This little light of mine…

So its been a long time no post kind of deal…I know.  Life has gotten busy, but fear not, I am still running…just not as much.  I’m managing 2-3 days a week and an average of 10-17 miles total.  That’s not really much compared to this time last year, but as I said, life and all that has gotten busy.

I am ramping up for a VERY busy half marathon season.  I have almost one half marathon a month between now and February.  While that IS a lot of races…it certainly isn’t the pressure that I felt from full on marathon training.  I kept a few base miles in the bank after the marathon in May, so it hasn’t been the uphill climb that it was in the past to start from ground zero.  In addition, I have put  less pressure on myself for at least the first race or two of the half-marathon season.  I have eased up on my push to PR.  I would LOVE to finally squeak close to a 2 hour half marathon…but I have plenty of races to get there.  I have decided to give myself a bit of a training ramp and grace to start off gently…its a new thing for me lol. We’ll see how this kinder gentler approach pans out!

But I digress.  What I really wanted to talk about is my all time favorite running weather…FOG.  I LOVE love love running on a foggy morning!  In contrast, I  HATE running in the dark.  You may think at first that they are one and the same, but I beg to differ! Running in the dark is scary.  I feel like an extra on a horror film set…just waiting to hear chainsaws revving up in the distance.  I jump and skitter at every last little noise.  I feel like the very pavement is out to get me.  Seriously, I would rather run in the heat than in the dark…and you know how much I hate the heat!

Running on a foggy morning though…it has a kind of magic to it.  There is this small little bubble of light that surrounds you.  Somehow, you can see clearly right around and in front of you, but just a few feet into the distance the world  drops away into soft, white nothing. It is quiet and calm.  As you move forward into the soft, fuzzy abyss…your little bubble of clarity follows you.  The ‘future’ steps seem unclear, but become perfectly clear as you approach.  The steps immediately in the past are shrouded, as are the ones directly in the future…but your present steps are perfectly safe and clear.

Now those of you who know me well would probably think that foggy uncertainty would drive me batty…I am uh a BIT of a control freak.  I am constantly thinking 12 steps head of myself.  In fact, I sometimes miss the everyday joys because I am already worrying about tomorrow and the next day, and the next.  But that is the magic of those rare foggy mornings.  I have absolutely NO choice but to forget about the path behind or the one ahead, and just simply be in the present.  No worries, simply one foot in front of the other with the certainty that my little bubble of clarity will keep up.

I love to think about how running so easily translates to life and our Christian walk.  Psalm 119:105 says “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”.  Funny how it doesn’t say ” a searchlight, flood light, or something more illuminating.  Nope…lamp unto my feet and light unto my path.  I take that to mean…just enough light so that you will not falter or stumble…but not enough to show you the whole path.  I think its a lovely metaphor for ‘running in the fog’…God telling us that we don’t need to see it all, or even understand…we simply need to trust that He will illuminate each footfall as we need it.  That He will be our little bubble of clarity, to get us to our destination. No flood light or visibility needed, aside from those few steps immediately in front of us.

It is a promise that He will be sufficient for each and every step.  We need not be concerned with what lies down the trail, or even behind us.  We simply need to trust that He is with us and will give us just enough light for the next steps.  There is no need to worry about 12 steps down the road, because they aren’t even visible.

In my life at least, I think God occasionally rolls in the fog to ease my worry burden.  He uses the fog of uncertainty to help remind me to let go and to trust.  He knows that sometimes I need to simply be blinded to all the worry and what ifs up ahead, and simply run in my ‘trust bubble’.

I happen to be ‘running’ in that kind of situation right now.  There are some really big things ahead for me.  Some of those things are really huge and scary and some are exciting…but if I focus on all that is ahead right now, I’ll get so worked up that I will miss the forest for the trees. I will get paralyzed by possibilities and choices that won’t even come my way for days, weeks, or months if at all.

So for now at least, the blessed fog has rolled in.  God has it all in control and I am trying very hard not to outrun my little clarity bubble.  I know that the future path is shrouded, but God is taking me somewhere important, and that each step will be sufficiently , abundantly clear.

My get up and go just got up and went

Confession time: I ditched my long run today.  Yep. Guilty. Sitting here with a good ol cup of Duncan Donuts coffee and a case of “my give a darn is busted”.  I don’t want to be an adult today.

I have had a week of…lets call them “Challenges”.  I have had emotional and physical walls to hurdle. Crazy  emotionally zapping days at work, and long days that never seem to end when you get home.  Those days where you struggle for every inch of progress all day long, longing to just go home and rest and restore for the next day only to find your house has been turned upside down, and nothing goes as planned there either- and you just fall into bed exhausted just to get up and start again the next day. Now we all have days like this…the days that Shall Not be Mentioned- ya know? I expect days like this every once in a while.  I just don’t expect them every single day, All Week Long.  So I was tired this morning…and my give a darn seems to be a bit broken. I’m not even sure I have all of the pieces I need to put it back together any time soon😉.

This was supposed to be my first ‘long’ run day.  I only had 5 miles to run…but I just didn’t WANT to.  Now I know, in the midst of marathon training, that I ran in rain, freezing temperatures, and other crazy conditions.  My give a darn was fully functional…hyperdrive even.  So what gives? Does this bode poorly for my half marathon training?  Am I doomed to fail even before I start? Will I ever recover???

Oh the crazy train inside our minds and hearts some days! Its amazing how fast we can hop on the self doubt and demoralization train. Well today I am NOT playing that game.

I could choose to beat myself up over today.  In the past I am sure I would have.  But for today, I think I will choose Grace.  I am going to give myself Grace for having one bad day after a VERY horrible no good awful week.  Sometimes you measure up and just come up short….and that’s OK.

Running is 80% mind over matter and 20% physical effort.  If the brain isn’t in it, then the body just won’t follow.  I could have forced myself out there today, to grind out some herky jerky miles….get fed up, walk, and wonder why I even bothered.  Instead, I chose to take a mulligan.  Today I chose to give in…and to give myself permission.

Sometimes its Ok to acknowledge a rough patch.  I usually just bull on through and push and push…but its Ok sometimes, to honor the struggle and allow for some rest, rejuvenation, healing.  My actual half marathon training doesn’t even  start for 2 weeks.  I am in the prep stages.  I only need to work up to a 6 mile run by then, and I am already at a fairly comfortable 4.  Life won’t stop if I give myself a break today…but it surely will fall apart if I keep pushing at already straining seams!  This very idea chafes at me though, because I am not by nature, a restful person.  This may shock you, but I am a go go go, push push push, kind of gal.  I like to reserve grace for others and don’t generally give it to myself.

God is Grace after all.  He continually gives us grace when we stumble, fall off the faith wagon, or just plain have a bad day and forget how to be a nice civil human being.  He gathers us up, brushes us off, gives us a big warm hug, and reminds us that tomorrow is another God blessed day. He’s our number one fan, always there to cheer us on, but also there to pick us up, help us get back on our feet and tell us that tomorrow can be better.

In Psalm 23,David says:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.[a]
3 He restores my soul.

David knew…he had after all, had some amazing highs, but also some very bad, no good, awful days….he’d come up short a time or two and needed restoration and grace.

So for today, I will try not to want…not to want to be more than I can at this moment, not to want to push beyond my limits for today.  I will try to slow down today and to rest.  I cannot rest in the pastures or wash in the water if I am continually running running running past them.  For today at least, I will stop and rest, restore, refresh. I will give myself Grace to put aside my agenda and plans…and simply rest.

I am sure that I will get back up, dust myself off, and run like the wind…just not today.  Today I am looking under the couch for the pieces to my ‘give a darn’…let me know if you find any of the missing pieces!😉 I know I can get it going again eventually!!!

Off to the races!

Why yes, it has been a long time since I posted on here.  No I haven’t died, gotten an injury, or stopped running.  I HAVE however slowed it down, dropped back to 1-2 easy short runs a week…gotten rather lax about running.  Call it a vacation from Marathon training if you will. Or call it like it is…tired of running, don’t wanna have to…not gonna do it…you can’t make me…..blah blah blah.

Well vacation is officially over, and half marathon training season is here! I can say that I am 70% excited to have an iron clad schedule to stick to again ( I really am BAD about skipping out on runs if I am not in training).  I am 25% anxious and dreading the grind of being tied to a schedule, and 5% worried that even tho I just managed 26.2 miles, I just won’t be able to run the 13.1 that I have to for a half. Only as good as your next race and all that…

Superhusband and I ran 4 miles this morning.  It. Was. Hot.  We didn’t get going til around 7:15 and by then it was a sauna-like 85 degrees with 70% humidity….ugh.  As per usual, I was whining and hating life for the first mile.  Once I got over myself and my legs figured out that we were not just going for a short jog, I evened out and ran pretty well.  Apparently my muscle memory from all that training is still in play.  For the first mile all I wanted to do was stop and walk, but after that, my cruise control kicked in.  My cardio however, was a bit glitchy.  Apparently my lungs were still on vacation.  I huffed and puffed more than I would like, and that never really did settle in…but I’ll take what I can get and be happy about the 4 miles. Call me the little engine that ran 4 miles.

As I write this, I can tell that I will be a bit stiff tomorrow. Its time to shake off the cobwebs and get my body back in running shape for sure!  Mentally and emotionally I feel great.  I’ve been feeling petulant and emotionally blah…and this was a nice, mental spring cleaning.

I didn’t realize it, but somewhere along the way, I really have become a true runner…one of those people who doesn’t just run for physical gain, but also runs for emotional and mental well being…ick…ah well, what’s done is done I suppose!

So, once more into the breach…except this time its a bit less…well…breachy.  I am not flinging myself out into the abyss of a full 26.2 but rather into my more comfy zone of 13.1.  I have signed up for a doozy of a schedule though!  In addition to running a 5K a month, I will be running a half marathon in Oct, one in November, one in December, and one in February.  If I can find one in January, I may just sign up for that too just to round it all out lol.  Its a VERY tight schedule and once the half marathons start, I will have little time to train between them.

With this schedule in mind, I am going back to a plan that got me in great running shape last year.  I am using the Hal Higdon 3 Marathon plan again, but just using the first half of the plan.  I will start now and ramp up to a long run of 15 miles before my first race in October.  My goal this year, is to train and run without injury, and to hopefully PR a race or two.  Oh yeah…plus I would like to lose the 5 pounds that I gained during my Marathon taper ( darn carb loading).  Its a tough plan ( 3 days a week rather than 4 or 5) and a very tight schedule…but its good to have a plan and a purpose to my weekly runs.

So people, there you have it…we are once again, off to the races! Lets see how this season plays out!

Back in the Saddle again…

Well it has been 4 weeks since the marathon.  I was hoping to run twice a week until half marathon ramp up begins in August/September.  Life has interrupted that just a bit.  I did not run on Monday since it was Memorial day and things just got in the way.  I was surprised to find myself feeling anxious and just plain antsy all week.  Thankfully I was able to run on Friday.

Super husband and I took off for a 5 mile causeway to beach and back run.  It. Was. Glorious! There was a breeze lovely sea breeze.  In addition, it was so so so nice to run a different route than I had been training on for months and months and months.  There were new sights to see, and a causeway to climb….ahhhhh:) We made it to the beach and took a brief break before hoofing it back over the causeway.  At the top we stopped to watch a long line of sting rays swoop under the bridge.  There was a beautiful Manta Ray in the lead…a sight I have never seen in the Indian River! In short, it was a really nice run. My legs felt strong, I felt happy and relaxed…I repeat, it was a Really Nice Run.

I was worried when I signed up for the Marathon, that I would lose my desire to run after such intense training.  I mean really…I went into training only marginally tolerating running in the first place.  I was afraid that so many months of intense training would burn me out and turn me off of running entirely.

Luckily, I have found the opposite to be true.   I enjoy running now even more than I did before.  I will admit to even…gasp…NEEDING to run.  I was all spun up this week after missing my Monday run, yet the stress just melted away as the miles flew by this Friday.

I will finally admit it…not only am I a runner…but I do really like to run…and part of me really needs to run on a regular basis.  Running has become my reboot button if you will.  Running is me time…God time…and when Superhusband joins in, its also us time.  Its the few times in the week where the phone, TV, to do list, endless demands, cleaning chores, and inner critique just shut off…I move, I run, I breathe…Ahhh.  No matter how inadequate I feel for the demands of my day…when I am running I feel strong, I feel capable, I feel like I am enough.  Its really nice to be reminded of that first thing in your day…it certainly sets the tone for the rest of the day!

I am a new creation from what I was when I started my running journey, and yet I know I am still a work in progress.   In August/September I will start officially training again, and ramp up into those longer, grittier runs…but for now I am truly enjoying running for the joy of it.  I can’t even imagine how strange that would have sounded to me 8 months ago!

A Royal Flush…

So this past weekend was my very first 5K since my Marathon of madness!  I ran the Booty run, beachside, at 4PM…in Florida…in the Summer.  Yeah, that was NOT my brightest moment I’ll admit.  Now for anyone up in the Arctic North, you may actually run past 8 Am in the morning.  Here in Sunny Sweaty Florida you don’t even venture out of the house past 8 Am without SPF1000, a gallon of water, and your own personal fan.  Its hot y’all. Too. Hot. To. Run.  I know this, but occasionally I get crazy runner ambitions and lose all common sense.  Anyway…4 PM…86 degrees in the shade…running my booty off at the booty run.

I will confess, I had fun.  I probably lost 4 pounds in water weight in less than 30 minutes, but it was so nice to be running for fun again.  The heat slowed me down no doubt.  There were sections of road that literally radiated heat up while the sun radiated it down, making me feel like a chicken broiling in the oven.  Heat aside, though,I felt good!:)  I ran an 8:56 minute/ mile, a 9:12, and finally a heat weary 9:59.  My legs felt strong and my cardio held out nicely.  If it had been cooler, I think I could have cut a good chunk out of my final time of 28:47.  That was not my fastest 5 K to date… but it WAS fast enough to net me my very first, first in my age group award and 27th over all out of 200 runners AND 12th place in the ladies group. Granted,  it was a smaller race and fewer elites showed up, it was a hot day and all of our times were a bit slower than usual…BUT that aside, I was for once ,near the front of the pack rather than the end of the middle where I usually huff and puff.  I’ll take it for the personal victory that it is:)

So here’s what things are looking like for me right now.  I’m working on starting a running group at my church.  We’ll be having our first group devotional and run in June.  In addition, I’m trying to stick to a pared down training plan…actually write mileage on the calendar and stick to it, just as I would if I were training.  I am letting myself slow down to 2 days a week rather than 3, and then will ramp back up to 3 days a week once half marathon season approaches in the Fall.  I’m shooting for a short, fun 3 miler on Mondays, then a longer run at the end of the week.  I’m going to  alternate a 5 mile causeway or 6 mile flat run, with an 8 mile or a 10 mile run on my long days.  I figure that way I’m switching up mileage and routes on a weekly basis so I don’t get bored or in a rut, but it won’t be too hard to ramp up to half marathon shape when I need to. I’m all hoping to get in a 5 K each month..that’s just fun for me.  I  really enjoy the all out dash to the finish and instant gratification that a 5 K holds.  That’s the plan anyway…we’ll see how it goes and what God has in store for my time…he may have other plans and that’s OK!

Right now I still feel like I should be out there running more than I am.  I miss the regularity and commitment that a focused plan holds.  I was worried that I would be burned out and not want to run again, but I find myself wanting to run more than my schedule will allow right now.  I was hoping to get back to a modicum of normalcy in my work/housework routine…but so far it hasn’t happened.  I am just so far behind from months of training that I am still playing catch up in a losing race.  I’m trying to chip away at the to do list and cleaning schedule one bit at a time, but as of right now I don’t feel as if I am making any headway. It HAS been wonderful however, to have my weekends for family time and not be tired or sore for most of my waking hours.

Oh, and back to the Booty run…I earned my very first first in age group trophy this weekend.  It sits in a  place of honor in my curio cabinet for all to see…and yes, it IS a golden, gleaming toilet bowl…makes me chuckle every time I see it.   Run happy my friends!

Don’t Stop Believin’….


Well it is officially over and done.  I made it from starting line to finish.  I didn’t puke, pass out, get carried off the course, or die.  I am now officially a marathoner.  I will however, reserve the  Marathoner with an uppercase M for those who made it across the finish line hours before me.  I’m thankful, grateful. blessed…but not proud.  I know I finished this race on God’s power and not mine.  As we’ve discussed, I missed training runs here and there…did the best that I could, but this distance was much bigger than me and my jalopy engine…no doubt.  I give full glory to God on this one.  I did the work, put in lots of miles, and trained my booty off sure, but this was one tough race!

We arrived on Saturday afternoon, went to the never-ending expo, and ate at the pasta buffet in the hotel that night.  My feet were killing me by the time I went to bed at 9 PM.  I woke up at the insanely silly hour of 4 AM to choke down a bagel and banana ( side note: Super Husband had to work hard to find me a banana in a hotel full of marathon runners, but he heroically managed to track one down for me).  I dressed, greased up with Glide, and paced the hotel until we could walk to the start.  It was blessedly crisp at around 50 degrees…and I was nervous but hopeful as we walked to the starting line.  Once there, we corralled up.  I was in the second to last corral…the BROWN corral…ew.  We all packed in like sardines, listened to the national anthem, and were off!  Well at least Corral A was…it took us a solid 20 minutes to toe up to the starting line…and THEN we were off!

The start was insanely crowded, making it impossible to more than shuffle along for the first few minutes.  There were people in my corral who immediately spread out 3-4 people wide and started at a walk…ugh!  Now I am NOT judging at all…but if you are going to start at a walk, then please start in the last corral…and PLEASE do not spread out 3-4 people wide.  I’m just saying…

I finally got enough room to do a slow jog and turned the first corner….to see my fist hill of the course.  Now this course was supposed to have only 2 big hills, a very few rolling hills, and be  mostly flat other than that.  I quote from the FAQ section of the marathon web page:”The hills are in the first nine miles of the race. The first two are just going over the bridge into Kentucky and the one coming back. After several miles of flat there is a 300 ft. climb between miles 6-9 to a beautiful park with a panoramic view of the river and downtown Cincinnati. After that it is gently rolling and from mile 19 to the finish it is pretty flat.

I suppose if you lived in an above sea level state, you MIGHT say that.  For a Florida girl, this course was almost completely rolling hills with 2 very big monster hills, and one or two flat sections. period.  I was totally unprepared for THAT! According to my Garmin watch, I ran a total elevation gain of 943 ft and a loss of 911ft through the entire race.  Within the first 5 miles we had gone over 3 bridges and several whoop de do hills.  I was really worried.  My legs were really unhappy.  I made the choice to walk some of the hills right then and there.  I had wanted to run all but the 2 mile hill at mile 6, but it was a matter of survival at this point.  All in all I would say that I ran 85-90% of the total course…I did have to walk some of the hills, but I also managed to run quite a few.

I finally got into a rhythm around mile 5.  My legs untangled and I was running more than I wasn’t for sure.  I was managing a brisk 9:30-10 on the flat stretches, and even a bit faster  on the downhills.  At mile 6 we began the long 2 mile climb up, up and up to the park.  It was a nasty long climb, but it stair stepped a bit, so I could catch my breath and run here and there. Half way up, we passed an Elvis impersonator, singing Sweet Caroline…that was um surreal to say the least! The view from the top of the park was truly worth the climb! It was spectacular, and just the warm fuzzy I needed to spot the 5:30 pace group and pass them never to be seen again.  A few more rolling hills down, and I caught and passed the 5:15 pace group.  I kept looking for the 5:00 pace group, but never did find them.

Once we hit the split point where the marathoners peeled off from the half marathon pack things got real.  It was an amazing feeling to split off and follow the marathon group. The pack thinned out dramatically at that point, and you started to feel like you were part of something really amazing…a much smaller group who were sticking it out for the whole 26.2.  I was still running well here.

The crowd was amazing, and the weather was beautiful.  The water stops were generally every mile, so that really helped the miles slide by.  Even if I got tired, it was only a mile until I could catch my breath and get a drink.   The food was awesome too! There were fig newton stations, twizzlers, hersheys kisses, and even a bacon station!  I loved reading the signs people had made.  My favorites were “you’re chafing the dream”, I like pig butts and I cannot lie”, and “blisters are braille for awesome”.

Round about mile 19 I started to get worn down.  Everything was hurting.  My knees and feet were NOT prepared for the pounding down hill sections and that was taking the biggest toll.  I was getting hot and tired, but still in relatively good spirits.  From mile 20-23 I was getting slower and slower.  I got a boost though as I ran into mile 23.  This was it…deeper water…this was farther than I had ever run in my life! I had run past my training and into the unknown! It was here that I stopped briefly and called SuperHusband to tearfully tell him I had made it to the edge of my running map and was stepping out into the deep end!

Miles 24-25 were probably the worst of the race.  I was sore, tired and just wanted to be done.  Here and only here, I pulled out my music and listened to Thrive and Bigger Than Me.  This was to be my hardest and slowest mile of the entire race.  From mile 25-26.2 I put away the tunes and hauled my tired booty.  I had hoped to run this race in 5:15-5:20 based on my training runs and the hills on this course.  I had run 23 flat relatively easy miles in 4:55, so I figured adding in the hills and the race day adrenaline, I was hopeful for a 5:15 or 5:20. I never truly hit the wall this time.  I had hit it in every training run over 20 miles, but not here.  I was tired, exhausted, and everything hurt, but that I can run through.

By mile 25 I knew I had at least a chance of making it in under 5 hours…and that was just too good to be true.  I knew I’d have to really run hard for the last 1.2 miles so I kicked it in with all I had and just ran flat out. 

I crossed that finish line in 4:59:30! I just squeaked in under, but I did it! I tried my absolute best, and God rewarded it with a faster time than I had even dared hope for.  God is good!  I got my bling, and hobbled to find Super Husband and Super Son.  After a shower and some food, we spent the day walking ( hobbling ) around the Cincinnati zoo.  I was really, really, really sore.  My knees felt like grapefruit and my feet were pounding and sore, but I knew if I stopped moving I’d rust up like and old engine left in the rain…so to the zoo it was!

For those of you who like numbers, here’s how I did: 2:28:53 First half, 2:30:38 second half, last mile:9:43.

So I hobbled and limped around for the first few days I was back, but really nothing worse than I felt for my first half marathon, or for any one of my 23 mile training runs. It took me about 3 days to stop hurting.  By Friday I actually felt like running a little bit.  Super Husband and I went out for a slow 1 mile out and a fast mile back ( I ran an 8:40 on the way home).  I was really, really pleased at how not horrible I felt!  This Monday, I was able to run a pretty fast 3.1 miles ( a 10:06, a 10:04, and finally an 8:20).  I am so very glad to be off the crazy cycle of mega miles, but feel a bit drifty…its odd to not have a schedule to run when I have had one for the last 8 months.

Many people have asked me if I will run another marathon. I have to honestly say I don’t think so.  It wasn’t the distance so much as the training that was so hard to take.  It was just overwhelming in the amount of time such a thing demands.  I will admit though, to being curious as to how I could do on a flat course…but not curious enough to sign up for anything in the foreseeable future.

Which brings me to the next chapter in my running history.  It seems God still wants me to swim in deep waters.  He hasn’t called me to another marathon thank heavens…but he HAS called me to start a running and devotions group at my church.  Like the marathon, this is uncharted waters for me and I am anxious, but also excited to see what God has planned.

As far as my blog, I still plan to ramble on here, so please do check in from time to time! I have 3 more half marathons planned this year, so plenty to whine and chat about between now and then! Thanks to all of those who followed my journey.  And an even bigger thanks for those who lifted me up in prayer on Marathon Day.  I truly felt lifted up and surrounded by so much love and prayer.  It was an amazing experience, and I cannot thank you all enough.

Until next post: run angry, eat bacon, and dream for the stars people!

On your Mark….Get set…

Well here we are at 1 day and 18 hours before the big show.  I have stuck ( mostly) to my training plan, endured the endless taper, and stuffed myself with the requisite carbs.  I went for my last pre race run of 2 miles this morning.  It felt glorious.  God gave me a BEAUTIFUL 60 degree morning to run in.  That in and of itself is a miracle here in Florida in late April!  I ran really well and felt like I had lots to spare…so YAY!:)

I’ve been really terrified leading up to this week.  Everyone around me has been getting a nasty upper respiratory virus.  I have been bathing in hand sanitizer and washing my hands raw for days.  I have been endlessly worried…about the race, about getting sick, about life, the universe in general…you get the idea. As of yesterday evening though, I felt a switch flip…I am…drum roll….getting excited!  I’m still scared ( respect the distance and all that), but I’m feeling just a bit giddy.  My legs feel strong and I have gotten an unexpected energy boost ( maybe its all the hand sanitizer and vitamins).  I feel bouncy and just a bit jittery…caffeinated even.  I find I ready to GO!

I sat down and read all of my posts today from beginning to end. Its been quite a physical and spiritual journey.  Its amazing to go back and read where I was when all of this began.  To remind myself of how far this journey has taken me.  Its fun to see how I have changed and stayed still the same old me.

Turns out, I did finish most of my plan, I didn’t get injured, and I have managed to Listen to God along the way.  I think that has been my biggest surprise.  I feel much more connected spiritually than I did when I started all of this.  Hours on the pavement with no excuses and no one in the way have made me feel a true connection that just wasn’t there before.

I have gone from a love /hate relationship with running to at least a love/like relationship.  Even though I am tired of the long long miles, I DO miss running when I don’t get to run at least 2-3 times a week.  Running is still hard for me…and likely always will be.  I am stronger and faster than I was, but I am a runner by determination and intent and not by genetic ability. I was not born to be a runner, but rather choose to run. Running will never come easily to me, but that is one reason why I value it …I have to work for every mile gained. With that said, running has become an important part of my identity, it has become a part of me, of who I am,  and I am glad for that.

Along the way, SuperHusband has picked up a running habit…and I have really enjoyed running with him.  Its been a fun new aspect to our Marriage, and its nice that he will truly understand what I am facing this weekend. I have really enjoyed watching him grow as a runner right along beside me.  In the midst of this adventure, he has become a half marathoner and I am so very proud of him and his own running journey!  My friends and family have been amazingly supportive of this crazy endeavor.  I have has so much love and support along the way that its kind of overwhelming to think about!

So I am hopeful that I can complete this Marathon in 5 hours.  Less would be a dream come true, but I will be happy with just crossing that finish line darn it!   Part of me cringes when I admit to someone that I am going to take that long to run the marathon.  The elite runners will likely clock times of 2 hours and change.  Five  hours is slow…its well below the ‘average’ for people who run marathons.  I have never pretended to be fast though, and I am not about to start now.  I just need to finish after all.  I am not fast, but I am determined, and I am Faithful…and that will have to be enough!

A very dear friend pointed me to an awesome song by Tobymac that has become my theme song this week.  It’s called “Way Beyond Me”…and it really just sums up this whole marathon journey. It talks about God giving us tasks that are beyond our reach to remind us that we need Him.  How appropriate as I stare down that starting line! Here’s a sample:

Call it a reason to retreat
I got some dreams that are bigger than me
I might be outmatched, outsized, the underdog in the fight of my life
Is it so crazy to believe

That You gave me the stars, put them out of my reach
Called me to waters a little too deep
Oh, I’ve never been so aware of my need
You keep on making me see
It’s way beyond me
It’s way beyond me
Yeah, it’s out of my league
It’s way beyond me
It’s way beyond me
It’s way beyond

Anything that I got the strength to do
In over my head keeps me countin’ on You
I’m leaving the sweet spot, sure shot
Tradin’ it all for the plans You got
Is it so crazy to believe

That You gave me the stars, put them out of my reach
Called me to waters a little too deep
Oh, I’ve never been so aware of my need
Yeah, you keep on making me see
It’s way beyond me
It’s way beyond me
Yeah, it’s out of my league
It’s way beyond me
It’s way beyond me

I have done all that I physically can…now its time to simply let go and let God get me there.

This BaconRunner is all packed and ready to GO.  There’s nothing left to do now but run the race that God has set before me. Just point myself down the course and do what He has trained me to do. 1)Pray. 2) Run….Really  Really far. 3) Collect Bling. 4) Eat Bacon…that pretty much sums up my plan!  Tune in next week, for the recap and further adventures of BaconRunner;)!

Welcome to Carb city

Well here we are, one week out from Marathon day.  According my training plan, it is time to up the carbohydrate ante,  lower my protein and fat intake, and stop looking at the scale until next week.

Unfortunately that does NOT mean all the cake, cookies and ice-cream I can eat.  No, the idea is to eat pastas, rice, starchy veggies, and fruits, along with smaller quantities of lean meats.

This is foreign territory for me.  I am a certified carnitarian.  My idea of a happy meal is a big steak, with a side of bacon…maybe a small side salad if it contains more bacon, hold the bread and dessert.  What can I say, its just how I roll.  I try very hard to get in at least one small serving of veg. at each meal…but its an effort.  I have no problem passing up the bread basket at dinner…because that allows for a larger portion of meat.  For breakfast I am an eggs and sausage and bacon-hold the pancakes- and toast- and bagel- kind of gal. Nutritionists shall shudder I know, but just being real yo.

So, you can imagine how strange it was to fill my shopping cart with 90% carbs today.  So far the menu for next week will consist of:

Breakfast: a thin cinnamon raison bagel with peanut butter and nutella, with a banana and coffee.

Snacks of apple slices and cheese sticks, low fat  yogurt with fruit, raspberries, strawberries, and a few potato chips tossed in for good measure( because I like them that’s why).

Lunch : likely leftovers from dinner the night before


  1.               baked peppers stuffed with orzo pasta, tomato sauce, shredded            zucchini and parm cheese, salad and bread.
  2.               Spaghetti with meatballs and marinara with italian bread
  3.               Chicken picatta penne pasta with a salad and bread
  4.               Chicken fried rice with asparagus sushi and spring rolls

Right now this looks like an overwhelming amount of pasta, bread, etc…but we’ll see how it goes. I need to figure out a few good veggies to add in for sides…but that will take some thought. I’ve picked recipes that have lean meats and little fat to balance out all those carbs.  It still makes me nostalgic for a big juicy ribeye, or rack of ribs, or a big fat bacon burger…but I think I’ll survive my week.

Overall, the carb loading helps…it gives me something to focus on other than the journey ahead.  Our sermon at church today was Luke Chapter 5.  Its a favorite of mine.  Its the one where Jesus tells Peter to venture out into the deep waters and cast his nets.  Peter is out of his element in this story.  He’s tired from a long night of doing his best…fishing his heart out and coming up not just short, but completely empty.  I’m sure his confidence was a bit shaken at this point, and the very last thing he wanted to do was take his tired body back out into the depths and try to catch anything.  But he did.  He ventured out on faith and went even tho he was tired and a bit discouraged.  He was rewarded with not just a bountiful harvest, but one of amazingly supernatural proportions.

Right now I find I can identify with this Peter.  I’ve been training for 7 long months.  I’m tired…I’ve had some confidence shaking runs…and I’ve had some hugs and encouragement from the almighty.  Its still taking more effort than I would like to run the taper runs. I admit to being a bit scared…there is weariness and a desire to just put my nets away and be done.  I have been called out to deeper waters tho, and I will go.

If I really think about it, my harvest has already been supernaturally bountiful.  I have grown much stronger in faith and in my walk with God. I’ve had hours on my feet to have quiet time with my Savior.  I’ve learned how to truly commit to something even if I’m not sure its within my realm of ability-to get up and run and try even if I was tired, or sore, or discouraged.  I’ve learned to follow through with plans even when they get unbelievable hard.  I’ve learned to lean on God’s strength and the strength of friends and family when I was afraid that I couldn’t continue. I’ve learned that I have amazing friends and family who will support me through even my craziest endeavors. I’ve learned that hard work and perseverance really do make you stronger.

It was almost 3 years ago when I first managed to run for a whole 5 minutes at a time.  The person I was then would NEVER have believed that she could, and eventually would be able to run for 5 HOURS at a time.

So….lets load up on some carbs, get into the boat, and head for deeper waters.  Its time to throw out my nets and see if I can catch a finish line:).

Amazing Grace and Taper Tantrums

So I thought tapering would be awesome!  In reality, its been down right hard…kind of sucky really. I read all the posts abut how you can expect to feel anxious, jittery, and feel like you need to cram in extra miles…get twitchy from a need to run.  Yeah well for me not so much.  I got anxious aright, but it was because my legs and body just up and quit.  Apparently they didn’t get the memo that they were supposed to feel strong and raring to go.  I was supposed to feel bored and anxious to get out and run run run….I was anxious alright,  because I was literally dragging my booty through a sad slow panting mile at a time.

I ran 12 miles last Friday and those were hot, swampy Florida miles…nothing unusual there.  It was hot, it was humid, I sweat buckets, walked a bit to keep from dying…but finished per usual.  Sunday I ran 4mies.  I ran them at a moderate pace…and felt like I was going to keel over.  I was sweating like a snowman in a hot air factory and puffing like a freight train by the time I was done.  Hmmm. NOT the usual 4 mile run…I mean really…a week ago I had slogged through 23 miles and was breathing almost as hard at the end of this 4 mile run as I had been then! Fast forward to Monday.  I set out for a short ( ha…love being able to say that) 6 mile run.  Not even a full mile into said run, I was doubled over wheezing and puffing like I had just run a half marathon at a sprint….Hmmm…not good at all.  Well I tried run/ walk intervals and finally gave up on those by mile 2 and simply WALKED a full 5 miles.  No running…just walked.  REALLY NOT GOOD. UGH!

Needless to say I was worried.  I had a Marathon to run in 2 weeks and here I couldn’t run a MILE????!!!! What in the heck was I doing even trying to do this?! Had I imagined training for 7 months and putting in  a 21 mile, and two 23 mile runs in the very recent past?  First I panicked, and then I scheduled some blood work to make sure my hyperactive thyroid wasn’t going crazy on me.  The blood work all came back right as rain…no physical reason for my taper tantrums…just my body deciding its had enough or my brain giving out on me.  I wasn’t sure which, but I was WORRIED.  I prayed ( granted that should have been step one…but I am stubborn and slow in that department).  I asked family and friends for prayer too and tried not to wallow.  As it is, the plane tickets are purchased and the hotel is booked…we ARE going to the Flying Pig regardless.

So…Today ( Friday) I had an 8 miler planned.  I was actually a bit scared to suit up and even try today.  I knew it would be unbelievably discouraging if I did poorly…but a bacon runner’s gotta do what a bacon runner’s gotta do.  I prayed last night.  I prayed this morning.  It was a simple prayer: “God please give me Hope and a Hug out there today”.  I wasn’t praying for easy…just for possible…just for a hope and a hug from my Almighty Father..that was really what I needed most.

Well I got Hope.  I got a Hug…and I got an Big Hero 6 style fist bump from God himself this morning ( badaladaladala).  The first 3 miles hurt..I won’t lie.  My calf muscles were really screaming…BUT I told myself I absolutely HAD to run the first 3 miles…NO EXCEPTIONS…unless I was puking or unconscious.  It was tough, but I did.   Through those  3 miles, my heart rate stayed stable and I was only sweating cups not buckets…no freight train showed up to puff my breath away.  After 3 miles I just kept going.  Eventually my legs gave up the crying game and fell in line.  I never did stop to walk except for a couple of brief water breaks ( I don’t drink and run…not pretty).

I ran the ENTIRE 8 miles people.  And here’s the cool part…I wasn’t trying for any kind of pace or time…just trying to run, BUT I almost matched my race PR for the first 10K ( 6.2 miles) of the run…I was only about 3 minutes off of my best race pace for that distance.  And I finished running strong.  I was able to negatively split and run the last couple miles at a nice satisfying clip.

So here I am…sitting and sweating as I type this…tears still welling in my eyes.  I sit here in the midst of Taper Tantrums with the refrain of Amazing Grace echoing in my mind.  Yesterday I was empty but today I am full to the brim, my cup overflowing with grace, and hope, and holy hugs…all I had to do was ask.

Shake it off

I was supposed to run 6 miles on Sunday and then 5 today.  As you know, I ran my last Big Kahuna 23 mile run on Friday.  My legs laughed at the thought of running on Sunday, and tried to give me attitude today.  Sunday we went to Megacon, so I walked a TON and went up multitudes of stairs.  I decided that was enough punishment for my aching legs and scrapped the 6 mile Sunday run.

Today Superhusband was able to run with me.  I knew right out of the gate that 5 miles was going to be too ambitious for my still exhausted legs, so we set out for a 4 mile run.  Well a half mile in, and my calf muscles literally cramped up into a solid block.  Hmmm…that was a new and successful form of rebellion…I had to swallow my pride and walk a bit.  Once my legs gave up and started working again, we decided to run sprints.  Oh my that was fun!:)

Turns out, I have been running such long slow miles for so many months that I had forgotten I even COULD run faster.  If felt so amazing and so very FUN to just let go and run as fast as I could for a short period.  Of course, we took a few walking breaks in between since we were running so hard in the sprints…but it was FUN! I haven’t had FUN running in….well I actually don’t remember when.

My fastest mile was a 9:21…I CAN still run when I need to!  I felt like a kid again, just running for the pure joy and fun of feeling the pavement pound by and the wind in my hair.  It. Was. Glorious!

I have to truly thank Superhusband for running this morning.  If he hadn’t been with me, I would have likely turned for home when my calves cramped up.  I certainly wouldn’t have taken off in a blind sprint to race him to the next light…I would have missed reconnecting with the joy of running, and missed the fun:) ( I know…fun and running in the same sentence…who have I become???).

Anyway, here’s to the run that almost wasn’t.  To giving myself the grace to run 4 instead of 5 miles, and to have some fun out there for a change! Here’s to running partners who push you, and who know when to just take off and race you to the next light! Thanks baby!