Monday, September 28, 2009

Expectations vs. Reality

Yesterday, I woke up for my 16-mile run expecting it to be bad. After all, I hadn't slept much the whole week, was feeling rundown and feared I was getting sick.

I expected a rainy, cool day, and with that, no need for my normal bug spray spray-down.

Then I started running. Warmer than I thought. No rain yet. And I didn't feel awful.

The first person I saw greeted me with a huge smile and hello.

Steps into my run, I looked down only to find a perfect flower petal on the ground.

Things were looking up.

The big thing screaming in my brain during my run was "Sept. 30 is the last day I can defer my Marine Corps Marathon registration until next year." Would I have such a bad run that I would have to defer? Would it be so-so and therefore make me unsure what I should do? With each step, I wondered.

By Mile 11, the good run turned bad. I was feeling dizzy. Off. Couldn't catch my breath. Wondered if I had drank too much water and was about to die. Wondered if I was just getting sick. Oh, and then there were the bugs snacking on me here and there.

But the rain had held off, surprisingly.

Around Mile 13-14, I almost ate a big bug. Was in my mouth. I was able to spit him out.

I walked a lot of Mile 15. Actually didn't think I would make it one more step. My feet ached.

The rain started pouring down, making an already muddy trail more like a mud pit (at one point I actually felt a big blob of mud hit my upper calf.

At the start of Mile 16, I calculated to see where I was and where I needed to be time-wise. If I ran, I could make it in my "allotted" time. So I ran. And I whimpered as I ran. But as I pressed stop on my watch at the end of Mile 16, I had completed it on time (ish -- I admit I was over by 50-some seconds).

Of course, finishing 16 on time doesn't mean I can finish 20 on time (I honestly don't think I could have walked one more step).

I won't be deferring my registration. But that doesn't mean I'm confident. I'll try 20 or 22 next week and we'll see.

So, to sum up: flower petal, ate a bug, mud, aching feet.

And, I admit, one of the most poorly written blog entries of all time.

While I'm not as busy as last week, I'm still busy. But I've managed to get a bit organized today, have my clothes in the washing machine and am about to dive into my teaching work for the week once I get back from the grocery store.

This marathon looks so hopeless sometimes. I wish so bad I could get my act together. Only 26 days left until the big day and I'm bigger than ever and wondering what I've done to myself...

Maybe I just need some more sleep. Things may look better in the morning.

Except that I have to run and my shoes are still a muddy mess.

Oh, go take a nap, Diana.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


So much to write and so little time. I can't write much right now but I did want to update you. I feel pretty lame having a blog and never updating it....

So work has been out of control and I've been operating on little sleep. I've also been slacking in my training and eating very poorly. It's a cycle, I suppose, of stress and not running, which makes me gain weight, which makes me eat, which makes me gain more weight.

I went to Philadelphia this past weekend to run a half marathon with Greg and his family -- I signed up at the last minute and was just using it as a training run, but it's a favorite course of mine. Because it was a fallback week for mileage, I used my prayers the night before and the morning of for my friend Julie and Greg's sister, Amy, both of whom had been nursing injuries and were slated to run their longest races (Julie a marathon and Amy a half). I didn't think much of my own running....but I suppose I should have...

Before the race began, as I was stretching, I realized my calf was tender to the touch. And then, as I started running, it hurt. And it never stopped hurting. By mile 2, when it was still tight/hurting, I decided that if I was still feeling the pain by mile 4, I'd drop out (that's where the race loops around to the start/finish easy out). It never let up. I dropped out.

I was upset but not too upset. I know I could have done the race if I had no other plans to run in the next month. But I didn't want to hurt myself for the marathon and I knew that if this was indeed a true training run, I would have stopped.

It still sucks, though, to not finish a race. Watching everyone finish. Watching folks walk by in their race shirts and medals. Realizing I spent $85 for nothing. But I am not wallowing, I swear. I'm moving on.

Thrillingly, both Julie and Amy did great, no, awesome in their races.

And now I try to focus on the next 33 days. I decided that, despite a schedule that is about to get even more hectic, I CANNOT allow myself to fall apart physically because of work. So I worked on my lessons last night, got to bed before midnight, got up at 6 a.m. to run and now am headed off to class. I have a book to proofread this week as well, but I'm going to try to get in even the smallest bit of exercise and/or stretching each day.

I feel better having run 3 miles before class. I hope I can keep it up. I also hope I can stop eating crap.

But I have to add this: My mom (hi Mom!) wants me to join NutriSystem because it's working for her and she thinks it will help me. But I truly believe it's not about the program you're using. People can throw ideas/diets/programs/etc. at me all day and none will stick if I don't have my mind in the right place. And only I can get my mind into that place where I'm ready to focus on this. I am trying. I swear. But for some reason, perhaps stress, perhaps fear, I am having trouble getting into that mindset. But I'm not giving up. Today is a new day.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thank you, thank you, thank you God!

After getting home from work at 12:30 a.m. and to bed at 1 a.m., I realized as I set my alarm clock for 4 a.m. that I didn't need to take my contact lenses out before bed because, technically, this was just going to be a nap.

I had to get up at 4 a.m. in order to get to First Landing by 5:30 a.m. and have plenty of time to run the scheduled 20 miles before my noon shift at work. As I dragged myself out of bed, I felt some soreness in my kneecap and wondered if I should not run, maybe put it off until Sunday (which I didn't want to do b/c of a trip to D.C. that would be thrown off by my hobbling if I ran that same day).

I said, "no, no, no" and proceeded to gather the million things it takes to run for five hours.

When I arrived, it was pitch black. I forgot that the side streets in Virginia Beach don't have much lighting (I had to run side streets until the park opened at sunrise). I had trouble seeing in front of me and had to use my light on my watch constantly as I timed my 4-minute-run/1-minute-walk routine.

I took my GUs and drank my Gatorade regularly and discovered something amazing...I was feeling wonderful. By "I" I mean my endurance, not my little legs, which were already hurting by mile 10.

I carried a pace chart the whole way to see if I could stay on track. My goal for this 20-miler was to see if I could do it in the required 5 hours-or-less I have to "beat the bridge." My past long runs were kind of close, but not really.

So when I got to mile 14 and it was better than last week's 14, I was thrilled. When I got to mile 18 and it was better than the 18-miler two weeks ago, I was giddy. When I realized, at mile 19.25 that I was going to finish in under 5 hours, I practically cried. I thanked God throughout my run on Saturday, but I was praising him those last steps. My prayers were being answered. I finished with 6 minutes, 20 seconds to spare.

(Side note: I fight with myself a lot on praying for good runs. I know there are people out there who are praying for much more important things in life and this is really nothing. I know that. I do. And I pray for them, too.)

I had less than an hour to get ready for work, and then I worked my eight hours, practically falling asleep at the computer (which doesn't bode well for how the section turned out....). Today, I stretched before getting out of bed, and while I have some pains, none seem serious.

I am just so grateful. So very, very, very grateful.

I realize that I still could get pulled off the course, that the hills in D.C. may affect me, that ANYTHING can happen. But this successful 20-miler gave me such hope. And the fact I was still able to do my 4-1 run/walk even in the end gives me hope that I can keep pushing forward to 26.1.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A good 5

A good five miles!

It was hotter than I expected, but the nice cool breeze was so pleasant.

Now back to work...

A solid 14

Again, I'm sorry I'm MIA. I hope things get better soon, but it looks like I'm in for some really hard weeks, likely months, of work.

I did want to tell you I had a nice 14-miler on Sunday. I stayed on pace the whole time (though, yes, it's easier to stay on pace for 14 miles than 20 miles) and nothing hurt too bad. I have slacked once again this week and haven't run since Sunday, though I hope to run after my 10:30 appt. for new running shoe insoles. Hope it's not too hot by then.

I'm just so tired. Who would have thought that training for a marathon is easier than teaching a class?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The good word

I was talking to my massage lady yesterday to reschedule an appointment, and she asked me, "How's the running going?"

I told her about Saturday's 18 miles, how long it took, how I was afraid I wouldn't be able to Beat the Bridge, etc. Her response: "I think you're right where you need to be in your training." (Can you hear my sigh of relief?) She said that, based on Saturday's time, and the fact that it will be cooler in October and I'll have tapered in my training, I should be OK. Who knows if she's right, but it made me feel so much better to have someone who knows running like she does (she's also a trainer) see the positive in my training.

I've been so stressed with the new teaching gig, I have neglected my running/working out this week. But I was determined to run this morning, and I just got back. It was a perfect five-mile run. Weather was just gorgeous. And it helped me clear my head. I'm so very grateful.