Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A TALE OF TWO RACES (Boston 2018 race recap)

Short version - First it was awful and then it was awesome. 

Long version - The day started out with a 5:30am walk to the Boston Common to board the school buses for the hour ride to Hopkinton. It was already pouring rain and ridiculously windy. Lucky for me, Dana Farber has a refuge for the runners in Hopkinton at a small church so we could stay warm and dry and even get some food and hot coffee. We took a team photo and waited for the announcement to head to the start line.
On the way to the start line the energy and excitement and disbelief of the incredible insane weather buzzed in the crowd of runners. Wave 4 was allowed to start early because of the harsh conditions. Instead of a pulse start broken into mini-waves within each corral, they did a rolling start basically as soon as you got there you could start and we were off and running.

Hopkinton and Ashland flew by. Framingham and Natick…..not so much. I really started to doubt myself and question whether I could continue for 15 more miles. As bad as you think the weather looked, it was WORSE. The rain came down in sheets so hard it kind of hurt. The winds gusted in our face the entire time and it was COLD. My absolute nightmare conditions for running; Cold + rain + headwinds. I seriously considered dropping out. I wanted to cry. It would be my first ever DNF (Did Not Finish) and I wondered if they still give you a medal if you drop out and what I would do with it knowing I didn’t really earn it. I continued on even though my pace started to slow and I had to walk when the winds picked up because it was literally pushing us back.
A little before the halfway point, right where the Natick/Wellesley line is, something clicked inside me. The last long training run of the DFMC team goes from BC to that point and back again. The roads were now familiar to me. I know them like the back of my hand. I have run them before many times with my teammates. I suddenly remembered the faces of all my friends and the reason we all run this race. I broke down the remaining distance into sections – 2.5 miles from Marathon Sports in Wellesley to the Fire Station in Newton, 4 miles from the Fire Station to the top of Heartbreak Hill, 4 miles from the top of Heartbreak hill to Mile 25 were the DFMC cheer station is and then just 1.2 miles to the finish.

From that point on it was a whole new race. A fire lit inside me and no amount of rain or wind could put it out. I laughed as I passed storm drains that were overflowing from the stupid amount of water falling from the skies. I powered up the hills, you could say I OWNED them. I even stopped for a beer on Heartbreak hill and told the crowds there “the marathon is like a mullet, the party is in the back!”

My least favorite section of the course, the long flat stretch on Beacon street after all the hills of Newton went by in a blur and before I knew it I could see off in the distance just below the Citgo sign the DFMC cheer section (and the worst hill on the course no matter what anyone says about Heartbreak, the hill over the mass pike at mile 25 is worse). I made it to my people and after some huge soaking wet hugs and high fives, I continued on down Commonwealth Ave towards the finish.
As I approached the dip that goes under Mass Ave I spotted a group of BPD officers and ran over to them asking for a hug because they were standing in the exact location I was in when the bombs went off in 2013. If you know me, you know, I’m not really a hugger and rarely initiate a hug, but this one was so meaningful and warmed my heart in a way I cannot express in words.

All that was left was two turns – Right on Hereford and Left on Boylston. Hereford was an obstacle course of discarded ponchos (I learned later that several people wiped out on them and one of my DFMC teammates even required stitches after he finished because he hit the ground so hard). Unlike the majority of people that wanted to ditch their ponchos for the finish photo, I proudly held onto mine like a badge of honor and proof that I conquered the most ridiculous race conditions ever.
Boylston, for anyone that has not run it, is really LONG. It is still several blocks to the finish line after the turn. But I know a little fun fact that the cross streets are alphabetical from the common so – Hereford, Gloucester, Fairfield, and Exeter and DONE. I followed the three blue lines painted on the course for the elites and hopped over ponchos and puddles and made it to the finish with a ginormous smile on my face.

Checking my results after I changed into dry clothes and got some hot chicken broth, I learned a few things. I negative split the race – ran the second half faster than the first half. A difficult task in normal conditions on a flat course, an almost impossible task on the Boston course in the conditions we had and I did it by almost 10 minutes. AND my time, although slow by most standards, was MY fastest finish in about 2 years. I trained hard and raced smart and it paid off.

I cannot thank you all enough for all the support and encouragement and cheers along the way. The marathon is over, but the race to fund a cure for cancer is not done yet. At the pasta party the night before the marathon they announced the team has raised $5.3 million dollars so far towards the goal of $5.5 million and a total of over $90 million in the 29 years that the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge has been partnered with the Boston Marathon. My current total is just shy of $23K and donations are still trickling in. If you’d like to say congrats or wish me an early Happy Birthday (I turn 40 one month from today), it would be amazing and make the runners high last a little longer.

I have run in rain, I have run in crazy headwinds, I have run in extreme cold; but until Monday I had never run in all three in one perfect storm of a race. It was challenging, but it was AWESOME and I wouldn’t change a thing.


Monday, January 29, 2018

Busy, busy, busy....

Holy cow, I cannot believe sometimes how fast time flies by (and I have seriously slacked on posting updates). So much to say since last update.
Holidays came and went, end of the year scrambled to get things done and cram in some training for the Dopey Challenge. Was on vacation for the last two weeks of the year and then flew to Disney just as the new year kicked off. 

Dopey was super stressful and not as fun as previous years. I just wanted to get the 5th consecutive year done and collect my "perfect" Dopey ribbon at the finish. I'm kind of over Disney races, they are so expensive and not as awesome as they used to be. Disney sells "VIP" access to things that used to be just part of the races. Everything comes at a cost and it's just not as 'magical' as it was the first few years I ran it.

On top of not really wanting to be there, the weather was perfect for running in Florida - freezing cold - but not great for a winter get away. Plus, back home there was a crazy blizzard of historic proportions with coastal flooding in the exact area where I had left my car for the week followed by ridiculously cold temperatures. I was worried the whole time about my car and my house and my kittens. Work was sort of crazy at the time and it was not a great time to be away from work. So, all that made the trip not very enjoyable. I just wanted to run the races, collect my medals and go home.
I got it done and got home, car was fine, house was fine, kittens were fine. Got back to work and struggled to catch up and get right back into the action. Definitely not going back to Disney again next year. The timing is just not great anymore with things that come due at the end of one year and the beginning of the next year.
Almost the end of January already and I am back to my routine and getting things done. My focus now is on Boston in April. 77 days away to be exact. I am running with Dana Farber again and could not be happier to be a part of such an amazing family and supporting a cause that has unfortunately touch too many lives close to me and all of my friends. I am making incredible progress so far. Just over $12,000 raised already - aiming for at least $20,000!
My training is going really great too. I feel really strong. I have lost about 20 pounds since re-focusing in the fall and I hope to lose 20 more by April. I didn't get to train really well for Dopey, but after I got back, I jumped right into the training for Boston with a 9 mile run the Saturday after completing the Disney Marathon (it was a little rough, but felt good). The following weekend I did 12 miles with the Dana Farber Team and felt really good. I averaged probably 30 seconds per mile faster than I have been running lately. This past weekend I ran 14 miles on the marathon course - heartbreak hill twice. I felt strong for the first 11 miles then I turned to go down the hills back to my car and had to fight against 25mph headwinds. 

Next weekend is the Boston Stair Climb, it snuck up on me again and this year I am really not ready and not looking forward to it. I'm sort of thinking of bailing on the stair climb and doing the Dana Farber group run instead, but I'll probably go and do the stairs and have a lot of fun, then bang out my long run on Sunday and earn a few beers during the Superbowl. It's just hard to believe it is February. January went by in a flash.

It's only Monday and I am already exhausted just thinking about everything I need to do in the coming weekend and weeks following. 77 days til Boston and 108 days until my 40th Birthday! So many things to accomplish in such a short period of time. BUT I AM DETERMINED and I WILL BE SUCCESSFUL. Just mentioned this to someone over the weekend so here it is - my goal is to lose another 20 pounds by April 16th AND to raise $20,000 for innovative cancer research AND hopefully finish Boston in under 6 hours.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Route 66 Marathon recap and more to be thankful for

So, the Sunday before Thanksgiving I earned this "Goddess of Speed" medal. I traveled to my 14th state and completed the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa Oklahoma. I was nervous but optimistic going into the race weekend. I had a lot going on at work and at home and the thought of preparing a Thanksgiving feast when I got back was stressing me out. My training had gone OK, which now that I type that seems kind of funny considering I was running in 'OK'(lahoma). I did a half marathon two weeks prior to the marathon and felt really confident about my potential for the marathon.

So, Tulsa.......not a whole lot to say about it. It sort of felt like a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Big city buildings and modern amenities, but there seem to be a lack of people and cars the entire weekend like a virus swept through the week before and wiped everyone out. I could literally stand in the middle of Route 66 for several minutes waiting for tumbleweed to blow by and not see a single other person or vehicle go by. It was very strange.

The was perfect, low 40s to start warming up to 60 throughout the day, no wind, mostly sunny. The first half of the course was well supported by cheering crowds and a lot of free booze offered. Once the course split and the half marathoners continued to the finish and the full marathoners made their way to the second half of the course, the crowds thinned, the course quieted, even the volunteers seemed a little less enthusiastic. I ran a really strong first half and felt pretty good. Then it was like I had been running on a treadmill set to zero incline and someone just slowly added 0.5. It wasn't 'hilly' per se but there were noticeable long gradual false flats as I like to call them. The roads looked flat, but had every so slight inclines that over the last 13.1 miles of the marathon slowly defeated me.

The race was advertised as walker friendly and course open for 7.5 hrs so I thought I was pretty safe even if I had an off day. Well, they really closed the course at 6.5 hrs gun time and kept the finish line open for 7.5, but cleaned up and opened roads after about 6 hours. I wasn't too concerned until I got within maybe 3 miles of the finish and there were NO cones and NO course markings and all the volunteers gone too. So I foolishly followed the person in front of me thinking they knew the way. Turns out they did not. We both got lost in the last 2 miles and meandered helplessly through an industrial park type area until we found a police car and got back onto the course. After that, the girl I was following opted for the additional detour they offer for the world's shortest Ultra marathon and I opted to just finish. Still no course markers so I pulled up a map of the finish area on my phone and did my best to navigate there. I am pretty sure I missed a few turns on the official course, but my Garmin said 26.3 when I finished so I'm calling it completed.

Anyway, all things considered, I was faster than Little Rock and felt relatively good afterwards. Normal soreness and lack of energy, but nothing excruciating. I flew back to Boston and met a lovely woman on the plane who even donated to my Dana Farber fundraising page. Got home and snuggled my kittens and then had an awesome Thanksgiving with a pot roast instead of a turkey (because turkey and all the fixins is a pain in the ass). I recovered nicely after a post race acupuncture treatment and started my Dopey training the next weekend with a 4 mile run and a 7 mile run and both felt amazing!

Now that I am home and have a few things checked off my to-do list, I can refocus again and start thinking about Dopey and Boston. My fundraising is still going really well. I hope that I can keep up this pace and reach my goal to raise $20,000 by April. Right now I am just over $9000.00 and my company just started a matching program so as soon as that kicks in I should be close to $13.1K. If you're reading this and you have not donated yet, please consider giving a little or a lot, 100% of every dollar raised goes to innovative cancer research. It really does make a difference.
Someone asked me recently "why $20K, why not just $10K, isn't that enough?" My initial response was "why not?" and then upon further discussion with the person I explained that this is a cause I am passionate about and it has touched my life in multiple ways. I have lost loved ones and gained extended family through the Dana Farber team. And unlike other charitable organisations that give only a small portion of the money that is raised to the cause, the Barr Program for the Dana Farber Marathon team was specifically set up to make sure 100% goes to the cause. AND because of the unique location of Dana Farber in the heart of Boston's medical community they can treat and study the disease in the same location. AND they have proven success at doing both!

So, I'm not just running a marathon or asking people for money, I genuinely feel like I am making a difference in the fight against this disease. Yes, a big part of that is asking people for money, but I try to be creative about it and find different ways to say thank you and different ways to make it fun. One of those ways is through Mile Dedications. For donations of $100 or more I offer mile dedications and so far all but 4 miles are dedicated to friends and family members that are fighting cancer or cheering from heaven.
Here's my link  Please help me reach my goal and let's make a difference together!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The journey continues......

It's been 11 years since I went to a Halloween party that changed my life. I saw an image of myself that didn't match the mental image I had of my body. I knew that throughout my 20s since I graduated college and started working my clothing sizes gradually increased, but I still thought I looked good and was healthy. Until I saw these photos:
I vividly remember getting ready for that party and doing my hair and make-up and lacing up the  fake leather corset and looking in the mirror thinking to myself "DAMN, I look good!"

I made the decision the day I saw the photos to start working out and eating better and a year later I had lost 100lbs. A year after that, I ran my first marathon - Marine Corps Marathon 2008.
I have since completed 27 marathons and more half marathons than I can count, but in the last 4 yrs I have gotten slower and running has gotten more difficult and it is because of something I never ever thought would happen. I gained back most of the weight I had lost. I know exactly how it happened. It was a gradual process like the slowly increasing clothing sizes in my 20s, it did sort of sneak up on me, but I was aware the entire time. First my jeans got a bit tight, then they didn't fit at all. Running got more and more difficult and didn't feel effortless anymore. The more difficult it got, the less I enjoyed it.

There was a series of events that nudged me in the wrong direction and down the path I have taken. First was the bombings and the nightmares that followed. I started drinking A LOT to try and shut off my brain and cope with anxiety and fear that I couldn't shake. Then a year after that I got laid off from my job and was unemployed for several months. A year after that, one of my cats died suddenly. All of these things just added up over time pushing me into a very unhealthy head space that I am all too familiar with - depression. I continued running the whole time, trying to maintain my weight and sanity, but slowly slipped little by little.

Through all this the journey never stopped, I am still moving forward and still running (even if some people can walk faster than my current pace), I am struggling, but I am still fighting through that struggle.

Reflecting back on my journey thus far, has helped me refocus and restart down a better, more positive path. I have made a conscious effort to stop drinking in excess. Which means not consuming an entire bottle of wine for dinner every night or a 6-pack of beers. In the past month I have only had maybe 2 beers and 3 glasses of wine total on 4 separate occasions. I admit, some nights are more challenging than others and I really really want to have a glass (or bottle) of wine and fall asleep, but I resist the urge and get a glass of water instead.

I have started keeping a food journal again to keep myself accountable for the calories I consume and avoid mindless eating. That also helps me avoid the empty calories of alcohol. I am making it my goal to get to the gym at least twice a week. I just need to make it a habit again. Just doing long runs on the weekend is not enough. So far in the month of October, I have lost 14lbs. I had gained back about 75 of the 100lbs I lost 10 years ago so I still have a ways to go, but it is a great start. If I can lose 10lbs per month between now and next April when I run Boston again that will be a huge accomplishment and I may actually be able to run it faster than recent marathons and feeling better about the race and myself.

So, the journey continues. As a friend recently told me, "it is always a journey, a lot of days are tough but we power through and always give love to ourselves no matter what stage of life we are going through." No truer words have ever been said. Some days are extremely tough, but I power through. That is what makes me who I am. That mental toughness is what gets me to the finish line more often than not. I may not always give myself the love I deserve, but I am trying and I will not give up.

This year's Halloween costume, still think I looked amazing, but also see some room for improvement. It's not as shocking as the "not-so-little" red riding hood costume photos. I definitely know looking at these that I am bigger than I'd like to be and look forward to next year in a smaller costume.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Off to an amazing start

Just one month into my 2018 Dana Farber Marathon Challenge fundraising and I am one third of the way to my goal to raise $20,000 for innovative cancer research! I have been busy, busy, busy - training for the Route 66 marathon, thinking of creative fundraising ideas on my long runs, sending out emails, and social media posts, and letters, ordering photo cards with my link and my message on them, and I ordered DFMC mittens to sell as a fundraiser. HUGE THANK YOU to everyone that has donated already!!!! I cannot do this without the amazing support of my friends and family and coworkers.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and I have been blasting my social media accounts with facts about the disease and including my link. I've also seen other fundraisers going on for the month for other charities. BIG difference between all those other charities and DFMC - Dana Farber's Marathon team raises money specifically for the Claudia Adams Barr Program and that program requires that 100% of every dollar raised goes directly to researching innovative treatments and cures. No administrative fees, no money for advertisement or promotional materials, no money for salaries of executives, no travel and expense money for program staff. If you look into the details of all the 'other' charities out there a very small percent of the money you give them actually goes to the cause you are supporting. One example I saw yesterday after a little digging on their website, gave only $800,000 out of almost $3 million to grants for breast cancer screenings.

Here is a direct example of how your donation to my DFMC page can make a difference:

Discovering New Treatments - Explaining how drugs like Tamoxifen have improved breast cancer survival rates by 33% in significant numbers of women, leading to the possible discovery of additional treatments with even better outcomes for people with breast cancer.
Myles Brown, MD, used Barr funding in 2002-‘03 to make the first genome-wide map of all genes that estrogen controls. This has enabled scientists for the first time to understand why certain drugs have been so effective in treating breast cancer, including the marked improvement in survival for women whose breast cancers respond to tamoxifen and other drugs that block estrogen. Dr. Brown’s work is now expected to lead to new drugs and treatments for cancers that target critical pathways in breast cancer. His team has used this information to discover new ways to treat breast cancers that don’t respond to Tamoxifen.
Tomorrow morning I am planning on going out for a 16 mile training run. I have 5 weeks left to train for my next marathon. 185 days until I line up in Hopkinton with 36,000 other runners to make the 26.2 mile journey to Boylston St. It will be 5 years since the bombs went off and I plan on crossing that finish line triumphant not only in completing the race, but doing so for a cause much bigger than personal achievement. I want to make a difference. Together with the support (and yes, donations) of everyone I know and even people I don't know, we all CAN make a difference. Please consider giving whatever you can, share my link with your friends, whether it's $5 or $50 - EVERY dollar can make a difference! DONATE TODAY!

Friday, October 6, 2017

I'm running Boston AGAIN!

Hard to believe it has been another 4 years already and it's time for me to lace up for my favorite charity team (aka my extended family) - Dana Farber Marathon Challenge. Raising money for innovative cancer research that might not otherwise get funded and kicking cancer's ass one dollar at a time.

It's also hard for me to believe logging in to post this that my last update was my race re-cap for the Little Rock Marathon. Geez, I have really been slacking off. Well to be fair, after Little Rock I did feel a little burnt out and needed a break. But enough about that and back to my original reason for posting......
192 days from today I will be in Hopkinton again getting ready to make the 26.2 mile journey through 8 towns and over a few famous hills, around a few really fun turns, onto the most amazing finishing stretch of any marathon in the World. But as I like to say, "the race is the reward for the training". April 16th 2018 WILL be an awesome day, but it will be even more awesome and special because of WHY I run and the team I run with.

I began running almost 10 years ago. I lost 100lbs in 2007, ran my first marathon in 2008. I went to the 2009 Boston Marathon to cheer for friends and was so inspired I decided that day to apply to run with a charity team the following year. I ran my first Boston marathon with Dana Farber in 2010 not knowing it would change my life.  

Long story short - through my fundraising efforts with Dana Farber, I repaired a fractured relationship with my mom who had only recently recovered from her own battle with breast cancer. I ran that year in memory of my mom's father, my grandfather, Howard Burdwood. He died from acute leukemia when I was in college. I made so many friends through the DFMC team that I now consider them my extended family. I vowed that year to continue supporting the team’s efforts however I could and to run again with them every 4 years (as a nod to my mom's political career, even though she reminds me her terms were 3 years and I really should be running every 3 years).

In 2013 I was a block away from the finish tracking and cheering for many of my DFMC family and waiting for a friend to run her in the last 2 turns. That day for me, like any runner, any Bostonian, and anyone that was there, had a profound effect on me. Fireworks still startle me. I still occasionally have nightmares. I get nervous in large crowds or public events. But none of that has stopped me from running. I'm slower and have gained back some of the weight I lost, but I AM NOT STOPPING. As planned, I ran in 2014, with new meaning and determination to make a difference and I raised just over $16,000 for Dana Farber. 

Last year, my mom's best friend and someone who was like a second mom to me, Gloria Miranda, lost her battle with lung cancer. I'm running in memory of her and in support of my mom and too many other people to list that have been impacted by this disease. My hope for 2018 is to make it a really big deal. It will be my 30th marathon, about a month before my 40th birthday, and I hope to raise at least $20,000 for Dana Farber.
 So far I am off to a great start, almost a third of the way to my goal of $20K. I’m currently training for the Route 66 marathon in November and already logging lots of miles. I will follow that up with another Dopey Challenge at Disney World in January before turning my training focus on the Newton Hills and the Boston marathon.

Please consider making a donation to help me reach the ultimate finish line - A World Without Cancer!  My personal fundraising page THANK YOU!!!!!!! 100% of the dollars raised support innovative cancer research (and are tax deductible). 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Marathon #27 - Runalicious Little Rock was a new record for slowest marathon ever, but I still managed to drag my ass across the finish line after 26.2 challenging miles. I had pretty low expectations going into the race because I really only had about 4 weeks of training because I got really sick after Disney and lost half of an already shortened training schedule to the most ridiculous lingering couch/cold I think I have ever had. In the 4 weeks I had to train, I only managed to get in a few 10 mile runs. One of them was in soft squishy snow so it felt like I ran 20 miles, but really I just didn't get to a good place where I felt confident about the marathon I had to run.

In the week before the race I was seriously considering just not going. I was not prepared physically or mentally to tackle the 26.2 mile journey and I knew it. My cat was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and she has a bad heart so surgery and many of the medicinal treatments are not an option. I'm basically trying to keep her comfortable and monitor her for any signs of distress. She has days or weeks of life left and I am doing my best to make those days the best days they can be, spoiling her with treats and as much food as I can get her to eat. It's incredibly difficult and emotionally draining to watch a pet fade away and try to determine the most humane time to let her go. I do not want to rob her of good days, but I do not want to make her suffer through any bad days either. Worrying about how she would be and if she would eat while I was away weighed very heavily on me and almost made me stay home and skip the trip all together. I would only be gone 2 and a half days and I had a good friend checking on her and feeding her so I decided to go.
I tried to do some research and find things to see and do in Little Rock for the day and a half I was there and not running and came up with nothing. There is not a whole lot to do in Arkansas. There is a presidential library, but I really don't care about seeing a bunch of books. Little Rock is the state capital but their state house looks pretty much the same as any I've seen - big dumb building with a dome in the middle and maybe some gold ornament thingy at the top of that dome. Pretty boring. There were some parks and local hikes and trails nearby, but I didn't want to do a whole lot of walking the day before I was going to do a whole lot of walking (let's be honest, I knew I couldn't really 'run' the whole marathon with little to no training).

They did have a bunch of local breweries and a passport program that if you visit X number of breweries and collect stickers in your passport you get 'free' stuff. The minimum was 10 breweries and that got you a soapstone coaster. I figured why not. Friday when I arrived in Little Rock I needed to get lunch and then later would need dinner so I started to collect some stickers. I wanted to get most of the 10 done on Friday so that I didn't have to do much on Saturday. I succeeded in collecting 7 stickers Friday and my head Saturday morning felt like it was not so much a 'success', but whatever. Saturday I went to the packet pick up and expo then to a Walmart Super Center for some Gatorade and water (because Walmart was founded in Arkansas and it seemed like a mecca I should visit). Then I got a late lunch and my last 3 stickers for my passport and called it a night.
Sunday morning I got up wicked early because I learned the day before that the 'continuous shuttle' from the hotel to the start/finish area was not really very reliable and even less consistent about where it stopped and how frequently they came, so I decided to drive to the start and park. Problem was the rental 'car' I got was a Ford F-150 and all the parking near the finish was on street parallel parking or garages with wicked low clearance. I wanted to get there early enough to be able to pull straight into a spot on the street. I managed to find a space a block away from the finish and was able to stay warm in the truck for a while before heading to the start, which was nice because as luck would have it, it was pouring rain and really windy.

The race started at 7:00am. It was still raining despite the fact that accuweather said it was supposed to stop. The first half of the race felt pretty good, then there were hills and more hills and never-ending hills, oh and also some really brutal headwinds too. I'd say by about mile 18 I was done. I wanted to bail. Everything hurt, it seemed like there were not enough water stops, the miles did not go by fast, I tried to shuffle for a little bit and walk for a little bit. I would look at my Garmin and try to do math and figure out if I could at least maintain XYZ pace, I might cross the finish line in a certain amount of time plus or minus a half hour. There was an 8 hour time limit so I figured I was pretty safe to assume I could finish. I had in mind a time I wanted to see at the finish but accepted the reality that my finish time might be a lot longer than that.

As different pacers passed me with their projected finish times on poles my ideal time faded away in the distance with them. Each mile I fought the internal battle of quit now or keep going. At what point is the amount of pain ahead of you too much to continue? And when have you gone too far to even think about stopping? One foot in front of the other, keep making forward progress, even slow progress is progress. No matter how long it takes your feet are still carrying you the distance of a marathon and you may consider it a failure because it doesn't meet certain time goals you had in mind, but it is still an accomplishment that few can say they have completed. It's almost more impressive to complete the distance despite incredible pain and pushing through mental barriers when every ounce of you wants to stop. So.....I continued on and I finished!
I learned some things - Little Rock is wicked boring, Arkansas is NOT flat, and I am one tough and determined badass that cannot and will not quit no matter what. Although it was my slowest race ever and it was pretty much the combination of all of my worst races in one - rain, wind, hills, plantar fasciitis, back spasms, not enough water stops - I still managed to make it to the finish line and collect my medal. And what a "sweet" medal it is......pun intended.
I could not have been more happy to be done with that race and headed home. No offense Arkansas, but I'm not a big fan and will probably never go back. I made it home and my cat is doing ok. For now she is stable, not eating as much as I'd like and her most recent x-ray shows the lung cancer is a large defined mass in one lung that is causing her some difficulty breathing, but no pain. I brought her to the vet and we started her on a low dose of steroids to try and help her breath easier and feel a little better, hopefully even eat a little more. I'll keep an eye on her and hopefully give her a few more weeks of quality time, lots of treats and brushing and love. I worry about her and struggle with when is the right time to say goodbye. For now, my vet assures me that she has some pep in her step and still has some good days ahead. I'll stay close to home until she's gone. The next marathon I am registered for is Disney 2018. I want to do a fall marathon, but haven't decided on which one and I really need to get back on track with training and nutrition so that I am ready for another 26.2 miles. I have a bunch of half marathons over the summer hopefully those will keep me motivated and help me get back into shape.