I run happy.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Secure Runner-The Secure Woman

A tough woman I know...
a strong runner,
a resilient mom,
an intelligent scientist,
a loyal running team mate and a forever friend ran another 50k yesterday and
she ran it VERY fast.

It was one of those weeks when you start texting your runner friend just to make sure she's got some solidly positive thoughts in her head.  Just a little front- loading with some sparkly, heart-felt words of encouragement and lots of "go get 'ems."  As the week progressed, a few days of silence spoke volumes so BS(husband runner)and I held back and just waited...sending positive vibes out into the 90 degree atmosphere.  Seriously?  Would 400 ultra runners be tackling RAPTOR RIDGE at the end of October in ninety degree weather?  It wouldn't be that out of the ordinary around here but I was PRAYING that wouldn't be the case.  Perhaps THAT was the fear and the reason for the silence during the week.

But what about that silence?  Confidence or fear? 

It occured to me POST spectating, POST run,  that my friend reminds me of another friend of ours,   Tough as Nails .  She has NEVER has been the type to chit chat aimlessly about her running.  Nor has she ever been the type to elicit virtual hugs nor too many flower-filled recitations on her abilities as a runner.  The whole time I've known TAN(tough as nails-duh),  she's never needed those types of pats on the back.  She's a survivor.  Not a stone pillar,  yet, someone who has lived.  She has succeeded at what she has done in her life and s.t.e.a.d.y enough to claim it without having to check herself in the mirror; be it a rearview mirror or the one she uses to brush her teeth.  You could say that she has lived her life running without a Garmin.  Without a measure of her pace, her successes.  She runs by feel and has found her own pleasure and GOLD BELT BUCKLE(because TAN really did run Western States and won!) in her accepting her own abilities on ANY GIVEN DAY.  

That's what Little Tough Friend did as well.  She told us she'd either run close to 5 hours or up to 7 hours, depending on the hills and the weather.  She STUCK TO HER GUNS and accepted herself and her running that day and wound up with a SUPER FAST TIME!

I love that self-acceptance in women.  So inspiring.  
Stay strong my friends,

Monday, October 8, 2012

Chicago and the Pain Monster

Chicago was just gorgeous!

Cali Friends,  the leaves really do change colors at this time of the year in other parts of the United States.  It's true!!!

I'm calling it a Mini-New York Marathon.  It had all the sights, smells and feelings of running in the city...minus the wild and crazy traffic problems/issues in getting to the start.  There were still the crowds that lined every inch of the course, sometimes seven people thick.  There were the smells of coffee--and then blocks later--chocolate---and on and off,  a sewer smell---topped off with a whiff of tacos and then again, the chocolate.  This was  a SMELLY race.  Chilly and smelly but spectacular.

My reviews on my performance, my execution? My big event?  Three thumbs up, one thumb down.  Okay, maybe all thumbs up.  I didn't exactly make my goal time of 3:20 but I was able to pull myself through some tough moments during the race.  I think back to my earlier race/marathon days and remember some "very dark" moments when I would feel a faint moment of panic over my pace, my poop issues, my stomach stuff and immediately let my peanut brain go MANIC.  Shut down.  Negative.  BUT THAT WAS ME IN THE PAST...I've really kind of done my own
Marathon Mental Makeover and it has been pretty successful during all of  my last races, both marathons and shorter stuff.

It essentially involves me putting my all into training so I have the confidence in my abilities.  Next,  I spend some time before my race visualizing PAIN and FATIGUE hitting and actually rehearsing what I'll say to myself and how I'll react.  HOW I'll react is everything.  I practice embracing the PAIN of the race, recognizing it and then visualizing myself moving through it and getting on with the race.  Lest you think this is MUMBO JUMBO,  just know that I actually emailed a sports psychologist who works with runners and he actually made me a very COOL cd that addresses some of the freaky things that crop up when I race.  Like fear of pain.  Like the potty issues.  Things that might impede me doing my very best when I go out to have fun at a marathon.  

So to make a long story short, very short...I went out too fast at this marathon,  didn't drink enough of my liquid nutrition(Carbo-pro) and ended up dropping off my pace after mile 20 or so.  The happy ending of the Chicago Story is that I kept my *happy*head in the game the whole time.  I never thought about stopping, about anything that was holding me back nor did I worry about my pace.  At the time,  I focused on each step I took as it hit the ground.  I thought about the many things that I could do to make the race better:

shaking out my arms
giving high five to kids
looking around
giving a high five to an inflatable monkey
counting frog umbrellas
reading a sign or two
drinking water
drinking gatorade

And during the last few miles,  I didn't think about anything!  I let myself absorb the pain in my foot, the burn in my quads and I just focused on pain.  I hugged it.  I was proud of myself for staring right into it's face and growling back.  Then, BOOM, the race was over.

Sometimes overcoming is even better than victory.  I was reaching for a goal that was definitely within my reach but for whatever reason, it wasn't  handed to me.  I had to fight for this one and the satisfaction and accomplishment was well worth the pain.

Chicago gave me some mental strength that I didn't know I possessed.  At the finish line,  hundreds of teenagers from the city came out as volunteers to pass out water, the medals, and bananas.  One young girl grabbed my wrist as I took a water  bottle and in my post-pain stupor, she  looked into my eyes...a little too deeply for the moment(if you ask me)and said,  "You are incredible.  Be so proud of what you just accomplished."  When a 16 year old girl says that to grandma like me,  you listen.  Thanks amazing volunteers.

Monday, October 1, 2012

CHICAGO Bound...

As I finished my last tempo/long run on Sunday,  I was overcome with emotion.  This would be the FIRST TIME...ever...to have finished my marathon training INJURY FREE.  I walked in circles in the Roberto's parking lot and more than a few road bikers glanced my way.  Why is she crying?  Stomach trouble?  It was just ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS of gratitude and I wanted to FEEL it and let  it seep into my core.  Pure appreciate of my body, mind and spirit. We had done it!

Everyone always tells me that AGE IS JUST A NUMBER.  The younger people tell me this and I nod my head but I KNOW what it's like to feel my body change.  It's NOT ALL bad, in fact,  aging is what I've done well.  Especially when it comes to running.

Some sage and sane advice to the 45 year old PLUS runner:

*Drink a lot of water.  All day.
*Eat right after a run.
*Ice baths are cold but necessary.
*Take a LONG time to build up your mileage, your strength, your speed(for some this might be years).
*Even if something is just starting up as a little, tiny niggle, listen to it.  Be conservative.
*Be tough.  The best is yet to come.

SwamiiBoy(formerly known as BS)and I are headed to Chicago this week!  Swamii has had many roles in my marathon training.  Due to his knee surgery last spring, he continues to run low mileage(talk about patience)and bike.  We spent many an early morning and sunset running/biking in Carlsbad and down to La Jolla as he called out crazy split times and minutes to me.  I would zone out in a groove and let my body respond to his calls.  It was heavenly-despite the 80 and 90 degree heat.   It would have been better to have him by my side but this was the next best thing...thanks Swamii.  When I cross the finish line, I'll be looking for YOU!

Also grateful for GOOD FRIENDS who send funny texts, awesomely deep and touching emails and just keep me SANE.  I love my GIVING TREE Team/BSK mates, you ROCK the RED nail polish and jersey and always inspire!

I'm heading into CHICAGO having already accomplished my goal...health.  The rest is icing on the cake!