What running a 50-miler in the Swiss Alps does to this girl:
Taken about an hour after finishing.
What running a 50-miler in the Swiss Alps also does to this girl:
The day after. :) And yes, that's a Snuggie.
This is not the one day this year that I feel thankful. I'm fortunate enought to experience these 'I'm so thankful for...' moments almost every single day. With 365 days in a year, that's a heck of a lot to be thankful for. And even those moments that score high on the 'Yeugh'-scale, there's usually a little blessing attached...hidden somewhere - in a hard to find place.
As for this year...let's face it...I did have some rocky lows. Not going to lie about that. But the highs (till this very day of this year - not making up the scores yet)...the highs...are more than I could have wished for. More that I dreamed of. It gave me a lot to be thankful for. And I do realize that ... every single day. Putting them in writing - today - makes me realize even more, that there are a couple of true gems in this list. :)
1. My mom:
I could not have wished for a better mom. The support and love that she has shown in this crazy running journey I've been on this year, is out of this world. She knew that I would make it through those Swiss Alps in that 50 miler, while I only started to believe I could when I crossed the finish line. I can't think of a way to put down in words how grateful I am for her love and support.
2. (Running) buddies:
The number of (running) buddies I've met through the last couple of months, while doing something that I love, is huge. Yay on new friends! Double Yay on friends that get your passion. And won't tell you to slow down or get a life. ;)
3. My bod:
Knock on wood, but so far this year...it has been cooperating. And that is something to be thankful for.
They make those intervals and long runs so much more fun! :) Heck, they make life more fun! :)
5. Jelly Beans:
After years of searching for the little bastards, I am now reunited with my beloved licorice Jelly Beans. ;) Hey, don't shoot me for trying to lighten up this post. ;)
6. New Marathon (and half) PR:
No BQ and still slow, but that 3:42 in the Full Marathon IS a PR. A PR I'm still freaking excited about at this very moment. A PR I couldn't even have dreamed of a year ago. Let this slowpoke have this, okay? ;)
7. Toenails that actually grow back:
The ones that had left the building, are now back for more action. Hello, shiny nail polish!
1. Naughty?: I was recently contacted by quite a large company that asked me to post about their products...but after me asking me which product they wanted me to review and in which time span, they told me they would send me some info, and I could write my review based on that. Yep, that's correct...I wouldn't review the actual product, but would just be writing a review based on their info. How could I possibly write a decent review without having the actual product in my hands? How weird is that. Especially since I'm talking about a well-known company here. Any thoughts on this?
2. Telecom: I've been home for several days now, but am still receiving text messages that seem to be sent to me while I was still in NYC. Uhm...roaming services? Did any of you ever have this problem?
3. Hello, here I am: On tonight's run I spotted way too many runners that worship the 'dark lord'. Exactly...no reflective gear. No blinkies. No light on them at all. Hello! Dangerous! Still don't get it. Also...I noticed that most runners were running on the right side of the cycling path. Which side of the road do you pick on late night/evening or early morning runs? Left or right?
Last Sunday night. We'd just returned from our trip to New York and I was having dinner with my Mom and a friend of hers. Chatting about the trip and how much fun we'd had. My mom's friend had recently lost her husband, so we talked about her husband's funeral. Out of the blue my mom's friend said: 'Oh right, I forgot to tell you. While you were in NY, S died'. (S being a classmate from elementary school - she lived in the same city I live in, so I ran into her several times after elementary school - last time must have been a couple of years ago).
'Shocked' doesn't even begin to describe how I felt at that moment. I wasn't close to her, just ran into her occasionally. While running errands or walking around town. But still...I remember her as an incredibly nice. A sweet girl. Close to her mom and baby brother. Had graduated Law School. Seemed to be enjoying life. A cancer survivor. Saddest part about this: she died while celebrating her 'I'm clear!' moment with dinner. Just like that.
This is one of those moments that's on my 'Things I don't get'-list. I can't even begin to describe how so so sorry I feel for her mom's and brother's loss. I wish them all the strength and support they need in the process of learning how to live with this loss.
This IS the time and the place
This is also one of those moments that made me realize that you have to live this life as fully as you can...every single day. I've said and heard 'This is nor the time, nor the place' or 'Maybe next week/month/year' too many times. This IS the time. AND the place. I've also heard 'There will always be another marathon/ultra.' way too often in the last couple of months. And yes, I do hope there will always be another marathon/ultra. But the sad news of S's passing made me realize that I should take every race in as 'THE marathon' or 'THE ultra'. Treasure any moment I'm out there running.
The same goes for wishlist races. These races where training/money/emergencies within your family aren't really an issue, I should no longer postpone. Neither should any of you. Who cares what the rest of the world might think of it. Collect memories. Precious memories.
If you want it, come and get it. And girl, do I want it!
This New York City Marathon thingie...let's call this my 'lessons learned about marathoning' marathon.
Plan was to run this marathon at an easy long run pace, since I wanted to really take in the crowds and have a planned 65K ultra (trails, hilly...love it!) planned on November 27th. The New York City Marathon would make a great training run for that one. Plus, I ran a 3:42 marathon at the Amsterdam Marathon just 3 weeks before the NYC Marathon, which is superfast for this slowpoke (don't expect anything like it again anytime soon ;)! Slowpokie is back in town! ;)). I was still riding high on that one. Anything around 4 hours would be okay for a long run pace marathon.
Plus...running the NYC marathon at an easy pace was the only way to go, since:
a. I was in the middle of the Kidney Stone bonanza. A kidney stone and the pain that comes with it, won't do much for your fitness. Enough said.
b. I'd sprained my ankle 2 weeks before the marathon. Badly sprained it. Still hurts, still can't wear heels. And it's still slightly swollen. Running a marathon on it might have something to do with that. Just might. ;)
c. Stomach bug. Oh yeah. Caught that one just 2 days before the marathon. Spent the night pre marathon in the bathroom and ended up feeling sweaty and nauseous from mile 12 on. And I puked...but more about that later. ;)
Barbora was in town to run her first marathon! Totally talked her into letting me pace her for a bit. :) She did great! Read her full report here! It's fun, promise! :)
Since Barbora and I were both running for Team Hole in the Wall, we had the same bus to the start. Chatted the ride over to Staten Island away. Would have been great to have a bathroom on that bus, though....
The Team Hole in the Wall tent at the Charity village was amazing: no lines to use the bathroom!!! Woohooo!!! :) And a warm place to hang out before the start. Time flies when you're having fun, and before we knew it, it was time to head over to the corrals. We talked the crew into letting Barbora into my corral (I had the 'higher' BIB), so we could start together. :) It wasn't too long till 'New York New York' was playing and it was time to head to the start line. Woohooo!!! :)
Crossed the start line, and it was on! Time to enjoy the heck out of this marathon. The crowds in Brooklyn were amazing!!! Same goes for the crowds in Queens. Right before entering Queens not only my ankle started to play up (as in...trying to get twice its original size: ouch!!!), but my tummy was no longer cooperating. I can only hope Barbora missed the smelly part of it. ;) Passed the Half Way mark in an easy 1:59. :) And yep, Barbora, you can easily run a sub-4 marathon with a 1:59 half split. ;)
By the time we were heading for Manhattan (First Avenue), I was truly feeling sick and swallowing down little vomit burps. Nothing to freak Barbora out with (it was her first marathon, I didn't want to scar her for life ;)), so I kept chatting away. ;) She didn't even strangle me for continuing to tell her to take the 'downhill' sections to recover. :) Meanwhile, all I could think was 'where the ef is the next bathroom!'. Our splits were nice and even, and on sub-4 pace. :)
Taken at mile 18-ish. I look way better than I felt (that is...'ready to throw up'). And yep, I also stole this one from Barbora's blog.
And this one. ;) Check out the cool Team Hole in the Wall tattoo on our quads. Uh-huh...badasstinistas for life! And yes...I know...short skirt...get over it. ;)
By mile 20 my ankle was killing me. Two miles later (mile 22) I told Barbora to go and kick those last 4 miles' butt. I'd checked the splits on Mr Garmin at mile 21 and knew we were running at a comfortable sub-4 (not a 10 minute - sub-4, but still a sub-4) pace. With the extra endorphines of 5th Avenue and the even splits we'd ran, I knew she would fly through those last 4 miles. However, my ankle did not feel good (from mile 5 on), and with the planned ultra in just 3 weeks, that freaked me out...big time! I was in pain...and limping. Plus, at that point I was truly feeling sick because of the stomach bug. Cramps and I felt nauseous. Truly nauseous. And that didn't really help the legs to keep going. Add to that the toll I'd paid for the kidney stone thingie, and I was pretty much feeling blah. Two miles later (mile 24) I forced my way through the crowds to throw up. And throw up. And throw up. In Central Park. Classy. But, you know, that's just how I roll. ;)
Made it to the finish line in 4:10:43. Three weeks after running a 3:42. Oh yeah....slowpokie is back.
Then again, I was going for a marathon at long run pace, and this is long run pace. ;)So what the heck am I complaining about. Let me blame the kidney stone/ankle sprain/stomach bug, okay? ;)
Oh, and when crossing that finish line...I looked like sh#t.
On a more positive note: despite of still feeling nauseous the next day (bloody tummy bug), I did not experience any muscle issues (despite of the ankle...duh). Fresh legs - woohoo! :)
Just enjoying my vacay in New York City! :) Managed to finish the marathon despite of the bloody kidney stone and the ankle sprain. Paced the lovely Barbora in her first marathon! Let's just say it was a great training run for this month's planned 65K trail race! :) Boy, do I love long distance running!