Sunday, November 15, 2015

Going to California ... International Marathon

Just three weeks out from California International Marathon! Goal: run the OTQ Marathon B Standard. Ahh feels like yesterday I finished Bellingham Bay half marathon and thought, why the hell not me?! Well it's actually been 7 weeks, and they flew by.
Every day I'm shuffling
Weeks in block: 10 (7 down as of today) 
Average weekly mileage: 49
Highest mileage week: 67
Lowest mileage week: 44
Worst workout: 4 x 1000/400 in the rain sick and alone. Also almost pooped my shorts in front of entire high school football team. Did I mention it was only a 4 x 1000/400 workout? Okay good.
Best workout: 4 x 2 mile at MP, 2:00 rest. Done a little less than 4 out. Was the best because it was the first glimmer of hope that 6:11 miiiight be possible and was done after a big week. Felt easy when it shouldn't have.

This training block has been pretty consistent in its tone. I took it mile by mile and no workout really felt easy or like, oh yeah, I'm so gonna nail that 2:42:__. But nothing felt way off. Have gradually climbed from my first week at 44 miles with a 14 mile LR to last week at 67 with a 22.
Post run rock hunt
An unexpected low was a date mix up. In my excitement to get training I loaded up the left column of my training doc with the weeks/dates until CIM and told Steph Bruce let's do this! Only to realize on November 1 that I'd put the dates in wrong, and we had one less week than we thought. But she loaded up the past two weeks with solid work and I should never touch numbers. 

Seriously serious
Hotel is booked, tickets bought, peak weeks have started ... it's on. I'm happy I'm taking the chance. My life and training are night and day compared to Chicago 2012. But that's a blog for another day. Or not. I'm interested to see where the cards fall on this training block and this race.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

there's a little bit of magic

"there's a little bit of magic / everybody has it / there's a little bit of sand left in the hourglass"
Jenny Lewis, Head Underwater

A lot has changed in the past year, the past two years. And at the best of me I've grown up a lot. And certainly changed. I'm like that friend that came back from Europe junior year of college and is all, "Dude, you gotta go. It changed my life." but in the case of having a kid it's actually true. But only sounds slightly less douchey to everyone else.

Competitive running took a back seat, actually it was more like a Cheerio under the back seat. And I was truly 100% fine with it. I wasn't sleeping. I was trying to keep my head above water at work. And every spare moment I wanted to spend with Penelope. It simply didn't have a place in my life. I still ran and loved it. But the goals I had were simple, like be fit enough to run the long run with friends. And run all the dirt roads possible this summer.
Check. Check.
But something flipped late this summer. Well, we started sleeping when Penelope was almost a year old. No more getting up 4 times a night! Life changing. And things started to feel a little less like survival and a little more like life.

And I don't know when I the tiny voice returned, the one that whispers, why not me? But there she was again! I listened I signed up for California International Marathon thinking I can always pull out. A few weeks later I bought a plane ticket. And I owned up to it. Because why not me? I'm running anyway. Why not train? And I'm training anyway. Why not race? And if I'm going to race, why not chase the sub 2:43 one more time.

It doesn't weigh as much to me as it did. I can hold the goal loosely. I'm nowhere near a shoe in, but I'm going to train hard and do my very best. Nothing to lose. And I do believe there's a little bit of magic.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

back to it

During my cool down yesterday I thought about why I'm still training. The OTQ marathon is drifting into the realm of impossible. Or has drifted, it was always borderline. I was always far from a sure shot.

Since June, my knee, my calves, my sinuses, my exhaustion, my baby, my time... yada yada all got in the way of training, or even running most days. And I'm not one for excuses, but the obstacles were insurmountable for a good month. Each week another layer. 

Yesterday I did my first workout in weeks. (Since Rock n Roll?) And it felt so good. But as my A goal drifts, I sometimes wonder what I'm doing. Simply? I love training and racing.

But maybe it also boils down a broader human condition, the two prominent voices in my head at all times. Whether they are talking about me as a mother, wife or friend, or talking about my career, or even running they are always saying...

You are capable of big things. You are irreparably flawed. 

Both push me in different ways. They balance each other on the best days. Although I wouldn't be worse off for listening to that first voice a little more than I do. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

ready or not, it's race time

I signed up for the Rock n Roll Seattle Half Marathon a few months ago. It's my first A race since Chicago 2013. And training has been very different than in the past. I can explain it best like this:
In case you couldn't tell these are handdrawn I added the pen
I'm training 5 days a week. One workout, one long run, two rest days. All the moms out there will just want to shake me* when I say it... but still not sleeping more than 4 hours a time 99% of my nights. (*Moms will want to shake me because a. duh, get over it none of us are sleeping either or b. duh, get that sh*t under control and sleep train like a boss)

That was a lot of number talk. Basically I'll have a couple decent weeks, then a really good week that gets me so fired up and then abruptly eat doo doo for a week, and repeat.

So that's running...let's talk racing! 

5k: February 14th \ Love 'Em or Leave 'Em \ 19:01
5k: April 18th \ B.A.A. 5k \ 18:14
10k: tomorrow May 30th \ Brooks Trailhead 10k
Half Marathon: June 13th \ Seattle RnR Half

Being me, I have unreasonable race expectations that I'm reigning in. I'm reminding myself these are just steps on my journey. And I'm running. Which is the real goal and accomplishment right now. It seemed so far out of reach 3 months ago.

"Don't try to rush progress. Remember - a step forward, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction. Keep believing." Kara Goucher

Yes, this is how I look during all my runs.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

boil the frog

Last week I did my first track workout. Thanks coach Steph!

I'm notoriously horrible at any and all track work. And races. Except for my brief days dominating the 2 mile as an awkward tween. Made Nationals, baby! Won that third heat! You want my autograph, I know it. Annnnyway, just the thought of track work keeps me up at night in a cold sweat.
awkward mac tween - dual meet - somewhere in western mass

Why? I don't know 100% why, but I think 99% is my hatred and refusal (inability) to deal with "math" and "numbers" and 8.2% is the pressure of precision.  Either way, I'm a total stress ball.

My workout was 1000, 800, 600, 400 (1/2 marathon pace, 10k pace, 5k pace, mile pace) x2 with 2 minutes rest between each rep and 3 minutes rest between each set. NBD. But of course I'm frozen with ... what should my 100 be? and 200? And is that the line for 100? Until I'm oxygen deprived and just like aaargh.

Anyway, I did it! I accidentally kicked off my second set with a 600 at 1/2 marathon pace (face palm) and had to re-do it. And by that make up 1000m all I could think was, this is just a "boil the frog workout", "burn froggy burn." Which naturally led to singing (in my head, I think) "this frog is on fiiiiire" (a la Alicia Keys, This Girl is on Fire).

But damn, this frog *is* on fire! And this comeback is on! I have an entry to Rock n Roll Seattle on June 13 and I'm aiming hard, but also trying to keep all the other balls in the air. Work, PJ, husband, eating something other than 3 cookies for lunch...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

six months

I'm starting this post two days before Penelope actually turns 6 months in the feeble hope that I might finish sometime before she turns 7 months. Right now I'm standing bouncing in my kitchen, wearing her in the Ergo, nap hood up... listening to her make little wake up noises. Oh she's up.

oh hey! were you doing something?
On her six week 'birthday' I wrote that I knew 'some stuff'. Now at six months, I know a little bit more. About Penelope. Not babies in general. It dawned on me during my run the other day that she's not me or Owen or anyone I know, she's a tiny stranger. And we have this opportunity to get to know her. Every day she shows us a little bit more of her personality and I fall in love with every little clue.

She's been super expressive since day one, and it's only getting better. She makes the best faces. Sometimes she does the slow turn to look at you and with this sassy "...the hell?" expression. The best. She can also drop an eyebrow and lift the other. But her face 80% of the time is in a giant mouth open smile.
Avocados are the best!
If she's excited (and it doesn't take much) her entire body shakes and her mouth opens as wide as it will go. She emits no sound, just silent scream/shakes. Like when you laugh so hard no sound comes out anymore, just tears. Her real laugh appeared one day when I tried to get her to jump. I'd jump and yell jump. She thought that was hilarious.  But she'll rarely laugh at the same thing twice, you have to impress her with new material.

She is not a great sleeper. Her mind is busy and she needs to make sure I'm still out there. Last night she was inconsolable from 9pm - midnight unless she had her face nuzzled in neck. I finally tucked her in our bed, she feel asleep with both hands on my face. You can guess how well I slept. But darn if she isn't the cutest.

My training is finally rolling. Nothing like my previous training before Penelope, but I'm learning to appreciate it for what it is. And I wouldn't be running if it weren't for Stephanie Bruce. When she came out to Seattle in December she was like, what's your excuse? (In so many words). And she handed me a schedule, but it felt like so much more. It's like she gave me the permission I didn't know I was waiting for. To run long. To run fast. She reminded me that I could be accountable. That I could commit to a schedule, but also remain flexible. That I could decide, obstacle or excuse?
second 10 miler, hip cape courtesy of my friend dave
During my run yesterday I had a realization... I still don't fully trust my body. After my birth plan evaporated in front of my eyes and instead of a spiritual, warrior goddess birthing experience I had a long, detached, medicated march to an unplanned c-section I lost faith in my capabilities. But more than just losing faith in my ability to give birth, I lost faith in myself in general. In my physical and mental strength.

I didn't realize I was still fighting the words "failure" and "inadequate". I had always believed myself to be strong and powerful and after those days trying to have my baby and "failing", I didn't believe that anymore.  I was timid and began to talk down about my body. I questioned what I could do.

This was clear after the Love 'Em or Leave 'Em 5k. We stood on the starting line and as they counted down 10-9-8-... I remembered what it was like to believe. I felt the darkness lift from my mind and let my feet and legs and body run. I believed in my body. I breathed out the word calm. I made targets and chased them. I reminded myself to keep strong form. I raced like I used to. It felt so foreign that I kept returning to the race in my mind, and although it wasn't a PR by any means (and nearly 2 minutes slower than I'd raced the course) it was a turning point. I felt proud and secure in my body for the first time in a long time.

I've been training with Stephanie for seven weeks and I'm so grateful she took me under her wing. She's an amazing coach and mentor. Watching her shows me what's possible. Watching Lauren Fleshman shows me what's possible. Watching Erica Sara shows me what's possible. Watching Sally and Lesko and my SIL's Jane and Anna and my mother.

Life is the best it's ever been and the hardest it's ever been. I wake up spinning after a night where I soothed Penelope down 3, 4, 5, 6 times. I still haven't slept more than 4 hours in a chunk in six months, most nights it's 2 hours at a time. There are days I wonder if I can do it. And then I do. Because I know it's possible because I have women who show me. 


For the record this blog post took me 7 days to write. Currently I can hear her chanting 'mam-mama-mam..." instead of napping in her crib.