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Posts tagged ‘marathon’

Meb Monday

For anyone who lives in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Roxboro, Wilmington, Southern Pines, or any other part of North Carolina, area, please note that Monday is Meb Monday. Meb Keflezighi, winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon, will be at Runologie, to promote the 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon & Half Marathon as well as to lead a fun run through the city. And I’m pretty sure it’s the biggest thing to happen to our running community since… well I don’t know when.

The event is scheduled to start at 6:00 pm but it’s probably a good idea to get to Runologie as soon as you can. For parking, you can park along the street after 5:00 pm or there is also the Powerhouse Parking Deck, located at 513 W Jones Street, in case you can’t find a spot. Meb is scheduled to give a talk around 6:00 pm and then he will start the group run. There will be several different pace groups, ranging from 8:00 min/mile to 12:00 min/mile and there will be two leaders with each group. After the run, there will be pizza from Trophy Brewing Company (which in case you didn’t know, was voted best pizza in NC) and beer from State of Beer. And of course, the store will be open for you to purchase all of your awesome Runologie gear. What better want to start the week?

This really is a huge event for both Raleigh and the running community. Meb is such an awesome person and we are so fortunate to have him coming to our store. If you live anywhere within driving distance of Raleigh, you really don’t want to miss this. I mean how often can you say that you’ve ran with the winner of the Boston Marathon?

Hope to see you on Monday!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

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My Obsession

This morning I came back from my workout and was informed that I had an obsession with running. Now I know that I love running, but when put in terms of “obsession”, it sounds like it’s a bad thing. Obsession can be defined as the “domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.” Ok, yes I admit, I think about running a lot and now that I’m working at Runologie, I talk a lot about running too. But I don’t know if I would say I’m obsessed with running by the dictionary definition. I do think about other things. For example, the food I’m going to eat after a run, the clothes I’ll need to keep me warm during a cold run, and even the schools around the Raleigh area (with tracks open to the public). So obsessed? Ok, maybe.

The more I got to thinking about it, the more I began to realize that even if I am obsessed with running, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As human beings, don’t we all have our quirks? Work, money, clothes, tv shows, books, cooking, shopping, fast cars, music, video games, etc. We all have these things that preoccupy a lot of our thoughts, and more than likely, you don’t view your “thing” as a bad thing. It’s just what you love to do. However, some people may call it an obsession. But really, who are we to judge?

I love running. It makes my heart happy. It is not the only thing my life is about, but it is a big part of my life. Yes, it has caused me more physical pain than probably anything else ever has, but I call that an obstacle, not an end. Did the chef with tongue cancer give up cooking? No. Instead, he opened up one of the top restaurants in the world, Alinea. It’s probably fair to say that he’s obsessed with cooking. And that’s ok. Did Meb Keflezighi let a hip fracture put an end to his running career? No. He cross trained like crazy and then came back to win the 2009 New York City Marathon. And the obvious one… Did Steve Jobs let getting fired from his own company stop him? Nope. He came back to change the technology world as we know it today.

I think it’s fair to say that all of these individuals had an obsession with their respective careers, which isn’t a bad thing. And although I may not be changing lives or the world with my running, that doesn’t make my obsession bad. It’s just what I love to do. So if anybody ever says you’re crazy for running a marathon, or waking up at 5:00 am to get in a quick run, or perhaps running through a pregnancy, it’s okay. Everybody has their thing, and yours just happens to be running. Enjoy it!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

Meb is Coming to Runologie!!!

The running world is full of inspiring, motivational, and loving people. Runners have such a positive vibe and we are all moved by one another. However, there is one runner in particular who holds a special place in all of our hearts and that runner is Meb Keflezighi. Winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon and 2009 New York Marathon, 4th place finisher at the 2012 Olympics, and silver medalist in the 2004 Olympics… Meb is not only a phenomenal runner but he is also an incredible human being. And guess what!?!?!? He’s coming to Runologie!!!

On January 26th, Meb Keflezighi will be in Raleigh, NC to promote the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh marathon. We, Runologie, are the fortunate people who get to have Meb at our store, leading a group run through downtown. When I first heard this may be a possibility, it was almost impossible to contain my excitement. If you’ve ever watched Meb at any race or in any interview, you would know that he is not only one really fast runner, but he is also one of the most gracious, humble, and kindest individuals out there.  And if you saw him win the 2014 Boston Marathon, you may have shed a tear or two as he embraced his wife right after crossing the finish line in a personal best time of 2:08:37. (I did, at least.)

For me, Meb is not only an incredible runner, but he is also a personal inspiration. Back in 2008, Meb suffered from a fractured hip and it was doubtful that he would ever run again. He could barely walk, let alone run, and there were times he couldn’t even roll over in bed. Just18 months later, he came back to win the New York City Marathon, and that is an incredible feat for a runner with a fractured hip.

There were times after my hip surgery, when I questioned whether or not I would ever be able to run again. When you’ve got screws and a rod holding your hip together, it’s hard to even think about getting back out on the road. Then there were those first runs, when it was painful, slow, and almost impossible. Once or twice I even considered giving up running altogether. But then there was Meb. A runner who had suffered a similar injury. A runner who despite the odds, came back to exceed everyone’s expectations. And a runner who won the same race that lead to my most devastating injury. For me, Meb offered motivation when I needed it most. I’m just an average runner trying  to do my running thing. Meb is an Olympian who had way bigger hurdles to cross. There were times during those first few runs when I really struggled, but then I summoned my inner Meb and kept going. And now, in just two weeks, I get to meet him!!

If you’re in the Raleigh area, come out and join us for the group run. Meb will be here on January 26th at 6:00pm and after the run, we will have pizza and beer from Trophy. Check out the Facebook event page here and RSVP if you’ll be joining us. It’s going to be a GREAT time!!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

Eight Months from Now… Boston, 2015

Bravery is a word being repeated over and over again, and very loudly, in my head as of lately. These past few months have left me feeling stuck, uncertain, and at an uncomfortable place in my life. As I stood at the Eminem concert Saturday night, attempting to rap the lyrics, I became overwhelmed with a profound understanding as to just why I loved him so much as an artist, a a rapper, and as a person. There are few people in this world who have been through all that he has and come out on the better side of it. There are few people in this world who have demonstrated the grit, the determination, and courage that he has throughout his life and for those reasons, I have respect for what he represents as a human being. I want to represent those qualities.

The following night after the concert I had two very vivid dreams. One involving a flood and the other involving snakes, in that order. After a quick google search of the meanings of these dreams it seems that a flood can represent an overwhelming issue while snakes can represent a healing process. As I watched Eminem perform on Saturday that’s exactly how I felt. Overwhelmed with the past few months and done with feeling sorry for myself. There is nothing better than an Eminem song to make you realize it’s time to pick your ass up and move on. That’s how I felt then and I feel even stronger about it now.

September 12 is the day I can register for Boston. I’ve beat my qualifying time by 9 minutes and I know that my third chance awaits me. I met with my very aggressive, heavy handed, painful (but in a good way) sports massage therapist today and we discussed the possibility of running Boston. He says go for it, provided I have a plan and a coach to keep me in check. (Left to my own training plan, I might give myself a second hip fracture. I’m that hard headed.) I want to do it. I want to do it so badly it has become a constant thought in the back of my head. I know people think I shouldn’t do it and considering what has happened over these last few months, it doesn’t really make sense for me to do it. But do things always have to make sense? I think about all the times someone must have told Eminem he was crazy or out of his league, and he just kept on doing his thing. Following his path and his dream. I want to be that person too.

Tomorrow marks 8 months from the next Patriot’s Day. I have three weeks to decide if I’m going to sign up but I can already tell you my heart says yes. I want to do this. I want this to be my comeback story. Of course I realize that it may not be and that I may never make it to that start line, but I’ll be damned if I don’t give it a shot. I have to be brave enough to follow my dreams, my heart, and my path, wherever that may take me. I have to have the grit, determination, and courage to give it all that I have, because it’s going to take exactly that. And I’m ready for it.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

 

Thank You to my Awesome Support Team

Today has been somewhat of a whirlwind of emotions kind of day. It started off pretty crappy and has ended completely the opposite. I have a newfound appreciation of signs from the Universe and my soul feels happy.

I tripped last Thursday and my hip/leg were not very pleased with me. It hurt to walk, I was limping pretty bad, and even swimming hurt. I almost left the gym in tears this morning. It was depressing and I didn’t know what to do. In my world, I had just taken one giant leap backwards. Like 1 1/2 months of recovery thrown out the window. Visions of a second surgery kept entering into my mind and I was so sad. I came home and wrote about how I was crazy, how I couldn’t let my body heal properly because I was too obsessed with exercise, how I was letting this self-created identity of a runner take over my life, and how I was too hard on myself. When I went to hit publish, I was informed that my domain had expired. That post was never published and I actually don’t think it ever will be. Thank you Universe.

As I drove to physical therapy this afternoon I couldn’t resist the urge to listen to my favorite Eminem songs. Partly because I’m going to see him in concert this weekend and partly because his music makes me feel pretty bad ass. I only need to hear “Lose Yourself” one time and I think I can take on the world. Follow that with “I’m Not Afraid” and I’m pretty sure I’m the one in control of my destiny. That was exactly what I needed in that moment.

Before I continue to the next part of my afternoon, allow me to set the stage…. I had physical therapy at 1:30 followed by a doctor’s appointment at 3:30. After my unfortunate incident on Thursday, I wanted to see my doctor so I could be reassured I didn’t rebreak my bone. Now, I mentioned in a previous post that I wanted to take a picture with my doc, for blogging purposes of course, but he’s kind of like McDreamy and I was too embarrassed. Fast forward two weeks later and here I am again, Opportunity #2 awaited me…

Physical therapy was a new experience for me today. Shawn decided to try dry needling and I was willing to do whatever to help my pain. Did I mention needles are the one thing I can’t stand? After four very uncomfortable needles stuck into my muscles, I allowed myself to breathe again and then to stand up. Sore, yes. Still in pain, somewhat. But oddly enough, it didn’t feel nearly as bad as it did when I walked into that office. Perhaps that is why I tripped last Thursday. So I could discover the wonders of dry needling. Why have we not been doing this more?

Before I left for my doctor’s appointment, I wanted to get a picture with Shawn. He’s been so helpful during these past few months and in addition, it gave me practice for asking my doc at my upcoming appointment. (How old am I, seriously?)

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At my doctor’s appointment, everything came out fine. My x-rays looked great, I still had great range of motion, and there was no damage to my hip. Dr. Solic, told me I was fine and in the back of my head, all I can think is I have to ask for this picture. What’s the worst that can happen? He says no? And if so, so what? Well he was more than happy to take the picture and my ego remained in tact. And now I get to share it with you…

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And all of this has made me realize that perhaps that is the point of not publishing my previous post. Perhaps it was so I could say thank you to the two people who have helped me through these past three months. To say thank you to the doctor who put me back together and thank you to the PT who has shown me my body is so out of whack and so out of balance. If you had told me a year ago I would be where I am today, with a fractured hip and a titanium rod, I would have never believed you. But a lot has happened since my surgery on April 30th and I’m grateful for the two people who have helped me along the way.

It reminds me of a quote I read this morning… “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” I’ll get there eventually. I know I will.

Now I wonder if insurance will cover for them to come cheer me on at my next marathon…. 😉

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

 

PS: That dry needling worked wonders and I feel 100% better. For any runner suffering from sort sort of muscle issue, it’s totally worth looking into.

The Thing I Miss the Most (and it’s not Running)

Overall, I’ve been in a pretty positive disposition over this whole titanium rod with two screws in the hip thing. It is what it is. However, last night I started thinking about the thing I really miss the most since my surgery and the thing I want to do more than anything, but can’t. Nope, it’s not running. It actually doesn’t even have anything to do with working out. Shocking, I know. It’s actually quite simple. The thing I want to do so badly but can’t is…. bend my leg.

I want to sit on the floor, cross my legs, do pigeon pose, tie my own shoes, cross my left leg over my right leg, or anything else that involves bending my leg. But I can’t. My hip rotates about 10 degrees out and 10 degrees in. Far from what I’m use to. I’ve always thought of myself as having pretty flexible hips. I could easily do pigeon pose, sit however I wanted, and bend and rotate in whatever direction I pleased. You know that quad stretch that runners always do where they grab their ankles?  Yea, I can’t even do that. My days of doing dancer pose are just a memory and the thought of doing it once again is in the very, very far future. It makes me so sad.

The days of sitting like this again are in the far, far future

The days of sitting like this again are in the far, far future

This morning, as I was getting ready for my first strength training workout since Boston, I sat and looked at my left shoe contemplating how I was going to put it on. After five minutes of trying many awkward (and somewhat painful) positions to get the shoe on, I gave up. I finally asked Mario for help. I never realized how much hip flexibility mattered. Every night when I sleep, I have to sleep flat on my back with my feet elevated on a pillow. Before, I liked to curl up to fall asleep. Sadly, that’s not happening anytime soon. With a range of motion of about 10 degrees, I basically have to keep my legs straight at all times. I wake up at least once a night trying to get comfortable and it’s quite frustrating. Then I spend about 30 minutes every morning doing my physical therapy exercises, and the effort to get from point A to point B is always taxing. Just a month ago, I was doing handstands, backbends, stretching, getting up and down on the floor without requiring any type of assistance, and now I can’t do any of those things. Yes, I realize the past is the past and that doesn’t really matter now. But when I think about what I was able to do 30 short days ago and what I can’t do now, it bums me out.

Yesterday I wrote about the awesomeness of the human body. I know my body will adapt and it will change. It just needs time. I know I will have to work pretty damn hard to get to the point of where I once was. Even then, I don’t know if I’ll have the flexibility I once possessed. My problem is patience. I have never been a patient soul and I want to see big results now. In my head I keep thinking If I can just go to yoga, this process will move along a lot more quickly.  But I know I must wait. It hasn’t even been two weeks and my body is still healing. I just miss bending my leg and tying my own shoes. Is that wrong? I don’t think I’ll ever take my flexibility for granted ever again, because right night, I sure do miss it.

 

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

(PS: On a more positive note, I got to drive for the first time in over three weeks today. It was so liberating!)

Boston Marathon Recap

Today marks my fourth full day on crutches and I think it’s time I took a minute to write about what happened Monday. My spirits are a little higher today and the pain is less and less every day. Plus my birthday is one week from today so there really isn’t much to complain about. 🙂

Monday morning started out as any other race morning. I woke up, ate, stretched, got dressed and headed out to Boston Commons. As usual, I was 30 minutes early and had to wait before boarding the bus. I made a few new friends, talked race tactics, and made a few trips to the porta potty. When I finally boarded the bus, I started to get excited. Not nervous, but excited. Excited to finally run. I had taken the past two days off and my legs were a little antsy. Plus, I was excited to finally have my moment at the Boston Marathon. It was a beautiful day.

At Athlete’s Village, I loaded up on more food and did the one thing you’re never suppose to do on race day. I ate something new, a PowerBar. Fortunately, it didn’t bother my stomach at all and I felt that my energy stores were ready for the 26.2 mile run. While hanging out in the village, I met Stephanie, a mom of four running her first Boston. She was pretty awesome and kept me company for the hours we were sitting around. Then around 9:50 we headed to the start line and my excitement grew. Again, not nervous. Just excited.

When I finally crossed the start line, I was so happy to be out there. I was cheering with the spectators, high fiving people, and taking it all in. The day of my redemption run had finally arrived. As I ran along, a few thoughts cross my mind. My 7:30 pace felt great, there are a gazillion people running in front of and behind me, and who the heck thought it was such a great idea to start a race at 10:00 in the morning? (Seriously though, late morning marathons aren’t that fun.) At first, everything was going well. Then after I passed the 10K, I could feel my hip start to ache and my pace start to slow. It’s okay, I thought. I’ll just have fun out here. It is Boston, after all. Then at mile 11 I started walking and never ran again.

Mentally, I was prepared to walk 15.2 miles. It would be a long day but I would finally have that medal. I kept telling myself Ralph Waldo Emerson use to take 20 mile walks. I can certainly walk 15.2. Along the way, I met Liz. She was also unable to run so we kept each other company. It was nice to have someone to chat with, however, the more we kept walking, the worse the pain got. In fact, the pain was so bad, it made me nauseous to my stomach.  At mile 17 I saw Mario with my amazing friends Emily and Tyler. Emily ran out to give me a hug and I immediately started crying and telling her how bad the pain was. Mario gave me a hug along with some words of encouragement and my cell phone (smart move). Then I was on my way again. As the pain got worse and worse, I told Liz to go ahead. At mile 18, I sat down to stretch and haven’t been able to walk since.

Thankfully I had my phone and was able to call Mario. He ran to where I was, carried me across the street (I physically could not walk), and got me to a medical tent. From there, I went to the hospital in an ambulance, along with another injured runner, Jenn. This was her 3rd DNF for Boston in a row so we felt each other’s pain. After a few hours in the hospital, a diagnosed hip fracture and a new pair of crutches, I was finally able to leave. Hooray!

How the day went...

How the day went…

When I think back on Boston, I am not disappointed in myself for not finishing. I gave that race everything I had, and I physically could not have done more. I’m actually proud of my effort. However, I am disappointed that I got myself into this condition. The road to recovery will be long but I’m doing what I can to make it a little shorter. From raw eggs in my green smoothies to more supplements than in a GNC store, I’m taking in as many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients as possible. Last night I was actually able to sleep through the entire night, which is a big improvement. It gets a little better every day.

Lately, I’ve found myself asking why do I want to run Boston so badly? Is it because I want to do something that I never thought possible? Or is it because I want to be a part of the few who are Boston Marathon finishers. (I’m great at starting. Just not finishing.) If a medal, a shirt, and a fancy jacket are all that I’m after, then something is wrong with that. Those three things and the fact that I can say I finished the race, will never change who I am as a human being. They won’t make me more or less of a runner and they won’t make me more or less of a person. I know I can run. And I know I’m a decent runner. I’ve already qualified for 2015 and I may or may not decide to go back next year. If I do, great. If not, that’s great too. The end result of that race will never change who I am on the inside.

Maybe that’s the reason all of this happened to me. So I could finally realize that… 🙂

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

PS: I want to send a huge THANK YOU to all of my friends and family. Never before have I felt so much love and support than I did on Monday. From phone calls, emails and text messages, I feel like the luckiest person around. And most importantly, THANK YOU to Mario. He has done so much for me these last few days, and without him, I’d probably be face down on the sidewalk somewhere unable to get up. How did I get so lucky? 🙂

 

3 Year Anniversary dinner, just two days after Boston

3 Year Anniversary dinner, just two days after Boston

 

Get well flowers from mom and day

Get well flowers from Mom and Dad

Because I love running THIS much…

I’ve been feeling a lot of love for running lately. It’s weird. A few days ago, I was writing something for my business that caused me to reflect on my 12 years of running and it actually brought a tear or two to my eye. (I can be a little sentimental.) I started thinking about where I started, what I’ve experienced, how far I’ve come, and how now, I am at the best “running place” I have ever been. 30 days of consecutive running, no injuries, big gains, and feeling great. Maybe I am finally achieving that consistency I have always strived for.

There are people who, when you tell them you are a runner, ask don’t your knees hurt? Isn’t running boring? Don’t you want to have a family? Isn’t that bad for your health in the long term? 

Well let me just say this…

This morning it started to snow during my run. Last week 10 deer, only 15 feet away, stared at me so I ran past them. I’ve run the streets of Las Vegas at night. I’ve run by the Rocky stairs at night. I’ve seen the sun rise. I’ve seen the sun set. I’ve coached 15 girls to run their first 5K, and I’ve puked during the Boston Marathon. I’ve been chased by a dog (not that fun) and I’ve run in torrential downpours. Once I ran a race through the woods a day after a mini monsoon. I’ve run to the Golden Gate Bridge and I’ve run to the Eiffel Tower. When I was 21, I thought it was completely safe to run the streets of Mexico City alone. Then at the age of 24, I ran the streets of Madrid alone. Two weeks after my wedding, I ran through Switzerland with a broken collarbone. This past April I saw the most beautiful sights while running through the Willamette Valley. Three weeks ago I finished a run with icicles in my hair and no feeling in thumbs. Last week I ran to the wine shop in shorts because they told me if I did, I would get a free glass of wine. I’ve had great races and I’ve had horrible races. Twice, I’ve won a race (for the females) and several times I’ve placed in the top three. (Actually, the only trophy I own is from running and I plan to always keep it.) Two of my toes, I’m fairly certain, will never have toenails again, and I chafe horribly during the summer. Some days I feel great and some days I feel like crap. Heck, some days I want to stay in bed. But if I stay in bed or choose the couch over the outdoors, how many amazing things might I miss?

So no, running isn’t boring, And yes, sometimes it hurts. But it makes me feel alive. Running makes me believe in myself as a human being, and it shows me that I am stronger than I ever thought. Yes, some days I don’t want to do it and then there are other days when I want to run forever. It’s incredible how one thing can do so much for a person.

Buddhism teaches us that all things are impermanent. Perhaps one dayI will not have running and I understand that. But until that day comes, I will take advantage of every opportunity I have to experience everything running has to offer. For me, it’s so much more than a form of exercise. It has been my one constant for the past 12 years and I am thankful for every moment of it.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

 

PS: Like the Monday love I’m sending to you? 😉

“Fake it Until you Become It”

My dear friend Lesley forwarded along an awesome video to me this morning… Amy Cuddy’s Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are. It’s a talk about the mind body connection and just how powerful our bodies are in creating our reality. But perhaps  my favorite take away from the video is Cuddy’s last comment, fake it until you become it.

You see, 2014 is a year of change. I’ve quit my job to follow a dream, I’m dedicating myself to running a really fast marathon (I’m keeping my goal time to myself for now), and honestly, it’s all a little scary. There are a lot of scary things in the unknown and some days are a little more terrifying than others. But that’s okay with me. I’m experiencing life one day at a time and loving every moment.

But with regards to my running (and all of this cold weather), I found Cuddy’s quote to be quite fitting. It’s been really cold here in NC. In fact, my run Saturday morning ended with ice in my hair. Yes, I am serious. Then yesterday, I was suppose to do 5 sets of split 1000s at the track. And that was after 8 miles and a D1 Boot Camp the night before. Now split 1000s actually don’t look that hard on paper: 200, 300, and 500m w/ 100 meter recovery jog and 2 minute rest between sets. That’s only 2 1/2 laps with recovery time. Easy, right? Yeah, no. Running that fast is precisely why I don’t like 5Ks and would much rather run 26.2 miles any day. It just hurts.

As I’m preparing myself mentally in the car for the 20 degree weather, I had a lot of conversations with myself. One in particular, where I pointed out just how cold it was and just how tired my legs were from the workouts yesterday. Maybe I did need a rest day? Then there was my other conversation… Nobody ever ran a X:XX marathon skipping out on speed workouts. In fact, you are a bad ass runner who runs with ice in her hair. You are tough and you belong out on that track. Out on the track I went, leaving my iPod behind, because I knew I was going to need several more pep talks along the way. One hour  later and with no feeling in my thumbs, I was done. I did belong out there.

Now I know that I am no Kelcey Carlson or Kimberlie Meeker (my two favorite local runners), but you better believe I’m going to act like I am. Then maybe, just maybe, I’ll run what I know I’m capable of running.

 

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Check out the snow (and super dedicated runner) in Raleigh…

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My Slowest Marathon Ever (and Why I’m Thankful)

 

This past weekend I ran my second marathon in 5 weeks, and it was by far my worst performance ever. I decided to run the Las Vegas marathon with my neighbor to help raise money for MMRF, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Yes, I know it’s not really the best idea to run two marathons that close together. However, I was pretty confident in my body and I wasn’t too concerned. 26.2 long miles later, I had a completely different attitude.

Going into this race, I had already told myself to just have fun. After all, it was the Las Vegas marathon. But something happens to me mentally when I put on my running shoes and start playing my new favorite Eminem song. I go from oh I’m going to take it easy to Yes, I am bad ass, I run fast, and I am ready for my new PR. Well the funny thing about the marathon is anything can happen. 

Due to the fact that the race didn’t start until 4:30 pm Sunday night, I spent all day preparing mentally. I practically refused to leave the room because I didn’t want to inhale any of that gross, smokey Las Vegas air. Instead, I reread some parts from A Life Without Limits, the poem If by Rudyard Kipling, and watched the movie trailer from A Peaceful Warrior a few times. Mentally, I was just where I needed to be to take on the distance.

Once I got to the start line, I was excited. The music was loud, the weather was perfect, and the energy was contagious. I ran up and down a side road a few times, did a few strides, and took my place in corral 3. I wasn’t nervous (which is not the norm for me), I felt at peace, and I was ready. Once they released corral 3, I set off in my normal, comfortable marathon pace. 7:45, 7:33, 7:28… and I was feeling great, for about 2 more miles. Something happened around mile 5 that made me start questioning how I was going to run 21 more miles. The right side of my abdomen really started tensing up and with every step I took, came more and more pain. Oh shit, I thought to myself. This could get really bad.

Somewhere around mile 7 or 8 the half marathon split off from the full marathon. Leading up to that point I seriously considered taking the half route instead of the full. Once I saw the split, I knew I had to make a quick decision. The very first thing that came to mind was Boston, 2012. I remembered the feelings of defeat I had after I dropped out of the race. The disappointment. The embarrassment. The thought of working so hard for something only to give up when things got difficult. It was in that moment that I decided to continue on for what I knew would be 19 extremely long miles. Well, what turned out to be my slowest marathon ever, also turned out to be most rewarding marathon ever. I am so thankful for my decision to continue.

As I began to fall apart, I thought slowing down my pace a bit would solve my abdominal pain. That kind of worked for half a mile or so but then the pain became too much. I couldn’t keep running and I had to walk. At first I was beyond frustrated. My legs felt fine. I had the energy. But the pain was too much. I just wanted to hurry up and be done with the dang race and call it a night. But with less than half the distance covered, I knew I couldn’t continue thinking about the finish line that was more than 13 miles away. I then started to search my mind for some positive words to carry me through, one slow mile at a time. Then I remembered the following quote from Chrissie Wellington’s book and it was in that moment that my feeling of defeat became one of relief:

You will remain the same person before, during and after the race, so the result, however important, will not define you. The journey is what matters.

A race, no matter how long or how fast, does not define who I am as a person. My value as a human being does not come from a number on a clock or my division place. My actions define who I am and I wasn’t going to let the remainder of that race get the best of me. I would continue on.

Once I had this realization, my experience with the marathon completely changed. Normally I run a race completely focused, not paying attention to anything going on around me. In fact, I couldn’t tell you much about the Chicago course other than what the finish line looked like. Ask me about the Las Vegas marathon and I could tell you pretty much anything you want to know past mile 13. I cheered with the spectators, I made friends along the way, I encouraged people who looked to be in much worse pain that I was, and I was more than happy to walk by and high five the crowd. During one of my lonely times when I was jogging/walking alone, I very clearly remember a little boy looking at me and saying you are amazing for doing this! I went right back to him and said you are amazing for being out here, and then gave him a high five. He was so excited. That made me happy.

It also made me happy to meet new runner friends. I never run with anyone. I never make any friends during a race and I never think to carry on a conversation with anyone when I’m running. I’m a lone runner but Sunday night changed that. As I saw other people struggling like me, I tried to cheer them along. Some people looked at me like I was a little crazy, but others were thankful for the support. Perhaps misery really does love company. I know I sure was thankful to have some company as I struggled along.

Once I saw the finish line, I did my best to keep running until I crossed it. Oh how I wanted to be done. As soon as I made it past the finish line, I went to find Mario as quickly as possible. (The one great thing about running a slow marathon is my legs felt great when I finished.) I was easily able to speed walk past everyone to get to Mario, who probably thought I had passed out somewhere along the way since it took so long for me to finish. It was such a relief to see him.

If you had asked me last week what my finish time would be in Vegas, I would have never said more than 4 hours. With a time of 4:23:31, a 10:04 pace, I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world. I was able to truly enjoy the marathon and other than my right side still killing me (I think I pulled a muscle), I feel completely fine. I survived. We can’t always expect to have our best race and that’s okay with me.

Another quote comes to mind when I think about Sunday night’s race:

As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same, as we are liberated from our own fear. –Coach Carter

I’m not afraid of “failing” at the marathon anymore. I survived. I’m still me. And I am thankful for my experience.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Just happy to be running

Just happy to be running

Yes, that is an 18 liter bottle of wine, thanks to our fabulous neighbor, Geoff Glass

Yes, that is an 18 liter bottle of wine, thanks to our fabulous neighbor, Geoff Glass

 

Celebrating with Susan and Anthony

Celebrating with Susan and Anthony

Celebrating with our neighbors and kudos to Daryl, who ran his first half marathon!

Celebrating with our neighbors and kudos to Daryl, who ran his first half marathon!

And a special shout out to Geoff, the leader of Team Patheon and the guy who helped us to raise nearly $93,000 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation!

Kudos to Geoff for leading the effort to raise nearly $93,000!

Awesome job Geoff!