It Will Move You

Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
You’re everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings.

Sunday, November 5, 2017 has come and gone.  I’m still smiling about all that happened on that cold, rainy day.  The lead up the New York City Marathon included advertisements that stated, “The New York City Marathon, it will move you.”  This is perhaps an understatement to the experience this race represents for so many runners and spectators alike.  Me, I didn’t get to run my race, but I did get to experience the race and it most definitely moved me.

When I received the news of the femoral stress fracture, I texted my childhood friend and running partner on this marathon journey, who was also injured and out of the race.  I said, “Hey, how about we walk the darn thing.”  She was excited about that and said sure.  Then I went on the NYC Marathon group page on Facebook and posted, “Hey, any injured people on here want to have a beer in every borough and walk it?”  Amazingly, so many people started jumping on and posting.  Enter my friend Nancy Nowak, a born organizer, who created a separate group for us injured warriors to plan, commiserate and support each other on this road to the New York Marathon.

Over 100 strong, we were out in force on November 5th, with many making it to the start line, some walking and many running.  Among these strong women, all of who finished, I’ve met some true heroes.  Women who refused to not finish what they started, despite many obstacles and challenges.  For me, the race was not to be, but I fully experienced the marathon emotions through their journeys.  When you are part of a team, it is larger than just you and your journey.  You don’t get to stay home and sulk because you can’t play, or in this case run.  Your team is still out there with unfinished business and they need and deserve your support.  How truly selfish it would be to walk away from them in their moment of glory because you were unfortunate in luck that day.

At 8:00 AM, we got up and had a nice breakfast and got ready to go to the starting line.  I was now the designated driver of race day.  I dropped my friend Helen off at the starting line and headed into Brooklyn to watch the race.  It took me a train, a ferry, and then two more trains to reach my destination, but with my team starting in the 11:00 wave, I knew I had time to get there to see them at the halfway point.  When I stepped off the train at Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, I could hear the cheers of the crowd and feel the energy from inside the station.  When I got upstairs, I suddenly felt the electric pull of the crowd.  I knew then that I had made the best decision ever to be there.  My daughter Cathy sent me a text that said, “I’m here, look up.”  Looking up, there was my beautiful girl right across the street from me.  I wondered how in the world she would ever get to my side of the avenue.  We stood there in the cold, rainy mist for hours, screaming, yelling and supporting 50k runners.

There were so many stories out on the course that day and it really put my experience in perspective.  Every runner out there had a story.  From Shalane Flannagan, who has been dreaming of winning this race since she was a little girl, to the man I saw in a wheelchair and so many others, everyone out there had many obstacles on their path to this marathon.  Shalane winning was so special for many runners for so many reasons, including that like many of us she suffered an injury that crushed her dream of running the Boston Marathon.  I remembered her having to pull out at the last minute.  I remembered how devastated she was and fully know her pain, despite the fact that I am not an elite runner.  Seeing her cross that line emotionally drained, yet satisfied that she never gave up on her dream was so moving.

Shalane is a true warrior who worked harder than most to accomplish that win, but she was not the biggest hero of the day for me.  A member of my running team takes top hero status for me.  Erika Hauer, a nurse from New Jersey, who I met through my running group.  Erika had deferred last year and really wanted to get to the starting line, but she was unsure and perhaps a bit afraid of not being able to complete the race.  You see, Erika deferred last year, so this was her last chance to use the guaranteed entry she had obtained by deferring.  On top of that, shortly after deferring last year, Erika was diagnosed with cancer and started undergoing chemotherapy.  She had recently finished her chemotherapy and was not sure she was strong enough to run the marathon distance.  Additionally, she was scheduled for surgery four days after the marathon.  I spoke to Erika the day before the marathon when I told her I was out.  She was heading to the Expo to pick up her packet and was going to give this race her best effort.  I’m happy to say that Erika not only finished, she finished strong!  Watching her dot on the tracker cross that finish line, I could only imagine the wave of emotions she felt.  Erika represents everything that is the New York City Marathon experience.  Cancer does not get to win, not on this day – November 5, 2017.  On this day, a warrior named Erika Hauer, kicked cancer’s ass to the curb and stomped on it for 26.2 miles through our beautiful city.  I, for one, couldn’t be happier for her.  Fly high, Erika and I hope we run it together in 2018 so start training.

Best Moments of the 2017 NYC Marathon 

 

 

Congratulations to the marathon class of 2017.  I hope you’ll join me on the journey to 2018 NYCM.

Are you injured, recovering from injury or looking to prevent one?  Connect with us on Facebook and be a part of our running group.  You are not alone on this journey and we’d love to hear your story.

NYC Injured Runners Facebook Group

Prevention is key to remaining injury free.  Looking for a free consultation from a functional movement specialist?  Mention my name – Laura Hess Kump – to receive a free consultation with my personal coach and trainer Jessica Leggio at Run Pain Free.  She will get you back on the road to running.

If you were out there on November 5th, or plan to be out there in 2018, drop me a line.  I’d love to hear your story.  I will feature your story on this blog if you wish to share.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coincidence or Message

24 days left until the start of the 2017 New York City Marathon, my goal race for the year and my bucket list race for life.  I’ve shared the training highs, aha moments and struggles.  Anyone who has trained for a marathon knows that #thestruggleisreal, especially when doing so as a mere mortal.  I am a mother, wife, sister, friend, Principal and the list goes on an on.  I am not a professional runner, nor was I blessed with a body that can run like a gazelle, gracefully prancing through the woods.  Nope, I was blessed with a body that can run like a turtle, sometimes running through peanut butter, but this body can run indeed and for that I am thankful. Seriously, anyone who has run 26.2 miles, or any distance, knows the distance is the same no matter how fast or slow you run.

For me, it’s never really been about winning the race.  It’s always been more about doing it and finishing it.  For me it’s always been about the journey, the learning and the personal growth that comes along with both.  As an educator, I am working with my staff on teaching growth mindset principles to students.  Every day, we seek to cultivate and motivate our students to use their grit, determination and tenacity to power through struggles.  We know, and the research shows, that these traits will carry our students far in life.  We also know that we are always role models for our students and as such, must always practice what we preach.  How could I ever then, in good conscience, expect my students to struggle through to overcome their challenges if I quit and give up when faced with my own?

As I’ve hit this last obstacle, I’ve envisioned myself in what we loving call the Learning Pit at my school.  I’m down in that darn pit once again, but I am not going to stay there for long.  I am working hard and working my way out, everyday a little closer to my goals.  I do have moments where I realize that staying down would be far easier for me, but I also know the sheer joy of success when I reach the other side.  This week, I’ve had my moments.  A severely claustrophobic person heading into an MRI is not a pretty sight people.  In fact, you know you’re exceptionally challenged when the technician says to you upon entering – “Oh, I remember you.”  Yes, the struggle is real!  I admit to pushing the panic button once in the stand up MRI, clutching it the whole time and wanting to push it over and over again.  I admit this week to staying in bed for one day and skipping my scheduled workout.  It was the day after the MRI and I just “needed a moment” to regroup.  I admit to texting my coach Jessica and telling her I think we may need to break up.  But, as always happens on this crazy journey the signs to keep going kept coming at me a mile a minute.  These signs led me to once again question, “Are these signs a coincidence?, A sign? or God telling me – get up girl you got this and I got you.”

This week my local paper published a short article on my journey written by a man who interviewed me a few weeks ago.  Funny that it showed up in my life on Monday – Monday, Monday, you all know the day.

“Every other day, every other day
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
You can find me cryin´ all of the time”

My running Instagram friend’s book finally arrived. I also got the audible version – something I’ve never done.  Listening to her beautiful voice as I walk, run or lay around has been so motivational this week.  Thank you Mirna Valerio for sharing your story with us all.  You are incredible!

As I was watching the news this morning, I saw an interview with a veteran who had lost both legs during his tour of duty.  He is now on a journey to run 31 marathons in 31 days on prosthetic legs!  I mean come on now, that is just totally amazing.  I listened to him say how he just accepted his loss pretty quickly and moved on to turn it into something good.  Well, this young man touched my heart and fostered some motivation to reengage with my climb out of this darn learning pit.

Finally, as always, I have to thank my coach.  Many coaches when receiving a break up text which included – “We’ll begin again in January and rebuild.” – would have responded OK, see you then, be well.  But mine, nope not her.  She was not letting me off the hook, rather she decided to throw a rope into the pitt and implore me to take hold of it.  She gave me the Moonstruck speech – you know the one – “Snap out of it” followed by a slap.  She reminded me that to just choose to heal, without strengthening or working to cure the dysfunction would just leave me back on the other side of this darn learning pit.

Back to the beginning of this journey is definitely not what I have in mind either.  I’ve put too much work into this struggle to just go home.  So, I am taking the weekend to regroup, alter my plans and get my butt outside to RUN.  My long run is Sunday and I’m shooting for – AS MANY AS I CAN, AS SLOW AS I MUST AND WITHOUT ANY TIME, HEART RATE OR PACE GOALS PLANNED.  WOOHOO

I feel my hand gripping that rope, I see my feet climbing the other side of the pit’s wall. Thanks to the signs sent my way this week, the message has been received loud and clear.  Onward!

Special thanks to my dear friend and coach Jessica Leggio for never giving up on me.  This is what good teachers do, they teach, push and love us.

Feeling like giving up?  Need some messages yourself?  Check out these links for some inspiration and keep climbing!

A Beautiful Work In Progress You will laugh with her, you will cry and most importantly you will leave motivated. Highly recommend the audible version through Amazon.

31 Marathons in 31 Days
Amazing story of overcoming obstacles

Last, but not least, meet my beautiful coach Jessica Leggio. Call her to set up a consultation and you will leave motivated to overcome your challenge. Mention my blog, or name – Laura Hess Kump – and get a free in person consultation!
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Celebrate Good Times

Today was my group’s 18 mile run in Central Park.  In order to make the 6:00 AM meeting time, I had to wake up at 3:00 AM to leave at 4:00 AM to catch an express bus to the city at 4:30 AM.

I must admit when my husband asked if I was really getting up, I hesitated.  But, the mere thought of running that distance alone prompted me to get moving.  It was a pretty smooth ride in on a mostly empty express bus.  When I got dropped off thought it was dark in the park and kind of creepy.  I was unsure of the exact meeting spot, I just knew it was near the Columbus Circle entrance to the park.  When I found this statue I sent a photo to my husband and asked, is the the Columbus statue because it sure doesn’t look like him.  I’m still laughing over that blonde moment.

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We took off at 6:15 and my specific group had 10 runners.  The pacer this week was all business, so I don’t have one single photo or selfie to share.  The pace was much faster than I normally do on my long runs, but I was able to keep up for 10 miles.  At mile 10 I told them I was going to break off from the group and head back toward the starting point,  My feet were burning literally and I didn’t want to chance another setback.  I did another 2 at a slower pace and decided that was enough for this week and I was going to head back to the bus.  When I got on the bus toward home I was stressing about not doing the remaining 6 miles.  At that point I reflected on the morning’s run and realized I was focusing too much on what I hadn’t done and not even looking at what I had accomplished.

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When I looked at the splits and average pace for my run, I realized that I had a lot to celebrate.  The average pace for the run was 2 minutes faster than I normally do for my long runs.  Long runs are generally meant to be slow and easy, but this was more of a tempo run for me.  I was able to keep up with the group at that pace for 10 solid miles.  After that the 2 that I did alone were at my normal pace, but my overall average pace per mile for the run remained 2 minutes faster.  I felt strong out there on those darn hills in Central Park, which have always been challenging for me.  I can’t say I enjoyed them, but I made it up them all and held my pace.  Cat Hill and Harlem Hill did not defeat me today!!  My feet didn’t start burning until mile 8, usually the pain starts at 7 so that’s an improvement too.  I’m consistently running half marathon distances on long runs and last year that was a challenge.  And, now as I am recovering, I am not overly tired or sore.  I listened to my body today and didn’t let my ego push me to do something stupid that would have ended in another injury.  I’d say this was a very positive training session for me and I need to celebrate my personal victories, rather than beat myself up for my perceived shortcoming.

I’m sure I am not the only one in training, or life, that needs to learn to accentuate the positive to keep my motivation.  When we get so focused on the negative, we can easily feel defeated and possibly give up.  Today, I’m reminding myself to be kind to myself and focus on what I did well.  I’m excited for next week’s long run and know that today I built some solid muscles out there, both mentally and physically.

How’s your training going?  Please leave me a comment below.

Run, Roll, Ice, Rest, Repeat

As my long runs grow longer I’ve started changing things up.  Running 4-6 miles alone is not a problem.  The time is meditative and therapeutic and goes by pretty quickly.  Running 13+ miles alone can be dreadfully long and boring, at least for me.  After mile 7, when alone, I find myself mentally whining about everything.  I joined a running club last year but didn’t go to the meet ups to run with them. I was training for a half and the longest long run I had on the schedule was 10 miles.  I just didn’t feel the need to push myself to go into the city to run when I could run here and be done that much sooner.   This year is very different and boy was I missing out!  Every weekend when the long run rolls around I start looking for ways to make it more interesting and enjoyable.  Life begins at the end of your comfort zone is a saying I look at on my daily coffee cup.  Time to step out of the comfort of running in my neighborhood and join others who are on the same journey as me.

Today I got up at 4:00 to catch a 5:00 AM train to travel 2 hours by train, ferry, train to meet up with my running club.

An added benefit my childhood friend Helen who is running the marathon with me decided to meet me there also.  I can’t say that when that my husband woke me with – “Are you sure you want to do this?  You sure you want to travel 4 hours to run 2? You can run right here.” – I jumped out of bed eager to make the trek.  Really supportive way to open my eyes, but he is right it is a long way to travel to run and adding 2 hours before and after the run surely does extend the time I need to devote to it.  Luckily it’s once a week that the long run rolls around.

When I first arrived in the city, I was super excited to see Helen.  We quickly caught up and joined the club members gathering on Chambers and Centre Street in a small park.  We listened to the route plans and before we had time to think about it we were off running.  The city was alive with runners, bikers and just so many people out there getting fit.  Our group had a group of 8 women who all are training for the marathon.  For some it’s a repeat – one runner said this is her 6th time running it.  For us it is our first and we were so excited to be running with a group of like minded women.  It was so uplifting to share the long run with others and the time did go by faster than it would have had I been alone.

 

My running had become such a routinized event – run, roll, ice feet & legs, rest, repeat.  Each day the same, over and over and over again.  Sometimes you start to lose the fun of it all.  Yesterday as I ran with these beautiful women, I felt like I was enjoying myself instead of stressing over pace, time, distance, heart rate, etc. etc. etc.  I felt lighter and really enjoyed talking and laughing as I ran.  And when we finished I didn’t even mind running another mile to make the ferry to get home.  Maybe it was the change of scenery, but I believe it was the company.

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So this week, think about what you are doing each day.  If your workout feels like a chore, or an item to check off your list, think about how you infuse some fun into it.  What would make it less routinized and more carefree?  For me, infusing a group long run on the weekend has reenergized me and made me look forward to next week’s long run, rather than dreading it.  Yes, it is still HARD work out there, but as I said last week – I get by with a little help from my friends.

Let me know how it’s going for you, please leave a comment below.