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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Fun.

Fun.  That's how I like my running these days.  Like that singing group..."Fun."  and their song "We are Young."  Except I'm not young.   I'm definitely old.


 The pandemic deleted my birthday last year, so hubby threw me a proper 40th this year!

Ahh, but I digress. So far this year, I have not run one single race, aside from a trail relay, but I can also honestly say that I've been having more fun running than I can ever remember.  I'm running with an inappropriately fun (like, no convo is off the table with these peeps) group again on Thursdays, I take extra days off if my body or mind asks for it, and I'm more than willing to change up a run mid-run if I decide, yep, this just ain't happening today.  No pressure.  All smiles.  Well, mostly.  No one smiles all the time.  And if they do, well that's just weird, and I probably wouldn't trust them.  



Logan, my seven year old, actually brought me to an epiphany a few weeks ago.  He started playing on a flag football team, and after a successful first game, he ran off the field before halftime in his second game and refused to play.  The competitive ass in me could feel the heat building in my gut and cheeks that my son didn't seem to have that fire, but when I asked him why, the first thing he stated was, "Mommy, I'm no good at it."  *Cue choked up tears and feeling like a mommy turd*.  We've had a lot of talks since then, the most constant one being that if you choose to sit out for fear of failure, then you also don't allow yourself the opportunity to succeed and have fun.  It made me think back to many races that I decided not to run for these exact insecurities, although upon making those decisions, I of course didn't admit these reasons to myself at the time.  Logan has now played in the team's two games since that day, and I promised him too that I'd be more aware of why or why not I run races.  Because honestly, if you run a PR or you win a race....or you don't...umm yeah... SO. WHAT. 


One goal I have avoided for years is the half marathon.  I ran a 1:22 in 2015 and have not run once since, and the sad reality is that I've gotten into much better shape in these past six years, so what the hell is wrong with me?  The possibility of NOT running it faster or the risk of getting injured doing one en route to one of my marathons kind of freaked me out.  Isn't that ironic though?  I weenied out of racing a half before my OTQ marathon attempt in 2019, and oh wait, I got injured anyway.  See, I should have taken my own advice to Logan and immersed myself into more races because by not doing so, I deprived myself the opportunity to bust out a fast time and have fun in the process all the while.  Dumbass. 

I actually signed up for a 5K in a few weeks!  Again, after my chats with Logan, that was part of our deal...I'd sign up for a race.  Am I in my best shape?   Sure not!  But ya know what, sometimes when you don't care as much, you surprise yourself, so who knows? 

Mike and I took the boys on a surprise beach weekend a couple of weekends ago, and I decided to throw down a few mile repeats while there on some flat roads.  I surprised myself with 5:54, 5:50, and 5:46. However, I woke up the next morning with a grossly swollen foot.  What?  Previously, I would have freaked out, but I kind of just laughed at myself and was like, yeppppppp, this is 40!  Okay, yeah shut up, you're right, I'm actually 41.  But yeah, I can still run on the foot, but it kinda maybe looks like I stuffed marshmallows under my skin.  Whatever. 




Looking ahead, the Chicago Marathon is on the docket, but I'm calling some possible stink on this race.  Can someone address the fact that they accepted and charged every single person through their lottery on top of all those that deferred from last year (I've read that in a normal year, not even half of the applicants get in)?  While many races are still canceling/postponing/limiting field size, you're telling me that Chicago, a 40,000+ runner world major marathon, is business as usual?  I dunno.  But ahh well.  If I'm being honest, I'm enjoying my 50 miles a week and long runs of no more than 12 miles right now anyway.  

Welp, so what else is going on...

Got me my vaxxxx! ...

...and then looked like this five days after my second dose.  Yep, I was one of those lucky delayed-reaction-face-swells peeps!  And yes, I did just post this picture.  

Just some Salem Lake love.

Cooper just letting everyone know how Mom feels about stuff a lot of the time.

Me, Meg, and Adriana letting everyone know how Mom feels about stuff a lot of the time.


We lost Zoe to bone cancer and gained Piper into our family this year.  I still assert that dogs are the best thing in the entire world.

Just continuing to live the #boymom dream...

Cooper has a girlfriend!

I'm back to in-person group coaching.  Yay, Streakers!

I just like McDonald's fries...

...and cute pictures of my boys with their friends.

Alrighty, off for a 10-miler.  Although it could end up being 8.  Or 6.  Or 11!

Happy FUN. Running!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

2020

Yesterday, my son's friend told me that my house smelled like cat litter, and my other son told me that my face has lots of "boo-boos".  So, yeah, we don't have a cat, and yeah, those would be zits.

I think these, uh, proclamations are good symbols for my current life (and my guess for yours too?  Cuz let's face it, 2020 is kinda for the birds*).  

*What does that phrase even mean??  I like birds.  I don't like 2020.

Y'all, what the heyull is happening?  People are dying.  People are losing their jobs.  Kids (our future!) are being stunted in every way possible.  Depression and anxiety are at an all-time high.  And yet, everyone is at everyone's throats because our individual pandemic stances are all across the board.  Also, can we just recognize that no matter what your current political beliefs are, arguing about them is not going to change anyone else's beliefs?  Like seriously, for example, here's a convo that would NEVER happen:

Person in favor of gun rights:  "Our rights!  Our protection!  How could you ever want to take guns away?!"
Person in favor of gun control: "Ya know, you're sooo right.  I'm gonna go buy me some right now!"   

So seriously, for the love of humanity, shhhtop it.  Stop fighting and asserting your shhhiznit opinions on everything 2020 related.  You could seriously save a life.  Maybe when/if you're feeling all fired up, consider going out for a run instead; pound that mess out!    

Okay so yeah, running.  Even just saying the word gives me a bigger sense of peace... 

 
Morning fartlek (12 miles w/ 10x half mile at 5K effort/quarter mile at recovery effort in the middle)

Running has taken on a new form for me this year.  I have not run one individual race for obvious pandemic reasons, and I think not having any expectations is just what I needed.  I did recently run a relay... one where each team member chugs a beer and then runs a trail 5K... but I'm not sure if that can really count as a "race".  We did win, however, and took home machetes (like, real ones), but the weekend was more of an escape from reality than anything.


Copperhead Relay

I thought perhaps the relay would excite me on the racing front again, but I'm not gonna lie...it didn't.   Now that races are slowly starting to make a comeback(ish), I've been looking at options, but my heart just isn't totally into it.  My heart is, however, still always into going for my daily runs, but the thought of going hard is, uhh, mehhh.  Like you probably are too, I think I'm just emotionally exhausted.  I'm trying to work and homeschool my first-grader simultaneously, and I therefore know I'm not as good of a coach as I normally am.  Blurghhh, I hate that about myself right now.  Plus, during the week, I can really only get in a quality run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so that is probably also messing with my confidence on how well I can perform.

I did, however, recently commit to a race in December, and it's kinda a biggie, so I'm hoping the spark will ignite again soon, and hence my fartlek this morning.  I did my first actual timed speed workout last week too to assess my fitness (2miles 11:48, 1mile 5:48, 1200m 4:17, 800m 2:53, 400m 1:23, 2x200m all out), and even though it physically felt smooth, afterwards I was just kinda like...yeahhh, okay, whatever, is it time for a margarita yet??  ...the answer was yes, yes it was.

The race is an invitational elite half marathon, 50 men and 50 women, in which all women will have to have run a 1:24 or better already.  With such a competitive field,  I really want to want to race, if that makes sense, so I'm hopeful as 2020 continues to improve (wait, it is improving, right?  No?  Shit.), the daily grind will become more routine again.  I may also be a bit guarded; having gotten in such great shape before the Indy Marathon just to have it ripped out from underneath me so suddenly may have me a tad anxious to go for something big again.  

So, last year, I met this dude in a gas station when I went across the street from work to get a drink (no, not that kind of drink...I woulda gone to Total Wine for that).  I walked in and busted out laughing when I saw his shirt and then naturally asked if he'd take a pic with me.  I'm pretty sure he thought I was some crazy wackadoodle (he's right), but that's okay because at that moment, he was kind of my hero.  Whether he knew it or not, I do believe he was foreshadowing, as his shirt is clearly a perfect expression for how we all may feel about 2020...



On that note, Happy Fall and Happy Running!  Let's all continue to just do our best, even if our best may be sucktastic right now, and gosh durnnn it people, let's be understanding and nice to each other!  

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Alfredo

At 9:47am today, I cooked chicken and bowtie Alfredo.  Why?  I don't know.  I wanted it.  And let's face it, life is kind of a hot mess right now, no matter what season or stage of life you're in, so why not let yourself have what makes you even the teensiest bit happier?  ...yikes, well ain't that sounding like a slippery slope.  😳
But really, whatever, by 10:34am, I ate a massive bowl, and it was sooo gooooooood.

I shouldn't be blogging right now.  Full disclosure, this is a procrastination tool because I have so many things to do and questions and uncertainties in my brain, and since I can't solve any one of them, what do I do?  Ignore.  Yep, this is not productive or even the slightest bit okay at all, but in my times of feeling overwhelmed, I nSoNgklsnrbkln (<--- got it?  no?  me neither).

I'm going back to work full time next month, even taking on more responsibilities, but my rising first-grader will be home for at least the first five weeks, and he needs homeschooling.  How do I work and homeschool at the same time??  We can hire someone to help, but we shouldn't really be/can't pay for anything more right now, esp. with our three-year-old already in daycare.  And what happens after those first five weeks?  Do we send him back to the proposed anti-social environment for seven hours of mask-wearing each day?  Little kids don't understand, and it almost seems barbaric for them.  Yet, too many people are losing their lives to this virus, so I 100% understand why they need to make these decisions.  But as a mom, my boy may not be losing his physical life, but he is losing his spirit and emotional well-being, and that is killing us in a whole other way.

And I don't meant this to complain.  Really, I don't.  We are healthy.  We have each other.  Running is my sanity.  My family and friends are the best.  ...but damn does it does feel good to vent.  Like I've read before, and I know people don't like hearing it anymore, but...we are all enduring the same storm, just on different boats, and there really are no good solutions right now....

...Except for Alfredo at 9:47am. 😏

Okay, rant over until perhaps 2:42pm today.  

Let's talk about my fave... RUNNING! ...

So yeah, obviously I was in the shape of my life last fall, blah blah, tore my calf, blah blah, picked myself back up to train for an April 26th marathon, blah blah, then Covid canceled that mess, blah blah.  The week before the world closed down in March,  I ran the same tempo run route that I ran before Indy to assess what kind of shape I was in... turns out I was almost back to form with 8@ 6:06 pace in the middle of 16.  I felt confident that with another 6-7 weeks to go before the marathon, I'd be where I wanted to be (in 2:45 shape).  However, once everything started getting canceled, I mentally just said...ENOUGH.  Training for a marathon, while I absolutely love it, is exhausting.  It's an oxymoron almost...I'm f'ing tired, but I CRAVE it.  So, since then, I've come down off my training high, decided to run for sanity and release, and I am 100% okay with this.  I feel extremely fortunate that racing is not just what I crave; it's more the simple feel of the RUN itself.  Pure, innocent, maybe even selfish, joy.

Currently, I'm running about 50-55 miles/avg. per week instead of the 70-75 I was doing in the spring.  I started throwing in some fartleks a couple of weeks ago, not really for speed work per se, but to change up what my legs are doing so they don't get too complacent/lazy.  This morning, I set out for eight recovery-paced miles.  It was humid, I was hurting even at the easier pace, and so I said...why??  I cut it off at six.  On Sunday, I set out for 15 miles, but after one step, I knew it wasn't going to be a good day.  With three miles to go, I jumped in a lake, complete with my sneaks and sunglasses still on, cooled off, then slogged back with annoyingly-squeaky sneaks.  I laughed at myself, and it was glorious!  Point being, if there was ever a time to allow ourselves grace, rest, a chance to reenergize, reevaluate goals and purpose, why would it not be NOW?  Find the joy in what fires you up but let go of the pressure that threatens to put out your flames.  I'm actually encouraging the runners I coach to NOT achieve peak fitness right now; save it for when races are back in their regular capacity (<-- notice that I don't say "normal" ...WTF does that word even mean anyway?!!).  We'll be physically fresher, goal hungry as hell, and we can actually put it to use again.

Happy Running!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The NoTQ: Thoughts from a 2:45+

This weekend, I will be in Atlanta for the 2020 USA Olympic Marathon Trials. Last week, I told a good friend of mine that I was making the trek down, to which she replied, "Jen, are you okay??" Some may look at my going to Atlanta as self-destructive behavior...Like, running in this race was your dream that failed to come to fruition, so why would you put yourself through just watching it??

Here's the thing though...I'm more than okay.  I'm FREAKING FANTASTIC.

"Life doesn't guarantee that hard work will equal victory. I do the work because I want to see the best that's within me. I'm humbled by where my work has taken me. I'm humbled and I'm grateful. My hope and prayer for each of you is that you choose a healthy path, dig in when it gets hard, and scream and shout when it all pays off." - Jenny Simpson

Jenny (Barringer) Simpson is a 1500-meter world champion and former American record holder in the 3000-meter steeplechase.  She's also a runner I've followed since her high school career, as I was always enamored by the genuine excitement she'd exude upon crossing a finish line.  She oozed passion for the sport and still does to this day.  So, the fact that 1) I met her a couple of weeks ago, and 2) this quote of hers happened to appear in my Facebook feed the following week, struck me as a sign and delivered an epiphany...

Just because I (and many other men and women for that matter) did not qualify for this ONE day, doesn't mean that we're not capable.  Circumstances change... i.e. injury, weather, illness.  Amy Cragg, who won the 2016 Trials and went on to finish 9th in the 2016 Rio Olympics, is no longer competing this weekend after battling mono and fatigue.  Does that suck?  Sure does.  But does it mean that she wouldn't have gone on to finish in the top three and therefore head to her second straight Olympic marathon?  Nope.  Not at all.

So this is what helps me get by... knowing that I was (and still am!) more than capable.  Just because I'm not competing on this one day this weekend doesn't mean that I couldn't have been.  I know I was ready.  And I'm more than okay with that now.

Obtaining my "NoTQ", as I've joked about now for weeks (if you're not following, that's a No OTQ), has taught me a lot about myself...  

* It's taught me how strong my passion for this sport truly is.  Just because I didn't hit the time standard doesn't make me want to go back out there and run any less.  I'm appreciative to enjoy the process more than the actual competition, as I think it would be a lot harder if it were the other way around.

* It's taught me that allowing myself more flexibility instead of a rigid training regimen can actually yield the same, if not better, results.  After taking time off to allow my calf to heal, I started running again for about 5-6 weeks before I was set to run on a marathon relay team.  Without a ton of training, I assumed I would, well, suck, but I surprised myself in performing and feeling much better than anticipated.  Honestly?  The fun environment and low expectation mindset was HUGE.  Since then, I've made up my workouts as I go, and I don't plan to be "rigid" again anytime soon.

* It's taught me...and hopefully my kids...that "failure" can actually equate to success sometimes.  After all, the best view typically comes after the hardest climb!

The best relay team in the world after winning the Valentine's Massacre Marathon Relay!


Jenny and I at the Camel City Elite meet in Winston-Salem.  She won the 3,000 meters in a new flat track world record of 8:51.

So yes, this weekend, I'm heading to Atlanta as an excited running junkie that has even entered a Trials fantasy marathon competition (and yes, I want to win that sucker...don't worry, I have not lost my competitive juices ;)).  I'm going with two other gal pals, who are also in the same boat...they're more than capable of having run 2:45, but circumstances steered them onto a different path.  For now...    

Yes, for now...  So when the circumstances actually have it that it's my day, like Jenny always does at the end of her races, I will 100% scream and shout as I watch and feel it all pay off.

Best of luck to all racing this weekend! 

Elle (whose day is also coming) and I, here with Paul Chelimo (Olympic silver medalist in the 5,000 meters) will be cheering BIG for this gal here on the right.  Adriana, go get 'em, girl!  

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Unbroken

After Indy and then realizing I wouldn't able to take another stab at an OTQ in Houston, I felt a little lost.  Yes, I accepted where I was, but it was kind of like, WAIT...did that actually just happen?  I trained how much?  But I don't have any race results to show for it?  Hrmpffff.  The best way to describe how I felt was embarrassed at myself and, well, broken.

I ended up taking three full weeks off from running.  I was good about cross-training for five days until I then became really bad about cross-training for 16 days.  I was bored.  I was resentful.  I wanted to get away from it.  So I did.

Luckily, it was a distraction-full time of year with Logan's birthday, Christmas, holiday shindigs, and New Year's.  I also started waking up at 4:30am each day to have some calm solo time spent guzzling coffee and watching Hallmark movies before the daily tornado started.  I drank a lot of wine, ate a lot of sh*t, didn't think about racing, and you know what? ...I enjoyed every freaking second of it. 

My first run back was three miles.  I wondered if some of the discomfort still in my calf was the tear not being fully healed or just scar tissue messing with me, so I took it really easy for a couple of weeks and continued with ART and laser therapy all the while. (Digression Alert! --->)  Don't ya wish our bodies came with zippers sometimes so that we could just take a peek and know stuff for sure??  So yeah, here I am, five-ish weeks later, pain-free, having hit a 60-mile week last week, and looking ahead...

For so long, I was dedicated to ONE goal.  ...one freaking deadline goal that saw me document every training day in nerd-like fashion, hammer numerous workouts solo for fear of getting off pace if I did them with others, and (Irony Alert! --->) skip even the thought of doing any other races for fear. of. injury.

Since being back running again, I haven't written any runs down, I've hardly run solo, and I've signed up for five races in 2020 already.  I'm having fun.  Maybe I'm being a little bit of a jacka$$ too, but (Oxymoron Alert! --->) a smart jacka$$ nonetheless.  Don't get me wrong, I love training hard (seriously, like 1000x more than the racing part), and I really loved training towards the OTQ, but there is so much more to love about running.  Having been so laser-focused on that one goal, I now want to experience it ALL.  I'd like to target PRs in other distances, and yes, I'll still plan to run at least one marathon this year but with no time goal in mind other than racing the sh*t out of it.  I qualified for the masters-high-performance-American Development-Program at Chicago, or as I like to call it, the f'ing old hag ADP division, so I may end up there.  And yes, I'm officially a master this year.  What?  Shut up.

Last weekend, I did my first true speedy anything since before Indy... a 3-mile tempo within an 11-mile run.  I averaged 6:04 pace, which I'm happy with, even though I felt like my lungs were seriously going to collapse.  Before Indy, I did this same 3-miler twice in the middle of a 16-mile run at 5:57 average, feeling like I could have kept going forever.  So, yeah, my fitness has a ways to come back yet, but it felt awesome, I feel happy, I feel alive, and I feel, well, unbroken in so many ways.  


Onward!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Acceptance

Nitroglycerin, dry needles, ART, lasers, Addaday, compression, CBD oil*, Bengay** ... all the things.   GAHH!  All the damn things!

* I cannot believe I went there...

 ** I didn't even know they still made this shit until I found a tube (umm, from 2012) buried in the back of our guest bathroom drawer.  ...and to which I then said, "why not?", lathered it on, aaaaand yeah no...  it didn't work.

Well, I tried.  I've been running easy for two weeks per doc's orders, doing all the above, all the while in denial.  My calf will feel decent the day after treatment, but then it basically goes back to square one.  Then some days would feel better than others, which would give me hope, but then would be followed by a day of utter limp-a-gimp, which would lead to this:

         I bet you can't eat as much peanut butter oreo pie as me in one sitting...

One day last week after a particularly painful run, I decided to throw in the towel, only to wake up the next day mad at myself for giving up, and I therefore went out for an 8-mile run.  I impulsively and officially committed to the Houston Marathon on January 19th (one day before the Olympic Trials qualification period closes), making it real.  I was still going to do this!!  I then ran eight miles two more days in a row, fooling myself.  

A few days later, after a lot of wine and tears (it's funny how calf tears... "tay-yuhrs" and crying tears..."tee-yuhrs" are spelled the same...or maybe it's not funny, and now that I'm not running, I have too much time to think of this kind of stupid shit), I'm finally at a place of acceptance, and I think writing it down helps in that...  

Every day that I do not rest right now is a day longer in my healing process.  Ultimately, I love to run, and I want to run for the rest of my life.  Running in pain, however, is not what I want to associate with my love for running.  I do want to prove to myself that I could have done it though.  I don't know why, but it just drives me.  Qualifying to run in the 2020 Olympic Trials on February 29th will not be in my cards, but when I'm 100% healthy and am able to train and love it again, I'm going to go for the qualifying time on my own timeline.        

I wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season.
Happy pie eating running!

So much to be thankful for ...



Thankful to celebrate Mike's big 4-0 in the mountains

Thankful for a job I love ...my Streakers finished this season with lots of PRs at the 
Greensboro Half Marathon.

Thankful for my eldest... Logan lost his first tooth!  He turns six this month.

Thankful for my first and forever friend from Greensboro, Emily.  She was back visiting after moving to Texas this summer.  Logan was very happy to see Wit.

 Thankful that my family came to celebrate Thanksgiving 
(and got home safely in a CT snowstorm)

Thankful for Thanksgiving with family and friends

 Thankful for friends that remind me it's okay to grieve something you've worked hard for, despite the fact that there are people going through much bigger hardships


Thankful for my baby... Cooper turned three!

Thankful for friends with whom I can share the triumphs and heartbreaks

Thankful to be healthy enough to try new things, even if they bore me to tee-yuhrs.  :)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Indy 2019


What do you do after you DNF a race you've been training your keister off for six months?

Shots.  You do shots...


Okay, just kidding.  Well, I'm not really kidding, because we did do shots, but you allow yourself ample time to go through all the appropriate stages of post-bad-race-grief:

Stage 1:  Screw this.  I'm NEVER doing this again.

Stage 2: Feel sorry for yourself while binge eating and drinking until you have serious 
night sweats and heartburn.


Stage 3: Get mad at yourself for ever feeling this way (<--loser!), and therefore start researching all other possible races to try again.

Stage 4: Stalk all the race results and get fired up while saying to yourself, "I could have done that!"

Stage 5: Pull your shit together, and FOCUS.  You now have a new race to run... 

After coming out of "Jesus's Hands" office this morning (<-- Dr. Jeremy at EPC), he assured me there is no tear in my calf.  I started convincing myself there was after this gremlin appeared under my skin right after the race, but Jeremy firmly believes I had an acute reaction to the inflammation that set in.  I'm already feeling a ton better after four days of bingeing rest, and the plan is to keep resting through the weekend, then try short/easy running next week.  I'm still planning an MRI so that my brain will allow me to run without hesitation, but I'm 98.2% confident that I'll be able to give this a go again.  


Up until four weeks before the race, training had never been so great.  I told myself that no matter what happened on race day, I was at peace with it because OTQ or not, I was the fittest I've ever been.  Some of my most confidence-inducing workouts: 

 *Two 10-mile marathon-paced tempos within 19-milers, one at 6:05 pace and the other at 6:02 pace; * Two x three miles within a 16-miler, the first at 5:59 pace, the second at 5:56 pace; 
*A 10K at 6:15 pace (alternating each K at 5:55 & 6:35 to purposely build lactic acid), followed by three easy miles before finishing a 16-miler with a five-mile tempo at 6:11 pace.

The day after finishing a cutdown 20-miler, my right calf got angry on an eight-mile recovery run.  The next day, I attempted my scheduled 16-miler, but I was stopped in my tracks about four miles in.  Okay, a little digression here...  I was pretty far away from home, so I went into a Dunkin Donuts Express and asked the very nice lady working if I could use her phone to call my husband for a ride.  I was wearing zebra-print spandex shorts and just a sports bra at the time, and she was seriously staring at me like I was, in fact, a deranged zebra.  I told her I was in the middle of a 16-mile run but got hurt, and she then just kinda stared at me blankly for about a solid, uncomfortable minute.  She then handed me her phone, but we never spoke again.  Um, k, bye.  So yeah, digression over... Hubby was managing our two rowdy kids, so he didn't answer, but luckily his BFF Cullen happened to be driving by and has a strong affinity for zebra culture...

It took about a week of ART work, massage, and dry needling to get my calf to calm down.  I then attempted a little quality training again, only to have it strain again a week later, only to have it calm down again just in time for the race.

 Dry Needling  🙈

 Attempted KT Tape

Homemade ice pack so that I could drive to work and recover simultaneously.
I should trademark this shit.

Being in Indy was awesome.  Coach Hubby Mike, our boys, and Mike's entire family was there, as were so many friends either there to cheer or chase their own OTQs and/or PRs.  The elite meeting the night before the race was full of 62 females and 25 males in the marathon alone attempting the OTQ standard (spoiler: 22 females and 10 males made it!).  
  






On the morning of the race, the wind chill was a balmy 19 degrees.  Oh okay.  About a half mile into the race, I gave the air a little first pump.  I always say that after about the first 10 seconds, you kind of know how you're going to feel, and I felt GREAT.  I was running right behind the OTQ pacer, in a full pack of dream-seeking women and other men too, and I thought it was going to be my day.  I felt my calf a teensy bit, but I wasn't alarmed.  I didn't even look at my watch until mile three, which passed in 18:53 (a perfect 6:17 OTQ pace!).  At mile five, my day was done.  In a matter of one step, my calf seared up the back, and I couldn't hold my normal form, which meant holding the pace would be nearly impossible.  I made the decision right away to call it, as there was no point in risking further damage.  After today's visit with Jeremy, I'm SO glad I made this call.  


I don't know for sure what my next step will be.  I will not toe another start line unless I know my calf is 100%.  We have until January 20th to get the standard, so I'm still hopeful, but in the end, if it doesn't happen, then this is what's meant to be.  Here's the thing... a lot of people ask, "What are you going to do if you don't get the standard?!"  Ummmm, I'm gonna, ya know, eat lunch, hug my family, aaaaaand move right along.  ...the same things I'd do if I DID get the standard.  I love to run, and regardless of an OTQ or not, I always will.  I train my best for where I am in my life, and I therefore know that when I stand on every start line, I'm as ready as I can be.  That's all I can do; that's all any of us can do.

I've done a lot of drinking thinking in the days after the race.  One of the things sitting heaviest on me is what my race may have meant to other women seeking their own individual dreams, whatever they may be.  I have been absolutely overwhelmed by all the words, cards, and gifts; etc. of love and encouragement before and after my race.  I feared that my DNF left many feeling that maybe we can't have it all.  Maybe working and having kids and a social life while still wanting to have our own identity is too much.  So to all my other mama dreamers, I say this:  Keep going.  It's possible.  It's not easy, but it's possible.  I was in the shape of my life; it just was out of my control on that day.  Sometimes a fire gets put out, but remember that it only takes one little spark to reignite it.

I'm not done.  Onward...