A Bittersweet Solemate

The marathon is only days away.

I am so proud to have raised $1100 for Girls on the Run as a Solemate!

Running for a charity like Girls on the Run gives extra added moral support and encouragement of knowing your running has the double benefit of helping others while working toward an individual goal. I would like to thank everyone for not only $$ contributions, but for cheering on both Girls on the Run and me! The support has been wonderful and I am so grateful!

My personal goal was to run a strong race.  I’ve been healthy, fit and mentally prepared. I’ve had a fun summer of running, and was hitting all my training goals and on my way to a great race.

Until Friday, September 14th.

The last few weeks heading up to race day were to practice pacing and race day strategy. I was running up the very modest incline at Sheridan and Isabella. It was a tempo run day and I was hitting my pace at 8:50 min per mile. I was hoping to run the marathon at right around a 8:55 – 9 minute pace. The light was red. I didn’t mind to stop for a bit. I was feeling a few twinges in my hamstring heading up the hill.

I waited for the light to turn to the little walk guy, then stepped off the curb to cross the street.  Ouch. My left hamstring. Ouch. I kept running for a quarter of a mile. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. My gait turned to a limp. I walked the remaining half mile home.

Crap.

Hamstring strain. Tendonitis. Crap.

I’ve done everything. Everything everything everything to try to get my leg healed and ready to race by Sunday.

But I’ve run out of time.

To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. I’ve taken the last week to really evaluate if I could just participate and not “race.” But I can hardly run two miles without a lot of discomfort. So I’ve slowly come to the realization that 26 miles is out of the question.

I am grateful to Girls on the Run for giving me the opportunity to participate in the Chicago Marathon.

I have had such a wonderful summer training. Such a wonderful time writing, and talking about Girls on the Run. And again, am so proud to have raised money for a program I dearly believe in.

I only wish I were running on Sunday.

So bittersweet!

On Bike

 

21 days to go until the marathon. I’ve surpassed my goal and have raised more than $1,000 for Girls on the Run! Still time to donate though, to this wonderful program if you would like: Chicago Marathon 2012/Girls on the Run Sole Mate.

Instead of running 20 miles today. I biked 12. Because of a sore butt and hammie. Which are feeling much better thank you.

Biking my running route. Was weird. Because there were all these runners. Trudging! Trudge. Trudge. Trudge. There was one young fellow who was running. Fast! And one lady, my age hauling ass! I gave her a thumbs up. She acknowledged gratefully. Love her!

There was one other woman who looked like she wasn’t suffering. Not thrilled. But not suffering. And she had really cute shorts, with polka dots.

Aside from that. The 15 other runners did not look like they were loving life.

Do what you love. Love what you do.

I love to run. Here’s a secret. Even more than I like riding my bike. I wished that I was on foot today. But I learned a lot on wheels.

Love the run. Love the challenge. Love the moment. Love the challenging moment.

Life is short.

I’ve been training, sometimes trudging, because I’m raising money and awareness to empower young girls. And also. Because I love to run. Even when I’m looking like, maybe I don’t.

And so.

Everyone I passed today. Whether they looked like it or not. I was hoping that they were loving to run. For their own very good reasons.

 

Four Hours Later

Seriously. I didn’t know if I had it in me. Sometimes you just have to face the doubt. And head out the door.

So that’s what I did. I hit the road at 8:50 a.m. with 19 miles to go. It was super sunny, hot, and yucky humid. I headed north. Up Sheridan Rd. To Tower. On to the Green Bay Trail.

Trudge, trudge, trudge.

I felt ok. But not great. Ahh yes. The mental training that goes along with the actual running when you’re preparing for a marathon. That is. Unless your body tells you that you absolutely should not be running today. You run. Even if you don’t feel like it.

My plan is to keep it as simple as possible.  I will head north for 9.5 miles, turn around and come back south for 9.5 miles.

But when I hit Lake Cook Road at about 8.5 miles out. A light bulb lit. Head west. Take a little respite and check out the Botanic Gardens.

What a genius idea! Why not stop and smell the roses? Why not?

Well. If you know my past history. You understand that this used to be a simply unthinkable thing to do. Stop and walk around some gardens in the middle of your long run?  Never!  Running was work to be done. And a training run should not be interrupted with any sort of pleasure.

Happily. I discovered. That I no longer think this way.

And so.

I took my time strolling through the gardens. Appreciating the swans, the lushness, the roses, the calm. I got some water. Looked at the sky. Took in the beauty and the crowds in all my sweaty smelliness. And finally determined it was time to head home.

10 miles to go. Ugh! I was so stiff from my pleasant stroll!  And in the meantime. The season turned from summer to fall.There was now a chill in the air and it started to pour. Which felt great! But I did not.

Trudge, trudge, trudge.

Back on the trail south toward home. A little walking. Some doubts about my slow pace. Considering running vs. walking. Calculating the time it would take to get home walking. Forever!

Trudge. Trudge. Trudge. I keep on running. Feeling just a little bit sorry for poor tired old me.

I follow a guy down the trail for a bunch of miles. That helps. We chat at the water fountain. Turns out. He is feeling way worse than me.

Did I mention it is raining?

Finally I am off the trail and on the road to home. I have covered 17 miles. Thinking I must look like a sorry sight. Thinking, maybe I’ll take the shorter route and only run 18. Thinking I feel like sludge.

Thinking. Thinking. Thinking. Trudge. Trudge. Trudge.

Then.

Crash!

I turn around. There is a women 15 years my senior, splayed out in the middle of the road, her bike tangled beneath her.

Without a thought, I run the half block back. Easily. To help her.

Thank god she is wearing a helmet. Her head took the impact. Thank god for that. Because she would have been totally scraped up otherwise. She is ok. We talk for a bit. Thank god she is ok. She gets back on her bike and is good to go.

Amazing.

I’m back on the road. 2 miles to go for 19. A switch has been flipped.  I’m no longer tired or sore or stiff. My pace is recovered completely. I am energized.

Run. Run. Run.

How did that happen?

The sun is peeking out of the clouds. The rain has stopped without my noticing.

It’s 1 p.m.

I am home.

Runapalooza for Girls on the Run

Today was postcard perfect. Clear air. Light wind. High blue sky. Pleasant summer temperatures.

The perfect day for a 16 mile run!

The perfect day for Lollapalooza!

Running along the Green Bay Trail alongside the commuter train tracks this morning, I was reminded that not everyone would be spending the next so many hours putting one foot in front of the other. At each of the stops were throngs of  young revelers waiting to be carried down to the Loop and on to Grant Park for their day of music and fun. Yes a perfect day for the lot of us!

As many of you know I’m running the Chicago Marathon to raise money for Girls on the Run.

With 10 weeks to go until the marathon, I’ve taken my training to the next level. Which means, I’m wearing a Garmin to follow my mileage and my pace. Still no socks though!

I’ve been stubborn until this week about anything resembling a schedule, or goals, or counting up miles. Rather, I’ve simply been hitting the pavement. Always with a good long run on Sunday. Minding my p’s and q’s so as to stay fresh and motivated.

And I am fresh and motivated! I had a great run today. There was nowhere else I needed or wanted to be. I want to give this feeling, this ability, to run for hours and hours, this fortune, to as many young girls as I can. That’s my motivation. That’s why I was running today.

My biggest goal for the 2012 Chicago Marathon is to raise $1,000 for Girls on the Run. After that? We’ll see in 10 weeks from today.

If you would like to help me achieve this awesome goal and donate a few $$ to Girls on the Run, please visit my donation page at:

Girls on the Run Sole Mates

Thanks! What a perfect day!

Girl On the Run

I’m back to running 5-6 days a week. And I’m back to loving it.  Mostly – it’s so easy. Or maybe better – so simple.  Put on some shoes and I’m out the door for a little fresh air and exercise.

On my run today. I saw a giant heron gliding overhead. A convertible Rolls Royce cruising by.  I waved to a little girl in her stroller wearing a sun bonnet. And said hi to a dozen people walking by.  The whole time, I was awed by the beauty of the Caribbean blue lake that kept me company along the way.

I love running.

For sure, I’ve tried to complicate it over the years. With crazy training schedules, super-shoes, GPS’s and heart rate monitors. Setting my goals too far and too fast.

These days. I don’t always wear a watch. Never a GPS. Ditched the heart rate deal. No training schedule. I don’t even wear socks anymore. A minimum pair of shoes and appropriate outfit for the weather. And I am out the door.

And for the next few months – I’m running for a cause.

Girls on the Run.

It’s an awesome program in our local grade schools and around the country that promotes positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development for girls. It’s amazing! I could gush about it here – but rather – I encourage you to visit their site and be inspired!

I’ve been an athlete my entire life. Where would I be without that? I can’t imagine. Being able to run. Being active. Has literally saved me. It’s given me confidence. Self-esteem. Fitness. Purpose. Joy. I would like to give that sense of confidence and joy to as many little girls as possible.

So. On Sunday October 7th I’ll be running the Chicago Marathon precisely for this purpose. To raise money to support this wonderful organization.  If you would like to offer your support you can contribute via my race page. And help spread the gift of running to girls everywhere!