Saturday, September 27, 2008


This week was quite a challenge. I was ready for a big-volume week with over 40 miles of running, a bike and a swim.

And then I got bronchitis. Ugh.

I've been trying to wrestle with some pretty serious stuff the past 3 weeks, and I think it's starting to affect me physically. I rarely get sick, so when I do, I usually take it as a sign that something is out of whack. The body has a funny way of letting you know things you just don't want to admit, you know?

I ran 10 on the treadmill earlier this week, with a few pushes. Not too much trouble, as I'm on antibiotics and have an inhaler to help clear things up.

Today, I had a 20 miler. My longest run before Columbus.


I didn't have time to plan anything ahead of time, as a lot of people around here were running Akron today. Plus, Bug was up from about 2-4 last night...probably teething...good times, good times. So we all slept until 9. I woke up, looked at the clock and said to Matt, "Hmmm. I was supposed to be nearing the end of my 20 miler right about now."

Ah, yes. I am learning I need to roll with the punches here. And lately, there just seem to be an awful lot of punches.

So 20 miles gives you plenty of time to sort things out. I don't know if I have any concrete answers yet, but I'm working on it. And I felt all emotions on this run...invincibility, fear, pain, uncertainty, elation. Pretty much the whole gamut. Which, I have to say, is paralleling my life at the moment, too.

I wondered when I would get my work done.

I wondered what Bug was doing.

I thought about how I had no business at all doing a marathon in October of this year, and how this is probably the most insane thing I've tried to do in quite some time.

I thought about stopping.

I thought I might not make it.

I thought I wouldn't be able to negative split this thing.

I thought how long 20 miles is, and how lonely I felt.

I thought about how I just don't know what to do.

But I remembered a friend told me that even when we're training alone, we're not really alone. There are other friends out there, training with us. I heard an AT&T van honk at me, and saw my triathlon buddy JBird in it, waving to me. And just like that, I was reminded.

I thought about why I was out there, running 20 miles, when I could be at home with my husband and son. What is this all about? What does this mean? Honestly?

It will mean quite a bit on October 19th. I really thought about it, and I came to the conclusion that this might mean more than Ironman for me. There's less hoopla and time to write about epic stuff, for sure. But this just might mean more to me. Because this has happened on a delicate tightrope act.

I went to Miami University for my undergrad. Since I worked pretty hard in high school and my parents saved up, I didn't have to take out a loan. This meant that I didn't have to work during the school year; my job was to be a student. And I took that seriously, mind you. I got pretty stressed out over classes and finals and grade point averages and all that junk. I ended up graduating cum laude, thinking that those were the 4 hardest years I'd worked at that so-called "public Ivy" school.

But they weren't. Not even close.

The four hardest years I worked where earning my master's degree at Cleveland State--a good school but not as rigorous of an selection process as Miami, for sure. I took classes at night, after teaching all day. Three or four nights a week I drove downtown and sat in classrooms from 6 to 8:50 or so, and then spent my weekends grading my own students papers and then flipping the switch to become a student and write papers. Sometimes I fell asleep with student papers on my lap and my HIS 697 book on the nightstand, open to page 389, highlighter still uncapped. I was still very lucky, as I was on full scholarship, so money was not an added stress. But I worked my butt off those four years.

It put everything I did at Miami to shame. Miami felt like a walk in the park.

And I am proud of both my degrees, but there was a different feeling when I walked at CSU to get my diploma...I felt almost more ownership of that one. I had to really work magic for that, and it was one of the proudest moments of my life so far. I had tears in my eyes when they called my name in the CSU convocation center. At Miami, I was just beaming from ear to ear, and the only tears were when I drove away from my friends a few days later.

Columbus will be my CSU.

It's not my first marathon, first Ironman, or my first endurance event...those moments and finish lines have already happened. And they were wonderful.

But this one?

This one, I have really, really had to work for. This one has shaken me to my core more than any other event I can think of. That includes Ironman. Honestly.

There will be no Mike Reilly, no people in crazy outfits cheering me up any "M" dots anywhere, no Boston Qualifying time or anything like that. No hoopla at all.

Just me. Me, and my arbitrary goal of trying to get to the finish line while there's still a "3" in the hour's place.

I thought about that, and how much this journey has shown me about myself. How I still don't really know what to do about things, but one thing's for sure--one thing's in my control: I am going to finish this run. And I am going to negative split it.

And with that, my last 4 miles went 9:13, 9:03, 9:01, and 8:52.


Sunday, September 21, 2008


I'm knee deep in the process of making some big changes. It's all good...much in the sense that Ironman forced me to simplify and clarify, I'm doing some of that now.

It does mean my writing here has been a bit sporatic, but the writing in my journal is filling up lots of pages. :) I'll keep it real here, training-wise, as often as I can!

Speaking of which, just about a month until Cbus, which I will be rocking a sub-4. Yep, I said it. I'm feeling really good. Did a 16 mile run with the last 8 supposed to be at race pace three weeks ago--and held 8:55 for the last 8, feeling pretty darn awesome. Last week, had an 18 miler in the pouring rain, and finished strong. Yesterday, ran 10 on my own, then the last 4 with Bug and Matt. I was supposed to go race pace the last 3...and I went 8:40s, which just felt about perfect.

(race pace goal is 9:09)

Part of me says shoot for more like a 3:55, but I'm thinking I'm going to stick with 4. Really no point in changing now, as BQ is 3:40 and I'd have work to do for I'm going to stick with The Awesome Ironman Pacer Girl that I know for the 4 hour pace group and just see how it goes.

I'm gonna enjoy it, and hopefully carry Bug with me across the finish line.

That's all for now!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Silhouette Shadows

In the house I grew up in, there used to be these two silhouette cutout pictures of my brother and I in a frame. I don't even know if they're still up there, actually. Just my face, but a paper can't really see my expression, but you can see my features.

I remember the first race I ever did...the Cincinnati Race for the Cure, back in 1998. I remember how it was a sunny day, and I was wearing the cotton race tee shirt because I didn't know any better. I remember going there with a group of friends, and wondering if I could really do the whole 3.1 miles. I remember in the middle of the race, looking down, and seeing all the shadows of people around me, bouncing, running, each for a different reason, and each a different shape.

Training for Ironman, I found my silhouette again. Expressionless, strong, and constantly one step ahead of me. I trained and trained and hoped someday I'd catch her.

Today, I ran.

In the bright sunny fall day, past middle school football teams and an elderly couple walking. And my shadow caught my eye again. Still a swishing ponytail; still expressionless and strong. Still one step ahead of me. But this time, there's another shadow.

A stroller, with a little man inside. I heard him giggling, saying "mammamabababadadada" which always brings a smile to my face.

So I took a little mental picture her--my shadow--wondering where she'll go next, if the ponytail will still swish, if that little man will be riding a tricycle next to her. Knowing, all the while, that the expressionless outline will still have strength, will still have grace, will still have hopes and dreams and will still be one step ahead, daring me to catch her.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I Heart Fall

First and foremost....major props and vibes going out to all my buddies doing IMW today! I can't believe this is my two-year Ironaversary. Wow, how time has flown...anyway, I am having so much fun tracking my buddies....GOOOOOOO guys go! You can bet I'll be glued to my computer screen tonight!

Okay, so I am feeling a bit swamped lately, but I have to say how much I love fall. It's a new start in a lot of ways--a new school year, I'm doing a new training season for a new race, and it's full of changes. This is good, but at times I feel a little overwhelmed. But my body's doing it's best to keep me going and surprising me, and the little Bug is filling up every second of free time and energy with so much joy, that I'm trying not to feel too overwhelmed with the other stuff.

There's a definite crispness to the air, and despite the hot humid stuff we had last week, at night it would cool off nicely so that you could open the windows and get the breeze. It's starting to be the kind of nights to put on a sweatshirt and make a fire--not just for fun but because you really need it to keep warm!--and watch football! And can I just say that my little Miami University Redhawks hung in pretty good against Michigan yesterday? Although, as my hubby reminded me, Michigan is definitely in a rebuilding year...BUT THE SCORE WAS GOOD SO THAT'S ALL I CARE ABOUT.

AND--Matt's alma mater, Ohio University, was beating the #3 ranked OSU Buckeyes UNTIL the 4th quarter?!?!?!?! It was super fun to watch that game! We went to a benefit for my former softball coach and Matt's former football coach, Bob Sielski. It was a lot of fun, and a special way to honor his memory. He passed away ten years ago of pancreatic cancer, and I can't believe ten years have gone by. He was an amazing person, and if anyone's interested in learning more about him or donating to the cause, you can do so here.

On the training front--had an AWESOME 16 mile run yesterday. Coach Emily said to do the first half easy, and the last half at marathon pace, so I did. Matt and the Bug joined me for the last 4 miles, which was such a nice boost! :) I'm proud to say I did the last 8 miles at just under a 9 minute pace, and felt fantabulous the whole time! I feel great today, too, which is also a good sign.

Lots of stuff going on this week, so I'll see how much I can get away with day at a time, right?

GO Brownies!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Morning Runs

I don't talk about this very much, but around this time of year it bothers me. So I will today.

I like running in the morning, but not alone. And not outside.

Which is kind of sad, because I hate running inside. I hate that I've been on my treadmill the past 2 weeks, when it's perfectly nice outside. I hate that I've been riding on my trainer, with a fan pointed on me, when it's a gorgeous morning outside. Sometimes I'll let it slip, that I've been in my basement already, when it's just September, and people ask me why. And I say because I don't want to risk a flat at o'dark thirty and be late for work. Which, is kind of true.

But that's not the real reason.

When I'm alone, anywhere, but especially in the morning for some reason, it bothers me more. I don't feel safe. Which is often silly, as I live in a very safe neighborhood. Nothing ever happens here, right? Except that's what everyone said before it happened.

A jogger found her. In the morning. Someone jogging, alone, found her. I know, it's wasn't completely a random thing. I shouldn't be worried 20 years later. She was targeted, he had contacted her before, she was only 10 and she fell for the oldest line in the book, blah, blah, blah. But for some reason, around this time of year, I remember it again, and it bothers me.

I just remember that day, the day the principal came in to tell us they found her, because her brother was in my grade--what we all sort of knew but didn't want to hear--and that it was a jogger. In the morning.

My close friends will tell you I'm skiddish alone, and in the dark. I drove a few of my friends and housemates nuts in college, constantly nagging them to lock the doors, lock the doors, all the time hearing "but nothing ever happens here...."

It's just very sad, because, well, we're going on twenty years here. And a small part of me feels like I have almost twenty years of fear that I wouldn't have had otherwise. And, of course, anger. Because she would have turned 30 later this year.

Anger that he's still out there, as far as we know.

So, unless someone wants to join me, I'll be in the basement a lot here for a while. I'll miss some great sunrises, and maybe someday I will be able to be a jogger in the morning.

But not right now.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008