I ran Falmouth again this year. This is the second time I’ve run this one. I don’t run it for the medal because they don’t give medals usually as I learned the hard way last year. Come to find out they give medals at this race every 5 years. This year was the 45th running of this bucket list race so guess what I got! Yep a medal! It’s beautiful and so worth the 7 mile struggle over hills in the heat.
ANYWAY… Today was many things. It was definitely all about the bling and the experience. As those of you who know me well understand, I love me a good medal! The race itself is always a hot one which makes it harder than other races. IT took us 25 or so minutes to actually walk from where we hit the main drag TO the starting line because in this race they do a pulse start which just means we set of in groups of like 50 at a time then they wait a minute and send the next group. It spaces us out and helps keep things moving. Even this small detail is just one of the many things that make this my all time favorite race ever! I wasn’t sure my race would be a good one because of the time of month it was. I’m always slow just before the blessed event so I was expecting it to be hard, but went into it just wanting to have fun at the very least. That I did achieve with no problem whatsoever. I wanted to beat my 1:18:15 time from last year and amazingly I did!!! I finished unofficially at 1:15:51! I believe 100% that that accomplishment is directly attributed to all the core workouts I have been doing. It definitely paid off because the hills were a bitch, especially the one at the very end that made 7.1 miles feel like 13.1. Over the 7 .1 miles I was perpetually stuck in a large group of runners the entire way so it was nearly impossible to run swiftly when you’re crowded in. I was grateful that that I couldn’t “take off” because it forced me to run a better more controlled race. Probably why I finished two minutes faster than last year. The feeling of struggling for 7 hilly hot miles seems to fade away as you give that last and final ounce of energy to push up that last horrible hill. When you crest it you can see the gigantic American flag that is hoisted above the finish line by a crane just a hundred yards below. You somehow find strength as people are cheering and shouting and you see the Jumbotron with the life finish line stream for those waiting for their loved ones to cross. The air is electric with excitement and you run to that beautiful painted word on the street “FINISH” that sits under the banner just above that signals the end of your 7 mile journey marked by a stomp on the timing mat to seal your race time. You can’t explain how it feels, you have to experience it yourself.
The Falmouth Road Race organizers, volunteers & medics are outstanding! They should get their own medal for the perfected work of making this race such a smooth well oiled event! I’m not kidding you, it is so well organized, you don’t have to search for porto o potties because there are literally about a hundred in the waiting area. Medics were visible with clearly marked signs at several points along the way ready to help those who needed it,. The police rode bikes along the route to ensure things moved along nicely. The people of Falmouth and friends / family of runners literally just line the streets cheering for you, soaking you with their hoses, giving you oranges and ice and 5 bands set up along the route and played music for us as we passed. There weren’t just a few… there were people that in some places were several rows deep just watching us come through. Some gave high fives (the little kids are my favorites to high five. They are wonderful cheerers!) Many blasted the radio, some had cow bells and others had horns. There were so many this year, more than last I thought. Any time I thought I might do some walking beyond just stopping for water I just couldn’t do it because the excitement of being there was compelling. I just cannot say enough good things about this wonderful race.
When you use the word Chaos mostly you think of confusion and craziness that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The gathering spot after the race can only be described as chaos. I’ve never seen or experienced organized chaos until I ran Falmouth. So many people all in the same spot but it’s oddly and strangely organized. From the pick up letters at the back of the field where families go to meet runners to the guys handing out the Yasso bars by the way, is by far the best at the end of a hard race! The band and the tent volunteers handing out post race goodies somehow swiftly corral all those people through with no waiting line. The whole race was start to finish amazing and something that you should do if you want to see how a good race is run. I can’t wait for next year!!
One of my favorite parts of my experience lies outside the race itself. I run this race with my friend Barbara and we stay with our friends Gary and Gail who live in Falmouth. Staying with friends who give you a ride to the busses and fight the crowd to pick you up from the finish line, who feed you and give you a place to lay your head for free absolutely makes the experience just that much better. Running this race with my friend, even though we don’t run together, is the BEST! knowing that I’m sharing something amazing with her is special. Taking selfies and pictures throughout our days there are memories that I cherish. Having someone to share what will become a tall tale that I tell my grandchildren later in life is one of those things that money can’t buy! I really love my running friend(s). This part of the experience and not having to worry about crowded restaurants, overbooked hotels, driving to the start or finding parking or worrying about my belongings while I’m racing turns what could be a crazy stressful weekend into a wonderful weekend of memories instead!
So there are things along this journey to being fitter that are kind of like milestones for me. One is pulling on clothes that I like in a size that makes me smile. Another is when your friends or co-workers tell you that you look good which is always nice. One of my favorite all time motivational smile-infusing happiness-creating things that have happened to me is when my kids tell me nice things without trying to make me feel good. Let me explain what I mean by that.
I know that I look good. Good compared to my old self and the healthiest that I’ve ever been. Good is relative I realize because I understand that I am not shaped like Barbie or the tall and skinnies of the world and that is just fine with me. I am happy with the 161 average weight that I seem to hover over these days because I’m muscular and in fact also shorter at 5′ 4″ tall. This means that I tend to grow out instead of up or evenly distributing my ever fluctuating weight because that’s the law of physics. I will never be Jessica Rabbit or have Heidi Klum’s legs sadly. I’m me and I know my boundaries and I’m fine with them. My job is managing all of that within the confines of the fitness routine I put in and keeping it all in check to stay between 150-165 roughly. I am always striving to get to the bottom of that range but truthfully I don’t care if I never see the big one-five-oh again. I work out and I work out pretty regularly, by choice and sometimes twice a day. It’s a little bit of an addiction and definitely a habit for sure. Something I’m just always working on like Mr. Holland’s Opus, just not ever done. I want to live to the crazy age of 96 so this is a good path to help me get there.
Now nothing and I mean nothing means more to me in this world than my kids. It is super important that they are proud of me and want to be with me and talk to me and hug me and hopefully always like my kisses! I hope they always tell me about their days be it good or crappy. I would die if I couldn’t be with and around them. They are just awesome! So, in the flow of two conversations recently, one with each son (19 and 17 respectively), we were discussing super skinny something or other and I said to one son that if whatever the statement were, was true I’d be super skinny. His answer melted me to pause my thought and compose my fast melting self. He said “You are super skinny Mom.” and he kept moving on with his thoughts about whatever it was that we were talking about. He wasn’t looking for accolades or a hug or even a response. It was his honest opinion. PAUSE: my son thinks I’m super skinny! woo hoo! On another day not long thereafter I was talking to the other son about something weight related (not necessarily mine) and whatever I said it prompted him to say “well it’s harder to get any smaller than you Mom, you work out all the time.” and he too proceeded to add to the conversation as if he had just said “the sky is blue”.
There it was again from a different source. From the one who wouldn’t sugar coat something to make you feel good (that’s his father in him). They both simply had said what they believed to be true which was like getting the best race bling ever! For those of you who do not know I am a medal whore. I Race for the prize because why should I not be rewarded for running for 2+ hours right? As I reflected on these thoughts that my sons had about me, it occurred to me that I have reached a personal milestone in my healthy lifestyle endeavor in this life. I have achieved the admiration of my kids who are proud of me for all this crazy hard work that I do. It’s become so much a part of who I now am that they don’t question it as being Mom’s new workout habit but more like part of what their Mom does. Some mom’s garden (I do that too) and some Moms do crafts and some Moms drive trucks. My kid’s Mom cooks great meals, sings new words to old songs, runs in the rain, would do anything for her kids to be happy and she also does fitness and that’s cool to them. I couldn’t have gotten two better compliments in the world than those two matter of fact statements made in passing by my sons.
Well, that was longer than expected but sometimes they are. Remember that there are those moments that tell you that you’ve arrived that you have to cherish and lock away for the days where you feel like you aren’t doing anything right. They are the moments that motivate us and push us to strive for more every day.
Progress is slow it’s as simple as that. As much as we would like to see results right away it just can’t happen that fast unless you’re Mama June and even that took time. I’ve been taking progress pictures of myself since November and some of them look like I’ve made good progress and others just don’t look different at all. Some days I wonder how I can do more. Other days I try to switch it up so I am doing some different things so my body is confused and doesn’t get complacent. Then there are days where I wonder why I do all that I do because let’s face it, I’m 48 and probably not turning too many heads any longer. I mean I look nice outside thanks to hair dye and makeup and staying fit. Clothes hide cellulite and sometimes bulges in bad spots so to see me with clothes on is sort of an unfair picture. I’m not complaining at all because I know how I feel and in fact still hear from people that are impressed with how I do look. It’s the bathroom mirror that bothers me and all the work that I do that isn’t doing enough that can sometimes be a downer. My answer to myself is if you want it, work harder. That really is the answer that I need to own if I want it bad enough. I want it but I’m not willing to really do a ton more than I am because I care about good health and feeling good, which I am in and do, over trying to look like someone that I’m not. Even with this realization and understanding I still have the days where I feel defeated. It doesn’t last long because I live with a child fighting the weight and good health battle. When I see her trying so hard right now I remember how far I’ve come and remind myself to appreciate where I’m at and do what I can to support her.
I wrote today’s blog because last night she said sort of jokingly that she wished she could see results in a week. Yeah, don’t we all! That would be great but as we all know, it takes 30 days for you to feel a difference, 60 days to see the difference and 90 days for your friends to see it. That fact is with a LOT of hard work, dedication and determination. It will happen but it just takes time. We have to be patient and do our due diligence to get there plain and simple. I have always believed that you have to want it bad enough to sacrifice all that you need to in order to get it. That is where I find that many people struggle because we have become a society of instant gratification and unwillingness to work hard for what we want. Where there’s a will there’s a way plain and simple, we just need to find it and get it done. Remember to use the 21 /90 rule to cement your commitment and to go from attempting it to in the habit of it to having a new lifestyle that changes your life!
How bad do you want your goals and what do you sacrifice to achieve them?
I have had a few goals in my time running and a few in my life. I read a lot about running and about other people’s running goals and trials, successes and failures. If we don’t set goals we don’t have a reason to push ourselves to improve and to step out of our comfort zone in order to achieve them. When I weighted 200 lbs and wanted to lose weight the goal was to lose weight simply by running. I did it. When I wanted to run a half marathon I signed up, trained and I did it because I set the goal. One thing I know about goals is that if you are afraid of them you should definitely put it out there for everyone in the world to see, tell your close friends and just do it! The thing about the running community is that we have all failed at some running goal at least once so if I fail I don’t feel like anyone would have anything but encouraging things to say. Runners are just like that and that is one of the greatest things about us. So I’ve talked about the big “M” for a little while now. Wanting to, hoping to, thinking I might but not quite yet because my son is still in High School and I feel like training would take away from the time I feel like I want to give him as I did his siblings. My time is coming make no mistake about it and I’m looking forward to it. At this point it’s about a year and a half before I could even make my first attempt. The improvements that need to be made in order to successfully achieve this are great in that I will have to work my ass off to get there. I’m willing and willing is all you need when you marry it with determination and Ukrainian stubbornness.
So a few posts ago, I told you about someone who told me “yeah, good luck with that” in retort to my statement that “anything you can do I can do better”. It’s been in my craw ever since just stewing and brewing and marinating itself into obsession. Don’t tell me I can’t because I will make it my mission to throw it in your face. So there it was like this horrible dangling participle floating in the air begging me to take it on. How can I not chicken out of this? If no one knows then I could just forget it for a while or even forever and no one would be the wiser! But what I would never want to happen is to get old and never have tried to do it. I can live with failing at it because at least I tried to and that is respectable. So today, I put that goal up on my wall to look at every day. To keep in the back of my mind every minute and to take with me in my heart on every run. It’s now up there for real people to see other than me. It isn’t a secret any longer and even though this scares the shit out of me, @KellyKKRoberts made me believe that trying is what we do and that to give it your all is all we can do. Fail or succeed to meet the goal is less important than having tried. So here it is. The 9:30 average paced runner, 2:14 half marathoner is setting a goal for the big M. No date yet but training and working toward this goal starts now. Hanging on my wall at work and now here for the world to see… my marathon goal times now on the proverbial record…
God help me!
Either I’m getting better at running faster or I’m just in better shape. Either way, I have been able to pull off a few miles under 9:00 which I haven’t seen in a LOOOOOONG time. I feel awesome just because I always do when I’m running but this last week I feel fast like a cheetah hitting sub 9’s. I imaging, knowing it’s just in my head, that the drivers that pass turn their head to look at me and think to themselves “wow, look at that girl go!” It’s probably more like “hey she’s running funny. Is she ok?” I have what my kids refer to as the BRENNA WOBBLE. Yep I am a category! That’s ok, I think it’s cute that they have a name for it. They can actually pick me out of a crowd of many many people just by the way I move. It amuses me.
Maybe hitting those times (8:53 mile 4 today) is because in the back of my mind I want it more and more. I think about improved times during every run and try to get at least one mile that skirts the nine minute mark. I think once you set your mind to something it just happens. I’m not one for excuses, in fact I hate people that just find one for everything. When I hear “I can’t” and I know that you in fact CAN but just don’t want to it makes me insane! Just who I am. What will be interesting to see is what some speed workouts do for hitting those marks. We’ll see.
What are some goals you’ve been surprised that you hit? Did it drive you to set bigger goals or keep pushing to hit it consistently?
I have wondered lately if it is possible for someone who runs a 9:30 average mile to run a sub 3:48:00 marathon. I wonder because I got the “good luck with that” comment to my jest of “anything you can do, I can do better”. I was of course poking around my husbands marathon time of 3 hours and 48 minutes. Unfortunately as soon as he retorted what he did, I felt the Ukrainian in me flip him off. That’s not a good sign because whenever that has happened in the past I have become obsessed with whatever the goal is and bar none, I have always hit whatever it is. So would it be possible once my son is out of High School for me to actually get my 9:30 – 9:45 miles down low enough to beat that time? Am I still young enough or slim enough to do it? My mind thinks I could with great effort but will my body comply? Will I need a coach (YES!) and will I be able to afford them? Can I give it my all to get my mind, body and spirit aligned with my goal? I’m afraid to set that goal because what if I set out to make it and what if I fail. It will have to be a quiet little goal between me and you (BAM) which will remain unwritten at least for now, however, it’s out there and it’s stuck in my mind now. Not going to get it out I don’t think. Can I do it?
Well, perhaps is the answer. You see, as much as I did not want to run yesterday, I wanted to today. It might be my brand new awesome running outfit that I got yesterday and the fact that I wanted to try it out to see if the size was better. Fact is that it was. My new medium holds my junk all in place a little better and my legs feel great. Part of my earnst to head out was how well I felt. I was happy to have taken yesterday off because my legs and my entire body felt much better. It was cold today so I layered up and out I went. I didn’t put super effort into my stride and I wasn’t really sucking wind, just running along enjoying being out there a lot. I ran my favorite route over the highways because I feel on top of the world standing over all the traffic. I see the sunrise and the hills are a good challenge that I like to keep in my routine for when I want a challenge. I got to 4 miles and thought that it would be great to get 5 miles in before work and just kept going. I knew around mile 3 I was going faster but my chest didn’t burn as it does when I’m sucking wind from running too fast so I kept going. When I got home I felt great and when I looked at my splits they were 9:32, 9:34, 9:21, 9:07, 8:53. I realize this is just 5 miles and adding 20 more to that is an undertaking in itself but it looks like a good start. Have you had an unfathomable goal that you have set out to achieve? Did you hit it?
So, all month this month I’ve watched my miles inch up closer and closer to 100. Now, I’ve run 100 miles in a month before but it’s been a really long time since I’ve come within 25 miles of that. life is busy and I haven’t been running as much as I have been diversifying my workout these days. I do what I can on a regular basis to stay healthy. My VA trip helped because I got a lot of miles in that week and in fact because of the way the calendar in one of my running apps works, I actually thought I was going to hit 100 about 10 days ago. My bad for not paying attention but I’m glad I didn’t because it made me set the goal to reach 100 miles in April. Even when I realized I was further away from it than I originally believed I still wanted it! I wanted it bad and I pretty much reach the goals I want with very few exceptions. I realized on the 24th that I was still more than 13 miles away from the 100 but I can do that in 6 days easily. As we all know, life is busy and this time of the year I’m painting sets for the Raynwater Players spring production just about every night and weekend. That takes away one end of my day which I was using for extra workouts. I don’t like running more than 3 days or so without giving my legs a break and doing Tabata or using my bike. Night by night my opportunity to hit 100 was dwindling. I can’t forego Tabata because as I found out with a 2 week near void of Tabata, weakness creeps back in quickly. On Friday after my 4 miles I was down to about 11 miles needed to achieve the goal. I knew if I put up 6 both weekend days I could make it with ease. Saturday 6 didn’t happen so I put up 3 which forced me to do 8 today. Now I haven’t run anything over 5.5 in two weeks. I hate jumping in and doing lots more miles than where my routine finds me at the moment. I just feel like it’s begging for injury and I definitely don’t want to be injured because not running would be really bad for my psyche and well, my progress at staying as fit and trim as possible. Anyway, as Genie said I don’t like doing it:
But I set out today knowing I had to do it because I wanted the 100. Off I went on a beautiful day running a pace that felt actually slower than it turned out to be. I tried to just enjoy the day remembering that todays run was simply about putting up miles and not about speed. My legs protested a teeny tiny bit in the beginning because they were tired from yesterdays up and down at my son’s car wash fundraiser but they didn’t complain long or hard. They must have known that I wanted 100 badly and they carried me the whole way home finishing 8 to make just over 100 miles for the month. Funny how something you’ve done before can be so rewarding when you want it so much. So I did it! I ran 100 miles this month and I am one happy camper! I don’t know if I’ll have goal for May or not. I haven’t had a monthly goal like this one before but it was fun trying to achieve it so perhaps I’ll have a new monthly goal going forward. Who knows. You’ll just have to keep reading to find out what happens. What goals have you set for yourself? Tell me in the comments and please share this blog with friends.