July 27, 2011

For they conquer, who believe they can.

"You also need to look back, not just at the people who are running behind you but especially at those who don't run and never will...those who run but don't race...those who started training for a race but didn't carry through...those who got to the starting line but didn't get to the finish line...those who once raced better than you but no longer run at all. You're still here. Take pride in wherever you finish. Look at all the people you've outlasted." - Joe Henderson

I've been in a rut, there's no denying that. I've tried changing the route, running with friends, buying new gear, slowing down, speeding up...nothing has been making a difference.

I would like to believe that every runner encounters a rut at some point in their life. If you haven't, count your blessings and share your secret please.

The thing about being in a running rut is that when this started weeks and weeks ago, it wasn't SO bad. I figured I would just lay down one or two solid runs and be back on track. After consecutively bad runs, my confidence started to take a serious beating. It's as if I'm standing in the middle of a field with a shovel, digging and digging myself deeper, and no one is around to pry the shovel from my hands.

Yesterday I was slotted for 4 miles, and then a 100min run with a friend. One day I will make hindsight my mistress. The four miles became three on the Custis Trail, so I was tired before the 100min even began. I tried cooling off in the car before the next phase, restocked my water...but it wasn't enough. What was supposed to be potentially 11 or so miles turned into barely 7. With a good amount of walking.

Needless to say (I'm not so ashamed to admit it...especially since I think I already told everyone that actually reads this anyway), when we parted ways I got into the car, sent one text message to my nola bf, and subsequently started sobbing....the entire car ride home. Then I sucked it up enough to get inside so as not to frighten my roommate, shut the door to my room and cried throughout my entire shower. Pity party much?

The thing is, I'm not scared I won't finish the marathon. I just keep disappointing myself, and I'm afraid that will soon translate to disappointing others. My running confidence has hit rock bottom, and it's hard to convince myself that a run will go well before I even lace on my shoes. How am I supposed to be there for friends on their brand new running journey and convince them that they are completely capable, when I am having such a difficult time convincing myself?!

A friend shared this quote with me yesterday, and while it undoubtedly refers to an Ironman race, I would like to think it can apply.

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.

Sept 18: Philly Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon
Oct 15: Baltimore Relay
Oct 23: VA Tough Mudder
Oct 30: Marine Corps Marathon
Nov 20: Fountainhead Trail Race
Dec 3: DC Hot Chocolate 15k
Mar 17: DC Rock'n'Roll Marathon
May: DC Tough Mudder

Impossible is nothing.

July 18, 2011

15 Weeks: Too legit to quit!

"I am all about committing myself to my body. I want to drive out to Vermont and perform a commitment ceremony with my body... That was a weird thing to say." Marshall from HIMYM. I think that sums everything up perfectly.

I think it may always be the case where I go through a roller coaster ride with my training for races. Earlier today and for the past week: bottom of the barrel. It's been the pits with worrying about keeping up with people, still struggling to wrap my head around the idea that in 15 weeks, I will be running all 26.2 miles (not squeezing in any walking like I originally, foolishly thought I would), and trying to semi-impress people (person).

Then it donned on me. No one influenced me to sign up for the MCM. No one really pressured me to sign up for the Philly RnR. Maybe I would have been a little more hesitant to sign up for the TM had the asking person not been good looking, but I think I would have agreed nonetheless. Same with the Baltimore Relay...because at this point, after you've already added those on the calendar, why not do that too?!

My point is, this is self-inflicted any way you slice it. There's a popular quote out there: "You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can't know what's coming." And maybe that's where the highs and lows are coming from (albeit I've never done a full marathon, but if I double the soreness from finishing the half, I can guess what I'm in for). I'm running for me, I'm running in memory of Christian, and I'm running for the wounded who deserve recognition. That should be all the motivation necessary.

Try to remember the reasons why you sign up for races: camaraderie, feeling of accomplishment, fitness goals, to make yourself proud, to just have fun with friends... I know I will enjoy all my races after i put in the hard work, and I know my friends will be there to celebrate the acheivements!

"I've learned that finishing a marathon isn't just an athletic achievement. It's a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible."

July 15, 2011

Thank you...

He who believes is strong; he who doubts is weak. Strong convictions precede great actions. - Louisa May Alcott

A little over a year ago, I was convinced to sign up for my first half marathon. My first road race. I was not a runner, had no desire to partake in hours of pounding the pavement, and I could not understand why people were so into it. Give me my elliptical and I'll be fine. But I wasn't fine. I was soft around the edges, unhappy in life, and dealing with chest pain, but somehow I still (reluctantly) agreed, half expecting myself to quit before the race.

The first training day arrived, and on my very beginner schedule it had 2 miles. This terrified me, but I made it through on the treadmill. Then began my phobia of running outside. The mental blocks went up, and I would have an extremely difficult time accomplishing the mileage anytime I was not on the treadmill. Then something inside clicked into place. My heart pain was minimal, I was able to run outside, I was getting in shape, and my mood was vastly improved. That was all it took. Hooked.

One year ago I would have never predicted that I could complete a half marathon, nor would I have thought I could motivate people to change their lives and get back on track through running. I would never have guessed that I would be where I am today...with a half marathon, full marathon, tough mudder, relays waiting in the midst.

I couldn't have imagined the friendships that would form, the bonds reinforced through shared miles. I didn't think I would convince friends who hadn't run before to join me. I never imagined running would be the source of my crying more so than crying over men.

I've only just begun...and I haven't yet completed the full marathon, but I still find myself searching for what lies after.

Muddy Marathon in NJ (probably just the half... www.njtrailseries.com)
North Face Endurance
Backyard Burn
Flying Pig Marathon
Muddy Buddy
DC Tough Mudder
Ragnar Relay
Dances With Dirt 100k Relay (www.dwdhell.com)

Sometimes all you need is someone to believe in you when you're having trouble believing in yourself. Mileage gets tough, as I'll find out in Monster Month of my marathon training plan (September is apparently going to be intense)...but positive, encouraging moods are contagious. One day I'm crying, and the next day I have three new races I want to sign up for.

I don't think I say thank you enough to my friends who put up with all the complaining I do, all the phone calls after a run of me sobbing about how much I suck, all the health talk, the missed phone calls at 9pm because I went to bed at 8:30pm, all my attempts to convince people to join my madness.

So thank you Gabe, for getting me started a year ago. Thanks to everyone else who has run with me, dealt with me, boosted me up...it's a very important aspect of my life, and I appreciate your tolerance :)

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
- Gandhi

Sept 18: Philly R'n'R Half
Oct 15: Baltimore Relay
Oct 23: VA Tough Mudder
Oct 30: MCM
Dec: Hot Chocolate 15k/5k

July 07, 2011

Snakes on a trail


I hope my mom doesn't read my blog...because I don't think she will appreciate the fact that I get to run through live wires as the final obstacle of the TM....not that I'm terrified of that specific obstacle AT ALL...plus, this posting contains snakes.

Yesterday I went for a run around Roosevelt Island since it has a fraction of a bit more shade than the Mt. Vernon Trail. I know it's a 'trail' technically....but I don't expect to see wildlife out on the run. I found two snakes. SHUDDER. Bleh. I hate snakes. In fact, I tried looking up a picture of one that looked like the two I found, but I had a hard time looking at the images... even though they are safe on google and not a few inches in front of me. (And when I tried google images they insisted I was searching for Samuel L Jackson in Black Snake Moan...that's awkward.)

Did I know if they're poisonous, you ask?

A. I did not get close enough to see (which also adds to the difficulty of finding a good picture...plus they were small and you would think I'm (more) of a pansy.)

B. How the hell do I know?! I always try to remember that rhyme of red and black, you're dead jack (okay, I made that one up...which proves my point that I can't remember what will kill you (SHOULD I REALLY BE ALLOWED TO RUN ALONE?!) I digress).

I saw them about halfway through and it made me SUPER edgy the rest of the run. I took the Swamp Trail again, and while running on the boarded pathway I saw a little lizard type critter and he even scared me, but I didn't want to turn back because I knew those snakes were probably around somewhere just waaaaiting for me. And it's not like I considered catching said lizard critter and keeping it just in case I ran into the snakes again...snake appetizer?! Didn't cross my mind. Those lizards are fast!

At least it made me run faster? And crazy looking flailing around? That's hot. No one needs to know. It's not like I'm some reality star where cameras follow me around to watch me freak out at the tiniest snake.

After my run, I went home and improvised some strength training, which brings me to the link I have at the beginning of this post. I decided that I need a better organized regimen to get in TM and MCM shape, so I found the workout TM suggests and I will begin doing this on my two cross training days. Pretty exciting! I look forward to having bulging muscles! Maybe then I can just punch the snake, Chuck Norris style.


And if that doesn't work, maybe I can harness the powers of MacGyver and make a tourniquet from vines and spit.

...not that I've thought about this at all...

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