26.2 Miles.

Well, I did it. It wasn’t easy. But I did it. And I have a whole, long writeup in the works but I can’t seem to find the time to truly bring it all together, so here I sit letting you know I am alive and well.

(Please forgive me for any grammar mistakes and/or spelling errors. The baby is taking one of his “flash naps”. If I get 30 minutes, I’ll be surprised.)

Let’s see. I survived the race injury free, which is pretty awesome. I was a good sore, but that only lasted for a few days. And every hour the aches lessened, I began to feel a touch more blue. There is a certain sorrow one feels after training for (and completing) a marathon that is difficult to describe. The only other time I felt anything similar was when I had postpartum depression. It’s kind of like you do all this work, spend all these months working toward something, anticipating one big event, then BAM! that something happens and you’re left thinking, “Cool. Ok, so now what?”

Yes, with one scenario you have a baby. With the other, you’re a marathoner. But something just feels… empty? That could possibly come off wrong to those who haven’t experienced postpartum depression. We love our babies. It’s just this inexplicably sad feeling. Anyway, a slice of that sorrow resurfaced after this race.

But enough about all that.

So back to marathon morning.

I woke up at 4:00 AM to get to the Meadowlands by five. Having gone to bed at 8:30 the night before, I was pretty well rested. It was a blustery cold morning. The wind gusts were insane.

How was I going to do this?

back of my NYC Marathon shirt

I arrived at the base of the bridge at around 5:45 AM. The sun had barely risen and the clouds were active and plump and deep shades of gray. The sky was unwelcoming, like summer and winter were refusing to give in and just let fall take over.

I made some oatmeal and sat down and tried my best to keep warm. Oh my goodness it was cold! I fantasized about a hot bath, the one I would take hours later after all this running nonsense was out of the way.

“If I survive.” I joked.

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My village (Green) was stationed near the Army building. And a few of us joked about going to war. Couple that with the sound of the helicopters hovering above, our nerves, and the canon blasts, and that comparison became darkly comical at times.

The more seasoned marathon runners wore trash bags, or those metallic wraps handed out after many long races. They had deli bags covering their shoes. Plus, they were able to sleep somehow. Then there were the crazy people wearing nothing more than a tshirt and shorts. Just looking at them made me feel colder. So I tried not to.

Hours went by. Canons roared. Waves of men and women hit the bridge. The excitement grew. I was so nervous. I was so cold. I took an extra long time in a porta-john. If you’ve ever seen a porta-john at a race, you know how desperate I was for warmth.

At 10:50 AM, it was finally time to start. While I was more nervous than I’d ever been in my life, and I worried my cold bones might shatter upon initial impact, I was ready to get moving.

They blared Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York”. Goosebumps covered my skin.

Wow. I am here. Finally. After years of spectating, clapping and screaming for runners until my hands hurt and my voice cracked. Dreaming of the day I would get to do it myself. Hoping it happens at all. Anticipating the reality of it. I am really here.

A canon blast! And we were off.

The wind was so strong on that bridge, my right foot kept blowing into my left foot, almost knocking me to the ground. An NYPD van drove by blasting the theme from Rocky over their loudspeaker, an event that would stand out as a favorite memory from that day. Wind slapped us from what seemed like every angle, but we kept moving.

Entering Brooklyn.

Hats came off, jackets, pants, shirts.

Things warmed up on the other side.

The crowds in Brooklyn were amazing. I wanted to stop and hug everyone. People handed out orange slices, water, tissues, leftover Halloween candy, smiles. Oh my goodness! The smiles! The laughs. All the words of strength and support and love. My faith in humanity grew immensely that day. I have been a spectator of the NYC Marathon for over a decade. But nothing compares to being on the inside. Now, I understand why it’s so important to get out there and cheer. The people made it easier. It’s true what they say: the specators carry you.

The last time I felt so close to so many New Yorkers–complete strangers, unknown faces in a crowd–was right after 9/11. And the juxtaposition of these two very different events, the fact that I was experiencing some of the same emotions, gave me great pause. So I let myself run with it. Sometimes carrying emotional baggage helps.

I was going steady for the first 10 miles. Things were looking good for me. I was on pace. I felt great. I had energy. Things were awesome. And then, just like that, things started to feel a little off. I started to feel uneasy. I stopped for a second, which was probably a big mistake. Because when I started up again, my guts started sending me messages, terrible messages.

Oh no.

I saw my family in Williamsburg, right around mile 11. I hugged them and chewed up an Imodium. Toby warned me that it would likely not do a damned thing until much, much later—probably after I was done with the race. But I had to try something. Because things were going south fast.

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I stopped at four different bathrooms between miles 11 and 16, waiting in line at each one. There went my steady time. There went the faith I had in my ability.

I became more and more disheartened as I continued on and I was ready to quit. But I couldn’t quit, and not because there was some internal voice imploring me to keep moving. No. I couldn’t quit because I had accidentally given my armband to my dad back at mile 11, the same armband that held my “ditch cash”, my lip balm and my Gu Gels. I had to laugh. Even if I decided to quit, I would have to walk. So that’s what I did. I walked. But I walked along the route in search of anything, something—a new set of guts.

Every time I tried to run again, I got sick. Every single time. The bouncing and jostling of my insides sent sharp pains throughout my entire abdomen.

I contemplated turning left off First Avenue and just walking myself back to the park to find my family. I considered trying to find a cab to where they were and letting them pay once I arrived. I tried calling Toby and my father via Siri (which I’d never used) and instead I ended up calling an old friend from Brooklyn who I haven’t spoken to in years. Oops.

Something didn’t want me to quit, even Siri.

Move.

Right as my guts were about to give out completely, I ran into my running guardian angel. Thank GOODNESS for my wonderful friend, Corie, who was right there waiting for me at mile 18, right where I needed her the most. She took the train in all the way from New Jersey and positioned herself where she knew from experience how difficult it would be.

I’ll be straight with you: there is no way I would have continued had it not been for Corie. She made me keep going. I told her I wanted to borrow subway money, she talked me into waiting until we hit the Bronx. She kept reminding why I was there, what I had been saying all along, which is that I just wanted to finish. She told me not to worry about my time. “In fact,” she said. “Don’t even look it up. Just finish. Do this for you. Screw your time.”

We made it through the Bronx and then back into Manhattan and at that point I simply couldn’t quit. It just didn’t seem right. I owed it to myself, to Corie and to my family to finish. Plus, Corie left without giving me any subway money. ;]

I still cry when I think about Corie. Joyful tears. What a remarkable thing to do for someone. (Thank you, Corie. Toby made a serious joke about cutting my medal in half and having your name engraved on it. Without you, it wouldn’t be mine.)

Corie left me at mile 22 and I knew then I’d finish and somehow I was actually able to jog again. My guts were ok. Finally.

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I jogged slowly down 5th Avenue and into the park. At mile 24, I started to cry for no reason. Nothing happened that sparked it. I wasn’t particularly emotional before the tears showed up. I guess my emotions took over. I was able to compose myself for a bit only to fall apart all over again at mile 26 when I saw a young woman holding a sign that read:

Someday you may not be able to do this. Today is not that day.

Thank you, sweet gal, for totally making me fall apart.

I was almost there. I could hear the crowd, the voice over the loudspeaker yelling out finisher names. I was almost done.

Wait, had I even started? I couldn’t remember starting anymore. What had I been doing all this time? I’d forgot to remember what I was even doing out there. Just like that, it was over. The longest, most physically difficult endeavor of my life (so far) was over so fast.

Why hadn’t I remembered not to forget?

Wait, what?

There are tears in my eyes, but you can’t tell.

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Training for and running this marathon was the second most difficult thing I have ever done. It was trying and emotionally insane. It was also truly remarkable. I am forever changed in ways I can’t even begin to write about. I am humbled, gracious, and thankful. And it’s true, what she said, that someday I won’t be able to do this. And that day could come at any time.

I am just so grateful I was given the chance and that I took it. I am grateful for Corie, for my family, and for the city I love best. I am just so grateful.

Thank you.

TCS NYC Marathon

Well, I had every intention on keeping a weekly training diary. But then my blog broke and I couldn’t get WordPress to work on my iPhone anymore. And it would have taken me too much time to troubleshoot, time I don’t seem to have these days. So, I just let it go. And now here I am, stealing a few minutes while Walter naps, vomiting up anything I can think of since my last update.

Marathon shirt.

I’m just going to dive right in, ok? (Warning TMI ahead.) I finally overcame all the gut issues I’d been having. They are a thing of the past. Thank goodness. And given what took place right around the same time, I think I know why I was having so many issues. I got my period out of nowhere six weeks ago and went through a pretty rough hormonal shift. If you’ve ever had children, you might know how awful those first few cycles can be. It’s as if your body is making up for lost time. Hormones hit with an intense vengeance, you’re sweating one moment, freezing the next. You go from laughing uncontrollably, to sobbing . You’re doubled over in intense pain. Just getting by can be difficult let alone running 15+ miles. But I tried. And it was terribly difficult.

I became discouraged. And nearly threw in the towel. But then Corie reminded me about that postpartum shift, so I relaxed a bit.

Then I broke my toe tripping over Walter’s bouncer. I knew this was more than your average bash because I nearly threw up on impact. Then I almost passed out. Nausea poured over me like a bucket of bleach removing all the color from my skin. When I finally composed myself, I assessed the damage. The top part of my middle toe on my left foot was sideways. I took a deep breath and yanked it back into place, taped it to the other toe, and did what any smart human person does: try and pretend it didn’t happen.

I took time off to let it heal, 7 days. Then I did a quick 4 miler. It hurt a touch, but it wasn’t awful. I could run ok. But I decided it was time to get some X-rays. I needed a doctor to tell me one of two things: “Go for it!” Or “You must stop, you’ll lose your foot!”

Long story short: it was a tiny break. But given where the break occurred, I was told it won’t get any worse and if I can run, to go ahead and run. So that’s what I have been doing, albeit slowly and not as often as I should be.

The following weekend I put away an easy 15.

The weekend after that, I ran 20. Twenty miles was really, REALLY hard. Mile 18 onward I found myself talking to clouds, Jesus, pigeons and geese. My body was having trouble, but I swear I could see through time! Other dimensions were perfectly visible to me. I was blissfully losing it. I realize now I needed to hydrate. I finished off my Gu Gels and my Gatorade way back at mile 11. So, yeah. Hydration is important. Also: salt. I am hoping this doesn’t take place during the actual race (should I make it that far) since they will have fueling stations at every mile.

I’ve been tapering ever since. And I haven’t done much in the way of weekly runs in hopes of letting my toe fully heal. It still aches from time to time, particularly before it rains. Weird.

Guys: I’m nervous as hell. No, actually, I’m terrified. I keep having these half awake, half asleep nightmares at 4 AM. I’m alone on the Verrazano Bridge, dark autumn clouds taunt me from all around. The city looms in the background. I’m cold and I’m looking for my family. I think: I can’t do this. That’s what I believe at 4 AM. And those raw, 4AM thoughts are often my most truthful.

back of my NYC Marathon shirt

I’m terrified.

I’m excited, but mainly terrified.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so afraid.

Long Training Run: Week 6

I ran 11.6 miles last Friday. It was a slow run due to the usual bullshit. Bellyaches started up 15 minutes in. I brought an Imodium with me and took half at that time. It didn’t stave anything off initially. But I think it may have helped overall. I walked almost an entire mile to get to the bathroom at the marina. But after that I was able to run solidly until mile 7 when I had to stop and walk to find yet another bathroom. Whatever. It is what it is. I’m getting used to this and even though it greatly messes with my overall run and therefore time, I deal with it. I have no choice.

But the real problem took place after I finished. I got a very painful, dull ache in my lower hide, almost like a contraction, radiating throughout my lower abdomen. I wish I could explain this sensation. I have no clue what it is. It’s happened before. It happened after I finished Disney’s Wine and Dine half marathon in 2012. I was in the fetal position in the middle of Epcot Center’s World Showcase. While many were celebrating their feat, drinking and eating plates full of fantastic food, I was on the ground in the fetal position, unable to move. (Granted, I wasn’t the only one sickened after that race. I haven’t ever seen so many people throw up after a race. It was almost comical.) Anyway, the pain goes away within an hour. But it is such an uncomfortable feeling. And I do wonder what causes it.

Friday’s run was also wonderful at times. I have to remember all the good stuff that takes place during each long run. Unfortunately, the gut issues are what I most discuss after I run. And that sucks. Because I can honestly say that there were many moments during my run where I felt absolutely amazing. I got the biggest runner’s high at mile 6. I felt completely euphoric. “THIS is why I run.” I had thought. “Remember this feeling.”

And you see, that’s the thing: I love running. I truly love it. It’s something I hope to do for the remainder of my life. I am left sometimes wondering what it is I’m doing right now, training for a marathon. And I’m starting to wonder if it’s a smart move. I very much would like to finish a marathon one day and the NYC marathon would be an amazing first one. But am I potentially ruining what it is I so dearly love by taking on so much so quickly? Why can’t I simply run every single day, enjoy it, and not try and do something so huge so soon after having a baby? I risk injury, burning out; hell, I got stung by a bee last night and nearly crashed from a panic attack wondering if I might be allergic. (I’m not. And I felt perfectly horrible for the bee who surely died after I pulled its butt and stinger from my skin.)

I don’t want to run a marathon because it’s on some bucket list. I simply love running. I want to run forever. The training for 26.2 miles is far more important to me than the actual event. I just love running.

So, what am I doing? That’s been my big question as of late.

I don’t know. But I do know that when I was pregnant and couldn’t run, I felt horrible. I envied runners. I sunk into depression. I missed it so much. I don’t want to burn myself out trying to train for a marathon. So, I’m going to keep going. But these thoughts started to trickle in. I don’t want to ruin doing what I love by doing what I love too much so quickly.

Anyway, I am rambling. I am going to continue training. I am to run 14 miles on Saturday, which I am looking forward to. This week, I will take half an Imodium the night before. I will carry the other half with me and hope for the best.

NOTES

Left the house at 9:37 AM. Temperature: 70s, overcast, then sunny and HOT.

Pre-run fuel: coffee with cream, yogurt with granola and strawberries, water.

Route: Forked River Run. Around lakes to marina, back to Rail Trail. Ran Rail Trail into Waretown, hit 6 miles out and headed back again.

Time and distance: Average 11:53 minute miles, a very, very slow one thanks to the usual bullshit. Total of 11.60 miles. Supposed to do 12.

Post-run recovery meal: Banana, homemade zucchini bread.

Personal Stuff: Gut issues. Still nursing. Hate the heat. But got high and I missed that euphoric feeling.

Pros: I love running in Forked River.

Cons: The usual. Belly issues. Plus, very hot and sunny for the last half of my run.

Upward and onward!

Long Training Run: Week 5

Well, I had the shittiest run on Saturday thanks to ongoing gut issues. I sound like a broken record with this nonsense. But it’s really getting in the way of my training. I had to stop THREE times along my run. At one point I stopped at a port-a-john and the scene was grisly.

Ladies and gents: ALWAYS carry a tiny bit of toilet paper with you on long runs. I have heard this bit of advice before, but I haven’t yet done it. That stops today.

What a disaster.

So, yeah. Not a good run. I finally gave up at mile 7 and walked home. I was supposed to do 11. I ended up with about 8 very slow miles. And it nearly ruined my day. I contemplated trying again on Sunday morning but I read that sometimes you simply have bad runs. I decided I should just wait until the following week and shoot for 12.

But I do have to get to the bottom of this problem. I can’t continue running long distances until I fix it. So, after I showered and doused myself off with bleach, I took to Facebook and made a semiprivate post, tagging 15 women runners. I was in search of some camaraderie and/or answers. I got a bit of both.

I have hesitated to write about this at all. It’s personal and gross and I am (what some might consider) a lady. But opening up to a select few on Facebook made me feel worlds better. They were very eager to help. Granted, they are runners as well. To a non-runner, I probably come off as the most disgusting human being alive. And maybe I am.

Almost all of the people I tagged on Facebook decided this was due to diet. Some suggested it was from what I eat morning of, others thought it could be what I ate the night before. I’m thinking the former might be true. So, I am going to start by cutting out all coffee. It wasn’t an issue in the past; I have always consumed coffee before running. But every pregnancy changes your body to some degree. So maybe things have changed since having Walter. Monday’s short run was better. But I won’t know for sure until Saturday.

NOTES

Left the house at 6:34 AM. Temperature: Upper 60s/Lower 70s. Overcast/Cloudy.

Pre-run fuel: Plain oatmeal. Homemade orange and basil cookie. Coffee with sugar and whole milk. Water.

Route: Down past the Duck Pond into South Orange, sharp right through neighborhood, and up past Mountain Station. Down Valley to Milburn Avenue. Up past Trader Joe’s, sharp right onto Wyoming Avenue (very long hill). Wyoming Avenue down into neighborhood heading home. Gave up. Brutal.

Time and distance: I don’t know. I stopped so many times and paused it so many times. I also forgot to resume at Wyoming Ave after fiddling with my iPod. So, yeah. No idea. It was an awful run.

Post-run recovery meal: Two Morninstar Veggie Chicken Patties.

Personal Stuff: Terrible gut issues. A terrible run overall. Stopped three times, finally gave up entirely at mile 7. I am hoping this is fixable with diet. But I can’t help but wonder if it has to do with my thyroid. I suffered from postpartum thyroiditis with the last two pregnancies, and a side effect is often what I’m dealing with. (Along with other things, like losing my hair; milk supply reduction and weight loss.)

Pros: No injuries to report. Felt pretty solid.

Cons: The obvious.

Upward and onward!

Long Training Run: Week 4

I ran 10 miles yesterday. I am pleased to report that it was my first long run this season where I didn’t experience any gut issues! This is a good thing. Maybe my body is finally adjusting to the mileage.

It was a relatively easy, slow ten miles, totally doable both mentally and physically. I got lost in thought for most of it, which I love and look forward to each and every week. This is why I missed running so much while pregnant, and why I put on 50 pounds. I didn’t have my weekly therapy.

During the most difficult part of my run, between miles 5.5 and 7, where I was met with a very long hill, I began to actually consider running 26 miles. And it nearly stopped me dead. While 13 miles seems perfectly reasonable to me, 26.2 seems impossible, insane, and totally incomprehensible.

How will I ever be capable of running 26.2 miles?

Why do I want to?

I don’t know. I don’t know if I will be able to ever run that far.

But I have to try.

There was a time in 2011 where the idea of running 13.1 seemed impossible. I had Elliot in February of that year. I started running again 5 weeks postpartum. I ran regularly, but nothing more than 3 to 5 miles at a time. And then in late fall I decided to train for a half marathon. When I didn’t get into the NYC Half, I signed up for The Rock ‘n’ R Half in Washington, DC. The race was scheduled for March 17th, 2012. I was worried. I wasn’t sure I could do it. But I took it day by day. Every week I added a mile to my long runs and before I knew it I was putting away 10 miles. 13.1 no longer looked so impossible.

But 26.2? That feels preposterous! What am I thinking training for a marathon so soon after having a baby?

This seems crazy.

But I have to try.

And if I reach my longest training run of 20 miles and simply can’t do it, or I’m injured for doing too much at once, I won’t run it.

But I have to try.

NOTES

Left the house at 6:51 AM. Temperature: 70s. Sunny.

Pre-run fuel: Maple and brown sugar oatmeal. Enjoy Life Apple Chew Bar. Coffee with sugar and whole milk. Water.

Route: Down past the Duck Pond into South Orange, sharp right through neighborhood, and up past Mountain Station. Down Valley to Milburn Avenue. Up past Trader Joe’s, sharp right onto Wyoming Avenue (very long hill). Wyoming Avenue to South Orange Avenue, zigzagged back through neighborhood. Needed 1.5 more miles, so ran Walton to Jefferson, back home again.

Time and distance: Average 11:32 minute miles. Miles 4, 5 and 9 were the fastest. Mile 7 was the slowest. Mile 7 was the steep and then very long hill on Wyoming. (I’m getting much faster during my shorter, weekly maintenance runs. Still a full minute before I reach my pace from last year, but I’m in the 10-minute mile range.)

Post-run recovery meal: Two Golden Corn VitaTops.

Personal Stuff: NO GUT ISSUES! WOO HOO! I felt pretty ok throughout. Got a bit tired between miles 5 and 7 but that’s because they are almost entirely uphill. My lungs are feeling pretty great. It’s my legs that need strength to even come close to completing 26.2. I guess that’s what all this training is for.

I’m still breastfeeding and since I’m up before the baby, I have to pump ahead of time. This is kind of annoying as it takes up some of my morning. I also have to pump when I return home. It’s kind of an added obstacle to my training.

First run using Toby’s old iPhone since my sound stopped working. Was able to use my armband again, no issues with it dying mid-run.

Purchased an Amphipod Hydraform as my water bottle. Runs are getting longer and therefore I need to hydrate. I thought it would bug me. But it didn’t. I’ll carry it from here on out.

Pros: Beautiful morning.

Cons: Got kind of muggy toward the end of my run. I don’t like humidity and the heat makes me want to punch things. The hills are cruel. I need to work on my hills.

Upward and onward!

Long Training Run: Week 3

I ran 8 miles on Saturday. I’m getting a touch worried as to how I’ll eventually find 13-20 miles in this small town. Finding 8 was hard enough. I’m not a fan of looping back. I know that’s probably pretty silly. I don’t mind running the same routes every week. But I don’t like looping back during the same run. Weird.

Actually, finding 13-20 miles isn’t difficult if I run up the mountain. Which gives me a great big HAHA! right now because I can barely walk up that damn mountain. It’s freaking steep and very long. But eventually, I’ll have to. I’m hoping by then hills and/or mountains won’t frighten me as much.

The run was fine overall. But AGAIN with the belly issues. Midway through mile 5, I started experiencing gut pain. So, I ran/walked, eventually pausing RunKeeper until I found an outhouse/porta-john near the baseball field in Maplewood park. And HOLY COW, this was BY FAR the most disgusting public bathroom I’ve ever used, prompting me to leave the following note in RunKeeper:

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(Yeah, I inhaled a bug as well. Poor guy.)

Anyway, I was so relieved to find an open toilet, I didn’t give a shit (OR DID I?) what it looked like. (God, I am an awful, vile human being. I can’t wait to see how many people I disgust with my nonsense, namely my husband who, should he read this, will wish to avoid me indefinitely.)

That was the only hitch, the only stumble. Overall, it was a great run.

I’ve noticed that my long runs feel better mentally than the shorter ones. I think it’s that I go into them knowing I can (and should) walk a bit. I know that I’m going to be out there for a while, so I just commit. I get lost in thought, listening to whatever podcast. And then, before I even realize it, I’m halfway done. That doesn’t mean the long runs are easy! It’s just that they’re easier to commit to and embrace than my weekday maintenance runs. Maybe that’s because of how early I have to get up during the week in order to train. Maybe it’s because I know that once I return home I’ll have to get three kids ready for the day. That stress looms. Whereas on Saturdays, it’s not a big deal if I get home after 8 AM and all three kids are still in their PJs watching cartoons. Incidentally, the idea of training once school starts up, and everyone needs to be somewhere by a certain time and it coincides with when my weekday runs become longer and longer, that just makes my head spin. I’ve no clue how we’re going to manage that.

That’s the thing about training for a marathon, much more so than a half: it’s a part-time job. And everyone is affected by the amount of time involved. I’m asking for a great deal of patience and understanding from everyone in my family. Granted, I hope my boys can learn something from this as well. But we’ll see.

NOTES

Left the house at 5:52 AM. Temperature: 70s, partly cloudy.

Pre-run fuel: Plain oatmeal, banana, coffee with sugar and creamer. Water.

Route: Down past the Duck Pond in South Orange, right into the neighborhood, past Mountain Station. Down Valley all the way to where the nursery is. Took a right there and then another right down Salter. Through park. (Hit another outhouse in the park) continued on back through town and then up Virginia onto Ridgewood and home again.

Time and distance: Average 11:23 minute miles with miles 3 and 7 being the fastest.

Post-run recovery meal: Banana peanut butter smoothie with almond milk. (GOD I LOVE THIS BEVERAGE.)

Personal Stuff: Bellyaches during mile 5. Getting sick of this. Also: It seems I’ve put on weight this week, but I haven’t eaten poorly. I’ve eaten more, but that’s because I’m burning more and therefore craving more. I put on almost 2 pounds. I’m sort of hoping that has to do with recovery and muscles. I remember this happening while training in the past as well. I’d GAIN weight the day or two after my long runs and then things would even out again three or four days later. Wondering why this is. Hoping that’s the case, because I don’t want to gain weight. I want to weigh 140 by October. Finding a balance between the ravenous hunger I have after my longer runs and what I actually eat is going to be key.

Pros: Beautiful morning. Felt great. Quiet morning.

Cons: Belly issues and I ate a bug. :[ The sound on my iPhone is dying.

Upward and onward!

Long Training Run: Week Two

Today I ran seven miles in the pouring rain. I don’t mind running in the rain one bit. During these hot summer months I much prefer it to sunshine and humidity. The most difficult part of rain running is the first few minutes before you become fully soaked. But once that happens, it’s all good and you no longer notice.

I’m pretty sure the locals thought I was crazy. But I did see one running group and another lone jogger out there. Both of us had huge grins and waved maniacally at one another. I’m not the only crazy one!

Some stuff about things. Without going into too much detail, I forgot how much my body acclimated to high weekly mileages before I got pregnant with Walt. There’s a great deal of training your internal organs go through, namely your guts. People may find this disgusting, or wonder why I’m discussing such things, and I’m sorry about that. But frankly, if you’re a runner, you know this is a thing sometimes. Maybe not firsthand, in which case, consider yourself lucky! But surely you know someone who has experienced this problem before.

Belly and gut-aches. Blergh. Having to walk or hobble in search of the nearest public restroom, being willing to overlook some of the worst bathrooms imaginable. Not giving a damn if the one you finally stumble into looks like something out of the movie Trainspotting. Yeah. That.

Anyway, I’m told this is a bit more common for women as we have hormones to contend with on top of the normal mechanical issues and failures that come from bouncing atop asphalt for hours.

I’m back to square one on that front. My body is asking what in the hell it is I think I’m doing. This gets better. I remember that as well. But I have weeks of bellyaches to dance with first.

So, while the first mile felt great initially, it quickly went to shit. (Ha ha.) I was forced to walk/jog for at least half a mile in search of a public restroom, pausing RunKeeper finally as it was pointless and totally messing up my data. I know I won’t be able to stop time during an actual race. But I use this information to figure out what I need to do, what I have done, and how far I’ve come, or if I need to change things. And searching for a bathroom isn’t criteria I need cluttering up that information.

Around mile 2.25, I finally found a bathroom at the public marina. There are few things more uncomfortable than having to pull up rain soaked running shorts and make sure the elastic is in the right place again! But I managed.

Miles 3 and 4 were slow. It took me a bit to get back up to speed after the bathroom search. I don’t like stopping and starting again. My legs are always confused by this. But by mile 5 I felt better and was able to keep my original pace. I continued home in the rain. And it felt great.

Miles 6 and 7 were my fastest. And while I’m still very slow compared to what I was running last year before the pregnancy, I’m pretty pleased that I had the energy to make my last two miles the fastest. I was able to get some 9-minute intervals into those last two miles.

NOTES

Left the house at 7:47 AM. Temperature: 60s, Pouring Rain

Pre-run fuel: Plain oatmeal, banana, coffee with sugar and creamer. Water.

Route: Forked River, around lakes 1,2 and 3. Onto Lacey Road to find bathroom at Marina. Down to dad’s dock, through neighborhood, back to rail trail behind Caffreys. Back around lake 2,1. Home again.

Time and distance:: 11:50 minute miles, including walking before finding a bathroom and finally pausing RunKeeper because it was just getting silly. Last two miles were fastest. 9 minute pace intervals.

Post-run recovery meal: Light vanilla soy milk, homemade maple granola, fresh blueberries and bananas. Two Hersey Kisses.

Personal Stuff: Bellyaches during and after run. Fear I’ll be facing these for a while. Four months, one week postpartum. Still breastfeeding. Still dieting. Down 43 pounds. 7 more to go. Current weight: 147.

Pros: No sunshine or heat. Rainy day and lovely!

Cons: Belly issues.

Upward and onward!

Long Training Run: Week One

This morning I ran six miles and it didn’t suck. In fact, it felt pretty great to be back out there. It was a slow one! And I walked up the two steepest hills, but overall I am very pleased with my energy level. I still have a lot of work to do to get back to my previous 10K times, but for the first time since having the baby I feel like it’s possible

Also: I plan on using this space to write about my training. I know it’s pretty boring shit, but I think it will help me.

NOTES

Left the house at 6:39 AM. Temperature: 66 degrees.

Pre-run fuel: Plain oatmeal, banana, coffee with sugar and creamer. Water. Ate a Gu Gel 2.5 miles in.

Route: Through South Orange, around Duck Pond, through both downtowns, up to Ridgewood and back home again.

Time and distance:: Ran a 10K at an 11:20 per mile pace. (Including walking.) Walked two steep hills.

Post-run recovery meal: Plain low-fat yogurt, homemade maple granola, fresh blueberries (Elliot picked them!) and strawberries.

Personal Stuff: Four months postpartum. Still breastfeeding. Still dieting. Down 42 pounds. (!!) 8 more to go. Current weight: 148.

Pros: No roadkill!

Cons: I miss running through NYC.

Upward and onward!

NYC Marathon

A couple of years ago, I qualified for the 9+1, which means I became eligible to run the NYC Marathon. Last year, I was prepared to run it. I felt solid, and ready to train for it. And I am pretty sure, barring any unforeseen injuries, I would have finished.

But then right when I was to begin training, I found I was pregnant and had to postpone it.

So, here I am again. I am set to run it again this year. But this year I do not feel physically ready. And up until this weekend, I felt awful during every single run since I started running again at 5 weeks postpartum. But after having two very solid runs both Saturday and Sunday, I’m inching my way back again. (Helps the humidity and heat let up.) This weekend was awesome.

Even so, I feel there is no way I could actually run the NYC marathon. I could walk and jog it! But I don’t feel physically ready to do it well so close to having a baby, especially a giant baby who split my pelvis during birth. (Story to come! That was one hell of an injury; it took a long time to heal.)

So yesterday I tried to postpone it again and discovered I could not. You can only postpone it once. So I will lose my spot entirely. And that sucks as I know people who have been trying to get in via lottery for years. I feel as though if I postpone it, I’ll be giving up any chance of ever running it.

What do I do? To those of you who’ve run marathons and trained for them, is it possible for me to train and run in under 4 months time? Even though I was a distance runner before, I’m basically a beginner all over again after giving birth in late March. I went from a 9 minute mile to a thirteen minute mile due to having to walk a lot. I have made a bunch of progress lately but I’m still only able to run a 5K at a slower pace than what I’ve done previously.

I’m just not sure of what to do. I have some time to think about it, but my goodness, it scares me. Training for this makes me feel so nervous! How will I find the time AND the energy? Walter is still very attached to me. It’s going to be very difficult.

Any insight welcome.