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.

 

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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What a Runner Looks Like

Taking a much needed mental break from training today. I suffered an ocular migraine at work this week and lost vision for a brief time in my left eye. Kind of scary stuff. Anyway, the doctor ran tests and assures me I’m fine. Just way too much stress in my life I guess. My son came up for the weekend and I’m taking it easy today. Tomorrow I am back out there running the Greta Gallop in Central Park.

Today’s column is a repost of an article I wrote for an online magazine that was published this week. It tells my story for anyone who doesn’t know me. All I can say is sometimes the struggle is very real. Taking it one day at a time. Thankful for all who continue to encourage me on this journey, especially my beautiful coach Jessica Leggio at http://www.runpainfreenow.com .

Thanks for reading and leaving me a comment in the section below. Please click the link below to view and read my article. Enjoy!

What a Runner Looks Like

Small Victories

Last week, I guess I hit a huge bump in the road.  My hip was sore, my feet hurt and I had a rough work week.   My running buddy was injured and out of the marathon and I was seriously questioning my ability to finish this thing.   Sunday, I planned to skip my long run as I just didn’t think I had it in me to do.

Sunday came and I decided to just give it a try.  I had nothing to lose since I already felt lost.   I put one foot in front of the other and started running.  13 miles later, I  met my husband down by the beach.  I was so proud of that run.   It was slow and steady and mostly pain free.   Could it be?   I felt like I had one foot on the ladder, ready to climb out of this darn pity party.

This week was a short work week. I met my trainer in Central Park on Thursday.   We did an hour of strength and she rolled my legs – ouch.   Off I went for a short 4 mile run in the park.  It felt slow, but when I got on the bus and looked at it I saw I had some nice segments.   Central Park is a tough run, so those PR segments really boosted my bruised ego.

This morning I met my trainer for our Saturday morning session.  I was sore from Thursday so her rolling helped.  After an hour of strength, activation and rolling I was ready to run.  I only needed a shorter run today as this is a recovery week.  I set my sights on Cat Hill and off I went.

Today’s run also had some strong segments, but overall these legs were tired.  I’m feeling like I’m in a much better space today.   My belief that I will finish marathon this has returned.  I wish I had more time to prepare, but it is what it is.

In speaking to other runners, there are many who are hurting right about now.  But, guess what, it’s supposed to be hard, it’s a marathon for heavens sake.  If it were easy it wouldn’t be a challenge and everybody would be doing it.  Just like I tell my students, the growth comes at the point of the struggle.   This week, I realized that I’m tougher than I thought.   It would’ve been easier to quit, truly.   But, then I’d be full of regret and have to do this all over again.  Nope, I’m not a quitter.  I’m in it to finish.  How about you?

Thanks Jessica for picking me back up off the floor.   Today I ran Central Park hills, tired but pain free.  http://runpainfreenow.com

How’s your training going?   What do you do when the going gets tough?   Leave me a messsage below.

Emotional Toll

Nobody warns you about the emotional toll of training for a marathon. You only envision the glory of the finish and even the accomplishments along the way. You hear all about losing toenails and the endless hours of running. But the emotional toll just kind of creeps in around 7 weeks out. Suddenly, that race that seemed so far away is fast approaching. You find yourself questioning your sanity and ability to even do this thing. You forget why in the world you even wanted to do it in the first place.

Unless you are an elite, professional runner, you are trying to fit this huge feat into your daily grind. Starts out ok, but trust me as the weeks move along it can become stressful. I happen to have a high stress job that pulls me in a million directions, usually at 90 mph. This is stress I manage pretty well on a daily basis. It is what is is. But, when you tack on this hefty training commitment it can become a bit much to handle.

During the summer, I have a ton of mind space for running and meal planning. There aren’t all these other demands on my body and emotions. An extra hectic school opening this year, full of life’s curveballs, has left me really tired this week. Whenever you deal with the emotions and needs of others you are bound to hit some bumps in the road. This training cycle has made me realize just how much of myself I give to everyone else and sadly how little I give myself.

My wonderful coach Jessica, http://runpainfreenow.com spent a lot of time today listening to me fall apart. She was patient and kind and for that I’m eternally grateful. Some days, I guess we need more than just a training session. Sometimes we need to hear that it’s ok to put ourselves first. To hear that while it is my job to shield my students from the stresses I absorb daily, that doesn’t mean I can’t share the load with the adults in my building. They, unlike my students, are adults. They too, if we are a team, should know the realities of what is faced on a daily basis to keep our school afloat. Maybe then they could gain some perspective beyond just their own. It can only serve to strengthen our team.

So, today I decided to put myself before anyone else. I’ll admit it felt quite selfish of me, but that’s the mindset that needs to change. Today, I spent time reading and relaxing after my trip to the city. I spent time in bed reading up on things I’m interested in. No news was on and no negativity permeated my zen space. I didn’t respond to work email, in fact I didn’t even read them.

Last night’s inability to sleep was my body warning me it’s on overload. I need to reel myself in and begin to set aside some time just for me. I am human like everyone else in my life and I too need time to recharge and rest. I can’t continue to put myself last.

As I move into this last phase of training my body is tired. My emotions are taking over and self doubt about my ability to finish are creeping in. I’m doubling down though and kicking that doubt to the curb. My coach and my running buddies will pull me through this race. The lessons I’ve learned about how I treat my own emotional needs will stick with me beyond the finish line. I matter and I am important.

Has your training begun to wear you down too? Do you have a coach like mine who is available 24/7 to get you through? If not, how are you surviving it? Leave your comments below.

Scaffolds

In education when a child is not quite ready for a task we offer them a scaffold.  If a math problem is too complex for them we break it into smaller, more manageable parts.   In reading, we offer them books at their independent reading level, rather than expecting them all to read the same book.  Yet, when it comes to exercise tasks we tend to reject all scaffolds offered.  We look at these scaffolds as a sign of weakness rather than what they truly are, a way to lift us up and enable us to finish the task.

On today’s run, I started to think about this connection and realized I’m just as guilty as anyone of rejecting scaffolds.  I like to say I’m stubborn, determined or a true warrior.   Somehow lately I’m realizing that I’m foolish and letting my ego guide me rather than my common sense.

Scaffolds for runners are meant to help, not hinder, their development.  If the body is not quite ready to do what you are asking of it, you could end up getting injured.  Trust me, this I know first hand!  Building and developing the right muscles for the activity you want to perform is not an option.  You must spend the time and do the work to have proper functionality.   If something along your muscular chain is weak, something else will become overloaded and injury could follow.  My coach has finally got that point seared in my stubborn, I mean foolish, brain. I have now added some scaffolding to my training to ensure that I make it not only to the starting line, but also to the finish.

Since my Achilles has been giving me trouble, I’ve added the scaffold of running intervals on my runs.  This scaffold builds breaks for this muscle into each run.  Without them the repetitive motion over three hours could really put a strain on my Achilles.   It’s also been allowing me to work more on my form, hopefully developing the right muscle groups.   Another scaffold I’m embracing is slowing my pace on long runs.   Long runs are meant to develop endurance, not pace, so I’ve given myself permission to turn off the app that tells me my pace as I’m running.  My friend who has run 7 marathons shared with me that you can never run too slow on a long run.  He said during his training for his first marathon he ran himself into the ground.   During that race he barely finished with anything left in his tank.   Sounds like I need to slow it down on those long runs immediately.

Finally, today I gave myself the accommodation of flexibility.   I’m a very schedule driven runner.   I like to run super early to avoid car traffic and heat.  If I don’t go by 6:00 AM, I start stressing and thinking about running another day.  I never sleep in on weekends either.   Today, after two exhausting days at work, I woke at 3:00 AM ready to get moving.  I came down, had a bowl of oatmeal and cup of coffee. I then walked right back up and got back in my bed. I turned on the hurricane reports and before I knew it I decided to go back to sleep thinking I’d run tomorrow instead.   I woke again at 8:00, got up and did my pre-run activation routine. Then I went out and did my scheduled long run.  Honestly, it felt good to not rush out to run.  Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to change the plan, but not permission to skip it.

Scaffolds do not mean you’re any less or a runner than another.  They mean you are focused on completing your task.  Thanks coach Jessica for readjusting my perspective.

How are your workouts going?   Are you forcing yourself through them, or loving them?   If, like me you are running in pain, consider calling Jessica for a consultation.  She can truly help get you back on the road again.  Her site is https://www.runpainfreenow.com and her Twitter handle is #runpainfree .  Tell her Laura recommended you and get your consultation booked.  Let me know how it goes. It could be life changing.

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.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

I will freely admit that I picked up this book by Mark Manson simply because of the title.  You must admit it’s eye catching and makes you want to pick it up.  The vulgarity in the first few chapters was a bit much, but buried under all that were some important messages.  As I was out running long yesterday the messages were circling around in my head.  There were many connections to be found here to my life, including as a runner preparing to run her first marathon.

First, I believe under the tongue in cheek writing, sarcasm and vulgarity, this books is about finding what’s important to you and letting go of the rest. Manson advocates for limiting the amount of emotional energy you expend being concerned about things that have little to no meaning or value in your life.  An example would be worrying needlessly about someone else’s Facebook feed.  If you spend time thinking about how someone else’s life is seemingly perfect, or reading into everyone’s response (or lack thereof) to your posts, then perhaps you are valuing the wrong things.  Recently, I overheard a conversation on the ferry that speaks to this concept.  A woman was lamenting to her friend over someone she thought was a good friend.  She was saying that every time she posts something on Facebook this “friend” doesn’t comment, or even like her posts.  But, she noticed that whenever another mutual friend posts this “friend” not only likes and comments, she pushes the love button.  I remember thinking the conversation was ridiculous at the time, but after reading it made me realize that people really do overthink this Facebook stuff.

There are so many subtle lines in this book that will make you laugh and think.  For example, one is around the over emphasis on positivity.  While I agree totally with surrounding ourselves with positivity, Manson points out the cold, hard truth – “sometimes things are f***ed up and we have to live with it.”  If we set up this unrealistic expectation that life needs to always be positive and Disney like, we set ourselves up to feel like failures when it’s not.  This is exactly how I feel some days – my ankle and feet hurt most every day and it stinks!  There is nothing to be positive about, but I’ve learned to live with it and keep going.  Do I have to spout some positivity quotes and be thankful for this pain?  NO, it stinks and I’m dealing with it as best I can.   Rather than expending my energy spouting how lucky I am to have this problem, I’m expending my energies trying to overcome it.  Much better use of my time and emotional energy.

Instead of trying to be “perfect” all the time, Manson suggests asking yourself what problems you have.  Life, he writes is actually a series of problems.  He writes, that “Life is essentially an endless series of problems. The solution to one problem is merely the creation of another.”   If we spend our lives trying to get away from our problems, will we ever really succeed?  Will we ever be able to handle losing, or not being perfect?  Instead of focusing all our energy on figuring out “how can I get rid of my problems?”  we should focus on  asking ourselves, “What are the problems that excite me? What are the problems that I’m willing to work hard to figure out?”  In education, we equate this to being in a “learning pit”, deep down in there we are striving to climb our way out.  These are the problems that matter and are worthy of our energy, not whether or not someone liked our Facebook post.

Manson talks a lot about facing truths and not trying to always spin them into something positive.  Think – When life gave me lemons, I made lemonade. What if I don’t like, or want lemonade. He talks abut facing truths and being totally honest with ourselves and others “Once we embrace our fears, faults and uncertainties – once we stop running from and avoiding, and start confronting painful truths – we can begin to find the courage and confidence we desperately seek.”  As I ran along yesterday my darn ankle starting hurting, like always, around mile 6.  Instead of focusing on it I told myself, this is your reality.  It’s going to be uncomfortable running 26.2 miles so you may as well get used to it.  I could find no positivity in the discomfort I was feeling and didn’t feel like expending my energy on it.  It stinks but it’s my reality and I needed to keep on going.  There was no lemonade to be made from these lemons.  Rather, there was determination, perseverance and grit to be made.  Instead of aiming to have this perfect run I accepted that sometimes runs are not perfect.  Sometimes there is pain and discomfort and it just plain sucks.  But, despite this, I can and will continue because it’s important to me to finish what I started.

I realize the book may not be for everybody because the author does use colorful language.  For me, I liked the author’s refreshingly honest spin on self help.  I laughed out loud so many times and was eager to share the book with others.  It also reminded me that I’ve been focusing my energies in the wrong areas in my marathon training.  Reality and things I don’t give a f**k about – I will not win the marathon.  I will not finish in the top ten percent.  I am a slower runner.  I will likely have discomfort at some point in the run – hopefully toward the end.  Reality and things I give a f**k about – I will finish the run.  I will run with my running friends.  I will have a great time running through NYC and enjoy the crowds.  I will complete this bucket list race.  I will be proud of myself and my efforts to get this done.

What do you give a f**k about?  Please feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

Your Body is a Wonderland

I just returned from my week down at the beach.  I feel refreshed, relaxed and thankful that I get to spend time there every year.  This year was especially good because my entire family was able to get down.  That doesn’t happen often so we enjoyed our time together.   I was able to get my weekly runs completed on some nice flat running surfaces, as well as do some strength work in a beautiful park.  I used the walk/run interval strategy for my runs as part of my plans to heal my aching achilles and feet.  My runs went really well, but I still experienced some pain in my ankles and walking stairs continues to be difficult.  I’m continuing this journey and will make an appointment this week to see a physical therapist or doctor to check in on this stiffness and pain.

Last week I talked about making the switch to a Galloway walk/run plan to ensure I am able to complete the New York Marathon.  I talked about my struggles in making this switch because my ego keeps telling me I’m less of an athlete if I have to do it this way.  This week I’d like to explore a little bit about how media and marketing have contributed to my feelings.  While I recognize this is a personal struggle, I’d be remiss if I didn’t address the fact that many women are body shamed for not having the perfect runners body.  It may not be intentional, but there is that pause when you tell someone you are a runner and they look surprised and/or do the eyes up and down your body.  Yup, it happens often and leaves you feeling like you need to then say something in response.

Thankfully, I’ve never been body shammed publicly on runs (that I know of), but there are many women who have been.  Women who have been laughed at or had to endure comments from onlookers about how they “may need to up their mileage.”  Anyone who runs knows it’s hard enough just to get out there and when you don’t have that perfect runners body it can be even harder.  I’m very self conscious about running and always put myself down about it – not fast enough, not looking good today, etc.   It actually took me almost two years to be willing to put on a pair of shorts to run outside!  I’ve gotten past that at this point and truly just run and tune that inner dialogue out.

Looking at the Galloway method, I’ve come to realize that there are many misconceptions out there about using this walk run interval strategy.  I also realize that there are some underlying contributing factors to these perceptions.  I’ve actually heard some runners saying, “those Galloway girls are big.”  Newsflash, not all Galloway runners are large, overweight, out of shape or beginners.  This months Women’s Running magazine, dubbed as “devoted to beginners”, discussed the effective use of walk run intervals for beginners and beyond.  It was an interesting read and really outlined the benefits of using this strategy.  I think the cover was beautiful and I am NOT in any way personally attacking or body shaming anyone.  I’m really just wondering today about our perceptions of runners bodies and how media strongly impacts these perceptions.  The gorgeous cover model on this issue had a body very different from the models who normally grace the cover of this magazine.  I have a subscription and love this magazine, but wonder why.  Why is it that the magazine devoted to beginners and walk run intervals has a cover that is different from all the others?

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It’s very disheartening when you are trying to feel good about yourself when you are faced with these types of images linked to certain types of activities.  Runners come in all body sizes and shapes.  Go to any race and look around and you will soon feel better.  There are runners of all sizes and shapes and most are very welcoming and encouraging.    Women’s Running magazine is well aware of the feelings of women runners who do not have the perfect runners body.  Recently, they featured a plus size runner on their cover and she spoke candidly about her feelings of looking at magazines and not finding herself represented in any of them.   My question then is why does featuring a curvy woman runner became an “event”?  Why is this not the norm to include all types of running bodies on the cover of a running magazine?  There are many of us out there running and wanting to improve our health that do not have the perfect runner body.  Shouldn’t we be equally represented on the covers of running magazines and not seen as an occasional event.

Many women have body issues, this is a known fact.  Yes, we are personally responsible for our choices and how we deal with these issues.  Personally, I choose to recognize that fitness comes in many different forms.  There is something out there for all of us and as long as we are moving it’s all good.  This week I am proud of myself for using the walk run interval strategy to get my miles done.  I ran them proudly and got in three great workouts.  My long run on Saturday burned over 1100 calories and that’s nothing to sneeze about.  This week I choose to celebrate my work rather than beat myself up that it’s not what it was, or what others feel it should be.  It was actually exactly what I needed.

I’d love to hear from you about your journey to reclaim your health.  How’s it going?

 

 

 

 

 

 

If You Want a Different Result, Try Something New!

I’ve been going back and forth trying to get my training plan right.  I am working with a Marathon Heart Rate Training group plan which calls for me to keep my heart rate at, or under 140 bpm.  I also have been thinking about using the Galloway method of run/walk/run intervals to train.  I keep going back and forth with the benefits of each plan.  The heart rate plan builds my anaerobic systems and should keep me healthy and injury free.  The Galloway plan also keeps me injury free as I’m building in recovery and not continuously straining my ankle tendons.  I keep asking myself, Do I realistically expect to run 26.2 miles without stopping?  Do I want to train using run/walk/run intervals, or continuous running like I did for my half marathon?  There are so many things to consider and honestly my achilles is still not feeling great.  I’ve been trying to push through and modify as needed but the pain has not totally subsided.  It’s super hard to be motivated to train and run when it hurts.

When I returned to running this spring, I was using intervals to build my stamina back up.  I always felt the time went faster and it was a great workout.  Yet, I still thought of it as a temporary measure, one that was meant to build me up and then taper away.  As I continued, I had the goal of increasing the intervals until they were gone.  A few weeks ago, I began continuous running and worked up to 6 miles on long runs. If I’m honest with myself, my feet were crying from mile 5 on.  After the run I had difficulty walking and my day was pretty much left to roll, soak, elevate and rest.  Clearly, something had to give and that something was my EGO.

Last year, I joined a running club in Manhattan – The Galloway Club.  I never went to one run and just decided it wasn’t for me because after all, I was a runner.  This year, I joined the club again and told myself I was going to try it, but didn’t.  While I did try intervals, I didn’t go to join the club for the long runs, which by the way are geared to training for the marathon.  This week I had a long, honest talk with my EGO and decided that if I am going to make it through this marathon I need to do what my body needs, not what my EGO wants.  Wednesday morning I met with Filicia, a local Galloway club member and we ran 3 miles at the park.  We did 45:30 intervals and I noticed that my pace was much quicker than when I run continuously.  I also noticed that my feet didn’t hurt quite as much.  The rest of the day I didn’t need to recover and elevate, ice, etc my feet.  Listening to her tell me about the three marathons she ran successfully really helped me make my decision.  I am officially doing run/walk/run interval training and plan to run the marathon using this strategy.  Thanks Filicia for talking me through this and for running with me!

Today, we met again and ran 7 miles, the same route I ran last week.  Last week by mile 5 my feet were pretty shot and I wasn’t sure if I could finish.  This week, though I had some soreness, I finished the run and didn’t feel finished for the day.  I’m super excited to feel like I WILL complete this marathon using this strategy.  I also am excited that perhaps my achilles will finally begin to heal.  When I compare how I felt this week recovering from the run to how I felt last week it is really a no brainer.  I feel much better and more able to go about the business of my day.

In reflecting on why this decision was so hard for me to make, I know my ego is the cause.  I didn’t think of run/walk/run intervals as “running”.  I felt that if I needed to use this strategy, I was weak.  I am fully aware that the man who created this method, Jeff Galloway, is an Olympian, but I just couldn’t get past feeling like a failure.  A funny thing happened on these last two runs – I felt like I worked hard.  I wasn’t slogging along slowly, praying for the run to end.  I actually felt invigorated and more athletic than before.  It’s hard to explain, but I felt very accomplished and know in my heart I made the right choice.  The reality is, whether I walk, run or crawl, a mile is a mile and I’m out there moving forward!

What are the bullshit stories you tell yourself when you workout, or run?  Please share below.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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