Maybe you're tired of it, Maybe you're not... isn't everyone on social media an online coach now? That can be how it seems when you're looking through a small scope on the internet. You may be asking yourself. What makes this person qualified? How can I separate the good coaches from the crowd? Why do they charge so much? How fast do you need to be to get a coach?
I'm writing this blog post today to answer a few of those questions, and also why I decided to finally.... finally.... take the leap!
I know most of you that read this blog also follow me on instagram... so I keep that in consideration when I write these blogposts. Many of you, no matter how real you keep it, may have "two lives" or identities; there's you're real life... your family, friends, and work or non-running extracurriculars that might not fit in with your online "market" or appeal to your audience, so you don't share... and then there's running. Well, for me... There's just running. That's not to say I don't have a life outside of running... I do.... but I didn't pick up running late in life and once I started I never stopped... so as a result running shaped all of my friendships, all of my extracurriculars, and even my family is largely a result of running... so it is threaded into every aspect of my life. Many of the people I grew up competing with have either burnt out from the sport, started coaching, or both. I've always had an interest in coaching, however I never could commit to someone else's training when I struggled to even commit to my own. Instead, I offered up my expertise and experience in the form of a volunteer and as a training partner to younger student athletes who needed a mentor... it was mutually beneficial as I also got a training partner in return.
A handful of years ago when my late high school coach was dying, I went to visit him and felt this huge weight of obligation to take over the program and begin coaching in his place. It felt poetic and looked good on paper so when I visited him, I asked about it. I told him that I would continue on and honor the program he built if he wanted me to. I thought for sure he'd say yes and I braced myself for the answer. I honestly didn't want to... but I'd do anything for that man and knew he wouldn't ask me... so I offered it... but instead of the yes, please I expected, he rolled his eyes at me and said "Caitlyn, I just want you to run. You have more in you and you should pursue your own running" It was not what I saw coming... but man I was relieved! I didn't want to give up my dreams but didn't know how it was possible to work full time, coach, and train... (this is before I had kids and realized how bad I was at time management. Kids really whip you into shape in that department!)
Since then I've been approached countless times about coaching and countless times I've fallen back on the "I'm pursuing my own running" answer and offered up a quick tip that really isn't very helpful because coaching is a whole-picture-type-thing. For a good long while, pursuing my own running was true, but recently I felt a huge shift and I felt myself change and I actually wanted to coach. Sadly, I still felt like I did nothing with my own running since that conversation with Coach Kirk, so I felt like now if I shift to coaching... I'm letting him down. He wanted me to pursue my own running and I did and I am but it's not fulfilling me the way it used to. I've deflected a lot of inquiries about coaching to try to honor him, and myself and to try an get faster, but I've recently felt like maybe I’ve been using him as a crutch to not take this next step! I’ve been really sitting on this since February last year... and I felt like my late coach has been trying to send me signs that it's okay. What he meant was to follow my own path... not his... and at the time that meant pursue my own running, but now... that can mean whatever I believe! I know he'd want what I thought was best for me and my development as a whole person.
If you don't believe in this stuff, just skip to the bold... But I believe in a higher purpose and power and I believe we are called to do certain things in life at certain times and I started being called. I had several pretty profound things happen in the past year that felt like my former coach communicating with me, and I it keeps coming... so I can’t ignore it!
First, his nephew began working as the custodian in my school specifically assigned to my class. I didn't know why his eyes looked so familiar until I signed into work one day and saw the last name, "Kirk"... it hit me like a bag of bricks! That very same week my coaches daughter drove by me while I was doing the walk of shame home from a failed run. She lives a quarter mile away from me! What?! Next, I was bringing Raea to the dance studio and noticed one of the girls wearing a sweatshirt with the name "Kirk" on it from 1998, I had an identical sweatshirt from the year we won the cross country championships. I stopped the girl in her tracks and stuttered through questioning... "wh-wher-where'd you get that shirt?" She said it was her friends sisters. Of course! I found out my coaches youngest daughter that was born when I was in High School was now a senior and danced at the same studio! (don't even get me started on how much I cried watching her solo)... and the last straw was last week when my mom received letter in the mail with my class ring from high school... It was sent by an athletic director from another school. They found it while remodeling the locker room, sent it back to my high school and my high school sent it to my mom (or something like that? I don't know I actually still haven't seen it... my mom just told me about it... all I know is I lost my class ring that has a track foot and cross country symbol on it and now I have it back) Freaky, right? While hiking the Rim on Cannon Mountain in the white mountains this summer, I saw a shirt that said “guardians” (my mascot from High School and I said “hey I’m an alum!” And from under the woman’s hat appeared my old History teacher who still works at the school. She said “Caitlyn! I just sent your class ring to your mother, did you get it?” ... weird.... Also weird is that I was hiking in the Whites the day my coach died, too. I was as close to Heaven as you could get in New England.
Somewhere in the middle of all these events, I sent resumes and inquired about other coaching companies out there... but none of them felt right for me in the phase I’m in. I couldn't really wrap my head around abandoning the very important work I was doing in the school systems. I'm very good at what I do and although it sucks the life out of me at times... sometimes it gives me life to know that I can connect with children that other people are afraid of. I want to have the flexibility to only coach a handful of people and increase when the timing is right for me, not be flooded with new athletes that I don't get to do intake phone calls with and that I don't necessarily get the chance to feel out if we are a good fit for one another. It's a two way street! So then the hurdle was just being brave enough to take the small steps each day so I could get closer to launching this. The extra time on the summer gave me a chance to re-read training books, prep my website, learn about payment portals and hosting sites so I could make a seamless transition when “real school” starts and when my own marathon was over. I'm not going to lie, I've been almost more excited and more anxious about this than I was for Erie. As Erie approached I kept finding myself saying "and then I'll start officially coaching!" A weird part of me felt like I couldn't be a coach if I was not able to run myself. I felt like I needed the marathon to prove myself first... and in hindsight, I know that is really silly... because race times do not make a coach more or less qualified to be a good coach.
What Makes a Coach Qualified?
There are lots of certifications out there that give you letters you can put next to your name to say that you learned something about coaching and about running. I have none of those letters. I have none of those certifications. The most influential coach I ever had was Kevin Kirk, and he wasn't USATF Level anything. Coaching is about knowledge and experience to some degree, but how you are able to use that knowledge to help someone else is crucial. A good coach motivates. A good coach sees both strengths and weaknesses and knows how to use them to benefit the athlete, a good coach is a teacher (eh, em.. Masters Degree+). They know when to push and they know when to pull back. I have experienced every spectrum of coaching both as an athlete and as a volunteer assistant, and although I can't tell you exactly what type of coach is best for you and what makes a good coach for you... I can tell you one thing... certifications will not give you that answer... neither will PR's. When you hire a coach, you enter into a relationship. It needs to be a good fit for both.
How Can I Separate Good Coaches from The Crowd?
Again, there is nothing clear cut here. Results of the Athlete matter, but health of the athlete matters more and that is not as obvious or concrete so it's harder to spot online. A conversation is necessary for knowing for sure that the coach has your best interest in mind and is not just results driven. I've seen this be especially problematic for women runners and fertility. IF you are not menstruating you need to get off the slippery slope.... a good coach will know how to guide an athlete into a healthy zone.
Why Do they Charge SO Much?
I'll be honest, I've never once felt like I've been charged too much for coaching. I've been lucky enough to receive coaching at a high level without having to pay (except for all those student loans!) for almost half of my running career, so when I completed college there was no question I would continue to have a coach, and for a long time I continued with the assistant coach from my college. If something is valuable to you, you find a way. If you feel like coaches are charging too much, than you are not valuing their commitment and your own commitment to the sport enough... and if that is where you are, I understand that. I have priced myself below the industry standard in order to access athletes that do not believe their athletic goals are worth more, however I am in a position to do that since this is just a part time gig I am doing to fulfill the space in my heart... and with time I hope I can make them see that they are worth it and I am worth it! (but I won't increase my prices, I will just be happy to have made a difference in someone's perception of self)
How Fast do you need to be to Get a Coach?
EVERYONE DESERVES A COACH! There are plenty of great coaching companies that coach athletes of every level. You've probably seen them online. I, Personally, am a McKirdy Trained athlete and have received great professional care (even with all the complications!) from my coach Pardon no matter how out of shape I've been. I follow a lot of other coaches on instagram and there are a lot of good options out there that have no requirements! For the most part, a lot of coaches care significantly less about your ability and more about your commitment to the work (and to the rest!). Many coaches also have a better grasp on your untapped potential than you do, and it is often really fun to take a new, unexperienced, moldable athlete to the next level. There are some programs and clubs that have qualifying standards, but if your poking around on this page, you probably aren't interested in that type of stuff! If you have a goal and a worth ethic to match it, you can be coached. Period.
Why Should I Hire You?
The truth is, I don't know if you should. I want to have that conversation to get to know you first! Most coaches are not in the business of making money... we just want to see progress! If progress is what you want, we agree on that! Lets see where else our philosophies and goals line up and if we're a good match! And if you haven't checked out what I offer, please do! I'm especially excited to have a discounted rate for mothers because that is something I am very passionate about having just had a 2 year battle with postpartum injuries... I have learned a lot!
If we've had a conversation already or you're ready to take that step, just go sign up! I look forward to this new journey and am really excited to see you grow as an athlete and have running enhance your life the way it has mine!
The first time I qualified for the Boston Marathon was in November of 2013. My time of 3:05:4x would earn me a spot in the first Wave for the 2015 Boston Marathon. Both injury and pregnancy would keep me out of that race. I was 26 weeks pregnant and 4 weeks post knee surgery (fat pat impingement syndrome) so I just thought "eh, next time". Running Boston never seemed like a big deal to me. For starters, I'm from here so it seems like everyone runs Boston. Logistically it's not as complicated when you don't need to book a flight and a hotel. My ego was sure I could qualify without batting an eye at a later date.... so... why worry so much? Next time I can do it! But things get trickier once you start balancing family planning with the Boston Marathon. I had Raea in August, Rehabbed my knee, got fit, and qualified the following October with another 3:05 (about 30 second PR). I still had 19 months until the 2018 race so I decided to have another baby, and then I'd run the race 8 months postpartum. Well, as you probably now know, that didn't happen. I got injured again and again and again (more times than I can count) and finally got to my first marathon after having Maebel, the Erie Marathon, at 25 months Postpartum (#oncepostpartumalwayspostpartum... Deal with it). It was so far from the high hopes and pie in the sky goals I had for myself, but I've never been so happy and proud to have finished something in my life.
As recapped in my previous blog, I got pretty sick just before the race. I thought it was "taper crazies" at first and went to work feeling pretty lousy for two of the 3 days before the race... I started feeling a little better by Thursday but knew if I didn't take the day to rest I was doomed by Saturday since I can't sleep well in hotels. The girls had daycare Thursday and my husband was gone so stayed home and alternated between sleeping, drinking a ton of water, and eating carbs all day. I felt a little guilty for missing work knowing I would be out Friday and probably also Monday... but....in hindsight... I took my first day off from work on Thursday September 5th, and I legitimately have not had full staff since. An entire two weeks understaffed because we all got sick with whatever I had... my days off were justified. By Friday I felt a little better and spent the whole day in the car trying to chill. My kids were so good for the ride and my husband willing to drive the whole way that I could still keep resting. I got in a quick 4 mile run on our way up to Erie just to break up the drive and shake out the legs, and then another quick run Saturday with McKirdy Trained Shakeout before the packet pick up.
The night before
The night before the race turned out to be eventful. My mom was also running so we went to diner and somehow got completely locked out of her hotel room. You know those swing bar locks in hotels that you use from the inside? well, as it turns out, if you slam them against the wall upon exiting, it can bounce off the wall and lock you out... and the process to open it is unknown to most people that work at the hotel. I weirdly enjoyed trying to unlock the door with a gentleman from across the hall. We eventually figured it out after about an hour. It would have made excellent instagram stories but my phone was behind a locked door. It kept me from thinking about the race, and gave my husband enough time to get the girls settled. I barely slept for the second night in a row. In addition to being a chronic insomniac... especially bad in hotels.... I also still had a lingering cough and so did my daughter Maebel.. The cough only bothered us when we were laying down, but of course that's when you're trying to sleep. Maebel and I seemed to alternate in coughing fits all night until I just decided to rest with my eyes closed sitting up and put headphones in. That was probably around 3am and I had to wake up at 5. I'm very very good at navigating the "night before race jitters"... I just accept that I wont sleep and that I can't let that be a reason to not be successful. I start preparing self talk to counter the "I must feel crappy because I didn't sleep".... I assume I will sleep zero hours so when I sleep 2 my self talk is more positive. Still a horrible night of sleep but I lack sleep so often that it really never becomes an excuse in my race because 90% of the time I run a long run on less than 6 hours of sleep. It's something I really really need a solution for (especially after listening to Joe Rogans podcast episode #1109... scary shit. I'm going to die!)
I'm not a very experienced marathoner... but I am a very experienced racer... so waking up for race morning was business as usual and I feel like I'm my best self before a race. Cool as a Cucumber. The race day never stresses me out as much as the training does... deep breaths, no sudden movements... keep adrenaline in check.. empty intestines.... Got dressed and put on KT tape, blister bandaids, and all the precautionary stuff. A lot of people want to get pumped up for events like this... but not me. A marathon is a slow burn so the adrenaline needs to be a small drip. I went down to the lobby since they had early breakfast. I brought 2 packets of my own oatmeal and heated it up... Met my mom and we drove to the shuttle location together. Both of us chose to walk instead of take the shuttle. I kept my long pants and shirt on even though it was already warming up. My coaches have always been adamant about keeping everything warm even when it's warm out. I waited in line for the bathroom which took longer than I thought. I wanted to get in a 1 mile warm up to get my laces adjusted. Since getting orthotics I haven't found the "sweet spot" for my laces and have typically needed the first mile to get them right. I wasn't wearing any special shoes to race in. I wore the Cloud Ace, 12oz shoes. The bulkiest I've probably ever worn but they've been reliable in keeping injuries at bay which was my biggest concern about the race. I'm not super comfortable in them but I trust them and that was most important. Unfortunately the bathroom line made it impossible to get my laces adjusted. As soon as I finished the bathroom I put on Vaseline in all the areas that might possibly need it and then got to the start in the 3:30 group. I ran in place to try to get the laces right. Too tight, too loose, too tight, too loose. I finally stopped touching them and hoped for the best. Then... The gun went off.
Miles 1-6 8:02, 7:58, 7:55, 7:51, 7:48, 7:56
I started easy with the 3:30 pace group (8:01 pace). My goal was to qualify for Boston but also to give myself a bit of a buffer if necessary. My qualifying standard was 3:35 but I assumed 3:30 to be safe and then had run a few races now that indicated 3:26 was in my fitness range, before getting sick I had a stretch goal of hammering the last 10k to see if I could break 3:20... I didn't let go of that goal but also didn't allow myself to make any decisions around that goal in the earlier stages of the race. I did essentially no workouts leading up to this race so I knew that the very fastest I could run would be right around 7 minute miles and probably for only 3 miles tops... so if I wanted to take pressure off of that pace I'd need to go a little faster a little earlier. I tried to keep that out of my mind and focus on the only goal that mattered: Qualifying for Boston. sub 3:20 was exactly the same as 3:30 in regards to that goal so I was just going to focus on 3:30.
The Erie Marathon is designed to qualify people for Boston. It's not a huge marathon but since everyone had the same goal to BQ, the 3:30 group was packed. I was grateful for my experience running in Falmouth and reminded myself that my Boston experience will be very crowded also. The roads in this beginning section were much more narrow than most of the other sections. I really should have positioned myself just in front of the 3:30 group as to not be mixed in with all the anxious people who were bobbing and weaving trying to get a better position in a group that was running all the same pace. It wasn't logical to be making all those early moves to get nowhere so I just stayed where I was and waited and waited and waited until I naturally found myself towards the front of the pace group. After Mile 4 I moved slightly in front of the pace group and then sort of just stayed there and could feel their presence a handful of strides back. We were running the same pace but I had 5-10 seconds on them and that felt much better and relaxing. I felt really comfortable but was a little discouraged that I got a numbing sensation in my foot from my laces being too tight. This has happened on a lot of my long runs but I would just stop and adjust the laces. During training I told myself if it happened I'd just stop because I had the fitness to do it and still make up the time... but with the pack right behind me I wasn't going to stop, get swallowed up, and have to deal with that again. Fortunately it's not painful but considering I've had so many foot injuries it's a little concerning to have over 20 miles to go and I've got this annoying thing going on. It's definitely because the orthotics and bulky shoes are overkill in terms of feet protection. No space to breathe! but I came to terms with this issue a while ago and decided the devil I knew was better than the devil I didn't.
Miles 7-13 7:53, 7:46, 7:48, 7:49, 7:55, 7:44, 7:53
After the 10k I was naturally finding myself moving more in the low 7:50's to the high 7:40's. I let it happen naturally but held myself back whenever anything went under 7:45. I had my watch set to show me predicted mile. The closer I got to the mile marker the more accurate it was. I checked my watch often but didn't really make many decisions off of it. I just needed to constantly reassure myself I wasn't going too fast. I had run long runs pretty fast but I capped it off at 17 miles and another 9 miles is intimidating. I wasn't super dependent on it. I knew I was running steady. The stretch from 9-13 seemed to never end since I had my watch set to only one mile at a time sometimes I was absolutely shocked to get to the mile marker to find out I wasn't a mile further than that. Not a good thing before the halfway mark! Water stops were every mile so I was getting water every 2 ish miles. Sometimes I'd go 3 or sometimes I wouldn't skip. I took gels every 30 minutes using the Caffeine right around mile 12 for the first time. We were on concrete instead of pavement for a solid amount of this section and with that strange sensation in my foot I just thought about the potential pain this was going to inflict on me in the second loop (Erie is a 2 loop course). Pretty negative self talk going on because every mile marker had a second one not too far away indicating what mile we'd be at in loop 2 and suddenly the reality of how far 26.2 miles is was setting in. I had never run for over 3 hours and 5 minutes and today was going to be that day by a lot. another 20 minutes was going to be a long time to add to what was already a sufferfest.
Miles 14 and 15
This is my least consistent section of the race....When I came through the half in 1:43:02 I started doing some math to figure out my odds of sub 3:20 but I'm not great at Math and was running for a long already so my brain wasn't exactly sharp. I wasn't 100% sure if the math worked out but I would adjust as I got closer. I knew needed to drop at least 6 minutes in the last 13 miles. I was running below 8 minute pace which meant I'd have to run under 7:30 pace for at least 12 miles. Don't forget about the long ass .2... but then I also had to think rationally too. I have no idea how hard I might blow up so I sat on it a bit and decided I'd start with 7:30's at 16 and then see if I can drop faster and faster and see how close I am with a 5k to go and just hammer if I can. At this point it wasn't really much about the time it was more about challenging myself. I didn't care that much about 3:20 but it was dangling just low enough that I could give it a really good try and at least make the second half more fun. The first half was so boring for me. So I spent a mile devising this plan (mile 14) and then when I decided I'd wait until 16 I unconsciously backed off and ended up in a conversation with someone for a half mile. She seemed very concerned about the 3:30 group catching her and missing her BQ. Banking time in the marathon: not the process I'd recommend. I tried to run with her a bit and just tried to tell her to focus forward not behind... but I really don't know if she made it. My split slowed to an 8:00 mile and I didn't run the whole mile with her so I assume she slowed down quite a bit. I warned her I was going to pick it up seemingly drastically at 16 and to not be alarmed or discouraged. when 16 came I was on my way.
Mile 16-20 7:30, 7:35, 7:36, 7:35, 7:35
Mile 16: 7:30 Well, that was easy I thought... Well of course it is, you still have 10 to go! I barked back at myself. Ha! I just love those inner conversations! I had to remind myself that I was 1 mile away from the longest run I've run since February.... by a lot ... and I have no idea what is going to happen next. My foot was completely numb at this point. The good news is if there was any pain I couldn't feel it... The bad news is if there was any pain I couldn't feel it. I'd keep trying to crinkle up my toes to see if I could get some feeling back, but... nothing. Not even tingling anymore. I did check ins with the rest of my body. It was actually quite amazing. No shin pain, no hip pain, ho calf pain, no neck pain. I felt really, really, smooth. This pace seemed to be a bit of a sweet spot for me. It was fast enough to excite me and keep me engaged but not out of my comfort zone. Unfortunately I wanted to be a little closer to 7:30 and even just to push for an extra second or two per mile seemed like a huge stretch and more energy than I should expend that far out from the finish. So I tried to push without pushing and hoped to find something a little faster but unless I switched a gear I wasn't lowering the pace at all. Keep in mine I ran maybe 10 whole miles at this pace since February. Part of me was really impressed with myself because I was running a bit beyond my training but part of me was frustrated that this pace was literally my worst case scenario/bonking so hard for my previous marathons.
Mile 21-24 7:21, 7:33, 7:20, 7:31, 7:33
I was taking things by 10k now. Math was out the window for the time being but I still kept going for the 3:20 even though mathematically it was not very probable. I just am the type of person that likes to squeeze every ounce I can out of a race. I told myself I'd just come and get the job done with a BQ but after waiting so long to race a marathon I wanted to race a marathon. It's all relative to your fitness but unless you're packing it in, 26.2 miles feels the same for everyone. It's hard no matter how fast or slow you are. I wanted to learn in this race to better prepare myself for future marathons and if I didn't empty the tank and challenge my fitness than I'd be missing that opportunity which is few and far between. My body felt good (other than the shoe lace/numb foot thing) I had to just do it! I planned to do the next 3 at 7:20 pace and then see if I could drop even lower for the remaining 3. Obviously I couldn't do that. At this point my lack of miles was playing a toll as was the concrete. I felt like I could go faster. Cardiovascularly I had that ability, and my body could push and propel myself faster... but landing and catching myself was starting to be difficult. I wasn't trusting my strength as much as I would like to and the faster you run the harder the force. I pushed and hit that 7:20ish pace and then fell back into that "sweet spot" and then pushed again and back to that sweet spot...but... I just kept trying because I still had energy to try and that meant something to me.
Mile 26- 7:46
Trying and failing starts to take a toll... I'm not going to lie... I really never felt bad until the second half of mile 25. I was really positive throughout... but once I was unequivocally sure I wouldn't run under 3:20 (which took way longer than it should have to figure out... but that extra .2 is easy to forget and takes a damn long time!) I just hung on to running under 3:23. There's literally no difference between 3:22 high and 3:22 low... I know this because I have two other marathons and they are both 3:05... no one asks me how close I was to being under 3:05. I don't even care. I wanted o squeeze everything out of myself that I could but in that last mile I had my first sign of "pain" in my left calf. So I ran safe in that last mile and ran grateful, and I even put my arms up and might have almost almost shed a tear when I crossed the finish line in a chip time of 3:22:53
When I finished I felt pretty good. Not too beat up but a little bit. I took my shoe off to see if I could get feeling back in it. No luck. Two weeks later and I'm just now getting feeling back but still not 100%... Did not see that coming. I dind't even know that was possible. I emailed my podiatrist and he's not too worried since it's isolated to just two toes now. My other foot took a beating too. I have never lost a toe nail or even had a black toe nail... at least until now. I'm a stickler for trimming my toe nails before every hard effort but because I was sick and then travelling I forgot and now I have a big black and blue toe nail to remind myself why that ritual is important. Thankfully I didn't feel anything in the race but RIP toe nail. I'd probably be running some 30 minute runs if the nerves in my foot were functioning, but I figure it's best to let that work itself out first! Overall I’m really happy and proud. I ran to the absolute best of my ability on that day and just a few days later I signed up for Boston! Now... the tricky part is to actually run it!
Man did I fall off pretty abruptly with the blog posts! I wrote a post that I never published because I sent my phone (with all the pictures!) to the genius bar and was hoping I'd get it back... but it's still there and my guess is I'm never going to have those photos of Maebels birthday.... so sad... but I had hope and held out a bit too long and then fell behind on blogging.... but now... home sick from work and already slept a bunch, I'm just catching you all up as I'm just a few days out from the marathon. I'm keeping the updates short and to the point because there's almost a whole month to catch up on and I can't even remember yesterday... Thank God for Strava!
Monday 8/12: 7 Miles 8:30/mi
I was slow on this run but man! I was happy! I ran 14 and 7 back to back without much pain! Real Progress!
Tuesday 8/13: Off
I did my PT and basically did nothing else.... and enjoyed every minute of it.
Wednesday 8/14: 6 miles 8:42/mi
Still feeling quite heavy... but sometimes a day off will do that
Thursday 8/15: 7 miles plus 6 x 30 second strides with 1:00 jog... 8 total
Another hot day... I was obsessively nervous about the strides and kept stopping to check if my calves felt tight throughout the run. Whatever, Overly cautious has worked so far.
Friday 8/16: OFF Cross Training: AKA walking around Davis Farmland with my kids for Maebels birthday... No pictures because my phone battery died and it never came back on. :(
Saturday 8/17: FAIL another day of walking around in the New England Aquarium this time. Matt had to work in Boston and we were on our way to the Cape so we stopped. Probably would have had more pep in our step if we knew the expo closed at 4 instead of 8 like all the other days... More on that on a Falmouth update (another one I wrote but didn't post yet because I was waiting to post this update first.... ha!)
Sunday: 8/18: 14 total, plus Falmouth (7 miles, 50:52) Read more soon.... I’ve fallen behind for blogposts obviously... but I’ve already written the post just in a word document and haven’t switched it over yet.... but the short version is that this was supposed to feel like a workout but I had no gas... I wasn’t redlining but felt flat and tired and like running through quicksand ... i was surprised and discouraged by how hard it was... but I still did an almost perfect progression run.
Overall the week totaled 34 Miles with one "race" workout and a handful of strides. Gotta admit, Falmouth really knocked the wind out of my sails... if I were writing this entry right after Falmouth Id be saying “there’s just no way!”... but... I’m still in the game!
Monday 8/19: 4 miles @8:09/mi, plus one hour spin
Just trying to recover while still putting in some aerobic work. Just some general soreness and really tired... Pretty normal I think
Tuesday 8/20 OFF, Don't mind if I do!
Wednesday: 8/21 7.14 @8:24/mi
Ran with Matt at Mines Falls. Never ran here before but it was beautiful, pouring rain, and kind of romantic. Literally needed windshield wipers for my eyes kind of rain. My last day off before full time school... Nice way to cap it off!
Thursday 8/22: 8:22 9.5 @8:13/mi with some strides.
More of the same. Fear of fast. freaked out about my sore left shin the whole run and prayed to the running Gods that I got through the strides unharmed. Phew!
Friday 8/23: Off Fridays were supposed to be cross training, but it always worked out that I had something that required a lot of walking around instead. Had our rally at school today and that was enough for me.
Saturday 8/24: 7 miles 8:23/mi sluggish run on the rail trail. I had a wedding to get to.... My top priority was to find a pair of shoes I could wear with my dress that I could also fit my orthotics in. Does all the dancing count as training? In hindsight, I probably should have left the party early but Matt and I love to dance the night away.
Sunday 8/25: 17 miles @ 7:40 (last 5 harder) This was exactly what I needed to make me feel like I could do this. Falmouth made me feel like crap about myself, but this weather reminded me that I'm fit enough for my goal and just to trust the training.
Overall a really good week coming in at 44.7 miles total. The highest I will hit before Erie. My rolling 7 was 47 at one point. Ya know... not too shabby given the short amount of time I have had! I’m feeling pretty proud and also ready!
Monday 8/26 OFF: First day of school with the students. No Big Deal. I took today OFF instead of my usual Tuesday. My shins were a little sore after the long run and then full work days on concrete... My favorite.
Tuesday 8/27: 6 miles @ 8:16. My mom watched the girls after school while I did this easy 6. I have a sore left shin but not too bad. I have new shoes on their way.
Wednesday: 8/28 7 miles 8:11/mi Flash flooding and new shoes don't mix. Now that school is started it would be ideal for everyone if I ran in the morning.... but My husband has been flexible with his work knowing I'm so close. We don't want to change anything! He worked at Sneakerama with the girls while I ran with my new shoes. No shin pain! Yay!
Thursday: 8/29 9.5 miles with 1, 2, 2, 1 minute pick ups x2. Met my husband with the girls at the rail trail and planned to run the first 4 miles with him (before pick ups) but freaked out a million times since my shins were still sore and stopped to stretch my calves a million times "just in case"... and sent him ahead so I could work on my self talk. Nothing comes easy. Once the pickups started they felt better. I'm insane.
Friday 8/30: OFF Got a massage. Threapist says no disfunction in the calves and that my shin pain is from my lower legs not getting enough blood from my hips pinching things still. She worked on hips and I felt better. We Dropped kids off at my MIL's so we could commute up to a wedding up in Maine.. I slept approximately 1 hour because of whatever bachelorette party was going on in hotel. People suck. Also, I’m insane.
Saturday 8:31, 6 miles: Super tired run from Booth Bay. Beautiful Views! Shins felt 100% but the rest of me didn't feel 100% (sore throat and headache), but I knew sleep would help. Napped a bit after and then went to rehearsal dinner for the wedding. Went back to the hotel and tried to sleep. I'm just not very good at sleeping in Hotels! (I’m insane-see a pattern?)
Sunday 9/1 15 total, 13 mile race (shy of advertised half marathon) my time was 1:35 something. about 7:20ish pace Pace felt easy, weather was legit perfect in every way. Course was beautiful but insanely hilly (over 1000 ft!) then I spent the day getting ready for a beautiful wedding of two awesome friends who Matt and I feel largely responsible for their relationship. We even got mentioned in the ceremony and a few speeches. It's very special when you can see two people so happy and you feel you had a hand in making that happen. We danced the night away again... Which could be my undoing... but ya know what? I don't live to run... It's just part of the whole picture but it isn't everything.
Great week! I’ve been stressing a bit over the amount of things on my plate and it was definitely too much with two weddings, my highest weekly mileage, and back to school. I’m paying the price but hopefully can pull it together just on time!
Monday: 9/2- 5 miles Matt and I slept in (8:00!) and drove part way home and then went for a run in Portland. My legs were tired but no sore shins. Throat a tad sore but hard to tell if it was from singing so loud of not... felt a bit "hung over" even though I don't drink. I have a bad feeling about this but gotta sleep sleep sleep!
Tuesday 9/3: OFF as usual, and back to work, but it is now very obvious I over did it and am sick. You know if I don't want to watch Bachelor in Paradise and just want to go to bed there is a serious problem! Unfortunately sleep still escaped me because of the deep dry cough. Help me!
Wednesday 9/4 Off again... Need to rest! This was supposed to be 7... but Hay is in the Barn. Probably shouldn't be at work but went anyway and felt terrible. My eye was twitching all day... so I put in for a sick day for Thursday but stayed a little late (since I wasn't running) to put sub stuff together (it's so early in the year I have none of that ready yet!) I have the same staff and half of the same kids as the previous year so they were all pushing me to just take the day off knowing how sick I felt and that I had this marathon on Sunday. I already scheduled Friday off as a personal day so they were ready to take on the class without me at work. Very lucky for the staff I have!
Thursday 9/5: Today... OFF again. Ugh. I know the hard work is done but when your training cycle was as short as mine I don’t feel as comfortable with a hard taper. I took the day off from work because I’m really struggling to rest, which is what I need to get better. I slept most of the day, did warm epsom salt baths, and later in the evening when I felt better I went for a short one mile walk/run because I am worried my legs are going to be heavy and stiff if I don’t move them. I tried to run a little (my plan was 3) but my legs felt good and that's all I needed to know. I just don't want my legs to stiffin up like crazy from doing nothing... but I could also tell I wasn't going to benefit from the run.
Friday: TBD I’m finishing this blogpost enroute to Erie. I took a personal day from work today I hadn’t planned two days but Even now I’m still a bit sick but MUCH better. I slept really well last night as the coughing fits are much less frequent and not waking me up. My right shoulder is really tight from all the laying down and I think a little from the coughing (abs, ribs, and back muscles are sore!)... but other than that I feel like by Sunday I’ll be ready to BQ! I will possibly do a 20 min shakeout tonight after the long car ride and will definitely do one tomorrow morning with whoever is there from McKirdy Trained
ITS GO TIME!
I just heard the phrase "In the Parenting Weeds" while listening to the Ali on the Run show with Guests Jesse Thomas and Lauren Fleshman (who also have a podcast I adore). They referred to it as this phase of parenting where the neediness is really high and independence of the child really low, and just how overwhelming and stressful it can be. I'm not the type of person to weed my garden, in fact, I find the natural "weediness" more appealing than a perfectly manicured garden with neatly trimmed hedges. Who doesn't love what my sister and I refer to as "frolicking fields?" ... anyway... I'm assuming the term comes from that feeling of weeding the garden and it never ending. The weeds just keep coming back and you can never quite catch up. There's always work to be done and not a moment to rest... Does it sound like parenting right now? Then you are in "the Parenting Weeds"
Two things inspired me to write this tonight:
1. My husband is gone and I'm all caught up on TV (except for the show we are binge watching together and I'm really, really, really upset he's not home to watch with me and trying really hard to not watch without him because then he'll quit watching altogether and it'll be a sad day for me)
2. I feel like I'm in this phase, but there's perfectly manicured grass right next to me and didn't realize how nice it looked until I could see it.
I've sort of hinted at it, but I've been hesitant to come right out and say it out of respect for any potential readers that could be struggling trying to conceive.... but this is my blog... these are my feelings... You can never "plan" for another child or guarantee another child... so it's delicate to talk about planning a pregnancy... but this is what my experience is and so my emotions are linked to that. I know there are so many woman who would do anything to be in my (presumed) position; based on my experience I believe if I want another baby I can just decide that's what I want and get to it.... and if I don't I can just decide not to (although, Raea was a 1% baby... ya know.... 99% effective protection... so... I actually feel the opposite of many women... it's never guaranteed that I'm "safe"... which makes intimacy less spontaneous and fun for different reasons).... anyway... My husband and I are not exactly on the same page with this... or maybe we're opened to the same page but he's reading a different section than me... whatever... bad metaphor... we're not totally agreeing but not totally disagreeing either. You understand!
For the longest time I was 100% sure I'd want another baby and I was mostly sure he'd change his mind or that he wasn't firm enough in his feelings on this topic one way or another so he'd eventually just meet me where I am... but I'm losing ground on this and it's because I've been in the parenting weeds and didn't really know it until I've started to see where the weeds end.... and it kinda looks nice! So I might actually be meeting him where he is instead of the other way around. This has been happening these last few weeks and I'm an emotional mess over it. So... I write.
I can't remember exactly when I signed up for the Erie Marathon, but the reason I did it was because I was 100% sure I wanted (at least) a third child and 100% sure I wanted to run Boston and 0% sure I'd want to run Boston after a third baby and 0% sure I'd want to wait that long to have a third (April 2021+9 months at the earliest? Who can plan for that far away?). So the very sure parts of me had this sense of urgency... "damn, I should just do this Boston thing so I can at least discuss having another baby"... I'm already not sure I can convince Matt to have another baby, but I didn't want to miss my chance at Boston in the meantime in case he came around to the idea relatively soon. I couldn't put everything on hold... and I felt like putting Boston on hold was going to potentially clog everything else. I didn't want to put myself in another one of these "qualify, get pregnant, then run Boston" situations. If there is a third baby, Boston comes first or not at all... because I've learned after having Maebel, that planning to run a marathon after a baby isn't easy.... especially when you have no idea how your body is going to respond to the pregnancy. It just wasn't something I wanted to do again. I would want to be free of any lingering goals and since OTQ is pretty much out of the question and a non-factor for at least a few years until the window opens, (but likely forever if the standards significantly shift)... that meant Boston was the only major thing on the running checklist that I'm still attached to. If Matt was 100% ready and on board for a 3rd, I'd have to think about the timing more (or less)... because the family is really my top priority... but.... it's just the reality us women face when we are at this age. We are in our Prime for athletics but it's Prime baby making years, too... If the day comes where he says "I'm ready", I know I'm going to look at my running and do whatever I can to achieve whatever I can but ultimately say "it doesn't matter" to any running goals that might be left on the table.... but, #dreammaternity until then!
...So my response in my head has always been that I would have another baby today. I'd do it now. He just needs to say the word! I grew up in a house where my parents raised 8 kids... so I've seen first hand how stressful it can be on the relationship, but also how if two hardworking people just keep working hard, it is possible. A financial adviser would probably tell me otherwise, but I'm just not willing to sacrifice my heart because the numbers didn't add up. You don't know my hustle!
Anyway... I'm super sad... and terrified... because just this week I started to feel really, really, really at peace with just two. (Don't @ me. I'm allowed to have feelings!) But at the very exact moment that I'm feeling this overwhelming peace... like... "this could be my forever family".... I felt broken. When I signed up for Erie... Probably, what, 7 weeks ago? (I'm on week 7 of training, I think) I was sure I wanted another baby. Not necessarily sure that that was going to happen but sure I wanted one. It is literally the reason I'm running Erie... just in case! Now... I'm so, painfully conflicted. It started a little when Matt and I went to Colorado. We just talked casually about trips we'd like to do alone again and how we'd do them. He, of course, only referred to our girls... I kept it a bit more open ended... but then it started happening again... especially these past few weeks. First, I put the girls in bunk beds and took down the crib. No crib? No baby. sad but kind of nice! Both girls somewhat know how to clean up their toys, they know how to play relatively nicely together, I don't have to be chasing them around to keep them alive. Part of me did the bunk beds thinking there would be a room freed up for a nursery again, but it kind of backfired....things are getting easier around here! I can picture my life without a baby and without all the baby stuff since the majority of it is gone! Then we went to Storyland and found ourselves in this position where Raea was big enough for rides that Maebel wasn't... next year I thought... and in the moment that I looked forward to next year I also felt this burning sensation... There's a baby in my heart and I'm forgetting about it! Then it happened again when we were hiking. "In a few years they can hike from the base to the summit instead of taking the tram" I thought... then my heart echoed back "In a few years?"...
I didn't see this coming. As I'm getting older and my kids are getting older, and the weeds are thinning out... The baby in my heart is starting to fade... and it hurts. It hurts bad. I'm really envious of women who just know they are done... they know they have their forever family and can start to really make plans... Like I've already expressed, you can never know for sure one way or another, but trying to accept the end of one chapter of your life without ever really realizing it was the ending feels... I don't know........it's....... I don't have words but it's a lot of feelings. I didn't know that was the last time I'd be pregnant and the last time I'd feel little baby kicks.....and I didn't even think about it. I didn't know when I rushed Maebel to stop nursing (at 14 months!) that It'd be my last time... I didn't know to take in the smell of a newborn babys head or the softness of that peach fuzz face (I mean, I kinda knew... but I didn't really know! It creeps up on you!). It's so faint now! I can't even remember the last time I was woken up in the middle of the night! ............... (jk, jk, that was last night... "Mommmmmyyyyy I need to go Potttyyyyyy!.... Had to lighten the mood, but you understand).
Maybe it's because I'm finally running well, or maybe it's because we're just in such a groove here that these feelings are shifting. Maybe once Boston is over (more presumptions!) I'll feel different... and that baby in my heart will get louder... I just don't know. I'm in this really tumultuous place... because I can picture it both ways.... which sounds easy... but it's not.... and I think part of that is because I'm standing on the edge of the weeds and the neatly trimmed grass trying to decide where I belong right now.... One thing is for sure... I'm really, really, good at hanging out in the weeds. If there is only one thing in this life I'm confident about it's that I'm a good mom so far... I'm not winning any awards, and I'm not a great wife (laundry is sky high, friends!)... but I'm good at this phase. I'm confident in it... and maybe the rest of parenting (going off to school, riding the bus, homework, hurt feelings, sleep overs, gossip, make up, boyfriends, broken hearts) scares me a little bit...
I guess I have to face the next phase whether I have another baby or not. Raea is growing up so fast and Maebel is right behind her! ... Can't we just stay here forever? So much uncertainty beyond this point! ..... and I suppose that's why I just keep running... because I'm (almost) certain I can do that.
Guys! This week was GREAT! In the beginning I felt like this was such a dumb goal. Everyone told me it was a bad idea but everyone also understood my rationale for going for it. After this week, with under a month to go until race day, I feel like I can do it! Part of me keeps saying “it’s just running your easy pace for 26.2, you don’t need to bring the house down” but then I’m reminded of all the times I was unable to even start 26.2 and I’m reminded that there’s no such thing as an easy marathon. This is still going to be hard! BUT I am picking up confidence as I go!
Monday: 6 miles @7:56: I’ve been trying to pull off this double run/spin class in order to do some consecutive aerobic work to get those glycogen stores built and make up for my tiny excuses for long runs and medium long runs at just 5 weeks out. I was running late today. Matt and I planned to pick up the girls and go to the gym but i needed at least 50 minutes to get in 6 miles before spin class. As Matt drove to the gym I realized he could just drop me off 6 miles away as we drove to the gym... it would save me 15-20 minutes of driving through the city. I could get started right away. I finished my 6 miles 3 minutes after spin class started so i booked it in! but it was a sub instructor so the class was dead. Probably the most boring hour of my life! I just kept telling myself that marathons can get boring and I’m getting aerobic training and mental training
I’m loving Tuesday’s off. The girls don’t have Daycare on Tuesday so when I get out of work I get more time with them. I’ve loved getting out and having a few hours to myself this summer, but of course the extra time with my beauties is great, too! A nice balance! I love their new room and all the work I put into rearranging the house last week that I’m happy to spend more time doing nothing formal and just enjoying our time at home.
Wednesday: 7 miles, 8:05/mi
I got to run with Matt after work since the girls were still in daycare. It was a pretty rough day at summer school and SUPER hot and humid but we had a big sun shower/downpour/thunderstorm come and go mid-run so that helped a lot. Loved the new section of this bike path! If you haven’t noticed, I am a sucker for bike path running! We closed at a good pace. I know I’m “technically” running marathon pace everyday-ish, but it’s not the pace that gives me trouble...
Thursday: stroller run, 6 miles, 8:22/mi
LAST DAY OF SUMMER SCHOOL! Bittersweet as always. I loved the extra money and actually really enjoy the 4 hour day. Most of my students tantrum after lunch so going home immediately following lunch is so nice! After school I had a massage and then packed for the weekend. My parents have a cabin in the white mountains, usually it’s booked on weekends and not weekdays so I just assume I can ask my mom with short notice to go up on Monday but in this case the weekend my sisters planned to go and weekdays my mom was bringing a group from her track team up...at least it was family and not being formally rented so we could maybe still go. My other sister had extra tickets to Storyland that she left there for us. I promised Raea we’d go and now I was like “crap, poor planning, Caitlyn!” I asked my mom and sisters if it was okay if we overlapped. My moms group would take up all the beds so my sisters were the better option. To avoid too much overlapping we chose Thursday to Sunday at the last minute. On our drive up we stopped to get this run in, ate, and then continued our drive arriving at 11pm. MAKE IT WORK!
Friday: OFF/walk all day at Storyland
I had a scheduled cross training day and while I didn’t formally cross train, walking around a theme park all day is no walk in the park! (Ha... wait...that saying is so wrong!) we had a lot of fun! We struggled a little bit because Raea is now big enough to go on less “baby” rides so she’d say she wanted to go on something but chicken out. It was tough because as a parent you need to find balance between pushing your kid to step out of their comfort zone and not pushing too far. We “waisted” a lot of time looking at rides and ultimately deciding not to do them. We went to Daniel tiger and the “episode” was about catering getting the courage to ride a roller coaster. Right when we left the show Raea got the courage to try. I’m not sure she likes it, but she survived! 🤣 Maebel was still too short for most rides, but I’m 100% sure she’s ride them all fearlessly, so next year will be interesting to see how Raea reacts to Maebel stepping up. Kids are resilient!
Saturday: small hike/6 mile run @8:03
I originally thought we could hike the Jewell trail up Mt Washington and take the cog down with the girls... but with a little rain in the forecast we decided against it and instead took the tram up Cannon and hiked the rim and just random trail sections. We thought we could get to lonesome lake but it was cold and wet and more slippery than we liked for the girls... and for us carrying/supporting them! So we gave Raea a good taste of hiking on her own feet and then turned back just before it down-poured. It was freezing up there! Raea got some Hot chocolate for her hard work, Maebel got my long-sleeve
After we ride the tram back down Matt took the girls to echo lake where they actually swam (it’s warmer at the bottom by a lot!) and I did a quick out and back 6 miles on the Franconia bike path. Then, I traded with Matt. He ran a longer point to point to the Flume Gorge where I took the girls. We didn’t hike it because they fell asleep in the car... but the gift shop and theater were enough to keep them happy.... especially since the theater was basically playing scenes from all the things we did that day (tram, rim, echo lake, bike path,) I’m always amazed at how much we fit in and how flexible the girls are. We returned back to the cabin to find Auntie Jane and Emily (Jemily) back from their long hike. They went out for dinner while Matt and I got the girls settled. Once Jemily returned both girls were sleeping and we did the worlds dumbest crossword puzzle. Highly frustrating clues and answers!
Sunday: 14 miles! Pace unknown... 8:00ish? Last mile 6:57 (my watch is dead- it recorded the whole run but died when i saved and i can’t find charger)
Jemily agreed to help us out in the morning so Matt and I could run the long run together. They are the wake up slow/go with the flow type so we got started at around 9:00 and ran the presidential railtrail. It was beautiful! I felt great! Tired but not injured. My foot got a bit sore from shoes being tied too tight, (i keep doing this because my orthotics make it feel like my feet are sliding out of the shoes!) and my hip felt sore later (long ride home) but as a whole... awesome awesome long run and lots of confidence that I can do this now. In exchange for Jemily helping us, we agreed to do all the sheets and clean the cabin so they didn’t have to worry about coming back from their hike to do that. My moms group was arriving later that night, so it needed to be ready! That’s basically all we did. The girls got a walk in the stroller while we were running to collect flowers. They always have fun with Jane! No fun was had on the long ride home... but with one stop for dinner, we survived and got home right before 9pm
Total: 39 miles, plus 1 hr bike, plus 2hr hike
I slacked on the PT a lot this week having been on the road, but still impressed with how much we accomplished! Big boost of confidence. Mileage is almost in my normal range (mid 40s-mid 50s) and my body isn’t in total rebellion. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not ideal to be bumping my long run this quick. I’d love more time to adapt... I just don’t have it... so after this marathon I’m definitely going to drop the long run down and focus on tolerating workouts before I build for Boston. I have one more mini vacation/road trip left for the summer and it’s to the Cape for the Falmouth 7 miler. This is a prestigious race so it pains me to know I won’t be giving it my all there. I’m still not 100% sure what my plan is... I’ll discuss it with my coach in the upcoming days... but, it’s going to be more of a progression run than race... keeping it safe! But really looking forward to that race atmosphere energy that I’ve missed out on so much!
Alright, Alright, so my blogging game isn't as consistent as it should be! BUT! My running is getting better and that's really the objective, right? These last few weeks since our trip to Colorado have FLOWN BY! I quite impulsively decided to re-organize the entire house by switching the girls from two separate rooms into one room. I feel like I got it done really quickly, but not without a bunch of challenges. I'm surprised I fit running in at all... So here's a quick recap of the last two weeks!
Monday, July 22. 8 miles @ 8:11/mi Boulder CO
I can not for the life of me remember what I did without looking back at strava and VDOT. It feels like it's been months since I was in Colorado, but I guess it's just been barely two weeks! From where I sit right now, I can't believe how much I worried about this run. I wanted to get 8 miles in. Looking ahead at the Erie Marathon and looking at how I could possibly increase my long run mileage and still keep the rest of the volume down and somehow do that safely... I had to be able to run at least 8 miles on this day. I'd accept a precautionary and slow 7, but I had to do at least an hour of running! As you read last week, Matt and I spent the weekend in Breckinridge Colorado, so driving from there to Boulder on our scenic route to the airport (we had a red eye) we actually lost about 4,000 feet of elevation... so although Boulder is still considered altitude, it didn't really feel like it after all the hiking and biking we did between 9,000ft and 12,000+ ft. I started this run with an untimed walk just to stretch out. I had KT tape on both calves, shins, and on my right adductor. I also had on calf sleeves. My quads were still a bit shredded from the run down the mountain, but once we started running my major concern was my shins and calf. Unfortunately one of the paths Matt wanted to show me was under construction, so we stayed on the less scenic and more commuter-populated path. It didn't bother me... I was just very focused on finding a comfortable rhythm. The first two miles I was fearful, but by mile three I was holding myself back. It was really hot out so when we got to 8 I was happy to be done and to take a quick dip in the river we had been running alongside. Once we were done we had some food, tea and cupcakes and showered at anytime fitness before heading to the airport. I missed my babies!
Tuesday, July 23: OFF
Well, I was determined to sleep on our Red Eye flight, but Matt sleeps really bad on planes and didn't even try to sleep. He picked a movie and locked in. As a result, I didn't want to sleep either. I started watching some shows as well and just powered through with him. We got home at 6am ish and it was a dark and dreary day. Perfect for sleep! We slept for a few hours before our girls were brought back home to us. It was the quickest I've ever fallen asleep in my life. We were still pretty lethargic for the rest of the day and had to get Maebel's staples out from her knocking the mirror down, and we also needed to pick up the extra set of car seats from my moms house. I don't remember much else. Just that I was tired.
Wednesday July 24: 4 Miles 8:04/mi, 30 minutes Bike, 30 Minutes strength
We sent the girls to Daycare and spent the whole day recovering from the trip... unpacking... and getting our $hit together. I spent the whole day working on an upcoming project (not hard to guess what it might be if you poke around my website a bit. More coming soon!) and Matt was catching up on all the work he didn't do while we were away. When the time came to pick up the girls we took them to the gym. Raea had been asking to go since I think she sensed she didn't go on her normal day (Mondays). I had been re-reading training books, listening to podcasts, and thinking about my own training for this marathon and I realize that the biggest challenge I have (other than injury) is really just completing the distance, especially since I'm not shooting for a time that is anywhere out of my natural ability, and I'm not able to run a lot. How can I improve my aerobic base without running? How can I get in long runs and medium long runs? If I can't actually run them, can I replicate them? I decided to start doing a run/spin double. Normally I do the one hour Monday night spin but Wednesdays is the same instructor just a combination of running and strength training so I did all three right in a row. I was tired after but feeling really good! I had to modify some of the strength to align with what my PT had given me for information a few weeks prior, but overall I was able to do well.
Thursday July 25, 5 Miles 8:17. Sneakerama Block Party!
I got to the block party a little early to get two miles in before the group did 3. I started really slow but bumped into someone who pulled me to a faster second mile. After that I settled into a decent pace with Geoffrey Smith, 2x Boston Marathon Winner who frequents the store. Every time he runs at Sneakerama we end up running together. I think he wants me to get fast again and is always checking in. Unfortunately not much positive to report in the grand scheme of big goals but I got some tips. I asked him how long he thought I needed to run in order to safely do Erie. He said "you need to do at least 2 hours but probably 2.5 well... No kidding... ha! So I am now setting my goal to get to 2 hours of running by at least August 23rd. Anything more is Gravy.
Friday July 26: OFF
My husband was gone all day and over night at the Lake Placid Triathlon. Obviously since I didn't have to work all week I had too much creative energy not being zapped by work and had to get into another project. The girls birthday party was a week away so of course I should just re-do all their rooms before everyone comes over. How fast can I do this? I had a planned cross training day but instead of Cross Training I went to the Super Walmart to start shopping for new bedspreads, and many other new things to accommodate my plans for the rooms. Yup. Not very productive on the workout front... but if you've ever been shopping with two kids under 4 who wont sit in the cart, you know can definitely be considered cross training!
Saturday July 27: OFF
I honestly have no idea what I did this day except for shop on amazon and walmart app and try to get the best prices I possibly could and everything delivered as quickly as I could and mentally plan out how I was going to achieve everything I wanted to by next Friday. I did Move the futon from one room to another and build two of those cubby things by myself when the girls went to bed. That's a workout!
Sunday July 28: 8 Miles (4 with stroller) 8:30/mi
Took apart a toddler bed in the morning and then started to move everything around in the rooms. I thought the bunk bed would be delivered to Walmart for pick up today, but got a text message that it was delayed until AUGUST 9!! So I called, cancelled it, and had Matt drive half way across the state to get one that was in the stores. I had to empty Maebels closet because I couldn't get the crib out of there until the mattresses and bunk bed were set up on Wednesday... But I wasn't ready to have her out of her crib and sharing the futon with Raea yet. Too many changes! I basically ran these miles fasted because I was so busy I forgot to eat (that happens to me when I get into these projects) and I wasn't sleeping well because my mind was obsessing over this project. I stopped A BUNCH on this run to check my calves. When I'm on my feet a lot at home I often have my shoes off (doesn't everyone!?) but I'm still really dependent on the orthotics and so after a few days of puttering around with these projects without my orthotics, I was a bit sore and tired and my lower legs had some pain that scared me. Fortunately I survived and my legs seemed to recover quick!
TOTAL MILEAGE: 25.2 miles
This week basically had two long runs in it because of the Monday and Sunday long runs instead of Sunday to Sunday. As a result I felt like it was important I took extra days off to prepare myself and also recoup from the trip and the lack of sleep. I did some cross training in there and also exerted myself in other ways trying to prepare the new room for the girls. Maybe next week I'll hit a full marathon in one week! (yikes!)
Monday, July 29: 5 Miles @ 7:59/mi
I went back to work today and then when I got out Matt and I put together the bunk bed. The mattresses weren't scheduled to arrive until Wednesday, but at least having the "hard part" together would make the rest of the work easier. I'm one of those weird people that really enjoys the process of step-by-step assembly. It seemed overwhelming when we first opened the box, but in the end it was really very easy. It was a tight squeeze with the bunk bed and the crib in the same room but I could not take the crib away until I had the mattresses! I had PT at 6:15 and planned to run at the rail trail around the corner before the appointment...but I was running late so I parked in the parking lot and ran from the PT office and timed it so that I had just enough time to fit in 5 miles before my PT session. It was hot out... Really hot... I ran 8 miles with the stroller the day before and I had just started session 2 of summer school so I was a bit more tired than usual... which seemed to actually help the PT session. Mike was excited to see how I was progressing and see how I would perform the exercises while fatigued. He was really impressed with most of them. The only exercise I really flopped on was the one that required a mirror. (remember, my mirror shattered over my daughters head because I took it off the wall to do the exercises and then turned my back for half a second and she needed staples) I explained to him what happened. I've been using my phone to view the exercise but it's hard to see and perform really well without a mirror. I told him I didn't buy another one yet because I had bunk beds with no mattresses, and children sleeping on the futon, and all the clothes in boxes and laundry baskets until to closet door could open again... AKA: When I took apart the crib/changing table combo... I couldn't have another mirror in my house until we settled into our new rooms first. He understood. I discussed some of my challenges and some of his concerns... but mostly it was all good. I told him I felt immediate progress within two days of getting the exercises. Dramatic difference. The last time I saw him he strongly advised against Erie Marathon... This time when another PT asked me how I was doing, Mike answered for me and said "she's running a marathon".... so I joked with him saying "you're a believe now, huh?" he pulled back on his enthusiasm a little bit reminding me to not get greedy and change the plan (ugh! SO hard!)... but that it's looking more doable. Then he gave me follow up exercises.
One was related to the mirror exercise I hadn't mastered yet. He warned me "do not add the weight until you have mastered the exercise! The first level you are on is making the mold, the weight is pouring the cement. We don't want to pour cement into a bad mold".... That just stuck with me. It basically is what I did running pregnant for longer than I should have. I shifted my center of gravity and changed the position of my hips and created a bad mold... (which I had to do to have the baby fit in there!) but then I continued to run like that and I poured in the cement. I strengthened my body in the wrong position and can't reverse it so easily! I don't know... I have to stop blaming myself, but I should have just stopped. I'm going to keep writing about this because we went from a society that didn't want women to do anything pregnant to one that allows us to do everything because it's safe for the baby... which is important. BUT what about what is safe for me! I can't blame myself because no doctor told me no. I like my doctor. I liked all the doctors. They delivered me a healthy baby... but I wish someone was looking out for me a little more. I just honestly don't think anyone has enough information on this subject. The pendulum swung too far in my opinion... and we need to let it come back a little bit. I get a lot of hits on my blog for the weeks I ran pregnant. Ladies out there are looking for answers or someone to guide them. Since people are looking at what I did I want to also look at what I did wrong! I think running in the third trimester could be perfectly fine for some... but I think the risks outweigh the benefits. Moving on.
Tuesday, July 30: OFF
I didn't workout today, but did a crazy art project that took a ton of energy. Another non-cross training day that still took a lot out of me! I had a bunch of canvases that I found in my parents barn when we cleaned it out over the summer. They had all sorts of art assignments from my undergrad degree in Painting. It didn't make sense to throw them away when I could just paint over them, but I didn't feel inspired yet. I made a rash decision (that turned out amazing!) to just paint over them with spray paint and then get some cheap acrylics and some painters tape and let the girls help me create a project. I had three different widths of tape and a bunch of colors of paint that matched the foldable bins that went in the little cubbies that I was planning to hide the toys in. It was a really hot day so I figured I could let them paint with their fingers toes and bellies and then they could run around in the sprinkler to clean up. The project came out SO NICE! and I took pictures of them making the canvases to display in the room to tie it all together. It was a lot of work and my husband was overnight in Connecticut so it was something fun for us to do while passing the time.
Wednesday: July 31: OFF
Another Off day only this one wasn't planned. Today I planned to finally complete the bedroom (minus some small finishing touches).... but more shipping drama slowed me down quite a bit once again. So today I was supposed to get the mattresses and they were supposed to be delivered to Walmart for pick up. When I was leaving work I got a text that said they were delayed until August 7th! Mind you, I have a party planned for the third! and tomorrow is Raea's birthday so I wanted to room totally done for her and only be working on the small details and deep cleaning of the rest of the house. Instead of going straight to Walmart like I planned, I went home to go online and make a phone call or something. I was going to just cancel and buy the more expensive mattresses that were sold in stores. When I called the woman on the phone said that they were at my Walmart and she was 100% sure. She said the delay was for the bed. I told her I already cancelled the bed and that if it wasn't cancelled it needed to be (money wasn't returned because it was 5-10 business days) So she cancelled the bed. I got a notification saying she cancelled it. I go to my Walmart to pick up the mattresses that are 100% there and sure enough they are... but I can't have them because when I cancelled the bed they also cancelled the mattresses instead of individual items So now I couldn't take the mattresses unless I a. Paid for them again (which I couldn't because I needed my money back first!) or b. Waited for customer service to sort this out but the in-store customer service can't override the online... so... wait. wait. wait. In Store was very helpful but I'm still waiting for my money back and half expecting a bed to show up tomorrow.
Thursday August 1: 6 miles @ 8:10 for the Fun Run
Happy Birthday to Raea! The girls went to School for the day and Matt and I went to work. I worked a little bit more on the house and started buying the food I needed for the party. We went to the fun run for the night. Most people probably would think it's not fair to bring your kid to the fun run on her birthday, but Raea has been going to the fun run to celebrate her birthday since she was born. They had a cake and a snowball fight and everything. I got to get some miles in and the girls got some presents. My phone ran out of battery so no pictures, but it was a lot of fun for them. We went out to eat after with all our favorite fun run people.
I had a scheduled cross training or OFF day and a podiatrist appointment. I was going to switch Wednesday with today but when I looked ahead at my schedule it just didn't make sense to run at all. I'm not trying to OTQ, I'm trying to BQ...and for me the hardest part of that is being healthy enough to complete the distance so opting for an extra day off to ensure I could complete the whole long run was much smarter. I was tired from all the cleaning and again... forgetting I needed to wear shoes at home... and Matt and I were in pretty deep with all the birthday party things we needed to tie together on top of all the bed room things. I basically spent all day labeling cubbies and sorting and cleaning clothes and tidying every last corner of the house. I spent the night painting the finishing touches to their room (a sign for the door and for each of their foot boards) something they could open to represent the bedroom as their gift (most expensive birthday present ever!)
Saturday 6.5 @ 8:27/mi
Today was the party! We spent all morning getting everything ready! It feels like the longest process of getting ready for a party since we added so much to our plates with the two room switches. It was worth it though! Everyone loved the rooms and the kids had a lot of fun showing it off! The weather even held off for the party to be mostly outside and so my house didn't get too messy! We had people over from 1:00-5:30. LONG DAY! When we finally were done we just left the mess and took the girls to the rail trail. Matt and I needed to get out. The girls wanted to stay at home with their presents but I explained to them that Mommy and Daddy worked very hard to make their party fun and special and now it was their turn to let us have something fun and special. I also told them we could have another piece of cake after the run. Not sure which worked better! Matt pushed the stroller the whole way and everyone
Sunday 11 Miles @ 8:02/mi
Matt got up to meet some people to run at 9:00 and I had the choice of going before him or after...but since we ran at night I wanted to go in the afternoon to make sure I was recovered and not rushing. I got to the trail with the girls at about 11:45 and we swapped. I had lunches made for him and the girls and hydration and sunscreen so they could go to the playground. Then I went on my way to do 10. I got to 5 out very easily but knew there was a bathroom just a little ways up and I had to go. Turns out it's a half mile up so my 10 mile run (which was already a stretch) was now 11 miles. I had no water and no fuel because I always forget that 10 miles is a lot when you haven't done it in a while... and it was noon time during the middle of the summer. Smart. Anyway, it was basically a sufferfest for the next 4-5 miles and every bike that rode by me with water I considered begging for a sip. Just. One. Sip! I had a mile to go and I severely regretted the bathroom stop. Like I could have gone in the woods its not a big deal. Then I got a text to my watch- it was Matt saying the girls were overheating and he was going home. I stopped dead in my tracks to beg him to wait for me! I left my drinks in his car! All I had thought about for the last 30 minutes was the gatorade waiting for me like that scene in 127 hours (okay, exaggerated example, but true!) Thank fully he waited and we went to my moms house after for a quick dip in the pool. I was surprised that my splits weren't effected by the desperation. Maybe I ran faster just trying to get there sooner. I didn't pay that close attention to it. Technically this is my "goal marathon pace" so I can afford to slow down quite a bit, but goal marathon pace is a little strange when you are low-balling your time goal as much as I am. It's not that I'm sandbagging... I'm just too fragile to pursue something that challenges me more than the distance itself at this point in time. We'll see what the next few weeks bring!
TOTAL: 28.7- the first time I've run the marathon distance in a weeks worth of runs! Yikes! A little over a month to go! I wont be tapering really, so that gives me a bit more time to build, but... still... it's so soon!
"What you are afraid to do is a clear indication of the next thing you need to do.."
Truth be told, I just googled: "quotes about fear and athletics" and this is one of the quotes that came up. I picked it because it was more general and applicable to all areas of life... certainly not just for running, and not just for athletics either.....
Do the thing you are afraid of: It's a common thing that you hear in motivational speeches, or read in books meant to inspire... but many of them can be taken out of context and miss the mark a bit. Let me tell you about an experience I had this past week while Hiking in Colorado.
As you all know, I've been coming back carefully, and fearfully, from injury. It's going well, but... man, I'm not out of the woods. Not even close. but I'm still determined to live my life as fully as I can! My husband and I won a trip from the Date Night In a Box subscription, so we went to Colorado to explore the High Country! My parents have a house in the White Mountains, so I'm no stranger to hiking. Actually, the hiking in the Whites is significantly more technical than anything I experienced in my short time in Colorado... but when we were planning out our hike, I didn't know what to expect of the altitude and the trails so we had a Goal, and then we had a GOAL. Thunderstorms were in the forecast, so when my husband told me the bigger goal was a 10k round trip, he worried that would be a stretch for my calf since we'd have to hike much faster. "Will you stop trying to decide what I can and can't do because of my calf?" I was tired of it. It's bad enough I'm terrified of re-injuring it, I don't need him to chime in too. Every single activity I do starts with intense fear but as I'm doing it it goes away little by little. That's the idea from all those fear quotes... isn't it? I wont let fear stop me in my tracks! We are getting the GOAL-goal! .
So the first goal was to make it to Lower Crystal Lake, the second goal (GOAL-goal) was to make it to Upper Crystal Lake. As we got going I learned the hiking was fucking easy. It was like walking on a mildly rocky and grassy path. No crazy granite or slabs of rocks, or roots and trees to climb and bob and weave around like at home. This was just... walking up a mountain. And because you were pretty much always above treeline, you could see the path from miles away. I wanted to run, but my husband wouldn't let me because of my calf. He was most likely right on this, so it was a good call (but secretly I know he was struggling with some altitude sickness... but I'll let my calf be the reason we didn't run, I didn't want to tamper with any egos on our romantic getaway!). We bumped into a group of 3 other hikers that were staying in a cabin partway up the mountain. A couple older than us with their college aged son who looked determined to drag the two on a good hike. We asked for them to take a picture of us and then went past them until they were nearly out of sight. We were making good time even without running.
We got to Lower Crystal Lake and it was very obvious we were going to keep going, and we didn't want to take a break because the storms were predicted to start in a few hours. There were no markings for the trails, so we took a left around the Lower Lake instead of a Right and ended up hiking in the wrong direction for about a mile out and then back again. The reason we missed the correct trail is because there was a river you needed to cross draining from the lower lake, so we missed the path on the other side of the river.. when we hiked up, we could see it, so at least that was helpful! We got back down to lower lake and Many groups we had passed on the way were gathered there to eat including the group of three that had taken our picture earlier. We stopped to chat a bit, told them where were headed. Forging the river was pretty easy. There were rocks stacked up that people have placed to help with crossing that were just a few inches below the surface, so you didn't get too wet. We proceeded quickly, we had a goal and with our detour, we were behind schedule.
We continued on. This is where the hike got so so breathtaking! In more ways than one! Matt was starting to actually feel dizzy from the altitude if he didn't take deep breaths (over 12,000ft). I still mostly felt fine but was taken back by the scenery. I kept stopping Matt to take pictures. He's sometimes so goal driven that he doesn't even see anything around him. He gets that tunnel vision that is hard to break through... so I tried not to bother him too much with the photos and just quietly took them of him while we hiked. Occasionally I got him to stop for a picture together or for one of me.
We started getting to patches of snow. The Snow was the coolest part of the view to me. The contrast of the green and the white with the blue sky made my landscape painting heart flutter. Who would have though snow in July could bring such joy? ha! We crossed a few pretty flat sections of snow, and then a less flat section that I walked below and Matt walked through. We disagreed on the safer way to cross this section but both were inconsequential as you were just going to fall down a hill onto the switchback path below. Then we came to a section at a much steeper angle and no way around. We had to go through it. I thought nothing of it at first... afterall, this was the easiest hike I've ever been on and it's just snow. We are New Englanders! We understand snow! I quickly assessed the safety and saw that if you slipped on the snow you'd slide pretty far down the mountain, but it would be harmless sledding into a patch of grass. We began crossing and I realized I did not like it, not at all. We had to lean into the mountain and use our hands for support. We had no poles, no spikes, and no gloves. It is July but snow is snow! That shit is cold! It also forced us to be looking down... which made me suddenly light headed at 12,700ft. and fear crept in so the light headedness was hard to get control over. So now I'm dizzy on a giant slab of slippery snow... great. I continued because what else do you do. Sooner I'm off the better! We both made it across okay and kept walking. I said "If we have to cross another patch that big, I don't think I can do it." The trail had been switch backing so although I could see snow ahead, I hoped the trail would turn before that... but nope... We followed the trail right up to the snows edge and I sat down.
Matt and I weighed pros and cons. I love my husband dearly, but at the age of 3 he almost died. He was in a serious accident and as a result he had surgeries that put him under anesthesia for the longest amount of time a child of that age had been at that point in time and had the highest childhood blood transfusion at that point in time (1985) and is probably a subject in a textbook somewhere because of the innovation to give him the best quality of life (Thank God for brilliant doctors in brilliant Hospitals. “Boston, you’re my home!”) He had surgery after surgery after surgery nearly spending all of that year in the hospital... Not my story to tell, so I’ll spare details, but not exactly a normal childhood. I think having a near death experience brought upon this invincibility complex that he presents and I'm always trying to figure out when it's serving him and when it's hurting him and when I let him fall and when I reach out my hand if he’ll ever receive it... On top of that, the accident he was part of left him, by most peoples standards (but not ours), handicapped. As a child he was always feeling this overarching need to prove himself. He's not like that most of the time anymore because he's matured and life is humbling... but I'm sitting on the edge of the snow not sure which one of us is being ridiculous.... I lived a fairly cushy life. I went to a private school that kicked out the mean and scary kids that made you feel threatened or bullied. I never needed to deal with peer pressure in difficult situations, because it was t often there. I never had to prove myself because I only did things that I was really fricken good at. If I wasn't good at it I just didn't do it. I'm not a quitter by any means, but I leaned on my talent in one area to keep me from trying anything else. Since we're on the topic of slippery snow, I dated a snowboarder once, and I'm not sure if I was afraid of snowboarding or afraid to suck at snowboarding... but I never did it. I told all the "boarders" in our friend group that I didn't want to risk injury with running... which was true.... but I still used my sport to keep me from doing something I was either afraid to get hurt doing or afraid to be embarrassed doing.
Protecting myself one way or another...
So, Which one of us sitting on the edge of the snow crossing was crazy?
Both of us are prideful and both of us are goal driven, and both of us are pretty driven by ego... but I often feel like I have to overcompensate in the safety side of things to make up for the fact that he's willing to do anything at any cost. But the whole hike I already felt like my calf was holding us back, talk about tampering with ego! I had looked at the next two snow crossings, and the result of falling was much more detrimental. If we slipped, it could be serious. "Well, don't slip. It's just walking across a snowy hill, if the rocks weren't on the bottom you wouldn't think you couldn't cross this"... He was right. It wasn't that hard... but I felt unprepared. I played the ultimate card and said "I promised Raea we'd come back, and I'm not risking the lifelong trauma if something happens to us." and that was it. He agreed. We turned around.
We started hiking back and crossed that first section of snow, it was harder the second time because now I was frazzled. I started verbally justifying my fear. I was mad at myself and disappointed that I wussed out. I let fear win I told myself. But it just didn't feel right. I felt Matt's disappointment too, which weighed on me. "I just think It will be so pretty up there, you will love it and be so happy you made it"... Ugh, shit, is he right? We kept hiking down. Coming in the opposite direction of us was the group we had seen earlier and a bunch of other people mixed in. Some of them without backpacks or anything... Just out for a totally casual hike! Like, isn't this hard? I mean, am I the only chicken around here!!!?? ... I watched everyone cross the snow from a distance. Ugh, Bruised ego! I asked Matt if we could go back, and now he was like "no no no, you made the decision, you're probably right, and besides we wont make it back with the storms now" We went to lower lake to eat and then get off the mountain before he storm. Ugh. I was hurtin on the inside. My soul. I felt horrible! I was surrounded by the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen in person but I was being swallowed by self ridicule and negative self talk. On the inside I was burning, but on the outside I just kept repeating and rephrasing something about learning to appreciate the journey not the destination, What I might possibly post on instagram to make me look like less of a weak ass quitter! fuck that. I couldn't get out of my head...
As we were eating I was snapping out of it a bit. A little food always helps. The winds were picking up intensely and I looked up to the snow to see if anyone was heading back and sure enough there were two people crossing the section I stopped on. they were so far away (ants!) the only reason we could see at all was because of the contrast with the snow... so I didn't recognize which group was coming back. I looked down to open a cliff bar and looked back up and... someone was sliding every which way down the mountain approaching some gnarly rocks. My heart was pounding but shortly after I saw that whoever it was was able to slow themselves down and gain control before getting to the rock section. I watched their hiking partner keep going. No one seemed panicked. I looked at my husband and felt a sigh of relief. See. ... My intuition was right! I didn't want to say anything though because a giant weight had been lifted off of me because someone else nearly got hurt!
Another couple at lower lake came over to us to ask if we heard yelling for help. I explained that someone had fallen but they seemed in control. The couple had binoculars and asked if I could see them to make sure. When I looked I recognized the hikers "Shit, Matt. They were a group of 3... There are only 2 of them!" There was another snow pass that I didn't watch anyone cross, but if you fell off that one you were in trouble like... Need helicopter trouble. The couple with the binoculars also had a radio so Matt and I decided we'd run back to meet up with the two we could spot, and make sure that everyone was okay. We wondered if one strategically slipped down the snow to try to help someone else. It was just too far away to see. Long story less long, everyone was okay. The third hiker turned back earlier and we just were too busy eating to notice. Phew! We learned the Upper Lake was iced over and you couldn't really see anything.... Just snow and ice... (been there , seen that)... and we also learned that falling from that snow pass was very dangerous. The woman broke both her poles attempting to keep herself from hitting rocks and was really shaken up. We took a quick selfie and huge cracks of thunder started roaring so we headed for tree line. At this point Matt and I had a much longer hike down so we bid farewell and started running while they didn't have much further to go. We also learned they had a radio, so felt comfortable leaving them in our dust. Off we went. We ran about 3 more miles to the car and jumped in just before the rain started. PHEW! The woman had thanked us for coming back to help, like we had saved her or something... but really I should have been thanking her, because she really saved the rest of our trip. I could let go of my self judgement. I was right, My fear was justifiable, Take that Ralph Waldo Emerson! What you are afraid of is not an indicator of what you should do next! ... Unless you are talking about preparedness....
Fear is not your enemy. Fear is useful. Fear is essential. Fear is something that tells you when you might be in trouble. It is up to you to figure out which fear to honor and which fear to push through, but stop giving fear a bad reputation. Never ignore fear, it is always communicating with you. If you are afraid of something work harder at the thing you are afraid of, prepare more for the thing you are afraid of... but don't do the thing you are afraid of blindly thinking that that is the solution. The thing you fear may indicate what you should do next but it itself is not necessarily the you should do next. If you are afraid of running a 100 mile race, you don't just go out and run one! You will fail! It's not the act of doing the thing you're afraid of that eliminates fear. It's the act of preparing for the thing you're afraid of so that you can succeed at the thing you're afraid of that eliminates fear. I sat on the edge of that snow and said to Matt "I'm not afraid, we can do it, It's just stupid. We have no poles, we have no gloves, we have no spikes and no radio and it's supposed to start storming... we can do it, but we aren't prepared so it's stupid". So here's my little quote for you (a quick google search says no one said it so poetically yet):
"To Eliminate Fear, you MUST PREPARE"
And all that stuff about it being about the journey and not the destination... that's all true too. The preparing part is part of the journey, of course. So how this applies to running? Well... for me... I continue to prepare as much as I can for what I'm attempting to do, the next run, the next mile, the next step. The fear is keeping me in check... Making sure I don't skip... making sure that I leave no stone unturned, making sure I don't take any short cuts..... Raise your hand if you've had an injury and to fix it you started some PT or strength training... then you started running again and doing strength training at the same time... but then running was going fine and you needed more time for more miles so you dropped the strength training and just ran... and then you got injured again and you wondered how the hell it happened. (Whoa! Shit! Look at all them hands!!!) . My hand is up. Why'd we all stop doing the strength training, people? Why'd we stop foam rolling? Why'd we drop the little things?!... Oh, is it because we stopped being afraid?... Yeah... That's right.
Fear is not the enemy. It's your friend. Honor it
And if you ever find yourself standing at the edge of your metaphorical snowfield, if you're not prepared, there's nothing wrong with turning back. You can not fail if you do not quit. Turning back to prepare is not quitting.
Last week I ended feeling a little afraid of running a marathon in early September, this week it feels like a possibility again. I know, I know, you all think I'm crazy... but having polarizing emotions isn't always crazy. Sometimes it's just the way it goes until things become more clear. Last week I ended the week with a touch of shin pain which I historically know wont go away if I keep training through it... so this week was much lighter than I originally wanted it to be but I'm pretty happy with it! Matt and I went on vacation to Colorado at the very end of the week so I mostly just focused on enjoying myself... and shouldn't it be that way?
Monday: Spin Class and PT
I was feeling pretty bummed that my shin was in pain. I had a conversation with my coach about it and about if I should do Erie or not. We ultimately came to the decision that I mentioned last week that we will keep it there because I already paid for it and why not but that we would just train safely and see what happens. Let training dictate the decision to race instead of the decision to race dictate training. I don't need to worry much about doing marathon pace workouts or intervals or gaining speed since I already can hit the paces on easy days... so all that will really get in my way is handling the distance. If I get injured I definitely can't qualify... but if I get even up to 14 miles as my long run I can still take a stab at it (albeit not very smart). I'm hoping I can still use the spin class to build aerobic base since I can't safely run as many miles as ideal.
I pretty much do my hip PT everyday. I try to avoid doing my calf PT before a longer run because I want my calf rested for the run. I usually do it after a long run and take the day before the long run off. I'm making progress! I can do 15 calf raises and I started with 2! Halfway there! (but it's hard!) I planned to go to my moms pool today with the girls, but while getting them ready Maebel knocked over the mirror (that I moved so I could do my PT) and it fell on her and she got a big gash on the back of her head. Panic attack! Thankfully Matt was home so I stuck her in her carseat and sat in the back while I held a cloth to the back of her head while Matt drove. By the time we got to urgent care it has slowed down a lot but I was sooo stressed because we were about to leave them overnight with my mother-in-law for a few days and I felt immense mom guilt. She needed 7 staples (which she handled like a boss) and then the doctor told us she should stay out of Day Care for the next two days.
I was supposed to run today, but with Maebel home it just didn't happen... and I figured an extra day for my shins to rest was probably good. I considered doing the stroller with Maebel but I was still freaked out by the staples and didn't want her sitting with her head back in the stroller. I wanted the wound to close as much as possible before we left for Colorado. I was happy to keep her out of daycare but with this vacation we won approaching we had planned to pack and prep while the girls were in school. Matt had to get ahead on a lot of work stuff, and I had to work... but also had to do all the laundry, pack clothes for the girls, and pack everything for us. So much stuff! So even when Matt came home I just didn't want to squeeze in a run and add to our stress level. I reworked my training schedule to allow more time to run in Colorado (not considering elevation!) because I just love to run on Vacation.
Thursday: 4 Miles 8:40ish
I spent all day packing and cleaning the house and once I had finished I felt like it was a good time to run. I had to bring car seats to my mom and a package that I ordered for my dad to fix our lawnmower... so since I had to drive into Worcester, I just went over to the Fun Run at Sneakerama. I switched back from the lightweight Cloud Flows to the heavier Cloud Ace so that I could have a little more shock absorption for my shins. It helped tremendously! My shins didn't even hurt at all! The shoes are a lot heavier than I typically like but if they keep me injury free I'll run the whole damn marathon in them! I also found out that I will be representing Sneakerama at the Falmouth Road Race. I'm sure you've all heard of it... it's very big... and very hard to get into. I didn't sign up for the lottery because I had been in limbo, but often these bigger races like Falmouth and Boston have numbers set aside that they give to local clubs, or stores, or companies for various reasons (volunteers, sponsorships, donations). So Sneakerama brings a huge group every year and I'm super excited to be part of it! Now if only I can actually run 7 miles!
Friday: 4 Miles at 9,800ft 8:30ish pace
I got 2 hours of sleep Thursday into Friday because our flight was at 5am Friday morning which meant we had to leave at 3:00am which meant I had to get up at 2:30, which meant I'd have a ton of anxiety trying to force myself to sleep, which meant I would toss and turn for the majority of the night.... I thought maybe I could sleep on the plane (direct flight) but I was too excited at that point. Matt and I have never traveled by plane together so it felt really exciting. I listened to a ton of podcasts and actually I did some of my hip drills because I brought my band with me and also brought my foot roller. My legs were throbbing from the lack of sleep, the pressure, and running the night before and not really recovering.... so I was now very anxious about running at elevation. We arrived pretty early in Colorado (9:00ish?) since we were going back in time then we ate what was the best burrito of my life in the airport and got our rental car and drove to Breckinridge. We hit up a grocery store in Fresco and also a Starbucks so we both would survive the rest of the day. I don't do caffeine usually, but I did today! I was in absolute awe of the mountains. They were huge! We've got beautiful mountains in New Hampshire, but these were different. Ours are lots of rocks and granite and trees, but here it was more grass and open.... and snow caps, too! Very cool! When we got to Breckinriedge we saw that the gondola was free so we took it up the mountain. We would typically hike but since most of our morning was travel we wanted to save time and get to the top of the mountain to take in the views in any way we could. Thunderstorms were on the radar for the whole weekend, so I was afraid we weren't going to see anything and if this was our only clear day I wanted to take advantage of it. Once we got down we decided to go for our run on the bike path. I felt okay, but my legs were heavy and the tiniest little incline felt much bigger than usual. I barely noticed the elevation for the majority of the trip, but on this run I was like "aww crap this is hard!"... but at the same time I was getting in a really good effort without high impact since I couldn't run super fast. (although I realized after that my pace was pretty much the same, I attribute that to running with Matt. Even though he always lets me be one step ahead, I usually run faster with him because I don't want to slow him down. We tried to stick our legs in the creek behind the VRBO we had, but HOLY HELL it was way too cold! So we went to the shared pool and hot tub to recover our legs. We went to bed around 10 which is midnight for us, and hoped to wake up feeling really refreshed.
Saturday: 9.5 Hiking/Running miles (about 3 running) Max 12,700 ft of elevation.
We did a Beautiful hike today. Matt was worried about my calves since I was super sore the day before (lack of sleep and travel) so even though I planned to run, we decided to do a long hike instead. Matt picked out a hike that he two destinations. Lower Crystal Lake and Upper Crystal Lake. I think I'm going to write a separate post about this whole experience, so I'll just quickly recap it today.. but wow... what a day of learning and growing for us! The hike was excellent. For the most part, very easy in terms of terrain, compared to what I'm used to hiking (all that granite and roots and rocks was non-existent here), but this hike still offered a challenge. Matt was feeling the altitude sickness creep in so we just walked slowly. He had run more than me the day before, so I think he was dehydrated a bit. but we got to Lower Crystal Lake really easily in about 2 hours. We had the option to just stop there depending on how we felt, or to keep going to Upper Crystal Lake. I felt great so we kept going. This is when the hike got really pretty! The wild flowers and the snow side by side, and the switch backs allowed you to see everything! But there were more and ore sections of snow covering the path. We walked across a few of them and then had to posthole and scramble across one. I didn't like that too much because a. I didn't have gloves and use of hands was safest. It may be July, but snow is still snow. b. If we slipped, which felt likely, we were falling pretty far. The first crossing had mostly grass at the bottom of it so I was like "okay, lets do this" ... but then we approached another crossing and I didn't like our odds. The angle was sharper and there were a few rocks in the middle of the snow below and if we slipped we'd probably be okay but getting out of the area we fell to would be pretty hard. Matt wanted to do it. At this point we were pretty sure where the lake was we could tell there was a crater up ahead. I sat and thought about it. I looked up the path and there was a third area of snow we'd have to cross. I looked at what would happen if we fell there and NOPE. Not doing it. We didn't have poles or gloves, or spikes. we were not prepared. I could tell matt still wanted to do it. Probably we'd be fine. It wasn't impossible... but I promised Raea that "grown ups come back" and I was not going to break that promise or comeback paralyzed. When I said that Matt agreed and we turned back... only to have another couple of groups continue and not fall. I felt guilty and said "fine we can do it" and Matt was like "no you're right, and too late now" and then I was like "your mad at me!" and he was like "I'm not mad, it's just hard for me to not finish something. " It was hard for me too. Really hard. I spent the next hour of the hike back down to Lower Lake feeling sorry for myself.... but then we stopped to eat and I kept looking up at the snow in the distance and saw people coming back. Then I saw one fall. Scary! Matt and I ended up ditching our bags and running to try to help. Everything turned out to be okay. Super scary, but okay... (again, I think I'll write more later on how this whole event shaped the trip). Shortly after our rescue mission thunder was booming and the wind howled. So now we had to run off the mountain. All the other people remaining on the mountain were staying in cabins partway up. We were way at the bottom. We made it to the car before the rain. The rest of the day was low key. Dinner, walking around, checking out shops, ice cream. Altitude was only an issue for me after I ate and so I had to chill after dinner.
Sunday: 35 Mile bike Ride
On Saturday we rented Bikes. I typically spin on Monday so Monday is my cross training day, I moved things around for the trip. Matt and I rented bikes to ride over to copper mountain. We were supposed to stay there but since it was booked we stayed at Breckinridge instead. We wanted to check out what we were "missing." As we rode we got to an intersection that said "bike tour in progress" and people helping us cross. Shortly after we had hundreds of bikes go by us and we realized this bike tour is probably why Copper Mountain was booked. Everyone was riding for a charity. We weren't able to relax on the ride as much as I imagined (my quads were shredded from the run down the mountain) because we really couldn't stop comfortably. Instead we were in a peloton of riders and with our crappy rental bikes, we held our own. We got to Copper Mountain and stopped to eat and realized there was literally nothing to do here except ski and it was a good thing we went to Breckinridge. We got on our bikes and headed back. We stopped for a few pictures along the way since the Bike Tour was over with just a few stragglers still on course. We rode for 3 hours total for the day. At night we got some fantastic tacos and then went up to see a sunset at some lookout Matt read about. He's the planner... I just take the photos. This was our last night in Breckinridge, so we enjoyed it. We knew we were headed for Boulder before our late flight tomorrow so I saved my "long run" run for the lower elevation in Boulder which will be included on next weeks recap. Spoiler Alert! It went fantastic!
So another week in the books. This week gave me lots of hope because my legs are starting to feel like they are adapting. My PT for my hip is really working. It's the first time I am really forgetting it was ever even a thing. I got to see what it's like to run at Altitude. Wasn't really that different for me... Maybe I'm cardiovascularly more fit than I thought! Still not sure about Erie Marathon... but this week I'm feeling like I can do it. We'll see what next week brings!
I can't make up my mind how I want to approach the Erie Marathon because I'm just entirely unsure if I'll be able to do it. I've had a few people Message me on instagram or ask me in a comment why I am rushing the process.... believe me, I ask myself this all the time... But when you are a woman trying to balance family goals with the running goals (especially when it comes to the Boston Marathon) ... you just have to follow what feels right. I have two kids and I'm blessed to have them. I have no desire to be pregnant again... at least right now.... (still recovering from Maebel) but I am also feeling my heart break a little as my youngest tells me she needs the potty. I know.... Huge milestone for people, but to me having both kids out of diapers means I don't have a baby anymore. It's the first real feeling of your baby being independent... and I'm not ready! .... I don't know, this is probably the start of a separate post, but I guess the point is this: When I am making bad decisions about my running, it's because I'm putting it second fiddle to other goals or ideals or hopes and dreams that I have. In this case it isn't necessarily growing my family, but it's to keep the door open for that... Boston 2021 is very far away! I just can't commit to something that far away, so I'd love to get my first Boston under my belt so I can have more flexibility when it comes to everything else (not just family planning...."planning".... because, you can't really plan these things) . I know I don't need to explain myself, but I guess it's sort of a disclaimer. I do not recommend the process that I am doing when coming back from injury. I do not recommend having a race on the schedule... but it's there, I'm registered, so until further notice I'm still planning to do it... but maybe I wont go all in... "BQ or BUST" because.... if training indicates it's highly unlikely, I'll move on. Not sure what Ill move on to! Hopefully we wont need to find out! I’m just way too smart of a runner to be that stubborn and ignorant to the risks I’m taking. Here's where this week brought me.
Monday: 1 hour spin, PT, Glute activation
I did my usual Monday spin class. I struggled a lot with this a lot. Last week I was able to easily stay above 200 watts, but I couldn't even come close to that this time. I polled instagram asking if it had anything to do with a small adjustment of my seat and most said yes. I had a lot of people direct message me about it. I learned a lot! I'm going to try to pay more specific attention to the exact seat position this time. I'm back at work, back on the concrete floor, back expending energy that I didn't have to last week... so it very well could have been that, too. All in all though, a good workout and a decent first day of summer school....not perfect, but.... decent.
Tuesday: OFF (PT)
Tuesday was totally off and I totally enjoyed that. I'm still trying to be careful with how I balance the PT and increase in mileage... and I think I need to always be that way. I'm really going to have to be this careful for the rest of my life I think. It sucks, but I can't just causally run 3 miles anymore. Every run I do forever needs to be a little more intentional than I needed to be prior to having Maebel. Who knows, perhaps in the future this will be better, but this is how it is for me now. If you are able to just go out an run without having to foam roll or ice, or stretch, I envy you....but I just can't do that anymore, unfortunately. These two days off from running were necessary.
Wednesday: 5 mile railtrail run 8:30 range.
I really enjoyed this run. I felt really good. I thought on this run a lot about how good my hip felt. For the first time in a long time I really didn't have to think about my hip. Of course I still did, but instead of the usual thoughts... about how it's still in pain, should I keep going or should I stop, is it getting worse...? .... my thoughts were "wow, my hip feels good!" "Is this really getting better?" "man, PT is working"... It was nice to have some positive thoughts for once! It was a little hot since I had to run in the middle of the day, but the rail trail keeps things pretty cool since it's completely shaded. I bumped into my friend Cat after the run and walked about a mile with her and her new dog which was a good way to cool down. The plus to summer school is that I can keep my kids in daycare until 4:30 but I’m out at 12:30, so for the first time in a really long time I have a bit of “free time”... hell, i might even take a nap!
Thursday: 35 minutes Bike, lift, PT
It was really hot and sticky today. I noticed my calves a little sore waking up this morning so I decided to bike. They are a different sore that’d I’d normally run through, but taking my PTs warning very serious and increasing as easy as humanly possible (with a marathon less than 10 weeks away- no big deal!) I hope I turn a corner with the calf pain soon. I know that the reason they are sore is because I am doing the calf raises and running and according to the PT my calves still aren't strong enough to really be running at all... so, none of this is a surprise to me. I'm just trying to keep myself out of the hole until the PT catches up to the training... but realistically that's not how it works. I had done so many calf raises it was really disappointing to find out that I was not doing them correctly. I"m pretty good about making sure I do things right... but part of the reason I needed the orthotics is because my big toe was all locked up and as a result I couldn't get those calf raises done without slightly rolling to the outside of my foot... so... not engaging the whole calf.... ugh... now I'm using the whole calf but trying to catch up! So much over thinking!
Friday: Easy 5.5ish from home. 500ish ft gain
I'm not one to really stress or complain about hills in general (It's F'ING hilly where I live, so if I'm complaining it's because It's bad!)... but when your calf is your issue, the elevation is important to notice. I've been running a lot on the soft, flat, rail trails... so this was my first day running from my house where it's really hilly. My calves seemed fine, and it was really nice out. I almost kept going to do a 7 mile loop, but I reminded myself that I have to stay injury free and be especially cautious in the first 4 weeks when I'm adjusting to the rehab... so I turned around and did the (yawn) same out and back I've done a million times... but, the sun began to come down lower and on my way back, it was really pretty out... and I appreciated turning around to get to see the sun at the top of the hill (one of the many!)... at the end of the day I do this to see the world... even if it’s the same place, everything looks new in different light!
Saturday: Easy 5 (half with the stroller)
My husband and I learned about another balloon festival right near our house (well, an hour away, but thats not very far for us) so we packed the girls in the car and drove to Northampton (NOHO) to run. Theres a really great bike path out there. Usually we run from the Easthampton side since my brother lives there, but he's coaching Climbing Nationals (or something) so he's not around... so we went to park on the NOHO side so we could see more of the trail. We started where I usually have to turn around. It was beautiful out. I felt pretty good, but unfortunately when I finished running I noticed some stabbing shin pain when i ran my hands over my legs. ugh. I know this is because my calves are still too weak to properly support the tibia. It's discouraging, but not surprising... In my head I hoped the orthotics would be some sort of miracle workers, and while they've helped a lot, I'm just simply still too weak. Ugh. I'm hoping this will get better quick. It didn't hurt to run and barely hurt walking but I'm trying to not ignore anything, especially in these early stages. I hope I turn a corner quickly (give me a dollar for every time I say that!). I went from doing 2 calf raises to already being able to tolerate 10x2 in one week. I need to get to 30 to feel like I'm "rehabbed" and can tolerate typical increases. In the meantime, I'll just keep following around balloon festivals with my family.
Sunday: Pool walk/Run, calf raises
What was supposed to be a 7-9 mile day ended up nothing. I am playing it safe and if I don't get to Erie I don't get to Erie. I'll be bummed. I spent a lot of this day questioning if I just scratch it completely... but I just can't. Instead I have to focus on the next step, the next workout, the next day... and see where I get. Right now I need to put my primary focus on the PT. I also have decided I'm going to run on soft terrain as much as possible and get back in a bulkier shoe to absorb shock for my shins (when you have weak calves your shin bone doesn't get as much support so it absorbs more shock). I took my girls in the pool at my parents house and did a light whirlpool running. Low impact but still giving me a chance to use my calves so that they can start to adapt to these stresses. I feel like I"m really close to being done with all these injuries, if I wasn't trying to multitask, I'd be back much sooner... but.... I just can't make the best choice for my running right now, I've been doing what I thought was smart but was actually dumber than what I’m doing right now, for the past two years and I almost made it..... so now I just need to get a tiny bit further with more information
Overall a pretty good week, but disappointing reality check. Not good progress for Erie, but I'm making progress overall. I'm just going to keep going on this BQ path until I can't anymore... I’m still just grateful for the hope and the light and the teeny tiny progress that gives me breath. Next week will be really light and then I’ll be in Colorado getting some runs in with my husband! Onward.
Hi Friends! I still consider this week "Week 9: The Last Comeback" But I feel like I've taken a big turn this week and my focus has shifted from focusing on the injuries and the "comeback" to thinking more about my future. I know a lot of people say it, but for me it is more true than ever: BQ or BUST. Literally, if I don't BQ it's because I busted something up again. I feel pretty strongly that I've gotten to the bottom of the injuries. Even my hip I've gotten some answers for but not necessarily a complete solution... improvements are being made for sure! The big thing I learned this week is that I'm not even close to out of the woods with injuries. Trying to balance rehabbing the injuries while increasing mileage for the marathon is not smart... but it's what I want to do. Lots of people may disagree with my choice, but it’s my risk to take and my consequences to weigh and I’ve made my decision- I’m going for it. I'll discuss later in this post when I recap my PT appointment... but when your PT says "you're playing with fire" in regards to running the Erie Marathon in under 10 weeks, you know it's not going to be a smooth ride! But I'm going for it anyway. I am exhausted from the injuries, but I'm also exhausted from being sidelined from the goals that matter to me. I really don't want to wait until 2021 to finally experience Boston.... especially when I'm not sure what my family plans are... I want to keep doors open... so I at least need to try. If I play it safe I wait until 2021... if I risk it I either make it in for 2020 or I get injured and wait until 2021.... So I really would rather risk it since the difference between playing it safe and risking it is essentially the same thing worst case scenario. I don’t think I’m doing long term harm in trying. PR's are nice, but so are experiences.... and I'd rather put PR's on hold and experience the races I haven't had a chance to yet. So here is my first full official week of Erie Marathon training, which is the very last day to secure a BQ.
I started my day with a PT evaluation so I did a lot of things like calf raises and more to failure. The appointment was definitely thorough and getting to the nitty gritty. My glutes actually tested pretty strong, and as a result I think I was looked at more closely than usual. Last time I had my hip assessed the underlying issue that popped up first was a glute issue. Now that I finally have that under control the next layer of this injury could be addressed. This appointment ran over so I was able to schedule one for the following day before I got answers.
Spin Class, 25.3 "miles", 216 Watts (Average)
I'm well aware that "miles" on a spin bike aren't real "miles" but now that I have a few weeks of spinning I can at least compare one effort to the next. This is the most "miles" I've covered in one class. I think miles are measured by revolutions, so if the class has a lot of "hills" it's harder to get the mileage... but on the other hand it's easier to get in the Watts. So I put my main focus into the power because that is the best gauge for how much energy I'm putting out. I usually warm up before class really easy so my average has been in the 160-170 range. This time I warmed up and then let the computer reset so I could get a better idea of how much power I was putting out in the hour. I feel like 216 is pretty damn good! My calf felt a tiny bit tight, but I knew it was from PT. My PT was very concerned about the lack of strength in my calves. Now that I have orthotics, my calves are finally being used correctly, but, wow, I couldn't even do 5 calf raises correctly... no wonder I kept getting injured! Super proud of the effort I put in in Spin. My fitness is there! Just have to get my muscles and bones to adapt!
Today I was given my new drills for my hip and calf. I have general calf raises which I have to do with my orthotics to train the muscles that have been neglected for years. My PT is absolutely beside himself with how weak they are given how much running I was doing. I think I don't use my calves until I'm really tired. I use a lot of hip torque and and core when I run... which is also why my hip struggles so much. Compensation, compensation, compensation! Anyway, my hip issue is a stability issue. the muscles and soft tissue that support and keep my hip in its socket are not stabilizing for one reason or another. I suspect things just got over stretched in labor, but as a result my hip is moving around in the socket too much and sometimes pinching things and other times just moving around and rubbing in the wrong spot. Again, compared to a car with a tire that is not tightened. Rattling, bumpy, and inefficient! It makes sense on why I can never quite pinpoint if it's take off or landing that hurts more. It's BOTH! Just different. I have a bunch of new balance and stabilizing drills to do in addition to the calf raises. I need to be really careful which days I do the calf raises in relationship to my runs. The calf raises themselves are pushing the boundry of what I can do, so the run just adds to the stress. I have to rehab really really intelligently. It's a little stressful.
4.5 Miles. .25 walk, 4 run, .25 walk 8:40ish (Run)
Because I'm still walking for parts of my run, I don't have accurate pace. I'm trying to not care. I know I started in the 9-9:30 range for the first mile but the rest were 8:30ish. I ran next to my husband who pushed the stroller initially and then I took the stroller for the end (the downhill section). I felt really good and a lot of relief over the PT that I have been given. I really truly feel it's addressing my needs more than I ever have before. It's really weird though because the drill I have on my right side is different than the drill on my left side because my legs are both so different (one really tight, one really loose!) But this is the best I've felt since pregnancy! Once postpartum, always postpartum.
WEDNESDAY: 4.5 Miles before Fireworks (.25 walk, 4 run, .25 walk) Run in the 8:10-8:30 range
Matt has to work a Fourth of July 4 miler in Keene NH, so we decided to make a family vacation out of it. We stayed in a Hotel so that Matt could get to the race really easily the next day. I ran on a bike path, it was super sunny... but also a little buggy when I was finishing since the sun was coming down. We went to the fireworks after. 50% of the kids liked them. haha! Raea is predictable with how she responds to loud noises. She always cries at first but usually gets used to it once she realizes she is not going to get hurt... but in the future we might try to watch them further away. We were guests to the town, so didn't really know what to expect. It was still fun leading up to the fireworks and once the crying subsided she liked the colors. Maebel loved it and wont stop talking about it!
I had the day off from running and cross training. I just did my PT drills and enjoyed eating all the food at Matts sisters house, who lives near where the race. The kids got to play with their cousins and friends so it was a really low key day. After wards we headed up to Vermont because, why not?
FRIDAY: 4.5 with a walk and run again. closer to 10:00 with the double stroller
Burlington Vermont is one of our favorite places to run so we spent the day up there and ran on the bike path. It was a bit windy and really humid. The wind is so hard with the double stroller since it just catches all the wind. When I finished I let the girls play in the treehouse and on the playground while Matt got his 12 miler in. We got some pizza together and then learned there was a Balloon Fest a few towns toward home. We went to that. It got a later start than we thought so we had to get another hotel for after the Festival. I have a great memory of a Hot Air Balloon landing right outside my window as a kid, so I was really excited to do this with my girls. They loved it! We are definitely going to plan to do it again next year and have a better hotel situation. As I mapped out in my previous post, getting the right hotel is helpful when staying with kids. We were stuck with a room that wasn'kt anything like what my kids are used to and as a result I lost my shit on my wild and crazy overtired kids. Took me a while to fall asleep coping with mom guilt and I even carried it into the next day.... but all they seem to remember is the awesome balloons, so that's all that matters!
SATURDAY: 5.5 mile run on the Stowe Bike Path (plus some walking before and after.... 6 miles total) 8:20ish pace
I was still feeling stressed and upset about the night before so Matt took the girls for a stroller run so I could run by myself and decompress. I needed it! I loved the run and the new-to-me bike path. It was super crowded though. After the run I sat in the river and cooled off/ showered. We had no hotel room now so I was able to "clean off" enough for the ride home to be less uncomfortable. Thank God the girls fell asleep on most of the ride home and so did I. I was tired.
SUNDAY: Finally HOME! a 4 mile easy run in about 8:40 pace
We relaxed all morning and then around 1:00 got out of the house. We took the girls to a playground near the local rail trail. Matt played with them while I ran, then we traded. We followed up the night with some live music and food at a local brewery that we go to often. My kids are so spoiled. Never a dull day! But Matt and I both get back to the grind tomorrow. I think we are all craving that consistent schedule again.... although I'm not looking forward to work! I'm prepared at least!
Welcome to my blog! I blogged my entire pregnancy in 2017 and I had high hopes for where I could take my running after baby number 2, but my body had other plans. At some point I got too discouraged to write and recently realized that it is essential for my personal growth and development to keep putting feelings into coherent(ish) thoughts. I still hope to run sub 2:45 in the marathon one day, but for now I’m trying to focus on the process and I’m learning to enjoy it. You can come along for the ride, apologies in advance for grammatical incorrectness!