Happy New Year!

Like many, I’m not a fan of resolutions. I don’t like putting too much pressure on milestone dates because I think life is a process and real change happens so slowly over time that it’s almost imperceptible. That said, I do think there are some benefits in setting an intention for the year. “Intention” may just be a dressed up version of “resolution” without all the cliche the latter carries. Still, I think having a guiding principle for the year can be a good thing.

I view resolutions as specific, non-negotiable goals for the year which are difficult for me because I think it’s too hard to predict what life will throw at you in a year, and I don’t like the inflexibility. Intentions are broad enough to be malleable. They can stretch to fit the situation and help keep me on track with my main focus for the year.

My intention for 2014 (though I don’t know if I realized it until about halfway through) was to take care of myself first. I’ve heard it called, the “oxygen mask theory.” You know how on a plane, the safety walkthrough (always pay attention to the safety walkthrough!) explains that in the event oxygen masks are needed, they will drop down from the ceiling; always put on your own mask before helping others. The metaphor is not subtle. You cannot be there for others in their time of need if you are struggling to breathe.

2014 was not the year of people pleasing. I made a lot of decisions that didn’t sit well with others. The most major event of my 2014 was, of course, planning a wedding. I can’t speak for everyone, but in my experience, you can’t make most any wedding decision without bothering someone. Our families were thrilled we decided to get married, and that was about all we could all agree on. But that’s really all that matters. Keeping that in mind made it easier to make a million small decisions that bothered someone. Easier, but not easy.

In the past, I would have totally buckled under the pressure of trying to please everybody. Once I realized that was impossible, I decided that if the only person I could please was myself (and my husband of course), then I should at least strive to do that. If I wasn’t happy and neither was anyone else, what was the point? I made the decisions I wanted, and our wedding was amazing. I loved it, and everyone else had a great time too. Six months later, our families still rave about it.

It wasn’t just the wedding though. Looking back I made a lot of decisions in 2014 that I wouldn’t have made in the past based on how others felt about them. I got a dog that really only I knew our family was ready for. She’s the perfect addition to our family, and everyone loves her now, but it wasn’t an easy adjustment. Her integration didn’t always go smoothly, and I wondered nearly every day if it was the right call. Almost a year later, I can’t imagine not having her, and neither can anyone else.

I lost a friend who just wasn’t a good fit for my life anymore. Ending that relationship wasn’t easy, but it was absolutely the right choice for me. I feel happy with my decision, and I’m glad I trusted my own moral compass above anything else. Once again, taking care of myself had a ripple effect on the rest of my life. I didn’t realize how much time and energy I was spending on an area of my life that was bearing no fruit. Walking away, opened up a reserve of energy I didn’t even know I had.

And then I ran a marathon. I spent 18 weeks on an inherently selfish pursuit. In the past, I would, and often did, shy aways from personal goals because they took up too much time that I could have been devoting to others. The marathon was the biggest eye opener in this year of taking care of myself first. Spending 18 weeks pursuing a goal that really only should have benefitted me, enhanced almost all my relationships. Accomplishing smaller goals every weekend in the form of longer and longer runs made me feel so fulfilled that each week was just happier. I found myself becoming more joyful and patient in my interactions with my friends and family. I wasn’t distracted by all the things I wanted to do but wasn’t doing. I was doing something great for me, and that made me more present for others.

Also, I found time I didn’t know existed. Being so busy forced me to focus on the things that mattered. It’s amazing how much time I have when I’m not wasting any of it. I actually spent more time with my husband, and the time we spent together felt more valuable.

Taken piece by piece, it seems silly. Getting married, getting a dog, ending a friendship, running a marathon. Those would have been an odd and disjointed list of resolutions. And honestly only the wedding was expected for the year on January 1, 2014. The rest just happened, but having an intention for the year guided my actions every time I had a difficult decision to make. I wanted to be able to look back on this year and feel like I really took care of myself first, and now I can honestly say I did.

I’m not yet sure exactly what 2015’s intention will be, but I think it’s time to fulfill the second half of the “oxygen mask theory.” I’ve helped myself, and now it’s time to help others. Making decisions that made me happy had the unexpected effect of making me better in my relationships, but I can do more. Sometimes, I find myself judging others based on my own insecurities, and that judgment can get in the way of a good relationship. I too often fall into the trap of thinking that another’s accomplishments are a reflection on my own failings, but it’s not a zero sum game. There is enough success in the world for everyone.

In 2014, I learned that it’s ok to be a little selfish when pursuing the things that make me happy. I want to keep doing that. I want to prioritize my own happiness, but this year, I want to rejoice in the happiness of others as well. I think the insecurity that leads to the judgement (and truthfully, toxic resentment) comes from thinking things like, “Wow I could never do that.” Or worse, “I guess I could do that, but I never would because how selfish!” It’s embarrassing to write these thoughts down, but it’s the truth.

2015 will be the year of letting go of my insecurities by continuing to do the things I’m scared to do. In letting go of those insecurities, I want to let go of the resentment that tags along. I will support my friends and family in their endeavors. I will rejoice in their successes and lift them up when they falter. I will be a better wife, sister, granddaughter, daughter and friend. I want to be a stronger member of the community, a better citizen. Lofty enough? Yeah I think so too.

Reflections and What’s Next

How do you know when someone’s run a marathon? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

Are you sick of hearing about this marathon yet? I’m sick of talking about it. Actually, that’s a lie. I could talk about it forever, but I won’t. I do think it’s worth wrapping up (if only for my own selfish purposes) with some reflections on training and what I would change. First, let me just say, I think I had a great training plan. I used Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 plan, and it was great. It was easy for me to stick with (I never missed a run), and I felt mentally and physically prepared for the day. I know I expressed some disappointment in my time, but I finished in exactly the time I trained for, and other than a few days of soreness, my body recovered very quickly.

If I were to do one again (and I’m not saying I would!) here’s what I would change:

1) Add some speed work, tempo runs and hills.

All my runs were evenly paced. It was about building distance without injuring myself or burning out mentally, and I think that was absolutely the right approach in tackling a new distance. Now that I’ve done it, my next training plan would have to include a variety of runs. The speed workouts I think would serve two purposes. The obvious being getting faster while going longer. The less obvious would be just breaking up the monotony. 18 weeks of slow and steady runs begins to feel a little like Groundhog Day: Crunch Gym Edition. The hills are crucial because almost any 26.2 mile course is going to involve at least a few, and I find hill training to be the only type of running that almost doubles as cross training. It builds muscle without wearing me out too much for my next run. Speaking of cross training…

2) I’d actually do some cross training.

This is my fault and not the plan’s. It calls for one day of cross training, and I don’t think I ever did one. I liked that my plan only included 4 runs a week as I think it kept me injury free, and it allowed me to have some sort of a life outside of training. However, I think some weight training and yoga for flexibility could have benefit me greatly in that last grueling stretch of the race.

3) I’d eat the damn banana.

As far as what’s next, I’m trying to take it easy, but I also know myself. I like structure and schedules. Saying I’ll just work out when I feel like it is sort of panic inducing for me. Not that I feel like I always need to be working out, but I like to know what days I’ll be at the gym and when I’ll get to relax. Having a schedule allows me to take days off guilt free. I don’t know how to make that sound non-disordered, but I promise, it’s less crazy than it reads. So, my middle ground is a schedule with more variety.

I’m going to aim for 4-5 workouts a week. I want to run and lift weights and spin and do yoga. I actually took my first hot yoga class in over a year! I’m going to keep my gym membership because it’s $10 a month, but I do plan on using my basement set up (spin bike and free weights) a lot this winter.

I do have some running goals. My PRs are three years old, and I’d still like to run a sub-2 hour half. I’m not focusing on those right now though. I started training the week I came home from our honeymoon. Between the wedding and the marathon, I’ve been non stop for all of 2014. There are some other areas of my life that need focus and attention…

I start a new job on Monday. It’s a big leap for me. I’ve been at my current job for only 16 months, which is not my norm (I was at the job before that for 4 years), but it’s an amazing opportunity, and I’m really excited about it. I’m going to throw some serious time and energy behind my career because I feel like I’m at a tipping point.

Mainly though, I just need to recharge. I need to be home with my husband and my pets. I want to read more and finish up house projects. I want to do more cooking and baking and knitting and other totally age appropriate activities for a 27 going on 87 year old. The marathon was a big itch, and now that it’s scratched, I’m ready for a bit of break.

That’s all for now. Bye!


Philadelphia Marathon (Part 3)

Happy Thanksgiving! I have so much to be thankful for this year. 2014 has easily been the best year of my life so far. I always say so far because I obviously hope it just gets better, but 2014 has been one of those years you can cling to and remember fondly when you’re having a terrible one, and for that I’m thankful.

So, I’ve recounted the build up to and first half of the Philly Marathon. Let’s wrap this up!

The grumbly stomach I had in the first half never went away, but I worried about it less in the second half. I kept taking a gel every mile, and that provided a nice distraction.

Once I broke from the half marathoners, I knew I’d see Chris soon, and that was awesome motivation. He texted me their location, and I spotted him immediately. He was holding a huge sign with blown up cut outs of Miles and Moshi and it said, “Run like the cats at 3am!” Our cats like to tear around the house at a million miles an hour in the middle of the night, so that made me laugh a lot. From far away, I thought they were just stock photos of cats, so when I saw they were our guys, I actually screamed, “I know those cats!” I was so happy to see Chris and Travis. It was the perfect boost and I just wanted to see them again.

The stretch along Kelly Drive was beautiful. The sun was high in the sky at that point, and the river looked lovely. This was the stretch I was most nervous about, and it ended up being my favorite part.

I reached what I thought was the turnaround at maybe mile 17 and got ridiculously excited. I texted Chris that I was heading home. Then we turned and heading up another out and back. It was my fault for not knowing the course well, and it really just made me laugh that I thought I was almost done when I wasn’t even close. Oops.

That next out and back took us to Manayunk which was a nice break from the quiet Kelly Drive. People of Manayunk, you are awesome. There were bands, kids, dogs, great signs, guys giving out beers and even one couple who must have cut up 300 oranges. They were handing out orange slices, and at that point, an orange was the most delicious thing I’d ever tasted. I almost kissed them. It even took my mind off my grumbly stomach. The crowd was awesome, so even though my legs were fading and we had another daunting hill, I kept running and smiling.

When we finally reached the real turnaround, I threw my arms up in the air and did a little happy dance. The girl in front of me put her arms out like an airplane. Everyone was just cheerful.

We had a bit of a lonely stretch of highway before we hit Kelly Drive again, and I knew I wouldn’t see Chris until mile 24, so I buckled down and prepared to tough it out. Just then, I saw my friends! Judy, Ashley and Amanda were cheering with signs, and I was so excited to see them! I promised myself then that I really have to spectate and volunteer at some races. It’s the best to see faces you recognize when you’re out there struggling.

Once I was back on Kelly Drive, I realized I was now running longer than I ever had before! 20 miles were behind me, and I felt good. At mile 22 I started marveling about how I didn’t hit the wall at all. “Go me!” I thought. Then I crossed mile 23, and that brick wall came out of nowhere and smashed me in the face. Holy cow.

The thing I didn’t realize about the wall is that it’s not physical. I mean yeah your body hurts, but my body had been hurting since mile 12. The real challenge was that mentally I started to crack. It was like a switch flipped. One second I was tired but happy to be out there. The next second, I was questioning everything. Why was I running this stupid race? Why was I doing this to my body? I should stop. I should walk off the course and tell Chris to pick me up. This was stupid. I was stupid. I couldn’t do it.

Luckily, I recognized what was happening and just tried to regroup. I forced myself to get to 23.5 then stopped to walk for a minute. I forced myself to think positively even if I didn’t believe it in the moment. I ran for 9 minutes and walked again for 1. I decided I might just do that until I finished. Then the 5 hour pacer passed me.

At that point, I remembered my goals and decided I had come too far to give up mentally. I started running again and kept pace with that group. It wasn’t easy, but being able to follow someone and not think helped a lot. I stuck with them until I saw Chris and Travis up ahead. Seeing them gave me the final push I needed. I broke away from the pace group. I yelled to Chris, “I’m going to run a marathon!” He yelled back, “I know, and you look so great!” He’s the best.

I kicked it into high gear and ran basically as fast as I could through the finish. I thought I might cry, but I was all smiles.

I thought that by passing the 5 hour group, I would come in under 5, but I didn’t realize that they had started after me. When I saw my time my heart sunk just a little to realize I had not broken 5 hours. I reminded myself that, hello, I had just run my first MARATHON, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take some of the wind out of my sails.

I walked through the finish chute and got my foil blanket, medal and snack bag. They were giving out Philly style pretzels which was a cute idea in theory, but those things need to be eaten pretty quickly after being baked or else they get stale and gummy, so it didn’t taste all that good. I didn’t really care though.

I sat on the steps of a building (I think it was the Franklin Institute) while I waited for Chris and Travis to find me. They did pretty quickly, and we walked up a couple blocks then scheduled an uber to pick us up and take us to our car. From there we drove to Travis and Laura’s where I had the longest, hottest, most painful (holy chafing) shower of my life followed by a Five Guys double cheeseburger and fries. It was delightful.

The rest of the night was spent on the couch with some wine. I fell asleep at 9pm.

Looking back, it’s kind of insane that I was dissatisfied with my finish time. I finished in exactly the time I was trained for. I think had I finished in 4:59, I’d be disappointed it wasn’t 4:55. If it had been 4:55, I’d be wishing it were 4:45. Runners are never satisfied. I had hoped that the race day enthusiasm would propel me faster than I was trained for, but I forgot about all the race day variables you can’t account for in training. Taken together, I think I finished in just the right time.

More importantly, I loved (almost) every minute of those 5+ hours. I smiled like a fool. I took everything in, and I really experienced the marathon. It was a perfect day, and there’s really nothing I would change.

Now the question I keep getting asked: would I do it again? Right now, I have to say, I don’t know. Immediately after was a big, fat no. It’s time consuming and physically grueling. It kicks your ass not just for 5 hours but for 18 long weeks. I ran over 400 miles to prepare for Sunday, and that’s the low end of training plans. However, it was a great day, so I can’t say never. For now I’ll say, not next year, maybe someday. But I know I ran the best first marathon I could have hoped for, so if it’s my last, that’s ok too. I’ll remember this one forever.

Thanks for following along. Happy thanksgiving !

Philadelphia Marathon (Part 2)

Hello! When we last spoke, I was leaving my hotel and waiting for a bus. The transportation situation was confusing from the start. The race website suggested runners use public transportation but provided no guidance as to how to do that. They suggested runners call SEPTA (the group that runs the transportation system in Philly). So, I called them the week of the race. The folks at SEPTA were as nice as could be but had no idea the marathon was on Sunday. They told me the bus I needed didn’t start running until 6. The race website instructed us to be at the start at 5:30, so I ruled out the bus. Then, we checked in and our hotel had these handy printouts with bus and subway directions and explained that the buses start running at 4:30 and come every 20 minutes.

Ok. So I am waiting for the bus. An annoyingly peppy couple and two blessedly quiet girls are waiting with me. After ten minutes, the couple gives up and calls a cab. After ten more minutes, myself and my two new girlfriends give up on the bus and follow suit. Maybe people had better luck with the subway, but I’d suggest calling a cab. They were everywhere, and it took us ten minutes and ten dollars (with tip!) to get about a half mile from the start.

Gosh that was boring. So, we got to race, and I said goodbye to the ladies. We passed through a perfunctory security checkpoint then started the long walk up to the art museum. I didn’t bring a bag to check so I can’t speak to that but I heard others grumbling that it was difficult to get to the bag check spot.

The bathroom situation is as bad as everyone says it is. They had at least five groupings of potties, but the lines were insane at each. Get in line immediately. I sort of wandered a bit and didn’t get in line until 6. I was in line until 6:50.

After the bathroom, I wrestled my way into my corral. It was mostly organized. I did not eat my banana because I’m a dummy. My stomach was growling before the race even started, so I had one Gu Chomp. They sang the national anthem and released the elites. They staggered each wave start about 5 minutes, and I was in the last corral, so I began moving at 7:20. I took off all my throwaway clothes save a long sleeved shirt and gloves. It was cold (about 45) but comfortable in the sun.

I crossed the start mat at 7:27 and officially began my first marathon! There are twice as many half marathoners as marathoners, so the first half of the race is fuller than the second half. I was worried about this, but it was totally fine. I rarely had to weave through traffic and was almost never elbow to elbow with my fellow runners.

The first few miles flew by. Chris and I decided he would wait at mile 15/24 (it’s an out and back), but we ran past the hotel we stayed at, so I got to see him earlier than I expected which was wonderful. I ran up and gave him a kiss. We got some “aws” from the crowd. We’re so cute.

The spectators along the course were awesome. They were loud and crazy and had great signs. There were a couple stretches along the highway that were pretty boring to look at, but it was so early in the course I didn’t really mind.

My stomach started grumbling almost immediately and never stopped throughout the race. I should have eaten a bigger breakfast, and I knew craving a bagel at the 5k point was not a good sign. I was terrified of hitting the wall, and everyone had told me the biggest factor was fuel. Needless to say, I was really anxious about this situation. I started eating one Gu Chomp at a time every other mile after 3. I hadn’t planned to start until mile 6, but I needed something. Unfortunately, when you want a bagel, a fancy gummy bear ain’t gonna cut it.

In addition to the Chomps I drank a cup of Gatorade at each water stop to try and make sure I was fueled enough. All that liquid quickly resulted in the need for a bathroom break. The first few groups of potties I passed had long lines, so once I saw one with a manageable line, I hopped on. I probably should have waited until the half marathon split when there would be fewer runners and shorter lines, but I wanted to work out any kinks before I started the second half.

After my stop came the hills. Philly is billed as a flat course, and while I guess it’s all relative (my training routes have zero hills) I wouldn’t say that’s accurate. There’s two significant hills between miles 7 and 10 and a few smaller ones throughout. The hills in the first half weren’t so bad. I felt it in my quads, but it was manageable. I didn’t have to stop and walk, and the change was actually nice for my legs. The downhills were harder, and I did find myself wishing I had incorporated some hills in my training, but it wasn’t the end of the world.

The thing that surprised me the most about the marathon was just how mental it was. I’m a horrible natural pacer. It’s something I’ve been working on a lot, but I usually have no idea how fast I’m going, and I’m basically the opposite of “metronomic.” Chris is perfect at this, so the last few half marathons, I haven’t had to pay much attention. He naturally falls into a steady pace, and I just follow. Alone in the marathon, I was tied to my watch. I wanted to run the first half in 11:30s to avoid burnout in the second half, but with walking through the water stops and my bathroom break, I was about a minute and a half off what my pace bracelet said I should be for 5 hours. This began the mental battle. I couldn’t decide if I should pick up the pace and get back on track or stay slow and steady until I hit the halfway point. Ultimately, I sort of just gave up on pacing. I ran how I felt but tried to rein it in when I knew I was over exerting. Still, I never really hit my stride with all that mental math in my head.

The last bit of the first half was great. We ran down South Street which was packed with spectators and just a total party. Then we picked up part of the route from the Philly half I did last year. Recognizing the course was a nice boost. When we started seeing signs indicating the split between marathoners and half marathoners, it hit me. I was running a marathon! That was a cool feeling. I actually said out loud to no one, “I’m running a marathon!”

I did a little check-in at the half and realized that while it may have been a bit of a mental struggle, physically I was feeling great. I felt totally prepared, and the miles really flew by. Even mentally, while it was a lot of (over) analyzing, I was really happy. It was a beautiful day. I was surrounded by enthusiastic people, and I was doing what I loved. I really couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Luckily, even though things got physically tougher in the second half, mentally, I only got happier. I think knowing that I was through half the race allowed me to relax and just run. It really was a perfect day, but I’ll get to that tomorrow🙂

Philadelphia Marathon (Part 1)

I have this urge to call it “my marathon” but really it belongs to quite a few other people as well.

On Sunday I ran my first ever marathon in Philadelphia. It took me 5 hours, 1 minute and 12 seconds. And yes, those 73 seconds have literally haunted my dreams these past couple nights. The marathon was awesome, and I really loved it. I don’t want to do another one. I can’t walk up or down the stairs and transitioning between sitting and standing involves some whimpering. I’m so happy I did it, and I wanted to wear the medal to work, but it’s marvelously huge and heavy, and all my muscles are too sore to support it.

Ok. That was the summary version and all you really need to know. For myself and posterity, I will now recount the weekend in excruciating detail. Mostly this is for my benefit, but also, I had trouble finding information about this race weekend online, so I’m hoping to be a resource for future runners.

As I said before, we drove down to Philly Saturday afternoon. It took us about 2 hours with the bathroom break I needed because I was drinking water like it was my job. We were a little early for check in at the hotel (The Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District), but they were wonderful and accommodating and quickly checked in the long line of runners.

I highly recommend the hotel. It cost more than the race itself (and parking was an extra $35 a day), but that’s on par with the others in the city that weekend. The hotel was clean and quiet. It was right next to Benjamin Franklin’s grave and about a block away from the Liberty Bell. It was also conveniently located next to a bus stop and a few blocks from a subway station. Neither of which were helpful in getting to the race, but I’m not there yet.

After check in, we walked the 8 blocks up to the convention center to visit the expo and pick up my bib. The expo was crowded and oddly dark inside which made it not too appealing to hang out in. The packet pickup was super organized and efficient. It probably took us 5 minutes to get my number, bag and shirt. The bag was swag-less, but I don’t really care about that stuff and usually throw most of it out anyway. The shirt is a navy blue, long sleeved, gender specific tech shirt. It’s awesome.

After picking up my number, I stayed long enough to find one of those pace bracelets that gives you the total time you should see at each mile. I picked the five hour version. It didn’t help, but I’m not there yet either.

After the expo, we headed across the street to the Reading Terminal Market which is basically a combination of mall food court and indoor farmers’ market but cooler. We had some great sandwiches and headed back to the hotel for a little relaxation.

On the way back, we swung past the Liberty Bell but only peeped it through the windows since the lines were crazy long.

After a little rest, we walked back downtown. We had dinner reservations at Maggiano’s (a chain Italian place- a step up from Olive Garden) at 7:15. Definitely make reservations somewhere in Philly as soon as possible because everything fills up quickly. Travis and Laura had taken the train in to meet us and were already there waiting. And drunk. They were pretty toasted, and I was pretty envious as I sucked back my thirteenth water of the day.

Maggiano’s was crazy crowded but got us seated in time and served us very quickly. It was good, but I was too nervous to eat much (a mistake that cost me the next day). After dinner, we said goodbye to our friends and walked back to the hotel. Amazingly, I was asleep by 9:30 and actually slept most of the night.

I woke up to my 3:30 alarm feeling confused then excited then nervous. I brought our toaster from home and made two pieces of toast with almond butter and honey and coffee with cream. It was the exact same breakfast I’ve eaten before every long run. I wasn’t messing around. I had no appetite but forced myself to finish the toast by 4:30. Then I started getting ready.

Chris woke up and kept me company while I put on my go-to running outfit and warm up clothes. I packed my handheld (minus the water bottle) with my gels for the race and filled my fanny-pack with toilet paper, Advil, extra headphones and cash. I never unzipped that pack once during the race, but it made me feel better to know I was prepared.

I grabbed a banana before I headed out. I planned to eat it before the race then panicked and worried it would bother my stomach. Another mistake. Always eat the banana.

I said goodbye to Chris and headed downstairs to wait for the bus that should have taken me to the race.

Ok that’s too many words. In the next part I’ll recount getting to the race and running the darn thing. There may or may not be a part 3. See ya then.

Marathon Training Week 18

This was it. The last week of training. I did it, and, spoiler alert, I ran the marathon. It was difficult and amazing, and I was prepared as I could be and not prepared at all. That’s for another post though. Now, let’s talk training.

I took Monday as a rest day as prescribed by my plan. It felt weird not to run and made me think about what it’s going to be like don’t now that this is all over. On the upside, I was able to cook and eat dinner by 8. On the downside, I just felt kind of restless all night. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself.

Tuesday was freezing outside! I had planned to do some runs outside this week to acclimate to the temperature, but dark and 30 degrees is where I draw the line. So, I was back at the gym on the treadmill for 3 miles. My body felt a little stiff, but I think I was just overanalyzing everything.

Wednesday was my last training run at the gym. I had a weird commute and generally long day and expected to feel crummy, but I actually felt great. That was an awesome confidence boost.

Thursday was when things got so real. I completed the last training run of my plan! Since it was 2 miles, I decided to brave it outside. Chris and Layla joined me, so it was hands down the best run I’ve done this whole time. We just talked, and the dog was smiley, and it reminded me that I actually really love running. Sometimes (a lot of the time) training felt like work because a lot of the time it was. I ran when I was tired, sore, cold and sick. Sometimes I ran when I wanted to, but most times I ran because I had to. Thursday was great because it was just fun. It reminded me that my only goal on Sunday is to find the fun in a decidedly challenging situation.

I spent Friday just trying to eat right, drink lots of water and not get hurt. I packed that night and totally freaked out. I mean once you pack your sneakers, it’s on. I foam rolled a bit then went to bed at 9:30. It was glorious.

The cats woke me up earlier than I would have liked Saturday, but it ended up being a nice day. We tried to keep things as normal as possible. We took Layla to the dog park and gave her a bath. Then, I finished packing, and we drove to Philly! I was freaking out the whole car ride, but we made it. The rest is all part of the marathon tale to come. It was a perfect weekend.

M- rest
Tu- 3 miles
W- 4 miles
Th- 2 miles
F- foam roll
Sa- foam roll
Su- 26.2 miles!

Total miles: 35.2
Miles so far: 445.98

So close!

The marathon is so stinking close! Tomorrow! Unbelievable! I don’t have much to say, but I did want to put my frantic thoughts down on Internet paper.

I started the week feeling really nervous, but now I’m mostly just excited. It’s not just the 18 weeks of training, it’s something I’ve been dreaming about since I ran my first half marathon in 2010.

I am truly bugging out. Any time anyone asks me about it I just make weird squealing noises. I’ll find myself thinking of random things like upcoming appointments and then think, “Oh that’s after the marathon,” and my heart just starts beating a mile a minute. I get a big goofy smile on my face and think, “Holy cow. I am going to run a marathon.”

I’m just generally being an overly analytic weirdo too. Am I drinking enough water or too much? Are cupcakes good carbs? (Yes) Should walk more or sit more? I’m pretty sure nothing you do for a week matters, but it just feels like everything matters right now.

The nerves are still here. How could they not be? My worst fear was that I won’t finish or that I will finish but I won’t enjoy any of it. Then it will be like the last 18 weeks were wasted. To pull myself out of that dark hole, I reminded myself that lots of people don’t finish marathons. It’s one of the most physically taxing endeavors, and if it isn’t my day, that’s ok. If not finishing is the worst thing that happens, I’ll be just fine.

As far as not having fun, well I’m just not going to let that happen. I’m making a point to take it all in and enjoy the experience. You only get one first marathon, and I want to make it count. Even if it hurts, I want to remember that I’m out there because I love it, and I’m so lucky to have running in my life. And no matter what happens, those 18 weeks matter. I proved every week that I could do more than I thought I was capable of, and that is a really cool feeling.

Otherwise, I’m just reminding me that the hay is in the barn. I’ve done the training. I actually stuck remarkably close to the plan, and after the first week, I never missed a run. I definitely could have worked more on strength and flexibility, but there’s always more you can do. I’m happy with what I did.

My only real anxiety surrounds how the heck I’m going to get to the start line at 5:30, but I’m trusting fate and the city of brotherly love to help a sister out. Oh and I have the numbers of 3 taxi companies in my phone.

See ya on the flip side!