No to Philly, but yes to the Hustle…

Today was the Philadelphia Marathon. And I didn’t run it.

Wait!”, you say, “you didn’t run? WHY NOT?!”

Well, I would have told you earlier, but then you would have had to live in my angsty state of indecision and second-guessing in the last 6 weeks. I spared you all of yes-no-yes-no-maybe-no and just waited to write on the marathon weekend.

So you can get caught up, here is the Reader’s Digest version of all that happened since the Maine Marathon:

  • 3 days after marathon – ran 2 miles to shake out – felt good
  • 4 days after marathon – ran 4 miles because it’s easy to just not want to run anymore at all after completing a marathon – 4 miles seemed like enough of a commitment that I was still in the game, but still allowing for recovery.
  • 5 days after marathon – was walking my dog, Stella, and my right foot tightened up into hot pain. THAT was, most unfortunately, the familiar pain of plantar fasciitis. 😦
  • 10 days after marathon – can’t run more than 2 miles without foot pain. Janet is ready to buy her plane ticket to Philadelphia and sends me the suggested itinerary
  • 11 days after marathon –  hiding from Janet. I don’t think I can continue the mileage to run the full Philly since I am stuck at 2 miles before foot pain. Can’t decide whether to go, anyway, to cheer for Margaret and Janet in the half-marathon.
  • 12 days after marathon – I confess to Janet and Margaret that I can’t run the distance and won’t go to Philly – will cheer from Maine. Felt TERRIBLE.

So, I lived in a place of disappointment and acceptance for a while. I even found relief in just not having to pack in long runs on my own anymore, so much time back in my life to do other things, proud of myself for running the Maine Marathon and convincing myself to let it go.

I earnestly applied the physical therapy techniques from last year and my foot started to feel better. I started to run a little more – with a surprise 7  miler several weeks ago.

Then, a college friend, Wendy, the friend who ran the Maine Marathon so fast that she qualified for Boston, asked me if I wanted to run a 1/2 marathon in South Portland on Nov 23.  Since I didn’t have a plane ticket to Philly for that date, and I was feeling better, I told her if I could run 10 miles without pain, I’d do it.  So… I set out last Saturday for the 10, accidentally underestimated my route, and landed back in my driveway with 12.25 miles done.  We decided to sign up. So I did. Then Wendy did. All set.

Then, I told Janet that I managed 12 miles and she said, “Come to Philly and run the 1/2 with us!”  FREEZE. What was I doing? If I could get through 13.1 miles, why wasn’t I going to Philly to run? Because I was signed up for the full marathon, not the half, and I didn’t buy a plane ticket and then I signed up for *another* race on Nov 23 in South Portland.  PLUS, Philly was way out of my head. I really had let it go.

Wendy lives north of me, and I live north of South Portland, so she spent the night at my house so we could easily get off in the morning. It was so fun – we made dinner, chatted, caught up. We’re friends from our first year in college 29 years ago, but haven’t had a chance to connect for real in a long, long time. It was great.

Just about the time Janet and Margaret launched onto their course in Philly, Wendy and I pulled on our Santa outfits and crossed the starting line in South Portland.

Wait“, you say again, “SANTA OUTFITS?” Yep, we had signed up for the ‘Santa Hustle‘ half marathon – complete with a costume for every runner.  That was 2500 Santas running around South Portland, Maine this morning – we probably freaked out every kindergartner who was looking out the window.

Here we are at the start:

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Wendy is really fast and fit. Really. So I assumed we’d start together and find each other at the finish. But NO. Wendy was planning to run together, which meant she paced to me… which was really nice. And, since running at my pace was, for her, essentially resting, she chatted with me for the entire distance. We talked about all kinds of things and she just kept coming up with great stuff to talk about to bring me along.

Also, since we were doing this for fun, we had no problem taking time for photos. For instance, when you are in a race that has elves passing out M&Ms and COOKIES, you really need to stop and document it.

We were pretty happy to see this cheery guy passing out goodies. Yep.

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Chocolate chip cookies at mile 7. Awesome.

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Janet and Margaret crossed their finish line in Philly, looking good and with good runs completed!

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And then, Wendy and I cruised on into the finish line of the Santa Hustle for a real mind-bender – an ENORMOUS Rudolph reindeer *and* a REAL reindeer. 🙂

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So, November 23rd wasn’t at all what any of us had thought it would be 5 months ago. None of us ran a marathon today. BUT, today was a celebration of friendship, of “going for it” in spite of circumstances, and generally just having a good time.

I’m not sure what comes next, but I’m sure it will be good.

Onward!

 

 

 

 

Head and Heart – another 20 miles

Today was the last “peak” training distance of 20 miles.  I won’t have to run that far again until Nov 17, thank God.

Last weekend, I was in Gettysburg, PA watching my daughter, Ellie, run with her xc team.  This weekend, I was in Groton, MA, watching my other daughter, Lucy, run with hers.  Both girls are inspiring to me as they push themselves.  Yesterday, Lucy was not feeling tip-top health wise, but she managed to kill it on the course and shaved more than a minute off her best time. A big PR day for her!  Here is Lucy taking out a hill and a post-race photo with me  (photo credit, her grandfather, Grumpi):

IMG_1772  lucy and mom Groton race

OK, onto my 20 miler day, which was actually a 20.12 mile day.  Definitely the longest distance I’ve run by .01 miles. (Last 20 miler day was 20.11. 🙂  )

Here is how the day started:

  • 4:00 a.m.  – my alarm goes off.
  • 4:07 a.m. – my second alarm goes off (well planned, I’d say.)
  • 4:20 a.m. –  1/2 cup coffee, banana w/ peanut butter
  • 4:30 a.m. – feed the horses but don’t let out into the pasture because there is *definitely* a skunk skulking around  -do not need skunky anything to deal with at 4:30 a.m.
  • 4:31 a.m. – rush dogs back into house from front lawn morning business to get away from where the skunk might be lurking.
  • 4:32 am. – all living things at Soule household safely behind closed doors and skunk -free-fresh.

And the day continued:

  • 5:40 a.m. – arrive at Janet’s, see that she’s wearing shorts and t-shirt and I’m bundled for winter running (it was 41 degrees.)  I brought other clothes in the car. Quickly changed to shorts and long sleeve tech shirt.
  • 5:45 a.m. – we’re off!  IN THE DARK.
  • 6:30 a.m. – already past 1st water stop – still kinda dark, but enough daylight coming for us to see our feet. Phew.
  • 7:00 a.m. – feet really, really hurt.
  • 7:30 a.m. – we stop talking.  We’re 2 hrs in, starting to separate a bit (Janet leads and tethers me), and we’re just moving along.
  • 8:45 a.m. – I start to fall apart from the waist down – feet pain moving through ankles up to calves, knees ( this is new).  We’re almost there, but we’re hurting.
  • 8:46 a.m. – I think to myself, “no body left – body broken – only thing working to keep me moving is my pumping heart and my head forcing signals to my feet.
  • 8:50 a.m. – really worried – we’re moving at a slow pace, slower than I hope to run the marathon, and I’m breaking down but not quite to 20 miles – how will I add another hour of running on race day?  Answer:  “Head and Heart“.
  • 9:23: – back in Janet’s driveway, 20.12 miles behind, NO walking.  We were slow, but we finished.  Heads and hearts in tact.

Then back to my house for recovery plan:

  • 9:45 a.m. shovel out horse stalls and let horses out (no skunkiness to worry about now)
  • 10:30 a.m – ice bath. I stay in for 12 minutes.  This is the last ice bath until Nov 17. Yeehaw.
  • 10:43 a.m. – hot shower that was environmentally careless because I was probably in there for about 30 minutes, but…  I’m not really sorry about it even though I used up an extraordinary amount of resources to run hot water on my body for that long.
  • 11:30 a.m. – warm, in cozy comfy clothes, and looking to take a quick nap on the couch. But Stella was already on the couch, looking how I felt, so I joined her:

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GOOD NEWS – I did NOT have a side stitch today!  I received a lot of advice since last week’s post, but unfortunately, I was stuck between “You’re drinking too much water” and “You’re not drinking enough water” from two equally fast, equally experienced runners.   I went for the mid-way and drank about 2/3 of my normal amount. I switched from Gu Chomps to Power Gel thinking that I might do better with paste version of energy supplement rather than chewing something with gelatin that could bounce around in my tum.   I also did not eat any ice cream last night (to avoid bad effects of fat, if there are any.)  Not sure what mattered most, but I am so happy that there was no stitch.

Tapering starts now – that means that the distances just get shorter from here until the race day. Next weekend’s long run is 12 miles with manageable length mid-week runs.

Onward!