Four Years

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.

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To Do

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.

See you soon!

Giveaway: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Guaranteed Entry

Facebook is being ridiculous so I am sharing my fun news here, to make it easier to share with others!

I have a guaranteed entry code to the 2016 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler!  The 2016 entry fee of $43 for the 10 mile and $33 for the 5K Run-Walk (plus an online service fee) must be paid online with the entry form but you can bypass the lottery with this code!

If you are interested in receiving this code, please comment on my Facebook page with your favorite running mantra and I will select a random winner on the evening of Monday, Nov. 30.

Good luck!

CB10

Week 1

Week One is done!  I am still struggling with knowing what/when to eat on my long run days but, overall, it has gone well.  It’s a bit odd to not be hungry all of the time and I have not done any mindless nibbling. I confirmed with my nutrition counselor today that the calories consumed and burned are viewed cumulatively for the week so I think I need to cut back a bit on non-run days so I have more for the long runs

My typical menu includes:

Breakfast – granola, banana, protein shake

Snack – 3 hard boiled eggs and almonds

Lunch – meat, rice, 2 cups of veggies.

lunch
I often go with a homemade lean hamburger patty and a mix of tomatoes and fermented sauerkraut

Snack – apple, almond butter, jerky

afternoon snack

Dinner – meat, veggies, 1/3 c. beans

dinner
Fajita chicken and onions/peppers that I made for my husband. I just omitted the tortilla on mine

Late evening – protein shake

The Numbers

Starting weight: 196 Starting body fat: 31.3%

Week 1 194 / 30.3%  and gained .5 lbs of muscle

A new look at (my) nutrition

I’m still here, running, training, nursing a bum IT band, but I don’t want to talk about that right now.

What I want to talk about is my new nutrition plan.  For the past several years, I have been using MyFitnessPal to stay pretty close to 1700 calories, as adjusted for the day’s workout.  Though I have slowly lost a tiny bit of weight, it’s been pretty stagnant, even with my increased activities.  Honestly, I’m frustrated by my body’s inability to lose fat.  I see people who lose 50 pounds in a year (or less) and I want to scream!  I have always been a super slow loser and my body fights me for every ounce.

Two weeks ago, I won a four week personalized nutrition plan with Max Muscle Sports Nutrition, Springfield as part of my Mom’s Run This Town chapter’s anniversary party.  I was a little leery of changing my diet in the middle of marathon training but Corry, the owner, and Zach, the consultant with whom I would be working, were emphatic that this is a good time to make the change.

My initial consultation with Zach lasted an hour.  He outlined the five “laws”  that they follow: consume protein first thing in the morning, consume 10g of protein every 3-4 hours, don’t eat carbs alone (always pair with protein), drink 1/2 oz. of water per pound of body weight, and stay within 500 calories of your daily expenditure. He then took a body comp reading and went over my typical diet.  Finally, he started plugging in numbers into his massive spreadsheet.  Bottom line – I need to eat more, by A LOT! Huh.

I am on my third day and I am mentally having a tough time with this.  This is a lot of food!  I am struggling with the desire to add additional workouts.  I’m also confused as to how to stay within 500 calories if my daily diet is an average of my exercise for the week.  For example, I did not work out yesterday but I ate the same as I did today when I will run 4 miles.  Yesterday I was within 500 calories but I will not be today unless I eat more.  I obviously need to ask more questions!

I’m going to follow the plan and their advice, to the letter, for a month and then reassess.  For the sake of transparency, I’m letting it all hang out here and will update each week.  I already told Zach that I have very low expectations but he is certain that I will see results.

The Numbers

Basal Metabolic Rate: 1,629

Previous Calorie base: 1,720

Average Caloric need, adjusted for average exercise amount: 2,348 (with 186 g of protein!!)

Starting weight: 196

Starting body fat: 31.3%

6 years

2009

I remember this day well.  We were having my department over for a cook-out and it was HOT.  My jeans were too tight on my stomach and I didn’t have shorts that fit.  I had the Lap Band at this point and I knew I would not be able to keep down most of what I ate.  I was miserable!

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2016

Getting ready to do my first open water swim of the season.  I’m scared but not miserable, even in a wet suit that makes me look like the bastard child of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Bibendum.

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+Stay-puft-marshmallow-man=

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I’m a marathoner now.  I can bike.  I can swim. I can sometimes put all three together.  I am a good example for my son.  I never give up, even when it would be oh so easy.

I get comments that people wish they had my drive and dedication.  F that.  If you want it, you will find a way.  Yes, getting up at 4:15 is horrible most some days but you know what is worse?  Being sick and tired and uncomfortable in my own skin.  You don’t have to keep crazy hours or do crazy things (though, it’s more fun!) – just get up and take a walk at lunch!  Seriously, it is the little changes that make the most impact.  You just need to start the ball rolling.  You never know where you’ll be in six year!

Race Report: Rock n Roll DC 2015

This describes the race perfectly, including the point-to-point course!
This describes the race perfectly, including the point-to-point course!

Well, if you have been watching the weather, you know that there were a lot of tough races this weekend.  While they were battling high temps in LA, we were completely soaked and freezing in DC!

Oh, where to start.  You may want to get a snack first because this will probably be loooong.

Expo

The race expo was moved to the Washington Convention Center from its previous home at the DC Armory.  This annoyed me because I had to switch Metro trains to get there but the metro stop is literally outside of the convention center.  I decided to attend the first day, right when it opened.  It was deserted!  There were no lines, no crowds, and some of the vendors weren’t ready yet.  I moved quickly through bib pick up and then retrieved my drawstring bag (to be used at gear check – a bit confusing since everyone is now used to clear bags and this was a black woven one) and my race shirt.  The shirt is nice and it was a true, gender specific cut.  I also grabbed a Brooks race shirt, a magnet, and a package of Race Dots.  I was in and out in less than an hour.

11000193_10152572309237470_946287432_oRace Morning

Of course, everyone was watching the weather closely.  The days before and after the race were forecast to be decent.  Race day, not so much.  We woke to drizzle and low temps.

Not pictured: throw away sweatshirt, plastic bags for my feet, CamelBak
Not pictured: throw away sweatshirt, plastic bags for my feet, CamelBak

I was hoping that it would taper off but I Body Glided the heck out of myself (plus my KT Tape anti-chafing trick) and headed off to meet my friends at the metro station.  We arrived by about 6:15.  The race didn’t start until 7:30 but by the time we stopped by bag check (which I did not use but I guess some of the higher alphabet names had problems retrieving their bags at the finish) and the port-a-potties, there wasn’t a ton of time to spare.  My wave began at 7:55.

The First Half

The first half of the race was great!  The rain was lessening and there was decent crowd support.  I’ll admit, I didn’t take in too many sights because I was trying to avoid as many puddles, and people, as possible. Many were running with ponchos or plastic bags on and would douse you with run-off water if they bumped in to you.  Not fun!

This race has a notoriously tough hill just before mile 7 that almost did me in last year.  This year, the Blue Mile volunteers were lining it (The Blue Mile is organized by Run Blue to Remember. They post pictures of service men and women who were killed in action and then volunteers hold American flags that are dedicated to additional service members).  I was a little worried about trying to climb that hill while being super emotional.  As it turns out, a lot of my friends were volunteer flag holders so it turned into a hell of a boost for me.

My family was waiting for me at the top of the hill but it was packed and they didn’t see me coming.  I surprised the heck out of them and Little Runner almost spilled his hot chocolate 🙂

By this time, I was still feeling great but I had to go to pee (it wasn’t hot enough for me to sweat it out, as usual) and my stomach was starting to feel… ominous.  There were a lot of people in the neighborhoods offering free beer and tequila shots.  I didn’t see the sausage guys from last year but I could smell them!  Ugh!

Several of my running friends who were doing the half passed me and cheered me on.  It was great seeing them on the course!

Half Marathon splits - hitting it just right
Half Marathon splits – hitting it just right

The closer we got to the course split, the more dire my stomach situation was becoming.  I knew that there was a bathroom stop after the split so I just had to hang on a bit longer but I was really starting to hurt. The rain was also increasing so I was nice and wet and the wind was picking up.

When we hit the split, it was all I could do to turn right for the 2nd half.  Tons of runners were streaming left but only a small handful took the other lane.  To make matters worse, the volunteers after we diverged weren’t terribly attentive and some runners took the wrong merge and almost ended up back on the half course!  I made it through that section and luckily found the bathrooms, just in time.  This was the first time that I stopped and the first time I really realized how absolutely miserable I already was.  Everything was freezing, my hands were starting to swell, I was soaked through and just tired.  I knew my family was waiting for me just before mile 14 so I got my act together and kept going.  The crowds were much thinner now so I was able to talk to them for a few minutes before going on.  I told my husband I wanted to quit but I knew I had to finish.  By this time, I knew that my time goal was not going to happen.  Now my only goal was to finish.

I won't hit my time goal, but I will have  good picture!
I won’t hit my time goal, but I will have good picture!

Miles 15-17 had us though an industrial complex and around a big power plant.  It was extremely bleak and the speakers that RnR had set up on the course kept shorting out so it was mostly static.  This is when I started to slow considerable and utter a few choice expletives.  After that, it was over the the bridge across the Anacostia River (with open grating, more choice expletives) and a long stretch by the river.  The wind was really strong and we had to run through several really deep and wide puddles of freezing water.  My feet totally cramped when they hit the ice water.

Sad Panda.  Absolutely zero fucks were being given at this point.
Sad Panda. Absolutely zero fucks were being given at this point.

I can’t describe how horrible I was feeling at this point.  I had blisters under three toe nails (that has never happened before) and I feel nauseous and couldn’t bend my fingers.  I passed all of the course cut-off points but one loop had me finishing a section as later runners were being diverted before entering it and I was insanely jealous. I knew my family was waiting for me just before mile 25 so it became a death march to see them.

Mile 24.75

I could see them waiting for me at the bottom of the hill.  Did they see me?  I’m not sure! My eyes are playing tricks.  I try waving but I can barely get my arms up.  I’m moving as fast as I can and I can feel the tears building.  As soon as I can clearly see them, the water works start.  I can’t believe that they stood out in the rain for five hours for me!  1510584_10152577154387470_4490137913792931366_n

"I can't do this!"
“I can’t do this!”

I try to get my act together but it just isn’t happening. I want to stop. I want to go home.  Little Runner hugs me and tells me he loves me and that I’m doing great! Okay, I can do this.

13412_10152577154527470_1700636773585639384_nThe officer at the medical station sees all of this and comes over to check on me.

“Are you okay? Do you need anything”

“No, I just need to be done. This is really hard” (while wiping my tears) <– may be the understatement of the century

10343494_10152577154612470_4341568149536681251_n“Well, I have to tell you, your son is SO proud of you!  He’s telling everyone ‘my Momma’s running a MARATHON!’

You’re doing great!  You just keep going.  But stop crying!  You’re going to make me cry!”

So, I stopped crying.  And I finished strong.second half

No death shuffle here!
No death shuffle here!
Official Time 5:37 - 17 minute PR
Official Time 5:37 – 17 minute PR

I’m crying again so  that’s enough for now.  Tomorrow I will discuss my overall review of the race and some of the things I did well (and not so well!)

RnR DC Training: Week 10

Sunday: “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to far, go with friends”. That totally sums up my “it takes a village” long run! I had two women from my running group show up at 7:00 on a very cold morning to help me through my first 8 miles where they passed me off to two other runners. These two saw me through my second and third legs. Even though I was hurting at the end, I was very happy with 17 miles at an 11:40 pace 🙂 Perfect!

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: An early four miles with some of my running group. I love getting the miles done early!

Wednesday: 8 miles in the treadmill since Little Runner’s school was closed.
We also attended our taekwondo class and I’ve almost passed my sparring requirement! (Not my favorite).

2015/01/img_0060.jpg Yeah, Virginia…

Thursday: Intentional rest day.

Friday: Swim. I had to modify like crazy but I was able to complete the full hour. My breathing is all kinds of sucky right now!

Saturday: Second long run. I ran 1 mile, then the 5K race, then another 1/2 mile. Stopped to gear up with fresh gloves and my CamelBak. Headed out for the 20K + 1 … and promptly died. The course had a LOT more ice than I expected and I took a good slip and basically limped my way to the finish. Needless to say, I did not get my last mile in!

2015/01/img_0061.jpg

2015/01/img_0062.jpg it was cold enough for people to play hockey on the canal!

Eh, it ended out not the best. But I still have my “swagger” 🙂

2015/01/img_0059.jpg

Miles for the week: 45.1
Total training miles: 274.9

Crickets

I’m still here, just insanely busy.  I have at least 3 race recaps to write, plus an update on my marathon plan, and some nonsense about running ten miles with a broken toe but life has seriously gotten in the way the past few weeks.  Be prepared for an onslaught of posts next weeks!

Until then, happy [insert exercise of your choice here]! And, special shout-out to all of my Marine Corp Marathon friends!  I can’t wait to hear all about your race!

So, you want to run a Ragnar Trail Relay

I have heard from several people who are interested in running a Ragnar Trail Relay. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart!   Here are a few tips that may make things a bit easier:

Consider bringing at least one canopy with sides. Otherwise, bring enough tarps to wrap around the sides.  We could only cover 1 side and a bit around the corner to act as a wind break and even that little bit helped but more would have been better.

Remember to bring duct tape.

Bring at least one change of clothes for weather 20 degrees warmer and 20 degrees colder than predicted, especially if it’s in the mountains.

Bring disposable hand warmers.

Bring an extra pair of dry shoes for your last leg.

Schedule the strongest runners to run the red loop last. By the time you get to that last run, your legs are toast.

Have at 1-2 very strong runners who would be willing to pace during the night legs.  Having the extra set of lights really does help!

You can’t have too many gallon size ziploc bags. Ditto garbage bags, especially when you are breaking down your camp.

An old-fashioned percolator can save your life! Coffee in the camp doesn’t start until 10 PM on the first day.

Baby wipes are great.

Use a big plastic bin to bring your gear. No worries if it rains/snows/etc. and it’s an extra flat space.

Consider bringing a hunk of outdoor carpet to put in the common area.

Make one of your smaller tents the “changing” tent.

If your shoes are wet, immediately pull out the sock liner/insoles and stuff with newspaper. They won’t be completely dry but they will be less soggy for your next leg.

Make sure you bring enough calories.  Focus on nutrient dense food – your body will definitely need it.

Try to sleep whenever the opportunity presents itself. I foolishly wasted a good nap time and wound up with only 1 hour of sleep.

Have a team that is flexible and can adjust easily to varied weather conditions, running schedules, delays, etc.

Remember that this is FUN! 🙂

Have you run a Ragnar Trail Relay (or other overnight event)? What would you add to the list?