Summer of no training

Labor Day is next weekend and that means summer is almost over and more importantly that means my #SummerOfNoTraining is almost over with too.  I did not set out to have a training free summer, actually just the opposite.  In February I had signed up for a fall marathon to keep me motivated and to keep me training.  I knew I’d need all the help I could get to keep running so I thought I fall marathon would do the trick.  Not so much.

I backed out of the marathon when I discovered that no matter how much I willed myself to go for a run, I just didn’t want to.  I wanted to do anything but run.  I haven’t exactly been sitting on the couch binge watching Netflix – but I have done that too.  I still workout.  I just don’t run.  Every once in a while I will go for a run but it’s nothing more than 3 miles and I dread it the whole time leading up to hitting the pavement and I’m pretty miserable the whole time I’m running too.  I would much rather bike, strength train, do yoga, go kayaking – anything but run.

I am just so burnt out.  This is my first summer in 5 years that I haven’t been training for a fall event.  And after training for the Fall 50 – solo last year, I simply need a break.

So what have I been doing if I haven’t been running?  Well, the answer is everything and nothing.  I’ve tried my hand at stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, mountain biking.  I’ve gone on a few distance bike rides, gotten back into yoga and set up my own circuit training stations on my deck, complete with TRX, kettle bells and resistance bands.

I’ve also slept in and skipped workouts completely.  I’ve sipped coffee on the deck and I have aimlessly walked the farmer’s market in search of the perfect bouquet of flowers.  I’ve gone to concerts, I’ve gone to Packers games and I’ve gone to happy hour.  All things I haven’t been able to do in the past 5 years.

And I have to say, I’ve been loving every latte laden second of it!  Now I know what the rest of you do with your summers while I’ve been carb loading, doing intervals, hill training and spending hours and hours and hours on long runs on weekends.  Who knew summer could be so fricken fabulous!?  And so fattening?  Good lord, how do people drink lattes, craft beer and eat 3 meals a day without logging 50-70 miles a week?  How do you keep the weight off?  Please tell me, I need to know because I have not been able to figure it out on my own.  And my tight pants are a testament to the fact that I’ve been failing miserably at it.

So, what is in store for me now that my #SummerOfNoTraining is coming to an end?  I’m not sure.  I have a busy fall, and none of it includes running or training.  But after my crazy busy fall is done and winter hits, then what?  Will I get the running bug again?  Or am I done?  Will I miss it or will I continue to dread it?  I hope I’m not done with running forever.  I hope I start to miss it soon.  But as of now, I don’t.  I don’t miss it a bit.  So while I hope to see you again in the future – running my dear friend – but for now, I’m enjoying my other less demanding friends I’ve made over the summer.  And to that I say, see you around!

Until next time,

Gotta (do anything – but) run!

 

 

 

Advertisements

What do I do with myself?

I’m struggling.  And the struggle is real, my friends.  This is not my normal struggle that involves fitting in training, figuring out how to run in the heat or finding a solution to a nagging injury.  Actually it’s just the opposite, I’m struggling with not running.  More specifically, not having a goal.

A lot of people go through a mini-depression after a big race or event.  The build up, excitement and constant dedication and discipline required to hit a goal is gone – just like that – it’s over.  Once the event is done, you get to ride a high for a while but eventually that high is gone.  People stop asking about it, you can no longer brag about it and everything goes back to normal.  Except things aren’t normal for the runner because their normal consisted of working out 25 hours a week, another 5 hours a week were dedicated to prepping for the workouts and add in 3 hours for chiropractor appointments and other miscellaneous things and a constant 24/7 focus on the end goal.  Seriously… 24/7.  And after the event, that focus is gone.  And in its place is a void.  A big gaping void.

At first the void is filled with blogging about the event, flipping through pictures and retelling the epic stories from the event.  Then comes a bit of relaxation.  The act of doing nothing or not having to go anywhere is a welcome change and it’s embraced.  Then your time is occupied by projects, projects that have been neglected for the past year while training took priority. But once the stories have all been told, the relaxation gets boring and projects are done, then the depression sets in.

Watching friends set goals and get their plans together to hit those goals is so exciting.  I was so looking forward to being a spectator this year and cheering on my friends from the sidelines.  But instead of embracing my year off, I’m antsy and jealous.

I realized I need that carrot at the end of the stick dangling in front of me to help motivate me.  Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t become a couch potato, I’m still working out.  But without an end goal driving me, I feel lost.  I feel aimless.

What the hell?

Why, oh why am I lost and aimless?  It doesn’t make sense.  I’m still working out, I will still take part in events, I still have more than enough work/and jobs to fill my time, so what is it?  What am I missing?

Is it the high of the “never-been”?  The new goal, the thing that seems unattainable… is that what’s pushing me?  Has upping the ante all these years pushed me to become “one of those people”?  Is the need for newer, bigger, badder what motivates me and makes me tick?

Lord I hope not.

But I think so.

I think the past 10 marathons – some incredibly icon marathons – followed by an epic ultra has led me to become a bit of an endurance junkie.  Granted of all the junkies there are – I’m thinking an endurance junkie is the best junkie to be!

But what happens when I can’t keep going bigger and badder?  What becomes of me?  Will this feeling of being lost and being without an identity eventually pass?

And more importantly, what will I blog about if I don’t have a goal race to train for? What will be become of my followers – all 20 of you – if I don’t post any updates for a year?!

Hmmmm….

Until next time,

Gotta run

Oh wait, actually I don’t have to run!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My new favorite f-word – FINISHER!

This gallery contains 35 photos.

This is the fifth and last installment in my Fall 50 Journey.  If you are new to this blog, I’d suggest you go back and read the other Fall 50 entries to understand where I’m at, both physically and mentally! And with that said, let’s get back into it… +++++ Holy crap, this is it… […]

Fall 50 – Race Morning (Part 2)

Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god.

It’s race day.

What the fuck am I going to do??!!

+++++

Yep, those are the thoughts running through my head when I woke up the morning of the Fall 50.  I wasn’t excited or giddy, I was terrified.  I was soon going to be exposed as a fraud.  I had talked up and posted about my training for so long, but talking about it wasn’t going to be enough to get me to the finish line.  And now I had my friends and family in town to cheer me on and I had even more people back home following along via social media, and they would all soon know I wasn’t capable of running 50 miles.  I was doomed.  What was I going to do?

My head was spinning.  I knew I had to get up and get ready but yet I didn’t want to get out of bed.  The longer I went on with this charade the worse it was going to be.  I felt like I had to get out of this.  But how?  In my second marathon, when I had hit the wall, I had wanted to fake faint to get out of running (I didn’t, but I wanted to).  I knew I had to do something similar to get out of this.  But what was going to get me out of running?  Everyone came to Door County for me.  It’s not like I could just back out and have my friends and family stick around and cheer for Brian.  It was just me.  I was going to be the one embarrassed and ridiculed when I couldn’t finish.  What do I do?

Can I pretend to be sick?

Can I pretend to be hurt?

Can I just say I don’t want to do it?

Fuck.

No. I can’t do any of these things.

Dammit.

Time to get up, get ready and face the music.

+++++

But before I got out of bed I checked my phone.  As I had laid in bed trying to find a way to get out of running I heard my phone dinging, which indicated I had received text messages.  The first was from my sister Carol and came at 4:28am, followed by Sue at 5:12am.  They were both wishing me well.  This made me sick to my stomach.  Well wishes were coming in, but I didn’t feel I deserved them.  They made me both happy and filled with dread at the same time.  I knew it was just the beginning, beginning of something I couldn’t stop or turn back.

I was now up and in my pre-race routine.  Getting dressed, hydrating, eating, stretching, etc.  That’s when I got another text message from my brother Todd.  His text message , “Good Luck today! So proud of your dedication!  So proud of you!  Mom and Dad would also be proud, you know they will be on the route with you today!  So now go do some epic shit!!!”  Yep, that came in at 5:41am and was the first time I cried on race morning.  I had to read the message quickly and I couldn’t reread it because I wasn’t capable of handling it at that time. (Actually, writing this post was the first time I had enough distance from the event to go back to reread this text and it made me cry AGAIN!)

text

Fuck.

I can’t do this.

More stretching. More hydrating, bathroom breaks between my hydrating and stretching as well as packing.  We had to check out of the hotel before the race so I had to pack up all of my things.  But I also had to pack it in such a way so that anything I would need during the run would be easily accessible to my crew.

95iSSDyiYqsroS-0MPk8n7JIQzU0B8ydBDMud-FFCTI

And since I couldn’t find a way to get out of running, I now had to get serious about getting ready for the day-long run.  This meant my typical pre-run stretching turned to stretches for my shin splints.  I was doing all the stretches that were supposed to be good for shin splints – but none of them actually helped end the pain during training – so I could at least say, “I tried”.  Maybe shin splints were going to be what caused me to drop out of the Fall 50. But good lord, shin splints always kick in early when I run, always during my first mile.  Will I really drop out that early?  Will I really have this big of a build up and not even make it 5 miles into the race?

Besides worrying about my shin splints, I was also worried about my bathroom situation. While Brian had rented an RV to ride alongside of me for medical reasons and so I could have access to a bathroom if need be, I still was dreading the thought of having to stop and use it over and over during my 50 miles (or 5 miles if my shin splints didn’t go away).  During one of my 8-hour runs, I had stopped for the bathroom 17 times.  Yes, you read that correctly, 17 times.  Just imagine how many times I’d have to stop during a 12-13 hour run?  How embarrassing this was all going to be!

Wow, how did this all go so wrong?

As Brian was loading out our belongings and packing them in the RV, I few of my friends stopped by the room to wish me luck and/or declare it, “Race Day!”  Every bit of encouragement made my heart sink a bit more and made the tears flow.  While on one hand I was eating up the encouragement and well-wishes, I also wanted it to stop and I wanted to become anonymous.  Anonymity would allow me to blend into the corner, get lost and then maybe no one would notice if I didn’t finish the race.

When everything was loaded into the RV and before leaving the motel, I snuggled up to Brian, tears coming down my cheeks and I whispered…. “I don’t want to do this”.  When I finally wiped away all of my tears, it was time to go.

brian motel (2)

“I don’t want to do this.”

We loaded into the RV and were set to drive the 7 minutes to the start.  That was the longest 7-minute drive of my life.  It included encouragement from friends and family, music, a poster and of course… more tears.  Stosh played “Best Day of My Life”, which to me is the song that best encompasses Brian’s Ironman and his incredible journey.  But this morning, that song made me want to throw up.  I wanted to be inspired by that song, but instead it brought me to tears.  I was not going to have that glory that Brian had and I sure as hell wasn’t going to have the Best Day of My Life.

bus (2)

At this point, I don’t feel like it’s the “Best Day of My Life”

+++++

When we arrived at the start line it was raining.  It was dark, cold, windy, rainy – gloomy; and it matched my mood perfectly! Thankfully I saw a lot of other people I knew at the start.  I chatted with relay runner friends, a friend who was also a solo runner and some friends who were there just as spectators.  This constant contact and socializing helped me a ton. And the many photo ops helped to take my mind off of what was to come. It helped to distract me from the inevitable – the fact that I had no way out and that I was indeed going to have to start running.

After some more time waiting in the rain, it was time for me to line up at the start line.

start 3

The National Anthem was sung.

The starting pistol was shot.

And I was off.

I was running.

But for how long?

 

 

Until Next Time,

Gotta Run

#toostubborntoquit #doepicshit

 

Stayed tuned for Part 3 of my Fall 50 journey.

 

 

 

 

 

One of these items is not like the rest

I need to buy stock in Nike!

First, let me start off by saying, I have no idea why I have this many pairs of old running shoes. No, I’m not a hoarder!  Believe it or not, I’ve gotten rid of 3 or 4 pairs after mud runs in the past 6-9 months.  And yes, I will look to give away some more of these soon.

Now that I got that out-of-the-way.

Holy-burn-my-retinas-batman!  How in the world can I run in these GLARINGLY white shoes without other runners making fun of “the new girl”.  And believe it or not, I have 4 or 5 runs already logged in these shoes.  While I always appreciate a new pair of shoes after my old ones get beat down and dirty but this is ridiculous.  When I line up for the half marathon on Sunday everyone will look with pity at the “sad, new girl that doesn’t know you should not get new shoes right before a race”.  Little do they know that I’m not a newbie making a rookie mistake, it’s just these are the whitest shoes I’ve ever seen in my life.  I feel like I need to do a trail run before Sunday just to try to scuff them up a bit.

I guess I’ll be easy to spot on Sunday.  And no, that bright light that you can’t look directly at, will not be the sun.  It will in fact, be my new shoes!

Until next time.

Gotta run.

I’m a marathon finisher (again)!

I’m happy to report I can once again claim the title of “marathon finisher”!  A co-worker was surprised when they asked me how it went and I said “I finished” as my response.  He looked at me and said, “well, that’s kind of given with you, isn’t it?”  Yes and no was my reply.  Finishing is never a given and the only reason I’ve finished some in the past is out of sheer stubbornness and nothing else.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to rely on that this race, it went much better then the previous two.  Here’s the recap:

I love the hype that surrounds marathons.  I love the business marquees that welcome all runners to town.  I love dinner and drink specials area restaurants/bars offer marathoners and their families on race weekend.  I love the promotional signage the marathon distributes to mark the course, discourage overnight parking and promote the race.  This pre-run hype is what gets me jazzed and excited and it makes me feel a part of something “big”.  But this race had none of that.  No hype or no promotional energy and that definitely meant — buzz kill.

While I knew going into the weekend that this was a small race, I still had anticipated a bit more hoopla.  But since the town wasn’t going to provide us excitement, we had to make our own.  And we did that in the form of shopping.  After we got our packets we found a fabulous (fabulous to us girls, not our husbands) store that was so charming, I wanted to buy one of everything.  I even wanted to buy their fixtures… which consisted of old windows, old doors, antique tables and dis-assembled couches.  I was in shabby chic heaven!

A quick nap for myself while the others went to the hot tub was followed by a nice pasta dinner.  The restaurant was full of a bunch of teenagers heading to their prom. We were taking bets as to which ones had a wallet full of condoms and which ones would still have a wallet full of condoms the next morning.  I’m guessing most of them weren’t getting lucky because they were all way too awkward and twitchy to get any serious action.

After dinner, it was off to bed.  I did not sleep well, which isn’t too surprising.  But the difference this time, is that I had something to do every time I woke up… check the weather forecast.  Lord, I was obsessed.  But it wasn’t my fault.  When it’s a complete downpour and there’s a huge storm rolling through the area, you can’t help but get a bit preoccupied by that.  And every time I checked the forecast, it got worse and it looked like rain during the marathon was a for sure thing and most likely so was a thunderstorm.  The thought of this race being cancelled because of a storm, made my stomach hurt.

When it was finally time to get up, it was still raining out.  And based on the most recent forecast it was still supposed to storm during the race but the race was ON, according to an early morning email from the event staff.  Whew!

I woke up earlier than I needed to because the race started at 8am, which felt late so even waking up earlier than needed, still seemed like I was sleeping in.  Also, I wanted to give myself an opportunity to really wake up and not just “be awake” and then head out.  This strategy seemed to work well for me.  I was a bit less stressed than other races.  But in all honesty, the lack of hype the day before and the fact that I really didn’t have to concern myself with the logistics of getting to the start on time like in some races, had me a bit more relaxed than normal.

But get this.  Just as it was time to leave the hotel, guess what?  It stopped raining!!  And it didn’t drop one more raindrop for the rest of the race.  It was completely bizarre considering what the forecast had indicated.  Some would say it’s a “race day miracle”.

The race started off pretty uneventful.  As mentioned earlier, not a lot of hype so I just kept telling myself it was just another training run and there was no reason to be nervous.  And it really did feel like a training run.  Especially once we broke from the half marathoners around mile 5.  After that we were pretty much on our own.

My motto since January, the beginning of training, was to just try to have more fun this year.  And that carried over to the race too.  I was lucky enough to talk my husband into running with a camera so we were able to snap some photos during the actual marathon.  I really tried to have fun, even talking one of my running buddies into going down a playground slide. It was all fun and games (and running) until we got to mile 8 or 9.  By that point we were all out of playgrounds to romp on, we didn’t have any half marathoners to chat up, the 3-hour car ride to the race the day before had used up all of our good conversation and spectators were few and far between.  It was in one word… boring.  By mile 11 I was so freaking bored I just wanted to take a nap.  While boredom is definitely NOT the same thing as hitting the wall (I know, I’ve been through both) it sure does test your mental prowess.

I wasn’t the only one bored, I think we all were, I know my husband was for sure.  I probably could have counted the # of spectators on one hand (okay, there were a few more than that, but not many).  There wasn’t any entertainment on the course and no bands or music and very few signs.  It was bbbooorrriiinngg.  But, on the positive side, it was extremely pretty.  We had some very scenic views and the overall course was beautiful.  But I was still sssoooo bbbbooorrreeeddd.  Beautiful scenery only gets you so far in a marathon.  There needs to be something else.

Beside extreme boredom, my only other trouble spot was my feet.  Good lord, they hurt like a son of a bitch.  Wowzers!  They just ached.  I didn’t have a sharp pain or an injury.  It was just a deep throbbing ache, from what I could guess, was the result of the pounding on the uneven road/surfaces.

But that’s it… boredom and sore feet.  No hitting the wall at mile 6.  No hyperventilating at mile 16 and mile 22.  I was sorta running the whole time not wanting to count my chickens before they were hatched, but I thought I may actually have a good marathon for a change.  But then just as I thought that, I’d feel like I just jinxed myself for thinking those thoughts and had myself convinced that the other shoe was going to drop at some point and “something” would happen.  But nothing did.  It was uneventful.  And I couldn’t have been more thrilled.

Because boredom was such an issue this race and because I usually try to break long runs up into segments so they are more mentally manageable, I continued that tradition during this run as well.  When I got to the half marathon mark, I was trying to get pumped up by telling myself, “I only have 13.1 miles to go.”  And then I set my sights on the 16 mile mark because, “I only had 10 more miles to go” and that was followed by mile 17 where, “I would only have single digits left to run”.  I kept this up until I finished the whole race.  But what I found interesting is that every milestone I set, where I thought I’d have some sense of relief because “I only had 10 miles left” didn’t provide me with any relief.  I was thinking there would be some proverbial weight lifted off of my shoulders with each milestone but it never happened.  I wasn’t any happier at mile 15 as I was at mile 25.  Only having 1 or 2 miles left to run was no consolation at that point.  I think at some point, once you’ve already done one marathon and the new and shiny excitement of doing it for the first time is gone (and we’re back to condoms and prom!) mental mind games can really play havoc on a person.

So, there you have it.  My recap for marathon #4.  While I am 4 for 4 when it comes to starting and finishing a marathon, I never assume it’s a given.  I appreciate every achy step and mentally challenging mile it takes to get to the finish line. I’ll be taking a small hiatus from training and from blogging.  I’ll be looking to start back up with training in June for our fall marathon.  Training hard in the heat and humidity should be interesting.  I’m sure it will lead to many curse filled blog posts.

But until then….

I’m NOT gonna run!

Running…..

One of the cool bridges we ran over.

I told you it was a pretty course. If you enlarge the photo and look really, really hard you can spot my white running hat on the bridge.

Trying to have a bit of fun.

The end is in sight… thank god.

Will I or won’t I have a good marathon?

Will I or won’t I have a good marathon on Sunday?  That is the question.  So I turned to my trusty, go-to-source for all of my important questions… the Magic 8-Ball.  I consulted my work Magic 8-Ball.  I have 3… one at work that’s really old and has a lot of bubbles and has a tendency to land “pointy” side up and not a flat side with an answer, my home Magic 8-Ball and I also have an app on my Iphone.  But I refuse to ask the Iphone app 8-Ball any more questions because it’s never once given me a positive answer.

So, as I was saying… I asked my work Magic 8-Ball if I will have a good and fun marathon this Sunday?

The reply….

“All signs point to yes”

Hot damn! That’s what I needed to hear.  Now I just have to practice some self-control and not ask again, I need to quite while I’m ahead.

Until next time,

Gotta run.