Monday, March 24, 2014

Seriously?!?! Ugh. Moving on....less than a month to go...

After a mentally exhausting, life sucking, working 14-16 hour days, canceling my pole fitness classes, missing my friend's birthday party, missing a painting and wine tasting night out with a friend, not running because I was working late two weeks - I was sucker punched in the gut with an extremely disappointing and demotivating rushed performance review/push the button meeting.  Followed by email after email of all the other people that got promoted and each one felt like a kick while I was down.  I went home Friday night, after not eating all day because I had no appetite and felt physically ill by the slap in the face "you're awesome, but you got an average rating", and had a beer and another and another.  It didn't make me feel any better.

On the brightside, I offered to personally match donations made to my fundraising all last week and by the end of the day Friday I had ~$400 in donations posted to my page.  With my match and my company's match for my donation my total will be very very close to $15,000!!!!  I will be increasing my goal again if I get to 15K.  I also baked cookies for the Dana Farber team run the next morning.  I made 3 different kinds of cookies - oatmeal awesomeness, chocolate toffee, and chocolate peanut butter chip.  I worry that the back of the pack runners might miss out so I keep baking more and more each week.  This week was perfect.  We had more than enough to go around.  Knowing how much everyone really looks forward to them and enjoys them makes me feel good baking them. 

Saturday morning I did an 18 mile training run with the DFMC team on the marathon course.  We started in Newton Center and ran down the hills into Wellesley and back.  It wasn't pretty but I got it done.  I think the lack of food from the day before plus the beers dehydrated me and caused a serious case of lead legs.  I got really gased on the last 3 miles and just had nothing left in the tank, but I pushed through it and finished.  That mental toughness and determination will help me on Marathon Monday and I learned my lesson, beers and no food the day before is a bad idea and doesn't count as "carb loading".

I am hitting the reset button this week and hoping to get back into a routine of mid-week runs.  This weekend will be the last really long run before the taper begins and I want it to be a good one.  I know I can physically do the marathon, I should be pretty close to my goal time based on how most of my training runs have gone.  I need to now focus on stocking the barn with positive mental training bails of hay.  Over the next 4 weeks, I need to do whatever it takes to stay positive and avoid a lot of the media coverage and avoid re-living last year.  It's a new year and not only will I be Boston Strong, but I really want to run Boston STRONGER than ever.      

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bib # 26311 - Wave 3 - Corral 9

About one month to go until the Boston Marathon!!!!  It is a very exciting and interesting time. We are getting more and more information from the B.A.A. about changes to the marathon security procedures this year and training runs are increasing in mileage to the longest of the long runs, 18-22 miles depending on training plans. Lots of fun emails from Adidas tempting us to buy all of the official marathon gear before the race weekend. Mother Nature is not letting go of this never-ending winter and spring seems like it will never arrive, but we have been lucky to get a few nice days in here and there for running.

I have been trying to do at least one mid-week run that takes me past the spot on Commonwealth Ave where I was watching last year when time stopped and all of the runners were robbed of the finish line glory and helpless in front of me. I run up Hereford and turn left onto Boylston. It brings a rush of emotions and I struggle to just breathe. My eyes well up with tears, but I focus and keep moving forward. I AM OK. I WILL BE OK. I CAN DO THIS! The street looks like any other busy area of downtown Boston lately, people passing by and going about their business. I make my way down Boylston one intersection at a time trying to imagine the feeling and the energy of race day. Looking around and listening, but also tuning it all out and running in my own little world. I complete the run and wrap back around to Commonwealth Ave and return to Cambridge across the Mass Ave Bridge over the “179” painted on the ground for Sean Collier by MIT students. It’s a good run and it takes me one step closer to being mentally prepared for Marathon Monday.
My fundraising is still going great, many thanks to all of my friends and family for the continued support. I recently passed the $13.1K milestone which calculates out to $500 per mile of the marathon. It puts me well past my original goal to raise $10,000 and I could just stop now, but cancer doesn’t quit and I don’t plan to either. I will continue to ask anyone that will listen to me for a donation. I will ask random strangers. I will continue to bug all of my friends unless you tell me and be clear that you are not interested or you cannot give for one reason or another, I will not stop asking. I will not give up. HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed so far! Mile dedications are going fast! 20 out of the 26 miles of the marathon are taken. There’s still time to get a mile for someone you love. Donations of $100 or more earn this honor.

As a reminder, a full 100% of funds raised by DFMC go to benefit the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Cancer Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, widely recognized as one of the largest and most successful programs of its kind. At a recent group training run it was announced that the team has already raised over $3 million dollars together so far.

Bib numbers and wave/corral placement were posted to the BAA website, I am wicked psyched I got wave 3 so I start at 11:00 and not 11:25.  The earlier the better.  It's already tough getting to Hopkinton so early then waiting to run.  I am getting excited and nervous.  I know I will be ready and I know there are a lot of people cheering for me.  Only two more weeks til taper.  Then race day will be here before I know it.  I've been doing my long runs on the marathon course for the past 3-4 weeks with the DFMC team and I think that is helping me mentally prepare and remember how amazing this race is.  I NEED to remember it that way.  I know I can't forget last year and I can't remove those memories from my brain, but I can focus on the memories I had before last year and the energy and excitement of the greatest marathon in the world. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

FOCUS! Keeping my eye on the prize.....

This neverending winter has me in a wicked funk.  Lacking motivation.  Whenever I DO get a little motivation it starts to snow again as if Mother Nature deliberately challenges me and says, "Oh you wanted to go for a run, guess again, it's practically white out conditions out there and who knows if there's ice under the coating of flakes that are falling."  I start to get a little momentum going in a positive direction and fight my way out of this black hole and something knocks me back down.  I just can't seem to get unstuck lately.

Last weekend, I went to another DFMC team group run, feeling great and ready to bang out 16 miles with a few new friends.  I brought cookies again and reminded everyone try to run fast enough to get one and leave a few for the slower people if they could.  The run started out pretty nice, a small group of people roughly the same pace and distance planned.  We ran from the Boston Sports Club in Waltham.  It was sort of a weird route of an out and back with a few additional, optional out and back fingers that broke off from the main out and back.  Not my favorite, but it got the job done.

Waltham is a lot hillier than I thought it would be.  It was a very cold and windy morning, but the sun was out so it wasn't too bad.  The group I was with decided to do the last "finger" first so we wouldn't have to worry about it towards the end of the run.  We broke off after a short break at the first water stop and headed out for one mile 3-4 of us and a few other pairs slightly faster or slower.  One of the women I was running with started talking about the recent court decision to pursue the death penalty for the bombing suspect.  Something about the conversation instantly flipped a switch in my brain from my happy running place to an angry, negative, painful, bad place.  I stopped talking in hopes that the woman would get the hint and drop the topic, but she continued.  So, I picked up my pace and split from the group.  I needed to get out of that place.

I ended up getting sort of lost because I wasn't familiar with the route.  I missed a turn that everyone else took.  It was ok, because I needed to hit the reset button on the run and try to find my happy place again.  I struggled.  I made it to the next water stop and the group I was with originally caught up to me and asked where I had gone.  I explained I went straight when they turned, we got to the same intersection somehow, so it worked out ok.  Then I told them rather than stopping for water I was going to keep moving to avoid getting cold, I also wanted to avoid talking.  So, I continued on my own and settled into a nice pace inbetween two other women running ahead of me and an older man and his friend running behind me.  On the out and back fingers I would pass the group I started with and wave. 

Doing the math in my head I tried to figure out the best combination of fingers and routes to get in my planned 16 miles for the day and after passing the second water stop again, I stopped and asked them how to get the rest of my miles in.  I figured I would end up doing more than 16 but felt ok and kind of needed the extra 'me time'.  When I turned back onto the main route I remembered that we did the last finger first and instead of having 5 miles left I only had 3 miles and I was going to get exactly 16 miles done.  It was literally and metaphorically the turning point in the run for me.  I smiled a huge smile and just about did a cartwheel in the street because I was ready to be done.  It was PERFECT!  I finished the run and although I didn't get a cookie, it was ok because finishing the run strong and feeling a lot better was more important.

I went straight home because I had a wine tasting/photo exhibit to go to.  When I got home the sweater I wanted to wear was laying flat to dry in my basement so I went to get it.  Thank GOD I did because there was a lot of water in my basement and a dripping sound coming from my boiler.  UGH.  Knocked back down.  My boiler is only 2 years old and nothing should be breaking on it.  BUT there was a constant flow of water coming out of the pressure gauge on it.  F*CK IT.  I put a bucket under it and went to the wine tasting.  Best case scenario it was a fluke and it would be done dripping when I got home.  Worst case, the bucket would be full and I would call a plumber.  
Well, I got home and the bucket was overflowing, BUT I bought a very nice photo from my friend Andrea and displayed it in my livingroom while I texted a bunch of friends for Plumber recomendations.
Called a plumber and because it was now late Saturday night, he told me just to turn the water off to the heating system and he would come the following day to fix it.  No problem.  $120 later, the gauge was replaced and the heat was back on.

Monday I had a dentist appointment after work and I'm one of those weird people that LOVES going to the dentist.  I love getting my teeth cleaned.  I love the people that work in the office.  I love my dentist.  I love getting a new toothbrush and a bunch of free floss.  I really look forward to it.  I got there 10 minutes early I was so excited.  Checked in and sat in the waiting area.....and waited.....and waited......and waited.  30 minutes went by.  Other patients went in and out before anyone even came to talk to me.  So I got up and asked if I was there on the right day.  They said yes, then one of the receptionists that is a runner and I talk to every time I'm there came out and told me they were running late and hadn't forgotten about me.  
Finally, my name is called, BUT it's not my normal hygenist.  It's some other chick.  She didn't even tell me her name and just walked me to the chair and said she would be speedy and get me in and out.  I don't like speedy, I like getting my teeth cleaned thoroughly.  Then she proceeds to tell me she was going to use some weird water pick thing instead of the traditional instruments to clean my teeth.  Not a fan.  She finished in like 15 minutes.  Didn't do the X-rays that I was due for and didn't give me a new toothbrush or free floss.  My dentist came in to check things and chat for a bit about the marathon because she is a runner and has run it before and also donated to my fundraising.  We talked about how different this year will be and how difficult the mental training is going to be.

So, after about 10 minutes talking to my dentist about how I have been trying to run Boylston once a week to mentally prepare for the marathon and how the security rules have changed as a result of the events that occured last year.  The new girl says to me, "that all went right over my head and I have no idea what you guys were talking about, there was some sort of bomb at a race you did???"  SERIOUSLY!?!?!?! Where the heck has she been?  She must live under a rock.  I was shocked and stunned and couldn't get out of there fast enough.  So, again positive situation I was looking forward to instantly turned to crap and knocked me back down into the funk I can't get out of.

Tuesday was a better day.  I ran Comm. Ave to Hereford to Boylston after work and then went to Pole Class and learned a new combination of dips and spins that was really fun.  I got a few new bruises and a little bit of floor burn, but I felt a lot better afterwards.  I went home and ate dinner then went right to bed.  Yesterday, my plan was to run a little longer after work.  It was going to be really cold again, but I brought the right layers so it was cool.  Then I got dressed and ready to go and looked out the window and it was f*ckin snowing AGAIN!  I walked to my car and just about slipped and fell so decided to skip the run and go home.  Heard on the radio on the way home that the President was in town and afternoon traffic was going to be a nightmare so it was probably a great decision.  Who knows how long it would have taken me to get home if I went for a run.  Anyway, I got home and had some dinner, then fell asleep on my couch at like 6:00.  I didn't sleep well, had nightmares all night long and tossed and turned.  I am REALLY REALLY hoping that today is a better day.
After all, I have a marathon to run in 45 days.  I can do this.  I NEED to snap out of this funk and focus on the goal.  Focus on all the good stuff and stop letting the bad stuff drag me down.  My fundraising is going great!  My training runs are going as planned.  I have had a lot of fun with friends at various events over the past few weekends.  I get my performance review and BONUS for work soon.  AND Spring is coming.  It has to.  That's just how nature works.  Life will be renewed in just a few weeks.  The sun will be out more and temperatures will start to rise a little each week.  Things WILL get better.