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Monday, September 30, 2013

What's your number?? Two Six...

Lots of different things have been on my mind lately...good things...some things I haven't ever really allowed myself to think about before.  I would have ordinarily been in countdown mode for today...but it wasn't until I changed the date on my calendar when the date registered.  It is September 30th.  It is my Diaversary.  Twenty six years ago today...we got the call...early in the morning just before I had to leave for school.  My Mom's suspicion had been absolutely correct...I had Juvenile Diabetes (now called Type 1 Diabetes).  I remember after we left the doctor's office in the late afternoon before she suggested we stop at McDonald's for an early dinner.  She let me have a Big Mac, french fries, and a milk shake.  She knew.  It was one last mindless meal...I enjoyed it.  I pretty sure I knew it too.

When I was a little kid, I worried all the time...about everything.  The biggest worry was having to go to the hospital.  The idea of getting shots would make me break out into a cold sweat too.  Thinking about both would keep me up at night.  The funny thing is, when we got the call...I was completely calm.  I was ready.  There were no tears.  I didn't ever feel sorry.  I didn't ever wonder why it happened.  My mom often talks about this instant transformation she saw in me...all I remember is feeling completely okay.  I think all those nights I lost sleep were in preparation.  All of the fear and worry faded away because I no longer had anything looming over me.  I had a new thing to manage.  I was always responsible and this was just one more thing that I would have to take care of.  It was a lifelong task to take on.  I knew I could handle it.

So here I am...starting my 26th year of living with Type 1 Diabetes...readying myself to get 26 miles in less than 2 weeks.  I had not made the 26 connection before.  It makes my obsession over getting these 26 miles mean even more...each mile is each year that I have kept moving forward...always...never looking back.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Week 17 - The Road to 26.2

Capturing those 20 glorious miles at the MD Soccer Plex...
It was all about the 20...it was the only thing on my mind for Week 17.  My focus inching toward Saturday morning was on visualizing it happening.  I held back a bit on my training for Thursday and Friday...I was really tired (work craziness coupled with watching too much Breaking Bad late at night) and intuitively I think I knew I needed to just save my energy and legs as best I could. Friday night was a controlled carb frenzy followed by a good full night's sleep.  It worked.  I was able to get those miles...but not without complication.  The good news is...I was able to get a solid 15 miles before my right knee started to twinge.  At mile 16...it was getting hard to run on it so I decided to just walk the last four miles. I was not even disappointed because in all honestly...I didn't care how I got the 20 miles...I just wanted to get them.  At the 16 mile mark, I could see myself needing to walk the last 10 miles of the marathon.  I was okay with that.  The weather was perfect...a mix of sun and clouds...temperatures in upper 60s/low70s.  I was winding my way around the Maryland Soccer Plex for over 5 hours...listening to music...focusing on my 3 min walk, 1 min runs...thinking about writing...smiling to people I passed along the way (this is a new secret I have learned...it really helps!!)...planning all the fun things I will do after I get those 26 miles.

After the 20 miles...I was hydrating...resting...watching soccer...watching Breaking Bad...hydrating...resting...gingerly walking up/down stairs...and then I was falling down stairs.  Yes...ridiculously early on Sunday morning...I fell down the stairs...luckily I slid feet first...but I fell.  Most of the impact was on my left arm...I have a lovely, gruesome looking bruise on my left tricep that seems to keep sliding further down the back of my arm.  Pretty gross...but it could have been so much worse.  All of the things running through my mind in slow motion as I was sliding...mainly...is this going to be the reason why I won't get my 26 miles?  Really??  It was instant perspective...after a monumental physical feat...I was brought back to center...stay humble...stay focused...be careful.  You are not as spectacular as you think you are...the hardest part is getting to the starting line...and you are not there yet.
Hydration evidence from during and right after...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Week 16 - The Road to 26.2

For the first time over the past 16 weeks, I had zero issues in terms of training.  I hit every single goal.  I was motivated.  I had energy.  I X'd through every item on my training plan...this was the first time in a long time that I did not have any skip days.  I am pretty happy about that!!

That last week...pretty proud of those X's

8 miles near the place I saw my first soccer game..
I think not getting my 18 miles last week gave me the extra kick I needed.  Work was insanely busy and even though I was exhausted...I pushed myself to get to the gym anyway.  It helped.  There is no time for slacking now...race day is less than 4 weeks away.  Before my 8 miles on Saturday, I tried something different.  On Friday night, I was really hungry.  So (while hydrating of course) I decided to eat a bunch of carbs.  I usually don't do this because I'm always worried about my blood sugar being too high the next morning which would make doing a long walk/run more challenging.  Plus...it makes me really tired...so getting up early is harder too.  Much to my surprise...I woke up feeling pretty good.  My blood sugar was higher than I wanted it to be...but I felt energized...so I decided to just go for it.  It was only 8 miles...it would be a good test.  The truth is...it was my best walk/run ever.  I felt fantastic.  I had so much energy.  I had no pain.  I didn't have to pop any lifesavers.  When I got my 8 miles...I felt like I could do many, many more.  By the time I got back to my car...I had 9.5 miles...and I was beaming.  I'm sure the perfect weather helped too.  So carb loading...maybe I will give it another whirl on Friday night.  I have 20 miles to get on Saturday...that will be the end of Week 17...and the longest distance I will travel before the marathon.  I remember when I first started this training plan...looking at that last page...seeing 20 miles...thinking...can I really do this?  Yes...yes I can.
An extra mile and a half by the end...



Friday, September 13, 2013

Less than One Month...

Admittedly, I have been spending a lot of my time thinking about what I am going to do after October 12.  Since late February/early March I have been in training...first for the half marathon (14 weeks) and then for the marathon (20 weeks - with some overlap) which has been amazing.  I have changed so much, for the better.  I'm stronger.  I'm more confident.  The things that I used to think were so impossible...no longer seem so.  If I can get 26 miles...there is no reason why I can't accomplish all the other ideas swirling around in my head.

There is one line from my training book "Marathoning for Mortals" that I repeat constantly over and over...it is all about getting to the start.  

My favorite quote...
It is true...and the amazing thing is...I haven't even reached the start...and I am already forever changed.  It just feels good.  

So now, what am I going to do after October 12?  Here are some of the things taking shape in my mind.

In the After...

* Wearing fun/cute shoes again...high heels...wedges...boots...I can't wait...flats and flip-flops are getting so old!!

*  Writing, Writing, Writing...I have one novel in the works that I want to finish and a new one that will be born in November for NanoWrimo.  In typical style...I have no clue what it will be about...but that is part of the fun.  Blank pages offer total freedom...

* Friday Nights can be more about fun and less about hydrating...long distance Saturday AMs make for lame Friday nights. 

*  Watching soccer early on both Saturday and Sunday AMs...

*  Trying Cross Fit...

*  Traveling to write from more places...and to see soccer...and to see snow...and to see water...

*   Enjoying less regimented dates with Gym...

*  Wondering if I will keep walk/running...maybe do 6 or 8 miles for fun on the weekend every now and the?

*  Pondering what I might get myself as a reward for getting 26 miles...shoes - fun or running or both, a jersey, a purse, or something else? 
I think these two items might just win...perfect rewards...







Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Week 15 - The Road to 26.2

8 miles short...

Almost one month away…one month!!  I’m excited.  I’m terrified. I’m feeling more ready.  It was another good training week…I always feel better when I get in good strength training workouts.  I just feel more powerful.  I was able to get in two…plus a good elliptical machine session too.  All week long I was honing in on the 18 miles that I needed to get…trying to eat well, hydrate, and rest.  These three elements are the key to everything.  They did not exactly happen as I headed into the weekend, but it was worth it.  My love of soccer has jostled my plans a few times over the past few weeks and I don't ever regret it.  My Terps had their home opener against Duke...and I got to cheer them on to victory as part of a record setting crowd!!  If I had not seen them play just over two years ago...I'm sure I would not be training for a marathon.  Seeing the hard work that happens on the pitch motivates me...back then and now.  So as I woke up early on Sunday to get those 18 miles...I was feeling ready.  I was moving along at a great pace...feeling good...right up until mile 8.  I was starting to struggle...I just didn't feel right and my heart started to sink.  It was hitting me that I probably was not going to get those 18 miles.  I had started another loop around the Soccerplex near where I was parked...and instead of just turning around and heading back to my car...I kept moving forward.  Actually, it didn't even occur to me to turn around.  Maybe that means more then getting the 18 miles.  I could have stopped at 8, but I didn't.  I walked, hydrated, and pushed my way through 2 more miles.  I got 10 miles.  I was devastated but one of my friends reminded me of something... "You can't get to mile 20 when you need to if you hurt yourself getting 18. Chin up!

Focus Points - time/mile markers
The point of training is getting yourself ready.  It is about adapting to situations that you can’t predict.  I know that when I focus...I get where I need to be.  I trust my intuition.  I listen to what my body is telling me.  I made up my mind that I was going to finish that last loop...and I did.  And when I got back to my car...my sister was waiting for me...just to make sure I was okay.  She was nearby and decided to check on me after getting my "I'm not going to finish - sadface" text.  I'm lucky.  There is a tremendous amount of energy behind me getting these 26 miles.  I feel it everyday.  I am grateful.  My trainer Stacy K will be right along with me for the journey.  There is work that I need to do.  Getting these miles is not supposed to be easy.  I have two sticky notes on one of my monitors at work.  Two reminders about miles and time as I get ready for the Baltimore Marathon.  I need to get 13 miles within 3.5 hours.  I need to get 26 miles within 7 hours.  I focus on these two notes.  I stare at them.  I think about them. I visualize myself getting those 26 miles.  I have decided to do this...and I will get it done.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week 14 - The Road to 26.2

Short Distance this Week...
And then there were 7 weeks until race day...the days are being checked off...and the miles are continuing to add up.  It was another good training week all in all...I had only one skip day.  I feel much more accomplished now that I have more X's crossed through my training plan.  I'm getting in strength training, swimming, and time on the elliptical for cross training days.  I am feeling really good during my shorter distance walk/runs during the week.  I'm sure I could be pushing a bit more...but I'm really trying to be cognizant of the fact that the week after a long distance walk/run is different then the week leading up to a long distance walk/run.  It is a mind game...your state of mind after getting 16 miles is different then the state of mind leading up to it.  It is part of the training.  On some level you make up your mind...no matter what...you are going to finish.  And you do...one way or another.

Just Like a Wavin' Flag...
The weekend included the need for 8 miles which I postponed until Sunday because I decided that being a soccer fan was my number one priority on Saturday.  My sister and I took a bus trip to New Jersey to see the New York Red Bulls play DC United.  It was an amazing experience...seeing the New York Skyline as we neared the final exit to the Stadium, walking from the pub to the stadium with all of the chanting/flag wavin' DC United Fans, chanting throughout the game, and continuing to chant even after we lost as some of the players waved up to us from the pitch.  I even got to wave a flag for awhile...which is something I have always wanted to do.  The evening breeze was definitely working in my favor.  Admittedly, my 8 miles on Sunday were horrible.  I ended up walking more than running for the last 4.  I felt awful.  I wasn't properly hydrated.  I had not had enough sleep.  But...I got them done.  I did not stop.  I pushed through...knowing that as I head into week 15...there will be 18 miles to get...and I will be ready.