Trip to Indy

Friday

With the race app on my phone, bags packed, errands already run, I waited for my friends to head to the Indy Monumental half marathon race. Over the summer, Jane and I planned a trip for the race where we’d stay outside of the city at a less expensive hotel and use a parking app to reserve a space ahead of race day. We found two more friends to join on the trip.

Maureen and Kristen came to my house together after Jane came solo. Maureen was our driver and I was to navigate when needed. Kristen gave each of us a paper face mask and candy in a cute paper bag. The ride to Indy was filled with conversation and laughs. We found a parking spot in a garage near the race expo convention center. A passerby was snarky about our close parking space saying we must be special. I assure you, it was not a designated space for any specific person(s) and it was simply the first space available after entry.

The expo was packed. We got our race packets and then explored. We got separated at packet pickup. I found Jane and bought race merchandise before walking around the expo. I found the Run Like a Mother table and found a new hat that I’m excited about. Here it is:

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We got in line for a photo as our meeting spot. We ran into our friend, Patrick, who recently moved to Northern Michigan and was running his first marathon in Indy. We had to get a photo with him as well.

 

 

After the expo, we set out to locate and check in to our hotel. We stopped for gas along the way and Maureen’s Subaru wouldn’t start after the fill up. Some young guys used their car to jump the car for us and we went to the Lawrence, Indiana Baymont Inn and Suites. While checking in, Jane was told that her requested room required additional cleaning from the previous guests and would not be available. As a substitute for a room with 2 queen beds: a suite with a king sized bed, a sofa sleeper, and a roll away bed. We agreed, unloaded our luggage, and went to dinner at Applebee’s. I felt like I should write in my blog that I wasn’t expecting much, but I enjoyed my food there.

We returned to the Baymont, and saw the Goodwill store across the parking lot was still open. We headed there for ‘throw away’ clothes for race morning. [Athletes wear clothes to the start that they don’t intend to wear the full duration of the race. In many races, those clothes are donated to a local charity after being collected.] I found an Adidas jacket I wanted to keep and a hooded zip front sweatshirt to use as my throw away. I had already gotten gloves for a dollar in case I didn’t need them for the whole race. I couldn’t find a jacket in my closet that I wanted to part with.

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Great Goodwill find!

At the hotel, we started getting ready for race morning. The hotel delivered a roll away bed that we had to call for help to open. When we pulled the bed from the sofa, there were black spots all over it. They weren’t moving, but it was obvious it hadn’t been cleaned from a prior use. Maureen called the front desk and they gave us another suite upstairs. Kristen and I left Jane and Maureen and went to the other room to use that bed. I’m not hip on trying this particular hotel chain again. I don’t think a sleeper sofa and roll away bed were a comparable substitute for the room we’d reserved and we were still charged the same. Lesson learned. Kristen and I again unpacked our things and organized them for race morning. I set an alarm for 5:15 am.

Saturday

I still managed to wake up before the alarm despite the time difference. Kristen had already gotten up. We got ready, packed all of our things, and headed to the hotel breakfast area. The hotel offered a continental breakfast, but I was hesitant to eat more than my usual Stinger waffle. I had yogurt cup from their offerings. We saw other people with race bibs heading out of the lobby of the hotel.

Maureen drove as I navigated to the parking garage where we had a reservation on the Spot Hero app. The parking was easy to find. There were other race people in the same garage and we had a semi warm place to hang out a little bit before going to the race.

Once out on the street, we encountered a woman who ran the Chicago Marathon in October and recommended that we try it sometime. We all chimed in that we ran it in 2017 and Kristen had also run it this year. We congratulated her then wished her luck. We stopped in at a hotel lobby to use the restroom. A hotel employee unlocked the door for us saying that they lock them to guest only use for events like the race so people don’t just wander in off the street to use theirs [ha, ha…oops].

As we brought our official [clear] gear check bags to the gear check, we stopped a few times to chat with people we knew. Like our Girl Boss friend, Lauri:

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Maureen, Jane, Me, Lauri, Kristen

Checking the bags was easy and we had a little time, so we waited inside of some doors with a bunch of other race participants to stay warm and to take some group photos with our training group from Fleet Feet. We rushed to the start at about 7:45 for the 8 am race start. The four of us were in Wave 3.

I plan to talk about the race in another post because this one is going pretty long already.

After the race, Kristen and I were in different places in line for a free massage. The line turned into a nearly 2 hour commitment. I ran into Wendy and socialized with her for the last part of the wait. I had been chatting it up with a woman from Boston I’d met waiting. When Wendy went to take our selfie, her camera was rear facing and I suggested she take the photo anyway to confuse herself later. “Who is that person I took a picture of?” We got our selfie, though.

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Wendy and Jenn sighting

The long wait for the massage meant that Jane and Maureen had lunch without Kristen and I because we told them to go ahead instead of waiting. I was distraught when I’d realized how much of a waste of time waiting had been and that I’d missed out on trying out beer at Rock Bottom Brewing. I was already emotional, so tears welled up in my eyes. Kristen and I were encouraged by Maureen to go ahead and order food to eat there instead of having our orders wrapped for take out. I had lost my appetite, so I ordered a bowl of chicken tortilla soup and a beer. Both were really good. The chicken tortilla soup was warm and spicy, so I felt a little better after eating it.

The ride home was a good kind of uneventful. We chatted about things including our experiences at the race. We all shared similar plans to bathe and relax the rest of the evening. I’m pretty sure my dogs missed me more than my children, but I was only gone a day, so I’ll accept it. The dogs wanted to lay on me, but my kids wanted to go play with friends.

 

Have you ever had a bad experience with lodging for a race? I didn’t realize that gear check was so easy. That was my first experience with it and I was happy to have some dry gear available at the finish. Now I need to decide if I want to do this race the next 3 years to complete a series in the medals…

My race story will be tomorrow. I hope you enjoyed this and read my post tomorrow, too!

Thank you!

 

Another taper

This week was nuts. I’m exhausted. I’m relieved to see training wrapping up. Running was probably the easiest part of this week for me.

Tuesday, I needed to use the day to run because my evening was packed with appointments including parent teacher conferences. Speed work was the task. I’d decided to try to be in the moment for the duration of the run. I ran a 1 mile warm up followed by repeats of 1/2 mile fast and 1/4 recovery, and a 1 mile cool down. My total distance was 5 miles. I wore my Aftershokz for music and used a route long enough that I wouldn’t need to turn back until I had completed at least 2.5 miles. It was windy, but otherwise great. I felt energized by the run and I wish I’d tracked my speed during the fast portions to see how it progressed.

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Tuesday evening, my husband and I visited my kids’ teachers. Each of them were noted to be talkers. My son’s teacher said he needed enrichment in reading and comprehension. My daughter’s said she needed a little help in penmanship and reading comprehension. I went home and found workbooks to order online to help them over the upcoming breaks for holidays. They’re not going to love it, but I’ll try to come up with some incentive to do the work.

Wednesday, my adult daughter (she’s 18), came to the house with a man and a truck to collect her things to move with “a friend and her parents.” She didn’t say hello to her siblings or bye to anyone when the truck was full and she couldn’t fit any more boxes.

Thursday, I had a morning full of appointments and skipped my run. The family minivan had the dreaded “check engine” light and the location of the problem was too deep for me to even attempt a repair on my own. I didn’t make my run up later in the day as I’d planned, either. The elementary school nurse called to tell me that my son had been to her and the school counselor because he was sad his sister had moved out and taken her things. The nurse let me know they discussed adults going out on their own, but I was a little angry with the way she’d neglected them the previous day.

By Friday, the oldest daughter was saying the house she had moved in to had been involved in a raid by law enforcement. She said that most of her day was spent with the police. She was communicating only with her dad. She was using WiFi and a messaging app because her phone bill had lapsed since she took over paying. Friday night, I was stressed enough to know I couldn’t handle the extra anxiety of being around people. Wendy messaged to ask if I wanted to meet up with her for our 8 mile run. She was willing to go 30 minutes later than my group was meeting, so I skipped my group run in favor of less people and more sleep.

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I don’t know why my face can’t take a good picture lately.

Saturday morning’s run was great. The miles flew by as we chatted. I needed to stop to use a restroom when we were only a half of a mile from finishing the run and I was so glad to see the bathroom when we arrived. I didn’t stretch when I was done. I went home and still didn’t stretch. I spent most of the day on the couch under a blanket and under my dogs. It’s Monday and my calves are still really sore. Lesson learned.

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The lesson is that dogs are freaking adorable. Wait…

Saturday night, my adult daughter posted to her Facebook that she was planning to end her own life. My response to her set off an intense argument with her. While I’d expressed concern, she implied my efforts were superficial and did her best to cut me down with insults. Since my husband and I were unsuccessful at locating her, I screen shot and re-posted photos of the entire conversation (including my comments that she deleted as soon as I posted them). She said she was at a local hospital, so I asked that anyone at a local hospital look for her and show security her comments so the correct actions could be taken. I had a lot of support despite being really nervous about posting the entire conversation.

I had also decided to tell myself that if anyone had an opinion, they could “eat it and eat it again after they shit it out.” Through these experiences with my daughter, especially over the past 3 years, I’ve started to realize that I don’t need opinions and they have no bearing on who I am as a person. It is liberating.

Sunday, we did morning church so we could bring the kids to a trunk or treat at a church one of my friends attends in a nearby town. We stopped in after church to have someone pray with us for my oldest daughter. The trunk or treat wound up being fun and the kids even thanked me for bringing them to it, so I was feeling pretty pleased.

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My son is a hot dog and my daughter a vampire. They’re fishing for prizes.

Nearing 10 pm, my oldest daughter called me from a facility asking to return to our home to stay. She stated the facility was going to release her at midnight. She hadn’t called earlier in the day because she was sleeping. I felt like a person who’s ex calls drunk in the middle of the night for a place to stay. Her words felt empty and she would insult me each time I insisted that she find other arrangements. A 45 minute long conversation ensued where she threatened to either kill herself or walk to our house and sleep on our lawn if we didn’t immediately collect her and give her food and shelter in our home. She hung up. My husband called the number that had called me and spoke to the facility, who assured us that she was not being kicked out and that she was safe. He reported to them her threats. Moments later, she called my phone and said that she would be staying there and gave me a password to speak to her and disconnected the call before I could respond. I know she’s safe. I wish I could lay out things to help people understand the place the decisions I’ve made have come from. I’m not going to, though. I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed some more. I can love someone and still refuse to help them repeat self destructive behavior. The best part is…the decision isn’t up to other people. My husband and I can do that.

So, this week, I’m just hoping to make it through my next three runs before race day. I’m hoping to have some fun with my girlfriends on our trip to Indy. I’m praying for direction and for something that will not harm the family as a whole just to help one member. I’m living one day at a time and I realize that God is in control. It helped that Sunday’s verse from Our Daily Bread was Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; acknowledge him in all your ways, and he shall make your paths straight.” This verse is printed on one of my walls and I think I get it now.

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Do you have struggles that sometimes making running feel more difficult? Have you forgotten to do something simple like stretching, hydrating, or something else that affected the way you felt days after a run? I hope you’re doing well and I can’t wait to share my race day stories with you! This will be my first Indy Monumental and I get a really cool hat at the finish [and a medal, of course].

Drop me a comment or even send me a message. I love feedback. Even the constructive criticism helps.

 

Time for Rest

I’ve finished one of my fall half marathons and I’m in the last 3 weeks before the finale of my racing season. I’m relieved to see the end nearing. I intend to keep running after the final race, but I only intend to keep in 10k condition for the coming months. I am looking forward to the break from longer runs and dedicating more time to injury recovery and prevention.

Tuesday was speed work. My muscles were not happy that I was trying to run again after the 16 mile weekend (a 5k and a half marathon over 2 days). I managed to push myself to complete the workout. It was a hot evening. I drank all of the electrolyte drink I’d brought along. I ran 4 miles with an average of 11 minutes per mile and I walked 30-45 seconds after each pick up before running back to complete 4 of the pick up repeats before running a mile for cool down.

A friend offered to run with me on Thursday morning after I got the kids off to school. It was so chilly that morning, I don’t think I’d have run if I didn’t have plans to meet up with Jess to do it. I dressed well for a run in the weather with long sleeves and pants that both had mesh panels to offer some air circulation through the hotter spots (armpits and backs of knees). I told Jess that I was going to do 4 miles because I couldn’t remember what my training calendar said. I later realized it said 5 miles. I once again averaged 11 minute miles for that run and didn’t worry about that missed mile.

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Same Jess as in the Whiskeydaddle 5k.

Friday, I saw my physical therapist. I am close to being discharged from their care, but I’m basically listed as independent/home practice for two weeks before it is official. My foot hasn’t been too bad. I just need to actually remember to keep doing the exercises.

Saturday morning was even colder than Thursday, so I wore a warm 1/2 zip top, pants, gloves, and a winter headband. We had 8 miles. The first 5 were south of where we parked and the next 3 were supposed to be north. Around the 5 miles, we had to stop because I needed a tissue, but I also needed to ditch my headband and gloves because I was hot and sweaty. When we reached a train crossing on the north part of the trail, there was a seemingly endless freight train preventing our crossing to continue. We opted for turning back to our starting point and heading east on the trail to complete our 8 mile run. It wasn’t the plan, but it worked out fine. We caught up with someone else from the group and we all ran together and talked while we went along. I felt the familiar feeling of just wanting to stop because I didn’t want to go any further, but I somehow recharged and finished strong. I also started walking the second my Garmin hit 8 miles despite having another 1/4 mile back to the starting point. I averaged under 11 minutes for that run. I was pleased that I’d actually kept up the effort and even came close to averaging the speed I would need to in order to get a personal best at my race in Indy.

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Sunday wound up being hectic. Much of it was kids. Not all of it was my own kids. The message at church was about rest, which was timely considering I was completely exhausted and irritable. I think the message was more about living out the calling that God has for us and being patient with His timing. I’m still trying to shake off the irritability late on Monday morning while typing this post. No, it isn’t “that time of the month” for me. I sometimes get overwhelmed and it leaves me feeling this way. I am not one who enjoys being busy constantly. I like my peace and I like having time for rest. I don’t do the competition to see how busy I can be or how tired I can get before I explode. I just work in rest like I do exercise. I make it a priority.

I’m excited to have my last two long runs leading up to the race on November 3rd. I let my friend talk me into a 5k this coming Saturday. It wasn’t difficult. I have been doing the race yearly for a few years and its kind of a tradition. I have a 12 mile run on the calendar, so I suppose I’ll need to do it Thursday or before the race starts on Saturday. I want to place in the 5k, though.

Are you still training? Do you have a plan for the lull in races that comes until the spring? Do you prefer running in the heat of summer, coolness of fall, or something else entirely? I am not a fan of cold weather in general, but the running conditions are pretty good when it is cool and not yet bitterly cold.

Have a great day! Hope you can work rest into your schedule!

 

 

Race Day(s) in week 12

Week 12 is finally through. When I signed up for Whiskeydaddle in Peoria, I entered a challenge where I’d do a 5 k race on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday.

Tuesday’s training run was near our local Fleet Feet for four miles. The weather was hot, but the run felt great. Four miles gave me confidence for the upcoming weekend because I managed to do well in the heat. The group I was with ran and commented on the bulk waste sitting on the curbs. We saw a couple of bowling bags, a lot of furniture, and even more luggage. It was fun to point out the little treasures we saw in the trash.

My oldest daughter was unhappy with her choice to stay with family out of state that she’d made last week. She asked to return near the end of the week and was encouraged to try to make things work out. She returned to the area over the weekend. I had spent the weekdays placing her things into boxes and rearranging things to utilize the emptied space. The finished product was my kids playroom being moved to the less visible basement from the room directly beside the entryway. I was wiped out from all of the cleaning and organizing I had done through the week.

The entire week, rain was in the entire weekend forecast. Friday morning, I set out on a 45 mile drive to packet pickup. Rain poured down the entire way there and got so heavy, I couldn’t see the tail lights in front of me and I couldn’t hear the radio over the rainfall. Once I was in Peoria, it wasn’t raining. I picked up race packets and headed back home without being rained on for the 45 miles back.

Saturday morning was the 5k race. I found friends at the start to chat with leaving my husband closer to the front since he’s much faster than me. My friend, Jess was doing her 2nd marathon on Sunday (after a 12 year marathon hiatus). I mentioned that I average 11 minutes for my first mile and that she could run with me to ensure no break neck speeds were had the day before her marathon. It was a hot and humid morning and I was sweat soaked by the end of that 3.1 miles, but I had fun and felt encouraged about the next day. It drizzled and felt cooler after we’d finished, so I put hope in the cooler feeling sticking around. I read my devotional for the day and it was titled, “Run” and included Hebrews 12 where it says “…and let us run with endurance he race that is set before us, Looking to Jesus…” I was amused at the timing of that particular message.

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Jess and I post race (with our Goodr sunglasses)

Sunday was the big 13.1 mile race I’d trained 12 weeks to run. I barely slept the night before. The weather was difficult to predict even with the forecast rain. I arrived to a fairly cool, but very humid start line. At the parking lot, I told my husband that all I could hope for was to finish the race and not cry or give up. He told me I was definitely too stubborn to give up, but to cry if I wanted. This is just how we joke with one another about running sometimes. I found friends again at the start and chatted it up. As the gun went off, most of the people I knew took off ahead faster than I allowed myself to start out. I spotted my friend, Wendy. She was running intervals and kept catching up to me on each of her runs. I decided that instead of chatting and splitting up on her walk breaks, I’d join her on the intervals. She was happy to invite me to run along, so that’s what we did. She informed me that she would be running her intervals for 10 miles and then walking the other 3 miles. Her goal race was Indianapolis Monumental, which I’m also running, and Whiskeydaddle was a training run leading up to it. Glad to have someone to chat with that was going to do 13.1 miles, I spent the rest of the race with Wendy. We did a fun photo during a walk interval.

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I hit a point where I was fighting my brain to keep going and I couldn’t think of anything except how much I wanted to just give up. Wendy kept my distracted from those thoughts and kept up the conversation even when I wasn’t actually talking much. She’d assumed I was annoyed with her, but I was just trying so hard to keep going that I just needed the talking. When we hit the 10 mile mark, we agreed to walk the remaining 5k to the end. We ran a few times when there was a downhill or just to stay loose, but the intervals were gone. My personality came back and I was able to form words and carry on a conversation more easily. We ran in the finish happily enough that the announcer said, “This is why you run with friends. Look at those smiles.” I raised my hands over my head for the finish photo and it was done. My time was over 25 minutes slower than my personal best. I made it 13.1 miles, though. That means I have a few weeks to work out the kinks before I run Indy and I could still reach for that personal record time. And Wendy will totally be there, guys. I could torture her for another 13.1 miles.

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FINISH!

I didn’t get the PR I’d hoped for when I started training 12 weeks ago. I finished, though. I had another half marathon finished and another one planned. I got the medals I’d signed up for and my training continues tonight with speed work. I’m looking forward to more training and more races. I push through the challenges in life with endurance and I run the races with endurance (even if the speed isn’t there).

The medals:

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5k was called “The Shot” and the Half Marathon was “The Bottle”

Thank you for reading! I hope you’re enjoying the fall race season and maybe even planning for the spring. I hope you can push yourself a little past your comfort zone to achieve things you want to. It is worth it each time!

 

 

 

 

Certainly Uncertain

Certainly Uncertain

By Jenn M

Let me start by saying I started adding a “by line” to my posts because one of my fitness posts was translated into another language and posted to a website with no mention of my name. I went through the usual channels and had it removed, but I thought I’d make it more difficult to steal. Content creators know the feeling, I’m sure. This stuff takes time and thought, so seeing your name attached to it is its own reward.

Now, the reason I came to my blog today to chat with you. Things are never certain and that’s really the only thing that is for sure. I bought an outfit last year for triathlon training this year. I told everyone that was my next step after a marathon. It still could be the next thing I learn, but not this year. I’ve chosen to limit my races this year and avoiding burnout.

I swam some laps yesterday and it was difficult to get back into the groove of it. I should try to stay on top of my swimming so I can improve. I’m not sure I would have swam if nature hadn’t gone on vacation and turned off the sun. I haven’t wanted to run outside in the cold as often, but I have a poor relationship with the treadmill. I figured since I’d be at the gym for my kids to take swim lessons, I’d do laps while they learned. I’m glad I did it.

I’m still mad that the scale doesn’t move and I’m generally hungry and/or tired most days. I’m planning an overhaul of my nutrition yet again. I think I’ll need to work on my mental fortitude again. I do so well at controlling my eating when I’m training for a half marathon, so I should probably tell myself that I’m starting now for my October race. It is all about planning my meals for me. I get off track easily and I really like snacks that have chocolate in them. So when I stop for convenience, I pick up a dessert that I don’t really need. I am aware of these things. I know there’s no magic to be worked there. It is an attitude adjustment that I need. I tend to wax and wane with how I take care of myself.

My current goal is running in a marathon relay with a team at the end of this month. Wish me luck in running 1/4 of a marathon.

Thanks for reading! Do you have something that helps you stay on track? It could be a mantra or even a few words of wisdom. I like to remind myself not to quit because I hate starting over.

*Featured Image is my Garmin app. I had a goal to run 4 miles the other day. I got terribly bored after 3 treadmill miles, so I ran the rest on an indoor track. I still got my 4 in.

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Title here (not a typo, that is the title of this one)

It seems like sometimes the title is the only thing keeping me from writing or publishing a blog post.  I’m afraid if I title it wrong, people won’t want to read it or they’ll mistake the subject matter.  I mainly write for my own enjoyment.  Often, something will happen in my everyday life that I think I should blog about later, only to forget until it seems much less important by the time I get around to putting it into words.  

I write my title line before I write my post in an attempt to keep myself on target regarding what I was planning to post about.  I rarely do more than glance over the final product before I publish.  It isn’t that I don’t care.  Its that if I let myself get into it, I’ll whittle away at it and change it until it doesn’t resemble my initial idea.  Even worse, I’ll read through and decide it isn’t worth publishing and delete it all.  My own criticism is probably worse than anyone else could offer.  

I’ve read many blog posts by many different people.  I’ve been working up the courage to discuss the things I want to without fear of judgement from people I know and people I don’t.  I have depression and anxiety.  They’re both very real to me, but I know there are people out there who believe its only a mind over matter issue.  Sometimes, that opinion of it makes me think I might be suffering because I’m too weak to fight back against it.  The people who roll their eyes at those of us who know that these are illnesses, are the people who have been fortunate enough not to suffer from it.  I want to write about it so maybe I can get through to people who do suffer that we are not imagining this, we are not weak because of it, and that we are not alone in our fight.  

So, I don’t want to title my posts because fear that the label might not be sufficient to describe the content.  Labeling myself as someone who suffers from depression and anxiety shouldn’t be something that categorizes who I am.  You might not know by looking at me when I’m having a particularly bad episode with either or both.  You might not care.  I’m not here for the people who can’t accept mental illnesses as real.  I’m not here to convince anyone to believe.  I just want to ensure people that there is someone just as weird, if not more weird than, they think they are.  

So, while my posts will always have a title, they might not capture all of the content.  Very few labels do.