Wait! Ok…go on now with multiple exercise opportunities!
Start with a bicycle ride along the Baltimore Harbor waterfront Continue reading
The final long run before the NYC Marathon has arrived. A shorty (12 miles) by prior long run standards – but possibly one of the most important practice runs of all. The run that imprints a positive state of mind.
The day began earlier than I would have preferred. I had over-committed my day, and my running start time would be sacrificed. My alarm goes off at 4:45, and I’m eating breakfast by 5:00AM. I’m not the least bit hungry, but force down 1/2 wheat bagel, peanut butter and a banana. It sits in me like a boulder. Digestion is taking it’s sweet time, and by 7:30AM my gut is not feeling especially “well”. Continue reading
I try to follow a marathon training schedule. Mostly because it seems fashionable. The thing to do when you are training for a marathon. Maybe at this age I’m finally trainable? And, now that I have a training schedule, perhaps I should read it? The important stuff. The part that described the distance for this weeks long run. The part that said 16. Not 19.
Yet, in my mind – the magic number was 19. That’s what I imagined was on my fashionable schedule. I was mentally ready for 19 miles. 19 is really not that far. That’s what I told myself. Easy peazy and full of confidence.
My morning started in the usual way. Choosing which pair of running shoes from the rotation. The selection process is simple. Right now, I’m running in Skora’s – and I choose my tools based on the soggy factor. If it is still soggy from a prior day run – I leave it alone. If it is dry – it becomes the shoe de’ jour.
I inhaled breakfast – a smoothie – which consisted of a little bit of everything in my kitchen: spinach, strawberries, blueberries, 1/2 banana, a tablespoon of all of these — protein powder, oatmeal, flax seeds, peanut butter, glucosamine, omega 3 – and a dash of cacao nibs! Yum!
By 7AM, I’m off. Solo. My goal would be to get 14 miles done before rendezvous with my biker-hubby – and we would do the last 5 miles together. The last 5 miles would be the most challenging part of the route. Hills. I needed to mimic miles 13-16 in NY. Climbing the Queensboro Bridge.
It didn’t take long to notice that humidity would be a factor today. The humidity was much higher – than on any of my prior long runs. By mile 2, I’m drenched, and had consumed half of my water. My route today will certainly hover around places where I can re-hydrate (i.e. the Safeway!). The interesting thing about humidity, is that it creeps up on you. You think you are doing fine – and suddenly, you are losing speed at a rate of 20 seconds per mile. By mile 10 – it was time to hit the Safeway water coolers, and the freezer aisle. Aaaaah. The air conditioning was bliss.
Returning back to my run, and despite feeling slower and slower, my mind remained optimistic. I spent the rest of my run listening to my “mind”. At mile 12 – my Garmin apparently had enough of the humidity and quit. No worries. I had backup this week, and quickly turned on GPS watch #2. I re-united with biker-hubby at mile 14. He’s got the routine down. I don’t have to ask him to bring things. He knows. Water, lots of ice, banana, a wet towel and packets of honey. After a minute or 2 – we are off for the final 5 miles. We traversed the hilly portion of my course, with the humidity and sunlight morphing me into something that resembled super slow motion. But it didn’t matter. I finished – all 19 miles. Done. And then discovered that my training schedule only required me to run 16 miles…not 19. I guess I should read the schedule next time.
At some point, you lose track of the miles. Each week – becomes a first in the firsts of many. The first to hit a new mileage distance. The first week of many to reach a new mileage weekly volume. The first week your brain is no longer telling you how hard all of this running is. The first week in which maybe, just maybe – a marathon is doable. And, it helps that for the first time – the temperatures are unseasonably wonderful in the mid-Atlantic region– cool and low humidity!
Training for a marathon is more than training the body to endure long periods of running stress and fatigue. It is a psychological shift, from the “OMG – that distance seems so far!” to reaching a state that describes the exact same distance – as an “easy run”. Yes, it is my recovery week, and I may not feel the same way next week when I amp up to 18 miles for my long run, – but today 13.5 miles, has become my new “easy”.
Special thanks to hubby Paddy for joining me on bicycle for the 2nd half – with water, food…and company!
There is nothing quite like a road trip. A destination of fun. And an added dose of endorphin’s waiting to be consumed.
Meet Team Virginia Beach – consisting of Team Support Director – brother Chuck…and exercise obsessed Tri-Sista’s Jill and Jane. We were prepared for yet another half marathon. Weekly long runs consisted of 1.5 – 2 hours and yes, we even ran all summer during bouts of intense heat and humidity. Another half marathon? Well, this would be a snap.
Our travels took us on the back roads along Route 17 which was mostly without traffic stress. Arriving in Virginia Beach – we proceeded to:
After walking 40 blocks in the afternoon Virginia Beach heat, we eventually stumbled onto a dinner gem – appropriately named “Eat”. Simple as that, and anything but. The food was almost too beautifully prepared to eat, but we did anyway. And savored every bite! Life is good on the VA Beachfront! Back to the hotel for early bedtimes, as we prepare for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon.
By 5:40AM Sunday morning we were seated on one of the many shuttle buses – to take us from our hotel to the Start line of the 1/2 marathon. The temperatures didn’t feel too bad at 6AM, tho it was humid. It would have been great to START the event at 6AM – instead of waiting for the sun to rise by 7AM – but no such luck. By 6:45AM – we, along with 15,000 other runners were in the corral queue — waiting for the run to get moving.
Pre-race photo op
Let me just summarize the event before it escalated into high drama:
Now for the drama. As I write this blog and reflect on the day, it’s amazing that I didn’t recognize any of the “signs” earlier…I wasn’t drinking nearly enough. Before or during the event. I was drenched in sweat…and probably lost 5 lbs of water. I had no juice. I felt “off”. When I tried to drink, my stomach immediately cramped. I just wanted to sit down.
An hour after the finish, preparing to depart from VA Beach, my body had enough. While waiting in line at the Starbucks with TriSista Jill, having not hydrated since mile 11 (due to stomach cramping)…my world suddenly went into a tailspin. Everything went blurry and I knew I was about to faint, and lowered myself to the floor in the middle of the Starbucks sending my frantic sista-in-law into a whole new level of panic.
This is where so many angels appeared from nowhere. A mother and her 3 daughters keeping me comfortable…the paramedic, the physician assistant who just happened to be in the crowd, the Starbucks employees and countless others who tended to me while waiting for the EMS team. When I went into a bout of chills…someone whipped out their beach blanket to cover me. The ambulance crew of volunteer paramedics arrived and whisked me off to their truck — while I held tight to Jill and Chuck and begged them not to leave me. Anything and everything medical terrifies me. After taking a bunch of ‘vitals’ and deciding that I was going to “live”…the paramedics offered me a choice — they could take me to the Runner’s Medical Tent or the local hospital. I wanted to be with my runner comrades…so off we went. Jill rode in the ambulance, while Chuck chased us via car.
Unfortunately, the medical personnel would not allow Jill and Chuck in the medical tent. I was sent to the Runners Medical Tent – and they were assigned to a nearby waiting room tent. Inside it was like a MASH operation. I was amazed at all of the medical personnel – one nurse for each bed/patient…and 3 other nurses who worked the needles. 3-4 Physicians were roaming among all of the patients. Since I was severely dehydrated, they had trouble finding a vein that would accept a needle for IV. After three excruciatingly painful attempts — they finally got the needle in the vein. There is a reason why I don’t like medical!! But today, there was no other option. Blood work, EKG, IV with all sorts of magic fluid – I received the most amazing care and treatment at the Runners MASH Tent — and all the while receiving updates on Chuck and Jill. I was repeatedly informed how concerned they were for me….and at one point just broke into tears. The nurse told me it was a good sign that I could cry — as I was becoming more hydrated. Then I laughed…and I knew….that the song “3 Little Birds” we heard earlier on route – were meant for me. Everything was gonna be alright. Included in the entry fee for the Rock n Roll Marathon – is the medical service they provide. And the organization of countless volunteers and medical personnel. I will never complain about an entry fee again. Everybody needs somebody….sometime. You never know when…it will be you. And I couldn’t be more grateful for the angels whom I’ll never see again, and for my angels who never left my side…Jill and Chuck.