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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Laying IT on the Line

Race day is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!! It is hard to believe we are only 6 days away from the gun going off, and racing through the streets of this incredible city.

My past 2 weeks have quickly passed with solid workouts, and decreasing mileage. I miss the tired feeling of running as close to "too much" as possible, but the shorter weeks only mean one thing! It is time to use take all of the long runs, workouts, and days that every step was a challenge and lay the cards out! My poker face isn't a very strong one, and I like it that way. When I am honest with those around me, I am more honest with myself. I trained very hard for this race. I did workouts I didn't think I could do, I ran long runs I didn't know I could finish, and I dealt with a great deal of aggony, and enjoyement along the way. This training cycle has had a few little bumps, but really nothing too much to talk about in the way of adversity. I have been pretty healthy, missed very few miles due to life rearing it's head, and all in all, I put my neck out there to get ready to run a solid race at on September 29th.
Based on that one might think, "well she has to be pretty confident and feeling ready to go then". Nope, I feel more nervous! Unlike a year ago, when I was going to the start line praying I had done enough, and that my legs would hold up for the pounding the race would ask of me, this year I am going to the start line knowing I did all I could, and hoping it translates over 26 miles! I put myself in a position with a lot to lose.
For anyone who has run the marathon distance, we know that soooo much can happen out there. A wrong step can lead to a cramp, a thought allowed to be entertained too long can lead to a crisis of confidence. Suddenly what you have trained countless miles to do, seems to be like finding a way to the top of a snow storm...for someone who has never even heard of a mountain! HAHA! All that is left now is to lay IT on the line, and that can be nerve wracking. "IT" is pride, poise, early morinings, a missed social life, 6 pairs of shoes, my boyfriends missed social life, awkward chafing, being too tired to cook, clean, eat, sleep or have normal conversation. "IT" is thousands of miles, running the course hundreds of times in your head, making your neighbors, friends, and family quesiton your sainity, and somedays even questioning it yourself. "IT" is who we become over the miles, because it changes us, makes us stronger, breaks us down, defeats us, and somehow makes us feel like we can take on the world. "IT" is what we hope to become.
I think all of these things make the marathon such a special event! I AM nervous, but I am more so excited! The chance to race is always such a great opportunity! So next Saturday I lay IT on the line with a smile on my face, because reguardless of the outcome, I know I did what I could this year. As the race becomes painful, and exhausting, I will remind myself of all I did just to get there, and know every step is worth IT!

Good luck to everyone racing next week! See you on the blue line!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Temper Tantrums, and Racing

The past 2 weeks have had some ups and downs. I returned home from Oregon and had a little set back with an infection/cyst that knocked me out for a few days. Just couldn't run without getting a fever, and feeling quite aweful. But I was back on my feet by last weekend and managed 85 miles that week.

I "raced" for the first time in months on Labor Day, and it was lackluster at BEST. I ran 38:15 for a tough, hilly, muggy 10k, but managed second overall and first female. I had a lack of poise, during the race, and ran slower than I should have, but took away a valuable lesson! DO NOT PANIC! haha! I was racing with Ryan, who happened to be the only person to beat me, and when the going got tough...I threw a temper tantrum! In true 3 year old fashion, I pounded my fist on the cart, cried to my mom yelling "BUT MOM I WANT THE DOLL!! PLEASE!! ahhh!!!" haha! Maybe it was a little less obvious than that, but that is pretty much what happened inside my head! Hindsight, really a stupid waste of energy and not exactly the sort of response you would expect from an athlete that has raced thousands of times. It was hillarious! God willing I will keep my head on better at Akron! Hopefully I got that out of my system!

I had a good workout at the track this week getting in some miles of work faster than marathon pace, and staying in control the entire way. Then Saturday while hundreds of others were running along the blue line, Tony, Ryan, Nicole, and I got in a good long run. I did the last 6 of 23 at marathon pace, and I was able to handle the workload better than I expected and certainly better than I had in the race on Monday!
It was fun to see so many people out chasing down their dreams on that blue line! There is really something special about seeing so many people working hard toward their unique goals ranging from finishing their first marathon, to qualifying to Boston, or hoping for a win in a few weeks. It was really motivational to be a part of it! I couldn't help but think of how I hoped to race. My mind driffed to last year, and the way the race had gotten the best of me, yet the struggle made me appreciate the finish so much more. I teared up a bit when I saw Angel Falls Coffee shop. It always brings a bit of a smile and a chokes me up a bit because that was the point last year when I knew I could achieve my goal. It was a lot of fun to think about the race and know so many others on the course were thinking of the same things.

This week was a step in the right direction, and I was happy to get in 93 miles and have a good week behind me after the week I had prior. It is really hard to believe that we are only 3 weeks out from the race. I am ready to embrace the aggony and try to reach the goal I set a year ago of winning two years in a row! I am getting eager to be in the thick of things and of course see how it pans out! After all, chances are the fascination...3 weeks to go.