run a race.

If you are ever feeling insecure, run a race.

If you aren’t sure about the future, run a race.

If you want to feel invincible, run a race.

If you have a mind full of thoughts and no conclusions, run a race.

If you need answers to questions you aren’t willing to ask, run a race.

If you aren’t sure if you’re doing the right thing, run a race.

If you believe in yourself, but only some of the time, run a race.

♣     ♣     ♣

freehold2

On March 15th, I ran the Freehold St. Paddy’s 10 Miler. I went into the race fairly confident and eager to see how I would do, more as a form of self-entertainment than anything else. The last of the  snow had just melted away after a long winter. I had trained well but was mentally fatigued until a beautiful 20 miler the Sunday before, which had started out in winter and ended in spring. The optimism and contentment I felt toward running on this particular morning was quite the mirror image of how I felt toward most other things in life, meaning I was definitely going to run with my heart to a PR (simple formula).

While warming up, a guy to whom I had apparently sold shoes once spotted me and we ran together for a few minutes. I saw him again at the starting line, and he pointed out a woman who I “should stay with.” He spit out some of her credentials from Ironman finishes, times, etc., but I didn’t hear the specifics. However, given that I showed up at the race without much of a clue as to who else was coming, I didn’t completely ignore his advice. I was surprised when we got to the line and he said to both of us, “you two will be gunning for the win together,” or something like that. We didn’t say too much in reply and laughed it off, she alluding to poor mileage through the winter and I offering a cliché line about a tune-up race to go out there and have fun. The gun went off, and I did end up running alongside her until we exited the park road.

It seems I always end up chasing women in pick compression socks during races.

It seems I always end up chasing women in pink compression socks during races.

The first two or three miles of a race are always my least favorite. You’re not exactly sure how you feel because you’re not in a great rhythm yet, and the other runners around you could change at any moment depending on when they get their realizations of how their bodies are feeling. As we descended a road in the first mile, I gathered my surroundings and noted that the “fast woman,” I’ll call her, was running a few seconds ahead of me now. I fell right into her path and thought maybe I should make it my goal to keep her in sight, but then retracted the idea because it was too early on to tell how fast she would be going later on. Then, she stopped. She turned. She ran the other way, stooped down, and picked up a gel she had dropped that I hadn’t even noticed. I kept going at my pace. Now she was behind me. Since she had been running ever so slightly faster than I before she dropped the gel, I was basically counting down the seconds until she passed by me. I was not about to look behind me; I just kept going at my pace. We turned into a residential neighborhood with young trees in the yards, and white fences to match big white houses. We ran a loop through that juncture and still, she never passed me. I also never looked back. We got back onto a main road and headed onto another wooded lane. People clapped for me at the few places there were spectators, telling me I was the first woman. Still she never came up behind me. I kept my eyes set up ahead on two guys in purple singlets (see photo above) who knew every tangent like they ran this course everyday, and followed their every move as long as I could see them. On one particularly twisty road, everything fell quiet and I couldn’t see any other runners beyond the next turn. It left me alone with my thoughts and the rhythm of my feet.

For the remainder of the race, running became an afterthought. My legs and their repetitive motion were no longer attached to my mind and my heart and the rest of me; they were down below doing their thing as if they were motorized, leaving me in a seldom-acquired state of zen being. For those miles, it was okay that I was angry. It was okay I was confused, and afraid of the unknown, and regretful of my decisions or lack thereof. It was okay if I didn’t know what that evening would bring, or if I felt things to be unfair, or if I hadn’t yet learned what I needed to know to find success and happiness and contentment outside of this moment, this race. I was here now, running a race now, and it was what I needed to do. Even if everything else might be feeling out of my control, it was a great feeling to be able to control this. To have the opportunity to actually, physically run, and to experience the confidence and glory of trying to win something. Not many people can do something like that, an act of physical exertion that also transcends into the most relaxing state of being. What a juxtaposition running can be.

The fast woman who had turned back for her fallen gel had a lot of hype, at least from the guy at the starting line. We had been sized up by a third party against our will, and there was no doubt that she was a much more accomplished athlete than I. I had almost let that hold me back. I had expected her to pass me for miles. Not because I was not good enough. Because she was simply there. That really made me think. How often do I do that? I can think I am confident I am putting my best self forward, yet someone else can show up and take something away from me just because I am me and she is she? What sense does that make? If I am putting forth my best effort for me, it should not matter who else is there. If I am being myself and doing my best, and that is not good enough for a victory in the end, that is not my fault. I am good enough. I may be better next month or next year than I am today, and I hope so. But for today, I am good enough. In that ten mile race, if the woman had snuck up on me and pulled out the win, but I ran my best, that would be okay with me. I should translate that to the rest of my life too. If I strive to be my best self for me and for others and the world around me, and that is not “good enough” for someone or something, it will be good enough for someone or something else. And that is someone or something I would want to run through life with for awhile.

♣     ♣     ♣

That is what I learned during ten miles on a cold Sunday morning in March. I’m still trying to learn whether or not the Freehold Area Running Club got a better deal on gnomes in bulk versus leprechauns, as I think the garden gnome might be British, not Irish.

stpaddyssplits

Boston Marathon 2015: “no place I’d rather be”

NOTE: This has been sitting as an almost-complete draft since June…going to drop this one here and get on to the present! 

Race morning began much the same as it did last year: shuttle van from the hotel to Boston Common, shuttle school bus from Boston Common to Hopkinton. Unlike last year, I knew no one on either shuttle, so I ended up talking about running and the Boston Marathon in general with two middle-aged men who had each ran Boston at least ten times, which made for interesting conversation. I did most of the listening. It was quite nice to be inside a vehicle for as long as possible because…it was going to rain. It was all anyone could talk about at first, yet it was what no one wanted to talk about. The sky was overcast but not dark, and I still believed there to be hope in the rain holding out, or at least keeping to a minimum.

The rain got worse. I found a dry spot in a white tent in Athlete’s Village and huddled there…for two hours. It was a long two hours, let me tell you. I was desperately looking around for someone I knew, because I’d rather talk for two hours to shake away my own thoughts, but I knew it would be best to stay out and remain somewhat dry and warm. So, i sat/laid down for two hours, taking in some calories and water periodically. Finally it was time to leave, but we just walked down to the next area before the start, where we did more waiting. It was very different from last year. I somehow missed the announcement about my corral walking to the start despite all the waiting, so I had to run and jump into the back of the corral. I didn’t realize this until hours after the race, but my watch didn’t even have a satellite yet, so it was just estimating my first five miles based on cadence (I think). Oops. I knew starting at about 9:00 that I did not feel 100%. Aside from my feet being absolutely numb from being damp and cold, acid reflux had started growling in my chest. I may have mentioned it a few times before, but I have been having major issues with this off and on for the past seven years. I have suspected a hiatal hernia, but then I always equate it to stress and stop running at night and it goes away. Regardless, it was happening at the start. The start of the Boston Marathon. It has never affected me in a morning race from the very beginning, so I was terrified starting this race. I have turned back after two miles on normal training runs due to this problem. This was the Boston Marathon.

My pace hovered in the 7:30s and 7:40s for awhile. My legs didn’t really want to go faster and my chest was getting tighter and tighter. Not good. During mile six I decided I really needed to pee and it would change my life if I stopped to do so. Yes, mile six at Boston I went into a porta potty just to pee. Who does that? The good news: I have a new bathroom PR. I think I ran around 7:22. Eventually I recognized that my legs did in fact feel pretty good, so I tried desperately to focus on that fact and not the awful feeling in my chest I had felt so many times before. I tried two times to make small talk with runners around me and failed. Before Wellesley, there was a poster stuck to a telephone pole that read: “Congrats [name], you’re halfway there!” I said, “I don’t like that poster!” jokingly, since we were running the eleventh mile…hardly halfway in a marathon! The guy next to me just replied, “Well, don’t believe everything you read” not in a very amicable tone. What? Okay. I passed him and moved along.

3

This was somewhere mid-race; my soaked cotton gloves were still on. I did not dress (actually, pack) properly for this race, even by my standards.

Until I decided to go to the bathroom again in the next mile. Come on Meghan, I scolded myself. Really? Twice for non-emergencies? Despite feeling like I never wanted to ingest anything in the near future, I stuck with my plan. I was not about to feel like this and bonk. At least leave me a little hope, body. I had Gatorade at every water stop except for the ones I just didn’t feel like grabbing anything (just a couple) until mile 18 or so, and had gels about 60 minutes in and at mile 14. Let’s just say I did not look forward to them. During and after Heartbreak Hill, I ditched the half of the PowerGel I picked up and switched to water.

At some point near Heartbreak, some people were under a tent blasting the song “No Place I’d Rather Be” by Clean Bandit. When the song came out months before, I remembered liking the beat and all, but like so many other songs about love and relationships, not loving it because I couldn’t relate to the lyrics. Now that it was playing during the race, I made it context appropriate and just adapted it to being about running. I was certainly feeling “a thousand miles from comfort,” dry-heaving every five minutes, wondering if or when my quads would die, and getting totally pounded by the rain. Playing the chorus repeatedly in my head the rest of the race, I took consolation in reminding myself I loved running and I trained hard for this, therefore this will be fine. There is no place I’d rather be. It was a little comical, thinking back at the scene, how the lyrics contrasted the race. And also they might have simultaneously fit.

Desperately searching for my family to have something to look forward to...surprised I didn't have a sore neck, after looking at this picture!

Desperately searching for my family to have something to look forward to…surprised I didn’t have a sore neck, after looking at this picture!

From mile 20 to 22, I desperately searched for my family. The same crew was all back again: my mom, dad, two youngest brothers, and my grandmother, who was never a runner but is the biggest track and marathon fangirl you ever did see. I needed something else to focus on. They ended up getting to their spot just in time from the T, around mile 22.5. It worked out that they were farther up than I thought, because it got me through the hills on a mission. Something else happened right after Heartbreak…I started to feel better. I was no longer dry heaving out of necessity every five minutes (half Ironman deja-vu but I didn’t stop…oh wait I didn’t write about that…). The best part: my legs were fine. I was a little nervous my glutes were about to lock up like my quads did last year after Heartbreak on the downhill, but they stayed in check.

So, the game changed. No more acid reflux/dry-heaving awfulness + relatively fresh-feeling legs = go time. I waited twenty-one miles to start running the marathon I knew I could run. Not what I expected, but I’d take it over the whole thing falling apart. It still could, I thought.  But let’s run with this feeling and see what happens. Suddenly, everyone running in front of me was in my way. This was a stark contrast to the year before, when I felt like I wasn’t moving at all and was utterly jealous of how fast others could manage to move. I figured that if I could keep up the increased pace through the finish, I could still break 3:20. I saw Steve cheering with his friends at mile 24.5 for another boost, and kept rolling to Boylston St. It was a great feeling to finish feeling relatively strong at Boston, but the rain and the smaller crowds still made Boston 2014 a happier moment in my book. Not to mention the hypothermia after the race due to not getting warm clothes until over an hour after I stopped moving. I won’t write much about that. Shivering in damp, tight clothes after running 26.2 miles was truly awful. I promised myself to do bag check next time, regardless of the weather.

4

I ended up finishing in 3:19:28, which was a two minute, thirteen second PR from the previous year. But, I had trained harder and I was stronger, and I knew had I not felt so sick I would have run much faster. The main reason I wasn’t pleased with the race, though, was that I didn’t have fun. I wanted to have fun, and I tried, I really did! But I didn’t have fun. The acid reflux felt horrible – as in, if it was a normal run I would have had to lay down for hours to feel better, yet it was during a marathon. Even when I tried to focus on my legs and the atmosphere, people around me were negative. When I did in fact finish strong, I immediately went into survival mode from the cold rain and nearly forgot all about it. My family was slow to get to me, and then plans were complicated after and I didn’t even have a place to take a shower, all the while feeling nauseous. I really tried to have fun. Sometimes, it doesn’t work.

Faking it. Though I guess I was happy in between finishing and getting cold - short window!

Faking it. Though I guess I was happy in between finishing and getting cold – short window!

Boston results

So that was that, Boston 2015.

I’m publishing this now so I can write a race recap that is much the opposite. 🙂

2015 Boston Marathon, part one: training

As much as I don’t want to lump all my training into one post, for the sake of writing about my 2015 Boston Marathon experience soon, I want to write about the general road I took to get there!

It’s hard to tell if my training went better or worse than last year. I certainly think each spring it has gotten easier; that is, long runs don’t feel so long and fast runs don’t feel so fast. I think that is a roundabout way of saying, I was definitely in better shape. The only complaints I had all winter were mental laziness and ice. The two often went together, so most of my skipped runs were justified. I stopped doing long trainer workouts when my long runs hit over seventeen miles, because they were affecting how I felt for those. If not anything else, those rides certainly reminded me to hydrate. They were also good conditioning for my quads to handle all the hills I planned to tackle during long runs. I did many of the same routes I ran last year, with some small detours. My fastest was on February 21st, when Greta, Erika, and I got 18.3 miles in averaging 7:35 pace before a snowstorm with a ten degree wind chill. My salted caramel Gu was almost solid, and I couldn’t manage to find the finger holes in my gloves after I took it. Fun times.

Long runs: I did five long runs over 18 miles this training cycle: 18.3, 20.3, 21, 18.5, and 18.5. Last year I hit four (18.3, 20, 21, 19), and the year before…one 20-miler (and one 17.8 miler which I “counted”). So, I’ve come a long way. The last one was done at Boston start time in seventy degree weather to prepare for the chance of heat on race day. I’m not so sure I’m glad I did this (it definitely was not warm…), but it didn’t negatively affect the race or anything. The best long run by far was my annual run to Lambertville, which I did entirely with Erika. It was her first time on any of the roads, which made it go by quickly. We averaged 7:45 pace and could have easily kept going. It was my best recovery too; I did a hard hill repeat workout two days later. This was probably due to omelettes and recoverosas.

Tune-up race: I decided I had no interest in any potential half marathon tune-up: E. Murray Todd (March 1) felt too early to race, I didn’t register for the NYC Half ($$$/stress/crowds, March 15), Caesar Rodney would make my car unhappy (March 23), and the Love Run felt too close to race day (March 30). I am very happy I chose the Freehold Area Running Club’s St. Paddy’s 10 Miler on March 15th as my race-before-the-big-race. I drove there alone 20150315_130424knowing no one who was registered, and then found at least three runners I knew, which was nice. I am going to write a separate post about something important I learned during this race that I hope to apply to other races and to life. Here, I’ll provide the spoiler: I won! It was a perfect course on wooded roads with minimal hills, sometimes lonely but that was okay with me. I ran 1:07:17, over a minute faster than my previous PR at the Perfect 10 a year and a half before. After it was a struggle to keep warm as a cold front rolled in (theme for all three races I’ve run this year!), but…I won a garden gnome. It isn’t every day you win a garden gnome.

Workouts: I did fewer workouts than usual this year. I had big plans to do certain key workouts and they didn’t really come together. Most of the problem was either not waking up early enough to fit them in or not eating enough to do them well. I had one great tempo run in February that was one mile longer than I thought it was…but I didn’t realize that until I was done. That was a good feeling. My best workout was the 10x hill repeat workout I did in late March. I decided at the last minute to make it a constant hill repeat tempo, taking the downhills hard. Why not? I was determined to feel better at Boston after mile 20 than I did last year. This fueled almost everything I did to prepare for Boston this year.

Strength training: …especially what I did in the gym. I mentioned in a previous post how I was totally lost in the gym. Well, I did find my way. I surprised myself at how often I got to the gym to strength train (and swim) this winter and spring. I went every Monday night and usually one other morning or night later in the week. The jump-lunges, box jumps, squats, and core exercises I did left me feeling really strong despite not doing a marathon-specific workout every week. I hoped it would be enough to feel strong at mile 23….I talked about this so much people started to say, “wow, you’re really training for those downhills.” Yep. I was also determined to do it on my own (training), because I felt like that would be a good confidence booster, to know I only needed knowledge of the human body to overcome whatever was my weakness last year.

Pain? I know they say marathon training is bound to cause some discomfort. But I never felt any. There was a two-day ITB scare, but then the 21 miler happened without a hitch, so that was that. That was pretty awesome. Because of this fact, I felt like I wasn’t training enough, or at least not to my potential. There’s definitely room to improve though, so I took it as a good thing in the end.

17 days out: I decided not to drink [alcohol] at all until after the race. I bought lots of vitamins I had been cheap about restocking. I also developed a bad cold right after this day, so I was set on feeling 100% on April 20th. If anything went wrong during the race, it was not about to be due to lack of rest and preparation.

By the time I arrived in Boston – on Sunday, the day before the race this year – I was feeling as ready as I’d ever be, but not particularly psyched. I’m still not exactly sure why. I think I made so much of a point to not overthink and get worked up about it that I almost didn’t get excited enough, strangely.

Actual race report to come soon!

comfort zones, and strength training

Last night Last week, I found myself in the middle of the gym floor feeling absolutely confused and overwhelmed. I have been doing some form of strength training since I was a freshman on my high school track team; however, I have never really enjoyed the process. I enjoy being satisfied after doing a workout composed of something other than running, because that satisfaction has proven difficult to find at times. I enjoy knowing that I lifted and did injury prevention exercises. I’m starting to realize that the process actually can be fun. It’s finding the right things to do that will satisfy the types of exercise I crave that I’m stumbling over.

gym

If someone asked me to give them a list of track workouts to prepare him for a particular event, or just to switch things up, I would have no problem. I have a list already ready in my head at all times. Ask me to spend a half hour in the gym doing exercises that are stimulating and that work all the right things for myself as a marathon runner and triathlete? Blank. No answer. Besides what I already have been doing, of course. Which brings me to the realization that I am out of my comfort zone in the gym. Among other locations, but let’s focus on the gym.

White and silver skeletons of machinery with stacks of weighted plates. Kettlebells that are way heavier than they look: balls with handles that I’m not sure about due to the smattering of intimidating “do-it-this-way-not-that-way” articles that pop up left and right.bosu Dumbbells I’ve always used, but maybe I could use something else? Stackable box platforms that look too easy without adding height and too hard when I add it. Pull-up bars that don’t seem to put my shoulders in the right position. Other bars that look like pull-up bars but might not be? The back extension contraption that pinpoints my weakness and makes me tired without even bringing any weight onto it. The machine with arms I can pull in any direction I want: so many angles to put the arms! So many directions I can pull the handles! Medicine balls I can use for jump squats…but lots of other things too, right? But I never know. It’s a ball. So many options. TRX cables. Don’t even get me started on TRX cables. Bosu balls: I could use the ball side, or the flat side. Stand on either side, or get down on my hands on either side.

Now I’m overwhelmed again. It’s like when try to shop somewhere for clothes when I have a new style trend brewing (which I thought I’ve made up myself, every time…so frustrating), only to find that they have everything I’ve thought about buying, but the outfits are all spread out and I have to think on my feet to combine articles of clothing into the work of art I’ve been craving in my mind. I know everything I need to get the exact workout I want is there on the gym floor, but the possibilities are so endless I get a little overwhelmed sometimes. I also know it’s good to switch things up…and I also know I don’t want to get too crazy and do anything detrimental to my training without knowing.

Confession: I started writing this post last Tuesday but had to pause because I had to meet people for a run. I have since actually come up with a few effective, new things to do in the gym! They mostly involve jumping, because I could use some more explosive strength (just because), and because I want to mimic the pounding my quads will take going downhill at Boston.

Anyone out there have a go-to gym exercise for strength and stability they want to share? I’m willing to try almost anything!

Fun fact: when I tried to search for “pull up cartoons” I got a lot of “say no to sag” photos, making fun of guys who wear their jeans low. Please. Don’t do that.

indoor cycling and other tri things

I briefly mentioned that I joined a tri team in my summer-summary post, but I failed to give this detail the attention it deserves. I officially raced in a TMB kit for the Skylands Triathlon and the Princeton Half Ironman (still have to write about that…it’s been four months…). Aside from two duathlon workouts and a course preview ride in August, I hadn’t trained with the team at all until late December, when I decided to attend a spin workout at the swanky gym at which the team has secured a special deal of sorts. It’s a little bit of a hike for me, being forty minutes north, but I soon learned it was so worth it. The first Saturday morning I knew I was getting myself into something slightly over my head, just because I hadn’t been on my trainer much lately and was very un-acclimated to warm, indoor workouts.  I somehow survived, but that first day was much shorter than the weeks that followed. I went again on Tuesday night, and missed the next Saturday due to being sick, but was eager to return the next two Saturdays. It’s safe to say that I’m hooked.

Screenshot of a video (there were no photos taken) from last week's spin workout...I always take the back left corner.

Screenshot of a video (there were no photos taken) from last week’s spin workout…I always take the back left corner (you can see one half of me).

In the zone

I’ve been using the Cyclops spin bikes at the gym; I only used my bike and trainer the first time. Most of the time we do Spinervals workouts (on DVDs), but once it was coached, and we listened to good music with race footage on the TV. I began using a heart rate monitor, and now I forget what it was like not to. I hardly ever remember the sets we do once it’s all over, but that’s something I like about it: I’m only thinking about what I have to do at the moment. Sixty seconds, thirty seconds, standing, sitting, aerobars, cadence, counting down the last five seconds, drinking water, drinking Nuun, heart rate zones, adjusting the resistance. There’s not much time to think about much else. One thing I do think about is how this is going to make me better. I’m not exactly sure what it will mean for marathon training, but there’s no doubting that an extra interval workout of 2+ hours a week with no impact is going to increase my fitness.

Strength in numbers

There’s also something addicting about being with the team. The room is filled with so many talented athletes, and it’s so easy when looking around to see why people are on this team. When I get in that room and sit on a bike, it feels like the most normal thing for anyone to ever do. This is what they all have probably always done, every winter – these hard trainer workouts. At first when I heard about a workout lasting over two hours, I thought, wow, I could never do that.  Yet here I am, sad about the 6 AM text I got yesterday morning saying that the spin workout was cancelled due to snow. Biking in my backyard shed alone doesn’t seem as normal. In that room, even if I’m crazy, I’m not alone. Suddenly what it excessive to other people who don’t understand is now just as fun to everyone around me as I think it is. There’s something really cool about this. As an extrovert, it’s like the best of both worlds to me, and I’m not leaving it anytime soon. We have our team party/meeting next weekend, and I’m really excited to meet more team members who haven’t been at the spin workouts!

Thoughts on tri-marathon combo training

First off, I’m starting to understand full Ironman training as a real, fathomable thing, which means I should probably be slapped or, I don’t know, forced to go to the pool more than once a week. Anyway, I’ve been thinking about how if I keep this up (I’m also doing some weekday trainer workouts), I’m probably not training for Boston in the same way as most runners. It obviously makes me fairly fatigued, so as I start to do longer workouts I think I’ll have to choose sometimes. But on the other hand…what if I just keep getting more fit and experienced on the bike and just do it, marathon training on top of it. I’m never going to be a high mileage runner anyway, if not by choice than by fear, so it might help make up for that. I’ll see. As of right now, I’m still operating under the mentality that cross training makes you fitter and therefore faster in any discipline.

What the heck happened to my trainer?

1491719_10152994322153834_8530247984995730219_n

Let’s look at it from another angle (ignore the black stuff, that has since gone away, it was just tire dust if that’s a thing):

10930916_10152995771483834_2334180766189363338_n

There’s a groove in there. I have since switched my back tire so I don’t ruin it, but that was unrelated to this occurrence, because I had used the Gatorskin on the trainer twice before. The groove didn’t get worse after I took my bike off and put it back, hoping the repositioning would help. The groove only took about twenty minutes to create. Twenty Facebook photo comments later and I still can’t figure it out. It works just fine and isn’t getting worse, but I really want to figure this out! Any guesses are appreciated.

bobby pins

bobbypins3

Last week, I was out at a bar with running friends after an event at the store. I went to the bathroom and saw a bobby pin on the ground in the stall, one that was the same color as most of mine. One thing you should know about me is I leave at rail of bobby pins wherever I go. I don’t know how they all get so scattered, but they do, and suddenly the little case where I keep them is completely void of bobby pins, but they are probably on the floor in every room I have stepped into that week. So, I saw the bobby pin on the bathroom floor and wondered, is that my bobby pin? Immediately, I realized what an odd thought that was. I knew perfectly well, not only thanks to funny articles like this but also from female friends, that most girls who use bobby pins have this problem. Why would that bobby pin be my bobby pin? When was the last time I was even in this bathroom? Two weeks ago? I had not stepped foot into this bar in two weeks, yet I thought that might be my bobby pin. I did the same thing at the gym in the locker room, when I found a bobby pin in the locker I always choose. Why do I assume I’m the only one who has this issue, accidentally losing bobby pins left and right and making a metallic mess?

It’s so easy to think you’re the only one who has some ridiculous problem, or who thinks things that make no sense to everyone else. It’s so easy to think you are the only one in the world with the problems you are facing, that no one has advice for you or understands, because everything is so complex and you aren’t even sure how you feel about what you’re dealing with. It’s so easy to see people having such an easy time with life and all the things that go along with it. Everywhere you look you seem to see people who take their significant others for granted, like they are people who of course they are entitled to have in their lives, and people who have perfect little jobs they are satisfied with.People who can go on the adventures they want to go on – hiking trips and exploring foreign cities and biking across deserts – because they have money for it and they have someone in their lives who wants to do these things too. It’s easy to see these things when they are all you want, when you’re fixated on the things that are so, so difficult for you to come across and hold on to in life, even when you think they will be easy.

I’m realizing now that I’ve become the person I didn’t understand in college. Sometimes, anyway. Besides an annoying issue that doesn’t really cause me pain in my foot, running has been coming easy to me. I just wrote a whole post about 2014, and there was not one bad running experience in it. Not because I chose not to include it, but because 2014 didn’t have any disappointments. Four years ago, that was all I wanted. If I was healthy and running well, I should have no excuse to be sad or dissatisfied or lonely. Because I had running! What could be better? Surely everything else would fall into place if I was running well: I’d meet somebody and have a serious relationship because I was running and healthy and therefore happy. I would focus on school and work and everything would go smoothly because my head was all clear and not fixated on injuries.

Well, that’s not true. That’s just the way life is, it’s undeniable: there will always be someone out there who is frustrating as hell because he or she makes what you want look easy to get. The intangible, happiness-producing thing that you want. But everyone has something like this. And everyone has feelings like that. Everyone has a problem. Many problems, multiple, can’t-sleep-at-night or sleep-all-morning problems. They might not be the same as yours, or in areas of your life that you concern yourself with, but they exist.

Everyone drops their bobby pins all over their paths, I’m not the only one.

2014

Life got a little too crazy for awhile there. I’ve fallen behind with writing, when what I really want to do is write. What I’ve been doing? Working, running, being confused, sleeping. I still want to write posts about the Princeton Half Ironman and USATF Club Cross Country Nationals. For now, I’ll do a little post about the year in general.

2014 was the first year since my very first year of serious running, 2006, that I did not get injured (injured meaning out for 4+ weeks straight with no running). I didn’t think about it much until now, but that’s a pretty big deal. I ran PRs in every distance I raced (5:38 mile, 11:24 3k, 19:35 5k, 23:11 XC 6k, 1:29:36 1/2, 3:21:41 marathon), and for the first time since that first year of running eight years ago, I felt like I moved up a “level.” Certain paces and times had meant certain things to me for those eight years, and it was in 2014 when suddenly I felt an improvement again. After an eight-year plateau, I am climbing the next mountain again. Because I spent so much time, essentially my entire running career to date, on that plateau, the climb feels easy. And fun, because it’s fun to have the opportunity to move upwards instead of working hard to stay put.

Many people posted their mileage totals at the end of the year. I honestly don’t really care much about numbers as they relate to quantity; I’d rather run faster and smarter than see how much I can run. It was more about the moments and the turning points that caused me to believe I could do things that previously I didn’t even think of making my goals.

In 2014:

lvillerun1

I trained for my first Boston Marathon through a winter of 5 degree days and tried to make hills my friends.

761588-1012-0050s

I survived the winter and ran a PR at the Boston Marathon. It wasn’t the time I wanted, but it was a great experience.

20140524_173449

I bought my first real road bike and started my summer of training for 70.3 Princeton.

The group pre-race.

The group pre-race.

I ran some shorter races just for fun and ended up with 3k and 5k PRs.

20140719_110822 - Copy

I finally got on the AG podium at the NJ State Tri.

20140725_184112

I got to the point where weekends weren’t complete without four-hour brick rides/runs starting not long after dawn.

20140817_195226

I learned that beer tastes way better after these four-hour brick workouts. If you can stay awake for it (harder than it sounds).

10710549_10152372714462654_4596595499245673438_n

I competed in Ironman 70.3 Princeton and placed second in my age group. I learned that I liked long distance triathlons BUT it is very hard for me to manage to not feel nauseous as heck.

phm7

I thought I was burnt out from the half ironman, and life, but then ended up running the best race of my life at the Princeton Half Marathon, finally breaking 90 minutes.

turkeytrot

I was the first overall female winner in a road race for the first time (without any complications that is…) on Thanksgiving.

IMG_20844972355692

I joined Garden State Track Club and was able to compete in my first national XC meet on December 13, running a faster pace for a XC 6k (23:11) than I ever had for a road or track 5k…and a two-minute PR on Lehigh’s course over  my race there in 2010 (breaking 24 minutes for 6k was my ultimate goal in college but I never had the chance to really try).

As it typically goes, I started 2015 being sick again and losing a few days of training (and eating and drinking…) to that. After last year, I’m not sure if I remember how to begin a new year any other way. So, I’m glad I didn’t end up registering for a New Year’s Day race after all, because there would have been no way I could have run it.

So, my year of running in 2014 looks pretty good on paper. I guess having an injury-free year is bound to yield great results, which is really all I have to say about why the year went so well running-wise. That, and the half ironman training. For those of you who don’t think all the extra miles on the bike don’t make you a stronger, faster runner: I will now officially disagree. Obviously as long as you are running and running comes easy to you, cross training will only make you fitter, and being fitter = being faster.

I’m really glad I had success and stability in my training this past year…because as much as I tried, I really found none of that in the rest of my life. It was a crazy ride, and like a TV show (still don’t watch those…am I missing anything good?), most weeks I was left thinking, well, I didn’t see that coming. Luckily, aside from my training, I had a few great friends by my side throughout the entire year. This was the first year in…maybe ever…that I have had more than an individual friend or two stick around in my life geographically, socially, and emotionally to ring in two consecutive new years with me. I met new friends too, and have cried many tears over the changes surrounding old ones. In the end, there were some days when friends were placed right by my side at the very moments others walked away, and I am so grateful for that in 2014.

pidinner

Princeton Half Marathon 2014

There are many reasons why we run. We run to feel good, we run to achieve goals, we run to start or end the day well. Sometimes, rare moments that can’t be put into words as well as feelings, we run to have control over something in our lives. To prove a point even if we don’t know what that is. To think about something as small and primordial as the very next step in front of us. Runners sometimes need to run, because it’s the only thing that makes sense in a world where so many things don’t at all. These are the runs that are the angry or angsty or sad songs on a day we aren’t thinking too hard about them, just merely basking in the feeling. They’re the strangely entertaining scenery whirring by you when you really meant to read on the train. We’ve all had runs like these, that feel like we could run forever as fast as we can, nothing is impossible. Rarely does this run coincide with an actual race. For the Princeton Half Marathon, it did for me. Every single second of this race, there was nothing else I was meant to do but hammer the course to the ground. It was my duty.

Pre-race in the store.

Pre-race in the store.

I thought it was going to be a horrible race. I hardly slept, hardly ate, and hardly drank water the night before. I even started to feel sick to my stomach a half hour before the start. I woke up just before 5 AM 100% ready to run this race. I was ready at 11 PM as well, in fact. I did the course two weeks before and it was definitely hilly. Definitely not fast, I thought. I didn’t even think a PR was in the cards even if it were flat, or maybe I was in shape for it, but I didn’t think I’d have it on that day.

My plan on the line was to just run. See what I had in me and run with it, whatever that was. Try to keep my effort level in the 6:50-7:05/mile range give or take depending on the elevation. The wind had howled overnight and in the morning, it had hardly stopped. The temperature was around 40 degrees. I could tell just from my warmup that we were about to get blown all over the road, but I wasn’t too concerned. The first couple miles were heading down to the battlefield, and by that point the crowd around me had thinned out considerably. We were on uneven gravel at the start of the third mile, then back onto the road which was so windy, then back onto gravel again. Miles 1-4: 6:34, 6:51, 7:06, 6:54.

In the woods, a girl snuck up on me and passed me. I already knew there was one girl way head of me from the start; I could see her ponytail and pink socks. I forced myself to stay focused and stay right on this other girl, and I did. I passed her back shortly after on an uphill on Alexander, and made sure I stayed strong and dropped her. The Washington Rd. hill was coming, the part everyone was dreading but I knew that once it was over, my favorite part of the race would begin. I tend to feel mentally and physically better during the second half of a half marathon, and I already knew I preferred the second half of the course. So I was actually excited. I kept it controlled up the hill, and absorbed the cheers from the spectators. At the top was the Nassau Street crossing and a sweet downhill into the north side of town. All four corners were lined with people cheering, and crossing that street was was one of my favorite moments from the race. Miles 5-6: 6:54, 7:17 (hill #1).

The beginning of the Washington Rd. hill. It turned out the girl who snuck up on me was my friend's sister....

It turned out the girl who snuck up on me was my friend’s sister….

The next mile was mostly downhill or flat, with a short uphill at the end combined with what was definitely the worst gust of wind of the entire race. I started to really find my stride in this mile though, into the next. The splits sounded fast but didn’t feel fast. Miles 7-8: 6:39, 6:36. 

In the next neighborhood there was a left turn on a random street. I knew this because I did the course two weeks before with a queue sheet in my shorts pocket, basically. I was pretty focused on my own race, but I did notice a few runners up ahead running straight, past the turn. I was coming up on a guy I knew, and I heard him ask a woman standing on the corner if this was in fact where to turn. She seemed to reply in the affirmative, and I was confident in my knowledge of the course anyway, so I turned with everyone else around me and didn’t think much else of what was happening there. At another corner up ahead, I heard a bunch of screaming girls and turned to see at least one girl I coached at Girls on the Run on the bed of a pickup truck, cheering for “Coach Meghan.” It made me smile and push on toward hill #2, on Snowden and Herrontown. I knew this hill was going to be tougher than the first because if its location on the course and the fact that it was so long and gradual. I brought a Gu for the first time in a half, and my plan was for it to kick in during the final few miles, so I had half of it before the mile 9 water stop…but I failed to actually grab a cup of water. The cups were plastic, so that was part of the problem. I attempted to grab it about three times, but ultimately ended up with the taste of plain Gu in my mouth until the next water stop. Just before that one, I finished the Gu and actually took water successfully. I also passed a pivotal competitor at that first water station, I’ll add…. Miles 9-11: 6:49, 7:25 (hill #2), 6:44. 

phm6

Then the race really began. Or maybe it was phase three. One of our longstanding group runners, Patrick, has always given me great running and racing advice, and words of wisdom in general. He uses the expression “take him to the woodshed” frequently, referring to basically dropping the hammer when running with someone and seeing if he comes along. Since we were passing through his neighborhood, and coincidentally the hill where he tends to take people to said woodshed, I thought to myself, to the woodshed! and it gave me some extra energy.

Mile 12 had a big net downhill, and mile 13 had a net uphill but included some downhill too. I remembered my long run when I previewed the course two weeks before, and how I said, “If I feel good at this point in the race, it’s going to be so much fun.” Well, I did. And it was. I ran the twelfth mile in 6:21 still feeling strong. I saw and heard some people I knew and didn’t know calling out to me on the curb. One group told me I was the “first woman.” Then another. I was confused, because I was definitely second. That girl had been ahead of me from the start. I might have even corrected someone using two fingers and a muffled “I think I’m second,” like I couldn’t take credit. I figured they had just come out of their houses and had missed her. Mile 13 ticked off in 6:15 but I wasn’t looking at my watch then, I was just hammering toward the finish line. Paul Robeson Place, where the race started and ended, was packed with spectators, some of them friends, some Girls on the Run girls and their families, and many others I didn’t know. I knew even before I saw the clock that I was going to finish under 90 minutes, and it was the greatest feeling to have accomplished that – my ultimate half marathon goal – right here in my town with all these people who know me here supporting me. Official finish time: 1:29:36.

Finishing the job.

Finishing the job.

When I finished, people took pictures and asked me questions. At that point, I thought the other girl must have dropped out, if I really did finish first. It was soon discovered, a few minutes later, that the girl was among the dozen or so people who had continued straight at that important turn on the course. In other words, they didn’t know the course and got

I was too cold to fix my hair beyond this. We should have gotten a photo post-shower...oh well.

Mayor Lempert and me, with the cup. I was too cold to fix my hair beyond this. We should have gotten a photo post-shower…oh well.

lost, but there was also no race marshal there to direct them. Obviously, none of my races are without complications. You can read about the race’s ultimate decision on the matter here. Summary? I finished first, they gave the other girl the win, they made up a time for her (which is kind of weird, but it is what it is). I did win the Mayor’s Cup, for the fastest finisher among runners from businesses in town (it’s currently being engraved!). The mayor was cool and called me inspiring, which was really nice to hear coming from her! I had work all day after that, but we did get to escape and head over to Triumph for the race sponsors’ party, which included good food, a slideshow from the race, networking, a presentation, and growlers galore. And yes I did “clean up nicely,” but there are no photos to prove it.

Not fully engraved yet, but this is what it said when I received it.

Not fully engraved yet, but this is what it said when I received it.

The Princeton Half Marathon was the most meaningful experience I have ever had during a race or any run at all. I have never felt so much control over my own emotions and the outcome of an event. Before, I had always thought of good races being a product of x, y, and z: eating right, sleeping right, training right. And they are, but only to an extent. It was this race that taught me the power of the mind and the heart, and what they can do when they work together. This race was a fun game, a 13.1-mile reckless journey in an invincible fast car. A one hour, twenty-nine minute, thirty-six second song that has powerful lyrics but no conceivable words. What were x, y, and z? The chirping calls of “Coach Meghan” from the curbs, the feedback from the streets I’ve grown to know so well, and the feeling that this race was more than a race, it was something I needed to do, as best I could.

Things in life still don’t make sense. There’s still no tangible control. But whenever I get sucked inside to that place where the sad songs actually have words, and the scenery on the train does make you think about the who and what and why, I have this 1:29:36-long moment of my life to remember, and the memory gives me the energy to feel okay.

The most fitting quote for the back of this medal, if I may say so.

The most fitting quote for the back of this medal, if I may say so.

Hey, I’m alive…here’s what I’ve meant to write about since August.

A blogging hiatus was not planned at all, but it happened. I was going to write a post in late September explaining that blogging was the one thing that ended up getting cut out of my life during half ironman training, but now that it’s November (oh gosh, really?) it’s not a viable excuse.

A lot has happened. I’m going to dedicate a couple posts to specific races, like the Princeton Half Ironman and the Princeton Half Marathon, and will probably summarize the rest of my summer and fall training and racing into another. I really do miss writing, and the blogging community that comes along with it. Life always seems to get a little more complicated and a little harder to deal with in the fall, and I’m hoping that returning to writing regularly will help me keep my thoughts organized. Because there are so many.

I might as well make this post the summary one. In my last post, I wrote: “Until everything is all announced and the storm has passed, I’m counting on continuing to be stressed out of my mind and as busy as ever.” I’m pretty good at predicting things. Luckily things all came together, quite successfully, and I’m in a much better place as far as work stresses are concerned. An interesting place, because my life tends to trend that way. But a good place. Looks like I was scared about getting plantar fasciitis that day too…I still can’t really bend my big toe much but there’s no pain and I’m going to add that to my list of mysteries for the time being.

Half ironman training, the final month

Training went well, overall. I was doing long rides once a week and made sure to make them worth it by doing a brick run afterward. Some weekends I would do a regular long run the following day, too. I remember my first long ride (50+ miles), I was really sore later that day and the next day. By August they felt no different from the aftereffects of a 10-12 mile run, which made me confident that I was in fact getting stronger and more comfortable on the bike and that the race was going to go okay.

I joined a tri team.tmb

I joined the TMB Tri Team sometime in July I think, but I obviously wanted to meet everyone and do a workout with them before officially considering myself part of the team. It’s a huge team full of really inspiring athletes off all ages, and enthusiastic coaches. I finally went to meet the team for a duathlon workout in Bedminster the third Wednesday in August. It had its complications, obviously, as I was freaking out for 48 hours before that my summer of racing was over due to developing a very infected bug bite on my calf (I’m not kidding…it was scary, I have witnesses). But I made it, and had so much fun!

Me chasing down a runner at the du workout at Far Hills Fairgrounds.

Me chasing down a runner at the du workout at Far Hills Fairgrounds.

I went again the following week and had an even better time, even with 90 degree, humid weather. Being the first one on the bike from the first run portion (we did a shorter running workout before the bike, a ~13 mile bike, and then a longer running workout), I was discouraged at first at how easily everyone seemed to catch me on the bike, because I felt like I was going almost at a racing effort. The second time I went I averaged 18 mph though, so it was good to see that I wasn’t really that slow, relative to my solo rides. I have a long way to go in cycling though! More on that later.

Princeton 70.3 course preview ride

On Labor Day weekend, the team was getting together to preview the Half Ironman course, so I made sure I was free for that. It was quite the adventure. First off, I had never been on a ride with more than one other person ever, and here I was riding with a group of twenty or thirty. I knew the course a little bit but I trusted the guys who were leading the ride to provide directions. Honestly, I expected to be falling off the back and trying to get a glimpse of the turns up ahead. That was definitely not the case though; I managed to stay up with the front of the subgroup of ten or so riders I was with, and it felt pretty easy. There was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the course at nearly every turn though…and there were a lot of turns. Around mile 40 or so, Brian and I hastily decided that everyone was going the wrong way and we were going to go the right way, and we broke apart from them for the rest of the ride. Slightly bonking from lack of adequate nutrition and sleep made the park a welcome sight after…62.4 miles. Oops. Averaging my fastest ever (for a non-race ride of significant length, 17.2 mph) for my farthest ride ever certainly made me happy though.

Skylands Triathlon

The next Sunday, I decided to do the Skylands Olympic Tri. It was at Spruce Run, the same location as my first tri of the season, Jerseyman. I registered for a few reasons: 1. I got an awesome discount, 2. it would be my long brick workout for the week, and 3. I really hadn’t been swimming enough. At all. This race had a one mile swim which would be great practice for the big race in two weeks. The swim was pretty choppy and I felt slow for most of it…but I got it done. The bike…well, let me just say that I’d been doing 50+ mile rides in some really hilly areas and all oft hose hulls did nothing to prepare me for the giant mountain in the middle of this one. And I had to do it twice.

skylandstrielevationIt was so steep there were people – fast cyclists – walking their bikes to the top. Someone was playing “Eye of the Tiger” for us as we climbed, and there were a number of clever signs. It was truly brutal. Hence my 16.4 mph average for the 28 miles, in a race….The course was honestly not great overall; part of it was on a 4-lane highway and there were sharp turns. The sprint tri began after the Olympic but we all ended up on the bike course at the same time. I saw Brian heading out as I was heading back from my first loop, who I wasn’t sure was even going to be at the tri, so that was nice motivation. An incident on my second loop had me really worried  though. I was coming up on a group of people doing the sprint (ST was written on their calves), we were going uphill slightly, and I knew there 20140907_071117was a sharp turn ahead and then a bigger hill. At the turn, I could see a cop car, there to alert traffic, etc. There was no room ahead to pass them at that turn because of the cop car, and I didn’t think I could do it at the time, so I planned on passing them soon, after we had turned on the hill. I didn’t want to get too close, so I was trying my best to follow the rules and stay three bike lengths back. I ended up having to brake more than I planned, slowing down from 16-17 mph to 12-13. That kind of sucked. To make things more complicated, the course marshal, this woman on a shiny red motorcycle, was definitely patrolling this part of the route. She came so close to my left at one point that I wanted to ask her, “excuse me, where should I go right now? I definitely can’t pass because you’re now boxing me in, and I’m braking as much as I can.” To this day (okay that sounds funny, it was only two months ago…) I still think the only way to avoid the 2:00 bike penalty she gave me was to just pull over and literally stop in the middle of the race. Why would I have thought to do that though?! I didn’t know I had a penalty until it was almost time for the awards. The run went better than I expected, besides some minor nausea at the end. It ended up being 6.4 miles according to my watch, and I ran splits of 6:38, 7:03, 7:01, 7:06, 6:59, 6:58 and finished at 6:23 pace for a total time of 44:38ish. It was confusing (but also made the time go by faster) to figure out who was on their first lap, who was on their second, who was doing the sprint, and who was doing the run part of a sprint or olympic relay. Phew. Post-race, I heard someone tell me, “Nice job! You were fourth!” Shortly after, I heard another girl from my team tell me, “What happened? You were third but you got a penalty, that sucks!” WHAT. Long story short, that woman on the motorcycle could not be convinced that I did not draft, or that she impeded me from passing. I let Brian find her and try to appeal because I was too mad. We left shortly after claiming age group awards (which you had to wait in a line for?!) and I reasoned with myself that in the end the race didn’t matter much. It would have been cool to “podium,” and I still don’t know what else I should have done in the situation, but oh well.

birthday run, birthday fun

20140914_003827 - Copy

Friends and a magic wand, can’t get better than that.

My birthday was the first day of Girls on the Run. I didn’t want to get up really early to do a long run, but I knew I wanted to run pretty far. It was my favorite running weather to start: overcast, breezy, and not super warm. I started at 1:00pm and didn’t try to find a running buddy since the time was so random. But I found Greta on a hilly road about four miles in! I was feeling tired and wasn’t sure if I would slow her down, but I took the chance and turned around with her. We ended up dropping the pace to 7:15-7:25 for most of the run, totaled 12ish miles, and ended in a downpour. I love picking up friends mid-run, it was a lucky day for sure! Later of course I celebrated in other ways, and I have to say it was one of my best birthdays ever. I even found a magic wand. Or rather, I was so intrigued by the fact that a woman had a wand at a bar (from a wedding that day…) that she ended up giving it to me for my birthday. Lucky indeed.

And then…it was Half Ironman week! The week was pretty low-key, but it included 50 hours of work and some last-minute tune-up lessons on fixing a flat and the like.

Underwear run

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you know that this happened. On Saturday the 20th, the morning before the race, we hosted an underpants run, like the one that began in Kona before the Ironman World Championships and has since become a pre-race staple at many Ironman events. We tried to promote it well…but the first time for something is bound to be small. So there were six of us participating. We read the official underpants run oath in front of the store, and ran down to the Princeton stadium tiger sculptures and back. It was pretty…liberating, naturally. I’m glad we all had each other, and especially Pat from RunBucks, who was a big reason the whole thing happened.

Just a normal Saturday morning pre-race stroll...

Just a normal Saturday morning pre-race stroll….

The rest of the day was pretty chill, aside from expected night-before-my-first-half-ironman stress buildup (basically I thought I was getting sick after having dinner at Triumph and decided to lay on the floor until it went away, worried I wouldn’t be able to race…only last 20 minutes or so). Pickup at Ironman Village went smoothly, and by the end of the night I was ready for Sunday!

20140920_145429Up next: Princeton 70.3 race report!

It’s good to be back writing, thanks for reading. 🙂

Reality, renewed for another season: training updates & limbo confessionals

Most people know that I do not have cable television, nor do I feel the need to. I had Netflix for a couple months when I was watching House of Cards on the bike trainer in my shed, but as soon as it was warm enough to bike outside I unsubscribed. I haven’t watched a movie in months and have not watched a TV show alone since March. This isn’t a conscious decision, I just actually forget visual entertainment is an option because I can think of a hundred other things I want/need to do instead. Furthermore, who needs a TV show when I have the ridiculous plot twists that make up my life? 

I haven’t blogged in a month simply because this (life) is an exciting show, and every day there seem to be new challenges, catches, and decisions with unknown resolutions not solely in my control that leave me utterly exhausted at the end of each day. Sometimes the exhaustion occurs because of productivity, and sometimes because of total physical and mental stress.

Playing catch-up is annoying at first, but then fun, because there are so many things I have been itching to blog about (but then, like I said, I go to sleep instead)!  

From a training standpoint:

I raced the NJ State Sprint Triathlon for the third year in a row on July 19th.

10569164_919836091376739_1853312316_n

…and finally placed in my age group!

NJ Tri SPRINT-3891-XL

I bought bike shoes and clipless pedals.

20140725_184021

I have the inevitable embarrassing long bike ride mishap story to share (or not?).

Scattered Thunderstorms

(HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO PLAN A 3 HOUR RIDE WITH A FORECAST LIKE THIS?!?)

I did some long rides to pretty places (but still have a long way to go…pun intended).20140713_113618

I learned how to climb, finally!

rockville

I ran another 5k PR & clearly earned a last-minute entry in the contest for my grittiest finish photo ever.

 

belmarphotos

These things don’t sound too crazy. That’s because I’ve failed to mention the non-training-related portions of the past month. I don’t believe in jinxes, but it would seem as though the “crazy” in my quest for a “summer of crazy” took on a different meaning.

Confessions in limbo, part two: sometimes you change your mind. Or realize your 14-year-old self knew what you wanted more than your 23-year-old self. Or maybe, you just gave it one more shot and it was enough to realize it wasn’t what you thought it would be. At the end of January I wrote a truthful, personal post about my career goals as well as a resolution to reach them. Reading back over it now, I feel like my decision to change those goals for practical and personal reasons, with no outside influences by anyone else persuading or dissuading, was the right one. It is exciting and relieving to re-focus my sights on becoming a teacher, not a physical therapist. I will probably go into more detail in another post, but for now I’ll put it simply: it was what I decided, and I have quit my PT job since realizing it was stressing me out more than benefiting me or anyone else. I also needed to do this because….

There are BIG changes happening at the store. New leadership, new staff (basically chosen by yours truly and they are going to be awesome), new community involvement, and new responsibilities. Interlaced with this is an emerging conflicting relationship between people I have known and trusted for years. Until everything is all announced and the storm has passed, I’m counting on continuing to be stressed out of my mind and as busy as ever. Most days I am pretty excited about what’s happening though, and if you are part of the Princeton community, you should be too. I am learning more about myself as a person and a potential leader these past few weeks than I ever have, and regardless of what happens and how quickly it happens, it’ll count for something. 

Working as much as I did on my feet this week, continuing normal training, and then racing, however, does do a number on your body. As of the past 24 hours I’m faced with the beginnings of what seems to be a form of plantar fasciitis (never had it before), with more stiffness than actual pain right now….I’m pretty sure this was triggered by the time I had Lace Locks on too tightly in late May (my left foot felt off after that for a long time randomly on some runs, but I had since stopped feeling any discomfort the past couple weeks) plus stepping straight onto a pointy rock a few weeks ago while running on a trail (which I was super worried about and cared for like there was pain, but there was never any pain). It was hard to curl/bend my big toe after I was done running for the day yesterday, and in trying to do so I felt tension near my Achilles too. I’ve been icing it like crazy and wearing Superfeet, but I’m sure there’s another overtime week waiting for me so I really hope it goes away. :/

So there you have it: pretty much every aspect of my life has been turned upside down except running…not necessarily turned into a state of chaos but definitely turned in a way that prompts questioning the why, when, and how. 

 

I plan on recapping my triathlon and the other things I mentioned in detail soon, so stay tuned!

(Please note that I choose to share what I want on this personal blog, and would never disclose any information not already known to the general public regarding business-related information. So, I have not done so in this post, in case you were wondering.)