Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Chicago Marathon 2016 Race Report

When I posted last time I didn't expect it to turn into a 2 part series.  I also didn't expect it to be over a week before I had a chance write up the second part.  Sorry to leave you all hanging.  Actually, I'm also aware that I left you all hanging about Howl at the Moon too and I'll be honest, too much time has passed and too much has happened to even go back and try and finish that post. Which makes it even more important to get this Chicago race report down & in the books.  While this year wasn't my first Howl and I doubt it'll be my last, this year's Chicago will be it for a really long time.  That I am fairly certain of.

As reported before I was dreading this race for so many reasons.  Of the few good things I was looking forward to was the fact that we had a friendly, comfort of home place to stay the night before the race.  I have nothing against hotels, but when it comes to an already costly race, adding the additional expense of lodging is not what we find ideal.  Plus, with our busy lives and schedules, when we can work in a visit with a friend while traveling to a race then it's nice to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.  So, on Saturday night after I was done coaching my team we headed to the suburbs to stay with a good friend.  We didn't do much besides visit, prep for the next morning and get a good nights sleep.

Sunday morning we were up and on the road heading into the city by 6 a.m.  We didn't want to make multiple trips to and from so even the kids were dragged up and out the door with us.  Only 3 of our kids were able to make the trip, which actually made things easier.  After having many years of traveling with 6 kids, it always seems easier when we have less kids with us.  And as the kids are getting older, it's just a reality we face.  This was, however, the first time we've ever traveled as a family to one of my races.  In the past it's always been just my husband Jim & I going to a race.  Sometimes he'd race, other times he'd be there to support me.  I don't know if we'll continue to do the family thing or not, but since this was Chicago and so close to home it seemed like a good chance to do this as a family,  Plus, it's about time I show my kids the fun and excitement that these big races bring.  I never had such exposure to anything like this growing up and I don't want to completely shut my kids out of this process either.
Heading into the city

Traffic going is was pretty light and fast.  We were planning on it taking 50-60 minutes to get me to my race spot, but I was there and dropped off in 40 minutes flat after leaving my friends house.  Getting into the city as no problem.  Once in, it was a little more tricky trying to get me as close as possible to the start.  We had to take a few U turns and long ways around, but eventually we were in an area that I knew was somewhat close to the start and I saw many other runners so I hopped out and started following the crowd.  Since this was the first time I was doing this race there was a big internal sense of "I have no clue where I'm going or what I'm doing", but I'm a believer of fake it till you make it and I eventually found my way to where I needed to go.

Gear drop off was no problem, easy to find, easy to handle.  I was expecting the temps to be a little cooler than what it was and had packed plenty into my bag.  I was planning on meeting up with my family right after, but I'm definitely guilty of being a "what if" worrier.  So, what if it was pretty chilly when I finish?  What if I can't find my family?  I'm going to be wet (from sweat) and cold.  In hindsight it was likely a little left over worry from when it was SO COLD at Boston and how I had under dressed and was under prepared for that finish.  I also had worn throw away sweats to the start, but even though there was a little chill in the air, it wasn't that cold and I ended up putting my throw away stuff into my gear drop bag.  Chicago definitely gives you a really big bag to put plenty in to and the bag is very functional and easy to handle before and after the race.

Right as I was dropping my gear I could hear them announcing that the first wave or corrals was going to be closing in 5 minutes and they were urging us to get into our corral.  I really had to pee, but the lines to the porta potties were sooooo long.  I was ready to just hold it, but then saw a hedge of bushes.  I'm a firm believer when you gotta go you gotta go.  And living in a house with 6 kids, do you think I'm used to a ton of privacy?  No.  So problem solved and my bladder was feeling so much better.  I was ready to get to the start.

In my corral, waiting to start.

I was in corral D and in the first wave to start the race.  Since I waited until the last minute before they shut that gates, I didn't have to stand around too much.  We waited through the formality of them announcing all the elite runners and the national anthem and before we knew it the race was off.  Except in a race this big and being in the back half of the wave, it took about 10 minutes of slowing walking forward for us to actually get to the start line.  It was certainly crowded, but not overly crowded.  The weather was also near perfect.  The temps were in the low 60's, which after warmer than usual temps the week right before, felt perfect!!  The sun was shining bright and I felt extremely comfortable in just capris, a tank top and arm warmers.  I actually didn't need the arm warmers, but it wasn't bothering me to keep them on so I left them.

Once I was past the start line & officially running I just moved as my body allowed.  I was definitely very slow and hesitant, waiting and worried for that deep intense pain that I had experienced in previous weeks.  One very good thing about this race course is that it is packed with people.  That meant a lot of cheering, screaming supporters and a lot of funny good signs along the way.  I served as a very good distraction.  Not to mention with the streets cleared of traffic it provided a different view to be running down the middle of the streets and take in the sights and sounds of Chicago.  It was an experience and a view of the city that I've never had before.  This helped pass the time, kept me distracted and before I realized it I was enjoying myself and having a really good time.

At some points it was too much to take in, which allowed me to focus in on the actually running.  By mile 6 I realized that I wasn't having any of the bad awful pain I was expecting.  In fact, I felt really REALLY good.  Between it all I almost felt like it was too good to be true.  Upon further thought though it made me realize that deep down inside I am truly made for this kind of running.  I've been so focused on many injuries and pain that I haven't been able to actually enjoy my running for almost a year now.  Since I felt so good I decided to speed up and continue to enjoy this race to the fullest.

As previously mentioned there were many great spectators and signs along the way.  I was snapping some pictures along the way, but couldn't possibly get every good sign I saw.  Most of them made me laugh.  If you have no idea what I mean, just google marathon signs and plenty will pop up.  I was also fortunate to see my family twice along the way.  Both times I ran right past them, but they had seen me & yelled out.  It was fun and very nice to have them there to cheer me on!

I was also able to find another young lady whom we are good friends with her parents.  She had mentioned that she would be at mile 11 so when I passed that spot I looked for her.  Except I didn't see her.  I was really looking!  It's kind of a gamble finding someone in such a crowd.  The entire street is filled with runners and there are hundreds of thousand of spectators on EACH side.  For some reason my gut was telling me to stick to the left and after I passed mile 11 I decided I'd still keep looking for her.  It paid off and I ran practically right up to her!!

I'm sure you can tell from the big smiles on my face that I was in fact having a really good time.  My running was much better than I expected.  Again I realized that I was just defaulting to natural basic instinct.  Take away all the details and elements and man I can run.  God put this love, passion and ability to run into every fiber of my body.  I was BORN to run!!  The miles ticked off one by one, I was having fun and really enjoying every aspect of this race.  I was even on pace at one point to finish sub 4 hours.  I had no solid goal for where I wanted to finish.  I had mentally prepared myself for 5-6 hour finish.  But, I'll be honest, finishing sub 4 hours was a very nice thought, especially with my lack of training.

I had a solid group of friends and family who I know were specifically lifting me up in prayer, which I have no doubt helped carry me through this race.  Although I should also mention that I was popping extra strength Tylenol & Alleve like candy.  I did a lot of other common sense things to keep me going.  This race lacked nothing when it comes to support so I had plenty of water, Gatorade, energy gels & bananas to keep me running strong.  Eventually though at mile 20 everything began to catch up with me.  I was beginning to feel like slowing down.  I kept pushing though.  I knew if I slowed down or stopped that I would have a hard time getting going again.  I could see my sub 4 slipping away from me, it was going to be close though.  At mile 24 I completely hit the wall.  I slowed to a shuffle and no matter how hard I tried I just felt like I was sloshing through mud.  When I had reach mile 24 I had actually been thinking of my cross country team & since they race 2 miles I wanted those last 2 miles to be for them.  Our team motto is KEEP MOVING FORWARD!  So it seemed fitting that when I struggled the most I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other and get to the finish line.

Those last 2 miles seemed the longest, but I finally rounded the corner to the finish line.  My finish time was 4:09:46.  I was so happy to be done I burst into happy tears.  I've teared up before when finishing a marathon, but this time I actually cried and let a few big crocodile tears roll down my cheeks.

Shortly after I finished. 

I threw on my shirt after picking up my bag.  I'm a little particular when it comes to wearing a race shirt.  I very rarely will wear it until AFTER I've finished.  It's an honor to be able to wear it.  The lead up to the race wasn't ideal, but the race itself was a big success.  All things considered this was a great & memorable race.  It may still be a long time before I decide to run this race again, but it has a special place in my heart!!!!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Getting back on track

I am this close *pinching my fingers together* to having my full Chicago race report ready to post.  I Promise!  However.....

It's been 2 weeks now since my running of the Chicago Marathon.  Recovery has been pretty brutal.  This turning 40 stuff has been a real game changer!!  However, I am at least wise in my years and am taking my rest & recovery to a whole new level.  One that I've never done before.  So, 2 weeks of nothing!  Well, I do teach classes, coach running & have a son in his last weeks of cross country so inevitably there has been plenty of movement going on.  A by product of being an active person.  Nothing formal to speak of & I'm actually pretty proud that I'm attempting to do this right.  So all you well intended nay-sayers who like to lecture that I just do too much....shush!

Coming off this break though I am itching to get back to a regular workout routine.  I'll expand in another post how I'll specifically handle my running,  In the meantime I planned to get back to my normal routine, but scaling back on all the running I usually do.  That means that Monday's start off with a solid chunk of non running cardio & weights.  A good 2-2.5 hours of working out was sounding pretty heavenly.  Except last night (or rather this morning) I didn't go to bed until 1:30 a.m.  And my regular routine has me out of bed at 4 a.m.  Do the math.....that just wasn't going to happen,  Although being the eternal optimistic person I still set my alarm.  And when it went off, I re-set it for 15 minutes later in case I somehow sprung out of bed all energized and ready to go.  Yeah, no.  Have I mentioned how things have really changed now that I'm 40?

I still didn't get a full night of sleep, but going on more than 3 hours was much more ideal.  When I woke up, I was kinda mad and beating myself up.  I mean it's not like I was up late for piddly reasons.  Some days there just are not enough hours in the day and last night, actually all of yesterday, I was on a roll getting things done left and right.  And it feels so good to be productive!  So even with my good intentions and productivity I was pretty mad at myself.  Kind of the wallow in self pity and want to give up and do nothing, but eat doughnuts and get fat kinda thinking.

But I realized that just because things didn't go perfectly, just because I wasn't up doing my ideal workout doesn't mean I had to give up completely.  I threw some clothes on and headed out the door for a run. This worked out perfectly anyway because my return plan to running actually has me doing very little.  So since I didn't have a lot of time I set out to run 1 mile.  I'm testing the waters anyway to see how I'm going to feel in light of all of the pain and problems I was having leading up to Chicago,  Since I didn't have time for a full set of weights I also threw in a Les Mills Grit Strength workout too.  I need to be practicing that for my class that I'll teach later this week.  In the end, I felt like it was a win-win.

While I tend to be a worse case scenario thinker and a feast or famine/all or nothing do-er, I also am eternally optimistic and will always see the glass as half full.  Or if it's empty then figure out how to get it filled up again.  So I'm back.  It's not what I had planned for or wanted, but I never intended to walk away for good.  I'm going to keep fighting to get me back on track.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Leading up to the Chicago Marathon

I had never been drawn to the idea of running the Chicago Marathon.  Having grown up in Iowa, then living in Illinois for over 20 years, I just don't see Chicago as that big of a deal.  Yes, there are a lot of neat things about the Windy City, but running through it didn't seem that enticing.  So I had resisted ever getting signed up.  I had my eyes set on other races.  I'm not even sure when I ran my first marathon 6 years ago that I'd be doing bigger races, but after qualifying for and running Boston I had my eyes fixed on so much more.  Still I was in no rush to complete Chicago.

I had actually wanted to run the New York marathon next.  In talking things through with my husband though, he suggested getting Chicago done.  Even though fall is a busy crazy time for me, it is closer and more logistic for us to handle right now.  Knowing how the process is handled in getting into NY, I figured, why not, let's get this done.  Even though I run a lot there is still so much I don't know about these big marathons.  I'm really just a little fish in a big pond.  But as I'm branching out to bigger races I'm learning more about things like the lottery, guaranteed entries and signing up months in advance.

Rewind to a year ago and my running began to fall apart.  In November I decided to scale back my running and "take a break" which really meant I was still running, just not nearly as much.  For awhile that was ok and when 2016 began I decided to launch back into running and training.  Except that never really happened.  I knew about the sign up dates for Chicago & assumed I was going to have to sign up for the lottery.  Anyone I had known to do Chicago before had done this so I assumed that aside from the elites I had to as well.  When I went to the website I kept seeing the phrase guaranteed entry.  I almost ignored that figuring it didn't apply to me, but I did some digging around and realized that I in fact qualified for this type of entry,  So I signed up and wham, bam, thank you m'am, I was going to run the Chicago marathon.

Fast forward many months and a lot of time with my physical therapist, my running was still in shambles.  I did struggle my way through Howl at the Moon and ran 36 miles at that race in August.  That gave me some hope that despite my issues I could in fact still run such a distance with little to no training.  It certainly isn't ideal, but do-able,  I kept trying to get my running back on track and it just wasn't happening.  I could handle small distances, but anything more than 5 miles and I just hurt and it seemed impossible.  Yet I kept trying.    Thanks to insurance issues I had given up on seeing my physical therapist.  She was wonderful enough to email with me and still guide me as I was attempting to train.  Then my chiropractor came across an issue that really seemed to explain everything that was attributing to me/my body not being able to run.  So I set out on a 10 mile run day & tried to fix it all.  Which seemed to work perfectly, but fixing one thing lead to an issue on another thing.  And suddenly I had a whole new set of problems and a lot of pain.  The pain was so bad and persistent that I was constantly hurting and running any kind of distance became impossible.  All of this was just 2 weeks before I was supposed to run.

Logistically getting the marathon ran was also becoming a messy situation.  It turns out that the same weekend was our high school homecoming.  I have 2 kids in high school and we as a family are very involved with the school on many levels.  Luckily my 2 high schoolers were not interested in going to the dance so that let me off the hook, but there was still the assembly, parade and game on Friday that was going to occupy my time.  AND on top of that Saturday was the sectional meet for my Jr. High cross country team.  While there are 2 of us head coaches I would never want to miss this meet as it determined if we as a team or any individual qualifiers made it to the state meet.  It's kind of a big deal.  So Friday afternoon & evening was consumed with homecoming, Saturday morning with the sectional meet.  I would still have time to shoot over to the expo, pick up my packet and settle in for the race.

EXCEPT 10 days before all of this was to happen I found out that our sectional meet was not going to start until 3 p.m.  This changed everything.  I would not have time to get to the expo before it closed and Chicago has very strict guidelines with picking up your packet.  This was also complicated because my family was coming with me to watch me run.  So the implications of zig zagging across the state with husband and kids in tow trying to get it all done just were not practical.  Essentially nothing was going to be practical with getting this done.  Unless I gave up not going to sectionals and coaching my team and I just couldn't bear to miss that either.  Long story short as a last resort and even though I didn't want to do it I drove up to Chicago on Friday morning.  I left early, when it was still dark out, drove 3ish hours, spent 1 hour at the expo/packet pick up and then got back in my van and drove straight back home to Galesburg.  I arrived home just in time to get to the assembly that I've grown accustomed to going to that kicks off Friday's homecoming festivities.

I was bummed that  I couldn't fully enjoy the expo.  After I picked up my bib and shirt, I kinda zipped through a few of the of the booths, drooled over the amazing merchandise  that I couldn't afford anyway and left.  My parking ticket had me parked for 56 minutes and probably 20 minutes of that was just walking to and from the parking garage.  And the whole time my hip/IT band is in excruciating pain.  Even just jogging down the block was impossible.  I had very serious doubts if I would even be able to even finish this race.  So you mix my pain in with the craziness and non practicality of getting my stuff picked up, all while still trying to be fully present as mom and was all just too much.  I actually resented this whole blasted marathon and it wasn't really the marathon's fault.  If it wasn't for the fact of losing out on money I actually would've rather not even run it at all.  I wanted to walk away and forget the whole thing!!  This all makes me very sad because this is not the person I am when it comes to running and racing.

Even though I was highly skeptical about being able to run this distance or finish, I had my bib.  And everything else seemed to go smoothly.  Homecoming was great, sectionals awesome and with 2 kids qualifying for state.  From the meet my family picked me up and we headed into the Chicago suburbs to spend the night with a dear life long friend.  My cross country kids were so sweet to send me off with a bunch of hugs and good luck cheers.  They are the best and it lifted my spirits to have them send me off with such enthusiasm.

But deep down I left with a heavy heart, fully of doubt, confusion and anxiety.  My hip/IT band still in pain and wondering how I was going to get through these 26.2 miles I had to run.........

Monday, August 29, 2016

Caught in a storm

I'm working on a Howl post.  I promise.  But in the mean time I thought it would be easier to rattle off a quick little post about a recent running experience.

Yesterday I was scheduled for a 10 mile run.  Oh yeah.....because I decided to finally get in gear and train for the Chicago marathon.  I scribbled a plan on paper and so far have been sticking to it pretty good.  I wouldn't recommend to most people to train for a full marathon in 6 weeks, but you know....I'm not most people.  Do what I say people, not what I do.  haha!

We had a pretty busy day planned so I had to be very intentional and specific about getting out the door to get this run done.  I had a course plotted out and everything seemed to be falling into place, although I was not looking forward to the 100% humidity that was hanging around.  When I arrived to my run start/finish I noticed some cloud coverage.  Nothing too worrisome, but I still checked the radar on my weather app.  There was one little spot north of where I was running, but not over where I actually was.  The prospect of a few sprinkles didn't bother me & the little spot was moving north so I set out on my run.  The first portion of my run was going to take me on the main roads around the park.

I was only minutes into my run and the rain started.  Again, I could see the clouds to the north.  When I looked west it was sunny and blue skies.  I still wasn't worried about getting a little wet so I kept running.  A few more minutes though and the rain picked up to a lot more than a few sprinkles.  It was raining enough that I was beginning to worry about my watch getting too wet.  It's splash proof, but not water resistant.  And my clothes were beginning to get pretty wet too.  Plus running on the main road was getting dicey with the cars not able to see me well as I headed toward them in the rain.  At this point I thought "ok, I can wait for this little thing to pass through."  I clearly was not in any danger, it didn't appear to really be a storm, just a heavy rain cloud passing through.  So I veered off the main road and stood over by some trees by the park path. And I stood....and I stood.....and I stood......

I found the situation a little comical and tried to keep it in perspective.  I was getting a little bit wet, but for the most part the tree was providing me some shelter.  The rain was a little persistent and went from a little rain to an outright down pour.  Right about that time, the wind picked up a little and then the lightening and thunder began to strike.  By then I was actually getting a little worried.

I have to rewind to about 6 weeks ago when I was out at this exact same park and a storm came up out of nowhere.  I was out walking with a friend and we were fortune to be close enough to seek coverage in a picnic shelter, but also ended up underneath the picnic tables because the storm was so bad we could see and hear whole trees coming down from the wind and lightening.  That storm was pretty serious & had wide spread damage all over our town.  In hindsight though that storm was so much worse, but in the moment when I was stuck under this tree I was getting worried.

Before anyone says it.....I KNOW that standing under a tree or seeking shelter under a tree is not a good idea in a storm.  Ok?!?!  Really, give me some credit.  This isn't my first rodeo.  Except when I first went to the tree I thought I was just waiting out a little rain.  If I had known what was coming I would've chosen differently.  But I ended up being stuck between a rock and a hard place.  And before anyone else even says it: a little rain wasn't going to hurt me either.  I KNOW THAT TOO!  And when it started to rain maybe I should've just kept running to a safer place, which was about 1/2 mile in one direction or turned back to my van which was about a 1/2 mile in the opposite direction.  But I'm glad that I wasn't being stupid about running in this weather, I could've kept going and really put myself in danger.  There are lots of shoulda, woulda, couldas in this situation.  But there I was feeling stuck under that tree.

For the most part it was really weird because off the my right the sky was fairly blue, maybe just a big white puffy cloud or two lingering there.  But to my left the sky was gray and dark and definitely the worse of the 2 sides.  And of course, the direction of where my car was parked.  Finally after 45 minute of standing under this tree and by now thoroughly soaked from head to toe I decided to make a run for it and head to my van.  It was still raining hard, but at least the lightening, thunder and wind had died down.  I followed the park trail to my van and some of it was barely passable because so much rain was rapidly covering the path.

I never felt in danger, but I WAS worried at a few moments.  I know I tend to come off as this super strong, independent, I can do anything runner, but I am also very much human.  I don't always make the best in the moment decisions and then am left trying to make the best of what I've done.  And sometimes weathering a situation alone can make it 100x harder. (Although I never felt truly alone as as I knew God was there with me, probably the only thing that helped keep me at peace.)  So this left me in a very vulnerable spot.  In hindsight though I'm chalking it up to another wild, crazy running adventure.  One I won't soon forget.....although for the time being I don't plan to run out there any time soon!!

 The bottom rain pictures were taken when the rain had just began to start.  I had my phone put away during the real heavy rain.  Top pictures were taken toward the end after I was completely soaked.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Race Recap: BIX 7

Last Saturday, my 2 sons & I ran the BIX 7 held in Davenport.  There's a bit of a story behind me running this race, but for now I decided to not indulge you with the History of Carmen 101.  Long story short I'd say that I long resisted running this race and now I look forward to it every single year.

The BIX is always held on the last Saturday in July.  The offer packet pick up on Thursday evening & Friday all day.  It has a decent sized expo, although having run this more than once it's kind of the same thing every year.  I still usually browse around though just to see if I find anything new.  In past years I have not liked the race shirt they have given.  It's always white and usually has a small logo up in the chest corner.  Plain and boring.  They say it's a dri-fit shirt, but it's one of those that resembles a plain white t-shirt.  Personally I prefer a more tech feeling shirt.  Anyway, this year I actually liked the shirt.  At least the design & the fact that it consumed most of the front of the shirt.  It's still plain white.  But I'm not meaning to nit pick.  I mean on one hand this is a BIG race that draws world wide competition.  Can't they up their game a bit on the shirt front?  On the other hand for it being such a big event, the pricing of said event is relatively low and reasonable.  So, hey tit for tat.  It's obviously not a deal breaker with me doing this race. 

It's a bit of a tradition to lay out our running outfit the night before the race.
I typically don't wear my race shirt to the actual race.  It's a slight no no in my running book.  Since I actually liked this years shirt AND since my boys were planning to wear theirs I decided to match them and throw my running rules out the window (at least for this race).

The BIX is often times met with really hot, humid weather.  We lucked out this year and had good temperatures.  It was far from the ideal 60's (hello it IS July in the midwest), but we stayed in the low 80's.  A  nice break from the otherwise 90's we had been having.

Since we live less relatively close to the race we always get up race morning & drive over.  Even with a planned bathroom stop before going to find a parking spot it takes maybe 1 hour tops to get from home to race site.  If you know the area finding a close parking spot is pretty easy.  I took us about 5 minutes to walk from the parked car to the starting area and that included stopping for pre-race pictures.

My son (on the right) who is in high school gets to line up with the other declared high school students, which is directly behind the elite runners.  When you sign up for the race you enter your estimated run time and that is what places you in your start coral.  Other than the elites, they in no way verify your race time, so it's an honor system and I know that most people don't follow it anyway.  Heck, even I didn't this year.  But there are advantages to being in the corals closer to the start, especially when there are 15,000 other runners/walkers involved.  I learned this a long time ago.  Doesn't make a wrong right when it comes to a honor system, but I won't be drastically set back and extremely frustrated by most others not being honest about their coral placement either.  While they don't verify your time when you sign up they are extremely strict about what coral you enter.  They have them color coded and you ONLY are allowed in the section you are signed up for.  Shoot, I came within 25 feet of the high school entrance (I was walking my son up there) and was greeting by 3 volunteers firmly telling me I could NOT enter here!!

I wish I had more time and a better view to take pre-race pics.  But being a *little* on the short side I'm easily engulfed by the crowd once I'm in the coral.  And between picking a long bathroom line and car trouble I was dealing with when I arrived to park left me short on time.  By time my other son & I entered the coral they were playing the national anthem and then we were off.

The beginning of the race is going up the infamous Brady Street hill.  It's slightly what sets this race apart from others.  Here is a good pic looking up from the bottom.
So you can see what  I mean by good coral placement!!

My son & I set off to a good start.  I'm not a lover of running hills on any day, doing so surrounded by thousands of others people isn't much more ideal either.  But I've learned a few tricks of the race along the way that make navigating it fairly manageable.  And really for this race I was following my son's lead.  While I have run this race several times for myself I decided to make this year about him.  He's 10 and been begging for the last few years to run this race.  I'll be honest, I can be so driven and competitive that it's hard for me to not run a race all out.  After all I'm there to at least compete with myself so that always means my goals and my race.  And, of course, he always waited until the last minute to tell me he wanted to run too.  So last year I told him he could run this year and that for a change I wouldn't worry about myself.

So on a personal level I had no goals other than to stick with my son.  Which actually worked out very well since I've been injured and not up to par with running anyway.  I hadn't even run 7 miles in many many months, but I knew this was do-able, especially since I was doing it with Andrew.  There was that chance that he'd really take off and I'd struggle to keep up.  My boys do tend to naturally take on running, but this turned out to be a very good set up for both of us.  

Andrew did pretty well.  Despite his intentions and eternal promises to train really hard, he didn't.  But considering he's a 10 year old kid with little to no training he didn't do too bad either.  He also wanted to have fun and enjoy his time.  So along the way we stopped to look at things.  Talk to people.  I saw my friend Cathy and stopped to chat with her for a few moments.  Scream & cheer as the elite runners went by.  He was mostly looking forward to the slip n slide.

In theory I wanted to partake in this craziness as well, but it took him 10 minutes just to wait in line and go down, I didn't want to add to that as well.  I had great pleasure watching him go down and simply have fun.  After all he is 10.  Yes, I'd love for him to eventually be some fierce competitive runner, but for now I'm ok with him just being a kid too.

Honestly I don't even know what our finish time was.  I think it was about 1:25.  I really didn't stress about the time.  When it came time to finish I simply celebrated the fact that he had done it, he had finished.  Little punk though, earlier in the race he talked about holding hands and we finish together.  Then at the very last minute he sprints ahead a beats me!!  Haha, he's got that competitive spirit in there somewhere....probably gets it from me too!!

The BIX has an excellent post race.  Lots of food and drink afterwards.  I've seen no better after race party than this one.  There's always a costume party, lots of music and other entertainment.  Of course, the last several years I've come to look for one thing: the award ceremony.  Not because of anything I earn, but because the elite runners are there.  And one in particular I've pretty fond of:  Meb Keflezighi.  He's such a great guy and well awesome runner too, but very nice & humble when it comes to greeting the pubic, signing autographs and taking pictures.  Next to Ryan Hall, he's my #1 guy when it comes to professional runners.  I get all excited and crazy.  So I do a little stalking and make sure I get to talk to him and take some pictures too.

When it comes to running and role models, this is exactly the kid of man, personally and running wise that I want my boys to look up to!  Although I also hope that these moments and memories that we share together as mother and son will carry them a long way through life too.

Sunday, July 31, 2016


I really want to get back into blogging on here.  I miss it a lot and still think about it quite often.  I still compose posts in my head all the time while I'm running.  I just need to get back into the habit of getting on here & putting pen to paper so to speak.  It's really just a computer issues.  Not a lack of computer, just the opposite.  I'm on a computer quite often at work and spend my day getting things done electronically.  By time I do come home I have so much to do within the home, if I even am home because my kids and coaching keeps me very busy too.  The last thing I want to do while I'm home is be on the computer.  I even tried putting the app on my phone.  But I spend enough time on my phone, I don't need to add to that habit either.  So that's what lead to my slow drift away from blogging.  But I feel like I have so much to say & share about my running and/or life in general.  Even if I don't have a lot of followers or become a big name in the world of social media/blogging, I still want to blog.  I need to be doing it for myself anyway and not others.

To kick off this come back, of sorts, I actually started a post almost a month ago.  Here is what I had started:  I’m going to attempt to jump back into my blogging.  It’s like riding a bicycle, right?  Once you learn, you just never forget.  We’ll just overlook the fact that it’s been over a year since I’ve posted anything.  It’s not like I haven’t THOUGHT about blogging.  I still compose posts in my head all the time.  I just never take the time to get on here and get it done.  I have no “good” reason as to why I haven’t…..I just haven’t.  As much as I love social media ie my blog, it has taken a back burner during this time of my life.  In hindsight what I didn’t realize when I ceased to be blogging that it would kick off a completely different time in my running life.  A time for me to be BROKEN.

This has been months in the making and I’ve been through a lot of denial, tears and what seems like endless frustration to come to this conclusion of being broken.  To clear up what I mean when I talk about being broken, let me be blunt.  I am no longer running.

I haven’t been broken all these months.  In fact, my running came to a screeching  halt almost 3 weeks ago.  Again, insert a lot of denial, tears and frustration.  This came about after many difficult months of injury and almost non existent running.  But I was hanging on by a thread,  a very weak one and it finally snapped.

Well, I'm happy to report that I am back to running.  Although I'd still say I'm kinda broken.  Broken-ish.  That meaning that I'm not 100% whole and healthy with my running.  There's just so much that's happened in the last year that I can't even sum it up in one post.  Regardless and perhaps not surprisingly, if you know me well, I'm fighting my way back into things.  Yes, I took 3 weeks off.  Yes, I broke my 4 year runningstreak.  But I'm not giving up or walking away for good.

In the mean time, hang in there as I get back to blogging and build myself back up from rock bottom.  I promise, it's going to be an adventure!!