Tuesday’s on the Run: I am a Marathoner, but…

I am a marathoner, but…

I am not sure why I am struggling with accepting that I am a marathoner, probably because I feel like a fraud.  I have been trying to give myself time to process the experience of my first marathon and make sense of what happened during those 11 hours from the time I left my resort hotel until the time I returned. 

I envisioned the moment I crossed the finish line of the Walt Disney World Marathon at least 128 times in my head over the previous 10 months. I saw myself proclaiming, “Best Day Ever” as the medal was placed around my neck and whisking away on the monorail to my Happily Ever After. The classic Disney ending, but that is not what happened…

Instead, was the WORST DAY EVER and while the physical pain has faded, there is still no Happily Ever After.  I am trying to work through the depression, anger, and guilt to get back to some sense of normalcy in my running. There were so many things that went wrong…

  • The Weather (Upper 80s with 95% humidity).
  • A Delayed Start coupled with the release of corrals faster to make up for the time lost.
  • Going out too fast because I was going with the “flow” and worried about the heat.
  • Crowded race conditions.
  • Running most of the race alone and wallowing in my misery and self-defeating talk.

Almost all of these things where beyond my control, but still I cannot accept the title of a marathoner for 2 reasons…

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I wanted to QUIT and I can’t shake the disappointment that I have in myself. The race was BRUTAL and if you did not experience from middle to back of the pack, you have no idea what the sun can do to you both physically and mentally. I literally watched many people go down around me and passed others laying on the side of the road waiting for medical to get to them. The Walt Disney Marathon was the hardest thing I have ever ENDURED (this coming from a woman who had 2 ½ babies with no pain medication). I wasn’t expecting it to be so hard and nothing that I did during my training could have prepared me for race conditions that I experienced.  I can’t fault my training BECAUSE I DID TRAIN EVERY MILE at a pace that would have given me ample time to cross the finish line and did not rely on pixie dust. I went into the race well prepared, hydrated and confident.  

According to my tracking device, I ran well over 26.2 miles but… 

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I did not complete the entire course, officially I ran 24.54 miles, if the social media calculations are correct for the shortened course.  I know that this was completely the right decision by runDisney to put up the BLACK FLAG and I was thankful at the moment that it happened, so much so that I feel guilty for my feelings. However, the shortened course leaves unanswered questions as to whether I would have been able to complete the ENTIRE course that day.  I know my time with 6 miles to go and I know exactly how far in front of the “unofficial” pacers, the aka Balloon Ladies I was; but I continue to question myself over and over, would I have made it 4 more miles keeping in front of them to the point I knew I was safe on the course? I know the answer is YES, but I don’t know with 100% certainty that I would not have seen the inside of a parade bus because I can’t predict if I would have caved to that inner voice pleading with me to stop. 

Something mentally changed after I realized that I was being diverted, you might even say a little Disney Magic came into play that prevented me from stepping off the course and quitting..

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a well-timed sign along the course reminding me that I had too many people watching me and I did not want to be labeled a failure. 

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And then there was Rita, a friend from a Facebook group, who found me around mile 20 and suddenly I was not physically alone anymore. I had someone to cry and whine with. Together we…

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and by the time we made it into Epcot, I knew I was making my ONLY stop during the last 6 ½ hours (okay, actually I did stop for the bathroom, but I never allowed myself more than a run by character photo)…

I did not care if balloons passed me at this point.  I was DONE with hydration and wanted not to toast my victory but to raise my glass in defiance of yellow PowerAde, (which I will NEVER drink again). The drink did not make it to the finish line, but I did…

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The only thing I can do is accept what happened and move on.  I was able to dig a little deeper and not quit. I crossed the finish line on my own 2 feet, which was the goal that I had sat for myself last March when I accepted the challenge of 26.2 miles. I already was already a marathoner a few weeks prior when I went the distance but elected not to step on the timing mat for an official time, just so I could say my first marathon was the Walt Disney World 2020 Marathon. 

Crossing was not the real victory for me, it was the 413.65 miles I did before I crossed the starting line that morning.  I did EVERY run that I planned! 

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I am so proud of myself for putting in the training that got me to the finish line. It was in each of those 128 runs that I truly earned my medal & Mickey Ears and the title of a marathoner. 

So what is next in my world of running, other than NEVER drinking YELLOW POWERADE again?

I don’t know, as of right now I am one and done with the marathon distance.  I am hoping that the pain and misery of January 12th will be like the pain and misery I experienced 3 other days in my life (May 3, February 2 and August 3), forgotten replaced with knowing how blessed I truly am.  

I AM A MARATHONER!!!

Tuesday’s on the Run: May Training Recap

Ony 96 more training runs until my first marathon, the Walt Disney 2020 Marathon!

Wow…can you believe that May is over?  Personaly, I am glad because that means summer vacation for this educator and a couple of months of morning running instead of afternoon runs in the heat and wind.  I so prefer morning runs!

Let’s take a look how May was in terms of my marathon training…

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Highs

  • Did not miss a single training run and even made up for the one I missed in April.
  • I ran my fastest pace EVER.
  • I ran my fastest mile EVER.
  • I learned that Jeff Galloway’s Magic mile formula for long runs really works!
  • I built up to 11 miles in running distance.
  • Finished another successful StepBet Challenge.
  • Officially into double digits of training runs left until 2020 Walt Disney World Marathon.

Lows

  • My weight loss has hit a plateau, mainly because I have not been focused and 100% on plan…modified plans get modified results.  I am holding steady at 35 pounds lost since November.

Goals for June

So what does June have in store in terms of running & training?  I actually have 2 races scheduled, Rock & Roll Seattle and the Slacker Half Marathon.  I am hoping to get a personal best time out of one of these races and break the 3 hour barrier, which has always been a goal of mine since I started taking running seriously.  I am also hoping to reach 40-45 pounds lost by my birthday at the end of the month.

How was your May training?  What are your goals for June?  Drop me a comment!

Tuesdays on the Run: April Recap

It’s the beginning of May and the end of my first official full month of training towards my first marathon and in true Tammie form it has been a month of highs and lows…

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Highs

  1. Long Run Distance-I will have built my distance to 8 miles of run walk intervals.   My pace is steady over the distance and is at where I have set in my own mind as what I need to do in order to  cross the finish line.
  2. Total Mileage in 2019-I hit the 500 mile mark earlier this month in my goal to reach 2019 by December 31 at 11:59 pm.  While I am behind I am hoping that summer will bring more time to get out there and just walk.
  3. Lots of Personal Records-It seems that each time I run, RunKeeper is telling me that I am shattering my own personal records.  It is totally amazing, getting almost 40 pounds off this body has made a huge difference not only to my time but to my physical well being.
  4. Injury Free-I am almost scared to write this but so far the hip, the shins, and the achilles are all playing nice with each other.  They have reminded my a couple of times that they are in control of this running thing but so far, so good.

Lows

  1.  Short Runs-While I have only missed 1 short run, I am struggling to get my short runs in each week, which is frustrating since it is only 2 miles or about 30 minutes.  I am so full of excuses and so tired at night. My afternoon runs are not pleasant, they feel sluggish. Come on summer, ready for some morning running.
  2. Weight Loss had Plateaued-This month I just lost the same 5 pounds about 4 times.  I am so close to the 40 pound mark but I just can’t seem to get there.

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My goals for May are pretty straight forward…

  1. Build my Distance to 11 miles.
  2. Do  ALL of my short runs.
  3. Break the weight loss plateau and make it to as close to 45 pounds lost as I can
  4. Get to 700 miles by the end of May.

Tuesday’s on the Run:  On a Runner’s High

Call it a mid-life crisis if you want, but the candles numbering 50 this year got me really thinking about my bucket list and the urge to cross items off.  I actually have a couple of bucket lists going and one of those lists is focused “solely” on running. Honesty, I had pretty much prepared to throw that list in the trash can after so many miserably failed runs post Achilles tear over the last 2 ½ years.  But, I still had a race that I signed up for and I can’t stand wasting entry fees, let alone not do something that I said I was going to do (yes, I have a HUGE stubborn streak).

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I went into the Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2019 in January totally prepared to be swept from the race and end this whole running thing that has consumed me for the last 6 years.  I was VERY undertrained, had no confidence in my ability and worried that with each step would come another injury. However, that EARLY Saturday morning in January, I could not help but feel the excitement that comes with runDisney event and realized how much I was going to miss this.

Those butterflies where certainly clamoring around in my chest as I crossed the starting line, but I knew that if this was going to be my last race I was going to throw caution to the wind and have the time of my life because I wanted to go out at least on some sort of a positive. And not only did I do that…

I crossed that finish line without even a glimpse of those dread balloons and bikes, feeling strong, injury/pain free and on the biggest runner’s high there ever was.  

It’s funny how a runner’s high makes you feel invincible.  I have carried that high with me for now for over 3 months.  Runner’s highs also make you do crazy things, no more being “half” crazy for this middle aged mama.  I decided I was going to embrace my crazy side by going FULL ON crazy in January 2020 and cross off the biggest item on my running bucket list, a full marathon.  And there is no other full marathon that I can think of that might actually be fun to complete…

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Let the training begin…

Tuesday’s on the Run: Stubborn Meets its Match

It’s Tuesday, time for Tuesday’s on the the Run!

544_LittleMissStubborn_originalStubborn…

A word that I use often to define myself. But it is not necessarily a bad one.  When I say I am going to do something I don’t back down until it is completed…

But when stubborn meets an uncooperative body it is not a good mix…

Hence why 18 months ago I ended up with a partially torn Achilles and then 18 months of trying to get back into the race…

I expected to have been further along in my training on the road to a full marathon in January.

I assumed that 6 months would be long enough to get back into 13.1 miles and that the next 6 months would be about building distance.

Was I wrong!  Admitting it is the first step, right?

I am not ready to build the distance that it will take to complete the full marathon.  I can’t even seem to complete a half marathon in a time that would keep me from latex nightmares. The last 2 half marathons I have completed are evidence to that reality.

imagesIt’s time for honesty to meet stubborn…

I am NOT physically capable of a FULL MARATHON in January. The heart is there, but the mind is also starting to tell me that I CAN’T DO IT.  Can’t is a word that I don’t normally use or allow anyone to use, but sometimes CAN’T needs to look in the mirror too.

Thank you runDisney for continuing to put off Walt Disney Marathon Weekend 2019 registration! Can you believe, I am saying that?  When has a runDisney participant been happy with yet another delay (err screw up) in something surrounding a run weekend? Honestly, runDisney saved my body from myself.

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So, Thursday, I clicked the HALF MARATHON button for Walt Disney Marathon Weekend 2019 registration (I clicked the full and for once in my life I reviewed my registration before submitting, mind still trying to win over the body in a subconscious way).

My focus for the next 6 months is to start back at 1/2 mile with running intervals (keeping my already 13.1-mile muscle memory by walking the additional mileage above the scheduled training run).  That is right, baby steps in building interval miles, nothing crazy and get to the point where I can interval for the entire half marathon. I also plan to start back into core training next week (modified for the hip) and do a lot more deep tissue massage work.

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More importantly, I am going to volunteer for the full marathon or just get out there and find a spot to cheer from.  I may not be able to run with those crazy people seeking to be part of the 0.5% of the US population that has completed a full marathon but at least I can encourage them on their way (and maybe join the next group in 2020) …

I have a feeling that Stubborn will defeat Reality…(and we need to draw out this midlife crisis a little longer).

Tuesday’s on the Run: A Marathon Runs Through It

It’s Tuesday (okay, I know in reality it is Wednesday and I am a day late), so it’s time to link for Tuesday’s on the Run

images   Montana

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This past weekend, I crossed another state off my quest to “someday” complete a half marathon in every state with the Missoula (Half) Marathon. Why the Missoula Marathon?

brad2Maybe I was hoping to find a young Brad Pitt (circa 1992) waiting for me at the end with nothing but his waders on, after all “A River Does Run Through It” or should a say a marathon runs through it…

Seriously, If you are going to finish an event in every state is seems pretty clear that you pick the best one the state has to offer, and in this case the United States has to offer…

The Missoula Marathon has twice been named as the Best Marathon in the US (2010 by Runner’s World Magazine and in 2017 by BibRAVE).  It has also been named the 2017 Top Marathon for runners like me, Back-of-the-Packers, as well as a Top 10 Bucket List Marathon.

Missoula Marathon YOUTUBE VIDEO  

Now I know that I only completed the half (cause I am lazy that way), but for 10 miles of both events we shared the course…

The Missoula Marathon makes it look easy to be NUMBER 1…

The volunteers and Run Missoula Wild put on an event with EXCEPTIONAL RACE MANAGEMENT. From the moment I submitted my race registration in April, the Missoula Marathon provided weekly communication about the event via email newsletter.  Each week I looked forward to reading about Missoula as well as the race.  It was also nice to get a PRINTED race program at bib pick up, a keepsake. Bib pick up was easy and in a central location that also gave you insight into the finish set up, as well as a chip check for your bib (just in case you are one of those who are running for time).  Parking was easy, buses ran efficiently to the starting line.  The bag check as the best I have ever seen conducted, with a fleet of UPS trucks and men in brown and bags sorted according to bib number waiting on marked trucks as you made your way to the exit chute. The race start, with fireworks, went off smoothly and ON TIME. The finish was a well-oiled machine of stops (medal, bag, time tape, and food) before meeting back up with your own personal cheering squad.

It’s Montana! I knew going to be beautiful and being a fan of the movie (and book) “A River Runs Through it”, I already had my vision of the race course set in my head long before I completed the registration.  Missoula delivers on the promise of one of the most beautiful places to run (and I have completed mountain half marathons in both Colorado and New Mexico) with its 360-degree panoramic view of the mountains during sunrise, run along the river, charming homes on tree lined streets and the dramatic finish over the bridge and across the river into downtown Missoula.

But you want to know the real reason why Missoula is number 1…

The People of Missoula!  It felt like the entire town somehow came out on race weekend. From the countless volunteers who made sure not only did the race go off with out glitches but runners felt safe and welcomed, to the townsfolk who literally lined the sidewalks of the race course and offered their personalized spin on course entertainment…signs, cowbells, cowboys on horseback, a man playing a baby grand on his front lawn in tails, a string quartet, banjos, cowbells, unofficial course treats (including whiskey shots and popsicles) and just shouts of encouragement as you went past. There wasn’t any stretch of the race where there wasn’t someone cheering you on or a water sprinkler set up purposefully to keep you cooled off!

My experience with the Missoula Marathon demonstrated why in the movie that Brad Pitt’s character, Paul, would reply to his brother Norman “Oh, I’ll never leave Montana.” The Missoula Marathon makes you feel like you are part of the community, and who wants to leave a place where you are treated so well?

Oh yes and then there is the bling…

which is just about the size of the Big Montana Sky!

 

 

Tuesday’s on the Run:  June Run Recap

It’s Tuesday, so it is time for Tuesday’s on the Run with Patty, Erika and Marsha

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Where has June gone? I really thought I would be farther along in my training to complete a full marathon in January 2019, but just like my current mental state my body seems to be having its’ own midlife crisis…

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Last month I started having some serious hip issues (to the point it was difficult to walk) and decided it was time to implement the R and I in RICE…Rest & Ice and scale back my training (both my core fitness classes and running).  I gave it 4 VERY LONG weeks and with no improvement, I decided to cry “uncle” and go for the MRI that the chiropractor was encouraging me to do. Can you say sticker shock? At the same time, I just happen to come across a Facebook Ad…

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Airrosti Link

Intrigued, I did some research and made the decision (my insurance would cover all but the co-pay) to schedule a consultation with our local Airrosti provider, Dr. Ramos.  After all, what had I to lose at this point (other than more training time) and maybe if this worked I would save $1200 on that MRI. At my consultation, Dr. Ramos spent a good while just asking questions and then did a little probing of the muscle structures around my hip. I was completely impressed with the depth of the assessment, his verdict…over taxed IT-band at the hip cause my weak rear end muscles, yep my  almost 50 year old butt is out of shape.  He then went over a treatment plan and felt that he could get me to pain free in about 4-5 visits. Seriously, that seemed to good to be true, but left with me with enough optimism to postpone the MRI and this…

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Lovely!  The Airrosti method delivers very specific treatment to the soft tissues (the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue throughout the body and around the joints) by manually repairing the tissue through basically what I would describe as a deep tissue massage, but at very specific points (as you can tell on my legs).  Then after 30 minutes of tissue work, it is on to Physical Therapy for another 30 minutes to teach me exercises and stretches to build up strength in the muscles to improve and prevent future issues. After the first 3 visits, I was very discouraged because I was not feeling like there was much improvement (and a lot more pain in other places), but I was determined to last the 5 treatments out.  Something magical happened between visits 4 and 5…

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And no I do not mean Half Marathon #18, the Slacker Half. Yes, that is right I completed a half marathon at a pace that would keep me ahead of those runDisney balloon ladies.  A few days after treatment #4, I started noticing less and less pain and then suddenly, NO PAIN. Almost in total disbelief, I decided that I would give the hip the ultimate test, 13.1 miles, since the half marathon that I had scheduled for the weekend was walker friendly (don’t worry, I was in contact with Dr. Ramos and he knew what I was doing).  During the race I had hip pain but surprisingly the day after, there was no pain (other than thighs who were REALLY sore from 13.1 miles downhill). A few days later, still hobbling from the downhill distance (but no hip pain), I returned excited for appointment #5 to report that I was still pain free in the hip despite my stubborness to complete a downhill half with little training and have Dr. Ramos repair any damage that my stubbornness may have caused.  I gingerly got on the table (did I mention how sore my thighs were) and I swear Dr. Ramos performed a miracle during that 30 minutes on the table because my thighs had found relief from the soreness and I could move a lot easier. More importantly though, he closed out the case on my hip as promised 4-5 visits to be pain free. I do have another appointment scheduled before my next half to go over taping of the IT band around the hip and then do a follow up treatment after the half.  I also have plans for him to do some treatments around the Achilles and shin, just for safe measure. As long as the insurance keeps paying, I will be scheduling a treatment before and after each long distance run of over 13 miles.

Slacker Half Marathon Link

Like I mentioned, I completed half #18, the Slacker Half Marathon, this past weekend.  I picked this half specifically back in March to get in distance training for my goal of a full marathon in January and because of its “walker friendly atmosphere.”  I knew by picking this event that if I had to, I could walk and it would be perfectly acceptable to do so, no rolling up the time mats and everyone leaving before I crossed the finish line (yes, that has happened to me).

The Slacker Half is 13.1 miles downhill from an elevation of over 10,500 feet at the start to about 8,500 feet at the finish from the Loveland Ski Basin to Georgetown, Colorado.  It has to be to the most beautiful half marathon I have completed, plus it was a great excuse to go home to Colorado for a long weekend. Kudos to the race organizers for a VERY WELL run event, super race atmosphere, great course, and fun bling.  

I was very happy with how I finished, just between you and me I ran (intervals) the first 6 miles near the 13 minute mile pacer (which had I continued the last half of the race would have been a huge PR for me), but as the hip started flaring and my body giving out due to lack of training (and yes the altitude), I had to walk the last 7 miles.

Now with my first major distance behind me in over 18 months, I am looking ahead (and crossing my fingers) with #midlifecrisisinprocess to continuing down the #roadtomyfirstmarathon.  Next up a special run on Friday…

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