrelenting and the air is so thick here some days it almost has to be chewed before breathing it in. I have heard lots and lots about this this interval timed run/walk approach. I’ve seen it in the sling shotting back and forth of passing and then being passed by other runners in my pace group of races. But I hadn’t yet tried it. And I have to tell you after I did I think I kind of like it.
We did the 5 miles on Sunday night and started at about 8:30 ish. Which means we were running to both the sunset and the moon rise. I trained a lot at dusk/dark for the Mini and the seeing the moon big and full is a thing for me. It’s so awesome to head out to sunset and back to moon rise. Especially when the moon is so big and full like it has been this week. She is a few weeks ahead of me in her training and by far the better athlete of the two of us. She kept us on tack for the intervals and as we talked and ran and walked the miles and time went by quite quickly. I liked knowing that I could push myself as hard as I liked for just 3 minutes. I liked knowing it was going to be OK to walk and that I knew when I’d stop walking and start running again. It removed the internal head battle I often get if my body won’t do what my mind and spirit wants it to. We did pretty well pace wise with that approach and on Wednesday when we ran again at night our pace got better. Whenever I am struggling on a run I simply like to remind myself that as long as I keep moving forward I will never be weaker than I am right in this moment. As we continue to train in this heat and humidity we will get stronger, our pace will increase, our bodies will chew through that thick air faster and spit it out in breath that can propel us in sprints for 3 minutes at a time. Quitting smoking has also helped b/c I no longer have to spit up nasty ash laden hockers on the side of the road. Pretty, I know…
Today is a rest day, which will culminate in getting very dressed up, putting on high heels drinking Vodka and dancing. Then on Sunday we will do 6 more, out and back to the sunset and the moonrise, one mile at a time.
This morning I ran my first race since the mini (13.1) that The Husband and I completed in early May. I wasn’t always a runner, metaphorically or physically. Sure I’ve run away from my share of bad situations or problems but in general my nature is to dig my heels in and force you to try to break me..good luck. MiniMe and The Destroyer have both inherited this stubborn streak. As insane as it drives me sometimes I often can’t help but be proud of them. May their road be much smoother than mine, but if it isn’t they are more than well equipped for the fight. I ran cross country one season in High School because I was trying to get into Harvard and I wanted a Varsity letter to go with my stellar GPA and other extra curricular activities. I was not athletically inclined. Running seemed like something I could do enough to get by. I wasn’t very good at it and the team was fairly haphazard and motley for my inner city public school, but I got that letter. It didn’t get me into Harvard though. My Dad told me there was no way I could run 3 miles when I presented him with the permission slip and he wasn’t going to sign it. I faked his signature and ran anyway, asshole, may he rest in peace.
When I found myself on the floor in absolute pure grief after PJ vanished, The Husband suggested I should run. He had taken up running over the summer after he moved out and was set to run his first 5 mile race the next month. He said it had been very therapeutic for him and that “you cannot cry while running”. My main coping mechanisms so far had been only chemical and I had already lost about ten pounds from Spring to Summer on my “Divorce Diet” . I figured what the heck. PJ ran away, so I’d run too. Only in a very different way.
Running was a hobby we could share, we had never shared a hobby before. We were not actively getting back together during this time, I was WAY too broken and angry and confused. And even though The Husband never stopped fighting for me once he started actually fighting for me, even he could tell that time needed to pass before true conversations could happen about reconciliation.
So I started to run on the treadmill at the local Y while listening to music. And he was right, you can shed a few tears while running (I’m sure almost all runners have been there). But you cannot have the ugly gut wrenching sobbing snotty nosed and sore throat keening crying that I had become so familiar with on those first very dark weeks after the implosion of all my dreams for the future. Running is GOOD for you. It’s good for you body, it makes it stronger because it is a struggle against itself to be stronger. Running makes you stronger emotionally because all that stress and anger and sadness can be let go while running. Running is an emotional battle in your head with yourself sometimes. Running is pure. Nothing but you in your head and your breath and your body and the road or treadmill. And the thing is I do my best thinking and non thinking while running. If you are pushing yourself mentally and physically there is only the run in your head. If you want to run better, faster, longer it is YOURSELF you are battling. I screamed on runs…get out..go away… fuck you..I can do this.. to ALL of those negative and hurtful thoughts that would pop into my head. There is no shame on a run, anger only serves to push me further. And at the end of a good run, and most of the “bad” ones there is only calm and peace and pride. I was running all of that hurt and anger and shame off of me.. I was getting rid of PJ and all his poison one brutal mile at a time, little by little getting stronger and happier and more centered. I ran in the ice and snow to train for the half marathon in May. And then in February I was injured, stress fracture in my third metatarsal of my right foot. I would spend the next 6-8 weeks unable to run. This was at first emotionally devastating. So there were some weeks of whining and wallowing and a few pity parties thrown by me for me. And then I decided I would do what needed to be done and I was still running that 13.1 no matter if i had to crawl across that finish line. So I did my long “runs” on cross trainers and ellipticals and I pushed the foot and had to back off because it wasn’t ready yet. The kept to what Dr. Hate (I’m sure he loves to hate me, I have yelled at the man more than once) said I could do mileage wise. Then race day came and hubby stayed with me even though he could of finished much faster and we finished in under 3 hours. I was actually able to run most of the first 10.5 miles in spite of my longest pavement run being about 5. This was my first long race and I figured at the end of it I’d be sobbing and crying and all emotional about the journey and how it started. But it didn’t end like that. There was only peace and pride and strength, and sweaty stinky tired bodies.
This morning’s 5K run was with a training program friend from the mini. We ran into her near the start line and after big hugs and catching up she and I started out together while The Husband and kids ran the 2 mile Family Walk 5 minutes behind us. We had a 5k to complete and it was being held in the same neighborhoods that we trained in all that ice and snow and rain over the winter/spring. We joked about if we would be running on “F/T” the extra few streets we always dreaded on our training routes in the beginning when the going was harder. I haven’t run much since finishing that 13.1 and hoped to finish in under 39. My buddy politely requested to run on ahead about mile 2 and of course I said “yes go on get it girl, I’ll see you at the end”. RunKeeper had me crossing the finish line in the 38 minute and I haven’t check official results yet because I met my personal goal. Humidity or no more Camels in my system is screwing with my heart rate. Avg was 168. That’s high for me and more indicative of a a sub 11 min mile than a 12+, but that doesn’t matter. I’ll conquer that too in time.
I’m running my next 13.1 over Labor Day weekend and need to get back to the serious business of training for the next tennish weeks. It’s a girls only race, so my biggest hurdle in this one will once again be mental. But I know I can do it, I know I can work hard enough to do it to my own definition of well. And really, it is only your own definition of well that should matter to you.