I am swimming

I am swimming.

Three little words I NEVER thought I’d say.  Truly.  I never thought I’d say those three words.

I got in the pool yesterday and I swam, unaided, for 18 mother-fucking laps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That’s half a mile for those that don’t know pool lap conversions!

Half a mile is the distance I have to swim in my triathlon.  HOT DAMN!

As I type this, the true magnitude of swimming a half a mile hasn’t really sunk in.  Part of me says, “no biggie, it’s just another workout at the Y.”  But the other part of me says, “FUCK YEAH, I ROCK!!!!!!!!!!”

Swimming the 18 laps felt really good.  I didn’t struggle, I felt I was in a rhythm, my breathing was pretty good and I felt comfortable.  I didn’t intend to swim 18 laps.  My goal is always to do 9, or 1/4 mile.  But once I got going and it felt good, I just kept swimming.

So while I’m nowhere near a confident swimmer and I still have a long way to go because I need to get “okay” with swimming in choppy, open water with other people… at least I finally made some decent progress and I’ve been able to cover the distance I need to swim.

And to think, just over a month ago I was thinking about deferring because I couldn’t swim one lap.  Wow, a lot can happen in a few short weeks.

Until next time,

Gotta run (or swim a 1/2 mile!)

 

P.S.  For those keeping tabs on my poison ivy, here’s the update.  I also have hives.  Yep, that’s right, I have hives ON TOP OF MY POISON IVY!  It turns out I am allergic to the oral steroid they gave me to fight the poison ivy.  So now I’m off of all meds and I just have to gut it out.

AND, if poison ivy and hives wasn’t bad enough, last night as I was sitting outside I got a few mosquito bites.  Yep, I have now completed the trifecta of itching… poison ivy, hives and mosquito bites.  I can’t make this shit up!

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.

4th freaking marathon, baby!

Three days and counting until I run my 4th marathon.  Let me repeat that… 3 days until I run my FOURTH marathon.  As I type this, the reality of that is kind of sinking in for the first time.  I, the most non-athletically gifted person around, is about to run my 4th marathon!!  How the hell did I get here?  I still feel like my non-runner-self.  The person that was lying on the couch, watching TV, eating Doritos and drinking beer (and ironically enough, I still have the body shape of that person too).  Not the person getting ready to lace up her shoes for her 4th marathon.

In all honesty, I never would have imagined myself at this place.  Running a marathon wasn’t even on my bucket list because it never occurred to me that it was possible. It was so out of reach, that it didn’t even make my list.  Once I jumped into the deep end and committed to running my first marathon, I assumed I would be a “one-and-done” marathoner.  I didn’t think I’d ever have the will power, drive and determination to train and run another.  Plus, I never thought I’d con my husband into running another one either.

A few months back a few of my siblings and I were traveling together and we were scattered all over the airplane.  My brother was sitting next to a person who participates in triathlons.  When we all de-boarded the plane my brother introduced me to the stranger he sat next to on the plane.  He introduced me as “the sister whose a runner and does marathons”.  While that’s all true, it actually took me by surprise because I still don’t always associate myself with those descriptors (except for the sister part, of course).  And not only do I not always associated myself with those descriptors, but I didn’t realize my family started to think of me that way.

So, here I am 3 days away from running my 4th marathon.  I’m starting to get anxious and have been checking the forecast on a regular basis and have been planning out in my head what I need to pack.  But for the most part, I’m not freaking out like I have in the past. Most of my co-workers don’t even realize I’m running this weekend and I’m going on with my life, like it’s no big deal.  But it is a big deal and I’m thrilled I’ve gotten to a place where I no longer want to throw up over the fact that I’m running 26.2 miles on Sunday.

But that’s not to say I won’t spit up a bit in my mouth come Sunday morning.  I am, who I am, and can’t completely change my spots!  Besides 26.2 miles is a long freaking way and it does deserve a little bit of spittle!

Until next time ,

Gotta run