Tuesday, September 17, 2013

9 + 1 =

10!!  That's right... 10!  That's how many miles were on the training schedule... TEN!!  I know that I am planning in just 3 short weeks to complete 13 miles, but the concept of 10 miles just feels monumental. 

I am blessed to have access to a beautiful bike path.  There are points along the way where I feel transported out of Long Island and to a world with no traffic!  There are wild flowers and swamps, thickets of trees and lakes.  There is one spot along the path that someone has turned a little bluff into a beautiful garden sanctuary.  Running this path has changed my run. I actually enjoy it more. 

Last week I deviated from my running schedule.  On Saturday I conquered the 9 miles, but there was a lot of walking and a lot of wishing the miles away. I was happy when I was done and I was happy with my overall time.  Then on Sunday was the Zombie Race. During the zombie experience I had an epic gravity failure that had me imitating superman down the side of a muddy hill. Thankfully I wasn't seriously injured besides the bruised ego. At the end of the day I was proudly sporting scrapes and scratches and the promise of some grotesque bruises, but I felt good.  A little ice on my bum knee, a cold beer and I'll be on my way... Or so I thought. 

By Tuesday morning I could put no weight on my right foot. My middle toe was very red and angry and swollen. My toe nail was black and crack 3/4ths of the way down. I couldn't help but gaze upon the toe with pride while I painfully attempted a shoe and sock.  The voice of reason stopped me and when office hours rolled around I was on the phone with the podiatrist. 

With most of the nail removed and a promise of quick pain relief to come I hobbled home.  Instead on Wednesday I was greater by continued pain an it was too late to cancel my appointment with Frank the trainer.. Bring on a boxing session with no shoes on!!!

Friday was the first day I could get a sock and shoe on my foot. This made me terrified of Saturday's run.  I had to just have faith that my 5 days off would be to a benefit. 

I was blessed to have incredible weather on Saturday, 68 and partly sunny. This weather makes it easy to settle into a run.  My three favorite boys dropped me at the trail head and I started off strong with an easy pace.  The boys meet between the 1 and 2 mile mark to wave an watch mommy go by.  I know that between mile 2 and 3 are two of the 5 uphill climbs on the route and they flew by with little notice. Continuing strong past the three mile mark I pushed off fueling as I was still in good shape. Miles 4, 5, and 6 passed almost as easily and when I hit the biggest hill of the whole route, I pushed to the top and kept going.  This was the first time that I hadn't needed a walk at the top of this very steep overpass.  I was beginning to start to struggle and keep myself from walking and between miles 7 and 8 my hip started to complain.  I was able to pull back the pace a little until and get comfortable again.  I knew as I got towards the end that I would have to do some doubling back to get the 10th mile in.  At 9.1 I was surprised by my boys running towards me!  I love when they find me on the trail because it gives me such a boost!  Ben was so excited to run with me that he made it half a mile!  

The last half mile was the hardest steps of the entire route.  My tank was empty and my motivation was sapped...  but... I finished it!  All 10 miles!  And my reward..... and ice bath!
     I think more important that the running this week was the decision that I have made to turn this run into a fundraiser.  I will be running to benefit the children of Variety Child Learning Center.  Please check out the info!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Small Victories

     Ben doesn't love food.  He could go long stretches without eating.  He just doesn't think about eating as an important part of life.  When he does eat, it is in very limited quantities and from a very small group of foods.  He was a sweet tooth and is a crab monster.  We have spent a lot of energy and therapy time working on requesting food, staying at the table, eating foods that he doesn't love.  But still eating is a challenge.
     Ben as eats in cycles.  He will eat pudding every day for three weeks.  Then it becomes equivalent to liver and haggis.  Another food takes its place.  But Ben will never give us a clue what the next food of choice is!  Eating is just a frustrating topic in this household!  But maybe the path is changing.....

     This morning, while I was making my breakfast (a toasted peanut butter banana sandwich - ritual the morning of a long run), Ben was watching me intently...  "Can I have?"  I don't think I registered what he was saying at first..  "Mommy, can I have?"  He was clearly pointing at the bread in my hand.  Ben wanted bread??  "NO! Sandwich!"  I can with almost 100% certainty credit this word and this desire to a game he plays on the iPad.  He has to feed the animal the foods that appear over their heads.  If you give them the wrong foods, they make silly faces and sounds.  He LOVES this game.  When he plays it, I get to hear my favorite belly laughs.
    Grabbing the jelly from the fridge, I have a shadow as I go to the counter..  Time to break out a kitchen gadget!  I have been waiting for the moment, when I get to make my little boy a sandwich.  (I know if seems silly, but when your child doesn't eat like a typical child, these moments become huge in your mind.)  I grabbed my Pampered Chef Cut and Seal and got to the important task of fulfilling this request.  Trying not to get my hopes up that it wasn't a fluke request, I of course put too much jelly in the center.
     Sandwich finished, on the plate it goes and I turn to see Ben still standing next to me with the biggest Cheshire Cat grin.  His little hand reaches up - presumably to take the plate to the table... and the sandwich is GONE!  Before I can blink, he is curled into the corner of the  couch nibbling away like a squirrel!  Normally he would be told to sit at his table, but I was too excited that he was actually eating what he asked for!  He was eating a sandwich, just like any other 3 year old boy on a Saturday morning.. sitting on the couch in his under-roos, watching cartoons... Life felt normal!

Friday, September 13, 2013

30 Days and Second Chances

With less the 30 days to go until race day, my nerves are starting to get to me and not without reason....  The last 30 days have seen 2 races, a lot of triumph and a little set back...

     Lets rewind a bit.  I got sidelined by sickness for almost a week and a half!  I was devastated when I was forced to deviate from the training plan.  I had promised myself that I wouldn't break from the schedule and here I was sitting out for a week and a half.  I worried about about losing fitness.  I worried that I wasnt building my mileage.  I was just all around worried.

     I was also had a race coming up...  the Discover Hicksville 5mile Race.  I knew that my focus had to be on getting healthy so that I wouldn't miss this race.  I was able to get 3 miles in a couple of days before hand and away we go!  The course was advertised as a "Flat" course.  I was excited for an easy race.

     They offered a free fun run, so the boys got to join in the fun! As soon as they said "GO!", Ben was GONE!!!  He ran the whole 1/4 mile by himself.  He made all the turns on the course and even waved to some of the people that were cheering!  The best part....  he got to the finish and STOPPED!  We had never told him what a
race was, but he instinctively knew what to do. He finished in less than 3mins and 40secs.  Alex didn't love the process as much.. he was more upset about the numbers pinned to his shirt and just couldn't get in to the running part of the race.  Both boys earned medals for their attempt.  For the next two weeks Ben kept asking, "We go race?"  I think I might have a natural runner on my hands.

     My race on the other hand, was not as easy.  The "flat course" was filled with little inclines and declines and there were lots of twists and turns.  It was hard to judge distance and pace.  It was also HOT!  It was a relatively small collection of runners and they were all FAST... I... am SLOW.  I really just didnt want to be last.  I started towards the middle of the pack so I wouldnt be in the way of the contenders, but not at the back because I didnt want to start last!  The end of the course was twisty with a hidden finish.  It was hard to judge from a distance what your finish time would be since you couldnt see the clock until the last 100 meters.  I was stoked when I rounded the corner and I was trudging towards a PR!  My previous best was 1:13:48.  I dug down and found more energy than I thought I had left and sprinted... pushing as much as I could to get to the finish as the seconds ticked away....   1:11:09!!!

      I was thrilled.. my legs were jelly.. and it was done!  However, sprinting and staring at the clock with a race photographer that isn't sitting at a good angle, makes for a not so pretty race picture...  But hey.. it was a PR!
      Back on track after the 5mile race it was time to shift my focus to getting ready for the longer distances.  It was on to 8miles, and 9miles!  Saturday long runs have become a family event with the boys dropping me off at the beginning of a local bike path and picking me up at the end, usually with dinner in hand!   I was able to push through 8miles and had a surprisingly wonderful 9mile run.  I felt in control.  I did walk a bunch, and I am ok with it.  I know that I will be walking during the 1/2 marathon, so I might as well prepare myself!

     This past weekend, I had my 2nd race.... the Zombie Race.. 3.12 miles of insane trails, 13 muddy and tough obstacles, and ZOMBIES waiting for you around every turn!  The whole experience was epic!  I was able to complete all but one obstacle (the old school rope climb).  One of the hills was so steep that there was a rope tied to a tree to give assistance.. there were walls, and mud pits, slides, and fire..  it was a great test of strength, endurance, and courage...  My unofficial goal was to finish in less time than I had the Spartan race (1:48) and we finished in 1:18!

     Now that I have wrestled with the Zombies, it is time to go back to the mundane..  next up... tomorrow: 10miles and next weekend, the NYC 10k!

     I think more important that the running this week was the decision that I have made to turn this run into a fundraiser.  I will be running to benefit the children of Variety Child Learning Center.  Please check out the info!