Day 98: Uncle

I had 12 miles to do today. Around mile 6 I started dropping F bombs like they were a mandatory pause between words. Around mile 8 my legs said, “Screw you, bitch; we’re outtahere.” Around mile 10 I wanted to hit my head against a tree because for some reason I kept thinking I only had 10 miles to do, and when I realized I had to go 2 more, yes, please shoot me now; that would be fine.

Now I’m home, my legs are crying, my back hurts, and of all the stupid things, my feet actually feel okay. I’m starting to see the mental aspect of marathon running, when your body’s saying, “For the love of God, stop this!” but your brain is saying, “But I have 6 more miles to go! If not now, when?” It’s like staying in a bad marriage but you stay in it for…well, some reason. In both cases, self-flagellation is probably involved.

BUT on the happy side, I dropped 5 whole pounds between when I woke up this morning—and had breakfast and a cup of coffee—and when I came back from the run. Naturally, as I tried to lie down and stop sweating, my mind strayed over to, “Hey, if I lost 5 pounds on 12 miles, I’ll lose at least 10 pounds on 26, right?” Really, I am dropping some serious weight (AT LAST!) and it feels good. My friend Karen told me to come raid her closet but in another month, I could very well be down to a size 10. And in another month I’ll still have 2 more months of training to go, and then the 20 mile practice runs will start.

Oh please, just shoot me now?

But also on the happy side, had this been a half marathon, I would’ve PR’d. I did some hellacious hills. I’ve taken to calling the hill that leads to the Hay Barn “Depression Hill.” I had to do it twice and almost did it a third time—until I realized the flaw in my math, and that going that way a third time still would be put me 3 miles from 12—but the idea of climbing that bastard one more time? Oh hell no. Something about beating myself up that hill brings out some very dark and dangerous thoughts in my head. The kind of thoughts even therapists shy away from addressing. Had I done that loop 3 times, I could’ve knocked out 6 miles, but I just couldn’t make myself do it. Turned out to be a good thing, though, because I did the compost loop by the EN complex instead and realized where I can get water.

The heel-to-toe stride has made a ridiculous amount of difference. My feet can handle the distances and my knee didn’t go on strike. I get a much better push off a heel strike, and at one point up Depression Hill, I found a burst of speed and went for it. Not on the second trip; that was where my mind was edging into Hannibal Lecter territory, and I didn’t dare go the third time.

So today I did 12. Next week, 14; likely at Kelly Drive, up to the Art Museum, back to Falls Bridge, and then up to Manayunk and back for the balance. The week after, 10, which will feel like a vacation. Then the REAL fun begins.

After the run, I took a shower and then laid on the bed, willing myself to stop sweating. For a while I looked up at the curtain rod over the window by the bed. I’ve hung my race medals there, and looking at them always makes me feel better. Each one represents something I did that I wasn’t sure I could do. The last one on the rack right now is the Broad Street medal, but come November I want to hang two new medals: my Philly Marathon medal and my OAR team medal. I really want those, so that’s why I’m doing this. It’s not the having something that they really represent. It’s the earning.


Day 105: Week One In the Books

Well, the first of 16 weeks of training is over. Yesterday I dragged myself home after 10 miles, wondering how on earth I’m going to do 12 miles next weekend. Mostly trying to figure out when, since we have tickets to the PA Renaissance Faire for either Saturday or Sunday. We’ll go on the better weather day, though really, we went last year on a misty, light rainy day, and it wasn’t crowded and we had a lot of fun. Something to think about.

As far as the run goes, it took some creativity to complete 10 miles at the farm park. I got to mile 7.5 and had to backtrack through the hospital grounds, but I came in at 10.22 miles. Next week I think I’ll just hit the Schuylkill River Trail, go up 6 miles and then come back 6 miles. Easy peasy, plus I’ll pass the Betzwood Trail Head and refill my water bottle. Water, I’ve come to learn, is absolutely essential for long practice runs. My pint bottle needs to get bigger for the longer runs ahead.

But all in all it felt good. Yesterday after the 10, I kept moving and that helped keep me from stiffening up. This morning I felt fine, but I also let myself sleep a little and I went out to run at 10 a.m. Earlier runs are cooler temperature-wise but this was only 3 miles. “Just 3” felt like a cheat so I didn’t mind doing 3.55. I’ll definitely appreciate them after I’ve done an 18 miler.

Fifteen more weeks to go. It’s funny, I look at the rest days on the schedule and think, “You know, I could just go out and do a few miles.” But I only have 2 running bras. Two consecutive runs means I’m doing laundry again. And again. And again…

So this Saturday (or Sunday) will be the real challenge. Luckily I added a new song to my running playlist. Good pace, the title says it all, and Starz was free for the weekend while “Outlander” premiered so I finally got to see “American Hustle” so I consider the song motivation. 😀

Day 108: LaLaLa!

Different topic this time. (Though I will say I did my 3rd straight run today, another 4 miles, and I feel fantastic and I have no idea why. I feel like I should be exhausted but I’m not. Go figure.)

I belong to an amazing writing, critique, and support group called the LaLaLa’s. We got together because we didn’t final in the Golden Heart contest in 2010, and we all wanted to figure out what wasn’t working and start moving in the right direction. God bless Valerie Bowman for putting that first email out there. I can’t imagine where I’d be in this world without the LaLaLa’s. Granted, I think a certain someone was perturbed that I was focusing more time and energy into writing and less into him, but I will never ever regret joining this group of caring, talented, amazing women. I’ve met some and can’t wait to meet everyone!

Valerie happened to talk to Barbara Vey while at RWA National this year, and Barbara asked her to write up an article to post on her blog. It went up today, here. 🙂 That’s Jaye Garland in the first picture; she gave me my nickname, God. Long story. Buy me a drink and I’ll tell you some time. 🙂

But there was more to say so Ashlyn MacNamara and Abigail Sharpe added to the story: I had to share just because it gave me such a laugh. It seems I’ve grown a reputation for butt-kicking. If it only worked on myself or teenagers…? 🙂 I hope everyone someday knows what it feels like to know they’ve made a difference in just one person’s life. Thank you, Ash! I might stop grinning some time next week. 😉

You know, I have to laugh. I went back to get links to everyone’s websites, and I’m pretty sure when we started in March 2010, none of us had websites. 🙂 I had this blog. Didn’t use it much. I’m getting there.

Thank you, ladies! You are my angels and my blessings and the wind beneath my wings!

Day 110: New Normal

My 16 week training plan started yesterday…with a rest day. Kind of anticlimactic if you ask me, but I rested just like they told me to. (Who am I to disobey orders?) 🙂 Today was my first official training run so I took a pic to commemorate. Let’s see if I look any different in 109 days:


It was a good 4.17 miles, 55 minutes. It’s hot today but that’s par for the course: it’s August. 🙂 Tomorrow 4 more, and Thursday 4 more. Rest day Friday, 10 miles Saturday, 3 miles Sunday. I’m keeping a spreadsheet of my mileage too.

Today it begins. I think I’m ready to try this new adventure. Let’s see what happens next, shall we?

Oh, and if you’re so inclined, as you can see I’m running for the OAR, the Organization for Autism Research, a terrific charity that helps people and families with autism. My fundraising page is here. I’d love your support! 🙂 Thank you!!

Day 112: Or Is It One?

Today is the last day of normal life. Well, technically. My 16-week marathon training programs starts tomorrow, so today was my last “freestyle” run before a chart on the wall mandates, between now and November 22nd, how far I’ll be running and when.

The pre-race nerves fluctuate. One day I’m scared spitless. The next day I’m confident I can finish. Remembering how bad my nerves were the night before my first 5k—I think I got 3 hours of sleep, wondering if I had everything I needed—and knowing that now, I sleep like a stone the night before a race, I expect I’ll need to try to go to bed at 8 the day before if I hope to close my eyes by 10. Let’s not forget that I’ll probably have to be at the starting line by 5, as my friends had to do last year. The race starts at 7. I keep telling myself it’ll all be over by 1. God willing and the creek don’t rise, it’ll be over a while before that, but we’ll see.

So as of tonight, all fun ceases. Well, not ALL (Bradley Cooper, call me? 🙂 ) but no more wine. Watch everything I eat. No cheat days. I’m officially in training in a few hours, which is why there’s ice cream in the freezer and a glass of white zinfandel next to me. I’m told if you want to change your body, take up running. If you want to change your life, train for a marathon. We’ll see.

I ran Kelly Drive and MLK Drive this morning, 9.22 miles. I started feeling it at 8 miles, with my feet hurting and my hips aching. All I could think was, “Oh great. I have 3 times this distance to go and I’m tired now? Lovely.” I’d planned on 10 miles but stopped when I got back to the car. But I got some beautiful pictures:

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And as luck would have it, I got to the Art Museum and started up the steps, videoing all the way, when “Gonna Fly Now” from Rocky came on my iPod. For once, iPod, your timing was excellent. Could’ve been better because I was halfway up the steps at the time, but still, I appreciated it, and I ran around the fountain just to enjoy the moment a little longer. If you’ve never run the Steps or been to Philadelphia, but you wanted to run in Rocky’s footsteps, here you go. Sorry about the heavy breathing. Couldn’t be helped. 😉

Tomorrow it’s official: I’m training for a marathon. I’m scared, excited, anxious, and, well, just hand me the thesaurus. I’m sure I can find more adjectives. 🙂 Here goes everything!