In the spirit of timeliness

I’m about to break allllll the content and communications rules here but at the same time, its totally within my brand to be late on posts and absent for a period of time, right? RIGHT. That being said, the week of Thanksgiving, I decided to do daily Instagram posts on why I’m thankful for running. My intentions were to take those posts and elaborate them into a blog at the end of the week, but then I was stuck in a turkey coma for quite some time. Yeah, we’ll just say that. So with that being said… here are said reasons:

  1. The obvious; the before. Before I chose a healthy lifestyle, I lead a heavy one. Both in weight and within my head. Thoughts like “Oh, I’ll never get that job because I’m too fat,” or “I’ll never fall in love because I’m a size 22” would conquer my head. I tried to appear as though I were a confident, plus size woman who embraced every pound but realistically I was dying to have a better body and dying to feel good. Up until I graduated college, I ate everything I wanted to – everything from a pint of Ben & Jerry’s one to two times a week, fried foods daily, spaghetti to meet my budget and more all-you-can-eat sushi than any of my male friends. Now, I haven’t given up some of these things completely but over time I learned the beauty and satisfaction of moderation completely.
  2. The strive; the challenge. Running opened the door to so many other doors. It was the main gate to my Buckingham Palace. From 100 burpee challenges, to push-ups on my toes, to obstacle courses, tire pushes and even sharing my journey to complete strangers. I became a better, STRONGER person because of running.
  3. The companionship; the commitment: One of the things that pushed me to go further in my running was the bonding time it created for my dog. Full of energy when we first saved each other, but with no backyard of our own – we’d set out on two, then three, then six mile jaunts together. He kept (and still keeps) me going all for the sake of his well-being. Though his age prevents him from going as far and as often as we used to, few things make me happier than seeing the happy exhaustion on his face when we run together.
  4. The others; the inspiration. I’ve always wanted to inspire but never did I think it’d be through what I’ve done with my life rather than through words of encouragement. The biggest hug to my heart, though, is hearing that my journey has inspired my dad’s – who has spent the better part of the last two years working on his fitness and eating habits to live a longer life for his wife, children, grandchildren, dogs and granddogs. I am thankful to have made the decision to share the journey with him, the rest of my family and my friends so that we may live in longevity.

I’m sure I could come up with at least ten more reasons, but those were ones I found important enough to share on the ‘Gram.

My passion has slowly returned over the latter half of this year – with medals earned and miles logged, I feel I’ve finally shaken the marathon funk from 18 months ago. So what better thing to do than to run another?!

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?!!!!!

Yep. I’ve been thinking a lot about doing another marathon the last month or so and have kept it as my little secret that I am searching for the right one in 2018. Last week, I was selected as a contributor to the 2018 #RockNBlog team via the Run Rock n Roll Series. I certainly took that as a sign to get my feet back in high gear. I’ve spent the last few days researching and budgeting and looking for couches to crash – and I believe I’ve settled on the San Diego Marathon on June 3. Training starts Monday and without any further adieu: here we go again.

What’s Next?

After two weekends of 10Ks, I told myself I’d keep going. Long runs on the weekends, strength training through the week. While I’m still grumbling at my 5 a.m. gym alarm, I’m still facing issues with my hip which have left me unable to run, and some days, unable to even bend over. I know it will get better in a short time (like tomorrow after a panic call to my chiropractor) but I fear I’m going back down the damn rabbit hole for the tenth time over.

I’m also sitting here with that recurring stomach pain I’ve often written about. Since cutting my beloved tomatoes and apples out of my diet, the pain has been fewer and farther in between, but still here. Still a literal thorn in my side. It didn’t stop me from the gym this morning, but will it let me reach my 10,000 step goal? My ass in my work chair for the last three hours says no, but my OCD says “FIGHT THE PAIN!”

So, maybe I just need to commit to something. You know… make a plan. Normal people do that kind of thing, I suppose. Pick a half marathon (or maybe a full??) and get to the pavement. I have been pondering another full more and more. I am not sure a half would be as satisfying to me anymore (though the 10 miler did the trick just fine). Some days, I feel weird calling myself a “marathoner” or “marathon runner” when I’ve only done one.  I’m in the runner’s abyss, lost in translation.

What’s the best Race you’ve ever participated in?

 

Here we go! #MotivationMonday

I simply can’t fathom that Race Week is here. Every workout, every short jaunt and long sprint, every chafe, every Nuun tab and all the carbs all lead up to this. Aside from the whole nutrition and extra rest yada yada that will come this week, my goal is to wrap up my final thoughts into this blog because until now, this week was nothing but a dream. A so far away dream that is now here and I’ve already pinched myself a thousand times since waking up this morning.

#MotivationMonday comes in the form of thanking everyone who inspired me and carried me throughout this journey. I can’t even when it comes to listing you all, but to Scott for the sushi dates before long runs and being patient when I had to give up a big part of our weekends, to Marysa for always checking in on me and cheering me on from the PNW, to Ann for your coaching and companionship, to Randy for bragging about me to everyone at work, to Mark for engaging with all my posts and always sending encouraging texts, to my family for forgiving me when I had to train, to Evven at Evoke for helping me reach new feats in strength training, to Pawko (yes, my dog) for helping me stretch and finish out many of my last miles, to New Found Glory for your upbeat and fantastic music that I could blare through my headphones to find my happy place at mile 13, to wheat toast, bananas, peanut butter, ibuprofen, Honey Badger, GU, potatoes and water for the energy boosts, to Frankie for the honk-and-waves and tweets, to Allie, Elizabeth, Margarita, Nancy, Kristen,  Brandy, Mary, Bridget, Kris, Ray and Lara for liking every single one of my social posts (yes, I noticed!), and to my body for toughing out through injury, soreness, laziness, lethargy and whatever other obstacle came my way these last six months – thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

In all seriousness, I really wish I could list every single person and thing that has helped me out along the way and please know that if you even so much as acknowledged that I was running a marathon, you were a part of this with me. You motivate me because I don’t want to let you down!

F@$% Running

I had the absolute worst run on Monday. EVERYTHING went wrong and it sure was a lesson against procrastinating. I ran out of time (and motivation) to do my 8-miler this weekend so I thought heck, it’s only eight miles – surely I can do it after work. Wrong. From the beginning, my calf cramped for two miles while my running pack kept falling off for four. I didn’t have any Advil left, my water was leaking all over my hip, I didn’t think I’d need an energy gel but alas when I wanted one, there wasn’t one. My knee cramped. My hip cramped. I got a new phone over the weekend that wouldn’t connect to my headphones for a good ten minutes and even worse, I have none of my music on there yet. Last but not least, I could only find it in me to walk/run seven miles.

I’m NINE days away from my marathon. NINE, PEOPLE. I know everyone has their moments, but really? This close to the race?

I’ve been trying to put it behind me since it happened, but I can’t seem to shake it as it terrifies me that all those things will happen come race day.

Race ready, blog not-so-steady

Hey you! Remember me? I’m the girl who wanted to blog about her marathon training and have alas made it this far, only to fail. But I guess its better to fail at the writing than the running.

There are fifteen days until my first marathon. I’m already starting to feel a post-race depression kick in. I feel it every time I work out. I feel it while I taper. What do you mean I only have to run EIGHT miles this weekend?! Ooh-wee, I’m leaving the vaseline and the GU at home, papa.

Two weeks ago, I finally hit the point where I knew I was ready. I ran 20 miles – the only thing that scared me more than the actual run. That day was phenomenal. The sun was out. My Honey Badger pre-workout did it’s justice and turned me into an unusual 6 a.m. chatterbox. (Seriously… do NOT try and talk to me in the morning). I had my traditional night-before sushi coma that was more delicious than ever. I slept well. My body felt great with no injury in sight. Everything went just as it was supposed to.

When training started, I vowed that each long run would be met with a new product test. This time, we worked really hard at the whole eating thing. I have never craved nor savored a bagel more than I did at mile nine (and I’m a Jew, so that says something). I was let in on a *spudworthy* secret at mile 12 and at the end, I devoured a hamburger, fries, three beers and two shots of whisky that numbed any cramp or pain that came my way. So, when a runner tells you they “run to eat,” it seriously is so very true.

After a two mile incline in the super hot sun, my running gal pal told me I should give myself a “whoop whoop” at the top. What came out of my mouth and what she actually heard resulted in my new mating call, my new holler and what you should yell at me any chance you get (like from the cheering sections on race day): “Jew Whoop!” While that’s not what I said, it’s fitting and Ann had every right to think I would come up with something so clever.

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As I sprint around some of the memories from that day, the one that keeps crossing my mind the most is the thought of being ready and how I felt it most in the last three miles. Truly, it’s because of the people I had with me that day. The ones who texted me every few miles to check-in, the ones who surprised me with a group Facebook follow, the ones who pulled over in the middle of the street to honk at me, and most importantly, the ones who ran with me. I have never felt luckier in life than I have since training began.

But also knowing that I’ve worked my ass off these last six months has left me with such a feeling of completion, even though I haven’t officially ran the race yet. I’ve remained committed. I haven’t quit. I’ve dedicated early mornings, late nights and weekends to accomplishing something I never dreamed I would do. Something I told everyone I would NEVER do. Something I am, now, GOING to do.

Fifteen days separates me. Each day I get a little more nervous, but each day I recall that feeling of being ready because I AM ready.

I’m here….

…and I’m alive with so many training updates to make. But alas, I’m a failure at life… or just blogging… with no time to spare. If you’re really invested in my journey, (and why wouldn’t you be?) I update more frequently on my Facebook page: Sara and Her Soles.

Sarcasm and funny author voice aside, I’ve really loved sharing this venture with you. With 17 days to go, I’ve got a lot on my plate but not a single day goes by where I don’t think about updating you all. Xo.

One month and counting.

I have been training nonstop since November 1. I’m not sure what the other side of this is going to look like, but I am imagining there will be some sort of culture shock thing happening. Part of me wishes that shock was because I was traveling to Europe or somewhere exotic, but alas, it’s because I signed up to run 26.2 miles. Yeah, I volunteered to do that.

This weekend will be my last distance run before I taper. Twenty freaking miles. As you’ve all read before, there’s always a million things going through my head. Some of them practical, like don’t forget to eat your carbs, others a sign of delirium – like what if I don’t put enough Vaseline on my thighs and I can’t run all 20 miles because I’ll be so busy trying to escape the chafe and then I’ll have to quit, ask for someone to pick me up and sulk in embarrassment before having to warm myself up to do it again. Or my whole training plan gets ruined and I have to quit trying to run a marathon less than 30 days out all because I didn’t wear enough stinkin’ Vaseline. Yeah…

Anyway. There’s a street here in Reno named McCarran and it makes one big loop around the city for about 23 miles.  In the local running scene, to run the whole street is known as the “McLoop.” I’ve always wanted to be a part of the groups that do this run a few times a year. A lot of people will only run parts of it and get picked up along the way. Others use it for a training run. It’s hilly. There’s lots of places to stop along the way. I’ve ran parts of it on my own courses. Mostly because of prior commitments, I haven’t been able to participate before. But now, it’s finally my turn to McLoop! Or … at least mostly McLoop.  Technically I only need 20 miles, not 23. But I have this awful quality that forces me to finish everything I start – like puzzles, books (even if they take a year), the ten sushi rolls I ordered at once.

Back to that training nonstop since November thing. This is it. This is the final hurdle for me. The point where as long as I can do it, I know I’ll be good on May 1. I know it’s going to be tough. I know I’m going to hate life, want to hurl over on the side of the road and die, but at the end, I’ll be so incredibly pumped and proud. Frankly, when I wrote my training plan last fall before even agreeing to sign up, it was these long runs – the in between – that almost stopped me from registering. It’s a huge time commitment and I just wanted to skip from A to Z. But I’m here. I’ve made it. Tapering cannot come soon enough. And on the flipside, that 15-miler now doesn’t seem all that bad with a looming 20 ahead.

(PS; I know it often sounds like I hate running and you’re probz like “why the Hell did she even sign up?” But I promise you, I love it. I love the accomplishment. I love the battle wounds. I love the medals. I love the journey. I love running.)

PPS – If any of you Renoites would like to join us on the McLoop – for even just a couple of miles, we’re starting at  7 a.m. and welcome any and all company!

Super Sad Soppy Running Story

Six months of non-stop training is sure to teach you a lesson or two – not just in what you’re attempting to do, but about yourself, your journey, who you are and everything in between. I’ve said over and over this is quite the emotional journey for me and I’ve shared numerous times that I was once really fat. And while I’m still emotional, I’m no longer fat. My thighs still rub, the scale is still pretty high, I haven’t inched from my size 14 jeans and I can still truffle shuffle. But at the end of the day, running has changed me, running has taught me, running has formed me. The aforementioned transformation has never been more prevalent than it has throughout this journey.

Things I’ve noticed or learned bout myself while training for a marathon:

  • I talk about running… a lot.
  • The thought of a marathon makes me want to pee my pants.
  • I half-doubt, half-know I can do this.
  • I buy a lot of things when I have a goal in mind. New running pants, GU packets, Naan hydration tabs, new running belt, new music, new water bottles. All things I think I need, but really, shopping is a nervous tick for me.
  • I have come a really, really, really long way. I always introduce my running story as “I played soccer for eight years as a goalie because I hated running.”
  • Can’t stop, won’t stop.
  • I actually do like running with friends – but only on long runs and only ones that will still let me put my headphones in.
  • Eight miles isn’t that far for me anymore.
  • A 10K is my new running average.
  • My body is done losing weight, and I’m okay with that. Look at all that muscle!
  • I can lift heavy weights, do hanging leg lifts and use the drop back bench.
  • You CAN chafe on your back, and your side, and crack, and well, everywhere else.
  • I like listening to Podcasts on long runs.
  • If I want to run faster, run through the ghetto.
  • I can run 18 miles then go to Wine Walk after.
  • Motivating a fellow runner, who may be a stranger, is a lot of fun.
  • That I have incredible surroundings – not just in where I run, but who runs with me through body or spirit.
  • I love eating toast with peanut butter before a run – no matter the distance
  • I refuse to drink the night before a run – even if it will calm my nerves. Now, after the fact…
  • Sometimes, thinking about a huge stack of pancakes is all it takes to get me to the finish line.
  • I hate chocolate energy gels, which is weird because I don’t hate chocolate anything. I am woman.
  • If you dance your way to the finish line, it still counts.
  • I’m not fast, but I can go far.

Most importantly, I’ve learned how incredibly proud I am of my body and my mind. How comfortable I certainly am in my own skin. How there is no ideal “runner’s body” just an ideal runner. I mean it when I say that my eyes start to water every time I picture myself crossing that finish line. Not just because I’m going to get a swanky medal that says I did it, but because this body, this body that has come so far, from a place where with the mind alike it was so dark, because this person, this me, did it. I did what was once unthinkable.

In 33 days, this will all be final, all be real. In 33 days, I’ll have learned the greatest lesson of all: that I AM a Marathoner.

The 18-mile slump ender

Alright, it happened. Four and a half months into training, I hit my wall. My point of exhaustion. My point of disinterest. My point of wanting to quit. I’ve had to force myself to the gym, force myself to run, force myself to be cautious of my diet and more. I skipped a few runs. I strayed from my training schedule. I went on vacation, drank wine and fruity little drinks, ate everything in sight (including cake for breakfast… Hey, it was my birthday) and avoided my Saucony shoes at all costs. Sure, it helped me regain focus – but man was it rough to return from a “do what I want” mindset back to “goddamnit I’m running a marathon in less than two months, I probably shouldn’t eat this whole box of Girl Scout cookies.” And what better way to get past a wall than to run 18 grueling miles?

But alas, Friday night I ate a healthy serving of spaghetti and meatballs, went to bed at 10:30 p.m. and woke up Saturday earlier than I even do for work. I went through the usual preparations: hydration tab, coffee, bathroom break, toast with peanut butter and banana, bathroom break, put away the dishes, cleaned up trash, vaselined my who-ha, played Candy Crush, bathroom break, pre-workout, packed my fanny, bathroom break and whatever else I could find to procrastinate. At 6:58 a.m., I was gone.

I mapped out my route the night before – from home, down my usual South Meadows and Longely turf, to some new pavement with plenty to stare at as I ran by. I took my first break at mile six, a lovely, strangely crowded-at-an-early-hour Starbucks and was pretty confident in how I felt. I caught wind of some foot pain in the first few miles so those passed rather quickly complete with begging them to get me through *just* sixteen more miles.

As I neared my halfway point, I noticed a familiar sight – bright orange cones, mile markers, an aid station and some cheerful volunteers – I was crashing a race! Party on, Wayne! I had forgotten about the Biggest Little City Half Marathon that was debuting that day, but more so,  I had no idea it was crossing my path. As it was on a public course around Virginia Lake, I kept doing the damn thing (with proper race etiquette of course). The coolest part? I recognized some of the local elite runners so I knew I was running alongside the fastest. Regardless, they all treated me like I was one of them. Every runner I crossed paths with, thought I was one of them. They cheered me on, gave me the thumbs-up and a few even said, “only six more miles to go!” Ha! You funny people. I’m flattered, but these legs have to go another NINE MILES )(@*$(*@#.

I took a decent break at the halfway mark to refuel, stretch and snap a selfie. I felt good. Hell, I felt great. A week ago, I had a real tough time running ten miles. How was it that just a few days and a few skipped workouts later, I was feeling stronger than ever? Actually… who cares? I’m a bad ass.

Annnd.. that all changed quickly. I felt myself losing the gusto. An emotional switch instantly turned on. I got overwhelmed with the thought of May 1. I got teary-eyed thinking about my journey. I was a mess and hobbling my way through it. Then suddenly I hear “three miles to go” trigger from my Nike app. I matched my furthest distance. Only a 5K was left. Just three miles. You made it this far. Go.

Though the last bit was met with speed walking, backward walking and of course, painful strides, I did it. Three hours and forty-five minutes later – I did it. Where the hell was my doughnut and beer? (Answer: across the street. When I was done, I b-lined for the nearest grocery store and raided the bakery. I was glad to have those tasty, well-deserved calories burn right through my runner’s body.

Lookout world, I’m an almost-marathoner.