Who in the hell runs 13 miles?

IMG_0621[1]Monday, 14 October 2013

I am registered for a marathon in 2 weeks that I am not going to be able to run.  Even though my inflamed bursa is MUCH better and I will soon be able to run again, I cannot run 26 miles in the next 10 days.  So I am coming to the end of my athletic year at a limp.  And I’ve been thinking about what’s next.

I started out this year with two goals…easier and lighter.  Easier – especially at the half marathon distance – which to me carried the sub-text of faster.  Lighter because I would need to weigh less to make “easier” happen.  In June I was well on my way to the weight goal and I was running faster than ever before.

Note to Self:  If you’ve clearly achieved the goal (and a doctor pointed out to me that I was already faster and lighter before I even recognized it) — SET NEW GOALS.

But the doc was wrong in part.  The half marathon distance wasn’t easier.  I was faster and lighter.  But easier is something different.

At the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in San Diego I PR-ed — even while “wasting” at least 7 minutes along the way (and maybe more).  Those wasted minute were because the distance wasn’t easier.

And then after the R&R I lost focus.  I didn’t stretch into the hard training that took me to a new PR in 2012.  I didn’t run 2 hours every Wednesday, which is hard to do and wonderful when done.  My runs with the coach didn’t stretch longer.  My strength training wasn’t as challenging (I was recovering from an injured shoulder).  A lot of stuff didn’t happen.  I did races that were to have provided progress markers, but I didn’t PR those races.  I didn’t focus on the harder every-day training.  And, I did a marathon in August that was an absolute waste of time.  Second Note to Self:  If you’re going to do a marathon (and this is no reflection on the people or organizers of the Santa Rosa Marathon), it had better be a race you are interested in running.

And then the butt.  My severe bursitis is, I believe, a message from the Universe that “you cannot run that much at that weight”.  (“And if you don’t believe us, we’ll make every single step feel like an ice pick is stabbing you.”)  The prescription for the bursa was “rest”.  And nothing else.

In an attempt to keep my cardio base, I was walking briskly, swimming, and spinning.  And then I got sick.  I’ve blamed the kindergarteners at Naples Elementary School.  But I really think this was a (backhanded) gift from the Universe.  I wasn’t resting.  And for the last two weeks I have been doing nothing.  Walking around the house.  Sitting.  Sleeping.  Sleeping.  Sleeping.  Nothing even resembling physical activity.  (OK, for 2 days in a row I worked 15+ hours a day lifting barges and toting bales.   But today I’m resting, again.)

I was going to start swimming again this evening (third note to self…getting into the pool in the cold dark of night is like getting to el dorado in the summer to run…once you’re off, you’re off…but getting out of the car is hell).  But I was wheezy after the last equipment pick-up, and I still had to unload in my garage.  So instead I’m home.  Writing.

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On the mantle above the fireplace I have framed posters of every marathon that I’ve run and the medal from that marathon hanging on the corner of the frame.  Today I took down most posters and put all the medals away…except two.

In 2008 I ran my first 1/2 marathon.  It wasn’t a bucket list item (who says their life’s goal is to run a 1/2 marathon).  But it was the most enormous challenge I could imagine.  The moment it was done — even before I could move my knees again — I knew I could do a full — but I’d need help.  The help came via Sole Runners.  And in 2010 I ran a marathon.  I should be wearing the medal as I write this.  A very important “finish” for me.

(Worthwhile digression:   Once I was reading a list of peoples’ bucklist goals. One guy’s list was (1) sit in the front row of a Jimmy Buffett concert, (2) run a marathon and (3) climb a mountain.  I said to whom ever I was sitting next to, “Look, I’m living this guy’s perfect existence.”)

Two years later in 2012, I set a new goal, and came damn close at the Berlin Marathon.

But in the end, my accomplishments for 2013 will be a bunch of virtually meaningless races — before, during, and after which I had great fun and was totally happy most of the time.  Probably not a bad state of existence.

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And knowing three blue-eyed babies.  (Even if they did, together, conspire in the Universe’s back-handed gift.)

Thinking about Goals:  I want to train at the marathon distance because I want to do the Sole Runners’ destination marathon each year.  (We try and find races with multiple distances, but it’s not all that common.)  Earlier this year I was thinking that my next gigantic goal will be to run a sub-5 hour marathon.   But I’m not sure that’s necessary.  A reliable 6:00, or even better 5:50, marathon is fine.  (And I haven’t done that, yet, so it’s a goal, too.)

Today I’m thinking that I want to focus, again, on Easier (at the 1/2 marathon distance).  And Lighter.  (More on lighter in a second.)  I’m thinking I want to run a 2:30 half marathon.  That’s a 22 minute improvement.  It means running at an 11:26 pace for 13 miles — probably a minute faster than I could possibly to today.  But a good goal.

And this Friday I’m starting into the Restoration Diet, lead by Dr. Michael Day, made famous by Carlos Romero.  Friday we go shopping at Trader Joes so that we’ll have food on hand to start the diet with on Day 1.  The kick-off meeting is Wednesday, October 23rd.  I’m immediately going on the road, so my goal is to do my best, and trail a week behind the rest of the class.

10-13-13 LeAnn & Michele Crop

This is my second favorite picture of the marathon.  Because everyone loves Michele.

This is my favorite pictures from the marathon.  It’s ‘way deep in the day (many, many beers).  It is totally Buzz Lightyear and Woody.  ‘Into Infinity.  And Beyond!’

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