Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The president of holidays

I love long weekends. If I was the president of holidays, I'd give everyone at least one long weekend a month. Even better, I'd institute a bunch of new holidays and switch to a 4 day work week/3 day weekend schedule. (I wish president of holidays was a real job.)

Nike + SportBandIt's always nice to have extra time off to relax and enjoy the festivities. On Saturday, I went on my first long run (10.9 miles) since the marathon and it felt good. I'm excited to start training again and hopeful that my next marathon will be better than the first. I also bought the Nike + SportBand and Nike Free shoes. The sensor fits right into the shoe and the watch keeps track of your distance, time and pace. Then you can upload and track your workouts. Monday I ran over to the track at Brighton High School so I could calibrate the watch. I realized how much I miss running track - the springy feeling of running on a nice all weather track, and the going-all-out feeling of the sprint. I'm looking forward to doing some speed work and shorter (5-10K) races this summer.

Nike Mens Free Run+ 2 Cool Grey Blue 443815-004 13

On Sunday, I ran 2 miles with Mike. After Cleveland, he was worried I wasn't getting enough protein and he said he'd start running if I started eating chicken again. So the deal is on. Truth be told, I know I don't have the most nutritious diet. I have the taste buds of a 5 year old. So this time around, I have to be better at fueling my body with more high quality, nutrient rich food and less dessert. Though I will never, ever give up dessert. A life without dessert is no life at all.

Saturday night Mike and I went to The Little to see Everything Must Go, which was a sad but fantastically written movie. I loved it. On Sunday morning, Meghan, Mike and Kelly came over for brunch and Sunday night we played euchre with Mike's parents. I totally need to organize euchre night on my porch this summer. Monday we went to the Roc City Rib Fest at Charlotte with my parents (because everyone else loves meat and I love any festival that has kettle corn and drinks in coconuts carved into monkey faces). Good times.

Everytime I stop and think, man my life is pretty sweet, I find there is even more awesomeness waiting for me up ahead. I love that I have somehow become part of a team, in running and in life. Cheers to many more years of good runs, good friends and good times.

Lyric of the moment: "Oh my life is changing everyday, in every possible way. Though my dreams, it’s never quite as it seems, never quite as it seems...I want more, impossible to ignore, impossible to ignore..."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

You said go easy, I got carried away

I'm taking it easy until June. Short, easy runs, letting my body recover before I start another training plan. The thing about taking it easy is that it's hard. I want to feel like I'm moving forward, making progress. In everything. All the time. But it doesn't really work like that. Sometimes you have to rest a little before you can go full speed ahead again. 

I'm ok with slowing down occasionally, but I don't ever want to stop. I don't want to get stuck. I don't always know where I'm headed, but I need to be going somewhere, I need activity and motion. I like to feel as if I have options. Enough money saved up, enough exercise, an escape plan just in case.

But maybe that's no way to live. Maybe I don't need an escape plan. What am I even running from? Maybe I don't have to be going, going, going all the time. It's ok to sit back, relax and enjoy the view from time to time. What's the point of going so fast if you miss all the good stuff along the way?

Lyric of the moment: "You're on the road and now you pray it lasts. The road behind was rocky. But now you're feeling cocky. You look at me and you see your past. Is that the reason why you're running so fast? And she said, ain't nothin' gonna break my stride, nobody's gonna slow me down, oh no I got to keep on moving..."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Slight detour on the road to awesometown

My bloodwork came back and everything is normal. Except for elevated CPK, so I have to get that rechecked later and see if it goes back to normal. I'm also getting a complete physical in 2 weeks since I haven't had one in years.

This should be good news. I'm not deficient in anything, all signs point to healthy. But I'm looking for a reason why I felt so awful on marathon day so I can prevent it from happening again. And so far I've got nothing. Maybe I didn't train hard enough. Maybe I just wasn't ready. I don't know.

I do know that the harder it is, the more I want it.* If the race had gone well, I would have been a one and done marathoner. Now I will probably never stop running.

Life is funny that way. I think I'm going one way and then I end up somewhere else.

Hopefully it was just a slight detour and I'll be back on the road to awesometown soon.
In any event, the weather is warm, my legs are working again, ice cream/smoothie/frozen chai season is upon us and life is good.
Lyric of the moment: "All there is left to do is get up, get up, get up, there's a dancefloor waiting..."

*That's what she said

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


an unstoppable force
So I wallowed in disappointment for a few days. And then I thought...
I came here to find out what I was made of, and what I found was determination, strength and heart. And a whole bunch of people who, for some reason, like me a whole lot.

So what if things didn't work out the way I'd hoped? Life rarely goes as planned. Usually, it ends up somewhere much better.

I thought that running 26 miles would only make me want to stop, but instead it made me want to run even more. I thought I'd probably be one of those people who run a marathon, check it off the list and are done with it. But instead I found myself wanting the next marathon even more.

In the car on the way home from Cleveland my mom said "So when is your next one? Because I know you won't be happy until you run it the way you want to." It's true. I'm already thinking about a fall marathon. Rochester? Wineglass in Corning? Somewhere else?

I haven't run in 2 days and it's already killing me. I can't wait to get back out there.

I'm going to the doctor to get blood work on Friday and hopefully I'll be up and running on Saturday.

Lyric of the moment: "And I'll find strength in pain. And I will change my ways. I'll know my name as it's called again..."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cleveland Marathon

Well that sucked. Actually that's not entirely true. I loved the first 13 miles. I had a stomach cramp fairly early on but I was running through it, hoping it would go away, and I was making good time. Then everything else started cramping up too until I could barely move my legs. I have no idea what happened but I have never been in so much pain. I tried walking short stretches and stretching it out, but it didn't really help. Somehow I made it to the medical tent at mile 18, where the doctors stretched and iced my legs. The doctor said that since the cramping was systemic, it was probably a metabolic issue, like I didn't have enough potassium or something in my system. He also said that the fact that I had my period this week probably didn't help (TMI, sorry). The doctors wanted me to go in the ambulance and drop out of the race, but I just couldn't do it. I didn't come all this way to quit. The last 8 miles were brutal but I slowly hobbled to the finish.

I promised myself that I would be happy with whatever happened in Cleveland, and I am happy I finished. I would have been so pissed at myself if I dropped out. But I'm still disappointed in myself and my awful finish time. There was nothing more I could have done. Today was not my day. But it was heartbreaking to have to tell everyone that I didn't run well. And I felt bad that my parents, Emelyn, Jeff and Evangeline came all this way to watch me run and I totally sucked. Emelyn even made these awesome shirts that said Team Jen on the front and Pratt Attack on the back. She is seriously the best.

The weekend, and the trip itself, was a lot of fun. The actual race, not so much. But so long, so long, and on to the next one. There will be other races.

And if what they say is true that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, I must be almost invincible after that.

Lyric of the moment: "It's, not, how you start, it's how you finish. And it's, not, where you're from, it's where you're at. Everybody gets knocked down, everybody gets knocked down, how quick are you gonna get up?"

Monday, May 9, 2011

Restless heart syndrome

Sometimes I look out my office window and see people running in the middle of the day and I think "What am I doing here?" I mean, I love it here. But why am I in here when I could be out there? What if I could pack some of my most favorite people into an RV and take off to run/tour the world? How ridiculously awesome would that be?

How prohibitively expensive would that be?

I'm so excited for sunshine and warm weather (And Pirates of the Carribean - May 20th!!). I want vacation so bad. After Cleveland I will definitely have to plan a trip somewhere. Vegas/Grand Canyon maybe? Some kind of cruise? I'm not sure. I would love to go on a zipline too.

My heart is full of wanderlust. I want to take off on ridiculous adventures and laugh at everything and love every moment.

Lyric of the moment: "When there's a burning in your heart, an endless yearning in your heart, build it bigger than the sun, let it grow, let it grow..."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The one with all the mushrooms

Yesterday I was annoyed. At the man on the treadmill who was just standing there talking (not walking or running, just talking to the guy next to him). At the rest of the treadmills which were all either broken or being used. At the pizza place that only delivered half our order, and then came back with the other half, which was burned and full of mushrooms even though I specifically said no mushrooms (Twice. To be fair, I never specified not burned, so I guess that one's my fault).

But then I was annoyed at myself for being annoyed. I mean these aren't real problems, just minor inconveniences. No big deal. The small stuff that people are referring to when they say "Don't sweat the small stuff." Most of the time I'm not bothered by minor annoyances. I think I'm a pretty easy going person and I try to make the best of things. But yesterday, after working from 6:45am - 5pm, I was tired and cranky. I just wanted to get in a quick run and eat a calzone with no mushrooms. But alas, it was not meant to be. Stupid mushrooms.

I don't want to let the small stuff get to me. I want to be more patient, more compassionate, more zen I guess. I want to be like one of those monks who are super good at meditating and radiate joy and levitate off the ground. I don't know if that is real or not but it would be totally cool.

I will work on that.

Lyric of the moment: "Always love. Hate will get you every time. Always love, don't wait til the finish line..."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What I think about when I run

I plugged my time from the Flower City Half into the training calculator on Runner's World and it predicted a time of 3 hours 39 minutes for a full marathon. Seriously? There's no way I can run that fast for 26 miles. I'll be happy if I finish in under 4 hours. Actually, I'll be happy just to finish at all. There's a part of me that has a tendency to never be satisfied. It's all "Go faster, work harder, do better, try everything." Which is ok, as long as it is balanced by the other part of me that's all "Relax. Life is good, man. Like seriously awesome, dude."

I'm making a promise to myself right now that I will be happy with whatever happens in Cleveland.

Twenty six miles is a long time to be left alone with my thoughts. So when negative thoughts creep in (I can't do this, I'm not fast enough, strong enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Yeah, all that crap), as they inevitably do, I have to shut that shit down fast.

These are some of the mental strategies that seem to work for me:

*Find everything funny. Look for any reason to smile or laugh: a funny t-shirt or sign, the cheers of the crowd, a funny remark by another runner or spectator, anything at all. I find that, in running and in life, a good sense of humor makes all the difference.

*Make up your own motto. When I need to relax or focus my mind back to more productive thoughts, I think "Light, quick, strong, relax" or "You got this, babe" (for some reason it helps to refer to myself by a term of endearment, silly as it may be) or even simply "You're doing it! You're running a half marathon!"

*Notice your surroundings. Enjoy the scenery, the weather, the experience. What better way to see the world than on your own two feet.  If the scenery or weather is awful, well then you have something else to laugh about.

*Break it down into little goals. Take it one mile at a time, or even one step at a time. If you feel tired, tell yourself "You can slow down if you have to, but you can't stop" or "The faster you go, the sooner you can stop."

*Be happy. Some days you'll feel good, some days you will struggle just to put one foot in front of the other. But you're a runner. You love this shit. Running is good for you in so many ways. Even when it sucks, it is still awesome.

*Connect. If I'm not breathing too heavily, I try to say things like "Nice job" or "Keep it up, we're almost there" or "I like your shirt/hat/shoes/etc" to other runners as they pass. It takes a certain amount of dedication and craziness to be a distance runner. Embrace your fellow runners. They are your solemates.

Lyric of the moment: "My body tells me no, but I won’t quit, 'cause I want more, 'cause I want more..."

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Flower City Half Marathon

The Flower City Half Marathon was a great race and everyone did so well! I felt strong the whole way. I really hope I feel that good or better in Cleveland.

Eric, Shooter and I started off nice and relaxed so we'd be prepared for the hills starting around mile 6. I kept thinking I should take it easy today and save something for Cleveland, but when I got to the hills and the cemetery, my legs just took off (they do what they want) and I ended up finishing in 1:45:14 (315th out of 1829).

It was a solid race. I only hope I didn't go too fast today and screw myself up for the full marathon.

I guess we'll find out in 2 weeks! I have to take it super easy this week and next to rest up before the big day.

Infinity of thanks to Mom, Dad and Mike for their support, to Alyson for taking pictures of us and to Shooter, Eric and Sheila for being the most awesome and hilarious running buddies.
I hope we have many more races ahead of us!

Lyric of the moment: "After all it was a great big world, with lots of places to run to..."