Tuesday, May 29, 2012


What's next?  I don't know.  I want to keep my heart open to possibilities that don't have anything to do with another long endurance event.  I want to see what interests come up when I have more time and energy and nothing to obsess about.

I don't want to do the kind of training that makes me want to put a movie on for Rory instead of actively engaging with him, even if it is just once a week for 3 weeks out of a 16 week training schedule.  I want to come out of every session energized, not worn  down. 

I never want to overtrain, where it affects my sleep at all.  It should make my sleep better not worse.While I didn't suffer from terrible insomnia during my marathon training, if I didn't do yoga daily, it was getting to where I wouldn't be able to sleep well.

I don't want to take on any kind of event where I get nervous enough that my body takes on strange manifestations from stress:  stomach issues, muscle pains, heart palpitations, whatever.

Maybe someday I'll want to do the kind of event that gets me excited to the point that it stays in the back of my mind and motivates me to push my limits, but I don't want that right now.  

If I'm riding the edge between the kind of stress that results in improvement and the kind that results in ovetraining, when life throws a storm my way (as it tends to do), I fall over the edge and both my life and the event I'm training for don't go well.

I still want to stay healthy and stay in shape.  I'll experiment with what feels best to me, starting with some minimal amount of activity.

Any racing at all?  I don't know.  I think I want to do the kind of events that I can jump into using the type of workouts that feel good to me.  Let my training define my races, not my races define my training, I guess.

Will I ever get back into it?  I don't know.

Am I sad about it?  Not at the moment.

Do I feel like I have unfinished business, because I never became the type of runner I wanted to be?  There probably is a tiny bit, but not enough that I think this would be good motivation for changing mind about all I've written about.  At any rate, overtraining is certainly not getting me any closer to becoming the runner I want to be anyway.

Will I start swimming again?  I think that is likely, but I still live far from a pool.  The local pool is open more during the summer, but it isn't open during the time Rory is at preschool.  I don't know if I'll swing the minimum of 3 times a week to get closer to being in shape.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Feeling More Normal

I'm finally starting to get over my cold.

Maybe I should be thankful for the heart palpitation at mile 15.  Just think what torture it would be if I was even sicker than I was the last couple days,  and have 26 miles in my legs to boot.

Maybe I should be thankful that my car broke down at a crucial moment in my taper.  Wouldn't it have been worse if it happened during a hard training week, when I would have had less energy and maybe backed down at the car dealership when they tried to cheat me on financing?

Maybe it is good that I got in a car accident on Monday.  It was really minor, and maybe having that one extra push to allow me to cry.  Maybe it gave me the push to deal with my emotions about the race.

Maybe it is good that I was sick and my back went out.  Maybe I would have ran harder to begin with, had the heart palpitations at mile 6, and ended up walking 6 miles back to the start/finish/midpoint, instead of just two.

These are all, of course, just maybes.  If there is a reason behind these things happening, I don't know exactly what it is.  If there will be a positive overall outcome from these things happening, it is probably not the kind of thing I could ever fully know either.

But I think "maybe" is enough.  It makes any bad perspective I might be tempted to take on all of it a "maybe", too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

At least I look good

I'm usually super critical of myself, and think I actually look pretty fit in this race photo.  So I DNF'd, but maybe I have something to show for my training.

Monday, May 21, 2012

More on luck

Tomorrow is my 13th wedding anniversary.  So that makes it even more funny that my race number was 13.  Gives me something else to ponder.  I hope this year is luckier than my race was!  Well, I guess this will actually be our 14th year of marriage, right?  So, no worries, right?

Today I got hit!  I was pulling out of a parking spot that I decided not to park in, had come to a stop, and the car across from me backed into my driver's side door.  This happened while I was going to pick Raybon up from Starbucks where he was waiting for our old car to get some standard maintenance done.  It feels like crap when something rotten happens to me when I'm trying to do something nice for someone, as if I'm stuck in some dark, ironic comedy or something.  And I threw my back out while helping someone with something the day before the race!  Where is the justice in that?

And of course, while we're working out the details of the accident, we get a call from the car dealership saying our car was ready early, and my whole trip was pointless to begin with.

In Summary:

1) Car broke down
2) Sick
3) Back went out
4) DNF'd a race
5) Got hit in my brand new car

It was just sort of the straw that broke the camel's back.  Raybon was stressed out by the whole thing, and was perplexed that I pulled out of the parking spot and paused for a while instead of driving on like a normal person.  I took this as him blaming me, and I gave him Rory and walked away, and started crying.  I decided I would rather cry in my car, so I went over there, and for some weird reason, a guy smoking a cigarette and drinking a cup of coffee was standing right next to my car.  So I couldn't cry.  I was looking forward to a release of stress hormones, but I was denied that satisfaction.  I couldn't believe my further bad luck of having a guy standing by my car when I needed privacy, but maybe it was better that I didn't have a private pity party.

I went back to Raybon, who apologized without me asking him to and we went and had lunch as a family and then spent some time at a playground.

Sigh...  I don't know why I get thrown for a loop when bad things happen to me when I am doing something good.  Terrible things happen to good people.  Why am I surprised when so much worse happens to other people, yet I  think I am suffering the trials of Job because I have a bad few days.  The world isn't perfect, and really my life is full of blessings, even if I can't see the meaning when things go badly.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It's hard not to think that marathons just aren't meant to be my thing.

My training for this race went really, really well.  No heart palpitations, once I stopped trying to do 8 minute mile paced 0.6 mile intervals. Minimal stress to my family.  I came out of most of my training sessions still functional as a mom.  My training for my first marathon was plagued with sickness, heart palpitations, bonking, and exhaustion.  This went really well.  The only thing that didn't go well was the actual race.

My last marathon, my taper was stressful.  A stressful trip to Monterey for Raybon's Big Sur Half Marathon, the death of my grandmother, a stressful trip to Southern California for the funeral, and then traveling to Sac for the actual marathon.  Not ideal for recovery.

I hoped this would go better.  I got my training done early. Our trip to Monterey for Raybon's Big Sur Marathon was a little stressful, but it was 3 weeks before the marathon, and I figured I'd recover.  Then, the next weekend, our car died.  Stress. The next week and weekend were spent car shopping.  More stress.  Then Rory's birthday, which was fun, but tiring.  Trying to make chocolate treats while your 3 year old chocoholic son who even under normal circumstances is difficult to cook around was kinda hard.  Worth it, but hard.  Then, of course, I got sick.  Even before the cold, I've had cramps and nausea.  Maybe stress related, maybe diet related.  Maybe both.

As much as I don't like looking for signs, if I do another marathon and am beset by such bad luck, I will almost feel stupid for not seeing a trend and just giving up.  Is that a quitter's attitude? Is it really bad luck?  Or is it just life?

I'm open to other interpretations, but I guess I figure out what I want and what is best for me.  When I'm less tired.

Surfer's Path Marathon 2012

Do you believe in luck?

When I first heard of the Surfer's Path Marathon, it sounded almost too good to be true.  I heard about it 15 weeks before the race, almost perfect for doing a 16 week training program.  I really wanted to do another marathon, but I decided to only stick with local races until Rory was older.

Raybon's work has not been quite so busy, so he has been able to work from home.  This made it possible for me do my longest runs while Rory was at preschool, because Raybon was able to drop off Rory at preschool while I was out training, giving me enough time to finish my long runs.  Perfect, huh?

I saw a contest on a blog for a free entry.  I figured my chances of winning were pretty good.  Thinking about getting in for free made my 18 mile run somehow feel breezy, like I was destined to do this race.

I found out I didn't win the contest before my 20 mile run.  It bummed me out a little bit, but I still did the run, averaging 11 minute miles, 10:40 for the last 9 of them.  This was at the end of a 46 mile week, with a tough 10 mile Sunday workout which included 5 miles at 8:50 pace.  The 20 mile run was really tough, compared to the 18 miler.  I'm not sure why, but when I went to get lunch with Rory and Raybon later, I almost felt like fainting as I waited in line at the counter at the deli.

Two days after my 20 mile training run I signed up for the race.  I was going to wait until I entered my taper to sign up, figuring if I could finish the training, I could finish the race.

The day after signing up, I got am email with a coupon code for $10 off the race entry.  That made me upset.  How unlucky was that?  Why couldn't I have got the coupon before I entered?  Why couldn't I have waited until the next day.

2 weeks before the race, one of our cars broke down.  I stressed about finding a car that week, culminating in a horrible interaction at the dealership the Sunday before the race, that left me exhausted and stressed out.

Yesterday when I went to pick up my bib, I was the 13th marathon participant to pick one up.  So I was given #13.  13!!!  In our culture, widely thought to be an unlucky number.  I looked it up on Wikipedia, and found out that many famous, successful sports figures were number 13, so I felt a little bit better.

Am I really so superstitious?  I guess I really don't believe in unlucky numbers and black cats crossing your path and what not.  I decided a long time ago not to look for signs.

Anyway, lucky or unlucky or neutral 13, I had a bad race.  I threw my back out yesterday.  I am also suffering from a cold, and all that stress in the last couple weeks can't have been good for my race.  I kinda hoped I would loosen up and warm up, but I started slow and just got slower.  Finally, at mile 15, my heart rate suddenly jumped over 200 (the first time since that bad race at the beginning of March) and I walked 2 more miles back to the finish line (which you cross by at the half way mark) and turned in my bib.

I do believe in God, and I believe God loves us and blesses us.  I also believe that you're lucky to consider yourself lucky, and will see God's blessing more clearly if you have faith that he is always with you.  I also believe that is important to find a positive meaning in even seemingly bad events, in order to move on and have no regrets.  My takeaway from this I'll still ponder, but at the moment I'm inclined to figure out a way to reduce stress in my life, and maybe making running and racing a lesser priority.  I'm happy to think about the possible blessings that made come out of this for myself and my family.

Friday, May 18, 2012

What (Not) To Do When Tapering

I'm tapering.

Yes, I did sign up for that marathon in Flip Flop that is happening this Sunday.  Yes, the full.  I waited until I had finished all my training but the taper, then I signed up.

I just really wanted to do it, and realized I could.  Who knows if next year I will even have the same opportunity?  What it they don't do the race again?  What if Raybon is too busy with work?  Basically, I was able to do my training with little impact to my family, because all Raybon had to do was watch Rory for an hour in the morning, drop him off at preschool, and pick him up.  I even came with him to pick him up each of those times, too.  Raybon just worked from home.  He hasn't been super busy at work, so this was feasible, when it hasn't always been and might not always be.

I have a cold today. :(.  I hope I am better by Sunday, but unless I feel like a dead woman, I will probably race anyways.

I've been keeping myself busy, probably a little too busy.  One of our cars died a couple weeks ago.  Since I don't have a job, even though Raybon was driving that car most of the time, in a way it became my car once it died, since Raybon had to take the one I drove most of the time.  It was 13 years old, had 200,000 miles on it, and was just ready to go.  I thought that maybe I didn't need a car, since Raybon works from home 2 days a week, I'd only be without a car 3 days a week.  Obviously, I'm pretty good at getting around on my feet and pushing a stroller.  But since I do realize I can depressed at times when I am stuck at home and feel isolated, I decided we should get a car.

Car shopping became my "project."  I decided on a used Prius.  Raybon drives so much it just made good economic sense, and I feel better about buying a car with close to zero emissions.  I looked at Edmunds.com and found one that seemed almost fairly priced, so we drove over to look at it.  I tried to talk them down to the Edmunds price, and got them to meet me half way, off by a couple hundred dollars on both our sides.  They lied and lied during negotiations, tried to intimidate me, and tried to cheat us on the financing.  My hands were shaking as I firmly stuck to my guns.  I think I may have a few more gray hairs I can blame on this whole process, so I wonder if the money was worth it, but I guess it is better than feeling taking advantage of?

This week was Rory's 3rd birthday.  Happy Birthday, my darling son.  I am incredibly proud of him, and was so excited about his birthday.  We looked at pictures of him from his past birthdays together.  I love him at each of the ages 0, 1, and 2 and miss the little person in each one of them, but love the person cuddling with me as we looked at them together the most.  He is in so many ways the person I wish I was:  honest, brave, loving, independent, friendly, curious, and big hearted.

Trying to create magic for Rory's birthday was tiring when I was already tired from car shopping.  I made bear cake pops for his preschool, and a pirate ship cake for his birthday.  I was good and didn't sample any of it this time, trying to be strict about my diet for my race on Sunday.  I hope I didn't work so hard that I won't have energy to race on Sunday, but I was too excited and couldn't help it.  Maybe find something to obsess over besides the race is actually a good thing.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Raybon's First Marathon

Congratulations, Raybon, on running your first marathon on Sunday.

Raybon ran the Big Sur Marathon on Sunday.  He's been training for it for a really long time now, since the beginning of winter if not longer.  He made up his own training plan, and came up with a race plan himself.  He made it through without injury, and finished strongly.  He was tired and sore the next day, but walking around like a normal person.  I'm really proud of him, and relieved for him too, that it is over.

I can't really write a race report for him  I've encouraged him to write one.  Maybe I'll publish it here if he does.   I do know it was windy, and that it was even hillier than he expected it to be, but the weather was pretty mild apart from the wind.  He felt good the whole way.

Rory and I went down with him, and we spent Saturday afternoon until Monday afternoon in the Monterey area.   I  thought it might be a nice little mini-break, but it was very tiring.  Poor Rory really just wanted his "old house" back, and didn't like being cooped up in the hotel.  He was a cheerful trooper for the most part, but unfortunately he entertained himself by getting into things he shouldn't, and all that change resulted in more power struggles than usual.  How do people travel to Europe with more kids and younger ones than Rory?  But not everything is about Rory, and this weekend was about Raybon, so I'm glad we were there to support him.  We were there at the finish line as he crossed, where he breezed past us not seeing us, but I think he knew we were there, which was the important part.