Sunday, September 25, 2016

2 weeks and counting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well the taper has begun and so that means, I actually have's crazy, how much time training is part of my life and I don't even realize it.  But now that I find myself having a few more minutes to spare it's the perfect time to catch up on things; one of them being a blog update.
Most people know by now, but I am running the Chicago Marathon on October 9th!  I am pretty excited, grateful, anxious, and JACKED about this one!!!

Training Cycle
This by far has been the best training cycle I have ever had.  It has truly made me appreciate the journey and not the outcome.  I literally went from not being able to walk to running 85+ miles a week.  It is so humbling to think literally almost a year ago today I was probably at the lowest point in my life.  I saw my dream - what was left of it - slipping between my fingers.  I could not get my ankle to heal in time, and after 9 months of forcing it, forcing it, forcing it,  I finally decided to shut it down in November; but man was I lost.  I had invested so much in it, made major life decisions and choices to chase it, and 2015 had literally taken the air out of me.  Where now? You know the story from previous blogs, but I picked myself back up as painful as it was and rehabbed.  Becky got me back running, and created a pre and post run routine that I still do.  My coach built me back, painfully slow, but day by day.  Looking back at my log, it's so gratifying to see.  I told him just the other day, this is probably the first time in my life I tangibly saw myself evolve - both mentally and physically.  Last year it was like part of me died, this year it was a "re-birth" :)
As the weeks built, so did my confidence, my engine, and my passion.  We did not race much, as the goal was October and to get there I needed an engine.  So we focused a lot on mileage and specific pace work for our goals.  I got to see workouts that I once saw as daunting (ahem...tempo runs, 10 x 1k, 19 milers) become fun, become doable....become achieveable.  In fact, I think a huge milestone for me was a barn burner workout.  It was triple digits, heat of the summer here, and it was 3 x 5k....yes you read that right.  And after it was done, I knew it.  I knew that my dream would happen.  It's not an "if" anymore, it's a "when".    And so here we are.  It's funny because I just told Justin this morning, I have had 38 weeks (since Jan 16th) to train for Chicago.  This is more then ANY marathon training plan, right? Yet I still feel caught off guard!  It's here, what?  I still need more time to practice fueling, I need to race more, I....but as Adam reminds me the big picture is qualifying for the Olympic Trials.  Chicago is a stepping stone there.  Take the first step.  And I cannot tell you how excited I am to be taking it.  This is my 'Olympics', 'Superbowl', 'Big dance'.  I have never fought so hard to get back, to be where I am at, to be looking at Chicago head on.  With a huge frikkin grin on my face :)

Me and my coach at Bolder Boulder 10k in May....this guy is like a big brother, coach, cheerleader, hero all in one.  No one knows me better as a runner then him. No one.  He means the world to me.
1/2 Marathon Recap - Simulation Run
Last weekend, W and I (W is my teammate training partner who I will share more on in a few seconds if you can put up with this part), had the opportunity to do a simulation 1/2 marathon run 3 weeks out.  Goal was to not race, just run the thing at marathon pace.  Do you know how hard that is....OMG.  Hardest thing I have ever done, I was on my best behavior to treat this as a business trip.  The weekend was a blast, we flew in together, went out to eat together, and ran together.  Just like we will on game day.  The goal was 6:30 pace,  and if I do say so myself we nailed it!  Came in at 6:29 pace....and we managed to both podium, 2nd and 3rd.  If you know me, you can understand how hard it was not to race this with 1st place being within reach.  But when you hear your coach's voice in your head, and he means so much to you, you behave :)  Mission accomplished.  The taper began.

Post race shenanigans, that stupid sign says "running buddy" - if only you knew the drama associated with that picture #technologystillaworkinprogressformom
Training Partner
I think in 'running' life you probably get the opportunity once, maybe twice to find a training cycle and partner that matches.  I received a huge gift when "W" entered the picture.  We were teammates when she was on SDP; and after I got injured she would text me all the time to check in.  She knew the pain (more mental then physical) behind watching your dream slip away.  She kept asking me to run, and once I started back and could run 6 miles (I mean what's the point of putting on your shoes for less then  that ;) she was the first person I called.  We ran the canal and grabbed acai bowls afterwards.  We ran again, and again, and again.  And finally I asked her if she wanted to train together.  And the rest is history.  As dorky as it sounds we have the WHOLE cycle captured on Instagram, it's hilarious.  At first it was a joke, but now looking back it's cool.   You can literally look at all the pictures and remember the workouts,  anxieties, highs, lows, humor, and aftermath.  Forever documented via hashtag!  We trained SO tightly together month after month through the AZ heat, through the mental ups and downs, through 4am wake-ups, through laughter, through frustration, through dreamy eyes.  When I was down, she picked me up.  When she was down, I tried to make her laugh at least.  I learned so much from her, not just about running, but about nutrition, about life, about the journey.  I know W better then most people know their sister.  I can tell you by her texts what is going on.  It's incredible what hundreds of miles in silence and in words can create between 2 people.  Trust me I care about Chicago.  But even if it wasn't my day, I would still walk away fulfilled from what I got out of this training cycle. I'll never forget this year.

My first run back in February, the beginning of the most amazing journey ever.
Why Chicago?
So with 2 weeks to go, one last thought.  Why Chicago?  Many have asked if I was ready to race months ago, why wait for this one.  Or why train through the AZ heat, why didn't you wait and do something in December.  It's easy for me.  Chicago, is much more than just another race.  First, it's home.  It's core to who I am.  My Midwest personality, my work ethic, my's all Chicago.  My family means everything to me, and they are Chicago.  They grew up there, the Cubs are there, and as silly as it sounds the Cubs are so much more then Baseball, we grew up with them on.  Second, Chicago is Justin and I's (is that proper grammar?) city.  The Chicago Marathon that we ran for his mom brought us together, it's where we got married, and it's our common love.  Finally, 2 years ago I finished the Chicago Marathon wishing I had done more, feeling like I didn't quite achieve what I was capable of...little did I know that the time in between that day and today....well who knows what I thought, but good grief not the way I envisioned it :)  I will admit that crossing the line 2 weeks from today will mean a lot, I have never worked harder, been more focused, to get back.  I cannot wait.   I have some unfinished business to attend to :)
Sunday October 9th this year too will have even more meaning then 2 years ago.  I've talked several times in my blog about my hero, Mrs. Cyr, a breast cancer survivor.  She is tiny - but fierce.  If you knew all that she has accomplished, yet all that she has been through, you would be in awe.  She is such a fighter.  This race is for her, every single mile, is for her.  The race she is running is way tougher than mine, but I have learned so much from her fight, her will, her attitude.  Sometimes I think half of the game of life is just staying in the game, to keep standing, to keep fighting and not giving up.  Again, while my race pales in comparison to hers, Sunday is about that pride....never throwing the towel in, pushing right back, hanging on tight.....until you can climb right back in and run again.  She did.  She will.  And I am.

(Insert picture of me and Mrs. Cyr...I don't have one....we'll have to fix that on 10/9)  :)