Time to finish

Tomorrow is it, my first marathon. The road getting to the race has not been what I expected but with most things in life, it is rarely what you expect.

The journey has changed me, skewed my perspective, given me new goals to chase.  Tomorrow is the celebration of lots of hard work. My party with thousands who also chose to undergo a year or so of crazy amounts of running.  Streets lined with those who have helped us so much along the way that we would never be crossing a finish line without them. 

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One mile at a time

Divide it into 5Ks they say, make long runs into several shorter runs, do this…eat this…wear these…wow! The advice! Lots. Some from people who should give it, most from those who should not. I would consider myself in the should not category. Even though I learn so much with each passing week. I haven’t made it yet. But I will, with my approach: one mile at a time… A friend helps with the kids so I can get in a run here, my hubby sweetly supports on the sideline (or more impressive: ran with me to help me get past my 14 mile wall), a supportive text, a co-worker who listens to my millionth running makes me hungry rant…each week, one mile closer to the goal.

Not going to happen

26.2 miles seemed like a great idea:  a challenge, a commitment, and a way to push myself.  I found a race months away, I started the first miles.  I was well on my way.

Then we moved, I started a new job, the kids started school, and life started rushing by.  Short runs got pushed, long runs shortened, and my meal plans flew out the window on the way for take-out.  All of those months I had left for preparation shortened to weeks and I was faced with the fact that my training was nothing close to the original plan, I hadn’t broken 15 miles yet, and I wasn’t ready.  Instead of my first marathon approaching with excitement, it started to feel more like marching to certain defeat.  (It really seemed like failure – I failed a test once and it still bothers me to this day).  After a week or two of back and forth, some crying, and a lot of beating myself up; hubby reminded me this was about my journey as a runner, and there will be other races.

I had two choices. 1.  Refuse to admit I wasn’t ready, go, walk most of the last half, and almost certainly have an awful run.  2.  Admit that it is okay, choose another race and press on.

Today I will go out to the same old trail and get in this weeks training run.  I’ll enjoy the cooler weather, quietness, and everything I look forward to on a run.  I will take one step at a time, and no one will know or care I am missing THE race tomorrow.  This week, I made all of my workouts, still ate too many cookies, and spent too much time on my feet in uncomfortable shoes.  It has been one of those really long weeks, and I cannot fathom getting in the car today to drive five hours to a race I wasn’t confident about.

I know I made the right choice.  I did figure out I love running enough to keep going, and I will make 26.2.  Nothing ever happens on our time-table any way.

Thank God for the aid station

During a race, every so often there is a water station, porta potty, someone in their yard with a cowbell cheering for a perfect stranger. In my life lately, I have been running the race aid station to aid station. Man has made countless Walmart trips, made breakfast, pushed my tired self out of bed at unholy hours, packed lunches…the list goes on. Friends have checked in on me, encouraged me, and listened to the most ridiculous rants.  Sometimes in life, you just need a little umph to get you to that next mile marker.

Roping the family into this running lifestyle thing…

Over the past couple of weeks, we eased off dairy, grains, and sugar. No one really noticed…except maybe my husband when he ran out of peanut butter and it wasn’t replaced.  I decided to dive in for 30 days…the Whole 30 reset. 

Day 1

Breakfast – leftover potato and egg scramble.  I planned ahead enough to make my potato salad for the 4th whole 30 friendly.  Watermelon and blackberries. Water. 

AM – good, if I wake early and run, I’m going to need a snack.  Today I opted for shopping and an unsweetened tea

Lunch- burger stacks (basically a burger with everything but the bun), celery and carrots, grapes

Snack – banana and handful almonds; kids had extra snack of apples and carrots

Dinner- taco salad with THIS dressing.  We tossed taco meat and greens with grape tomatoes, shredded carrot, bell pepper, green onion.  Served it with mango and strawberries.

I better get a little more interesting or I’m going to lose my gang. 

Day 2. Hungry beasts may attack me and force me to buy milk and bread. I think I’m going to have to triple my budget to fill these guys up with protein, veggies, and fruit. I don’t want to even factor in the price of nuts. So far, the other adult in the house hasn’t cried mutiny.  

Breakfast: unsugared, uncured ham, scrambled eggs, blueberries. Water.

Mid-morning: unsweetened tea 

Lunch: beef fajita salad with guacamole and salsa. Iced tea

Afternoon snack: Apple with almond butter. Iced tea

I’m still hungry snack: watermelon. Iced tea

Dinner: they devoured 2 chickens, add in Greek roasted potatoes, broccolini with garlic, and steamed veggies. Still hungry was the consensus.

What the world???? HOW ARE WE STILL HUNGRY???

Day 3. They found the Larabars! The plan lists them as emergency food to have on hand.  I guess my kids declared an emergency. I should have been on to them when they seemed happier. I had an assortment…they tasted them for me. Very helpful.

Breakfast:  Larabars, banana, water

Snack:  coconut strawberry banana and pineapple smoothie – I know they aren’t recommended but I needed something and I stock smoothie stuff in my freezer 

Lunch: sliced roast turkey, apple slices, grapes and raw veggies with avocado and cilantro “pesto”. I just let the kids eat veggies until they popped. 

Snack: banana, water. 

Dinner: plantain chip “nachos”. It was taco salad leftovers, but throw in a “chip”, call it a “nacho” and watch it disappear.  Chunked mangoes and strawberries. Water. 

I should sleep better. I had waaayyy less caffeine. Kids said they were less hungry. Veggies until we pop every day!

Day 4. Today was packed. Morning run, errands to get house ready for realtor’s open house, yard work, Breakfast:  eggs to order, bacon, sweet potatoes with peppers and onions, orange

Snack/mini-meal (11AM): banana slices, peach slices, handful pistachios

Lunch/mini-meal(2PM): grabbed lunch out – fajitas with guac on small bed of lettuce. Wish I’d thought of Chipotle! Everyone left saying they were still hungry but no one asked for a snack when we got home…

Snack: cherries, coconut chips

Dinner: grilled cilantro lime chicken, grilled pineapple, steamed green beans, green salad with whatever veggies survived from yesterday 

Full, happy family. Even talked vacation and how we are going to keep to this plan while traveling!

Day 5. Soooo, so busy, with a headache. 

Breakfast: eggs to order, bacon, avocado, water

Lunch: egg omelet with brisket and ranchero sauce, breakfast potatoes, iced tea

Snack: peach

Dinner: spaghetti squash with seasoned ground beef, grapes

So…then I quit keeping track daily. I’m bored with the day by day food  (and if you’re reading this); you probably are too.  Blah, blah, blah…repeat of favorite meals and before I know it, we are easing up on restrictions to make vacation easier, and planning for a long-term more sustainable modification of this plan.  I’m also looking into buying stock in avocados. 

Overall take away of the whole 30:  over time our dietary habits had really strayed into dangerous territory.  Try the diet. It’s 30 days. It’s a challenge.  You’ll like it. Once you survive the first ten days that is. 

Running in July

Running in Texas is hot business but running in July is a whole new level. Unless you plan on dodging barflies in your all black running gear, waking earlier only helps so much.. 

Long run thoughts: 

Accept you will look like you’ve ran through a sprinter and you smell like a locker room. It’s okay. Embrace it! Then shower!

Fartleks sure seem a whole lot like running in a neighborhood with strays and little dogs. 

It’s ironic when your headphones keep telling you low battery the entire last leg of a run.

Wireless headphones are awesome!  The breeze hits them and makes it sound like you’re real trucking it. 

Time may pass faster if you play: “Can I take on that biker and steal his ride?”

If I eat a burger of any sort with or without a bun the night before a long run, there will be a hissy fit at miles 4-5 that include ditching the music. 

Run with sunscreen, cause melanoma is real and scary. 

Another fun game is could I run through that sprinkler without anyone noticing…or is it city?, is it well?, is it septic?

Run with water. It’s not that much extra weight. Much better than lightheaded. 

No, I am NOT playing Pokemon Go. Neither is my husband Pulling a bike trailer and watching my other son ride solo. We are refilling water. Cause you will run out.

You look forward to the longer distances because ice bath!

The Iceberg Effect

Sweat is pouring…can my ears sweat? I think they are sweating.  Ugh…I can smell myself.  I am only on mile two.  What is wrong with me? My feet are lead today.  Yes – big, giant, clown-feet made of lead.  What did I do yesterday? Movie, grandma’s, girls night…Oh, OH. The image of the iceberg pops into your head:  30% gym and 70% diet.  I ate like crap.  Now I feel like crap.  

Then you realize, you’re at a cross-roads…to advance you have to change – no more crap.  No cheating.  Commit to being healthy, and not just when you feel like it. A diet isn’t going to work.  It’s time to start eating according to your goals.

Chickens, crickets, and my morning run

My husband has always risen at riddle us hours of dark thirty to do various hunting and fishing activities.   Most of which I am happy to leave to him and his buddies because they involve waking in the middle of the night or cold…or both.  Neither of which I am a fan.  So, it is slightly ironic that here I am at 6 AM.  Showered, trash taken out, dog fed and walked, with my morning run already in the log books.  People, summer in TEXAS IS HOT.  running is hot.  I have come to understand if you are crazy enough to train for a marathon over the summer months, suddenly waking in the middle of the night for your run sounds much saner than running in the stifling heat later in the day.  (And it’s not even really that hot yet). I have told people who ask why I run, “I have three small children.  It’s quiet”.  Quiet indeed…just a couple of roosters, the crickets, and me.

Running…wait, not yet…running

This week has been a test of self-control and patience.  Two things everyone thinks they have until they are tested.  Easing back into a solid running routine is interesting.  I feel behind in training, but I’ve learned the hard way too much too soon can completely haunt all progress.
Lesson learned: I do not like little dogs.  I used to think this was irrational, but they chase me everywhere I run and bark and snap. The worst a large dog has ever done is sniff.  Just saying.