Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Keeping that chin up

Blog rewind: Let me start by backing up two weeks and telling you about that 14-miler. It was brutal, but I did it. That’s thanks especially to my friend Lori and her son, Jack, who planned to meet me at Georgetown’s waterfront park afterward. The plan to meet up with them ensured that I got myself out to the Capital Crescent trail (an old favorite path of mine) and had enough time to finish.

The beginning was hard. I was exhausted, could barely pick up my legs and my CamelBak (I bought one to help keep me hydrated on long runs) was so heavy. But I kept telling myself that the beginning is always hard for me. It takes me a good two-three miles to warm up. So I kept on. When I hit the turnaround point at Mile 7, I was feeling good. But right before mile 12, oof – it became brutal. It was getting hot, the sun was intense, and I was feeling really nauseated and woozy. The last two miles seemed to last forever, and I wondered if I was even capable of finishing them on two legs. At one point, I stopped and stood against a railing until the nausea passed. It took me more than 40 minutes to do those last two miles, I was dragging so much.

But what a feeling of accomplishment when I finished. It had been about six years since I had gone that far.

That week was rough at work – I was filling in for a colleague and worked long days and didn’t run once. Not even on Sunday.

Last week at work was also bad. I stayed late nearly every night and worked till 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday to finish a photo gallery for Jon Stewart’s last show. The next night was the GOP debate, and I stayed until 3:30 a.m. Needless to say, with the exception of some speedwork on Tuesday, I didn’t get out to run. (The speedwork was good, though my foot began to hurt toward the end.)

On Sunday, the plan was to do 16 miles. My foot was hurting a bit and I worried about getting too far out and not being able to get back. So I only went to mile 5 and turned around then, finishing with 10. I was so tired. When I got home I fell into bed and slept solid. 

Today, Wednesday, I went out to do speedwork ... only to find that the track was closed again. It had reopened to my delight last week but here it was shuttered once more! So I went out on to the hilly Custis Trail and tried to run as fast as I could. I was impressed with my speed and endurance -- until I looked at my watch and saw how insanely slow I had been going. It was frustrating to say the least.

How am I feeling mentally? That’s been … interesting. Of course, the realistic part of me still worries and believes 100 percent that I’m incapable of meeting the time limit for MCM. But even if that IS the case, I have reason to push on. Two of them, actually:

1. That girl in the picture I posted last month. When I think about her – when I imagine her saying what’s coming out of my mouth (I can’t do it – I’m too slow – what if I can’t finish? – I should give up), I want to shake her and lift up her chin and tell her NO—you can do ANYTHING. You just keep trying, OK? What will be, will be, but don’t give up.

2. An answer to an important question I recently posed. I wrote to an old coach of mine asking if it was even capable of a person my size to even run a 14-15-minute-mile, to even finish the MCM. He wrote back and told me it was possible but that it would require a lot of hard work. Days later, I came across a Runner’s World story about a woman who is my weight and runs marathons and ultra-marathons. She finished MCM at least three times. She runs at an 11-13-minute mile. She makes no apologies for her weight. She is amazing. And she gives me hope that it’s possible.

So with those two people as my inspiration, I continue on.


  1. Keep at it! We are all rooting for you! I'm coming back to running after having a baby and you're inspiring me to keep pushing on my marathon training.