Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Back to Basics

For the last week my blog has sat empty, hiding her face in shame. I just can not rectify quitting the full marathon with myself. At night I toss and turn, unable to see myself finishing a half in my mind's eye, instead I remember the split off point at Long Beach last year where the full marathon runners wearily continued on while us half marathon runners sprinted to our easy finishes. Back then I thought those big-calved people in nike running shorts downing clif shot bloks were absolutely insane, and by the time many of them finished I was at Boston's slamming potato skins and beer. This year is different, I am different, and I have to run the full marathon.

The naysayers started in on me several months ago, and the doubt manifested itself in my sub-conscious, rearing it's ugly head in the depths of my longest runs. Never before had I stumbled to a halt mid-mile with trail left before me, but it seemed like every training run I did I took on the weight of a marathon and forgot to focus on the mileage at hand. How did I allow myself to look away from the horizon? Usually I know what to tell myself to keep running past the breaking point, but my voice was drowned out by my pulse beating ever harder in my head as my mileage climbed higher. No music, no complex issues in my life I need to work out, no time to find a challenging new trail, and a pile of laundry awaiting me at home just made every run feel lethargic... slow motion... even boring. I longed for the last mile as I started the first, and forgot to enjoy everything that happened in the middle.

As I have rested my knee and focused on shorter runs over the last 2 weeks I have realized how much I missed running, and why I set out on this journey to begin with. I can't just give up, I have come too far and worked too hard, I expect more from myself then being a quitter. Come race day I will cross that damn finish line at 26.2 miles. I may have to run and walk intermittently... but my yellow CTF jersey and I will finish!

(and if I ever try to quit again you people have to slap some sense into me!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Live to Run Another Day

In our family we have a tradition, on your birthday you are the big bad boss. Everyone has to do what you want, and you don't have to lift a finger... for the entire weekend. Last night in a moment of sudden genius I turned to Paul and informed him that for my birthday he would be running a few miles with me. He begrudgingly obliged.

This morning after dropping the kids off, we laced up our running shoes and took off at a steady pace. I felt my pre-birthday wine sloshing in my belly, and the heat beating down my shoulders... but with Paul alongside me I was content. We covered just 2 miles, a perfect first run for Paul, and as we walked back to our place my knee started to swell. As we contorted into yoga positions I kept glancing at my knee, unrecognizable from just an hour earlier.

26 miles is incredibly far, and I will finish a marathon. There is just no way I can run that distance 3 weeks from now. My body is not ready. I have no choice but to drop down to the half marathon, and continue to train for the full marathon at my next race in Las Vegas.

As I type this I want to delete it, I want to put my shoes back on and run 20 miles right this second, proving that I am not a quitter. Everyone who runs a marathon has doubts, but I have to be realistic and recognize the difference between doubts and an injury. If I attempt the full marathon chances are I wont make it the entire way without seriously damaging my knee. I want to live to run another day. I am not quitting, simply granting myself an extension.

I sincerely hope I am not letting any of my supporters down! I will still run the half marathon, and then be prepared to cheer on all those full marathon NF Endurance Team warriors as they cross that finish line. I'll never give up...

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Knee Plan

This week I went for 2 slow runs, only 4 miles each, and each time around mile 3 my knee started to click. By the end of my run yesterday my knee had swollen again, and I knew if I wanted any chance at running the full marathon in 3 weeks I had to do something! I called Dr. J, he is my sports chiropracter and treats me pro-bono because he is absolutely awesome. I hadn't seen him in a while, life had been in the way, but he welcomed me with a warm smile and explained exactly what was going wrong with my knee... When you lay your legs flat with your feet flexed your knees should point straight up. Unfortunately mine point slightly in, some people's point out, everyone is different. As my feet strike the ground my knees bend slightly in, causing friction and tension to build along my outer knee, which is where I have the pain. Dr. J made chiropractic adjustments to my legs to train the muscle to move correctly. I can't exactly explain what he does, but when he starts working I can feel the difference. After making several adjustments he taped up my knee with K tape and sent me home with instructions to run with the tape on and take it off after 2 days.

I'm going to keep taking short runs when I can throughout the week, and rest in between. Next weekend I will try to run my last long training run and finally knock that 20 miles back! 20 miles sounds nothing less than daunting right now, but I know I can do it!

Monday, September 14, 2009

10 Signs You're a Fabulous Running Mommy!

1. You wear a fanny pack and insist on calling it a "Hydration Belt."

2. Even on a beautiful day you are stuck running on the treadmill.

3. You own biker shorts you've had since the 80's.

4. You absolutely love the race expos and spend time there... shopping.

5. Your fastest mile is 8mn on the treadmill and you are insanely proud of it! (as you should be!)

6. You tried following a marathon training schedule, but the long runs were longer than your preschooler's schoolday.

7. You "accidentally" leave the timing chip tag on your running shoes for a week after the race and sport it at the gym.

8. You want to scream at the young girls on the race course... "It's a sports BRA it goes under your shirt!"

9. You call your girlfriends when your Runner's World arrives, and let your subscription to Marie Claire run out.

10. When you get back from a run you... start laundry, do the dishes, feed the kids, make the beds, clean the bathrooms, have a shake, take a shower (with the baby), go to Target, go to a birthday party, stop by Trader Joes, come home, start dinner and have a big ass glass of wine!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I will...

I'm sitting at a bus stop approximately 14 miles from my house. I have dirt smeared across my calves and salt extracting from my pores, but that doesn't bother me. All I can focus on is my knee, which is swollen and throbbing. At 10 miles into a planned 20 mile run with Jen and Holly my entire body felt good, but my knee digressed. What started as a dull ache became a sharp stab of pain with each step until, finally, I admitted defeat and stumbled to a stop. I told the girls to stick to the pirates code, they protested but I assured them I would survive. As they continued on without me, braided ponytails swinging neatly from side to side, I plopped onto this cement bus bench. I attempted to extend my knee and sucked my breath in sharply, waiting for the pain to subside, before calling Paul to come pick me up.

I wouldn't watch 3/4 of a movie, or return a book to the library after only reading half. Nobody likes a quitter, and as I hobbled over to climb into the car I looked longingly at the unfinished trail stretching toward home. I know I need to rest my knee, ice it, and slowly build my mileage back up. If I had limped through the rest of today's run, I would have no doubt sustained an actual injury and been completely unable to run the full marathon in Long Beach. Along with the nagging pain comes the self-doubt. How will I run 26.2 miles? It is so much further than I first estimated. My mind battles within, slinging comebacks at every complaint. Only .1% of the population finishes a marathon in their lifetime, and I am so close, there is no way I can stop now. I will finish the marathon... I will sell all of the tickets to the benefit I am throwing... I will pass my classes and transfer to a university... I will reach each and every goal I have set, and when I reach them, I will continue to set more.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

5 weeks to 26.2!

As most of you know I was born with Neurofibromatosis type 2, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow throughout my brain and spine. I've had numerous surgeries and radiation, and lost 3 family members to the disease, including my Mom. My son JT has NF2 as well, and is my hero! At age 6 he is already visually impaired, but he never let's it stop him! He is obsessed with breakdancing and Michael Jackson, and uses sign language to help me wherever we are at.

Last year I joined the NF Endurance Team to raise funds for NF research and fight back! The NFET raises awareness and research dollars that enable treatments and a cure for neurofibromatosis.This year I am serving as Team Captain at the Long Beach Marathon, and am trying my hardest to bring as many people affected by NF together as possible for a day of running and celebration!

The Long Beach Marathon is now just 5 weeks away, and I will be completing my first 26.2 mile full marathon! If you have read my blog you know I have been struggling with the heavy weekly mileage during training, and have had doubts. I was thinking this morning that training for this marathon is so much like having NF2! It is a constant uphill battle, and I need to be prepared not just physically, but mentally. When I prepare for a surgery I go through a very similar process, working out to increase my muscle strength, and controlling my emotions in the face of an impending struggle. With at least 5 serious surgeries in my past, I know I am capable of running this marathon! After all, it's better than brain surgery!

So as I continue to train, and push forward, I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to donate on my donation page or volunteered to help us out on race day! In a time when all of us are being more careful with every dollar, it means so much to me to still see people donating to such a serious cause. CTF is making great strides in the fight against NF, funding research programs and clinical trials as well as promoting awareness! I am proud to be a part of such an amazing charity!

My fundraising goal for this year is $5000, and as of now I have raised $1,830! So right now I want to ask each of you to consider making a donation and helping me get closer to that goal! Every dollar counts, and I greatly appreciate any size donation. Donating is simple, just CLICK HERE! If you are unable to donate online and would rather write a check, please email me and I will get you set up right away.
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