Be Proud

Be Proud

I am proud of myself for all of my hard work and for not giving up at the Vermont City Marathon on Sunday. I know after running this race that I have extreme mental toughness and also the physical strength and aerobic capacity to run a marathon. My finish time at the marathon was 3:45.28. For me this was a 10 minute PR which is a tremendous accomplishment. I was 26th in my age group (35-39) out of 160 women, 153rd female out of 1,085, and 626th out of 2,418 runners.

Ready to Race (hanging out by Lake Champlain)
Most awesome training partner! Love ya Bridget!

I did not achieve my goal of qualifying for Boston (at least not yet that is).  For me it was not meant to be at this race. For me this race was a learning experience which we must all go through in order to achieve success. I am proud of myself because even though I did not reach my ultimate goal I know that I left everything out on the pavement on Sunday.

I made it! (3:45.28)

My training this fall, winter, and spring was incredible. I trained my a$$ off! I was focused, I was driven, I stayed positive and overall I learned a lot about myself.  Training for this race gave me confidence and inner-strength to be able to reach for my dreams. We all need goals and to reach for the stars.

On race day I wanted to go for it and did not feel stressed about the actual race but found myself lacking focus that morning and consumed by outside thoughts. I need to remember to run my own race

Fast chicks in skirts. Thanks @skirtsports

. Rather than sticking to a solid race plan of going out with a nice even pace of 8:10-8:20 and then working towards negative splits during the second half of the race I went out way too. I allowed the energy of the other runners, the crowds and the easy feeling of my gait to sweep me down the race course at a pace that would not be easy to maintain during the crucial last 6.2 miles. I made the rookie mistake of “fly and die.” I knew I went out too fast but for some reason could not slow myself down. I did not allow my friend Bridget who was pacing me to do her job of reminding me not to go too fast at the beginning.

My body was challenged on race day also due to nutrition and hydration issues.  I took in plenty of GU along the course, along with bananas, watermelon, oranges, and water ices however I did not eat the “real food” that I needed and I did not eat early enough. My metabolism races so fast that I could have used an entire peanut butter and jelly sandwich at around  mile 5 and then every 4 or 5 miles after that. Around mile 19-20 the race course weaves through neighborhoods that have excellent crowd support but also are in direct sunlight and by that time the temperatures had climbed somewhere into the 80’s with no breeze. I had been alternating between water and gatorade at each aid station however the loss of electrolytes was too great and by mile 21 I felt myself bonking. My legs were wobbly and I began to zig zag. Thankfully Bridget was by my side to keep me focused. At the next aid station I was made to drink about 6-7 cups of gatorade (next race I will drink gatorade/NUUN at each station). My legs were cramping and then we had to walk for a while. Seeing the pace group leaders come by I knew my goal was passing but I still wanted to finish. At this point I had to focus on the finish line and on Bridget. I needed to focus on her energy and the energy of the other runners on the course. I had to find my “om,” to keep my emotions calm and just listen. I listened. I listened to my breathing, to my foot strikes. I listened to Bridget’s voice. I listened and I believed what she was saying and somehow found the last ounces of strength in my muscles and made my legs go. Crossing the finish line was not pretty and the end of the race experience required an extended stay at the lovely Medical tent in order to get my fluids back in balance.

Listen (Photo credit @Oiselle)

Not the way I wanted to finish and not the final outcome that I had hoped for but I am PROUD. I have been able to stay positive and have done a lot of reflecting and revisiting the experience and know that in the end this race has made me a much stronger person and mentally tough runner. There will be other races and I am going to go after my dreams.

be Proud. (ribbonworthy.com)

What dreams are you chasing?

You’ve been chicked!

Next race on my schedule: “Sufferfest“run by The Littleton Bike Shop in Littleton NH and sponsored by Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs our family farm.  The race starts in Franconia,  NH and ends at the top of Cannon Mountain. The course is 6 miles with 3150 feet of climbing. Who wants to join in the fun????

Looks like fun, right? Are you up for the adventure?

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Mini Motivation

How about this sweet face to get you motivated on a Monday morning?

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Mini Motivation

My marathon training this morning called for a marathon pace run today: 10 minute warm-up, 35 minutes at 8:20 pace, 10 minutes at 7:50-8:10 pace. My hamstrings were definitely feeling the Half Marathon Unplugged from Saturday but perhaps more so because today I was pushing my little guy in the www.bobgear.com. Plus the heat and humidity today (79 degrees in NH!) on Boston Marathon Monday is brutal. I thought a lot about the marathon runners and figured if they were out there running then I too could push hard for an hour. I was happy to have my Brocky bear on he run. His smiling face helped push me along. I worked hard today on my run and feel great although perhaps a little like a salt lick from all of the sweat.

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Hot and sticky 7 miles later

Who inspires you?

I’ve been feeling so energized lately. I am loving my new marathon training with my awesome coach Denise Goode from The Sustainable Athlete. I am feeling very positive about attaining my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon (even with the lowering of the qualifying time to 3:40).  I am ecstatic about having a big goal for myself and some training tailored just for me to help me increase my strength, speed, and endurance.

As an added bonus my running friend Bridget has agreed  to pace me at The Vermont City Marathon. This means that she will be there with me running the entire 26.2 to help me during my low points and to celebrate my high points along the way.

Do you have an awesome training partner who helps you to reach your goals? Now matter how positive your outlook is on any given day we all need a support team around us to keep us strong.

For me my inspiration comes from Bridget. We both enjoy being silly before, during, and after runs and especially giggly post race or hard workout. Bridget is the kind of training partner who I can always depend on to help me through a workout where my legs feel like lead and hills feel like mountains. She is always up for an easy workout with lots of talking along the way or a super intense silent workout where we both push each other and train to the limit.

Positive Inspiration

Bridget has always been way faster than me but I know that our workouts will always be positive and she will never leave me in the dust (except perhaps on race day).  I helped pace Bridget during the last 13 miles of her first 100 mile ultra run last summer and watched her push through limits and try to eliminate negative thinking to achieve her goals. Even when the race became difficult she was able to dig deep and find energy to pick up the pace during the last two miles and to finish in her goal time of under 24 hours.

This personal inner-strength that I witnessed is something that I often think about now as I am racing.

Tonight she and I will head out for some speed work with our head lamps. The challenge is on!

On your marks, get set

This is what I want to feel like on race day!

26.2

I had made a promise that I was not going to run another marathon and haven’t since my last VT Cit Marathon in 2007.  Instead I have completed other “marathons” in the past few years . . .major surgery while 12 weeks pregnant with my first child, followed by an early c-section due to pregnancy complications in 2008 , then the marathon of first-time motherhood where I also experienced my first bout of postpartum depression (undiagnosed until 8 months-took a long time to find myself again), then pregnancy again, this time with a toddler (EXHAUSTING!), another c-section due to pregnancy complications along the way, and again postpartum depression (even trickier the second time around).  In between the marathon of motherhood I have been trying to get myself back to where I want to be with running and am finally feeling AMAZING and headed towards a peak performance (at least I hope).

The last 26.2 miles that I attempted ended with a stay in the medical tent at the end of the race with an IV drip in my arm. Not exactly the finish that I had hoped for. I had been running very well that spring up until the week of the race when I came down with a horrible sickness that required taking lots of Sudafed to attempt to dry out my sinuses. Basically when race weekend rolled around I felt like crud and was completely dehydrated from all of the Sudafed coursing through my veins. I should have taken this as my cue to bail out and to skip the race altogether until I felt better and then to sign up for another race. For those of us though who have a running “addiction,” choosing not to run when sick or injured is generally not an option.  So I ran, all 26.2 miles and it was grueling. I hit the wall. It was hot and then as soon as my body felt as though I had slammed into the pavement with my head pounding it began to pour buckets of rain. I dragged my body across the finish line just missing my p.r. and well off Boston Marathon Qualifier time. My muscles were seizing and vertigo began to set in. I got myself to the med. tent and then basically collapsed onto the cot. This was a stupid day to run a race!

Now, you are probably asking yourself, “and why would anyone ever want to do this race?” My husband put his foot down and said no more marathons and I agreed. We agreed that I could still run a marathon distance only if it was broken up in relay format so as to have adequate rest periods in order to re-hydrate and refuel (I often have a problem with bonking anyways as my metabolism runs like it is a race car rapidly burning through fuel.) This seemed like a great compromise until now.

This past summer and fall I began amping up my mileage in order to train for running the Vermont 100 on 100 Relay as an ultra team with two of my best friends and then later in the fall the Reach the Beach Relay. I chose several 10K’s and Half marathons to run along the way and started to find a real groove with running. My whole mindset concerning racing and competing these days has totally changed. Perhaps I have found my “inner-chi.”

inner Qi

Pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum was by no means easy for me and I have had to find ways to learn how to cope with this, how to alleviate stress, and how to focus in on positive energy.  I also have a great friend Ken, who has the ability to hypnotize in order to help people overcome difficulties.I actually believe he used conversational hypnosis to help me (this will require a whole other post to tell more about this) find a different perspective and inner quiet when running to be more successful. As of late I have felt fantastic on long runs and even having too much energy if I don’t get in my higher mileage workouts. Racing this summer and fall was awesome with lots of personal records along the wat.

I want to try the marathon again because I just can’t seem to let go of my goal.  It is something that I want to do for me. I am hoping for a Boston qualifying time (although they keep lowering the qualifying times!) but even more than that I am hoping to have a consistent race where I feel strong, race smart, and feel proud of my accomplishment at the end.

I can’t wait! VT City Marathon 2012, Burlington, Vermont

26.2