Racing in 2013

Last year, my race schedule was anything but a schedule.  The few races I did were mostly last minute decisions and I bagged quite a few of them last minute.  That doesn’t mean this year was without its highlights!

-I was 5th in the swim at the Life is Good Tri!

-My relay team took first place overall at the Belmar Tri!

-I finished the Philadelphia Half-Marathon with little training and was NOT injured!

With everything that 2012 was, I am glad it is over.  2013 has started off quite nicely in the fitness field.

-As a kid, and a teenager, I always wanted to take dance.  I never did but in December, at age 31, I began taking ballet classes. I love it!  It is an adult class and NO we do NOT wear tu-tu’s!  I am also doing Barre Fit and it has been amazing for toning up and getting fit.  I see such a difference!  I go two or three times a week and it is great.  Not only is it whipping me into shape but it is really helping with my core, balance and flexibility as well.

-In addition to the ballet and barre classes, I have been hitting the gym two times a week, no matter what!  Between two jobs, that can be difficult, but I know I want to get back to a fitter and healthier me this year.  One of the additional motivations to stick to this schedule, is that in March I will be heading to Mexico for a friends wedding and I need to be in bikini shape three months earlier than I am used to!

-I have been base building for my April half-marathon.  Short but quality runs, building back up my endurance and getting my legs back into gear!  The real training schedule starts this week.  I am really looking forward to nicer weather so that I can complete all my runs outside and only have to worry about the gym when I want to swim.

-I am continuing to see my Sports PT every other week or so for ART and Graston.  I use the foam roller every night and use a LAX ball for trigger point a few times a week.  I thought the foam roller was the enemy but as it turns out, the LAX ball is the devil!  It is worth it, though.  My very biggest goal of all, is to stay injury free!

-I am done doing triathlon.  Yup.  Done.  You know what…I really gave it a good try; I really wanted to like riding a bike.  But I just hate it.  I did four years of triathlons.  And I enjoyed it and I was good at it.  Except the biking.  And I don’t even want to be good at it, because I don’t even like it!  You know what I do like?  Running and swimming.  Relay tri’s are still going to very much be a part of my life.  And I am determined to find more Splash and Dash races so that I can still compete in both sports I enjoy.

I feel like for the first time in 5 years, I am doing everything right.  Looking back, I feel like something was always off.  There was never a time where everything was on point.  This year is going to be different; at least I am giving it my all to be that way.  Sticking to a strict training plan, increasing my core and flexibility, keeping my nutrition plan together and continuing ART and Graston to keep from getting injured.

So what is on the agenda for 2013?

Rutgers Half-Marathon

Spartan Race

Atlantic City Half-Marathon

Philadelphia Half or Full Marathon  (I’ll be deciding this for sure after the RU half.)

I am still looking for a May 10-miler and I know there are a few tri’s I will be swimming for as part of a relay and there is a possible 15k in the fall.  And of course some local 5k’s that will be week or day of decisions.  I am excited to be training and I am looking forward to racing, but the last thing I want to do is overwhelm myself.  I have to constantly remind myself that I am, in essence, starting over.  I don’t want to push too hard, or race too much or risk burn out or injury.

How is your 2013 shaping up?  Are you doing anything new this year?

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Why I Ran Philly in 2012

I had signed up for the race in April, thinking it would be a good motivation for me to start running again.  That was a joke.  I was barely running.  Signing up for a race only meant I was barely running AND out $65.  But then summer rolled around and I had some more time on my hands, so every few days I would go for a walk.  Then a jog now and then.  And then eventually, I just started running again.  But it wasn’t far and it DEFINITELY wasn’t fast.  And it wasn’t consistent.  By August, I was supposed to run the Wildwood Half-Marathon, but had only been running about 8-10 miles a WEEK at that point.  So, I bagged that race.  While I was down the shore, lamenting on my inability to get my shit together and just friggen run, I had a major awakening.  Major.

[BACK STORY:

I have a friend Jessica who I have known since high school.  We had some classes together but we really weren’t close until our senior year when we roomed together on a trip to England.  Although we hadn’t gotten close until then, everyone knew Jessica.  Jess was the girl with Cystic Fibrosis.  She was the one too sick to come to school for days at a time.  She was the one so sick over break our junior year, she spent weeks at CHOP and the class took a bus trip to visit her.  She was the one in England who had a lot more to pack than just clothes.  I remember being legit stunned at how much medication she needed on a daily basis.  But man, Jessica lived life.  She definitely didn’t let CF hold her back.   (For those who don’t know, CF is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system.)

After high school we stayed in touch if we saw each other but it wasn’t until Facebook that we really reconnected.  The best part about getting back in touch was that I found out she was going to be getting a double lung transplant.  And thank God too, because by the time of her transplant, Jessica was a very, very sick girl.  Simple tasks like getting out of bed were simply too much.  The surgery was successful and life completely changed for Jess.  Yeah for new lungs!  By the time our 10 year high school reunion rolled around, Jessica was two months post surgery and looking and feeling fabulous.  The transplant worked!  After the reunion, we definitely got closer.  We talked often, usually emailing back and forth since we lived in different states.  And then came the bad news.  This past Spring after only 2.5 years with her new lungs, Jessica began to experience rejection symptoms.  And the report was not good.  Rejection.  Double rejection.  You see, a lung transplant does not cure CF because the defective gene that causes the disease is in all of the cells in the body, not just in the lungs.  While a transplant does give a person with CF a new set of lungs, the rest of the cells in the body still have the CF and may already be damaged by the disease.  And for Jessica, it was not a slow moving decline.  By the end of summer, doctors determined she was too sick to undergo another transplant. There would be no new lungs.

There…would…be…no…new…lungs.  I don’t have to tell you what that means for Jessica.

END BACK STORY]

So here I am at the shore that hot day in August.  And it just hits me like a ton of bricks.  I have lungs that want to breathe and legs that can run and I better get with the damn program.  Because there are too many Jessica’s out there.  Too many people who would love to run and can’t.  It was time to woman up and run.  I ran the very next day.  And the next weekend.  And slowly, I got began to feel it again.  How it feels to feel good running!  The training was brutal…and not near what it should have been, but come hell or high water I was running that race for Jessica.  And by running for Jessica, that is exactly what I mean.  I started up a page to raise money for The Lung Transplant Foundation (Jessica’s choice) and began telling her story.  She was my reason for running.  I would run for her.

Before I knew it, it was November.  I was far under-trained, my nutrition plan was laughable and I was really unsure of how this race would unfold.  But, I was going to finish.  Fittingly, the night before the race was a Beef and Beer for Jessica, an event I was NOT going to miss.  So it meant a late night…I mean, I wasn’t trained anyway, right!  It was a great night and I got to spend time with Jessica and it was totally worth it.  Between my mom and I, we also won six baskets- BONUS 🙂  While the reason we were there permeated through the night, spirits were high and it was exactly what I needed the night before the race.

I don’t need  to go into a detailed race report.  I’ll just say this:  the first 8 miles, I was having the race of my life.  Then my joke of a nutrition plan started its backfire on me, GU decided it did not in fact get along with my intestinal tract and my stomach interfered with my amazing race.  The last 5.1 miles were a brutal mix of walking, stopping and using way too many portal-pottys.  But nothing was going to keep me from that finish line.  I cried a lot…it was physically painful and emotional.  I just knew I could not stop.  And, many minutes later than I would have liked, I crossed the finish line.  For Jessica.

The first thing I did was email her to let her know I finished!  And she emailed me back to say she was proud of me.  She was proud of me!  She fights for every breath.  I am simply in awe of her spirit, grace and inner fight.

I wish there was more I could do than run a race and raise $1,950 for her foundation of choice.  But all I can do is share her story.  Make people aware of the importance of supporting foundations that are often overlooked.  Lung transplantation is a relatively rare procedure and this area receives little research support from National Institutes of Health or any disease-specific research foundation.  Currently, the Lung Transplant Foundation is researching treatments for chronic lung rejection, but there is no cure.  There. Is. No. Cure.  Jessica is still fighting.  But there are more bad days than good.  And, I know what that means. You know what it means.  She knows what it means.

england1999- Trip to London.  Jess and I are next to each other, front right.

jessica

Jessica and I at our reunion.

jess2Sign my mom made and had through the race!

jess1Ran with this on my back the entire race!

philly1#8 done!

I won’t make this part long.  Here is the link to the page http://www.gofundme.com/1a3cig

I am trying to raise a total of $3,000 in her name to the Lung Transplant Foundation.  I can’t let myself stop just because the race is over.  The race is over, but her fight isn’t and neither is mine.

Life Is Hard- My Most Honest Post Ever

I always pride myself on having an honest blog.  I am who I am and try not to waver from that on this blog.  That is why, when things really just got too hard, I stopped blogging.  I couldn’t be honest, at least not completely.  Oh, and I was broken.  Literally, physically, emotionally and mentally.

So, if you are still here…if you are still reading…park it, because this is going to be a long post.  But when it is all over, I know I will feel better and I know I’ll be ready to blog again.  It has taken over a full year, but I am finally finding my way back to me.  A better me.  Which makes everything I went through, worth it.  I wouldn’t want to go through it again, ever, but I can at least take comfort in knowing I have come out on the other side and I am okay.  Better than okay.

So you know the basics if you were a reader in the past…broken foot, broken heart, crazy roommate, etc…etc…ETC!

But what you may not know is this…I was jealous.  And generally speaking, I am not a jealous person.  But I was raging with jealousy.  That is the dead ugly truth.  Every blog post I read was about someone running, getting engaged or married, having a baby, losing weight, finishing a race and generally loving life.  Every damn post was so damn happy.  And I was so damn sad.  Angry, sad and seriously jealous.  I wanted to be running, getting engaged, losing weight and loving life.  (Notice, I did not say I wanted a baby!!!)  I couldn’t do it anymore.  I couldn’t open my reader to all the happiness.  In some odd way, it only made me more sad and more angry.  Like everyone in the world was happy except for me.

Here was problem #1…I didn’t even know who “me” was anymore.  I was 30 years old and a lost little girl.  I had to give up a life I planned and find myself again.  I had to admit that I was the only one in a relationship working on said relationship.  I had to swallow the most bitter pill of all:  I loved someone who didn’t love me.  It is so easy when you are in a relationship to only see what you want to see.  To pretend the bad things aren’t there or that it will get better.  And damn, let me tell you…when it came to R2, I was wearing the rosiest of rose-colored glasses ever.  And I wish I could say that it all became clear to me after we broke up…but it didn’t.  And because of that, I spend the next 5 months or so holding onto something that wasn’t there.  Something that was never there.  The break-up, the break, the separation…everything was dramatic, difficult and painful.  And look, this is a not a public forum for me to bash him and I won’t do that.  But I will say this…it was not all sunshine and flowers and the damage my relationship with him did to me is going to take years to overcome.  I have been in therapy for months.  There was a time when I never would have admitted that publicly.  I didn’t think I “needed” help.  Well, turns out, this help was the best gift I could have given myself.  I have learned so much.  Of course these are lessons I wish I had learned before going through so much pain, but at least I have these lessons in my pocket now.  I’ll never be as blind as I once was.  With that said…as much as I blame him…I also blame myself.  No one forced me to put with it all.  No one forced me to keep going back when I knew I would only get hurt.  And trust me, forgiving him was much easier than forgiving myself.  Much.

Problem #2 was that my release for stress is to work out.  Broken foot=no working out.  I was stuck with my pain and had no way to deal with it.  And then, when I could run again, I just didn’t want to do it.  I was too far gone.  The hole was dug too deep.  And in the midst of all of this, I was moving out of my condo with my psycho roommate and looking for a place to live.  Thankfully, I was able to stay with my aunt until I found a house.  But I had to find a house.  It was all I could do to get out of bed.  I struggled to get through each day; work was actually comforting because at least I knew my mind would be busy.

Problem #3 was that even when good things happened, I couldn’t actually be happy.  I mean, I was happy, but I couldn’t celebrate it because everything was so overwhelmed by my feelings of loneliness and sadness.  Everything was a reminder that I was alone. It took everything I had in me to get ready for a night out.  I would be exhausted before I even arrived.  Even the biggest and best thing to happen to me, buying a house, served as a reminder that I was doing it alone.  I just couldn’t get out of the damn black hole.

Then something happened.

I started solving my problems.

I started letting go of the shit that made me sad, so that I could be happy.

First up, R2.  He had to go.  He was inhibiting my ability to be happy and I was letting him.  The process of letting go was not easy; even though he didn’t want to be with me, he didn’t let me go easily either.  (Let’s hear for making difficult situations more difficult!)  From the time I first walked away and tried to cut him off, until we finally stopped communicating on a regular basis was six months.  He still wanted to be friends.  My argument was that he wasn’t someone I wanted to be friends with or have in my life.  But I kept giving him chances to make it up to me, apologize…anything.  I wanted the time I had spent with him to be validated.  But it was just a sick cycle.  I would cut him off, he would fight me on it, we would fight, we would make up, and repeat.  And repeat.  EXHAUSTING!  Oh, and ridiculously unfair.  It wasn’t until a few months ago, that we were able to talk openly.  He finally apologized (sincerely) and I was able to really let him go.  Since then, no communication and none intended in the future either.

It is a funny thing when someone stops taking up so much space in your head.  I started having space again for other things.  I started remembering how much I loved to swim and run.   I ran the Philly Half-Marathon in November.  I barely trained and the race was brutal, but I did it.  And at some point, I knew I would run another race.  And another.  I started remembering how much I really loved be with my friends.  Taking road trips.  I appreciated my house and saw it from a completely different point of view…I was doing something on my own, that many people couldn’t do with two people.  Things in general just because more clean.  I am not always happy; this is a major work in progress.  Sometimes…ok, quite often, I still feel lonely.  But I am no longer feeling alone. And for the first time in a very long time, the good days are outweighing the bad days.

I have a job I love.  I have an amazing family.  My friends are awesome.  I own my own home.  I have four races planned for this year.

I am back.

Updates…

I haven often said I had many reasons for taking a blog break.  The truth is, with so much going on, I just couldn’t write.  I really didn’t have anything good to talk about and I was feeling so down.  It has been a rough couple of months- BUT- I am finally feeling on the upswing and ready to dive back into life!  Here are some updates to clue you in and give you an idea of why things were so tough!

Foot- my foot is actually finally (FINALLY!) starting to feel better!  This has taken way longer than I would have liked and even though I still don’t think/feel 100%, I am happy to report that it does feel good after a long walk or short run.  I have been running with my softball girls and on my own a few miles a week.  It’s been hard starting over and I am frustrated much of the time.  People told me I would bounce right back and I expected too, but I didn’t.  This is honestly like starting over from day one again.  I don’t love running right now, but I remember how much better my life was when I did, so I am hoping to get back to that real soon.

Work- my job is still awesome.  It is the one thing I could count on when everything else was falling apart.  It really is hard to be in a bad mood when I work at a place so beautiful.  The job comes with the same stresses as many jobs, but there is also so much good to even some of those stresses out.  Additionally, I have been coaching softball and even though it makes for long days, I absolutely love it.  The girls have come so far since the first practice and we have a 5-2 record so far!  That is really exciting given that I have 5 girls who never played before and because of injuries I only have 11 girls on my team.  They have really stepped up to the plate (no pun intended) and have made me really proud!

Right now, on top of the day to day work and softball, it is insanely busy with end of the year stuff.  But at least my days fly by.  Tonight is the 8th grade dance and in the month of May we also have the overnight 8th grade trip, a field day and a community service day.  We are about 5 weeks from graduation.  I love these kids but I am definitely ready for summer!

House Hunting- I moved.  Again.  My roommate was CRAZY with a capital C and I couldn’t take it anymore.  Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like when people leave their shit in the toilet, leave food stuck on pots/plates in the kitchen sink and don’t take the trash out for 4 weeks.  I am also not a fan of her naked boyfriend running around my living room.  Gross disrespectful pig.  Yes, I just publically blasted her.  And I am being nice.

Anyway, I am now house hunting and although the prospect of buying is super scary, this is also a very exciting time.  I have been looking for a little over a month.  I have found some places I love and some that I don’t so much love, haha, but it really has been fun.  My goal is be a homeowner by the fall so fingers crossed!

R2– in the weeks that followed my marathon, as I  tried to come to terms with a broken foot, I was hit with a huge blow.  R2 broke up with me.  It was devastating to say the least.  And I had no outlet.  I felt like my training contributed to some of the problems…but I really had no idea he would just up and call it quits either.  Especially since my race was over and life was going to get a lot calmer.  R2 gave up a lot for my training-  my training didn’t affect just me.  He gave up late nights, opportunities for group dates and other things as well.  He stood by me through all the training…he was with me every step of the way.  If you could have seen his face when he saw me during the race.  He was so proud.  I just couldn’t see how it all could end.  Or why.  All I wanted to do was disappear from the world- swim some laps, run the roads for miles…and I couldn’t.  I had a broken foot and a broken heart.

You may be wondering what happened.  I would tell you, but I am still wondering what happened.  One of the hardest things about the break-up, was that nothing actually happened.  At the end of the day, I can only be the best person I know how to be and if someone doesn’t want to be with me, there is nothing I could/can do about that.  Nothing.  And despite the fact that we tried to maintain the friendship, I was still finding myself often wondering what happened and looking for closure.  I came to realize that it is a closure I will never get.  I have to find it myself.  And I can’t be friends with him in the process.  R2 is a good guy, and you won’t find me trashing him here…but for right now, the best place for him to be is out of my life.

Training- you could hardly call what I am doing training.  Seriously. It’s rather pathetic.  But, I do have a half marathon in August and since I am basically starting over with my running, it is time to get back on a training plan.  What I want most is to get toned again.  I really liked the way I looked last year and between my foot, the break-up, the move and other variables, I really just let myself go.  It is due time to get back on track with my eating, my training and my life!

Notsomuch Swimming, Biking or Running…

As it turns out, the foot pain I was having during the last miles of the marathon…yeah, I broke my foot! 

I had some pain entering around mile 20 but just kept pushing it down and considered it mental.  My foot was a little swollen at mile 23, but I put my shoe back on and kept going.  Very slow, but moving.  And not only did I finish, but I ran the last mile and three quarters.  At the time, I really thought it was just sore from running.  I had no idea the reality!  Turns out, I ran at least 5 miles on a BROKEN FOOT!  So it was back in the boot within three days…every day.  Every minute (except for showering and sleeping) was spent in the damn boot.  I came to HATE the boot.  Even after my Christmas party when my friends lovingly, and drunkenly, bedazzled it for me.  Still. Hated. Boot.

Bedazzled!  And if you are wondering what the heck I am wearing…it was an Ugly Sweater party!

I had plans post-race.  And a lot of them.  I expected to take two weeks or so off from running, but intended to be fully engaged in other workouts and be racing again by the first of the year.  Instead, I had a broken foot.  No working out, period!  This, coupled with some personal things I went through directly following the race, left me somewhat devastated.  I couldn’t work out and I didn’t want to do anything.  Or, I should say…I didn’t want to do anything but be angry and throw pity parties for myself.  I threw lots of these parties (sometimes, still do) and spent a lot of time thinking about what to do next.  It was so hard for me to process that the marathon was over.  I was burnt out but at the same time I was craving to be on the road again.  And I couldn’t.  I really think part of the burnout was going from having such a rigid schedule to having almost no schedule at all.  What I had was a friggen broken foot!

I was in the boot until the second week of January.  But it wasn’t like I could just up and run again.  It was a slow, slow, slow process.  It was another three weeks in a brace and only sneakers for weeks after that.  The first day I wore regular shoes, I was so excited.  My first run was a 1/4 mile.  To date, I still haven’t had a run over three miles at one time.  Most runs are two miles.  I coach softball and run 1/4 mile with my girls every day and once a week we do the mile. 

As for other workouts, I lift.  That is about it.  Lifting. 

I haven’t been outside on a bike since the disaster at Belmar.  I have swam all of three times this year.  Spinning? Nope. Pilates? Nope.

It is April!!!!  Time to snap back into the program over here!!!  I have a 4-mile race planned for the end of this month, but it is highly unlikely I will go through with it.  My main focus is on learning to fit in the workouts that I once so easily made happen.  In the last four months, that time has all been filled and now I need to re-focus and re-balance.  I am going to continue to take it slow.  First re-work pilates into the mix and then swimming.  If I don’t get on the bike at all this year, I will be okay with that.  Seriously.

I do not have any tri’s planned this year.  And I only have two half-marathons planned.   I think I’ll probably do a few relay tri’s, as the swimmer, because I really do love swimming.  The deal is…I really don’t like biking.  Never have.  I tried…for years, and I still don’t like it.   I really want to stick with running this year.  My real focus is on staying healthy (emotionally, mentally and physically) and not getting burnt out.  I have spent three seasons in a row battling some type of injury.  I think that is another reason why breaking my foot set me back so far.  As if the burnout from the marathon wasn’t enough, I was injured yet again.  I feel like I am always in recovery.  I am done with that for right now; I need a year of good running health.

So what have I been doing?  Well, that is another post for another day…

Marathon Photos- Finally!

Ok first- thank you for the awesome comments, texts and emails.  It took a lot of thought coming back…but I am glad I did. Its awesome to see how much support is still out there.  So thank you.  And welcome new readers 🙂 I am working on quite a few posts that I hope with help me get through some of the stuff I have been going through.  Writing is good therapy…has always been my therapy.  I let the things that define me slip away for a little while and I am so ready to get them back.  One blog post at a time 🙂

It dawned on me as I looked back, that I never posted any photos from my marathon!  It’s kind of funny- when I look at them, I still get the excited feelings I had when I ran the race.  Some days, I still cannot believe I ran 26.2 miles.  But I did…and here is the proof:

My favorite of them all- coming into the finish!!!  (That’s my dad with his hand out!)

Expo!  And it WAS the best time of my life!!

Race morning with all my signs 🙂

Mile 14- R2 had quite the set up for me to re-fuel

Pure joy with my biggest fan!

My friends Dee and Greg who were with me the last 4 miles!

With my BFF Kate, who also ran the marathon!

Ahhhh…MUCH needed recovery!!!

Every time I think about the race, I smile.  It was hard work and took  more out of me than I ever could have anticipated, but crossing that finish line is one of the best feelings I ever had.  If I had to do it all over again…through the injuries, exhaustion, pain and even the last few months of rough recovery and personal strife…I would do it over and over and over again.  And again.  With that said, I have no actual plans of ever doing it again!