Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Week 3 ~ An awesome boost!

After last weeks mental games and the load of doubts that crept in I knew going into this third week was going to be tough.  With winter and kids and sickness, I was already burnt out with training.  I was simply just tired and did NOT want to be out there.  But BUT BUUUUUUT then I some absolutely wonderful, fantabulous news and I remembered that by me getting out there and doing what I do, I am potentially inspiring others to get out there and dicover self love for themselves.  It didn't hurt that I was also told I was accepted as a Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador!!!!  Want to know what is even MORE perfect?  The Girls Gone Sporty moto for 2015 is Pushing Your Boundries, Challenging Your Expectations!!! Could that BE any more perfect for pursuing a marathon finishing dream? (I really hope a few of you read that last sentence with a Chandler Bing voice in your head.....)  Having this message in my email was a huge help in getting me out there and thinking that yes YES I can do this.  It also gave me the extra boost to dream even BIGGER and apply to be #AMRinSaucony!!! Now I am really really REALLY hoping that by some slight miracle of a chance this small town Maine mama is chosen for that role!!!! 

MarathonTraining: Week 3

The Miles:

Monday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 4.01 miles
Thursday: 3.01 miles
Saturday: 5.07 miles

The Weather: 

The weather moved back into what winter in Maine feels like.  It was sub zero but it wasn't balmy either.  Saturday brougt in a a snow storm that started much earlier than predicted, so that I actually
ran in 2-3 inches of snow on the ground and no plowed streets or sidewalks.  It was actually really nice and peaceful to be out there with my sister who happened to join me.  It was like a true winter wonderland!


This week was a cut back week and the long run wasn't so long.  I didn't add any gear or do anything really different.  I did chew another Shot Blok during the 5 miler because I wanted to practice chewing and running.  I also used an elliptical machine to get the 4 miler done.  I had two sick kids and a very gracious friend who insisted I come over get my sweat on and my sick kids could play with her sick kids while I was doing it.


Routes were all little and over and over this week.  Monday's run I did via small laps up and down
my street while I could hear the two older kids on speaker phone and my husband was working in the barn.  I would swing in every .25 miles to get snacks, or help with potty breaks, or get down puzzles. Saturdays snow run I ran each and every little dead end street in the area until I got to 5 miles.  Thank goodness my sister was along for that one or I may have lost my mind.

Lessons Learned: 

This week I learned that there are little mental boosts everywhere.  The little surprises you find in your inbox can go along way.  I also learned that the old adage of it takes a village definetly rings true for a mom who is also training for a marathon.  I realized this on Thursday's run.  The youngest two had been sick since Sunday.  The fevers were not going away and I hadn't left my house or had arms that were void of a baby in days, DAYS!!!! Wednesday I had the help of a wonderful friend and fellow mama but Thursday I had the help of my own mama.  She came over, picked the oldest up at school and walked in with homemade soup, bread and the offer to watch all the kids while I went for a run!!! Oh boy was that little mental break much needed!!!! I also have to thank my sister for coming over in a snow storm to run with me so I wouldn't be lonly out there.  Like I said, it takes a village.  Oh and the best way to warm up after running in the snow? A snow day couch snuggle with your sleeping baby. :)

What about you, do you get help from your village? What little surprises have you found helpful in pushing you through your training?

Week 2- Mental Games

Marathon Training:  Week 2

After the falls and triumphs of the first week of training, week two brought no embarrassing moments
or bumps and bruises. It was mostly, anticlimactic, the thrill of starting something new had worn off and unfortunately the doubts of can I actually do this set in.

Mind games those were my obstacle this week.

The Miles:

Monday 3.5
Wednesday 3.08
Friday: 3.1
Sunday: 7

The Weather:

Like typical Maine weather fashion, just when you think you had it figured out, it changes. They layers I had accumulated and perfected for last weeks run were thrown aside. I had to start over as a heat wave rolled through. Monday's run kicked off the week with a balmy 28 degrees. And Sunday's long run had temps in the 40's YES 40's!!! I even contemplated after a few hours of rest after the 7 miler heading BACK out because one simply does NOT ignore temps like that in Maine in January. This week was the week I also noticed that it is staying lighter LONGER!!!!! My sister in law so graciously came and sat with the kids so Wednesday's run was done in the day light. I left at 4:15 and it was light the whole time!


I didn't add anything new to my wadrobe, took away some layers though! I acquired a very special headband that my grandmother knit for me and I LOVED it in place of a hat on these warmer days. I also have decided to skip the Vaseline and use my beloved coconut oil instead. I just like the idea of putting something natural on my face instead of a petroleum product.  This was also the week I tried Fueling for the very first time on my long run.  I choked down a Gu before I left,  I barely, BARELY got it down so I knew right then and there I would not be able to do it WHILE I was running.  I chose to grab the Shot Bloks to try while I was out there.  These were ok,
hard to chew however, I think if it were warm they would have been even gooier.  So I am still on the look out for what works best for me.  And of course I fell back on my love of Nuun when I got home, I am thinking of starting to carry it with me while I am running.  


Kept is the same and didn't mix things up too much. The long run on Sunday we went out in the opposite direction but still had some hills to contend with. (Where in Maine aren't there hills?)

Lessons Learned:

This week I learned just how tough those mental games are going to be. If the doubt is already creeping in and I am not even pushing limits yet then it's going to get tough. I also learned just how much of a running geek I am when I realized how absolutely giddy the lingering daylight made me, knowing that most people weren't even noticing the difference yet ;)  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Marathon Monday~ Live Free and Run Edition

Hard to believe that it is yet Monday again and one more week of our Marathon Monday editions are upon us.  This week I am beyond excited to feature one of the very first Running Bloggers I have ever followed.  Colleen from Live Free and Run is an amazing runner, mother and teacher.  She is the one who inspired me to want to blog about my own running journey and mishaps and any other piece of running shenanigans I come across.  I am beyond pumped to have Colleen featured over here at Crazy Mama Runner and to share her Marathon piece with us.

I was asked by Crazy Momma Runner to write about my Marathon experience.  I have ran 3 full marathons, but nothing is like your very first marathon….so I will start there!
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Race day started with getting up super early in the morning and taking the metro to
Nervous on the Metro 
downtown DC.
  We arrived and there were 30 corrals which each started in it's own wave.  The entire start area spanned the width of the street and two entire blocks long.  There were 30,000 runners in a sold out field so it was pretty crazy.  I was in corral 14 and it took almost 20 mins for us to cross the start line, so I didn't actually begin the race until 7:50 or so.   Also, since it was about 20 mins of waiting in the corral before I crossed the start line, I had to go to the bathroom within the first mile.  There were a few single porta potties lining the first few miles, but each had a padlock on them. 
Early start corral 
Not sure why...but runners kept veering off and getting frustrated that they were locked.  By the time everyone made it to the open set of bathrooms at mile 2, it was packed!  There were 8 of them, but each line was 12 runners deep!  I lost an entire 3 minutes waiting in line.  It was such a bummer because the entire song "Thrift Shop" played while I was in line and I was looking forward to running to that for a boost!  Afterwards, when I checked my pace it was confirmed it was a 3 min loss.  Mile 1 was an 8:30 pace and Mile 2 was an 11:46.  Yikes!  

Passing Kennedy Center
Got back to running and followed the river under the Kennedy Center and headed into Rock Creek Park.   I ate a pack of my Jelly Belly sport beans here about mile 5.  The biggest hill of the course came as we exited Rock Creek Park and entered into the Adams Morgan neighborhood.  I pysched myself out for that hill a bit because when we drive it, it seems huge.  But it all honesty, it wasn't bad and it was over before I knew it.  I get a lot of hill practice as we live on a really big one that I run every time I go for a run.  As I got to the top of the hill (about mile 7), my friend Anna was there cheering me on and hopped in to run along side of me and be my hydration sherpa for a while.  For the next ten miles, I had a non-stop conversation while
Rock Creek Park 
running with Anna.  I definitely wasted some energy there, but it was a nice distraction too.  I never usually talk during races, but I knew I was purposely trying to take the first 13 super easy.  As part of the Rock and Roll format, there are live bands and cheer squads along the course at every mile.  Since I run with headphones, I didn't really hear every band.  As we continued through the Adams Morgan area, there were lots of young adults partying on their porches cheering us on in crazy costumes and offering up beer and mimosas to the runners.  I will admit, the mimosas looked good! Since I was doing so much talking, I think I missed out on a lot of sights that I would have normally taken in.  My husband asked me if I saw this or that after that race and I said "no".  Next time around, I will be more in the moment!

Course Map
The split off of the half marathoners and the full marathoners was well marked and we diverted just before mile 13.  Originally I was worried because there were about 25,000 half marathoners and only 5,000 marathoners that it would be lonely after the split off but it was actually really nice to finally have a bit of space.  It was crowded all the way to the split.

I knew once we hit mile 13, that the real fun was about to begin.  I was now officially entering into the longest race I had ever run.  Since Jim ran the half marathon, he was supposed to get his bag at bag check, hopped on a
Capitol Bike Share bike and met me along the course to cheer me on just before the split. Getting his bag back at bag check was an absolute nightmare (more on that later) so he couldn't get to the course until much later.   I saw him at about mile 15.  He had my water bottle with Nuun in it and that tasted so good.   I had my lemon Gu at this point.   He rode ahead to meet us at another stop and then decided to just return the bike and run a long side me with his backpack on.  What a guy!
I had to stop at mile 16 because the Morton's Neuroma in my feet was really starting to act up and I was actually saying out loud "Ow, ow, ow" with each step.   I sat on a curb, took off my shoes and socks, and rubbed my feet to make the pain go away.  Once again, lost time but I had no choice.  Once I started running again,  at mile 18 the 4:00 pace group (which had been my time goal) caught up to me and passed me.  I had been ahead of them the entire race and now they were passing me.  That was mentally hard to take and a beat myself up a little bit.  At that point, I told Jim and Anna that I need to focus and I put back in my headphones and "got into the zone".  That area was really nice as it was the Anacostia Riverfront walk.

I saw a set of bathrooms at mile 19 and while I didn't really have to go, I stopped anyway since there was no line and didn't know when that would happen again.  This part of the course got a bit weird.  Anna asked if I wanted my picture taken and Jim said, "Um, not the best background"-we were running right past junk yards and scrap metal piles.  Not the best scenery on that part of the course.  Here, I had a Cliff shot block for some additional energy.  Anna split off here to run the rest of her training run and Jim stayed with me. 

Hitting mile 20 was symbolic because I knew that everything I ran after this was going to be
Mile 20
the longest I had ever run in MY LIFE.  It felt quite amazing actually and I felt so empowered.  As we were crossing over the bridge, I felt my bib flapping in the wind so I turned my bib belt around so it could flap on my back and Jim noticed that my bib was only attached on one side.  I had lost one of my bib clips.  We had to stop and Jim ruffled through the backpack to find safety pins.  I took off my bib belt and then safety pinned my bib to my chest.  Once again, more lost time, but couldn't do anything about it.  I can't believe I almost lost my bib number!

Mile 21, my stomach started to bother me a bit.  Not the "I'm working out too hard I'm going to puke feeling" but the "My stomach is so acidic, I need Tums or I am going to puke" feeling.  This is where I really started to crave that chocolate milk they kept advertising they would have at the finish.  I needed something basic to even out my acidic stomach.  I have always been someone whose stomach doesn't do well with sugar.  If I eat candy on an empty stomach it makes me feel very sick, so I don't really eat sweets at all.  I think that all the sugar from the Gu and sport beans was starting to catch up with me since the real food (oatmeal) that I had eaten at been at 5am and it was now about 11am.  The feeling kept getting worse.  I am not going to lie, tears were shed at mile 22.  As I was running that mile, tears were streaming down my face.  My stomach hurt so badly, I knew I was off my time goal and I just felt like it was all crashing in around me.  I mentally told myself to suck it up because there was nothing I could do at this point, I was going to finish this thing whether or not I had to crawl across the finish line while throwing up.  The downside was, I didn't eat anything else to fuel from this point forward and didn't drink any water because my stomach just hurt too badly. 

I was eagerly awaiting the mile 23 mark so that I could tell myself that I only had a 5k left.  But it still felt far!  Once I knew I only had a mile and a half to go, I started to get really happy.  I was about to finish A MARATHON.  The last mile was almost a straight away with the stadium clearly visible.  It felt like a very long mile, because the stadium never seemed to be getting that much closer.  Once you got to the stadium, the finish line was still about a half mile to go, uphill and around a corner.  You could see it but could also see the hill you had to complete to get there.  It had never felt so far away. :-)  As I came up that hill, I looked around and smiled.  I saw Anna and Jim cheering me on and calling out my name.  I started to pick it up the finish, and so did the girl next to me.  So I ran harder and then so did she.  Neither of us wanted to let the other get ahead on that final stretch to mat.  We crossed the line in a perfect sprint to a perfect tie.  I told her "good run" and headed off to find some real food to ward off the stomach pain.  I was proud of myself that I still had that kick in me at the end. 
Enjoying my post race beer. 
I crossed the finish line and got handed my medal.  Right as I was crossing I heard Cowboy Mouth just finishing up their song, "Joe Strummer".  They were the headliner of the post race concert and they were saying goodbye as I was walking through the shoot. Major disappointment and poor planning on RnR's part (since a lot of marathoners would be missing the headliner).   I got a bottle of water and started to drink it.  There were a few finish line photographers there taking pictures of us against the Rock and Roll background holding up our medals.  My bib was crumpled at that point and I never received those pictures yet and I think its because they couldn't read my number.  Then I made a bee line for the chocolate milk.....ahhhhh I had been thinking about this for the last 4 miles!  I got there and they told me they were all out.  I actually said outloud, "You've got to be kidding me!".  Another lady was pretty upset too.  There were still a lot of marathoners that were going to be finishing (about 2000 more!)  That was definitely poor planning.  I saw bananas and bagels so grabbed both.  I ate the banana even though I didn't want to (more sugar) and gave Jim the bagel (it was so dry).  Afterwards, I saw someone walking by with chips and realized that would have been a good choice, fat and salt, but once you are out of the food area, they don't let you back in...bummer.  I sat with Anna and Jim on a curb and we all chatted for a bit.  Jim and I decided we might as well go take advantage of our free Michelob Ultra at the beer garden.  We said our goodbyes to Anna and I once again thanked her for being my water girl.  On the way to the beer garden, luckily there were food trucks (though they also were out of almost everything) we did each get a veggie slice of pizza and it was delicious!

That afternoon after the marathon, I was definitely tired.  My hip flexors and quads were the
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most sore, but I really just wanted to go to bed.  But with a two year old, I just had to count down the hours until she went to bed and then I crawled in to mine not long after!  The next day the hip flexor pain was gone, the quads were still a little sore, but nothing too bad.  We took my mother in law to Georgetown and walked all around the city and I was fine.  The only thing that was acting up was my knee were a few weeks ago my
knee bursitis had really been bothering me.  And with two days of rest under my belt, I headed out there for an easy 3 miler with my daughter in the stroller.

I was beyond humbled by the amount of support that I received while training and after finishing.  Fellow bloggers, family and friends (in person, through email, texts, phone calls, facebook), and even mail!  (Thanks Sheri!)  My neighbor who has completed two marathons herself stopping by that night to drop off a bottle of wine (Thanks Kristi!).  You all are amazing!  

I learned a lot running this first marathon and that's what I wanted it to be -A learning experience.  That is how I approached my first half marathon and walked away loving it and craving for more.  I really got a good gauge of how each mile feels.  The second 13.1 really is a whole different ball game than any race I've ever run!  The biggest thing I walked away from this race learning was that I NEED to find different ways to fuel.  I am going to start looking into more natural fuel sources than the sugary
Gu and Sport Beans.  They just tear up my insides.  (Even looking at them right now as I added these links made my stomach turn...ugh).  I moved on to HumaGel which is more natural and contains Chia Seeds (my favorite!).  I am also going to try and make my own fuel sources as well like ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek does.  I plan on also trying to carry pit-less cherries or prunes as fuel.  No Meat Athlete has a recipe for homemade gel that I plan on giving a whirl as well.

Mostly, I learned a lot about myself.  I can do anything.  That is truly how I felt, on top of the world!  I never thought I could run a marathon, ever.  But I did it.  It scared me.  Even as I signed up the November before, it terrified me.  All through training, I had moments of self doubt...I asked myself why am I doing this?  Could I actually run 26.2 miles?  Everyone is stronger than they realize.  They just have to not be afraid to put themselves to the test!

For more race recaps and running from Colleen make sure to follow her at Live Free and Run on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to her blog Live Free and Run.

Have you ever put yourself to the test?  What have you done regardless of fear?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Marathon Monday! ~ Mary

We all have reasons we run, reasons why we set out to do what is initially thought of as impossible.  Running can be an escape, a coping mechanism or some sort of instrument to prove that you are enough, that you can do things, that YOU are worth it.

We all set out on these self discovery journies and sometimes the reason we start running is not the reason we continue running.  Sometimes, the reason we start isn't enough to keep us going but the reason to keep going quickly becomes apparent.

Over time the reason why doesn't matter because there is a love for the run, for the road, for the feeling of fresh air that washes over you.  Then sometimes there is a love AND a reason.  A passion.

Meet Mary.  A runner who started to lose weight but now runs for a cause.  A runner who used running to prove herself and who found true love while doing what she was told she couldn't do.

Hi my name is Mary. I'm 32 and I live in CT. I started running about 10 years ago. I just wanted to lose weight but somehow I ended up loving running. I had, since I started to run, aspirations one day of running a marathon. Yet it never seemed  to happen.

About three years ago I was in a relationship and I discussed with my former boyfriend the desire to run a marathon. He seriously doubted the fact that I could do it. After a very upsetting and stressful break up I decided I needed to run that marathon to redeem myself and also yes to prove him wrong.

In running my first marathon I ended up
meeting my future husband he was running his third I was running my first our second date actually was the marathon. I have run 4 marathons since then including the New York City Marathon last November ( my dream race).

Shortly before I ran New  York my mother started experiencing some health issues. After encouraging her to go to the doctor we discovered that she had an aggressive form of uterine cancer. My mother had already battled cancer 12 years ago. She battled and won against stage four colon cancer and for 12 years with cancer free.

It was absolutely crushing the idea that this woman who had already suffered through a catastrophic disease was facing it yet again. I needed something positive to come from this upsetting and depressing news so I decided to run a marathon, not only to run a marathon but to raise money for cancer research. Though the amount that I'm raising is not in the millions I hope it will do some good. I have a purpose and what I am doing each and every run is dedicated to someone that I know who is giving me the name of a person that has died or is currently battling cancer every single mile is dedicated to beating cancer.

My mother amazes me every day with her graciousness and compassion, in spite of dealing with such an unfair disease.
Through her surgery and now subsequent chemotherapy she has always tried to keep a happy face though she freely admits there are days when she is scared. She relies on her faith and her children and her eight grandchildren to carry her through. At the end of my marathon my mother will be given my metal and my bib will have the name her grandchildren call her on it.

Just knowing that when I'm running my marathon my mom will be all done with

chemo it is an amazing thought. That she will have experienced such aggressive treatment and will be there meeting me at the finish line is something I look forward too.

Thank you for letting me share mine and my mother's story with all of you.  I hope that no one else has to experience this disease ever again.

If you would like to help Mary raise money for cancer research please visit  WWW.fredsteam.org and type in Mary Vallely.

Have you ever started running for one reason and then found another to keep running?  Have you ever proved to those who thought you couldn't that you CAN indeed?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Marathon Monday- Lessons from Michelle

It's Monday again and with it comes the second installment of this wonderful little motivation feature segment of Marathon stories.  Today we feature the ever lovely and inspiring Michelle who is over at Movin it with Michelle; Running, Recipes and Real Life Adventures, on Facebook and blogging it up at movinitwithmichelle.com.  

I was very thankful that this story came through my email when it did and grateful that Michelle decided to share.  I had a rough VERY rough first week of marathon triaining myself, so this was exactly what I needed.  Being a mama who also suffered and still has days where I feel like I am STILL suffereing from PPD I found such solace in this story.  If you need some inspiration and tips on staying with it, learning from your mistakes and making the best of YOUR marathon expierence then sit back, grab a cup of tea or coffee or even better some water (got to get in ALL the water!!!) and listen as Michelle tells it like it was for HER! 

My distance running journey came about in 2007.  Although I had been a short distance running since the age of 11 or 12, my dream of running a marathon had merely been that: a dream.
After giving birth to my second daughter, I suffered from pretty severe depression.  Life...well...happens, and I just couldn't get past the hole I had put myself in.  So one day, my girlfriend and I were talking and the San Antonio Rock n Roll half marathon came up.  She had run it before, and said I should run it with her.  This discussion happened in late September, and the race was in mid November.  Of course I could do it, right?  After only 7-8 weeks of training, I ran and completed my first half marathon, and I was hooked.  But it would take 5 more years until my first full marathon would come to fruition.
I retired from the Air Force in 2011, and moved to the Chicagoland area with my family.  I was so excited to be close to my family again, as my sister only lives about an hour from us.  We decided that my first full marathon would be the Chicago Marathon.  It was my sister's first full in 2010, and I thought how cool it would be to follow in her footsteps, AND have her run it with me.  She agreed!  We registered together, although trained separately.  We a couple runs together, and she ran the Fox Valley 20 miler with me as our last long run.  We finished strong, and I was ready, right?
Lesson number one: You never know what race day will bring.  It was really cold and damp out that day, and I just couldn't find my groove.  My Garmin wouldn't catch a signal, and my breathing was all over the place.  But my sister and I were out there...together.  And despite having a difficult race, as my knee blew out at mile 17, my sister and I stuck together.  Every. Single. Step.
And I will be forever grateful for her, as she helped me achieve this life long goal.  We crossed that line hand in hand, and even to this day my eyes well with tears thinking about it.
Lesson number two: Don't forget to enjoy your race!  No matter what race day gives you, SMILE, thank the volunteers and spectators, and be thankful you CAN run.  So many aren't as fortunate.
Lesson number three: One bad race doesn't make you a bad runner. The following year, I decided I needed redemption, a do-over so to speak so I registered for the 2013 Fox Valley 4:I PR'd at , and I felt great nearly the entire race.
Marathon.  I trained smarter, taking out the mid week long run and replacing it with biking/cross training.  I ran less miles, but smarter miles.  I kept my long run progression the same, and despite several ailments and injuries, the running fairies were with me on race day and I was able to shave off 58 minutes of my Chicago Marathon time, and have negative splits for the half. 
I swore I'd never run another full marathon, because my knees just don't like this distance.  BUT...
Lesson number five: Never say never.  In June I will be running my hometown marathon, The Grandma's marathon in Duluth Minnesota, with my sister.  I grew up spectating this race, and it's been on my bucket list ever since.  We plan on having FUN for this race, with no goal other than to finish.
I can't wait!
Final thoughts:
Training for, and running a full marathon is life changing.  It takes dedication, time, effort, and a whole lot of passion.  But it's worth every single second spent preparing to cross that finish line knowing YOU did this....YOU finished.  YOU kept movin' forward.  <3

What do you think?  Have you learned some of these lessons too?  How many marathons have you sworn you wouldn't run?

If you liked reading about Michelle make sure that you head over to her blog and show her some support.  She is always ALWAYS supporting everyone.  

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Week One

Week one is done and with it the start of the epic journey to being able to say that I have completed a marathon.  I really want to do my very best to document this so that I can truly see where I grew, when I changed and what lessons I have learned along the way.

This week was hard, super hard.  Our mild winter weather took a turn and became extremely cold at the start of the week.  Which meant my lovely little mild running days (yes two weeks ago I was still wearing shorts!) came to an abrupt halt and I was immediately thrown into layers, frozen eyelashes and globs of Vaseline.  

To make matters worse the cold also brought ice.  Ice brings slippery roads and slippery roads bring falls.  I wiped out hard on Wednesday's run.  I am OK or I was OK, just bruised and very sore with very limited mobility in my right arm.  I still ran Thursdays 3 miles and kept stretching to stay loose.  Then Friday afternoon, I fell again TWO more times.  This time in a driveway while carrying the baby in her car seat.  She is OK, she was just very very scared and startled.  I was again sore, but this time on my left side and mostly my leg.  

I still set out on my long run Saturday morning.  Not more than 5 steps in I knew it was going to be a hard long run.  My left quad was sore and I couldn't get into a good stride.  I decided to keep going to see if it got better with warming up.  It didn't.  I completed the 6 miles but walked a few times coming down the hills to give my quad some breaks.  It was starting to get super fatigued and very sore, hurting more during walking and much more during downhills.  At home I stretched, rolled and now have a slight limp.  I think I pulled something perhaps?  And will be taking a day or two off.  

So here it is the training recap:
I am doing a Hal Higdon plan for novice marathon runners.  It has me running 4 days a week.  To make things work with the kids and my husbands work schedule AND have as many opportunities as possible to run with a buddy I have chose to run Mondays. Wednesdays and Thursdays then do a long run on Saturday morning.  This schedule is nice because Mondays and Saturdays I have flexibility on what time I can get out there and leaves me only two days where I have to do late night running.  

Monday's run this week I actually ended up moving to Tuesday because buying a new car interfered with getting out there, but I am hoping to not have 3 days in a row again.  

The Miles:
Tuesday 3 miles
Wednesday 3 miles 
Thursday 3 miles
Saturday 6 miles

The Weather:
Temps ranged from windchill values of -26 to 5 degrees.
There was sun, clouds and ice and snow fall.
Winds were gusty and strong

Layers were really important. 
Vaseline for exposed skin was a must.
Yak Traks have been considered!!!
Tried out an amphibian water belt.

Made many small loops for the short runs.
Took on a tough hill route for the long run.

Lessons Learned:
I am bruised and I am battered but I am proud.  I have actually set out to do this and despite some big obstacles, schedules not working and weather being super intense I managed to complete all the runs I had scheduled and I am still excited for more.  I learned that ice and running are a dangerous combo and that Epsom salt needs to be on hand and available always.  I have also learned that my mom keeps Epsom salt and has the perfect soaking tub.  She also has
interest in spending time with my monsters so tub soaks over there are an option! Vaseline really helps protect exposed cheeks and any mental games you can play will keep your mind off the cold AND the miles.  Running with buddies is a welcome joy and makes stepping out into the cold easier if you know they are waiting for you.  The foam roller and I will probably end up having an affair some day over the love I have developed for it and I need to start experimenting with fueling.  I have never used any sort of fuel before and will need to test to see what works best.  

Are you training for something?  How did your training week go?  What fuel is your go to?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dear Future Marathoner

Dear Future Marathoner,

They say that the person who starts the 26.2 is not the same person that finishes it.  Is that true?  Who were you when you started and who are you now? I can't
tell you who you are going to be when you cross that finish line in 18 weeks after completing a 26.2 mile run.  I am not even sure I can tell you who you are right now to be completely honest.  I know that you are not the person you were yesterday, and you made yourself better today and have plans for tomorrow.  I know that right this very minute you are scared, anxious, nervous and afraid of making a complete fool out of yourself.

You still let the fat girl in your head win sometimes.  You still let society and media make you feel like an inadequate runner.  You question your abilities and
your sanity.  You compare yourself to the real runners and the ones who actually look like a runner.  Yet get this, you have grown so much, so very much.  Because you are letting yourself believe that it is possible.  Right now you have no doubt that some how, some way you will get your body across that line in May.  You have a hope and faith in YOURSELF.  Running has done that to you.  It has given you a sparkle of self awareness.  You know that you have done this before. Sure you haven't run 26.2 miles before but you have been standing there never thinking it would be possible to run, or to run a 10k, or to run a half.  And each time you made a decision to do something that seemed impossible you have found that you can push the limits and accomplish your goal.

So, as your training journey is kicked off with sub zero temps and hard falls on ice you know that you can pick yourself up, warm yourself from within, put your
head down and push.  In 18 weeks you changed.  You changed so very much.  Your sparkle is bigger, you know you can go further and you have discovered more things about the person that YOU are supposed to be.  You are turning into YOURSELF more and more.  You are even learning that you have a love, a love for yourself.  And it is so fitting that this is the year that you have determined to Finally Love Yourself (FLY) and make it epic because I have a feeling that the person reading this in 18 weeks will have made some leaps into accomplishing these goals.

So Future Marathoner, please come back and visit me.  Visit the me I am right now.  The one sitting here bruised and sore from the fall while out on training run #2 today.  The one wearing your husband's oversized shirt, curled up in bed with the laptop and a wish for an ice cream sundae.  Visit me and give me a giant hug and let me know how much you appreciate me for signing up for the Maine Coast Marathon, for beginning what I am pretty sure is going to be one epic journey.  I can not wait to see what discoveries are made, what person emerges and how much love you can have for YOURSELF.

The one scared shitless for setting you out on this journey in the first place.

Have you run a marathon?  How did it change you?  Any advice for me??

Monday, January 5, 2015

Marathon Monday

Marathon Monday, in just a few short months the ever popular and famous Boston Marathon will be kicked off.  The Boston Marathon is often a dream race, so many dreaming of getting a BQ or a charity bib in order to run the highly sought after 26.2 miles into Boston.  

This Monday I would like you to meet Meagan, who will get to live this dream and set out to complete her 26.2 on a very special Monday in April.  

Hello from New Hampshire!
Talk about the right winter to train for the Boston Marathon…so far! It’s still weird to even think about Boston, never mind the butterflies I get every time I get to say, “I’m running the 2015 Boston Marathon!” Before this year, I never stepped foot outside to run, once late fall showed up here in New Hampshire. I would jumped on the treadmill once in a while, but nothing serious, and certainly nothing outside in the cold and the snow…brrrr! But this year, things have changed!

I’ve never considered myself a runner. I played soccer growing up and even in college, but running then was always a “punishment". When we lost a game, when we didn’t practice hard enough, when it was the dreaded “fitness day” . I didn’t start running for “fun” until I graduated college. I remember feeling free- I could run when I wanted, how fast I wanted, and wherever I wanted. Man did it feel great. Not physically at first, that’s for sure, but mentally there was something almost euphoric about logging miles. I took on my first marathon in 2005, the December after I graduated from college. I wasn’t fast by any stretch, but I was hooked on running! (It didn’t hurt that at the finish line of that race, the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco, that a handsome man in a tuxedo gave me…ok, all finishers, haha…a Tiffany’s necklace instead of a finisher’s medal!)

Fast forward almost 10 years since those first steps training for my first race, I’ve come so
far. I’ve run many half marathons, a handful of 5k’s, and I even ran the Hartford (CT) Marathon in 2007. I got a job teaching 7th grade (which I still love…call me crazy!), I married the love of my life in 2009 and I’ve had two handsome (and energetic) boys (now 4 and almost 2 years old). Running has kept me busy…in a good way! It keeps me healthy, gives me the opportunity to run with my boys (though I think stroller running is the hardest thing ever!), and helps me set goals that I can work toward achieving. 

Which brings me to my 2015 goal…to successfully fundraise for an amazing organization and run the Boston Marathon!! I will be taking on the 26.2 miles of the 2015 Boston
Marathon to support the Greater Boston Chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association. This amazing group does important work for many people in my community and beyond. First and foremost, they provide support from the moment of injury. They offer hope through one-on-one support, understanding, and guidance. No other entity provides this depth of support. The group works to RISE: Reach, Inspire, Support and Empower all those affected by a spinal cord injury through their nationally recognized Peer Visitation Program. Staff members and trained volunteers, who have successfully navigated post spinal cord injury life, serve as mentors to help the newly injured, and their families to better understand what happened, transition back into the community and meet their goals of leading a fulfilling life.

I have a fundraising goal of $4000 to support this amazing foundation. Whether you know someone directly affected by a spinal cord injury or not, I’m sure you’ll agree that this cause is a worthy one. If you’re willing to support my fundraising efforts, I'd be more than appreciative. Information on how to donate is listed below.

I truly appreciate you taking the time to read my story. I guess now, though it’s taken me 10 years…I consider or should consider myself a runner. I’ve learned that if you’re running 1 mile or 100 miles…a 6 minute pace or an 11 minute pace…you’re still a runner because you choose to run. I will continue to choose to run…today, tomorrow, and long after I cross the finish line at this year’s Boston Marathon (there are those butterflies again!).
Maegan Koelker
Newmarket, NH

Donation checks in any amount can be made out to: Greater Boston Chapter-NSCIA and mailed to me (please email me for my mailing address Maegan.Koelker@gmail.com). There’s also an online link available for fundraising: http://sciboston.com/meet-boston-marathon-runners/
Visit that link and at the bottom of the page, click the blue box that says "click here to help raise funds for our runners!"...then fill in the form...please put Maegan Koelker in the "honor/memorial information" section at the bottom of the form.

Click here to help raise funds for our runners!