Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How to be discouraging

Someone has told me the same story about three times. Normally this wouldn't bother me that much cause I can fake a laugh with the best of them. But here's the story....

" of my friends decided he'd do a marathon so he just went out and did one without training. I think it took him like 6 hours or something ridiculous!"

As I mentioned, this person said this about three different times just to drive the point home.

Why is this discouraging? Two reasons...
1. The person didn't train.

I'm spending hours and I mean HOURS of my life training for this stupid marathon. Not just running hours, but preparation hours. It's ruining my Friday nights (not that my Friday nights are all that spectacular to begin with) as I spend the evening resting and preparing for the next morning's torturous hours on my feet. Not to mention the hours of sleep every morning I give up as I get up at the butt crack of dawn (a loving term I learned early in life) to run 4, 8, or 9 miles before work.

To say "he wanted to do a marathon so he just went out a did one" says "why are you bothering training, just go out and do one!"

2. The proclamation that 6 hours is a ridiculous time.

I'm slow. My half marathon PR is 3:01:22 (recently I knocked that pesky 1:22 off of there, but I don't think it's official since it wasn't in a race). This means, at my best, I'll finish a marathon in 6:02:44. Proclaiming that time as ridiculous is...well...utterly ridiculous. In fact, my goal is to simply finish before they close the finish line. In Chicago this means within six hours and thirty minutes. I'm actually HIGHLY concerned that that won't happen.

So to say "6 hours or something ridiculous" says to me, "if you can't do better than that, why are you even trying?"

To be fair, my friend wasn't trying to communicate discouraging words, but wanted to be a part of a conversation. Marathons are one of those things that most people have stories, but few have personal stories. And, I'm frankly a lot discouraged at myself and a lot on edge with this whole thing! Yesterday I was running with one of my friends and a car nearly hit us (well her). My first statement after dodging it was "if they're gonna hit me, hit me hard so I don't have to do this anymore!" That sums up my basic thoughts at this point of training. I REALLY want this to be over! I REALLY wish I hadn't registered.

I REALLY want to quite.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Color Run

I'm training for this little thing called the Chicago Marathon! It's taking over my life, yet even though this blog is all about training, it's not taking over this blog. Which means, it's time for a glance at my training thus far.

It sucks.

Until about a week ago, I got up at 5 am Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday in order to get my run in before the oppressive heat came. Correction... before the REALLY oppressive heat. Even though I was out the door by around 5:30, I was still running in 90 degree heat. Needless to say it's been hot in St. Louis!

However, the last few weeks have been AMAZING! The weather has been much cooler which led to several 70 degree early morning runs... GLORIOUS!

In order to not bore you with a synopsis of every run, I'll skip to Saturday's long run cause it was exciting! A few months ago I registered for St. Louis' Color Run knowing I'd have to run 16 miles on race day. If you've not heard of the Color Run, it's a 5K where every kilometer they throw a different color chalk on you so by the end you are fabulously colorful!

Our group before...
Since I had to run 16 miles I decided the best thing to do was to run to the race. This meant getting out the door by 4 am, running around my neighborhood, and then heading to downtown St. Louis. I've always seen people running before races and thought they were crazy. Why on earth would anyone do this? Apparently you'd do this if you are training for a marathon. My goal was to get 13 miles in before the race and finish the 16 during the 5k. However, my sleepy little head couldn't get out of bed and started about 30 minutes late. By the time we got to the corral I was only 11.5 miles in.

As we stood waiting (and waiting...and waiting) for the race to start my legs started cramping. I realized how difficult it was going to be to start up again... and I was right. By the time we started I had nothing left, but not starting wasn't an option... there was colorful fun to be had!

Luckily it wasn't long before we were at the first color station. It's kind of like a water stop, but instead of water in those water bottles, there was chalky color. Volunteers lined the street squirting us with a different color each kilometer. We soon learned we needed to be a tad aggressive in order to get covered. Not so much aggressive as overly excited.

Breathing in the midst of the chalkiness was as hard as you would anticipate, but here's the crew and I after the final kilometer. Some of us are a little more colorful than others, but that was all about to change at the color party.

After we finished the 5k we headed to the main stage area where every 10 minutes or so everyone would rip open color packets and throw all our color into the air. It was as crazy fun, but we were out of color (along with being sufficiently colorful) so we headed to the car.

Once we got to the car I realized I still had a mile and a half left on my run to do. This was really bad news as my legs were EXHAUSTED! I didn't think I was going to make it at all, but somehow when I got home I immediately changed back into my good pair of running shoes and headed back out the door. Two miles later was a little worse for wear, but had completed 16 miles! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The wall...

There's a lot of talk about "the wall" in marathon running. That point in a race where you feel as if you can't take another step. It's actually a real thing; around mile 20 or so your body uses up all it's glycogen (aka stored energy) and your muscles have to look elsewhere for energy. I'm not sure if the training wall is a real thing, but if it is I've hit it.

I'm on the cusp of the unknown right now as I've just completed what would normally be my half marathon training. But, that training didn't end at a finish line with a medal around my neck. Instead I was rewarded by another 10 weeks of training. Up to this point, I kind of knew what to expect; I've done it before.

To be honest, I'm scared. My mind is full of voices telling me "this is stupid," "why are you even attempting this," "you aren't going to be able to finish," and "even if you finish, you won't make it under time so what's the point?" During Sunday's long run I hit a training wall and nearly started crying. I convinced myself I couldn't do this. Immediately I texted one of my friends "Can we do a run together this week? I need help."

This week I've done all my runs with her. Considering this morning was especially difficult, knowing she was waiting and had even made breakfast for us after the 4 miler was my only motivation to get out the door. As I type this I'm sucking down an iced coffee as I'm so tired, but also extremely thankful for friends that will run with me, encourage me, and convince me I will finish.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A close call...

Last week I spent a few days in Chicago with two great friends. This mother daughter duo had never really been to Chicago so it was tons of fun to explore that great city with them. We got a great deal on everything including our super cheap tickets on the Megabus.

By now many of you probably read the news about the deadly Megabus crash. We originally figured we'd take that bus, but while booking we decided at the last minute to hang out in Chicago a few more hours. We were so set on this time that even the day before we thought we planning our Thursday to make sure we made it to the bus stop for that bus.

My friend's husband called as we were leaving our last museum and told us about the accident and making sure we weren't on that bus. Really it didn't scare us that much cause we figured what were the chances this happening twice in one day. Friends started texting and calling knowing that we were taking the Megabus home that day. And, as we waited for our bus, we continued with our plan to send one person on the bus quickly in order to save the upper deck front row.

Around the time we were suppose to board our bus, they announced that our bus had been cancelled and we were to call customer service to make other arrangements. Because of my friends stern, but polite attitude, we were able to take a rental car home that night.

On the way home we learned that one person died. The person in the front seat over the driver. The seat we had plotted to get; the seats we sat in on the way to Chicago. We talked a little and the general attitude was thankfulness that we weren't on the bus. At one point though I said "today would have been a good day to meet Jesus though." This became my overwhelming thought. I kind of wished it was me on that bus. Not in a 'I'm depressed and just want to die' way, but a 'I really love Jesus and feel a little gypped that I didn't get to meet him.'

Last Sunday our sermon was about Paul's statement "to live is Christ and to die is gain." This is what was going through my mind during our 5 hour drive home. I think I understand that truth a little bit better.