Last night I laid out my running gear for a run this morning. I got my cold weather gear out, and had it in my head that I would do my usual 3 mile, 5am run. When my alarm went off and I pulled up my weather app, it wasn’t quite the 31 degrees that I had anticipated. It was 25 degrees outside which isn’t far off from 31 but 6 degrees is 6 degrees when you’re warm and cuddly in your bed. So I was already working through my other options for working out today like A) running at lunch which would be at 51 degrees which is much more tolerable to me today. B) I also thought about riding my stationary bike which meant I would stay inside and stay warm. C) I also thought about possibly not working out today and if that happens I’m ok with it. I am opting for option B which means utilizing my free time differently, but giving up sitting around reading the same old gossip magazines or going out and possibly spending money that I shouldn’t is a good trade. You see, I don’t have to, no one is counting on me to do so, so it ain’t gonna happen today at 25 degrees! I’ll make it up and I do feel a little lazy at the moment but it’ll get done when I’ll be more comfortable and when my nose won’t stick together when I breathe. When it’s so cold out that I might have to cover my face so I don’t catch PEE-NEW-MONIA I instantly begin my work around solution. It’s funny because I really don’t mind running in the cold but I think I’m not quite adjusted to winter yet. You know that brief time between Fall and Winter when it starts to get cold but isn’t truly freezing but you’d swear it was an ice age….yeah that’s where I am right now! So I didn’t go out running….I ate my pancakes and eggs anyway….. and I will get my butt out there today….just later when it’s warmer and I’ll be happier! Some days it’s all about the compromise and that’s ok as long as you do in fact make it up on the other end.
Running season for me is officially over. I have no more races to train for. I have no more specific long runs. I have no group runs pending. I have no specific gym routines or classes that I want to get in to prepare myself for. ‘
As I headed out the door this morning at 5:15 for a run my husband wanted to know why I was running. I didn’t have to and I only rested one day so why wasn’t I going to lay there in bed for a little longer he wondered. I have the next 4 months provided I don’t get restless and impulsive to casually stroll through fitness at a leisurely pace. Why head out as if it’s training season? The answer is because I can and because I want to. I must love it because yesterday I put together my winter fitness schedule that isn’t so light. Something every day with the exception that I built two rest days into each week. For me that is light. I want to hit the season running (no pun intended) next year so winter won’t be dull or light. I like that I’m feeling so good after such a challenging course in VT. It means I did my job training and even though I walked I was ready for that challenge. I was ready for what I went there to do. I did the prep and I am not crippled today. I was ready. So as I head into the 2018 running season with an empty slate I will be up for say a March half marathon, a new one for me, because I’ll work hard this winter to take on something so early. I’ll be ready.
This picture is of me in VT. I like it because it’s just me. Me and my ambition, my dreams, myself. I like it because this is how I now live my fitness life, for me by me and about me. So although 2018 is not yet filled with anything, I’m working as if it is and I’m preparing myself for what may be a very challenging year. It’s all up to me. I ask myself “What Now?” and the answer is “Whatever you want!”
Well, I survived Vermont!
This in itself is a feat all it’s own because it was beyond challenging! There were 1000 runners who signed up for this crazy race and all 1000 of them, minus the lunatics that did it in just under and over an hour, walked. Yep this course was so steep that you couldn’t really run up for longer than a minute at a time and the down hill part (because what goes up must come down) was almost an uncontrollable free fall. I could barely maintain my stance and my thighs were screaming out at me to stop. I didn’t. Do you know why I didn’t? Because of my superhero’s. Those ladies up there in that picture are undoubtedly my superhero’s. They are an indominably strong, unequivocally determined set of women that I am so proud to say are my friends. Each of them did this race and finished including me. Cherrie at the far left fought through this race with foot pain that she had going into it. She didn’t let that stop her and she didn’t let it allow her to walk. She persevered and made me proud. She made me stronger within myself to be able to dig deep to keep going when I felt like I wanted to quit. She is my hero! Barbara (third from left) has run so many races this year and her body and mind are tired. She ran this race with all that she had despite some foot pain and being done with running this year and she finished right behind me. She triumphed over the voice inside that kept nagging at her to stop. She ran those hills like a champ and gave me a dose of toughness that helped me keep telling myself that I could do it. She is my hero! Paula (far right) I am very proud of. She didn’t get as much training in as she probably would have liked and this race very well could have gotten the better of her but it didn’t. She ran those hills, she paced herself the best she could and that girl, despite what I thought I would see at the finish line, came around the last corner running! She found great mental fortitude to finish something that was hard and that she wasn’t really fully ready for. She gave me a dose of committment that helped me run to the finish when my legs were tired at the very end. She She is my hero!
We finished this race separately but together. We didn’t let one another quit and we had fun along the way. That’s friendship and their friendship, strength & support have helped to cement a piece of my life that has been weak for a long time. These ladies make me stronger. They make me feel brave and remind me not to quit when it gets hard. They make me happy to know them and proud to be able to run with them and most of all they fill me with happiness to call them all my friends1 I love them all and am grateful for their strength, toughness and motivation for it extends beyond them to those around them, like me!
I am a person who believes in signs in a big way. I think if you are open to them and looking for them, you will see them. Choose to ignore them and be prepared for the fallout. I do not however allow my openness to the reception of the visibility of signs to my mentality to control my behavior. This weekend is my VT race. We are leaving tomorrow to head up for Sundays race. There have been things that have happened leading up to this point that if I were a superstitious person, would have me running from this event. First one of the ladies in our little group hurt her foot. Not good timing but I don’t see Karma hanging around laughing. Now my friend Barbara pulled over on her way to work to get physically sick. She’s now home in bed praying to feel better before we head up tomorrow. Now we are at 2 events that although not detrimental and certainly not unusual, are in the heads of my ladies. One of us mentioned that the race seems to be cursed. GREAT! Now that thought is in my head. Could that be true? I suppose but I’m not holding my breath on that as a fact. What if I were to dwell on it a little? Could the great Lord above be sending signals that something bad is going to happen? Maybe. Bad things can happen at any time and I’m not stopping my life worrying about that. Could there be a car accident, hotel fire, race day trauma? Yes to all actually but I could be sitting in my work chair any given day and there could be a fire. I could get into a car accident on my way home some day and I could fall and break my leg on any regular run. Shit happens! I choose to look forward to the race and believe that these obstacles that some of us are facing right now are perhaps signs that we needed to slow down and get more rest. I choose to believe that this will be a great race BECAUSE of these events and that we will finish as very proud racing participants for the hardest race of our individual years. I believe in signs and the way we choose to interpret them is really what drives the outcome in the end.
One of the best things about my friend Barbara is that she tells you like it is. She won’t sugar coat shit and she doesn’t buy into whining and best of all, she calls me out when I need to snap my head back on straight. I have spent the last few blogs whining as she puts it. I can’t deny that because it’s the end of the year and the closer I get to this challenge race in VT, the less ready I feel. The truth is I’m going to finish no matter what and it will be hard. I will finish so that’s that.
I realized yesterday why my legs hurt so badly after my race and all signs pointed to needing new shoes. So what did I do in record time at lunch yesterday? I drove to the outlet and grabbed me a nice new pair of kicks. They are Seahawks colors which are my favorite tandem colors and they felt good. I know you shouldn’t get new shoes so close to a race but I did and that’s that
I have spent a year including Tabata in my workout routine. Some weeks more than others but at least once a week I work the core and the arms and even my legs. My legs are run ready even though they could be stronger through squat challenges and leg presses but more of that will have to wait until next year when I redefine my goals and fitness. One thing at a time and that’s that.
So be strong and have faith in all that you have done and use that to motivate you to bigger and better things and for the love of god stop whining and just move forward! And that’s that!
God, lately I feel like a new runner. Sunday’s race left me struggling in my head with why I felt like the race was such a challenge. In my head I knew I was ready but the rest of me didn’t feel quite as confident. I hate dwelling on the what if’s but what if’s are different than circumstances that change the outcome of something if you grasp my meaning. Let’s see…. I haven’t done a good core workout in weeks. Shame on me but that would definitely have something to do with it feeling more challenging. I’m a week out from the monthly burden which means water retention, bloating, heavy legs which won’t get better until AFTER VT. Great! I think I need new sneakers because the backs of my legs were killing me. I went back and YES I do need them. I bought them in June…JUNE!!!!!! What the hell! I am usually more on my gear game. So I’ve messaged my niece to see if she can look for my shoes and head up there at lunch to get a replacement pair. Not smart but fixable. The hills are always challenging but the thing that killed me was how quickly I stopped to walk. I’m usually more headstrong but the hills got in my head. I also was putting off peeing until I had to stop. I had no coffee before the race and I peed 3 times before the gun and even at that I still had to pee on the course. I put it off until I thought I was at the last port-o-potty and then I went. The whole run that took my mind off my race and just added to the overall feeling of unreadiness that I felt. I have also had to give up some workouts because of the show and being at the high school every night. Having workouts on the bookends of my day has been very helpful until this point but in the last 2 weeks it’s been limited to only one per day and most of those are running days. This is not the way I wanted to end my running year but all of it together added up to making me feel like a beginner which I’m not. Overall a good year, definitely lessons and changes to be made for next year.
So my question right now is “can you reasonably guestimate what would have happened if you made different choices?” That’s my thought process today. Today my legs feel like I would expect them to the day after a half marathon. Tired but not painfully achy and a slight bit of discomfort in my hips but nothing to cry about. The question I ponder is whether or not I should be thanking my new CW-X pants for feeling good today or not. I bought them so I would have extra support for the race. Support I had, the compression is great but the expectation I had for after the race was sorely short met. I expected my legs to feel great and to not have pain in my hips or knees or surprisingly the backs of my legs. That particular problem tells me I need new shoes so I will make that purchase soon. The question is however, did my new tights do their job or not? Would my legs feel worse today if I hadn’t worn them? Maybe. But I’ll never know for sure so why think about it? Was the hilly course the culprit to my ridiculously sore lower extremities? Perhaps but perhaps not. I will never know the answer to this question because it can’t be answered. I cannot relive moments to determine different outcomes. I suppose I could buy new shoes and run a long run with hills and see how I feel to test that theory. My watch didn’t save my time from the race so I won’t know my own pace. It isn’t really different from the official time but I like to see the time on my watch because it tells me how much actual running time I had without stops or potty breaks. This race, I may have run too fast but I don’t think so. I was texting my sons at every mile and it was averaging 10 minute miles. That’s not too fast and I don’t think it’s too fast with hills. Again, I will never know the answer to that. According to my official time of 2:21:15 I had a 10:47 average pace time. Overall that’s discouraging to me, but I did walk several times and I stopped to pee once. So no, I am not happy that I was putting up nearly an 11 minute mile throughout the race but it’s not shocking to me either because I wasn’t trying to run fast. I was trying to finish and at the end of the day who cares anyway except for me. Nobody that’s who. I’ll never know what could have been different, all I can do is change different things and see what the differences are. I won’t bad mouth my new pants because it’s possible that they actually did their job. I’ll use them again because the compression was very good. I won’t dwell on things, just change what I know needs to be changed and move on to the next thing. That’s life! I think that the think I liked least was that I felt unprepared for a race that in all actuality I was very ready for. I felt tired and old and wondering what the hell I thought I was doing signing up for that race anyway. The audacity of my having signed up for another race at certain points in the race seemed rather audacious to me. Pretty bold to do is what I thought as I was increasingly disappointed in myself for feeling so unprepared as I did for 13.1 miles. I don’t feel that way anymore but yesterday I did. I felt like everything wasn’t aligned properly, causing me to stumble through the race. Although I finished it felt like a messy finish that needed cleaning up. Again, a disappointment that was only temporary to the situation. Today of course I’m looking at races for 2018 so how badly could I feel anyway right? All we can do is move on and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing!