Thursday, April 18, 2019

London prep (and other life drama)...

So the London Marathon is in 10 days and training for it is pretty much done. I have one tapered long run left but at this point if I'm not ready I will never be ready so mentally I'm feeling ok. I definitely do NOT feel overtrained and I'm not dealing with any nagging injuries or lingering pain/discomfort (which I think is a great place to be going into race week next week). My flights are booked, accommodations are set, and I have a list of activities for the "touristy" side of the trip.

On a non-running related note... two days before the marathon I'm presenting at an international trauma conference...
(I'm really excited about the opportunity to present a keynote lecture!)

So apart from wrapping up my training, preparing for all aspects of my trip and my presentation for next week, I've been spending a lot of time juggling various other life things. My baby turned 18 so I'm officially the mother of an adult. It's freaking me out a bit because time has really flown by quickly. She's off to college this Summer and I'm both excited for her and sad for me (it's going to be hard not having her around).

In anticipation of my impending empty nest syndrome I've been trying to plan the next few years of my life. I spent the past two years wasting my time and emotional energy. And then the past two months dealing with the emotions of that relationship coming to an end. So recently (after considering feedback from family and friends) I decided to dabble in the world of online dating.

So here's the thing about me and online dating:
- I'm not looking for a hook-up so the "tinder" type sites were a definite NO.
- I hate paying for things that don't provide a guaranteed return on my investment, so I avoided sites with a subscription fee that rivaled a monthly car payment.
- I have already found the process to be exhausting and tedious.

Anyway, I signed up for a site that claims to "cater to professionals" and filled out a lengthy profile. After my profile details were reviewed and approved by the site administrators I started to get "matched" with men who were (apparently) an ideal fit for me.

Well. By the time I deleted the men who:
  1. Had several grammatical errors on their profiles
  2. Had profile pictures that were not oriented correctly (it's not that hard people!)
  3. Answered yes, definitely to the "children in the future?" question
  4. Had profile (or gallery) pictures with other women (it could be their sister but how am I supposed to know that?!)
  5. Looked like serial killers...
...there might have been about five potential "matches" left. I'm almost tempted to delete the account and request a full refund. However, I was advised that I need to "be more patient it's only been a few days". So instead I updated my profile a bit to provide a little more clarity...

I've already given up hope that this particular approach is going to result in anything meaningful but no one can ever say that I'm not clear about what I want.

Apart from my initial online dating disaster, life has also been busy with job hunting and binge watching Dexter on Netflix.

Next week this time I will be in London (maybe a guy worthy of me will be there), and a week from Sunday I will be finishing my 4th Marathon Major, and 5th full marathon!

Have you ever tried online dating? (share your good and bad stories!)

What's the #1 tourist thing I should do in London next week?

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Current Status...

For the first time in a long time I finished my long run this morning and thought "I can probably get through London ok". The best thing about running in the London Marathon next month (apart from it being my 4th Marathon Major, and apart from the fact that I'll be running in a new country (which I love doing), and apart from the relative lack of humidity in London compared to Florida), is the very generous course time limit of eight hours.

This morning's run started a lot later than normal for me. Not only because the cruelty of Daylight Savings Time robbed me of an hour of precious sleep, but also because I checked the humidity levels at 4am (when I normally get up to get ready for my run) and realized how much Mother Nature seeks a B+ in this area (i.e. humidity in the high 80s). Since the humidity levels were going to fall during the day I decided to sleep in a little more... and boy did it pay off. Not only was I better rested for this morning's run, the weather was awesome and I got through 14 miles!

I relieved myself of the pressure of hoping for a marathon PR a long time ago, especially with the way training has been going, but I still want to have a better finish time than my last few marathons. And while that's still possible (if I'm to believe my VDOT O2 Calculator app)...
...there's also comfort in knowing that I won't have an unmanageable course time limit to contend with.

Plus, it helps that Garmin boosts my self-confidence with occasional race predictor and "Current Status" updates...

Despite my (current) productive training status, I've only stuck to my training plan about 84% because of various runs or cross training activities I've missed. I've also had to make revisions to the plan to remove the emphasis on speed work (which to be fair was not really working to improve my speed anyway) and focus more on endurance...
(It's going to be above 90% by the end of training 😉)

The other aspects of the London trip are slowly coming together as well. Airfare and accommodations are confirmed and there is some semblance of a "plan" for a few things to do while I'm there. My twin sister is planning to come too which will be great because she's been to London a lot more than I have. I told her she isn't allowed to get annoyed when my pre-marathon anxiety turns into pre-marathon moodiness (which is a lot worse than my "this is just my personality" moodiness), to which she sent me a very non-committal straight faced emoji 😐. So we'll see how that goes I guess. 

I'm not excited about the trip yet, but I'm hoping I will be. The more things fall into place training-wise, and the closer I get to my trip dates, the more I hope I'll be looking forward to everything about the racecation. It's the LONDON MARATHON after all! Only 7 more weeks to go before the big day!

How often do your deviate from your training plan?

Do you use race predictor apps/calculators?

Do you get pre-race moodiness too? What do you do to calm your nerves before a big race?

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Time Heals All Injuries...

Training for a marathon is hard. No matter how many times I start a training plan and put my heart, soul, dedication, and commitment of time, energy, and resources into it... something inevitably goes wrong... and my training falls apart.

This training cycle is no exception.

I've spent the past few days trying to figure out why I'm so upset that things aren't happening according to plan. Especially since I've always had a "Murphy's Law" type relationship with running (i.e. something will probably go wrong). One would assume that if I know something is likely to go wrong, I would lower my expectations, adjust my hopes and goals, maybe don't believe that "everything will be fine this time" right? 


Instead, I allow myself to dream of perfect runs with decent paces. I imagine the miles getting easier to complete. I plan months in advance and adjust my entire life to accommodate my marathon training, all because I believe (naively) that it will be worth it; that this training cycle will be different.

But it never is. All my marathon training cycles include the same soul crushing, heart breaking disappointment. Though the extent of the disappointment always varies... and yes, I know time heals all injuries... this particular set back has derailed me.

I tried not to focus on the pain during my long run this morning. I tried to stay in the moment and just focus on one interval at a time. But increasingly each interval felt daunting, each step more painful, each breath more difficult. 

There were moments (so many of them) that it took all my energy not to stop and cry. Indeed, towards the end I wondered what was the point? Why bother continue a run that's difficult and both physically and emotionally exhausting? But the reality is when I started the long run I committed to completing it. I committed to giving up other things that are important to me (like sleep, and binge watching shows on Hulu) so that I can train. I believed that training is important... even when it's difficult. 

Marathon training seems to come so easily for others. I know I'm not the only one who has gone through difficult training cycles, but I don't know many people who have struggled as much as I have, or who have gotten injured as many times as I have. Maybe that's because people rarely talk about the pain they are in, and social media/ blog posts only reflect when things are going well... maybe.

A part of me wishes I had a time machine that could take me back to the beginning of the training cycle, before everything started, and just change the course of history so that the training mistakes were never made. Or maybe I could go back to the start of training with the knowledge that "I will get injured again" so that I'm not as derailed when it happens. Or I can stop training, like I knew I should have, when the warning signs of injury showed up. Or maybe just not start training in the first place. 

But... time heals all injuries... and now I can only hope that time will pass by quickly.

Have you ever been injured during your marathon/half marathon training?

What's the worst injury/set back you've had to deal with during training? 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

January Is Almost Over...

We are 27 days into the new year and, apart from the fact that at times I feel like I'm having an existential and midlife crisis rolled up into one mega emotional roller coaster, 2019 has been going ok so far. 

For the past several months training for London has been dominated by fundraising for London, which I'm happy to report went well and I met my fundraising goal last week!!!

Now I can focus on traveling to London. I'm going to confirm my hotel and airfare by the middle of next month so I'm not too worried about that part yet. If you've ever run the London Marathon (or know the area well) please feel free to comment with your thoughts on the best area(s) to stay. If you can add restaurant recommendations as well that would be great ;)

London Marathon training has been... different. My plan has me running based on duration not distance (so my long run is usually listed as "x minutes" instead of "x miles"). At first I was skeptical because distance training has been my comfort zone. But I've embraced it I'm embracing it and trying to trust the process. Unfortunately I had to skip a few days because I had the flu and today I was supposed to do the Miami half marathon (but skipped that because my knee has been bothering me). Despite those deviations from the plan training is going well ok...
(This is what the first seven weeks looked like)

I've also scaled back on the CycleBar rides (which I'm kind of sad about) to focus on London training...

It's still my go-to cross training option but I need to start swimming and conditioning so I'm only going to CycleBar 3 times a week now (not the typical 6-7 times I was doing before). Once marathon training is done I'll be back at it. 

2019 is going to be a major year in many respects. Not just because of London (though that's part of it), but because it will be a year of change. It will bring the start of a brand new chapter for my daughter as she heads off to college and embarks on adulthood. It will bring me to a new city and a new job. It will bring more travel... especially to different countries/cities (one will be London (obviously) and one will be a solo/mental health trip - destination TBD).

2019 will also bring different adventures/experiences as I aim to "try something new" every month (one of my goals for this year). I still haven't figured out what my January "new thing" will be yet (even though January is almost over) but hopefully I'll get to try something new within the next 4 days :)

What are your goals for 2019?

What's your favorite memory from 2018?