Every Runner’s Nightmare: Let’s Talk About The ‘D’ Word

October and November were rough months.  Just as I got over my October cold I was hit with a horrible case of bronchitis.  I was completely incapacitated for a few days and then it took an additional week and a half for my cough to die down enough before I could run again.

My first run back brought me to the realization that I had missed too many very important long runs.  After many days without running those 4 miles felt like a 10 mile run.  It was brutal and my lungs burned.  In fact, weeks later and my lungs are still feeling the pain.

In the wake of my illness we were also met with a variety of unexpected financial burdens and just before Thanksgiving I came to the saddened realization that I might be facing my first race deferral.

The “D” word that every runner dreads.

FOX TV / Via degrassi.wikia.com

I just couldn’t fathom scraping close to $2K together for the trip to Disney to run in a marathon that I now felt I would be undertrained for.  It was a very tough realization to accept, but this week’s happenings have made the blow a little less harsh.  We were faced with yet another jab to the gut.  This past Monday we hit a deer and it did substantial damage to our vehicle.  This means we’re hemorrhaging money right now and had I bought plane tickets a couple of weeks ago we would be facing the same rough decision to cancel the trip.

I was excited to see that RunDisney does offer a deferral option, but bummed to see that a fee would be involved.  I would have to pay an additional $75 just so I could race again next year?!  Talk about frustration!  It would be nice if Disney allowed for bib transfers, but nope!  What’s worse is that I was fully ready to pay the deferral fee until today when I hopped on over to their website to find that the deferral slots had already been filled.

It looks like my big “D” is no longer going to be a deferral, but rather a DNS (did not start).  Talk about devastation!  Months of training down the drain.

Yet, I remain optimistic.  I WILL run another marathon in 2015!  I will even try to sign up for a few spring halfs to keep myself on track.  It’s not always an easy journey as an athlete, but it will be worth it in the long run. My training isn’t for nothing, it’s made me stronger and faster and increased my endurance.  In the end it’s not the race the makes me a runner, it’s my ability to run despite the races (or lack thereof).

Marathon Training Review: Weeks 1-3

A few weeks ago I decided to switch over from my 3x/week running plan to a more intense 5 day running plan, Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 2. The first week went fantastic!  I only missed one short run and was able to stay on track for my other longer runs.

I was also killing those runs!  My 10 miler was a new PR and my shorter runs were getting more speedy.

Hal Higdon Intermidiate 2 Training Schedule

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Sadly, week 2 is when I began to slack.  It was mainly because I was completely and utterly wiped out.  We shot a double wedding that weekend and after two 12 hour days of shooting the last thing I wanted to do on my first day off was go out and run 11 miles.  Let’s not forget to mention that I could also feel myself getting sick.  I know my body and know that I made a wise choice in staying in that day.

My cold was very mild and passed quickly and I was able to get back on track in week 3, BUT I still missed two of the longer runs.  We were out of town that weekend shooting in Buffalo and I wasn’t about to get up early and run 6 miles in an unfamiliar city.  The following day I was far too exhausted from the 12 hour day of shooting so I decided to skip yet another long run.

I know this is bad.

They say to never skip a long run.  They say that if you’re going to miss any runs try to make it those short ones.  But, we’re still fairly early on in the training and I think I will be okay.  You see, I always have the Intermediate 1 plan to fall back on.  When I look at that schedule and think about my current fitness level I know that I am well ahead of the curve.

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I only opted for the higher schedule to begin with because my longest training run from my prior 28 week plan was 9+ miles.  I knew that my body was already fully capable of going the 10 mile distance and saw no problem with the increased mileage.

So far, the training has been going well.  I don’t feel like it’s burning me out and I don’t feel like it’s too much too soon.  The only conflict I have had been due to a ridiculously busy schedule and illness.

It will get better now that wedding season is dying down and I do plan to work hard to stay on track for week 4.  It’s my goal to have a full week of training under me for this coming week.  So far, I am doing my best to stay on track and plan to do the same for the weekend.  It’s not always easy finding the time or getting up early, but I know it’s going to be a necessity.  I want to push myself harder so that I can PR this next marathon and even hope to run a half at the end of this month (10/19) so I can PR that distance as well.

I can feel both my mind and body getting stronger and know that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. How are your training plans going?  Have you ever change things up during training?  What plan are you following?

Race Recap: Walt Disney World Marathon 1/12/14

WOOOWEEEE!!  I did it, I completed my first ever full marathon!

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It was such an amazing, torturous, and inspiring experience and I am proud to say that I am an official marathoner.  BUT, I wish (I know, I know, I’m ridiculous) I would have pushed myself a bit harder to get closer to my goal finish time of 5:30:00.

My friend and husband rolled their eyes at me when I told them that I was disappointed in my time of 6:30:10.  How on earth could I be disappointed?  I just ‘ran’ a freaking marathon!!  After all, how many people can say they’ve completed a full marathon?!? Not too many.

Well, that’s just me, I am stubborn and tend to look at the negative of positive events (and I’m my own worse critic).  This doesn’t mean I am discouraged or despondent, only slightly disappointed.

I am okay with the minor disappointment because it’s motivating me to push on and do better on the next one.  Yes, I said next one.  I definitely want to run another marathon and I want to kick this one’s ass. I may even be crazy enough to try out the Dopey Challenge in 2015, but that’s dependent on what our future baby making plans are.  Anyway, let’s get to the point of this post, the recaps!

1521458_653335481385006_113596622_nRace day started super early.  Buses to Epcot began pickup at 3 AM and we were up and at it by 2:45 AM.  I wanted to make sure I got there early enough to be at the start of my corral.  The first corral left the start at 5:30am, I was in corral O and didn’t start until 6:30am.  I think this part is what threw me off.  I hadn’t planned for such a long wait (silly me, I didn’t think to do my research) and my measly breakfast that consisted of a tiny Clif bar was likely burned up from the long walk to the corrals.

In the hours leading up to the race I nibbled on some Clif shot bloks to keep me energized.  My friend had left me at this point to go to a later corral so I was on my own.  To pass the time I chatted it up with a few fellow runners who were also doing their first marathons.  It was fun to talk about the stories that lead us to the start line.  Most of us never thought we’d be crazy enough to attempt such distances.  It wasn’t too long ago that 5k’s seemed like arduous tasks.

Talking to these ladies really helped to calm my nerves.  We were all here with the #1 goal being to finish.  Meeting a goal time would be the bonus or icing on the really big cake that is a marathon.

Despite trying to keep my mind off the task at hand, the fireworks at the gun of each corral’s start really built up the anxiety.  I WAS NERVOUS!  Like any big event that you spend months planning for you can’t help but think about the outcome.  Hell, the night before I had a nightmare that for some reason I didn’t make it to the race in time and was disqualified.  Not the best way to start out your first marathon.

Soon enough we were moving to the start and before I knew it we were off.

I stuck to my game plan of pacing myself based on my HR and kept it in the zone of 155-165.  This worked out fairly well for the first 10 miles, but then the sun came out and despite the temperatures being in the comfortable 60’s it was a shock to my system (I had been running in sub-freezing temps the week prior).

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At mile 5 my pace was 13:18 with an estimated finish of 5:48:22.  I felt good at this pace and confident that I was going easy enough that I would be able to see negative splits towards the end of the race.  But as each chunk of 5 miles passed I slowed down, by mile 10 my pace dropped to 13:41, and by mile 13 to 14:06.  I was a little disheartened.  Even my last long run, which went horribly wasn’t this bad.  I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on.

Since the start I felt like I had the urgency to pee and my stomach was a bit uneasy so I tried to stop a few times for bathroom breaks. It wasn’t until mile 16 that I actually found a line short enough to wait it out.  Peeing for the first time was AMAZING.  I had been sucking down liquids like a fish and my bladder was in desperate need of being emptied. I felt a little better after this, but the 5 minute break from running tired me out.

My muscles and feet ached more than they had before I stopped and I just knew this would mean I would need to take intermittent walk breaks through the remaining 10 miles.  I was right, by mile 20 my pace dropped to 14:40, but I felt like I had it in me to finish strong.  Then I had to pee AGAIN and I tried to poop AGAIN without any luck (yes, I said poop–we all do it!).  I was not feeling the greatest at this point, but with 6 miles left to go the end was in sight and I was confident I could make it through.

And, then came mile 23–in perfect timing, my urgency to go to the bathroom finally reached it’s limit and I was ready.  Lucky for me there was a restroom right past the mile marker.  I was FINALLY able to relieve myself of the pain I’d been harboring since mile 5 and I was lucky enough that it didn’t happen mid-run.  How horrific would that have been?!

With 3 miles left to go, I started an inner dialogue, “You can do this, run the rest, you don’t need to take walk breaks for a measly 3 miles!”.

The last part of race was such a blur, I was so ready to be finished at this point and I didn’t care what my time was as long as I was at or under 6:30.  I didn’t want to go more than an hour over my goal finish and had set this as a last-minute goal.  If I could break that time, I would be happy.

Let me tell you something, when you have been running for 23 miles, those last miles are the longest freaking miles known to man!  I never felt like a mile was so long in my entire life.  Well, that was until the last 0.2 miles of the race!  Once I hit mile 26 I figured it would be cake, but nope, those last 0.2 miles could have been another mile.  It felt like I was moving at a snail’s pace, but I ‘sprinted’ to the finish.

I threw my hands up and smiled big as I crossed the finish (hoping someone was there to capture it–they weren’t).  I had just finished my first marathon and was thrilled (and exhausted)!

Screen shot 2014-01-14 at 1.50.11 PMAll in all, I feel proud and accomplished.  I finished my first marathon and didn’t place dead last OR get swept.  Admittedly, I was (and still am) disappointed with my finish time, but that’s only because I expected to do better based on my training runs.  There are a few things I learned from my first marathon and I’ll be sure to put my knowledge to use for future races.  In the meantime, I’ll wear my medal proudly and gloat until people get tired of hearing “I ran a marathon”.

2014 Fit Goals

With 9 days to go until my first ever marathon I can’t help but think about goals and how awesome it feels to accomplish them.  Last year I set a HUGE goal to run a marathon and began training in July of 2013.

Today, I’m just 9 days away from completing that goal.   I am nervous.  I am excited.  I am READY.  I’ve spent the past 6 months training for ONE race.  The race.  Hell, I have butterflies in my stomach as I type this post.  I can’t believe the time is almost here.  In just nine days (God willing), I will be able to wear my medal proudly and shout “I did it!  I ran a freaking marathon!”

This will be my first accomplished Fit Goal of 2014!  It’s not my only goal though, I have many more and honestly believe that with hard work and dedication I will accomplish each and every one of them.

2014 Fit Goals

  1. Run the entire Walt Disney World Marathon on January 12, 2014
  2. Sign-up for and complete either the Wineglass or Empire State Marathon.
  3. Sign-up and complete a Tough Mudder or similar obstacle race.
  4. Sign-up and PR in at least one Half-Marathon.
  5. Complete at least one unassisted pull-up.
  6. Run faster/more frequently (aim to triple mileage).
  7. Complete 1 round of p90x3.
  8. Sign-up for and complete a few 5k races.
  9. Eat cleaner!  I struggle with this one and often fall off into old habits.
  10. Start biking during the warm months.
  11. Sign-up for the 100 mile Ride for Life
  12. Lose the weight/lose inches–ideal weight=150lbs, size 6/8
  13. Sleep more!
  14. Blog more about fitness! (not really a fit goal, but related–I’d like to make sure to keep you updated on my progress and struggles)

There you have it!   I’m so ready to bust through these goals!  What are your fit goals for 2014?  Are you setting big goals or small goals?