Celebrate the Journey

At 3:00 AM this morning I awoke and made some coffee.  It was time to make my final decision, even though it really was made for me two weeks ago.  I had been able to wear a sneaker all week at work, albeit a size larger than my normal size, but a sneaker it was.  I took the boot off and got my foot into the sneaker and it was quite comfortable to walk in with lots of room for my swollen foot.  The femoral stress fracture hasn’t been giving me too much pain since I stopped running, which is a great sign the healing process has begun.  Of course, I knew what had to be done, but I still clung to the hope that I could show up on Sunday and just pull 26.2 miles out of my body.

The terror attack in New York City really put everything in perspective.  There truly are so many others who have it far worse than a broken toe and missed marathon run.  My heart is broken for our city and I pray for healing for the victims’ families.  My husband has been bothering me all week to push the defer button for Sunday.  He reminded me that in the grand scheme of my life, running this marathon does not define me.  It does not take away all that I have learned from this long training cycle, nor does it erase how much I have gained from this experience.  So, it was with a heavy heart that I pushed the red button to defer my entry to 2018.

Today, I’d like to celebrate my journey to run the 2017 New York City Marathon and reflect on my personal successes along the way.  This day will close the chapter on my 2017 bid and begin my next journey toward running in the 2018 New York City Marathon.

Throughout this journey, I learned that I am capable of far more than I ever thought possible.  Having suffered two (now three) major injuries, I am amazed at my body’s ability to recover and restart over again.  There is really nothing I feel I can’t accomplish if I work hard and believe in myself.  Yes, the end result may not be what I envisioned, or wanted, but in the end I still have accomplished a personal victory because I put in the work.  When I started this training cycle back in the early spring, I was struggling to even be able to run three miles.  I wondered if I could pull out another comeback and began to mentally question how I thought I would run 26.2 when I couldn’t even run 3 anymore.  I kept going out there and working and modifying as best I could.  Soon three miles felt easy again and I began to find the joy in running again.  I felt my determination returning and knew I would rebuild and get it done.

When I trained for the half marathon I ran last year, I remember thinking that 13.1 miles was so far and that I would never want to run that distance again.  I decided then that 10K was my distance and I would be perfectly content to just run that.  One and done on the half marathon distance and I certainly never would run a full.  After that very hilly race through Pennsylvania, in the shadows of the steel stacks, it took me about a week to feel like I could walk without soreness in my legs.  In this training cycle, 13.1 was a shorter long run and one that really isn’t so hard anymore.  I could run 13.1 on a Sunday and have no soreness or recovery issues.  I could continue my normal running schedule and not need a week off to recover from fatigue.  These days, I think the half marathon may be my distance and I will be perfectly content to just run that.

I put in a lot of miles, many early morning wake ups before dawn, to get in my workouts.  I stayed on schedule even on vacations and days I would have preferred to roll over and stay in bed.  Every Saturday I got up at dawn and traveled by bus or ferry to Manhattan to run with my running club and/or trainer.  All of those Saturdays, I traveled two hours alone on buses, trains and boats and some days ran alone in Central Park.  I’m proud that I stayed consistent with that and feel I learned and grew so much from my connections with these runners.  I’ve made friendships that will last beyond this training cycle and found encouragement and support when I needed it most.  Sometimes, your running friends are the only ones who get it.

I inspired some dear friends to sign up to run this marathon and I’m so proud and happy that they are going to realize their dream tomorrow.  I hope they all feel me in their hearts as I will be cheering and yelling loudly for them.  I hope they enjoy every minute of the long run through our beautiful city.  I look forward to celebrating their victory and hugging them when I see them next.  Secretly, I hope they decide to go back and do it all again with me next year!

Special shout out to my childhood friend, maid of honor at my wedding and lifelong running buddy – Helen.  We’ve literally been through a lifetime together.  We’ve had so many adventures, but these have been the most fun.  I’m so happy you are making it to the starting line, despite your injury.  I’ll be tracking you every step of the way.  Call me if you need some encouragement on the course – YOU GOT THIS!!

To my work friend and running partner Flo, loving known as Patty Peppermints, we’ve logged so many miles, run many races, shared many laughs along the way.  I am so proud of you!  YOU ARE STRONG AND YOU GOT THIS!

To my newest running friend Erika, who I can’t wait to run miles with over the winter,  you amaze me with your strength and resilience.   Not even cancer can keep you down girl!  Despite recent chemo treatments and surgery this week you are toeing the line.  I hoped against hope to do this journey by your side.  It is my hope now that you are with me next year and we will run like gazelles through the course.  YOU ARE A WARRIOR!  GO GET IT.

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To my Sub30 club and the Galloway club you are such great groups of people who I have enjoyed logging those long miles with.  I’ll be looking for the shirts on course and tracking you all on the app.  Can’t wait to start again with you guys in the spring.

Finally, to my friend Nancy.  You are running for many of us who can’t be there.  You have come so far on your journey and I can’t wait to run some miles over the winter.  I’m ready to go in December and there’s a ton of adventures to be had.  Keep working with Jessica and getting stronger.  We can double up on a session soon!!  RUN PAIN FREE GIRL.

For everyone else going out there tomorrow to run the NYC Marathon, remember you’ve already run and experienced way more than 26.2 miles.  This is the beginning of your celebration and victory lap.  Enjoy the run and course.  See you out there next year!

Want to join me on the journey to 2018?  Contact me below and let’s chat.  I’d love to hear about your journey.

In need of a functional movement assessment?  Contact Jessica Leggio and receive a free consultation when you mention this blog, or my name – Laura Hess Kump. Let her guide your journey to NYC2018.

 

Double Dose of No

Yesterday was one of those days where you realize that God has another plan for you than the one you want.  Sometimes, that’s just the way it is and has to be.  That truly doesn’t make it easy to accept and I will say it is quite the bitter pill for me to swallow right now.  I’ve been down this road one too many times and truly it is frustrating and heartbreaking to be two weeks out from my goal.  To have endured so much and given so much of my time and energy toward a dream goal and fall short so close really sucks.

You all know I’ve been struggling with pain in my right leg.  I knew instinctively it was a femoral stress fracture (round two) and tapered down in hopes of being able to still complete the marathon using intervals if necessary.  Heck, I was even willing to walk the darn thing after the injury was confirmed.  Maybe even sneak in some run sections, who cares I was still doing it.  Unfortunately, yesterday brought the crushing blow to the dream and the plans.  Yesterday, I fell on steps at work rushing to a classroom and broke my big toe at the joint on the right foot.  Yup, that was my luck.

The funny (half glass full girl here) part of this tale is that my school was in the middle of Day Two of its Quality Review (think audit).  When the reviewer, who was in a meeting, heard what happened when I hobbled in to the room she graciously offered to reschedule.  Are you kidding me, this lady doesn’t quit or go home until she finishes what she starts.  So I got a pair of sneakers out of my closet and gimped my way through the rest of the day.  I guess that was my “marathon” experience for this year and likely the reviewer’s first broken bone during a review.

Last night when I finally got home at about 7:00, my husband helped me in the house and I had my ugly cry.  I had a tall drink and a personal pity party – heck I am human people.  It felt cleansing to me to have this personal time to just let go of all the emotion I’ve tried to work through during this long training cycle.  It also prepared me to start planning my journey to 2018.

This morning, many of my running friends have been offering me encouragement and love.  For that I am most grateful.  Many have shared their personal stories of walking similar walks. Some have stories far worse than mine – there always can be worse things in life.  Today, I have to push the button to defer my entry to the NYC Marathon.  I tried last night, but that led to the ugly cry and I just couldn’t do it.   Today, I will push the button as I know I now must.

For all who are out there towing the line this year, I will be cheering for you all loud and proud.  I know the hard work you put in to being there and the joy you will feel when it is DONE.  I will envision myself running beside you and see you all next year. #2018NYCM

 

Finding Your Tribe

Wanted – Running group.  Must be supportive and fun loving.  Willing to run early mornings and drink IPA beers after races.  Interested in exploring new routes and suffer through hot, humid days of summer.  Must be willing to sacrifice pace on occasion if group member needs company.  No runner left behind.

Running is very often a one person sport, especially when training for longer distance races.  During my half marathon training last year, I did 100% of the training runs alone.  Partly this was due to the fact that I don’t like the pressure of trying to run at someone else’s pace. I am a slower runner and when I try to run with others I often start to feel bad about myself because I can’t keep up.  I’ve found solace in music and meditation as I run, but it sure would be nice to run with others.  Definitely would make the miles go by faster.

This year as I get ready to begin training for the marathon, I’ve decided to try again to run with others.  Now, I just need to find my tribe – people who run at a pace similar to mine, or are willing to run with me regardless of pace.  I am a member of an online running club and love how supportive this group is.  When I ran my first half marathon, it was with this club.  We all met in the shadows of the steel stacks in Bethlehem, PA for a weekend of running events at the Runners World Festival.  These people were my phone and computer friends, none of which I had ever met in person prior to that weekend.  I must say it was slightly unnerving to attend an event with strangers, but I just knew it was going to be awesome.

Sub30 is a group of runners who share the goal of running a sub 30 minute 5K race.  But, it is so much more than just that.  It is a club that includes people from all over the country.  They share many goals, the most important of which is positivity.  The heart of the group is the ideal that we lift others up and no subber is ever left behind.  During my weekend at the Runner’s World Festival, this running club’s support was incredible to see and receive.  There were people pacing others, sacrificing any PR goals to support another to their goals.  There were people cheering at every race for anyone in the club, strangers or not.  And, there were people near the finish waiting to run in with members of the club, those last steps.  What a true testament this club is to the running community.  It was something so wonderful to experience in person.

 

With this club experience in mind, I decided this year to try to participate more in my local clubs.  I had joined two last year but never attended any of their group runs or events.  This week I attended my first group meet up with a local running club.  While everyone was friendly enough, I didn’t get the same feel as I did from the Sub30 group.  It just seemed like I went to this event to run alone leaving me wonder if I really needed to drive there to do that.  I will definitely give it another try though.  Perhaps on other evenings there will be others who run at a slightly slower pace.  The whole experience left me wishing my Sub30 crew lived closer and wondering why all clubs don’t embrace the same goals.

I have a second club that I’m a member of which is not quite as local.  It is in Manhattan and they meet up on Saturday mornings.  I get a really good feeling about this running club, but the location makes it more challenging for me to get to.  It’s hard to commit to driving in to Manhattan on Saturday mornings when I generally go to Queens to check in on my parents.  I’m trying to work out the logistics though because I’d love to see how this club operates.

I used to prefer to run solo, but recovering from these last two injuries have left me really struggling to regain my confidence.  I’m afraid of re-injuring myself each time I lace up.  I’m questioning my abilities as I struggle through what used to be so easy for me to do.  I’m wondering when running became so hard and how even though I ran with broken toes all winter I’ve lost so much conditioning.  I know that if I could find a good, supportive tribe I could regain my confidence.  The support of the running community is what I need now to push me through.  Running doesn’t have to be this hard and the energy of others will lift me up.

After struggling to keep up with my training schedule as my injury healed, I have finally decided I cant do this alone anymore.  It’s time I step outside my comfort zone and find a running club, or partner, that I can actually run with on a regular basis.  Going to the local meet up this week was the first step and even though it wasn’t amazing, it won’t be the last.

Do you have a local running club you run with?  How did you find your tribe?  I’d love to hear about how the power of this human connection impacted your journey.  Be sure to leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Training Tip – KT Tape

KT Tape is an elastic sports tape designed to relieve pain while supporting muscles, tendons, and ligaments.  I fell in love with KT Tape following my ankle surgery.  I absolutely swear by it and use it for any run over 5 miles, or any race I run.  It feels like my armor, or protection, which takes my mind off my ankle.

I remember when I first started seeing sports tape on athletes in the summer Olympics in 2008.  I was obsessed with beach volleyball that year and remember seeing it and thinking it made the girls look like such bad asses.  The colorful tape was all the rage that year and I wondered what it was for beyond a fashion statement.  Until I needed it, I never really looked into it.  This tape is thought to reduce pain and injury when applied correctly.  The goal is to support the muscles and tendons and aid in the flow of fluids around the area.  It is also thought to help stop ankles from rolling, but I don’t bank on that and am super careful about the terrain I run on.  It may be all in my head, but I feel more confident about my ankle when I wear it and that is well worth the price and time to apply.

Application of the tape can be tricky at first.  I actually went to a vendor at the expo prior to my half to get it applied properly.  They taught me a few tricks I didn’t know, like how to put compression socks on over the tape without ruining it.  They also told me you can leave the tape on for a few days at a time, even showering with it on, which would save some money I guess.  I don’t leave it on as I’d look mighty funny in my work attire and KT tape designs.

If you have any areas that you are concerned about, or experience discomfort in, I highly recommend you check out KT Tape.  It may just be the tip you’re looking for.  There are so many options to choose from when looking.  I like the KT Tape brand and go for the funky colors to keep it interesting.  I recommend you google some videos on Youtube to learn how to put it on correctly.  This is an important step.  Here’s a sample video of how to tape your peroneal tendon, a common running tendon injury.

If you have a Physical Therapist you are working with, ask her to teach you how to correctly apply the tape.  It is well worth learning proper technique to ensure you are getting the benefits from using.

Let me know if you are a fan, like me, of this tape.  Please leave a comment in the section below.

Here’s the information on the tape I use:

KT TAPE Original Cotton Elastic Kinesiology Theraeputic Tape – 20 Pre-Cut 10″ Strips, Blue

It is absolutely worth buying the precut strips.

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