Agony+Blisters+Gummy Bears=26.2 Miles

I limped/ran along and thought, “I just want this to be over. I just want this to be over. I just want this to be over.” When running, they talk about having a mantra. Something like, “You are a warrior.” Or, “She believed she could, so she did.” I spent the late hours of last night, the night before my first ever marathon, looking on Pinterest searching for what my mantra would be. I saw 84 different options but never really settled on one, thinking that I would use them all. Here’s the truth, the only mantra I repeated over and over and over was, “I just want this to be over.”

Somewhere in the second half of the race I remembered the conversation that I had with Danny and my mom last night and laughed, actually laughed out loud at myself. My mom was reminding me for the millionth time that 26.2 miles was far, really, really far and that she didn’t want me to hurt myself. She worries about my poor, blistered feet (that these days seem to always be blistered), she worries about my knees and she worries about why I would do something that causes intentional suffering. I looked at my sweet mom and told her that I had read a quote from a runner that I like, Tommy Rivs, and he talked about how when you run long distances there is undoubtedly going to be agony. That you need to accept it and roll around in it. “I’m going to roll around in the agony, mom.” I said to her.

She looked at Danny, Danny looked at her, and I knew they were thinking 2 things: Laura has totally lost it & it is SO TOTALLY Laura to say something like that.

For my part, I both love and hate that I am the person who would say things like that and totally believe it. Alas, it is who I am. So that was my plan for today, to run, be in agony, roll around in the agony and then hopefully come in under 4 hours.

Here’s how it really went. I woke up at 3:30am this morning, watched part of a Hallmark movie, then at 4:30 got dressed and left the house 15 minutes later. I arrived up at Hyak at 5:45 and checked in. It was freezing and I spent most of the next hour just walking around trying to stay warm. The race finally started at 7am and, although I haven’t run for the last 3 weeks due to injury, I felt good. I ran the first 5 miles just as planned, at about 9 minutes a mile. After 5 miles we were handed flashlights before entering the Snoqualmie tunnel. For 2.5 miles we ran in the pitch black, with only little mini flashlights to guide us. It was completely disorienting and I’m pretty sure I actually ran 3 miles because I was zigzagging all over the place, unable to run straight.

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The Snoqualmie Tunnel (p.c.:  wta.org)

 

The next 11 miles went fine, minus the tiny rocks that were constantly finding their way into my shoe (I just left them because there was no point in taking them out, I should have had gaiters on). Mile 18 came and went and I was starting to hurt but still holding my pace. Ok honestly, I had hurt for a while but I was in the “rolling in it” phase and just trying to keep going. This is the point where I was telling myself, “I just want it to be over. I’m ready for this to be over. Can this please be over?”

I waffled back and forth between caring if I finished under 4 hours and just wanting to finish. Then somewhere in the 20th mile my knee konked out. I walked for a little bit and then tried to run. The pain was bad but I was able to limp along at a slower pace for a while. Then I walked some more. I thought about how much this sucked and how ridiculous this whole thing was and then I remembered a customer telling me to “enjoy it and have fun.” She told me that I had a little girl at home that I needed energy for and she was totally right. So this is what I did. I walked for a few minutes in the sunshine and then dumped out the rest of the gummy bears I had, a huge handful, and ate them all. I thought about how much I loved gummy bears and for a glimmer of a moment this thought crossed my mind, “This is fun.”

I still had 6ish miles to go and had an hour to do it if I wanted to finish under 4 hours. I tried to run, my knee was killing me and there were moments when I actually couldn’t run, so I walked some too. Then I would run 100 yards, and then walk. I was disappointed, and so, so tired and honestly, can I say it again, I just wanted it to be over.

Finally, it was. I ran in at 4 hours and 12 minutes. I turned around and saw my dad, who had surprised me and come to watch and I limped over to him. He hugged me, I smelled horrible, I was soaked (it POURED the last 50 minutes of the race) and waddled in my soggy shoes full of mini pebbles to have my picture taken and then I ate a grilled cheese sandwich and potato chips.

My dad drove me back to my car and told me how proud he was of me, I texted my mom and husband and sisters a picture of my horribly disgusting feet and then drove home, where I have laid on the couch all day with my feet elevated and icy hot on my swollen knee.

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I know, GROSS, right?  I have no shame if I’m showing you all this, but actually, this is probably what a lot of runner’s feet look like so it’s just par for the course.

So yeah, I rolled around in that agony for a while and this is what I found out……that it is agony. Bottom line, I’m glad I did it, I love running and I wanted to check this off my list , but mark my words…NEVER AGAIN.

Until next time,

Blister Lady with a Handful of Gummy Bears

Yoga makes me want to scream.

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Downward-facing dog (mommy style).

 

I can’t tell if I like yoga or not. I want to. I try to, but sometimes something weird happens in yoga or on your average Monday, or Tuesday or Wednesday…..all of a sudden it feels like there is not enough space in whatever room I am standing in. When I’m doing yoga, it’s almost as if all that stretching makes me tight. I know, I know, I’m a living oxymoron.

Everyone I’ve talked to, everything I read, says that I should practice yoga and meditation to help with my anxiety. So, I tried. I went to a meditation class with my husband (he was my boyfriend then) about 11 years ago. It was just Danny, me and one other girl in the class. The class began and then all of a sudden I “woke up” and it was over. I couldn’t believe it. When it was time to leave I followed the other girl out of the class and onto the stairway landing. I was a little in a daze and on about the third stair I fell and bounced on my butt all the way to the bottom, chasing our fellow classmate out of the meditation hall. I’m pretty sure I made the building vibrate. I haven’t been back since.

I’ve done yoga a bit. I did one hot yoga class. Seriously, I was totally unaware that my shins could sweat. It was crazy. I haven’t been back since.

I’ve taken a couple of regular yoga classes. They were OK, but they were indoors. Which is sort of hard for me. My anxiety makes me feel claustrophobic, and being in a small classroom makes me claustrophobic, and definitely when I am supposed to be calm and quiet and stretching, I feel claustrophobic. I haven’t been back since.

The other day at work, I was feeling claustrophobic (I swear it doesn’t happen that often even though reading this makes that hard to believe). I was working on the espresso machine when all of a sudden, I felt like I needed to get out. I had the strongest urge to just run out of the shop, into the fresh air, tear off my shirt and run screaming down the street. Really, it sounded so nice. And scarily, it sounded like a good idea. That was when I did a little self-talk, “Laura, don’t do it. Do. Not. Do. It. You have bills to pay so, no matter what, you’ll have to come back to work on Monday, and trust me girl, if you tear off down the street without your shirt on, YOU WILL NOT WANT TO COME BACK ON MONDAY.” My talk worked. I didn’t scream. I kept my shirt on, thank God, and I’ve been back to work since, so all is well.

And now, here we go again, it’s been a crazy day, I’ve got two girls that want me to play “kitty” with them, I need to go to the store to by plastic cups and I should probably fold the laundry that is undoubtedly, by now completely wrinkly. Instead, I think I’ll stand up, do some stretches, breathe in, breathe out and give it another shot. Because, I’m pretty sure, every sentence I’ve written above is evidence that I really need to do yoga. Or, I’ll just stick with what I’ve been doing, which is running down the street (with my shirt on) really fast until I can’t run anymore, and then I’ll feel better. Maybe, I was just meant to be a runner.

Always and Forever,

Stiff, Tight, and Claustrophobic

Why I run.  No really, why do I run?

I finished my half marathon today.   I did well, I PR’d by 15 minutes and finished with a time of 1:40:58.  My parents, Danny and Isla came out this morning to cheer me on as I crossed the finish line (with dead legs) and I remember thinking, thank God it’s over.  That’s all I thought really at that moment.   

When we got home my mom and dad asked me what went through my mind when it started to get hard (around mile 8 when my feet began to blister). I was laying on the floor and I looked up at them, my awesome, devoted, proud parents and told them the truth.  I thought:  Why I am doing this?  I leave my child to practice for this?  Ewwww, I think my blister just popped?  Oh My God, they’re going to make me run uphill?  

 All these thoughts circled through my head several times, until I had run the whole 13.1 miles.  

Finally, I rounded the corner, saw my family cheering for me and tried to finish strong.  They came up to me and I told then how hard it was, how I might never do this again.   I ate a protein bar and a banana,  got my ranking (81st out of 1134 females), then boarded the bus to go home, telling my cute family to please not smell me (it was bad).  

On the bus, I told Danny, “I don’t think I can do the full marathon.”

“You don’t have to, why don’t you just focus on the shorter races?”

“But I already signed up.” Eeke, and I told you guys.   

This is the thing about running……it’s so much like child birth.  The pain lasted the first 15 minutes after the race,  but by the time I got home and showered,  I realized that yes, I will be running a full marathon in 6 weeks.  That yes, my feet will be destroyed.  That yes, I am going to wonder again and again why I do this.  But, in the end, you have this wonderful thing.   You’re proud of yourself, you did something hard, and OK, it’s not really the same thing as giving birth but I can’t do that every 6 months so I’m making do with what I can.  

So, I’m putting it out there again:  June 10th marathon I’m coming for you, with my blistered feet and all!

♡Laura, the girl with the half-marathon limp

Calling all you 68 year old runners…I want to race you

My family is going to Las Vegas next week (I usually follow that statement with a ten minute explanation of what my version of Las Vegas looks like. Hint: It’s not anything you find on the first few pages when you google Vegas).

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We do this every time were in Vegas.  I know, I know, we’re totally wild, right?

 

Now that I’ve told you guys that I’m in the middle of training for a marathon, I’m trying really hard to stick to it. I knew I would run in Vegas, I’m the weird type of person that thinks running in the desert sounds dreamy, but I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to get my long run in. Or if I would at all. So, I came up with the brilliant idea of just signing up for a half marathon while we were there.

I found one that is only about 10 minutes away from my parent’s place and committed (see how fast commitment is coming for me these days, I’m a changed woman). Now for my game plan. The morning of the half, I need to find a fit looking 68 year old man and follow him. Or race him. Depending on how it goes. I have experience with this method and that is how I know it’ll work.

Case Study #1: Last time I was in Vegas I ran my first trail race. Here was my first mistake, I had trained for the elevation gain, but I hadn’t even ONCE thought about the altitude. Cottonwood Valley is 4300ft above sea level, just for reference, Stevens Pass is at 4100ft. It didn’t take me long to find out that an extra 4000ft of elevation makes a difference when you’re used to running along the shoreline of the Puget Sound.

I took off pretty well in that race and climbed and climbed and climbed until I seriously could not breathe. This is the point that I thought about, not just quitting running, but never exercising again. This older man came up from behind me and slowed to a walk. We hiked and jogged up that stupid (beautiful) mountain. He chatted. I wheezed. I learned that he’s from Boston, he’s in one of Boston’s cool running clubs and that he, like me, hadn’t thought twice about elevation so he was having a hard time. He took off running again and yelled back at me, “Come on, you can’t let an old man beat you!” I yelled ahead as loud as my wheezy lungs would allow, “You’re a fast old man!” and tried to keep up. I couldn’t. But I came in 3rd in my age group, only because I was trying to chase down a senior citizen.

Case Study #2: Last year I ran my first half marathon. My dad drove my friend Sarah and I halfway across the state to Winthrop, Washington so that I could run a race where I would probably come across cows and horses. It just sounded so much better than running through downtown Seattle. It was, and I did see plenty of cows and horses.

Anyways, all the runners were ferried out to the starting line and Sarah and I squeezed ourselves on top of a cooler in a very crowded bus. An older guy, I would guess probably 67ish, stood right above us. He introduced himself and told us how he was from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and pointed out “Jenny” his 70 year old training partner and told us that if we wanted to break the 2 hour mark we should follow her. That was his goal this race, he hadn’t yet done it. This was the longest distance I had ever run and I secretly hoped that I would be able to come in under 2 hours but wasn’t sure if that was realistic for where I was at.

The race began and we started out slow. The 67 year old man passed me and I just tried to keep an even pace. At about mile 7, when I realized I wasn’t tired yet, I decided to speed up and to stop lollygagging and staring at every cow I passed and dreaming about how amazing it would be to live here with a bunch of horses and picking out which house I would buy and deciding how I would decorate it. I started actually running and picking off other racers that had passed me early on. At about mile 9 I passed Mr. 67ish. The last 4 miles I ran with him on my heels. I could seriously hear his breath at times and some weird embarrassingly competitive part of me would not let him pass me. I ended up holding him off and came in at 1:56:29. He came in a few minutes later at just under 2 hours.

So, that’s my plan. Next Saturday morning I am going to board a bus at 5:30 am to be taken up into the mountains of Kyle Canyon. I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for some fit looking older gentlemen, and then I am going to race him. Hopefully, just hopefully, I’ll come in around 1:45.

Sincerely,

The overly competitive 31 year old

p.s.  Here is a picture of the course I’ll be running…..swoon.  Between that and the horses, I might never come back.

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Running….with horses

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This week my long run was 16 miles. Ok, wait, have I told you yet I’m training for a marathon? Gaaaaaahhh, did I just tell you I’m training for a marathon? I guess now I have to do it.

I usually run 3-4 times a week, I don’t schedule it, I just run when I want to and as hard as it is to believe (even for me, especially for me), I actually want to run about every other day. Whenever I’m training for a race, I do one long run a week and this week it was 16 miles.

Earlier today after I got off work, I was talking to Danny and was complaining about training. I go back and forth between wanting to quit and being totally devoted to the process about 7 times a day. I had planned on waking up early this morning to run on the treadmill before work. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get my run in later in the day or even this weekend, so as crazy as it sounds, I set my alarm clock for 2a.m., thinking that I could get in a 2 ½ hour run before I had to leave the house. I laid out my running gear, water bottle, shower stuff and work clothes and then went to bed. When my alarm went off at 2:00a.m., I turned over, then quickly shut it off so I wouldn’t wake up Danny and Isla. This is totally crazy. What is wrong with me? I asked myself, and then I fell back asleep at 2:01.

Then, this afternoon about a half hour after my first conversation with Danny in which I told him I might not actually follow through with the whole crazy-unrealistic-time-zapping marathon thing, Danny called me back. He said something along the lines of, “I was thinking about it and it just seems like you’re happier when you run.” Danny is a sort of go with the flow type of guy. He 99.9% of the time just lets me talk myself out, come to my own conclusion and then says “if that’s what you want,”…..and totally means it. Which is why his comment struck a chord with me. He had an opinion about my wanting to quit, and it was that I should do what makes me happy, but apparently, that was running

So, I changed my mind for the fourth time today. I got home, changed clothes and hopped on the treadmill. I know, the treadmill sounds horrible right? It does. But here’s my trick, since I don’t live in the country on a dirt road that passes fields of grazing horses, I just imagine I do. For 16 miles I watch my favorite horse show, Heartland, run on a soft surface (that is a lot closer to a dirt road that the pavement out front), and zone out into some funny dreamland which, apparently, makes me really happy.  I know, I know, the horse thing never ends with me.

I remember telling my best childhood friend (who is a serious runner) not that long ago that I had no desire to ever run a half marathon. Then I did. And explaining that I for sure would never run a marathon because only nutty people did that…..and their toe nails fall off…..and gross. Now here I am, writing a whole blog post trying to explain to you, and to myself, why I turned into one of those nutty people, and I’m not really sure I can. I’m guessing it’s different for every body, every runner. I know about endorphins and all that, but for me, I think a lot of it is about doing something that’s hard, that I don’t completely understand, and that takes me to the country and fields full of horses. And honestly, Danny’s right, I’m happier for it.

p.s.  My toenail literally just fell off as I finished writing this. Please say a prayer for my sanity.

❤ nutty runner girl