The Finisher’s Tale: I Completed the KC Marathon

KC Marathon "In Training" picture
This is awesome! I’m super-fly!

I need to make it known that I am super lucky. You’ll read some examples below, but I have to call it out before I relay any bit of my marathon recap.  I have an amazing group of family and friends. They waited on cold corners, ran with me on a torn up street and hugged me after I’d been running for over 5 hours.

I was bright and shiny and excited when training started. “I’m training for a marathon! Gummi bears and rainbows and wings sprouting from my feet!”

Before

A strange thing happened about 5 days out from the race: I became slightly absent-minded and try as I might, I found focusing on anything (other than the race) for more than 20 minutes at a time to be quite a challenge.

By Friday when G and I went to the expo and packet pick-up, I was feeling pretty calm. Sure I was indecisive, “Should I get more than one shirt? Should I get the bling?” but overall, I was in  a good mental place. Something was so wrong with me. I am not the type to be in a good mental place. Maybe it was all the carbs?

And then I tried to start my car to leave the expo…and…nothing. My car was dead in the expo parking garage the day before the race. And I was…calm. I’d planned to spend the day on my couch eating carbs and my plans had just changed to fixing a dead car in 30-something rainy weather the day before running a marathon.  [When I say “fixing” please note I did none of the fixing. Bob did all the fixing. I mostly stood around and wondered why I’d never become a responsible car owner who didn’t let her battery become corroded and die at important life moments, thus having to rely on the fact that I have an awesome stepdad who will do unpleasant things to help me — like wandering around in cold rains.]

I’d stashed some carbs in my purse on the way to the expo (duh!) so I wasn’t starving by the time I got home, but I was definitely behind my fueling schedule. After shoveling my face full of more carbs (and pickles!) I got to put my feet up until Bob showed up to trek to the auto parts store. Once the new battery was installed, I made a celebratory dinner of pasta and bland homemade tomato sauce. I was still alarmingly calm. This alarming calmness never dissipated. What the? Who was I?

The Day!

Being that I had to eat ahead of the race, I set my alarm for 3:51 and fell asleep. I woke up a couple times, but I went right back to sleep where I dreamt that I had to run through a parking garage. When I awoke it was 4:24.  How did that happen? Why didn’t my alarm go off? Generally, when one sets an alarm one intends to go off in the morning, it’s helpful to set it for AM and not PM. Regardless of my alarm oops, I still got my toast and coffee and was ready to leave on time.

The day started chilly, only in the upper 30’s. Thankfully, the starting line was near Crown Center and thousands of my closest friends and I got to stay warm while we waited to get the race underway. Also, we got to use real toilets instead of porta-potties. It was an unexpected race day treat to pee in a real toilet after 10’s of my closest friends who may also have used Body Glide in…areas.

The first 2 miles flew by except for the part where I was pooping Shot Bloks from my FlipBelt (don’t try new gear during a race) and before I knew it we were climbing the first real hill: Kessler. I tuned everyone out and just kept up my light, quick, short step turnover and made it to the top feeling good. We had a quarter mile to half a mile of basic flatness before the short, steep Wyandotte hill and I opened up my pace a little bit, but wanted to stay conservative. After taking that hill the same way I’d silently dominated Kessler, I was feeling confident. Bob was right at the turn from Wyandotte to 31st and I got to wave and smile and mean it!

The next few miles were uneventful rolling and pretty gentle. There was a girl who came charging through singing and dancing to Roar and shortly thereafter was “stretching” (posing, she was posing — you don’t wear a flower in your hair for a half marathon or marathon if you don’t want attention), we hit a nice little shady downhill from Westport into the Plaza and my pace picked up naturally. I was feeling really good. I heard my name and Carolyn was soon beside me looking happy and strong. By this time, I was paying attention to the mile split times on my pace band and trying to hit them so I could make my sub-5 hour goal. I just needed to average an 11:27 pace.

And then…Mile 8. The street was torn up and we were running on the ugly, angry underbelly of the road. It was here that I slowed again and decided to KCMarathon_Sarah_Sign_10-19-2013hit the next porta potty. Guys, I never pick the right check out lines or porta potty lines. When I got out, the 5:00 group that I’d been well ahead of passed by. It was much harder to keep running consistently after this stop and I spent the rest of the race alternating between running and KCMarathon_TammiSarah_10-19-2013walking. The thing is, walking hurt as much if not more than running by Mile 18.  My lungs and heart were not exploding. It was truly a mind game and I wasn’t doing so great. Somewhere in the midst of slogging though my run/walk in Brookside Sarah and Tammi were waiting with signs and cheers. A very good pick-me-up that kept me going.

By the time I rounded the corner back toward the Mile 20 marker I realized we were going to have to run on that rough patch again. It hurt more the second time but a friendly face – Cheryl- was waiting to run a bit with me. She was in one of the worst parts of the course (and I’m pretty sure she had a cold); not only was the road destroyed and desolate, but she parked on Troost. You may know Troost as the “just keep driving street” from the cute KC YouTube video. We parted ways and I turned into the neighborhood west of Troost. I kept moving with my walk-waddle-run through Gilliham and passed our family’s first Kansas City apartment. And then the 5:30 pace group passed me and I wanted to cry a little, but mostly, I wanted to finish. The last 4 miles were where I started to get myself straight again. Enough walking, I needed to finish this thing. I have NO idea what pace I was running through the last few miles, but I only allowed myself to walk through the water stops.

Just as I saw the blessed next to last turn from Paseo to 18th Street, I also saw familiar faces. My cheering squad had traveled! Strve even joined me for a few strides. It was just the boost I KCMarathon_RunningBuddy_10-19-2013needed to get through the last mile and change. From there, I was able to tick off street names and each block was one closer to the 26 mile flag and the finish line. The last .1 of that race was the longest .1 I’ve ever experienced. It was uphill into a headwind and it after 26.1 miles of feeling all the emotions. As I sprinted to the finish line (who knows what pace my sprint was at this point — I would know if my data would actually finally transfer from my Garmin) I saw G, Carrie, and Andy who’d already completed their races and then I saw my Aunt Jean and Uncle Mike and sister-in-law Beth with Baby Henry, Bob and my brother, Brian. I raised my hands in the air, screamed something and ran across that finish line in search of water and that damn medal. Then I hugged people and ate an apple.

KCMarathon_Finish_10-19-2013
5:41:23 ROAR! (Also, you can see my Aunt Jean and Uncle Mike on the right in their Mizzou gear)

Beyond…

I want to do another marathon. I am not a one-hit wonder kind of girl. First up, using the rest of the year to work on slimming down more and building a faster base.

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18 Mile Long Run Mantra

I sit here now freshly shaved and showered with my calves encased in bright pink compression sleeves. Like a girl less than half my age, I’ve just used a sharpie to write on my right arm and my left foot. A poorly scribbled bird with the words “faith, hope, pride” occupy the slim inside of my wrist while only a single word is scrawled on my foot: everyday.

I can most closely compare my emotions of late to a deflated, over-used bouncy ball. It can no longer reach the highs it once did and finds itself more quickly plunging to the ground. I wrote a post yesterday going into great detail about some of the reasons I feel this way, but in the interest of internet attention spans and keeping on topic (maybe someday I’ll be an editor — even if it’s a night school writing class) I will give you the following summary:

  • Working two jobs is emotionally taxing. Not only do I have less free time (I’m an introvert remember) but the reasons behind the need for the second job add their own level of stress: money.
  • Marathon training. I feel like I’m not doing enough. Between feeling terrible and achilles pain (which caused me to back off training) I’ve been worried that I’m not doing enough to prepare my body (and mind) for 26.2 miles of work.
  • Health issues. I haven’t been feeling well. I mentioned mental health, but physically, I’ve been feeling off. Why?
  • My lady bits are out of whack. I’ve had issues in this department for a long time, but this year they’ve been worse. I’ve missed work and it’s impacted my life. My last pap was abnormal and showed atypical glandular cells. This is apparently a pretty rare result and warrants a colposocpy from an OB/GYN (which is not rare). I had that on Tuesday. It also warrants an endometrial biopsy. I was prepared for the colposcopy and the possible cervical biopsy (which they did because there were spots seen), but the endometrial biopsy was a surprise. No need to imagine any of it, it’s not pleasant. What I did not expect was the intense emotion I would feel after the appointment. I’ve spontaneously cried in the ladies room at work, I’ve yelled, enraged, at other drivers and I’ve contemplated every bad thing this could mean.  THANK YOU, INTERNET.  The thing is, if they say “nothing is wrong” why have a felt so terrible month after month? Anyhow, name an emotion (other than the joyous ones) and I’ve likely felt it this week.  And if I even so much as think about “I wish my mom was here to talk to” I start to cry.

Okay, so there is my summary. But that’s not even the real topic of the post. That’s your back story.

Tomorrow, my long run is 18 miles of which 6.2 will be run as part of the Plaza 10k. I’ve been very anxious about this. However, tonight at the ripe hour of 7pm as I was working on my pre-bed night before a long run ritual – expanded race edition — I started singing and dancing. I felt…relief? What I was singing was Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” While not the most mellifluous, my voice gradually opened and soared — like birds (if birds sound like chipmunky frogs.) I kept repeating “don’t worry, about a thing…every little thing is gonna be alright.” Singing is believing.

I shook my booty — unafraid (okay a tiny bit afraid) of pulling a muscle or using too much stored glycogen the night before a big run! But I realized, there isn’t anything else I can do. I can’t make biopsy results appear any faster or change their result, I can’t get out of the run, I can’t change the weather or my body or anything really. But I can control my thoughts and my attitude. I can sing about those three little birds and hope my neighbor doesn’t think I’m drowning in my bathtub.

When I finally got in bed to carry out the official “wind down” I thought, “why not give myself any inky reminder of that kitchen karaoke performance?” Why not draw on myself like a twelve year old. I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo on my wrist ever since my mom died last year, so why not test it out? A bird tattoo and/or a meaningful word or phrase is exactly what I had been considering. But I haven’t been able to decide between several words: faith, hope, pride. In the last voicemail my mom left me she said “I’m proud of you every.day. of my life.” It’s stuck with me. I hear her voice without even having to listen to the recording. It’s carried me at times the way knowing she was always there carried me.

Three little birds: faith, hope, pride — everyday, I’m alive.

My Secret Training Goal

Experts always seem to recommend having more than one goal when you start training for a race. That way, you aren’t totally and utterly crushed with crippling depression if you don’t meet your goal.

For me, my primary goal with my upcoming race is to finish. It’s my first marathon and even though I’ve done 4 half-marathons that doesn’t mean I know anything about surviving the twenty-six point two. Experts also say that it is okay to have a very loose time goal and that you need to be realistic. There are calculators and charts (so many charts!) that try to help you determine what is realistic for you given recent race finish times.

So, yes, my main goal is to finish, but I want to do so in under 5 hours and somewhere around 4:45:59. According to all those charts and calculators THIS IS NOT A REALISTIC GOAL. However, I am following the Run Less, Run Faster training plan. The training paces I’ve been using as part of that plan have not made me feel like I was dying. On the contrary, they have made me feel more alive and connected to running. More flying, more exhilaration, more YES, this is why I’m doing this. Instead of struggling with faster paces, I’m enjoying them*; however, I’m now finding it more challenging to run at long run pace and to actually you know, do my long runs. Some of this has nothing to do with running. It’s just current life circumstance shtuff.

These are not newly publicized goals. In addition to the goals I’ve already mentioned in previous posts, I have a super secret goal. My super secret goal that I’ve never said out loud or told anyone:  I want to get my 5k PR under 30 minutes (a 9:40 average pace.) For some that’s a piece of cake. But you have to remember, as a somewhat new runner who is only recently no longer listed as obese (being overweight never felt so great!) it’s no small feat. But I believe I can do it. I believe in myself. Partly because my training paces are putting me in the zone.

*Ask me how I feel about the faster paces after tonight’s track workout — 1200, 1000, 800, 600, 400 (200 RI)

In Full Swing

RACE ELEVATION. Hospital Hill Half Marathon. Main goal: Don't die. Secondary goal: Finish.
RACE ELEVATION. Hospital Hill Half Marathon. Main goal: Don’t die. Secondary goal: Finish.

So, a little over two weeks ago I ran the Hospital Hill Half Marathon and PR’d. Woo! It was one of my favorite races so far and even though I’d previously feared I was ill-prepared, I glided through the first half of the race joyously. Pain for me came around Mile 10 and I had to drop back a bit, but I was able to gather up the hutzpah to charge through that last half mile well under my pace and pull out the PR. This is a tough course for a PR.

Here I am rounding JC Nichols (fountain in the background) and pretttty ready for that water stop just up the way about 200 yards. [I'm the one on the far left jazz handsing it up and looking really happy for someone who has to get up another 1 mile hill.) Also, pictured: Nice girl I kept accidently bumping into because I was looking around and Brian, one of our awesome pacers. As we were running up one of the earlier hills we learned that he'd finished his first ultramarathon -- I later found out it was the Western States. Woahza.
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Here I am rounding JC Nichols (fountain in the background) and pretttty ready for that water stop just up the way about 200 yards. [I’m the one on the far left jazz handsing it up and looking really happy for someone who has to get up another 1 mile hill.) Also, pictured: Nice girl I kept accidentally bumping into because I was looking around and Brian, one of our awesome pacers. As we were running up one of the earlier hills we learned that he’d finished his first ultra marathon — I later found out it was the Western States. Woahza.

Now, I am in full marathon training mode. MY FIRST MARATHON. Instead of feeling insecure, I’m just really excited. I can’t wait for October 19th!  To make it even better, several people I know are doing the half, including my good friend Gen. Maybe I’m enjoying this training more because I have some confidence built up but I think it has more to do with the fact that I found out how nice it can be to run with someone. An hour goes by much faster, it’s easier to push a longer distance and helps get me out there in my shoes. Once I get into the long, long runs, we’ll check back in on my level of excitement.

I’ve been following the Level 1 training plan that the local running group’s coach built for the KC Marathon. It works well with my training schedule with Cheryl as the days I train with her are actually marked as cross training days. I’ve also reviewed a number of other plans and I will likely adjust mine a tad to accommodate. In particular, I plan to read up on the Run Less Run Faster plan. It appeals to me because I do have trouble with pacing and not running hard.

Because it’s my first marathon, I know the main goal is just to finish and setting a hard time goal might be foolish; however, I am really hoping to finish in under 5 hours and somewhere around the 4:45:00 mark. Faster than that will be the work of the Universe and might just sell me on plant based training forever. (Oh yeah, I’m currently in my vegan challenge — don’t forget it! I am adjusting and I might stick with it past the month of June.) One of my training challenges has been lack of knowing what paces to use. When the workout would say “5k pace” I’d just try to run hard. Thankfully, Runner’s World has a handy little pace calculator that gives you training paces based on your projected distance and time. I will be using this to help me train. I’ve run faster than the paces generated for me, and I’ve been able to maintain all of the listed paces so I should be able to do this.

My training paces based on the Runner's World calculator.
My training paces based on the Runner’s World calculator.

One of the pace hurdles might be the weather. Summer training. In the Midwest. Yesterday, it was sunny, humid and just under 80 degrees. It felt at least 10 degrees hotter. I still got a good pace going by the end of my run and I know if I’m diligent with hydration, cooling (I am not above dousing myself with water to cool down) and giving my body some time to acclimate to the weather, I’ll be just fine.

Fun fact: my old high school chemistry teacher, Mrs Haley, is one of the testimonials on the Kansas City Marathon website!

The Darkside

So mainly randomness today.

I’ve spent the last few days feeling very unmotivated and far from my “I want to hug the world” self. This generally happens once a month (ahem) but differs in intensity. This month for whatever reason is one of the more intense months. My irritability is near the surface and my attitude in the pot. I can usually hold back on food cravings during this week unless the emotional side is off kilter. So this week I’ve had gelato, candy, macaroons and accomplished none of my chores!

The only thing that seems to excite me is the anticipation of a new running route. The only time I’ve run through downtown KC was for a race. The streets are closed down and there’s hundreds or thousands of other runners. It feels safer. You don’t have to worry about traffic so much and you can just go. Tonight’s run is a different story. I’m setting out on the streets of downtown Kansas City because they offer a challenging terrain (hills) and a change of pace (ha!) My next two major races also start and end in downtown KC (Hospital Hill Half Marathon and Kansas City Marathon) so I need to get some practice running in the area.

I’ve been feeling pretty negative about my running lately. After my non-stop workout challenge I had some pain in the back of my leg (still feel it in the morning) so I decided to take a week off of running. When I did run again, I felt so slow and off. Flashing back to my training the last few weeks, months whatever, and honestly, I haven’t logged that many running miles. I’ve been doing tons of cross training: yoga, Pilates, personal training, elliptical, spinning. While these are all great for overall fitness and I truly enjoy them, I know that to improve in running and get past some of the blahs, I need to actually RUN.

Anxiety has been playing a part in my performance. As has negative self talk (why are you so slow? so-and-so is better than you.  is that my fat bouncing? gazelle, you are not.) Instead of enjoying the challenge of running, I’ve been indulging in the darkside of running. The doubts. The fears. The lazy. (Okay, I know I’m not “lazy” — but I’m not dedicating myself as much to running.) I dread my long runs. DREAD. Hours of boredom. Alone. Where will I run? Having to drop water. (I might get a belt but as a gal with a sizable midsection, belts are pretty unappealing.)

Anyway, this post is dripping with negativity and I know I need to KNOCK IT OFF. I still enjoy running. I do! I hope switching it up today will be a good step towards getting back into a routine. Hospital Hill is only 2.5 weeks away! And soon after, I need to start my training schedule for my first ever full marathon! I mean wow. I’m still excited and hopeful about that so not all has been tarnished!

P.S. Somehow I was lighter on the scale this week when I totally expected to be the same or heavier (after all that eatin!) Bodies are weird.

P.P.S. I said this stuff to someone today and I really need to take my own medicine:

“At least you got out there. Some day you will look back and realize how far you’ve come. Never feel bad about your stats. They just are. They reflect the workout not you.”

Like a Hurricane

 

*Important Disclaimer: Use of this title in no way serves to imply that hurricanes are anything less than life-changing, severe storms. It is only my lame attempt to profit from the popular song “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”*

HERE I AM! Sitting at my desk at lunch chair-dancing to the Scorpions. ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE. HERE I AM.

“Katie,” you may be asking, “why are you rocking?”

Well, You, I am in training for a race. Proper training in running is important. It not only prepares you physically and mentally for race day, but it can determine how you feel before and after the actual race. For those you who don’t know, I ran my first mile last January (2012.) It hurt so much but I was so proud.  After that mile I decided to run a few 5Ks. After that second 5k I knew I wanted to run a half marathon. I ended up running two.

After all that running, I took some time off and focused on cross training and what I would call “playing” at the gym. Essehospitalhillrun-logo-2013ntially, I just did what I wanted to with no real goal other than to get a good workout and enjoy myself. I tried spinning for the first time, I revisited an old favorite class, I varied my cardio and started working out with a buddy on the weekends. Essentially, I loosened the reigns and it felt goood. But after a while, something was missing. I needed to run again.

There were two major races in 2013 for which I really wanted to register. I already wrote about the Chicago Marathon (I’m a 26.2 virgin!) but the other one is a nice half marathon at home in Kansas City called Rock the Parkway. Sadly, I couldn’t afford the registration before it sold out so I resigned myself to missing out and signing up early for 2014 before all my money was eaten up by end of year and beginning of year expenses. I ended up registering for another great Kansas City race (one that actually got a nod in Runner’s World) for June and started training.  Hospital Hill Half Marathon is one of the toughest races in KC. It was also on my list to complete so I could proudly wear my gear reading “I conquered the hill.” [I need to find a way to be an elitist. To prove that I am a real runner who runs real things.I might not run it fast, but I’m going to beat those hills.]

So far, the training has been going well. I feel good and I’m enjoying my runs. I’m looking forward to Hospital Hill in June — bonus, my uncle is also running the half marathon! While I’ve been excited, part of me was still sad that I wasn’t going to get to “Rock the Parkway”. I’ve run bits of the course during training runs and they’ve been some of my favorite. I’ve felt light, strong and grounded. Truly connected.

I take you to Wednesday, March 20, 2013. It’s late afternoon and after struggling to stay awake I finally gave in and drank some coffee. [I am pretty strict about drinking caffeine after lunch –no bueno and if I drink it, it’s usually tea. I’m not a huge hot tea fan** (though I keep trying.)] As my mind starts to revive and my limbs feel less corpse-like, my phone vibrates. Someone is selling her Rock the Parkway registration, do I want it? My immediate reaction was “HELL YES!” In fact, I would have responded in the affirmative much quicker had my brain not done the quick, “will I be ready? how will this impact my training for Hospital Hill?” Once I remembered that I’m fit, have run distance and am not out for a PR I pounced. I’ve been in a happy running place ever since. Who knew that getting to run one race could make me so happy?

rtp-logo

Now I’m in dual training. I’m adjusting my long run schedule a bit to account for the addition of Rock the Parkway and I’m firmly committed to devoting a good portion of time to working on my “rocking.” So far today, I’ve sung  “Rock the Casbah” as “Rock the Parkway” and of course, there is the “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” I might have to make a “rock” song themed playlist.

Here I am after last night's training run. It was about 28 degrees and snowing lightly. So rock 'n' roll. Isn't my closet messy! Also, say hi to my cat (Baby) Oliver. "Hi Ollie!!!!" (he's a really good cat.)
Here I am after last night’s training run. It was about 28 degrees and snowing lightly. So rock ‘n’ roll. Especially the interior pocket full of Kleenex. My closet IS messy and that mirror IS dirty (hairspray maybe.) Also, say hi to my cat (Baby) Oliver. “Hi Ollie!!!!” (he’s a really good cat.)

This race is all about FUN for me. Joy. The goodness of running and loving the city in which I run. The course starts at the south end of the street near a major shopping center and winds down one of the loveliest residential (suburban-urban) areas in Kansas City. You run past well manicured lawns, beautiful Tudor and Colonial style houses and finally, you loop around one of the most well-known parks in the city — Loose Park (a few pictures below.) All the while the median is like one long park with quintessential Kansas City fountains peppered throughout.

The race is in mid-April so I’m hoping the weather is going to cooperate and it will be green and pretty. We’re preparing for another snowstorm this weekend, but this IS the Midwest where one minute it’s snowing and the next it’s 75 degrees so it could be a whole new KC in a few weeks. Regardless, it’s going to be great!

Let’s rock!

 

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**Side note: I adore iced tea. I’m a sun-tea makin gal. I think it came from the time we lived in the South (Alabama and Georgia). I’m guessing that’s where my mom picked it up. If I’m wrong I don’t really want to know.

I’m also practicing eating while rocking; however, I doubt I’ll be ingesting salad while on a long run any time soon.

The Lottery

I entered the Chicago Marathon lottery. They regretted to inform me that I was not selected. The morning of the lottery announcement this happened:

Now I must decide how badly I want to run this race. I can still gain entry through a charity. I just have to raise a certain amount of money and they not only get me a registration, but they will pay for my entry fee.

Last year, I chose Chicago for three reasons:

  1. It’s consistently ranked as a great course for first time marathoners.
  2. I saw a glowing review for the 2012 event on Fiterature.
  3. It’s in my mom’s hometown (with “her people.”) [This likely means crying because I am a baby.]

Oh yeah, I actually decided I was going to run a marathon while I was training for my first half. Being consumed by running and surrounded by people who were running them and training for them, it just hit me that I wanted to do that. I was reading books about running, I was running, I was talking about running, I was writing about running. (I was punctuating badly.) Running a marathon is also like the ultimate way to say “F’ YOU! I’m not the obese girl lacking confidence and afraid to try anymore. [I’M NOT JOSIE GROSSIE ANYMORE!]  F YOU FEAR.

After I entered the lottery, I really thought I was going to get in. I just had a feeling that it was supposed to happen. Now I’m a little less certain. Watching Spirit of the Marathon certainly inspired me as I cheered on the regular guys and the elites alike. That could be me.

Here’s my dilemma:  I am a terrible fundraiser. Remember those candy selling fundraisers? I ate the candy. I ATE IT ALL.

What do you think? Can I raise $925 for Girls on the Run? Can I run a marathon?

Her Real Name Was Katie (So it’s meant to be)

I’ve had this image in my head for almost as long as I’ve had the guts to say I’m going to do a marathon next fall. Picture it, I’ve just crossed the finish line after running 26.2 miles (or 26.84 according to my Garmin – because my watch always tells me I ran more than the mile markers seem to indicate.) Shockingly, I am not a sweaty beast of drooling, snotty goodness. My hair, instead of dripping with sweat is flowing in a gentle breeze. I’m smiling and jazz handsing instead of lumbering in a disoriented zombie-like daze. As I float across the finish, I’m embraced by my perfect boyfriend who has been waiting for me so he can make sure everyone knows that he’s so proud of his girl. (Still casting for the role of “perfect boyfriend.” I can’t seem to get beyond 2 dates.)

Except there’s a twist before that embrace. In my moment of triumph I will suddenly become a good dancer and acrobat. While floating across the finish, I will nod as Baby did. And Perfect Boyfriend (who won’t look anything like Patrick Swayze because I’m really more of a Matt Damon or John Krasinski girl) will swagger back directly in my path (other runners? pffft!) and I will run and leap and we will complete a perfect lift ala Dirty Dancing.

Final Lift from Dirty Dancing

It will look EXACTLY like that.

And someone will take a picture and we will be famous. (and I will qualify for Boston on my first try! because this is a dream and I can do anything!)

Here’s the thing: I’ve been feeling burnt out and discouraged with running. At the same time, I’m still invigorated and making goals. I’m getting better and I’m pushing myself in spite of my desire to just not run sometimes.

Part of this is related to the fact that I am running my second half marathon in less than 2 weeks. When I did the first one I didn’t have anything to lose. I was out there to prove I could do it. I was out there to show that I was not a quitter (I had a sinus infection and I was on my period – TMI? I DON’T CARE.) Now I have a time to beat and I have a goal time. This is the half marathon that was the whole point of my training calendar. I HAVE to do well.

Perhaps I should add dancing to my cross training regimine so I’ll be ready for the Time of My Life — because I’m going to do it. I’m going to keep running. Keep improving. Keep moving. Keep dreaming and daydreaming.

Turn the Unknown Corner

Yesterday’s 10 mile run was hard and my foot is still hurting and bruised. But here I am reading my Runner’s World and trying to decide which marathon is the right one for me to run next year – my first. I had a few moments of thinking,”how am I ever going to run double this? How am I going to be able to do this as a weekday – non-LSD- distance?”

Then I turned down a road I never take.

My foot hurts. But sometimes when I’m driving I wish I was running. That’s who I am now – and who I always was – only now I know I can do it.

One good thing that came from my early morning panic attack that my foot was going to need extended rest; thereby forcing me to learn to swim to maintain my cardio routine – was the next thought that learning to swim well would mean I could maybe do a triathlon.

Maybe I should just learn to swim?