Monday, October 31, 2011

If I can do it, so can you

MCM 2011
Yesterday I ran my fastest marathon by 28 minutes.

Time on the clock: 3:41:56.

I was 414th out of 8,530 female runners.  My name was even in the Washington Post this morning (they published the top 500 men and top 500 women).  This may sound silly, but when Robert showed it to me I jumped across the kitchen (sore legs and all), giddy with excitement, to see.  My kids cheered for me and it was a really happy moment for all of us.  I was beaming.  Still am.

I will save this forever.
I can't wait to tell you guys all about the race and I will post a full recap soon.  I gave it every bit I had in me.  To do the story justice and describe my feelings will be hard - almost as hard as the race itself - because it was just that incredible.  I will be on my marathon high for a long long time.

In case you're wondering, I did not qualify for Boston.  I missed it by less than 2 minutes.  I'm not upset.  I'm not disappointed.  I KNOW I did my very best yesterday and I also KNOW - without a sliver of a doubt - that I will get that BQ and then some. 

In the past 6 months I have PR'd in every race distance I have run - the 5k, 10k, 10 miler, half marathon and two significant marathon PRs (both in the last month and a half).  I have shaved a total of 54 minutes and 13 seconds off of my marathon PR.  I am not done.  My journey continues.

My first marathon was a 5:21:20.  My slowest marathon was a 5:34:26, almost 2 hours slower than yesterday.  That was before I had any of my three kids, when I was in my early and mid-twenties, almost 10 years ago.  Yesterday was the first time I have ever even broken the 4 hour barrier.  It was my 8th marathon.  Go look at my Race History if you haven't already.  I want you to look at it because I want you to understand that my journey as a marathoner has been just that: a journey.  And that is where I find my joy.

I hope that you read this and that it inspires you to BELIEVE in yourself.  That it inspires you to DREAM and to not give up on those dreams, not ever.  If I can do this, you can too.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

MCM Expo

It is freeeeezing and sleeting outside as I write this.  I'm feeling pretty thankful that today is NOT marathon race day and that the weather forecast for tomorrow looks nothing like this.  It is supposed to be cold tomorrow (a high in the upper 40s), but the sun will be shining apparently.  I really hope things thaw out before tomorrow's run.  After months of training in high heat and humidity, it should be interesting to run in such cold temperatures.

I went to the MCM expo yesterday with my sister Jodi, my dad and baby Gus.  My father is running the marathon too - he is visiting us from Maine and this will be his third marathon!

I am so so SO happy we went to the expo yesterday and not today.  The expo for MCM is at the DC Armory which is a good 35 minute drive from where I live.  I had to squeeze the trip in between dropping off and picking up my son Will from preschool so we didn't have much time to dawdle but it wasn't too crowded thankfully and we were able to get our race packets with no problems at all.  Once we took care of that business, it was time for a little expo fun.  There were three additional stops I wanted to make:

1) NUUN: I was so excited to meet Jocelyn in person (http://www.enthusiasticrunner.com) and although I am already really stocked up on my nuun I also bought a tube of the elusive Kona Cola.  I had never tried it before and I'm not sure it's my favorite but I wanted to buy a tube and see what my husband thinks.  He has become a bit of a nuunie, too these days.  Sometimes I have a hard time sharing with him.

2) BROOKS: Getting to meet Melody (http://www.willrunformargaritas.com) in real life was super fun.  I am amazed by how you can feel like you really know someone who you have never actually met in person.  I loved chatting with her and am so happy we don't live far from one another!

Can I just say here that I am super annoyed with myself for not taking pictures when I met these ladies?  Oh well - hopefully next time!!

3) SAUCONY:  I have been trying on and toying around with the idea of owning this beanie for over a week.  It's funny - Dorothy even posted about it yesterday after I had decided it was going to be mine.  It is seriously the cutest hat and soooo comfy and warm.  I have possibly the most sensitive skin on the planet and this hat doesn't itch me AT ALL.  I don't normally run in hats unless I am really really cold.  The forecast for tomorrow is my idea of frigid though and since I am not wearing much on my body I think it will be smart to keep my head warm.  I bought the hat in black and orange (since the race is the day before Halloween, I am going to be in the holiday spirit!).

As for the rest of my race day outfit, I have learned that I need to wear less than I think I do.  So the plan is running skirt, tank, arm sleeves, hat and sunglasses.  I have some throw-away gloves and a sweatshirt I will wear for the first couple of miles until I start warming up.  My husband will have warm clothes for me at the finish.

The rest of the expo was spent helping my sister Jodi find some new sunglasses.  She got a great pair that she looks awesome in.  The sales guy at the booth also thought baby Gus was very cute and gave him a free pair of blue sunglasses.  He rocked the look pretty much perfectly:

he is always making me smile

Jodi also has been having some issues with her ankle and has been wearing KT tape when she runs.  Yesterday the folks working that booth were offering to actually tape people up so she took advantage of that and is all set and ready to run tomorrow!

So .... that's it for the expo. I am running a marathon tomorrow!  I cannot wait!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Creative Kid Food - "Hot Dog-a-Pus"

Sometimes when 5:00 rolls around on a week night I have ZERO motivation, desire or creativity when it comes to making dinner for my family.  We get home from school after 4:00PM and everyone is a bit crabby and demanding.  It is not my favorite time of day.  Not even close.

My kids are always hungry right when we walk in the door, but since it is so close to dinner time I don't want them to fill up and then not eat a balanced dinner.  They are allowed to snack on as much fruit or veggies as they want though - I will never say no to that.  So they usually grab an apple or a banana or have some carrots or cucumber with hummus to tide them over until dinner.  If they are especially grouchy (which is honestly usually the case), I will put a television show on for them around 5:00 while I make dinner - so I can have some peace and quiet and actually THINK about what I'm going to cook if I haven't had a chance to do that already (which is also honestly usually the case). 

I'm going to be brutally honest here and tell you that cooking dinner for my kids stresses me out and I do not enjoy it.  With my son's food allergies (dairy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, garlic, mustard, sesame, shell fish) and my vegetarian/vegan diet we have some limitations around here.  I am a creature of habit and don't need fancy foods - steamed veggies and brown rice always make me happy - and my kids are pretty easy going when it comes to that, too.  We all love tofu with soy sauce.  Fresh green veggies and fruit are a staple.  Noodles are served a LOT around here.  Keeping it simple helps minimize the stress for me.

Sometimes though, I feel like one of those boring moms who never does anything fun for her kids in the kitchen.  Desserts don't count here - I am great at baking cookies, brownies and cakes - but let's face it those foods are fun just because they have sugar.  I'm talking about regular meals and ways to make them fun for kids.  My son's allergies prevent us from having those easy and fun go-to things like Mac n' Cheese or whatever.  So I have to be a little more creative.  

I was really excited when a babysitter shared the following idea with me.  It involves hot dogs so is definitely not a *healthy* dinner, but it is something you can make with and for your kids, it is EASY and it is FUN, so I was eager to try it out.  It was a BIG hit in my house, so I thought I would share here for you moms out there.  I wasn't sure what to call it and when I asked my kids what they thought, they insisted that we call them "Hot Dog-a-Puses" because when cooked these things look like octopuses.  I actually think they more resemble jellyfish, but we'll go with it.

How to make a Hot Dog-a-Pus Dinner:

1. Boil water for pasta
2. Cut hot dogs into thirds
3. Stick spaghetti noodles into hot dog pieces.  You can be creative with this - there is really no wrong way to do it as long as you just make sure the noodle is really stuck in there so it won't fall out while cooking!

4. Place noodle-stabbed hot dogs into the boiling water.  You will want to gently press them into the pot as the noodles soften, to make sure that they are completely immersed in the boiling hot water.

5. Boil for 10 minutes.

6. Drain them and serve.  My recommendation is to serve them with some colorful, nutritious foods that your kids will eat such as steamed broccoli and fresh strawberries.
7. Watch as your kids enjoy their meal - giggling and smiling instead of complaining and grumbling at you.

That's it!  Hopefully you will find that your kids enjoy this as much as mine do.  It is super easy and fun and will definitely turn a grumpy kid into a happy one at dinner time.

Now, I have to ask you to share!  What tricks do you have up your sleeve for easy, quick, healthy(ish) and fun/creative meals for your kids?

Hit me with Music?

 I LOVE music.  When a good song comes on the radio I cannot help but sing along and move my body to the beat.  Music makes me happy.  It cheers me up if I'm feeling BLAH.  It is there for me when I am sad - I can always find a song to relate to and somehow feel better from listening to it.  Music feeds my soul and I do not know what I would do without some good tunes.  I like ALL kinds of music - country, pop, ska, jazz, r&b, bluegrass, rap - ALL of it.  There really is not a style of music that I can't appreciate in some way.  My husband and kids are the same way.

We have a "dance party" in our kitchen every night after dinner.  Each of us gets to pick one song and then we rock out and groove around the kitchen like it's nobody's business.  The dinner/bed time hour is by far the most stressful time of day for me but that 20 minutes of dancing and singing around our kitchen laughing and being crazy is medicine for all of us.  It's a great way for us to expend that last bit of energy before settling down for the night.

My kids and I listen to Radio Disney and Kids Place Live when we are in the car every day.  I admit, I am a huge fan of Radio Disney and find myself listening to it when I am alone in the car just because I love the music most of the time.  Other than time alone in the car though I don't usually get to pick what music I get to listen to, so when I run with my ipod that is the one chance I get.  When I am on the treadmill, I almost ALWAYS listen to music.  It is a basic necessity for treadmill running in my opinion.  The only exception is when I am running on my home treadmill and Will is playing in the play room - then I keep it off so I can hear him easily.  I also listen to my music sometimes when I run long outside by myself.  I rarely race with headphones, but this training cycle I have raced with them a few times and I have been glad that I did.

I have had issues with headphones though.  Goodness knows how much money I have spent on trying to find a good pair that will stay in my ears!  This past spring, I splurged and bought myself a pair of Yurbuds.  They are awesome.  They have never - not once - fallen out of my ears even on the longest of runs.  The problem though is that the wiring has been faulty.  The first time the sound went out, I bought a second pair because the warranty had expired.  When the wiring went out on my second pair  after only wearing them a handful of times, I called the company.  The customer service at Yurbuds is AMAZING, people.  They believe in their product and want their customers to be happy!  It turns out that there was a bad batch of Yurbuds made and they were having a lot of troubles with the wiring. They have since improved the product and are looking to get a lifetime warranty for them.  They sent me a new pair the other day along with a performance tee and I am pleased as punch about it.

Will I run with music in my marathon on Sunday?  Not sure.  I brought it with me to Lehigh Valley Marathon and did not even turn my ipod on until Mile 20 when I started having my serious stomach issues.  I thought it would help distract me but instead it irritated me.  I really want to soak up every bit of MCM on Sunday.  I don't think I will need my music to help motivate me when the going gets tough since the race is so exciting and the spectators are so incredible.  I may decide to bring it with me just in case though, like I did at LVM.

What about you .... do you listen to music when you train?  When you race?  What head phones work best for you?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Will is FIVE

Today is a special day.  As special as they come.

Today I am celebrating the life of my sweet baby boy, Mr. Will.

The day he was born was full of magic and blessings.  My heart grew leaps and bounds that day and God showed me that LOVE is bigger and more beautiful than anything I could ever have imagined.  More wonderful than any dream I could conjure up in this little head of mine.

I remember looking at this baby boy of mine for the first time, tears streaming down my face.  His eyes: they were big and bright right away.  His cry was raspy and precious.  I was so in love.  I did not think I could love him any more than I did in that first moment, but every day since he was born I have been proven wrong on that measure. 

My love for him grows more and more each and every day. 

When Will is happy, I am so happy I feel like my heart will jump out of my chest.  When he is sad, my heart breaks for him.  My emotions are completely tethered to his.  I want my child to know how wonderful I think he is.  But putting my love for him into words is impossible.  Thank goodness he still lets me hug him.  I am more than blessed to be his mother, to share this life with him.

At five years old, Mr. Will is the most expressive, funny, sensitive, sweet, creative, intelligent, crazy, energetic, and caring boy I know. He is passionate and he is fiercely dedicated to the things and people he loves.  He is a clown and an entertainer.  He has some wickedly awesome talents, too.  Like that at age 4 he taught himself to whistle (he is good at it, let me tell you) and to snap his fingers.  Will also loves a dance party and will cut up the floor with some killer moves given the chance.  It is beyond fun to be around this guy of mine.

We have been celebrating his birthday since about 4:30 this morning, when he rushed into my room and woke me up.  I thought there was some sort of problem - a bed wetting or a nightmare.  But when I asked him if everything was okay his reply was "I'm FIVE!" and he jumped into bed with me for an hour of sleepy snuggles.

This past year in particular, my baby boy has grown up so much.  His legs are getting bonier and more muscular - he is losing that soft baby pudge and starting to look less like a baby, more like a boy.  I'm grateful that he is still cuddling with me and that he considers  our time together "special time." He would rather sit on the bathroom floor and chat with me while I shower than play with even his most favorite toys.  I am still his number one companion and believe me, that means a lot to me.  I know it won't always be that way.  I cherish this time so very much.

I'm enjoying watching him grow, getting to know the person he is becoming.  I'm so proud of him for who he is and feel incredibly lucky to be his mom.  I promise, I DO want him to grow and change and eventually move out and explore the world on his own...but I can already tell I am going to miss him when all of that happens.  I will miss him in a crazy-heartache kind of a way.  These past five years have just flown by - life is going by so quickly!! - and I have loved every single minute of them.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Will! 

I love you from the top of my head to the tips of my toes, with all of my heart and all of my soul.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

let it be

Let's press rewind on my life, back to the spring of 2010.  I had just become an RRCA certified running coach and realized there was so much I could to do improve my running.  Especially the way I trained for and raced the marathon.  I had run 6 marathons at that point, the fastest one in a time 4:35:09.  I was brimming with excitement and could not wait for summer to arrive so I could start training for my big huge enormous PR at Marine Corps Marathon 2010. I knew with complete certainty that I had not yet tapped my potential as a runner and was very excited to apply all my new knowledge to my running.

And then I found out I was pregnant.  An amazing blessing and a total surprise.  I knew I would run throughout my pregnancy, but I had NO intention of running a marathon while pregnant.  That is just not the way I roll.  So I deferred my registration to MCM 2011.  I ran and walked and moved my body as much as I could for the 41 weeks that I was pregnant.  All the while, thinking and dreaming about my comeback to running after baby was born, when the time was right.
me 40+ weeks pregnant, on the treadmill
My baby boy is now almost 9 months old.  It has been an amazing journey towards the start line of the marathon that I will run on Sunday.  When I first started to run postpartum, I was scared.  Parts of me hurt that I didn't realize could hurt.  I didn't know if it was "normal" to feel the way I was feeling - I had never tried to run so soon after having a baby.  A one mile run would cause my pelvis to ache, my tailbone to throb.  I had to run to the bathroom constantly, even during the shortest of runs.  But I made a plan and I respected my body and I made sure the hurt was not the "dangerous" kind of hurt and I got through it.  I forged ahead and kept my eyes on the prize.  I have had many ups and downs over the past several months.  The ups made the downs worth it though.  I have never had to fight so hard for my strength.  I am a firm believer that to experience the truest of joys in life, we have to know what it feels to struggle and to suffer.  We have to persevere and it will be worth it.

The thing is though, anything can happen on race day.  The past 7 marathons that I have run have taught me that.  I have been thinking about my goals for Sunday's race and I DO have them - I really believe I am capable of a sub 3:40 marathon, of qualifying for Boston and shaving another 25 or more minutes off of my current PR.  I truly honestly believe it and I want it to happen.  I am going to do my very best to make it happen on Sunday.  I will give it whatever it takes and fight to the finish.  Race smart, race strong.

But I want to enjoy the experience, no matter what the outcome is.  I have been dreaming about this race for far too long to let the time on the clock be the ultimate decider of whether or not I have a good day on Sunday.  There has to be a balance between striving and giving it all I've got, and also trusting and surrendering myself to what will be, will be.  I read an amazing post yesterday but Elizabeth Waterstraat.  Do you read her blog?  If not, you should.  She is awe-some.  Anyway Elizabeth is an Ironman and a mother.  What she said yesterday really struck a cord with me.  She talked about The Power of Stillness especially as it pertains to racing.  She says "The best races come from executing your plan, going on "autopilot." In other words, trusting your stuff."  On Sunday I am going to have to TRUST MY STUFF.  To know with all certainty that I am doing my part - that I am giving it my all - and then I have to let it go and just BE in the moment.  Not over think it, and perhaps not think at all even.

I know I've poured myself into this race for the past several months and that I want so badly for it to have a certain outcome.  But now, with a few days left between me and the Start Line, I am realizing that I need to surrender my control of that a bit.  To trust my stuff, to run my heart out and to let what will be, BE.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

long run reflections

Today I hit the trail for my last long run in preparation for MCM next Sunday.

I hardly ran all week long - 12 miles total over the course of 6 days.  Do you know how crazy that made me?  Completely.  Completely Crazy.  But, I believe in the taper and know my legs need the rest so I that will be ready on race day.  So that there will be no doubt that maybe I did too much leading up to the race. 

My legs felt fresh today.  I was ready to run.  My long run pace has been a comfortable 9:00 mile this training season, and I knew that even though I felt like running faster than that today it was not wise to do so.  The first mile was too fast - 8:34 - but I pulled myself together and slowed down.  This is a skill I am going to need to be sure to have in those first several miles of the marathon on Sunday.  I do not want to go out too fast and risk burning out or hitting the wall later on.  My goal is to run negative splits and finish faster than I started.  My goal is to feel strong and powerful towards the end of my race, not defeated.

Mile 1 - 8:34
Mile 2 - 8:59
Mile 3 - 9:00
Mile 4 - 9:00
Mile 5 - 8:52
Mile 6 - 8:38
Mile 7 - 8:54
Mile 8 - 9:15
Mile 9 - 9:08
Mile 10 - 8:55

The last two miles of today's run were to be run at race pace.  I didn't exactly do that - the first mile was right on target but the second was too fast.  That's okay with me though.  I'm happy with how it went.  I felt strong and in control.

Mile 11 - 8:14
Mile 12 - 7:46

I am ready for my marathon next week.  I have put in all the work.  I have been smart.  It is time to trust in my training, time to believe in myself.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

something magical

I just read Kristin Armstrong's blog post from today and I am compelled to share.  The last line of her post, in particular, is like poetry to me:

There is something magical about running; after a certain distance, it transcends the body.  Then a bit further, it transcends the mind.  A bit further yet, and what you have before you, laid bare, is the soul.
This is how I feel about running.  It is magical for me.  It strips me of all the unnecessary muck that clouds my vision, my perspective of myself and of the world around me.  It allows me to float, to be free of negativity and full of grace and gratitude.  No strings attached.  
This magic is not only why I run, but why I run marathons.  In my experience there is just something about that distance that sets it apart from shorter races (I really cannot wait to run an ultra some day, by the way).  When you are out there running for hours and hours, in order to overcome the pain you have to transcend beyond the physical and the mental.  It can be scary, going to your edges like that, but the beauty and magic is that when you do you come face to face with who you are and you find out that you are so much more than you ever dreamed possible. 
I am so excited for my marathon in 10 days!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10 days

In 10 days I will run my 8th marathon.

This week I have felt all the expected taper craziness.

My emotions are zippy -




There is an encouraging voice in my head through it all, though.  Reminding me that this insanity is "normal."  Assuring me that I am doing all the right stuff and that I will arrive at the Start Line ready to realize my dream.

I'm fully aware of the pain I am about to face.  I'm completely ready to step up to the challenge and make my dreams a reality.

I am preparing for battle.

Everything will be put on the line.  I will not give up.  I will fight to the finish.  I will pursue my dream with relentless passion and grit. 

10 days from now I will meet my hero, and it will be me.

Monday, October 17, 2011

long run reflections & some taper thoughts

This weekend my long run was *just* 16 miles.  The plan was to execute the first 10 miles of it at my long/slow pace of around a 9:00 mile and then run the final 6 miles at marathon race pace.

For the past month I've been doing my long runs on Sunday mornings because my Saturdays are packed with my kids' soccer and tee ball games.  This has meant running on my own because my training group meets on Saturday mornings.  This weekend though my husband and I had plans on Saturday night.  Plans that involved actually not being in our pajamas by 8:00pm - we were going to go have a grown up evening with good friends!  So with that in mind Robert and I decided he would hold down the fort and get everyone to/from their sports while I ran on Saturday morning.  That way we could be out late on Saturday night and I could even drink some wine without worrying about having to run Sunday morning. This was a good plan, until 10 minutes before we went out our daughter started complaining of a headache and then proceeded to get very sick. Date night derailed.  Such is our life with three young children!

So anyway, Saturday morning I was super excited to meet up with my running buddies and share some miles with them.  It was a beautiful crisp fall morning and the run was delightful.  I ran the first 10 miles with my friend Justin.  We haven't run much together this season so it was especially great to chat and catch up with him.  We executed those first 10 miles right on plan, staying somewhere around a 9:00 pace.

Mile 1: 9:14
Mile 2: 9:18
Mile 3: 9:02
Mile 4: 9:03
Mile 5: 9:09
Mile 6: 8:45
Mile 7: 9:04
Mile 8: 8:59
Mile 9: 8:50
Mile 10: 8:52

For the final 6 miles we wanted to run race pace.  I am still trying to figure this out for myself, but am thinking I am going to aim for around an 8:20 average pace for my marathon.  What!??!?  Wow, yes that is my plan.  With 2 weeks til race day I have to figure this out now, not in the last day or two before my race.

I felt really strong on Saturday and these last 6 miles were great, though not completely consistent.  I am happy with them though:

Mile 11: 8:02
Mile 12: 8:22
Mile 13: 8: 23
Mile 14: 8:02
Mile 15: 8: 08
Mile 16: 7:54

I capped my week off yesterday with a three mile recovery run during which I had stomach issues.  Total mileage for the week was 36.  This week I am planning to cut that even further and run closer to 20 miles ALL WEEK (including a 12 mile run over the weekend).

I have been thinking a lot about my taper, and am coming up with some goals for myself.  I will elaborate more, but these are my taper goals in a nutshell:
1) reduce mileage reduce mileage reduce mileage, as much as I may be itching to run I need to cut it back.
2) foam roll, stretch and use my "stick" every single night for at least 20 minutes
3) sleeeeeeep. as much as humanly possible given that I have a baby who does not really like to do this at night.
4) eat CLEAN. hello, stomach!?  Do not let my food choices sabotage my race day. The sweets can be a reward after I kick the marathon in the booty.  Enough said.
5) hydrate like it's nobody's business, every day for the next 2 weeks. nuun and water galore.
6) figure out my marathon goal and pace strategy. It has been floating in my head for months, and I am dreaming big but have been hesitant to really put it in writing.  I think it is time for me to buckle down and face these goals and really get myself excited to tackle them.

That's it for now.  Next post I plan to dig deeper into these taper thoughts and really commit myself mentally and emotionally to this phase of training.  It is almost Go Time!!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Nursing & Marathoning: What Works for Me

It is hard for me to believe that my sweet baby Gus is already just over 8 months old.

He is pure sweetness and joy and I am madly in love with this little man.  I cannot imagine my life without him in it. As his mother I aim to do all that I can do to keep him healthy, safe and happy.

When I became a mother for the first time in 2005 I read everything there was to read about having a baby and taking care of your baby.  What you are supposed to do and what you better be sure not to do.  It was exhausting, confusing and anxiety-producing!  There was so much advice out there and so much of it was conflicting - I was overwhelmed.  Thankfully I have two older sisters who became mothers before I did.  I remember both of them telling me not to worry - that I would have instincts and that I would be a good mother.  I just had to trust in myself and do my very best.  I would not leave my baby in the grocery store, allow her to fall down six flights of stairs or give her a bouncy ball to choke on.  And if any of these things DID occur, it would be okay.  It was all going to be okay!

I remember hoping that I would be able to be a nursing mom, but since I had never tried this before I told myself that I would do my very best and if it didn't work, so be it.  I didn't and don't see anything wrong with feeding your baby formula.  I just felt that if it was something my body would do and my baby would do, I wanted to do it.  When Abby was born it was hard to nurse her at first, but we found our way and she nursed for 10 months.  I was a full-time working mom and it was not easy to keep up my milk supply, but I did it.  I got pregnant with my son Will when Abby was just 8 months old.  Will never would take a bottle and I nursed him until he was 15 months old.  He had (and still has) a lot of dangerous/life threatening food allergies and I had to restrict my diet because he was nursing.  It was really really tough to wean him because he could not drink dairy or soy and he would not take a bottle.

When Abby and Will were young babies I did not run consistently.  I did a few 10 mile races but wasn't really trained for them at all.  Running was on the back burner in my life when my oldest kids were babies and I was ok with that, or at least I thought I was.  When Will was around 2 years old I fell into a deep depression.  In the span of about one month we moved into a new house in a new town, I had a miscarriage and I lost two friends very tragically (one passed away from breast cancer on September 12, the other died suddenly in a horrible accident on October 12).  It was a dark time for me and I was feeling lost and lonely and negative.

After about 6 months of feeling this way, I started to run again.  I began to train for a marathon for the first time in over 4 years.  The heaviness in my heart began to feel lighter.  I was healing, the fog was lifting.  I was emerging out of my darkness.  Running brought clarity, hope, light, creativity, peace, acceptance - all back into my life.  I was happy and I was aware that running had a lot to do with it.  I understood then that when running is really a consistent part of my life I am my happiest, strongest self.  I vowed to do my very best to keep running in my life in some way shape or form - no matter how hard it is to strike a balance sometimes.  It is never as hard as feeling so strangled and helpless as I do when I am deeply depressed.

So when I found out that I was pregnant with baby Gus (an unplanned and very huge surprise), I knew I would be committed to my running not only throughout my pregnancy but also once he was born.  I also knew that I would plan to breastfeed him as long as he was cool with that.  Thankfully the two of us figured it out pretty quickly and he loves to nurse.  Gus is now over 8 months old and I have been exclusively breastfeeding him since the day he was born.  I have also trained for and run several races, including a marathon, and I am getting ready to run another marathon in a little over 2 weeks from now.  I have been asked by several people how I am able to breastfeed while training and racing, so I thought I would share that here.

I do want to make sure that everyone knows that this is just what has worked for me and my baby.  The best piece of advice I feel qualified to give on this front is that you need to listen to your own body and to your own heart.  This is a very personal thing.  What works for me may not be the best thing for you, but I hope that you will find this helpful if you are a nursing mom or if you are pregnant and want to continue to run after you have your baby.

When it comes to being a marathoner while nursing my baby, there are several things that I have done that I think have made it a success for me: 

I have amazing family & friends:  From the very beginning, I had the love and support of my family, friends and running buddies.  If ever I have been unsure of myself I have turned to them throughout this whole journey.  My husband has believed in me from the start.  My running buddies have been patient with me and were happy to run on "my schedule" especially in the beginning when I was new to the routine.  I have a wonderful and amazing friend in Dorothy - she has been down this road before and has always been so happy and generous to share advice and support when it comes to any topic but especially when it comes to being a running, nursing momma.  (side note, you can also read a great post she did on being a nursing marathoner HERE).  I could not have accomplished all of this without the support and encouragement of my loved ones.

I have an electric breast pump:  I bought a very nice, gently used electric breast pump at our preschool's rummage sale when I was pregnant last year.  It was in mint condition and retailed at Target for close to $300 (I got it for $30).  I purchased all brand new tubing and accessories for it.  This pump has been sooooo helpful to me.  I don't think I would have been able to do all the running I have been doing without owning this pump.

My baby will take a bottle:  When baby Gus was a few weeks old I gave him a bottle for the first time.  I would use my pump about once a week and feed him the milk I pumped out instead of nursing him.  I wanted to be sure that he was comfortable with drinking from a bottle, not just so I could go out running but also to make sure he would take it if my husband and I were out on a date or if I just wasn't home when he needed to eat for any reason at all.  At first he was confused by it, but it didn't take long for him to get with the program and now he is completely comfortable with taking a bottle from me, his dad, his big sister or brother or whoever.  This is great because I do not ever worry when I am on a long run or at a race - I know my baby is being fed!  I know not all babies will accept a bottle - my son Will was one of those - so I am thankful that Gus has been on board with the idea from early on.

I store my milk:  Once Gus was sleeping more and on a more regular feeding schedule, I began to pump every evening around 9:00pm.  My body became used to producing about 4-5 ounces a milk every evening.  I store this milk in the freezer (it will keep for 3 months) and keep about 6 ounces in the fridge at all times (where it will stay fresh for one week).  This ensures that there is always milk for my baby in case he needs it when I'm not home.  In addition, now that he is eating solid foods I use this milk in making his foods - mixing it with fruit, veggies and cereals.  If you are storing your milk in the freezer, be sure to label it with the date and store the oldest milk closer towards the front so you use that first.

frozen milk - oldest stored at the front
I found a good sports bra:  I never really needed to worry about having a "good" sports bra in the past, because I just didn't have a lot to carry around up there.  While pregnant I doubled up on my Target bras and wore two of them at a time when I ran.  By the time Gus was born those bras were completely stretched out and my chest had also grown substantially, so I knew it was time for some serious "over the shoulder boulder holders" if I was going to be running a lot.  After lots of research and trying them on, I purchased the Moving Comfort Fiona bra.  I got the first one at my local running shop and then ordered three more from Amazon because I got a much better price (and free shipping) that way.  These four bras have been invaluable to me!  The adjustable straps are awesome.  I chafed a little on extra-long runs but Body Glide took care of that and I don't have problems with that anymore.

ahhh Fiona, how you have helped me
I stay hydrated:  As you know, it is extremely important to be well hydrated when training and racing.  When you are a nursing mother, it is even more important.  I know that my body is working hard to produce the main source of nutrition for my baby.  This requires me to eat and drink well.  When I am sweating for hours I have to be sure to replenish my fluids and to drink a lot before I run.  This summer I became addicted to nuun.  I happen to love the way it tastes and because of that I have been good about hydrating before, during and after my runs.  My milk supply has never suffered with all of the running I have been doing and I really believe this is because I have been so good about my hydration.

I set a plan, and then I am flexible:  When I first started running after Gus was born, I would feed him or I would pump right before I headed out the door.  In the first few months he was eating every two hours and I felt like my milk would come in almost immediately after I was done feeding him!  I ran a 10 mile race when he was 10 weeks old and it was logistically kind of hilarious.  I fed him before I left for the race, I pumped in the car before going to the start line, I pumped in the car after I crossed the finish line and then I fed him when I got home.  Crazy?  Maybe...but worth it.  Now he is eating more like every 4 hours so I have a lot more flexibility.  When I go out for long runs or big races I feed or pump before I leave and then I feed or pump when I get home.  It just depends on how the morning goes.  I set out a plan for my husband so he has an idea of when the baby will need to eat and then we just go with it.  No matter what there is always milk for him in the fridge/freezer so I can always feel relaxed about that.  Sometimes I will feel my milk come in when I'm out on a run, but it is not so uncomfortable now.  My body is in a rhythm now and it is all working out just fine.

I remember when I first started running - I felt like I was embarking into uncharted territory for myself.  Yes, I was a runner.  Yes, I had nursed my other babies.  I was confident I could do both of these things but wasn't so sure how it was going to pan out doing them both at the same time.  I took it one day at a time though and it worked out.  I had my moments (and still do, sometimes) of feeling overwhelmed and questioning my sanity, but when it comes down to it I would not have it any other way.  Running is an essential part of my life.  It helps me to be the best mother that I am capable of.  I do not want to make compromises in this area of my life if I don't have to.  So I figured out a way to make it work.  And it's working!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Army Ten Miler: Race Report

Yesterday I raced the Army Ten Miler for the fifth time (2000, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011). With three weeks until MCM, this race was perfectly timed before I head into my taper.  My plan was to use this race as an opportunity to practice logistics of race prep and getting downtown so that I can minimize any anxiety three weeks from now as I get ready for my next 26.2.  I was also confident that I could set a new PR in the 10 Miler.  On all accounts, I would consider this race a success for me.  Where I made mistakes, I learned from them.  Where I made good choices, my confidence was reinforced. 
ATM Finisher's Coin
 So here's how it went down...

Pre-Race Prep:  
  • Packet pick-up was handled on Friday so I didn't have to worry about it at all the day before the race.  I was planning to drive down there (and started to) but because of traffic it actually turned out that my sister Jodi and our buddy Chris picked it up for me.  Hassle/stress: avoided.
  • I was really busy on Saturday with the Pumpkin 5k and my son Will's tee ball game.  I tried to lay low and keep life simple that afternoon as best I could.  I made sure to hydrate a ton - always consuming water and nuun - and was plenty hydrated by bed time that night.  Hydration mission accomplished.
  • I ate simple foods on Saturday, though I really need to fine-tune this.  Because of our busy morning, we didn't have lunch until after 2pm and I ate a taco salad.  Bad idea.  Too much fiber the day before a race = overactive stomach the next morning.  Also eating lunch so late meant that I had no appetite at dinnertime.  My husband and I were both so exhausted and full that we actually wound up having cereal for dinner.  It was all I could fathom eating at the time and made me really hungry the next morning.  But I can't eat a lot before I run so I was hungry during the race.  Nutrition FAIL.  Before MCM I really need to have a plan and stick to it.  I am working on that now.  I know myself well enough and have raced enough that I should be able to make an eating plan and stick with it.  I'm annoyed at myself for messing this up - thankfully it was "just" a 10 miler and I didn't have any major disasters as a result of my poor choices.
Getting to the Race:
It's true, I have raced plenty of times downtown and know how to get there, etc. but I have other things to consider this time around (like nursing my baby beforehand, in particular).  In addition, Metro is doing tons of construction out by where I live and that meant that some stations were closed early Sunday morning.  My sister and my running buddies and I had to come up with a solid game plan so that we didn't feel any stress or worry about getting to the race on time.

Metro opened at 6:00AM and since we had to drive further east due to Metro issues, we left at 5:30AM.  This was smooth sailing for us - we got to the Metro just before it opened and met our other two running buddies there with ample time.  We hopped on the train and made it to Rosslyn where we had to switch lines.
on the train, tired but pumped!
Once we got on the second train we realized something was not working right with Metro.  Maybe they couldn't handle all the people flooding the city so early in the morning?  Our train literally stopped and did not move for a while because of another train was stopped on the track.  We were all getting a little concerned because we still had to check our bags, use the porta-potties and get to our corrals and it was already 7:00AM by then.  When we finally rolled into the Pentagon station and got off the train the crowds were ridiculous.  There were just SO many people jammed together.  A lot of them were stinky, by the way.  Yes - stinky BEFORE the race, eeew.

Anyway, despite the stench and all the delays we made it to the race on time - checked our bags, headed to the porta-potties and then dashed over to the race start.  Phew!

This race start is organized in three "waves" based on pace.  I was in the second wave, but should have been in the first since my predicted finish time changed, but because I didn't pick up my own packet and it was so crowded at the expo I decided to just stay in my designated wave and deal with passing people.

You may be thinking that would be fun - to be passing people for miles and miles - but I promise you it gets old REALLY quickly and is frustrating. I spent the entire race weaving around people and almost running into people who decided to STOP dead in their tracks...it was aggravating!  And it didn't stop - from start to finish that is how I had to run this race.  I ran the first 7 miles with my buddy Justin who had his Garmin (I didn't have mine because it broke last week and the replacement hasn't arrived yet).  According to his watch we were averaging a 7:30 pace but we were adding on mileage because of all the weaving we had to do.   I ran ahead of Justin after Mile 7 and picked up my pace as best I could with all the traffic.  I was happy with my finish time - 1:18:52 - it was a 10 minute PR for me (!) and a sub-8:00 pace.  BUT I also felt frustrated because I knew I was running faster than that and if it was less crowded I would have had a better finish time.  But this is not a course for PRs - you can't let all the people frustrate you - so I finished feeling strong, happy with my new PR and resolved to find another 10 mile race to run in the winter/spring!

Official Stats:

Time: 1:18:52
Pace: 7:53
Overall: 3,102 / 21,914
Gender: 512 / 9,645
Division: 77 / 1,752

My buddies and I planned to meet back at Gear Check after the race.  This was waaay more confusing than it needed to be.  To get back there you had two choices - cross over Rte 110 (a pretty major road) or take a completely unmarked shuttle bus.  I found the bus (by getting lucky and asking for help) but my sister and buddies all walked.  It was poorly a organized post-race situation, in my opinion.  But thankfully we found one another and got back on the Metro just fine.

happy with our PRs, happy to be together again!
All of us set new PRs in the 10 miler, even with the crazy crowds!  I think we all feel the same way about the race though: that it was fun, but really not worth all the hassle we had to go through.  It was a lot of claustrophobia!  I am a people person, but that was just TOO MANY people!  Too many people to be crammed on a Metro with, too many people to wait in line for porta-potties with, too many people to race with ... I would rather spend my race-running dollars on other races.  At least for now.

Today I feel just fine.  My legs are happy and I don't feel like I'm recovering from a race.  I'm not complaining though - I have a new 10 miler PR and I'm running a marathon in 3 weeks!  I learned a lot yesterday and had so much fun with my sister and my friends. 

I cannot wait for MCM.  Bring on the taper!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

a GREAT day

It all started with the Anthem Great Pumpkin 5k in Reston.  A perfect crisp fall morning - blue skies and sunshine.  This was an amazing race on all accounts - and I am saying this not from the perspective of one who ran it (because I didn't) but from someone who witnessed firsthand all of the behind the scenes teamwork and coordination that goes into making a race like this a success.  I witnessed the smiles, excitement and pride of so many runners (of ALL ages!) who loved every minute of their race.  It brought me such great joy to be a part of it and I am so thankful for the experience.

Today was not about me, or my running.  Yet I felt just as much happiness and joy at this race as I do when I run a PR.  Today was about celebrating the sport of running and the community that makes it possible.  It was about encouraging and supporting my children and my good friends who ran their own races.  It was about being there for a good friend who was in no small way responsible for making this race the success that it was.  I could not have asked for a better morning.

Some of the highlights of my morning....

I got to spend time with my dear friend, Dorothy.  When we are together there is a giddiness and an understanding that can only be felt in the presence of a true friend.

I got to spend time with my sister, who I love with all my heart.  There is never enough that can be said about my sister and how wonderful I think she is. How grateful I am to have her in my life.

me and my amazing sister
My dear friend and neighbor, Karen, ran her fastest 5k today and I was there with her before the race to give her pre-race hugs and after her race to hear all about it and tell her how proud (SOOO proud!) I was of her.
do you see the joy!?  wonderful friend!!
My good friend and running buddy Paul was at the race too!  He has been out of town for the past 4+ months and it as been waaaay too long since we've caught up or gotten to run together.  He ran a strong race today.  It meant so much to me that we got to hang out a bit and I cannot wait to run the trails with him and Jodi again soon.
me, Jodi and Paul: reunited!

Perhaps the biggest highlight of the race though was sharing the experience with my children.  Abby was determined to run on her own and to do her very best.  She did not want me or her dad to run with her.  As I cheered for her I felt my heart swell with pride and gratitude.  She was having fun.  She was doing her very best.  She was believing in herself.

determined Abby
Will wanted us to be "partners" for his race, but did not want me to hold his hand.  He just wanted me to be near by.  He was practically bouncing rather than running, he was so excited.  I was laughing the whole way because we were just having so much fun.

showing off his muscles
The family fun did not stop with the running.  My kids would have stayed there all day - we decorated pumpkins, got balloon animals and even rode on carnival rides before heading home. 

decorating pumpkins with friends
It was more fun than I think any of us realized we were in for when we started the day today.  I am certain that this event will become an annual tradition for my family.  As we were getting ready for bed tonight everyone (my husband and me included) was commenting about how we had such an awesome day and how ready for bed we felt.  It seems I have yet another reason to be thankful for the sport of running and the ways it enriches my life.

Now it's time to turn in because tomorrow I will be up at 4:30am to get myself ready for another race - the Army Ten Miler!  This time I will be toeing the line, and I am excited for another GREAT day!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Five Things

It's been a busy week - busy in a good way, but busy.  I have been wanting to write every day but just haven't been able to move this to the top of my priority list.  I'm finding myself with a little extra unplanned free time right now and rather than taking the nap I desperately need, I want to share (and vent a little) on this sunny Friday afternoon:

1) The reason I have extra time is that I am **supposed** to be at the Army Ten Miler expo getting my race packet for this weekend's race.  I fed the baby lunch and put him in the car, picked up my sister Jodi and then we were on our way to get another friend (Chris) at his office so we could bring him along.  FAIL.  Traffic was a complete nightmare.  By the time we got to his office we had already been in the car for an hour and given that we still had another 40+ minutes of driving before even arriving at the expo and I have to get my kids from school at 3:15 we made the executive decision that Jodi and Chris would get my packet for me.  I am totally fine with that.  The baby fell asleep in the car on my way home and I was successfully able to transfer him to his crib (HUGE score!).  It all worked out.

2) The first thing I did with this new-found free time is call Garmin.  Why?  Well...a couple of months ago my Forerunner 110 went berserk and stopped working normally.  I spoke with Garmin then - they gave me a software update and sent me a new charge clip - and my watch was better.  Yesterday on my 7 mile run I noticed condensation on the interior of the watch's face.  Not good!  But it worked despite that and was fine for the run.  Today on my 8 miler it happened again only this time the watch was acting all kooky again telling me I was running a 46 minute pace...whaaaaatt?  Annoyed.  So I called Garmin and explained and they are sending me a new watch.  I'm still annoyed though.  They are having me return this broken one and are charging me a "deposit" of $120 until they receive my broken watch.  This means that the $120 will be on my credit card for "most likely one or two billing cycles" because "it takes time" to process the credit.  I AM MAD.  I feel like I should call back and give them a hard time and maybe get some slack, but I am not usually one to ruffle feathers.  I have a lump in my throat thinking about it - I don't like feeling like this!

3) On a happier note, 21 of my miles this week have been run while pushing my two boys in the double stroller!  Those are some good workouts.  And - I have a new double stroller mile PR!  I pushed myself for the last mile of my 7 mile run with them yesterday and my new record is 7:27.  Happy!!

4) This weekend is all about running!  Tonight I am volunteering at packet pick up for the Anthem Great Pumpkin 5k and tomorrow I will be helping out on the course.  My children are also running in the kids race and we are all really excited about that.  Abby is determined to win it!  Her confidence and independence are so adorable.  She has been "training" on the playground and eating her veggies all week in preparation for race day.  Sunday I'm running the Army Ten Miler and I'm really excited to set a new PR.  I'm aiming for sub 1:20 and hope to shave off a good 10 minutes from my existing PR of 1:28:43.  I know I can crush that old PR and am pretty excited to do just that.  It would be nice to have my watch for the race, but I am not going to let that annoyance get in my way!

5) The baby is waking up - my free time has expired!  Maybe I can get him to snuggle and fall back asleep with me so I can get that nap afterall...

Happy weekend, everyone!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

long run reflections

It was cold.  It was cloudy.  It was raining.  It was long.  It was hard.

I suffered.  I fought.  I hurt.  I held on.  I let go.  I conquered.  I believed.


Total Miles: 22
Total Time: 3:18:39
Average Pace: 9:02/mile

Miles 1-7: 8:31, 8:53, 9:03, 9:00, 9:10, 8:53, 9:12
When I woke up this morning after a horrible night with two of my three kids up from 3:30-5:00AM, my husband was amazing and let me go back to sleep for another hour.  I knew this would mean I would begin my run later than originally planned but because of rain and cold temps ("felt like" 38 degrees according to the weather man) I wasn't worried about beating the heat.  And since I was on my own and didn't have any running buddies to meet up with (they all ran yesterday with our training group), I had even more flexibility.  Sleep was important and one more hour makes a big difference.

So I hit the trail around 8:00AM and It. Was. Cold.  And wet.  But I had to get it done.

I have run two 18 milers and one 20 miler this training season and all three of those runs have been at just about a 9:00/mile average pace, so that was my goal again for today.  The first mile was too fast, but I was cold and just wanted to get moving.  These first seven miles were okay for me - I found myself occasionally a little overwhelmed thinking about how FAR I had to go, so I decided I would run 7 miles west, turn back for another 7 to my starting point (where I left more water and refilled my hand held) and then go east for 4 miles and turn back home for the last 4.  This worked well for me both logistically and mentally because I could just focus on the chunk of miles I was currently working on, not the big picture.  I stopped at mile 5 to eat my first gel and sipped my water the whole way.

These first 7 miles were very cold and very wet and pretty lonely - there were not a lot of people on the trail today.

Miles 8-14: 8:57, 9:04, 9:00, 8:46, 8:53, 9:08, 9:37
After turning around I was still really cold and wet and the wind started picking up.  I was running right into it and it was just making me colder.  I tried not to think about it though and powered through.  I ate another gel at mile 10 and continued to drink my water.  I was wearing capri pants and a long sleeve shirt today and was kinda wishing I had worn shorts or a running skirt instead.  My pants were so wet that they felt really icky.  I don't think my legs would have been any colder in shorts or a skirt.

Just as I was starting to feel pretty cranky, I looked up at the sky and was so happy to see a rainbow painted across the gray clouds ahead of me.  It was so beautiful, and such a peaceful reminder.  A gift.  It was symbolic to me of how all this suffering is worth something - that whenever I have gone through hard times in my life God is watching over me and taking care of me.  I began to think about times in my life that were particulary hard for me and I felt so comforted in that moment.  I did not feel alone.

These were some of the most difficult miles of the run for me today - the wind was really hammering right into me, pushing on me, slowing me, chilling me - yet mentally there were not so bad, because of that rainbow.

Miles 15-18: 9:27, 9:04, 9:15, 9:22
This was tough.  I stopped at the end of Mile 14 to fill up my water bottle and my legs felt tight, cold and a little crampy.  I hate stopping for too long, but my hand held was empty and I still had 8 more miles to run so I really needed to fill it up.  Once I started moving again, I was feeling pretty DONE with the wind, but it just kept pounding at me.  My rainbow was gone.  If I thought about having to run 8 more miles I felt UNmotivated, but when I thought of it as just needing to do 4 miles until I could turn around, this was much better.  I ate another gel at mile 15 and pushed on through the wind.

Miles 19-22: 8:55, 9:05, 9:14, 8:02
After finishing mile 18 I actually said out loud to myself "Time to go home, Jess."  I was ready to get there!  Only 4 more miles to go.  I tried to eat a couple of Power Gel blasts here but they tasted really sugary and chewing was an unpleasant experience - everything in my body felt tight, including my jaw.  I don't think I really *needed* these but brought them with me just in case.  For the marathon I plan to eat a 4th gel at mile 20 to get me through the final miles of the race, but that wasn't necessary for today.  Mile 21 was hard for me - I was starting to feel like I was dragging, but I wanted so badly to finish this run feeling strong.  Music was playing in my iPod and just as I began the last mile of this run, Eminem "'Til I Collapse" came on.  It could not have been a more perfect song for me at the moment:

'Cause sometimes you feel tired,
feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
and just pull that sh** out of you and get that motivation to not give up
and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.

Um yea, need I say more?  Eminem, thank you.  My last mile was my fastest in 8:02 and I finished feeling strong.  I seriously love that song, even with the crazy bad language.

When I got home I stopped at the front door and stretched a little but I was so cold I just wanted to go inside.  I walked in and immediately my son Will grabbed onto my legs and told me he wanted me to make him a paper airplane!  No rest for Mamma!?!  Honestly, coming home from a run like that is so crazy.  I stretched a little and got on the foam roller for a few minutes but my house was complete chaos.  Robert - the amazing incredible husband that he is - started a cold bath for me (while holding the baby!) and my whole entire family crammed into our tiny bathroom so I could take an ice bath.  I had never done this before but have wanted to try and though my house was a zoo, it was the perfect day for it.
i am in a tub of ice water!
I put on my fleece jacket and got in the cold water.  Robert dumped the ice in and it was cccccccold!  Abby read me a book and Will sat on the edge of the tub and told me knock-knock jokes.  My family was so cute and so supportive.  I read that you should do something to distract you while in an ice bath and trust me - I had LOTS of distractions!  It made my ten minutes in frigid water go by quickly.

being read to by my 6 year old = happiness
As my bath was coming to an end the amazing husband went over to our other bathroom and got a hot shower started for me, so as soon as I was done in the frozen tub I walked down the hall and immediately stepped into HEAVEN, also known as steamy hot blissful shower.  No worries, my entourage followed me and the reading and jokes continued as I showered.

After that, my amazing husband went to Chipotle and me a delicious black bean burrito, my favorite post long run recovery meal.  Protein is important after a run like that and since I don't eat meat, this is a great choice for me.  Yummmm...

The rest of the day was spent in compression socks and cozy clothes snuggling (2 hour nap with the baby!) and playing with my family.

I'm heading to bed now and just feeling so thankful.  It is not easy to run 22 miles.  It was SO HARD.  But I did it.  If I had run another 4.2 miles today it would have been a sub-4 hour marathon for me, which would be another PR by over 10 minutes.  I know I can do this at MCM!  I believe it right down to the core of me.  And I have an incredible posse at home who is cheering for me and supporting me and loving me, my crazy running and all.  I feel like the luckiest person on the planet.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

inspire one, inspire many

I've been thinking a lot lately about the different blogs I read and how I am so inspired by all of you in many different ways, each and every day.  To name a just a few (because the list goes on and on and on):

Dorothy has given me the courage to believe in myself and try new things.  Yesterday I ran a new personal distance record with the double stroller: 8 miles.  I'm not so sure I would have even tried that if it were not for her.  She has also inspired me to go after my goal of a BQ and to never give up until it is done (and once it is done, to set my sights on a new goal).  I am going to do it.

Earlier this week I read XLMIC's post about "don't tell me I can't" and thoughts of this have been tickling my brain all week.  If someone tells me I can't do something, you better believe I WILL.

I read G's post about believing in yourself on Wednesday and was reminded once again that if I don't believe in myself, I have no chance of accomplishing my dreams.

Erin is a constant source of inspiration to me.  This mom of 12 (!!) has set back-to-back marathon PRs (also BQs) in the past month and is getting ready to do it again in NYC this fall.  Amazing. 

Amanda is always inspiring me to get in touch with my creative energy and to look at things from a new perspective.  To let my light shine from the inside out. 

Tonia is inspiring me to be CONFIDENT - to fill my cup with "awesomesauce" and strut my stuff.  Especially for my children and in particular my 6 year old daughter.

I am so thankful for this community of runners who blog.  You all inspire me so much.  You inspire me to test my limits.  To see what I am made of.  To believe in myself.  And you inspire me to want to inspire others.  To pay it forward, so to speak.

It's like the trickle-down effect.  I'm inspired by you, so I go out there and do my thing.  Then the magic happens.  Within me but also all around me.  Because then people in my world - people who read my blog, who see me in the carpool line full of sweat and smiles, who pass me on the trail pushing my two boys, people who come to my Pilates classes, my friends ... these people may be inspired by me.  Because of what I'm doing, and because of you.  Because YOU inspire ME.

So think about that.  Put it out there and do your thing.  Stand up for what you believe in and show others that it can (and will) be done.

Inspire ONE, and you will inspire MANY. 

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