I'm not sure how the people at the Ulman Cancer Fund got their hands on these pictures, but I'm sooo happy they did. One of the pace leader's (girl in the front, next to me, with the orange visor) Dad was standing on top of a bridge somewhere around mile 12, taking pictures. So we smiled and waved for him. I really thought I would never see these shots, as I have no idea the name of the pace leader, or how I would ever get in contact with her. I'm not sure if these are the same photos, or if someone else was standing next to pace leader's Dad...but regardless, I'm glad they made it to my mailbox (thank you Holly and Lindsey!)
In case you didn't know, I'm the one in the Team FIGHT shirt in the front, haha.
Some of those smiles are fake, but mine is not. Photographic evidence of the fun.
Once I got over the disappointment of what happened , I was able to appreciate what a fantastic first half of the race I had. And by fantastic I don't necessarily mean speedy, just that I felt so good. Confident. Strong. Not needing the port-o-john. (I had to throw that one in there!)
Now that I'm on the flip side of this marathon, I can honestly see and say that I had gotten burnt out with my training. However, I wouldn't blame the burn out ON the running itself, just on life in general. School, teething babies, toddlers talking back and testing their limits every second of the day (you were right Dad, I had one just like me...), work, the other work, homework, housework, you get the point. Running had been put on the back burner, so much so that just the thought of going out for a long run left me feeling exhausted. As much as I "talked the talk", I wasn't "walking the walk". (haha, yes I really just said that). As much as I was preaching how GOOD running makes me feel, how it helped me keep my sanity, etc, I wasn't doing it. Yes I did my long runs, but with, for the most part, much hesitation and dragging of the feet.
What is the fun in that?
But the first half, the GOOD half , of the race, reminded me that I just LOVE to run. I love the feeling of just gliding down the street, effortlessly racking up the miles with like minded people. I love camaraderie of complete strangers. I probably wouldn't give these people a second glance in the grocery store, but while running down the road together, we are all long lost friends. I love pushing my body, and knowing I am using my body for GOOD, doing exactly what God gave me my legs to do. RUN!
As exhausting, mentally and physically, as this weekend was, I currently feel so GOOD. Monday, I got on the treadmill for an easy 1 mile to stretch out the quads (my SUGOI race and recovery socks did work WONDERS for my lower legs and feet, however, my thighs/quads and glutes were so sore! Waiting patiently for SUGOI to make a compression tight!). I took Tuesday off, and today I did a decent 4 miles on the treadmill at an easy 9:11 pace. It just felt GOOD. I feel relaxed, refreshed, and refocused. Not only with my running, but with school, work, and the kids.
So now I'm ready for redemption. My goal, for Beach2Battleship (I'm on a relay team , for those new to the blog, I'm running the marathon leg) is to finish STRONG. And by STRONG, I don't necessarily mean fast, or with a P.R. (although that would be nice). I want to finish with a smile on my face, feeling GOOD. Well, as good as one can feel after running 26.2 miles, haha.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the kind words and support on my last blog post. It really did mean the world to me. To answer most of your questions, I think I can now pinpoint the tummy issues on the following:
- Stress-I had a midterm Friday afternoon that is about 49% of my grade, and had me in a tizzy. I was stressed about leaving the boys, stressed about the stress I was causing my family by leaving town once again. Lots and lots of stress.
- I spent 8 hours in the car, arriving in Baltimore at about 10:30 at night the night before the race. Probably not the brightest idea, but school comes first.
- My period. Sorry guys, but for the sake of running science (well, my version of it anyways) I had to share. I was about 36 hours into it and it was causing full body chaos as it normally does. Somehow, I had lucked out on never having had to race nor do a long run at the beginning of my cycle before. Guess there is a first time for everything!
- Nutrition: I ate well the day before the race, and I consumed my normal race day nutrition. The week leading up to the week however, welllll let's say it was less than ideal. I am a stress eater. I was stressed (we established this already). There was junk food. A lot of it.
How many times have I talked about nutrition (or my horrible lack thereof) on this blog? More times than I can count. It's funny, really, what motivates people. Anyone watch "The Biggest Loser" last night? (yes, I still watch, even though I'm disappointed in Ms. Michaels). This one contestant, Liz, was hell-bent on sending another woman, Tracy, home. So Liz worked out probably harder than she EVER has in her entire life. Hard enough to cause her to pass out on the treadmill. Now, it's obvious she hadn't had the motivation to work out in the past, as she has landed herself on the biggest looser. Now, she had found that motivation, that focus, that reason to push herself. Maybe it wasn't the BEST nor RIGHT reason to want to better herself, but it was something and it was working.
I am pursuing a degree in exercise and sports science. I am learning how the body works and I know what is healthy and good for my body. Yet, that knowledge was still never enough to get me to give up my unhealthy habits. Coach Phil, one of my awesome boot camp coaches, publicly lectured me about my unhealthy habits, how they will cause me to age faster and feel horrible, and how I'm setting a horrible example for my children with my eating habits. He was (is) right, I was ashamed (no worries Phil, I appreciated the lecture!) yet still, it was not enough to get me to quit. But now, after Baltimore, I can't help but realize how this might not have happened had I gone in stronger and healthier.
Ever heard that saying "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels"? Yeah, well I've got my new mantra now, "nothing tastes as good as fast feels...". A good marathon finish tastes SOO much better than 20 ounces of mountain dew.
Hey, whatever works for you, right??? It's funny, I don't even miss the soda...