I posted this on my personal Facebook page four years ago today:
I think I’m doing better. Finding some peace. It’s been months/weeks/days since I thought about a baby, my baby. But then, a closing scene on a sitcom depicts a couple deciding that they don’t want their daughter to be an “only” and that they don’t want her to miss out on the joy of having siblings and I find myself tearing up.
I need to run.
If my mind is focused on my pace and form, it doesn’t have time to think about how much B will miss by not being a big brother.
If I’m looking ahead and gauging the hills, I can’t “see” the familial scenes that will never be.
If my lungs are busy keeping up with me, they can’t afford the air to cry.
If I obsess about races and gear and personal bests, I don’t have time to think about temperatures and failed cycles and the garage full of baby gear I can’t sell.
If I run until my body hurts, then the hurt in my heart isn’t as apparent.
My family, rife with “oops babies” and hyper-fertility, can’t understand.
My husband, with his four other children and the shear fact that it isn’t him, can’t understand.
The road can’t understand, either, but it doesn’t need to. It just takes the pounding and the beating and the cursing until I’m okay to head for home and enjoy the child that we have.
I may not have found peace yet but I will keep running until I do.
Update: I’m doing better, in this regard. It isn’t quite so raw any more. But I still have a garage full of baby stuff.
My fifth marathon (wait, what?! how did that happen??) is in just over 3 weeks. I have been working harder than I ever have before. I have been running at 3:30 am on a weekday
in crazy hot and humid conditions, in rain, in fog, mile repeats on the track, 13 miles on the treadmill, you name it! I ran 192 miles in September and seriously considered starting my 20 miler at 10 pm on Sept. 30 so I could have 8 of those miles round me out to 200. I have sometimes hit my pace goals. I have also, more often than I’d like, missed my pace goals (Spoiler alert: Navy-Air Force Half Marathon review coming up soon…)
After I posted about my run Wednesday morning (the 3:30 am one) and complained because I felt like I was so slow, my friend commented “You are at the tail end of a tough training cycle, emotionally and physically. Give yourself some grace and know that you’ll be able to do so much more on fresh legs.”
Grace. That is one thing that I have not done this training cycle. I have beat myself as hard as can and have become frustrated when I can’t squeeze out more. I have not been grateful that I can run 12 miles before work and not be totally dead on the sidewalk. I have not been thankful that my lungs are strong and my heart is healthy. (my hamstring is cranky, but we’re not talking about that) I have not appreciated the thought that, while it might be a little nutso to run two marathons in two weeks, I don’t believe it will break me. Me. The person who just five years ago couldn’t even walk a mile without needing to sit down.
Part of my frustration is I feel like the nice weather is causing everyone around me to set the roads on fire, right when I’m struggling the most. I’ll admit, I’m having a Nancy Kerrigan “why me??!” moment.
I also am having a hard time believing that my sub-par performance will get me to my goals on race day (the new race predictor from Runner’s World isn’t helping matters, either)
I think I just have a bad case of the end-of-training nuttiness. I need to just keep my head down and keep following my plan. I am running the Army Ten Miler on Sunday (4th time!) and I really hope some nice, solid work will help me get my head out of my butt. If you see me out there, feel free to yell at me to quit whining and start working!
In the end, though, I need to remember to give myself some grace and be grateful for what I can accomplish, regardless of the time on the clock. I hope you do the same, wherever you are on your journey.
A lot of emotional energy is going towards some family emergencies – good thoughts for my dad would be appreciated as well as for Little Runner. LR is physically fine but is having a hard time dealing with all of the crappy stuff that’s going down right now.
The rest of my energy is going to training. I must say, it is going very well – I feel I am on track to break 4:30 at the Marine Corps Marathon! If I do, that will be a 30+ minute PR from last year and a 90 minute improvement from my first one in 2013!
I’m getting tired. Taper is coming soon(ish), right?
I’m running racing the Navy Air Force Half Marathon on Sunday (first time!) and am pushing for a PR, provided the chest cold I’m currently battling has moved out by then.
I was chosen to be a Race Ambassador for the Blue Ridge Marathon!! Stay tuned to more information, when I have it – including a registration discount code!
My Facebook activity is almost nil now, due to FB hiding posts. Check me out on Instagram if you want training updates, etc. I post there almost every day.
If you want to read about Ragnar Trail WV, check out my 2014 report. It was pretty much the same but less rain (only once and only one delay!), better food with coffee through the night, and better service on the port-a-johns (since the mud didn’t keep the trucks out). If you want to read my ramblings about my relationship with my dad and a bit of a trip down memory lane, keep reading…
Here’s the thing: when you are running a relay race that spans 36 hours, you’re going to have a lot of down time to think. When the race is in the woods, you’re going to have a lot of alone time to think. Basically, it’s a great time to work some shit out.
I’ve mentioned here before that my dad was diagnosed with cancer right before Christmas. This has been a blow that I haven’t really known how to process. Over the years, we haven’t been terribly close, for a number of reasons. I spent a lot of time last weekend thinking about that and remembering.
On the yellow loop, my first leg, I was thinking about my parents and old hurts. I was thinking about how hard it must have been for them to have kids so young – both my parents were fresh out of high school when they had my oldest brother and they soon had 3 kids in eight years. I was thinking about how hard it is for me to raise my son at the ripe old age of 41. I can’t imagine the challenges they must have faced raising triple the amount (and triple the attitude – because we’re all about the same, in that regard). Somewhere in the first few miles of my run, I acknowledged that they were doing the best that they knew how to do, just like I am doing, just like almost ever other parent does, and sometimes that falls short.
I’m not a religious person, somewhat related to my clash with my parents. I haven’t been to a church, other than for a wedding or funeral, since I left home. Running in the pine grove on the yellow loop, though, was as close to a religious experience as a person could get. I think my dad would greatly enjoy a Sunday spent out here. I think in this place, we could find some common ground.
Growing up in the middle-of-nowhere Michigan, we spent a lot of time outside and found our own amusement. Seeing the various mushrooms and lichen on the trail reminded me of the time we had a giant puffball mushroom growing in our back lot behind our house. My dad picked it and fried it up in butter even though it was as big as my head! I did see one little puffball on the trail – I left it alone but it made me smile.
My overnight run was on the green loop. It was supposedly the “easy” leg but, in Ragnar, there’s no such thing as easy! It’s quite the ankle turner and a lot of people fell in the first 1/2 mile (which happened to be right behind our tents so we could here the “ooofs” and expletives as people went down). One of the creepy interesting things about night running is when you shine your light to the side or behind you and see glowing eyes looking back. My dad used to be quite an avid hunter (deer and pheasants, mostly) so I’m sure he would have not been spooked by the eyes. I, on the other hand, just ran faster! It was hard leaving the fire pit – where they had s’mores and were showing Top Gun – but it was worth it!
I am the oldest of 3 girls but for eight years, I was the youngest child and the only girl. I was often lumped in with the boys (until I was old enough that this would no longer fly) and was expected to work, too. My brothers will maintain that I was spoiled but I remember many a summer day spent clearing brush, hauling wood, etc. This meant I was pretty strong for my age and I think that strength stayed with me, even during my sloth years. I was very grateful for my peasant lineage and the strong work ethic that was drilled into me as I scrambled over boulders and rocks.
In the middle of the red loop, the longest and most difficult leg, I was faced with a mile long hill that was very steep in some spots. I was tired from being up all night. I was hungry. I was so incredibly hot. I really wanted to sit down and not even finish. And then I thought of my dad. I knew that at that moment, he would give anything to go tromping in the woods or go fishing on his new boat but side effects from the chemical cocktail he has had to endure for the past several months have (temporarily) stolen that from him. I may be hot and tired but I was still strong. The least I could do was finish this run for those who don’t have that privilege.
Where does that leave us? I don’t know. I do know that everyone is bruised and a bit broken, but closer – both my Ragnar family and my biological family. I do know that stubbornness is a very strong family trait and we Silvermans relish a challenge. I do know that whatever the next few months bring, we can endure. I do know that we are stronger than we know and we can do hard shit.
So, what’s going on with my hips and my lack of running (spoiler alert, I waited to write this after I had a successful run and knew I wouldn’t be sidelines for the foreseeable future)?
I’ve had problems with my left hip since … huh, a while. I had dry needling done on it regularly before Blue Ridge and it hadn’t bothered me since then. Huzzah, I’m cured! Not so fast. Three weeks ago, I got a little over-exuberant with my extra cross training time and did tire flips and a tire carry and felt something …give… a bit. Two days later, I ran a somewhat fast 9 miles. Two hours later, I could hardly walk. So, I did the logical thing and rested. For a day. And then tried to run 8 miles on my treadmill (made it just over 7. So stupid).
Okay, I thought, I’ll rest a bit more. Three days, this time! Look at me resting! Tried to run four miles on Saturday and felt pain with the first step but pushed on for 1.5 miles, to keep a friend company (again, stupid). I then came home and lost my shit on my running group’s message board. Thankfully, someone worked somewhere that had Saturday hours and a physical therapist could see me if I got there by noon. You can bet your ass I was sitting in the office at 11:45!
The physical therapist tried to assess me but I was so inflamed, she couldn’t do all of the motions. She did say that nothing was torn or broken (whew!) and it seemed to be a problem with my hip flexor and a lazy ass glute. I told her that I worked on that quite a bit and I showed her what I did. Which, apparently, was all wrong. I was using my back and every other muscle than what I was supposed to use. She then prescribed a regimen of clam shells, glute bridges, hip flexor stretches, and foam rolling. Thankfully, she said I could use the elliptical and swim, as long as it didn’t hurt (but no running until I was down to 0 pain – which was not a problem because I couldn’t even roll over in bed without the pain waking me up).
So, I did my exercises and learned to love the elliptical. I saw the PT a week later and she finished her assessment and confirmed that I was moving in the right direction but still no running😦 She also had me show her my squats and they were atrocious. I mean, I was embarrassed by them! When did they get so bad?! I also learned that I can’t tell when my pelvis is square and that I keep dropping my hip and rotating and that is causing the problems. So, I now have some squats and single leg balancing to add to my list of exercises. And more elliptical.
These are all the exercises that I have been doing:
This morning, I decided to do a test run of a mile. My pain has been very moderate and I would call it more of a tight feeling than true pain. I’m also seeing my coach tonight to see if we can salvage my Marine Corps Marathon plan (I hope so, I’ve been working hard to keep my base intact!) and I wanted to be able to tell her honestly if I could run. The first mile felt good at 11:13 so I decided to pick it up just a smidge and keep going. Mile two was 11:05, still okay. Mile 3 was 10:59 and then I ran 2/10th of a mile at 8:00! Again, no pain, just a bit of tightness. I then did all of my PT exercises and declared it a win! Now to figure out what to do with my training (I’m glad I have a coach to help with this!)
Coincidentally, this was today’s post from Another Mother Runner. I plan on adding those BOSU exercises, plus some daily plank work, plus yoga once a week (because I’m as flexible as a metal rod) to my rotation. It will be a lot of work but I think it will keep me in running form!
Whew! I’ve been gone forever and I have a loooong “to do” lists of topics to write about… but, not today.
Soon, though, you’ll be able to read my scintillating thoughts on being injured the first two plus weeks of training (subtitled: The Elliptical, How to Make Peace with the Enemy), the rigors of RRCA Coaching training, trying alternate (whole) fuel sources, and a smattering of other topics.
To hold you over, consider checking out my revived Instagram page for running (and some non-running) goodness.
This weather! It’s a bitch, isn’t it? After chilling out all spring we are suddenly in the horrible throes of summer. It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. Wrong! It’s both!
I thought we would start adjusting to it by now but it still smacks me around every other day.
Sunday’s 9 miler, though shaded, was so freaking hot that I had to make my running buddies switch to intervals – and I could barely make it even at that!
Today’s run was to be a 6 mile tempo with two miles of warm up, 2 miles at 9:00-9:15 pace, and 2 miles cool down. The warm up went “okay”. I had mapped out a 1 mile out-and-back by my house so it was easy to break the whole workout into thirds. I left my water bottle at the start. I took things nice and easy.
Mile 1 – 11:40
Mile 2 – 11:07 (I was trying for a legit warm up, for a change)
Time to hit the tempo pace!
Mile 3 – 9:17. What the eff? I knew what my effort felt like and I was shocked by that number. I was sure I was 9:05, at the slowest.
I knew the return mile would be more difficult because it is a gradual up hill. I had planned on getting the first mile closer to 9 and then the second one closer to 9:15. I quickly realized that the second would be much slower than that.
So, I let the floodgate of negative self-talk fully release and I was mentally done. I ran for a hundred yards, stopped my watch, berated myself, adjusted something (everything was bothering me – my music, my flapping and squelching arm fat, my soaking wet glasses – yes, it was so humid, I kept soaking my glasses), and dug further into my hole. Finally, at mile 3.48 – I NEVER stop on an odd number like that! – I said, “screw this” and walked home with my tail between my legs. I didn’t even do a slow jog. I just walked.
Oh, when I got home, my coffee maker broke.
Needless to say, I was back to questioning all my life choices…
And then I read NYC Running Mama‘s post on heat acclimation . Very interesting! According to her charts, my pace should have been 9:15-9:30. In that case, my 9:17 was perfect and not even close to being worth my little hissy fit. Perspective, yo.
What does this mean? It means I need to suck it up and get it done and that my mental game sucks. Thankfully, this is something that I can fix. And, if a chart gives me mental “permission” to pull it back a bit or to not beat myself up, you can bet that bastard is going on the fridge today!
As for you? I’m giving you all “permission” to be kinder to yourself on these hot and horrible runs. Do you best but don’t load yourself down with unrealistic goals. Stay hydrated – maybe slip in your favorite frosty beverage a few times – and be patient.
It’s almost June! Where did the spring go? If you were on the east coast, we had cold with snow, cold with rain, and then – as of four days ago, summer! No spring. Bah. There were literally no “70 degrees and sunny” days for our entire spring! How is that possible?
Well, since summer is here, I guess it’s time to get training again! I have BIG goals for this fall’s marathon cycle (like “30 minute PR” sized goals) and I’m running both Marine Corps Marathon and the Richmond Marathon (not exactly well planned…) so I decided to hire a coach!
My last attempt at coaching was a triathlon coach and that didn’t go well. She was long distance and, well, it was not a good fit. At all.
My new running coach is totally different from the first one. She is local and I have seen her work with other athletes. I have seen enough of her “in action” to think that I like her style. Also, huge bonus, I get to work with someone who can actually meet me for in-person coaching sessions! I’m super excited about that!
To kind of ease us into the relationship, and to get my legs back under me after the (kinda) break I took after Roanoke, we decided to start my plan with June 1, even though the meat-and-potatoes training doesn’t start until the end of June. I received my plan over the weekend and was a bit… uh…
Once I calmed down, I decided it was for the best. Granted, starting my true training week at 34 miles is a bit unexpected but, I need to trust the process and see what happens. I need to trust that she is writing a plan to help me meet my goals (which she didn’t laugh at, BTW) just as she trusts me to do the work and give feedback about any problems.
I can already tell it’s going to be an interesting summer! Thank goodness Little Runner is old enough for me to safely nap by the pool while he swims. I think I’m going to need the rest🙂
I’ve spent the last 6 months or so cruising my short to mid-distance runs in the 9s. I will get close to 8 and then have to back it off. I really want to hit a 25 minute 5K this summer but that means a pace of 8:02 (28:12 is my current PR) so I have decided that I want to work on my speed this summer.
This morning, my first mile was 8:49 (Great!) but then I started burning out and ended up walking a big hill in mile 4 so my average pace was 9:41 (not as great).
They say that in order to run faster, you just have to run faster (helpful!…) but I’m having a hard time coming to terms with being that uncomfortable. So, what to do? Maybe get on a 5K plan (gah), definitely add in more speed work, and see if I can squeeze out two 8 minute miles in a row and then try to snag a third. Supposedly, I did that when I ran a 10K last year (Across the Bay 10K) but I believe their course was short.
Here’s an interesting list of tips on how to run faster. I already know that my core needs work so I’m hitting that hard in my cross training. I’m also trying to focus on “quick feet” moves. I am curious to see how effective they are. Even if they help me get into the high 8s, I’ll be pretty happy.
Here’s to summer goals! What will you be focusing on this summer?
I’ll admit, I’m having problems coming to terms with the race being over. It was such a looming event for so long, I’m a little lost without it. Truth be told, I feel like I have PMS x a billion. I’ve been grumpy and snapping at everyone, my skin is all broken out, and I want to eat all the food. I’m a real treat, I tell you! Thank goodness I was able to run 3 miles on Thursday, to take the edge off!
My next race isn’t until the Marine Corps Marathon (3rd time!) at the end of October so I’m treading water until mid-July. I need a plan, though. I think I’ll lose my ever loving mind if I don’t have some sort of plan for the next three months.
I really want to focus on strength training and building more lean mass (by dropping fat😉 ). Right now, my “plan” is to run three days a week – 1 shorter, 1 speed or hills, 1 longer (up to 10-12) and do some sort of weight-based exercises 3 days a week.
Little Runner and I went to the playground on Wednesday and had a (mostly) body weight workout. You can do a lot with swings! He challenged me to a leg lift competition and my lower abs are still sore😮 He’s loving my increased availability so I am going to keep our “Wednesdays at the park” in play for as long as I can. I also did a four station circuit workout this morning (with some kettlebell swings and a couple of sled pushes thrown in for good measure). While I’m definitely sore from that, I really need to figure out a progressive, consistent plan. I feel like I’m in danger of half-assing my down time and not being as strong in July as I’d like.