Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Christie's 26.2 Story

Is it bad that as I start to type this I already have tears in my eyes? 

Thank you, Sarah, for covering the day-before details, as I already know this will be the longest post ever, and if I had to go through all of that, no one would ever stick around for the end. :)  I apologize in advance for the length.  I'm not sure if anyone else cares about all of the random details, but I never want to forget them as long as I live.

The day before the race was so much fun.  I distinctly remember driving around the city going from the airport to the expo to dinner, etc. and feeling exactly like I did the morning of my wedding.  To everyone else, I was just another person out and about on a Saturday morning.  I wished I could roll down my window and shout "I'm running a MARATHON tomorrow!!!!"  (I restrained).  I slept pretty good that night...although much too short.  It's almost impossible to get enough sleep when you have to wake up at 4:30 am.  Before I knew it, Sunday morning had arrived.  When the alarm went off, I rolled out of bed, took a quick shower, and headed downstairs for coffee and peanut butter toast with Sarah.  We had a great time talking about how stupid we were and hearing Pat's pumped-up "pre-game" speech. :) We got our race clothes on, took some photos, gathered our gear and headed out.

I have such happy memories of that drive downtown, blasting our music in the dark, wondering if everyone else on the road was doing the same thing we were.  "Tonight, tonight" by Hot Chelle Rae (a song I had never heard until the day before) had somehow become our theme song.  Maybe because of the part that said "I don't know if I'll make it, but watch how good I'll fake it." :)  We rocked out to the song with all of our early-morning might. We found parking easily downtown, took a potty break at Starbucks, prayed with Pat, and split off to our corral.  That waiting time went really fast to me.  It was all so surreal...I just couldn't believe this was it.  Sarah and I prayed one more time before they started moving our herd toward the start line.  We walked around a few blocks as we were led to the start, and when we turned a corner and saw those balloons, the butterflies were out of control.  There were thousands of people in front of us and behind us, and when we got to that line there was nothing to do but run.

I had no idea what to expect from my leg/knee.  I had run 2 miles the day before, and it had felt pretty good.  I was supposed to jog for a few miles to loosen it up, so it worked out perfectly that we had planned to start slow to reserve our energy.  Those first few miles were SO much fun.  So many people on the streets, so many bands playing music, so much excitement in the air.  I didn't even listen to my music...there was just so much else to hear and see, and I didn't want to miss a moment.  At every mile marker we bit off a piece of candy from our candy bracelets (which we had prepped the night before so they would have 27 "charms"...one for each of the 26 miles and one for the final .2).  We stayed right near the 5 hour pace marker, and beating that in the end became our ideal goal. 

When we had previously imagined how long we might be able to stay together, we had said if we could make it an hour, we'd be overjoyed.  Somewhere in mile 5 we realized that we had made it to that hour.  We could hardly believe it.  WE WERE DOING THIS!!!!  We didn't want to get too excited, as we knew at any moment I could have to stop.  Ironically, that moment came just minutes later.  My knee started to tighten, and knowing I still had over 20 miles to go, I didn't feel like it was the time to push through.  I looked at Sarah and she just knew the time had come.  We stopped running and gave each other a huge hug.  With tears in our eyes I told her to go get it...to leave it all on the pavement...that I loved her so much and that I would see her at the finish line.  Then she was off.  I watched her run ahead and continued to jog slowly behind.  I watched her pink and yellow hair ribbons get further and further away.  I was SO excited for her and SO SO SO proud.  I had no idea what the next 4+ hours would hold, but I knew I could only take it one step at a time.  Neither of us could have ever imagined the turns this race was about to take.

Somewhere a few minutes into mile 6, my knee started to loosen again.  Actually, it started to feel good.  Good as in normal!  I couldn't believe it.  I didn't want to jinx it, but I slowly started picking up the pace.  I could still see Sarah's ribbons and just kept chasing after them.  My pace got faster and faster, and it felt really, really good!  Sarah was getting closer and closer, and just before mile 7, she pulled off to the side of the road to stretch.  We were both shocked when I came up behind her!  10 minutes earlier we had this emotional goodbye moment, and here we were back together again.  Who knew how long it would last, but for this moment, we were reunited!  We stretched for a bit and got back in the race. 

Miles 7-9 are down one side of a main street, and just before mile 9 you turn around and run back down the other side.  This meant that while we were heading to that turn-around, all of those who had already been there were running right past us as they went further down the course.  Like Sarah said, I had SO much fun during this leg.  I couldn't shut up with the encouragement!  I LOVED cheering on the people on the other side, high-fiving them as they ran by, reminding them to enjoy every minute!  Every one of those 15,000 people were out there doing this thing.  They all had a story, and this was a big deal for every single one of them.  It was so cool to think about, and I couldn't help but get pumped up!! 

As we zig-zagged through downtown, I knew my friends and/or Josh and the kids had to be near, as we were about to get into a long stretch of industrial area that was less than ideal for onlookers.  Somewhere around mile 11 we turned a corner and I saw Jinger and Wendy holding their big pink sign.  They were taking pictures and video and jumped in to join us for a few blocks.  It was so much fun to see my dear friends!!!  They were such a great source of encouragement and joy!

As Sarah said, it was shortly after this that we started having exactly the opposite experiences from what we had envisioned and planned for.  Miraculously, I was feeling great.  My knee didn't hurt at all...and this was almost halfway in!  Just the thought that I had already done what both my chiropractor and orthopedic doctor said I probably wouldn't be able to do filled me with crazy adrenaline.  But poor Sarah had started to have horrible, unbearable cramping in her upper hamstring.  We frequently pulled off to the side of the road to stretch (which worked well for both of us).  I wish everyone could have seen her run through these miles.  She gave it her all.  She ran every second she could.  She channeled her inner-doula to remind herself that it might be hard but it would be worth every ounce of effort in the end.  I so clearly remember looking over at her multiple times and seeing the determination and passion in her eyes.  I could tell she was in great pain, but her eyes were fixed straight ahead, and I beamed with pride just looking at her.

As we approached the St. John bridge, I began to have some inner turmoil.  I was feeling so much better than I was ever supposed to feel.  I'm a tad bit goal oriented, and even though we couldn't see the 5 hour pacer anymore, I knew that we could still catch it if the rest of the run went great.  I wasn't supposed to have a time goal.  I was supposed to just want to finish and be proud that I did.  But I couldn't shut off my brain from imagining the possibility of beating the odds.  Here I was, on the Portland marathon course, crossing the St. John bridge, looking back at the foggy downtown skyline, running mile 17 with my best friend, and thoughts of chasing that goal were taking away the fun.  Something had to change.  I had to let this go.

I got what I wished for less than a mile later as we turned a corner and saw a significant uphill.  That was completely slanted.  The worst possible combination for an IT band injury.  I tried to zig-zag up it to help with the slanted slope, but it was too late.  The damage had been done.  Sarah's leg was starting to feel great again, and mine was all downhill from here.  Our roles had switched once again.  From then on she held back for me, walked every time I needed to, stretched every time I wanted to, and encouraged me every step of the way. 

Somewhere in mile 19 I realized I hadn't seen Josh or the kids at all yet.  I was actually feeling really disappointed about this, knowing that we only had 6 or 7 miles to go.  During one stretch of walking, I looked far up ahead and saw 2 girls holding a familiar pink sign.  I saw a man (a really good-looking one at that) and the 2 most adorable children in the world.  I consider all 5 of these people to be family, and they showed up at just the right time.  I ran toward them and scooped Noah up into my arms.  I couldn't stop hugging and kissing him or smiling at his sign that read "Go super mommy, GO!".  Josh arrived by my side with Natalie and I did the same to her.  They had never looked more beautiful to me in their lives. 

We continued on, alternating walking and running when needed.  I began to realize that my knee hurt the worst every time I moved from a walk back into a run.  For the first 2 minutes I would wince in pain.  It would then start to loosen up and I would feel OK for a little while until I would be forced to walk and the cycle would continue.  Somewhere in the early 20's, Sarah's knee started to hurt as well.  We were falling apart at the seams! :)  And for the most part, our "treatment plans" were completely off course.  She would need to walk just when my knee had started to loosen up from running.  She would be ready to run just when I was hoping I'd never have to run through the pain again.  These miles were tough.

Every time I had to stop, I felt horrible.  I knew exactly how she was feeling earlier on when she was worried she was holding me back.  And she knew exactly how I was feeling then too...that even if she could have gone ahead, she never in a million years would have.  We were in this race together.  Finishing the race was never going to be impossible for us.  We both knew we would do it, in our own way, in our own time.  Finishing the race together, side-by-side had seemed impossible, yet here we were, somewhere in mile 21 or 22, with less than an hour to go.  We were together.  We were doing the impossible.  Sarah looked at me at one point with tears in her eyes and said "Do you realize what this means?  That we might actually do this?" At first I thought she meant finish the race.  I nodded with joy.  But then I realized she meant so much more.  She hadn't wanted to say it any earlier, but at this point, we had stood by each other through all the ups and downs and unexpected twists and turns of this race.  We had cheered with the cheerleaders.  Whooped to the worship band.  High-fived our fellow runners.  Laughed at the strangers' signs.  We were just realizing the we were actually going to finish this thing...together.  Just writing about that moment brings back the tears all over again.

Somewhere not long after this, things got really fun.  The pressure of a time-goal was completely gone...and let me tell you, I needed that.  Looking back now, Sarah and I have decided there are 2 options in marathon running. You are either running with your focus on time, or running with your focus on fun.  I am so glad that when push came to shove, we chose the latter. :)  Moments from these last few miles that I remember clearly include fantasizing about a gigantic burger, fries, and milkshake (I had never been more hungry in my entire life!), wanting to kiss the strangers handing out pretzels and peanut butter crackers, telling spectators "this is so stupid..." (but with a huge smile :), stopping at the gummy bear station around mile 23 and beaming with joy as I grabbed 7 (7!!) cups of gummy bears, and the look in Sarah's eyes when she smiled and said "These are the moments we'll remember.  Now this is fun."

When we finally crossed over the Broadway Bridge back into downtown Portland, we were 2 miles from the finish line.  We were still doing a walk-run combo (much thanks to my now pretty excruciating pain, especially on hills) but the excitement was almost uncontrollable.  Somewhere in mile 25 a random guy stopped to cheer us on and said "You're almost there!!!  You only have a quarter mile to go!!"  This is when the totally surreal moments began.  I found my theme song of the day on my iPod ("Tonight, tonight") and began to blast it.  I was running down the street with both hands waving over my head, singing my heart out and putting every last ounce of energy I had into this final stretch.  As we approached a turn, there stood the big sign reading "Mile 26."  Tears immediately filled my eyes as I bit off a candy ring from my bracelet and turned the corner onto a street that was lined on both sides by strangers cheering us on.  I saw my beautiful sister Jenny to the right, video taping the moment and giving me just the encouragement I needed to get to the end.  We turned one last corner, and there, maybe 40 feet in front of us, was the long-awaited finish line. 

Words really cannot describe these last 10 seconds.  Everything around me became a blur.  All I could do was look straight ahead.  I didn't notice any people on the side of the road (including my husband and children!).  All I could see was that which was directly in front of me...those cameras, that balloon arch, that finish line.  I heard them call our names "Christie Wilson!  Sarah Green!"  We took our last strides over that line, stopped dead in our tracks, and just hugged each other, sobbing.  I could hardly breathe.  It's the weirdest feeling.  It's like you know in your head that eventually you will get to the end, but after that many hours of moving and that many miles, it seems as though it will go on forever.  Then suddenly, just like that, it's done.  Your feet are no longer moving.  People are handing you medals and space blankets and roses.  It's over.  And you take a mental picture and know it will be impressed on your mind and heart forever.  I will never, ever, ever forget that moment.  It was everything they said it would be.  It was worth every second.

The most amazing part about it all was how opposite it was from what we had imagined.  But it was so much better.  I just keep thinking about how perfectly God orchestrated the whole thing.  It was only a few days prior that we had the eye-opening realization that even though we felt like we had always done everything together, we really hadn't.  We had just been there by each other's sides through it all.  This race was such a perfect metaphor for life.  For the most part, there was always one of us going through something challenging or painful, while the other stood by to support and encourage in any way needed.  And there is no place the other would have rather been.  The only time we both felt healthy and amazing was that final stretch of pavement.  5 hours and 41 minutes later, our feet crossed that line.  And THAT experience we really, truly, and honestly had side-by-side.  WE DID IT!!!  And we did it TOGETHER!  Incredible. 

As I sit here and write, I am in so much pain.  My IT band is really, really, really mad at me (for good reason).  I was telling Josh I keep wanting to pat it like it's my race horse and say "Good job, girl." :)  It held up way longer than it ever should have, and it deserves to be babied for a while.  I'm icing and taking ibuprofen like it's going out of style, and I'm headed to the chiropractor tomorrow for what's bound to be a productive (read: painful) recovery session.  It's possible that every now and then I slip phrases into my conversations with Josh that sound something like "You know, I am in the elite 1% of the world's population now..." and "You're sleeping next to a marathoner..."  But hey, it's true.  Just like birth, this is something that no one can ever take away from us.  It's a gigantic check off my bucket list of life, and I am insanely proud.

Will I ever do this again?  I can't even imagine the thought.  Would I tell everyone to do it at some point in their life?  Absolutely.  Was it worth every ounce of training, energy, time, money, and pain?  Without a doubt.  It's the smartest stupid thing I've ever done. :)  And I will cherish this experience for the rest of my life.

26.2 Miles: Check.


My card Christie gave me the morning of the race. It was a text I sent her when I very first committed....

On our way to packet pickup!

Tough faces on the morning of!

Best cheerleaders ever!

The hugs she needed at the moment she needed them!


So proud of my man!

Loved this shirt.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sarahs 26.2 Story...

Wow. Woah. Holy Moly.

I kind of don't believe it's done! It was sort of a blur :)

We flew into Portland on Saturday at noon. Went straight to the expo and picked up our packets, shopped, soaked it all in. There were just so many people! It was crazy to think that they had all been training, struggling, sacrificing for months and months just as we had.

We headed over to Christies and managed to chill out for a little bit before it was time to head to dinner at the yummy Spaghetti Factory! Had a great dinner with Pat, Josh, and the kids and then Christie and I headed out to drive a part of the course and then go pick up her friend Wendy's Garmin that she was so fabulously letting me borrow. Had the chance to meet a couple of Christies best friends in Portland! It was so fun to meet the people I've heard all about. So thankful shes got such incredible friends!!

We got home around 8 and started to lay all our stuff out. This proved to be more involved than I thought, and by 9:30 we finally had our numbers pinned, gels and drinks set out, candy bracelets configured, nails painted, ribbons cut, electronics charged... you get the picture.
Pat and I headed to bed around 10, and I tossed and turned for hours. Seriously. I would guess I maybe got 2 hours of sleep. I just couldn't shut my brain off. So, when the alarm went off at 4:30 I was dragging. Got a cup of coffee and peanut butter toast (which later would prove to be a disastrous lack of calories) and then headed up to get dressed.

We took off at 5:30, called our third amigo, Sara in Detroit for a pep talk, and made it downtown and managed to find parking fairly easily. We walked to Starbucks to go to the bathroom and then it was time to spilt off from my hubby. He pulled Christie and I close and prayed for the 3 of us. He prayed for strength, endurance, and for this all to glorify God. The first of many inspired moments.

Christie and I found our corral and got in line for the clothing check. This is the one complaint I have for the entire race. Very disorganized. There were 3 different lines all feeding into the same, and all snaking all around the corral. We stood in line for a good 30 minutes. It was getting close to 7 (when the first group would go) and we both had to pee. So we sprinted to another corrals porta potties, cut in the long line, did our business, and headed back. Phew! Made it!

Our corral began to move and I got butterflies like none other! Set my music up and inched closer and closer to the much anticipated (and much feared) start line.

Christies Garmin wasn't set yet, so as we got closer we realized that they weren't going to be synced... oh well!

There it was. Balloons and the big red and blue mats... deep breath, push the button on my garmin, and... GO!

We were running. In our first marathon. This was it!!!

We looked at each other in a sort of funny, insane disbelief.

Our plan was to keep our pace SLOW at first. Somewhere around 12 minute miles. We didn't want to let the adrenaline make us go out too strong.

We were laughing and enjoying! We got around mile 2 and began passing runners that were in earlier corrals, and I told her we should watch for Pat. We looked for a red hat and white shirt for just a little bit and she screamed, "There he is!!!!!" He saw us as we were jumping up and down waving and screaming (and running)!

Kept running, enjoying all the spectators and their signs. The streets are literally filled with spectators. Makes Bloomsday look puny. Tons of bands playing all sorts of different music. Lots of cheer leading squads! (We may have joined in with a few...)
Some of my favorite signs were...
  • Run Bitches!
  • You're all Kenyans to me!
  • Dear Stranger, You're amazing!
  • Ride to the Finish Line- $100
  • I find runners incredibly attractive! (His phone number was on the bottom!)
  • I think you're insane!
  • I run for the Ice Cream Truck!
The spectators were everything! The next race in Spokane I'm going out to cheer on strangers!

I kept looking at Christie to see how she was doing, but she looked fine and I didn't want to bring it up :) Just about then I see a familiar face. Pats cousins wife, Jessica was there to cheer her husband on and jumped out of the crowd to hug me! I was so excited I accidentally threw my water bottle at someone! Ha! "I'm so proud of you!!!" She yells as I run away :)

Around 6 miles we realized we had been running for an hour! We were amazed that not only had it gone by super quick, but that we had been able to run together for so long. That was not something we had expected!

We hit 10 miles! I saw a friend I went to Nepal with 10 years ago in oncoming racers and was able to give her a big hug too! So many surprises! Christie was cracking me up here. Cheering for everyone and their dog. Dancing, and whooping! She was such a cheerleader I was cracking up. I tried to keep up with her jubilation, but soon began to see my energy dwindling. I mean, how many cheerleaders did these people need? :)

As we hit 12 miles we were about to head into a long stretch along industrial buildings, and I suddenly realized I had forgotten my Cliff Bar that I always run with... that was on Christies kitchen counter. I asked a random spectator if they had anything to eat and this lady pulled out peanut butter crackers. I mean who just carries those?? She was my race angel, and if it wasn't for her I don't know if I would have made it. Those peanut butter crackers got me through! Right after this we saw 2 of Christies good friends with a big sign! So fun! They ran a bit with us, and encouraged us!

The next part was my rough time. Mile 12-16. My cramps grew worse and worse. Finally it was to a point where we would make it maybe 1/4 mile before I would cramp up again and need to sit to stretch it out. I was discouraged, disappointed, and pissed off. I wasn't sure if I needed to toughen up and run through it, or stretch it out... I debated and Christie asked me if I needed her to be tough. I said, lets run to the hill. I told her I needed to blast my music and not talk. She nodded. We took off. This little, tiny stretch was what made me feel like I left it on the pavement. It hurt like hell. I just stared a the front of this car that was parked by the hill. That was my goal. I would either make it there, or my hamstring would snap and they'd have to cart me to the finish. I know I probably had an intense look of pain on my face, but Christie didn't say anything and ran with me to the base of the hill. That was a big moment :) We walked up the hill (Christie power walked, and I gripped.)

I used the porta potty at the top of the hill and in my haste to get back moving left my crucial water bottle on the side of the road. Didn't realize till half a mile down the road and by that point it was too late. Crap. Double crap.

By 18 miles Christie was starting to hurt more and more. I'll let her go into that... The hard part was that our injuries would flare up at different points. So, when I needed to stop and stretch- she needed to keep running. There were times I gutted it out, and there were times she gutted it out. This part was hard. Our goal was to enjoy every moment and to be thankful for it all. We knew it'd go by fast and that a few days later we'd be looking back, and we wanted the memories to be fun, not torture. This was not exactly fun and not exactly torture...

Christies family showed up at the absolute PERFECT time! I had tears in my eyes as I watched her hug her babies and her hubby. So, so, so what she needed! As we ran off Josh yelled, "Pat did it!!! He finished under 4 hours!!!" I got teary again. I was so proud of my man! So so proud!

At about mile 22 there's a huge HUGE downhill portion. Christie cannot do downhill so there was no question that we would walk it at this point. And that "disadvantage" turned out to be one of my favorite moments. We cracked up and joked and ENJOYED it! This was the point where we gave up doing it under 5 hours, and decided we were going to get back to having fun :)

My knee all the sudden killed. Like it did when I hurt it about a year ago. I knew it was the same thing, different knee. But, I had to finish at this point. It was at this same final downhill portion that my tummy decided it was done. Not fun. Christie wanted to dream about what we would eat and I wanted to puke or... something. It passed. THANK GOODNESS!!

We ran/walked this final few miles. Everyone around us looked miserable, and we tried to cheer them up as much as possible. All the sudden- we were back downtown! The finish is downtown!!! Eeekkk!!! About mile 24 we saw Jessica again and she ran with us for a second. Told us to take our music out for the end so we could hear everything. I asked her how her husband did and told  her thank you! Looked at Christie to see if she heard, but she was too busy rocking out :) She then made a face that I had by then learned to mean "we need to walk for a sec", so we did and this guy came out of the crowd and yelled at us :) We have our names on our bibs, so he goes, "Christie and Sarah!! Get moving!!!!!!!" Ha ha!! Soooo.... we did :)

As George Michael's 'Faith' was blaring in my ear, we rounded the corner, went a block and rounded the next one, and there it was. The thing I had not let my mind go to.


A huge balloon arch floated over the same red and blue mat we had crossed at the start. But, this time there were TONS of people hanging over the sides of the fences. Screaming. Jumping up and down. For us.

It was only Christie and I running this final block at that moment. I looked over at her and she had this smile, this look of determination on her face like I'd never seen before. She was absolutely beautiful! I looked back in front of us as the mat came closer and somehow looked into the crowd and saw my incredible husband with pride all over his face. I sprinted forward, rose my hands above my head and screamed, "I DID IT!" as I crossed the finish line. I did a happy dance for a second, and then Christie threw herself at me. We were hugging and jumping up and down and sobbing. "I'm so proud of you!" I told her. Because I was. Of both of us. We did it. Somehow.

It was so hard and impossible, and at the same time easy and fun.

We filter through and got our space blankets and enormous amounts of food. Took our pictures, got our medals and went to find our families.

I saw Pat first. I tried to run to him (ouch!) but people were in the way. I finally got a clear shot and jumped into his arms. I loved him more at that moment than I think I ever had. I knew what he had just done in an hour and a half faster than me, and I was amazed and grateful to share this with him :)
My awesome sister-in-law Jen had driven down from Seattle with my new nephew David. This was the first time I'd seen him since he became a Green :) So wonderful to get to share this with them!
We took tons of pictures, and ended up going out for dinner with Ed, Jessica and Christie. Drank some beer, ate, talked... it was incredible.

We rushed out to get our clothes from Christies, and raced to the airport to make our flight. Got home and gave our babies a big kiss.

And that was it. A whirlwind.

I don't know if I'll do this again. Not because it was hard, but because I don't think the joy, excitement, divine moments, and exhilaration could be topped.

Without a doubt one of the greatest days of my life :)

...pictures to come :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

There's a party going on tonight!

Airport pickup: Check.
Won some free socks at bib pickup: Check.
Free Samples: Check.
Lusted over funny t-shirt reading "I thought they said 'rum'": Check.
Got a hard and fast "NO" to the shirts from the hubbys: Check.
Carbo-Loading: Check.
Drove the course (OK, only the hard part): Check.
Rocked out to our race music: Check.
Got a little sappy: Check.
Painted our nails yellow: Check.
Laid out our race clothes: Check.

Stayed up too late: Check.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Giddiness Abounds

My excitement level has shot up.  BIG TIME. 

On Tuesday I saw an orthopedic doctor, who confirmed my chiropractor's diagnosis of my knee pain.

Tuesday night I hit the gym for my last attempt at figuring out a game plan for the race, and with God's grace I found one.  I started slowly, working my way up from a walk to a jog, and backed off every time I felt any questionable pain.  About 4.5 miles into it, my knee had loosened up just like the chiropractor had said.  I found a rhythm that worked for me and allowed me to progressively extend and improve my running times.  I was by no means fast, but I was running.  My pain lightened up significantly.  In fact, the last 45 minutes or so were virtually pain-free.  All in all, I ended up going 9 miles.  9 miles!!!  My longest run in over a month. It felt good.  And I now know exactly how to pace myself for race day.  My psychic Shuffle was in full effect after my run, playing 3 Jeremy Camp songs in a row, the final one being "Beyond Measure" while I was bawling with joy in the parking lot.  God used that night to teach me more about yielding control to Him and allowing Him to work miracles as a result.  That is exactly what He is doing, and I believe He is far from done.

On Wednesday I got my new shirt.  It fits perfectly!!  I cannot wait to debut it on Sunday!  And I was deeply moved and encouraged by Sarah's profound blog post.  I didn't think it was possible to be any more grateful for and blessed by her friendship.  I was wrong.

Today I had my last chiropractic appointment, and as I drove through downtown on my way back home I stared in awe at the Portland Marathon banners hung from the lamp posts.  I spoke to Spaghetti Factory to confirm our dinner reservations for Saturday night.  Sarah received the most amazing card from a past client.  And I received the most thoughtful gift of support and encouragement from my dear friend.

Sarah will be here in 36 hours.  Tomorrow is our most important night of sleep.  Saturday we will drive our race course, pick up our bibs, and lay out our clothes.  Race weekend has arrived. 

When I first began this journey, I was told I was embarking on a physical, emotional, and spiritual transformation.  I now know just how true this is, and I believe with all of my heart that Sunday is going to be life-changing in more ways than one.  This story is far from over, and I feel like these next 2 days will be the ultimate cliff-hanger.  I can't wait to see what's on the other side!

We made it, bestie.  We are really doing this!!!  I cannot wait to welcome you to the city in which you'll become a MARATHONER!  I am so glad we chose to write this new chapter in our story.  We will never forget this as long as we live.  See you in Portland!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Marathon Playlist!

So, for those of you that care- here is what I'll be shakin' my booty to during my 26.2 miler :)

SOS- Rihanna
Just Dance- Lady GaGa
Iko Iko -The Dixie Cups 
Move -MercyMe 
Stuck Like Glue - Sugarland 
Something Beautiful- Needtobreathe 
Single Ladies- Beyoncé 
Bubbly- Colbie Caillat
Getcha Hands Up- Press Play 
Poker Face- Lady GaGa 
Stronger - Mandisa
Go Tell It On the Mountain- Needtobreathe 
Glamorous- Fergie 
Hold Us Together-Matt Maher 
Up! -Shania Twain 
Let Us Love- Needtobreathe 
NY2LA- Press Play
The Sweet Escape- Gwen Stefani
Black Horse and the Cherry Tree- KT Tunstall 
Mighty to Save- Hillsong
It Happens - Sugarland 
Irreplaceable- Beyoncé 
Ready to Run- Dixie Chicks
Getcha Hands Up- Press Play 
I Wanna Do It All- Terri Clark 
The Words I Would Say -Sidewalk Prophets 
Here In This Moment - Beckah Shae 
Follow You - Leeland
In the Light - DC Talk 
Lay 'Em Down -Needtobreathe
My Redeemer Lives- Hillsong
Washed By the Water- Needtobreathe 
Kokomo - The Beach Boys 
Another One Bites the Dust - Queen
Respect - Aretha Franklin
Salvation Is Here (Live) - Hillsong
All I Want to Do - Sugarland
Oops!... I Did It Again -Britney Spears
Who Do You Love - George Thorogood
Take My Hand -Shawn McDonald 
Gone - TobyMac 
Lose My Soul -tobyMac 
Say Won't You Say- Jennifer Knapp 
Ooh Ahh - Grits 
Taken By Love - Kutless 
More than Beyone Measure      
Valleys Fill First - Caedmon's Call
Tainted Love - Soft Cell 
Dance - Caedmon's Call
100 Years- Five for Fighting 
Hollaback Girl -Gwen Stefani 
I Declare - Sammy Eubanks 
Dive -Steven Curtis Chapman 
Fool For You - Nichole Nordeman 
She Dont Love Me - Sammy Eubanks 
No One - Alicia Keys 
SexyBack- Justin Timberlake 
Bye Bye - Jo Dee Messina 
You're Gonna Miss This- Trace Adkins 
Love Is Different- Caedmon's Call 
Here's To You -Rascal Flatts 
Lookin' At You - Nichole Nordeman 
Home - Nichole Nordeman 
Kiss Me - Sixpence None The Richer
For All You've Done- Hillsong
For Who You Are - Hillsong
It Won't Be Like This for Long -Darius Rucker 
Lead Me -Sanctus Real 
Everyday (Live) - Hillsong
Slumber - Needtobreathe 
Hey Mama - Mat Kearney
Ships In the Night - Mat Kearney
Count On Me -Mat Kearney 
Sooner or Later - Mat Kearney 
Chasing the Light -Mat Kearney
Learning to Love Again - Mat Kearney 
Down - Mat Kearney 
She Got the Honey-Mat Kearney 
Young Dumb and In Love- Mat Kearney 
Rochester -Mat Kearney 
Seventeen - Mat Kearney
I Will Follow- Chris Tomlin 
Ants Marching - Dave Matthews Band 
Run the World (Girls) - Beyoncé 
Diva  Beyoncé 
Crazy In Love-Beyoncé 
On the Floor - Jennifer Lopez 
Let's Get Loud-Jennifer Lopez 
Raise Your Glass - P!nk 
Get the Party Started  P!nk
Blow  Ke$ha 
(You Drive Me) Crazy- Britney Spears 
Low - Flo Rida
Faster - Matt Nathanson 
Brighter Than the Sun -Colbie Caillait
I Am Woman- Jordin Sparks
Rolling in the Deep - ADELE
Be OK - Ingrid Michaelson  
Tonight Tonight - Hot Chelle Rae 
Party Rock Anthem- LMFAO 
Green Light- Beyoncé 
Damn Girl -Justin Timberlake 
Jumpin', Jumpin' - Destiny's Child 
Sexy and I Know It -LMFAO   
Last Friday Night
Faith - George Michael 
Hangover - Taio Cruz 
Shuffle loaded?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Deep thinking going on!

That is how I feel at this moment :)
Somewhere between uber excited and giddy (annoyingly so) and then at the same time feeling nauseous and terrified (not a good, anticipation sort of terrified. Like a train coming towards you as you're tied to the tracks kind of terrified).
The giddiness comes from the fact that it looks like Christie is going to be able to run a good portion of it!! Something that for the past month hasn't looked so possible. Also from the simple fact that what we've waited so long for is almost HERE!!
The nauseousness comes from just that... its almost HERE. Either I will or I wont. Either I'll push through it and finish strong or I'll hold back and have regrets.
That's my fear. Regrets.
We have different fears- Christies is injury and not finishing. Mine is not living up to my potential. Well, I suppose that could be hers too! :)
We talked today and I told her how I feel like I haven't pushed myself. When her and Pat got injured I sort of acted like I was too. I did my long runs and the majority of my short ones, but I wasn't injured. I know that during this race I need to remember that my breaking point is just that- mine. I need to find the balance between running part of it with my Christie and enjoying the fun that we've set out to create and acknowledging that moment where we both know when its time for me to go on ahead. I'm dreading that moment. Where I have to take a deep breath, give her the biggest hug ever, and say something sappy like, "Next time we see each other we will both be MARATHONERS!" and go on. Alone.
Just typing this brings tears to my eyes.
I don't like being alone, doing things alone, going on alone... you get the point. I'm like a parrot.
But, I think that may be what God's been teaching me through this.
I continue to pray my heart out that miracles will abound and Christie will be able to run the entire thing with me! But, I'm trying to embrace the fact that there may be that moment where she watches me run away and that if shes OK with that I need to be OK with that.
I started to write that we do everything together and we need to do this together, but that's not true.
Noah slept through the night before Will did. And we celebrated both victories at their own times. She got married years before me, I had a baby before she did... most of the monumental experiences that I always think we did together- we didn't. We just enjoyed each others victories as if they were our own.
Now I get it :)
That's what we'll do on Sunday. Whether we run the entire thing together or not. If I run ahead I'll text her when I finish and she'll cry tears of happiness and whoop for me somewhere on the course. And if I'm able I'll find her 1/2 mile out and finish with her, or maybe I'll just be on the sidelines screaming my head off and bawling as she comes across the finish line alone- because shes the strongest woman I know. Either way we've done this on our own, but somehow God's given us the ability to enjoy each others victories and share in each others hard times- so much so that only now, 13 years later, I am finally realizing that the majority of it was one at a time.
This post probably doesn't make any sense, but for me this has been huge. I can hardly see the screen because I'm crying so hard and my kids are asking me why I'm sad and if they can have a snack! Haha!
C- I love ya, chicky-tina :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Green Light and God's Might

I just had one of those "Was this written exclusively for me?!?" Bible Study moments.  Before I divulge, I've got some back-tracking to do. 

A lot has been going on behind-the scenes in the past few weeks regarding my injury.  I haven't written a word about it, much to protect my mind and heart.  At this time last week, both Sarah and I were pretty sure I was not going to be able to run at all during the marathon on Sunday (SUNDAY!!!).  It was a devastating thought.  Thankfully, things have been looking up.  Here is a recap of what's been going on:

*Tried to run 3 miles last Monday.  Stopped after only about 4 minutes as the area surrounding my knee instantly began to burn just as much as it did when I injured it, even after 3 weeks off.
*Scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic doctor to get a true diagnosis and weigh the risks
*Cancelled that appointment after getting an amazing chiropractic referral from my dear friend Nicole (follow her incredible blog here: www.mydream2run.blogspot.com).  Scheduled an appointment for this past Saturday with no idea what to expect but a lot of excitement and anticipation for what he would say and how he would fix me.
*Broke down crying to my dear friend Jinger when it finally hit me, the morning of my appointment, that he might actually tell me he can't fix me and I can't run in the race.  I felt like my fate was in his hands.
*Praised God for an AMAZING 2 hour appointment with the chiropractor (who is also an avid runner and marathoner).  He diagnosed my IT band injury, did adjustments on my hips (a big part of the real cause: they were so screwed up my injured leg was a full inch shorter than the other!), and treated my inflammation with ultrasound and electrical therapy.  He laid out a "game plan" for marathon week (including 2 more visits to his office, one of which was today).  And, above all else, he gave me the OK to run. (!!!!!!!)  He told me it would hurt.  He told me I probably would have to run half and walk half.  He told me I would limp for a few days after.  But he told me nothing would pop or explode, that my actual knee was in great condition, and I would get to that finish line one way or another.  That was all I needed to hear.

He also told me to get out there and run this week.  This morning I ran my first 3 miles.  It hurt.  Really bad.  Sometimes I had to hold my breath.  But he had warned me that this would happen and assured me that it would loosen up after 3-4 miles.  So tomorrow I plan to run 5-6 miles and see what happens.  Wednesday I plan to experiment with alternating walking and running the entire time to see if it holds up better with that approach (or gets even more inflammed every time I slow down and it has the chance).  Then I'm out of time and there's nothing left to do but stretch, ice, down ibuprofen 'round the clock, and pray!

Which brings me to my point.  Tonight I was doing my final day of this week's assignment for my women's Bible Study (from "David: Seeking a Heart Like His" by Beth Moore).  It was about the story of David and Goliath and about how God's strength is so much bigger than our own or than any of the battles we face.  The final questions had me list an obstacle I am facing (my injury), the victory God wants to give me (a race that glorifies Him), and asked if I could commit to measure my obstacle against my God and not my strength.  I boldly circled "Yes."

And then, just a few lines down, the following line jumped off the page:

"Is He not only the Lord Almighty on the page but the Lord Almighty on the pavement?"

Seriously???  Would that line even make sense to anyone else?  I don't know, but it sure made sense to me.

Sometimes I feel silly even imaging that the race or our training has any importance to God.  There are countless more important things in the world and even in my own life, I know.  But last Saturday as I was reflecting back over my appointment and how much that green light from the doctor meant to me, a thought was overwhelmingly clear.  God cares about this marathon because God knows I care about this marathon.  The desires of my heart matter deeply to Him.  He knows every hair on my head and every fiber of my IT band.  I really and truly believe He will be smiling and cheering for me whenever I finally cross that finish line on Sunday.  Or wrapping His arms around me and carrying me if for some reason I don't.  Either way, that's pretty darn amazing.

Off to pop some more pills and partake in my new favorite past-time: stalking the weekend forecast.  Good night!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dancing in the Street

Oh, iPod.  How I love thee.

Sarah's last post got me thinking about my running playlist and just how much I enjoy listening to music while I run.  It really is how I get my groove on, since frequent visits to the clubs is not really appropriate for my stage of life. :)  When I first started running, I remember googling sample playlists and song suggestions so that I could build up my repertoire.  I'm still changing it frequently, but I thought it would be fun to list my playlist for others like me who are looking for ideas and also just to have record of it years from now when my kids will know Pink only as a color.  I did a post a few months ago about some of my favorite praise and worship songs to run to, so this is my list of my current favorite booty-shakin' music.  *Disclaimer: It's typically all about the beat for me.  Sometimes I don't even know what half the lyrics mean, which is probably a good thing... :)

"Low" by Flo Rida (also known as "Apple Bottom Jeans".  Ooooooh yeah....)
"Club Can't Handle Me" by Flo Rida
"Dynamite" by Taio Cruz
"I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas
"On the Floor" by Jennifer Lopez
"Get Right" by Jennifer Lopez
"The Edge of Glory" by Lady Gaga
"Hot N Cold" by Katy Perry
"California Girls" by Katy Perry
"Love Stoned" by Justin Timberlake
"4 Minutes" by Madonna
"Hung Up" by Madonna
"Getcha Hands Up" by Press Play
"NY2LA" by Press Play
"Get Me Bodied" by Beyonce
"Womanizer" by Britney Spears
"Disturbia" by Rihanna
"Don't Stop the Music" by Rihanna
"SOS" by Rihanna
"Pon de Replay" by Rihanna
"Just Fine" by Mary J. Blige
"Give it to Me" by Timbaland/Nelly Furtado
"Stronger" by Kanye West
"Raise Your Glass" by Pink
"So What" by Pink
"Mercy" by Duffy
"Somebody to Love" by Justin Bieber
"Suddenly I See" by KT Tunstall
"Tik Tok" by Ke$ha

I also have a few totally random songs on my playlist, including some country choices ("Stuck Like Glue" by Sugarland, "Up" by Shania Twain, "All-American Girl" by Carrie Underwood...) and a slew of Michael Buble songs (my favorite of his for running is "Baby, You've Got What it Takes." LOVE!).

Just listing these songs makes me start to do a little dance.  It might be will-power that gets me out the door to run, but it's turning on my music that actually makes me go.  I can't wait to see what songs get added with Sarah's upcoming Marathon weekend playlist!!!  The beat goes on!

Oh, and one last little side note:  10 MORE DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!  Eeeeeeee!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Getting to the Details

Here's what we've been working on this week:
  • Our shirts. Let me just say they're probably the coolest shirts you've ever seen. HOWEVER, Christie ordered hers first, and apparently we ordered a teensy bit too small... So, if you love them as much as we do there may be a size Small up for sale :)
  • (Sarah) has been working on our "packet pickup" and "on our way to the race" play lists. :) :) :) Yes, its important. And yes, Pat is already dreading rolling down the street in Christie and Josh's parent-mobile to "Low" by Flo-Rida :)
  • Got some new shoes!!

Saucony Grid Cohesion 4! LOVE 'EM!

  • But, I think the main thing we've been doing this week is chilling! I have been a little lazy! I was so sore after that 22 miler that I really gave my body a break! Maybe not what a coach or running veteran would recommend, but it seemed like what my body needed!
Hope you guys have a wonderful Saturday!
OHHH!! One other detail I need is SONGS!! For our traveling play lists, and for my running play list!
Suggestions??!!?? I'd love to hear what you run to!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How I went really far without really going anywhere...

At the end of my last post, I had accepted the reality that my 22 miler was completely out-of-the-question.

However, Saturday morning I got the crazy idea that for every minute Sarah spent on the road running her 22 miles that day, I would spend a minute on the bike, elliptical, or treadmill at the gym.  I mean, we're a team after all!  Since my knee didn't hurt at all when I walked, I figured I might as well log some significant mileage, even if it wasn't actual running and even if it wasn't the full distance.

I started at 4:40 pm and sent Sarah a text saying "Let's see if I can make it until 8:40. HAhahaha!"

At 10:11 pm, I sent her a text that said "22 miles. Done."

I'm still not quite sure how it happened.  It was just like giving birth...it was like I was in some alternate universe, where time had no meaning and all I could think about was the end result.  I didn't mean to do it.  Really, I didn't.  Even thinking about going for 4 hours (the amount of time Sarah would be running) was a tiny bit of a joke.  But about 2 1/2 hours into it something inside my head clicked.  This was already an incredibly stupid and crazy idea.  I was already waaaaay outside of the realm of normal, so why not just step it up a notch?  Why not just scratch the timeline and go the distance instead?

And so I walked.  And walked.  And walked.  I watched whatever was on the gym TV almost the entire time: "50 First Dates", "Iron Chef" (Canadian lobster...the challenger actually won!), and my personal favorite, "I Faked My Own Death" (?!?!?).  I stopped once to go to the bathroom (and then to foam roll and stretch for about 20 minutes, as once I stopped my muscles immediately tried to shut down) and once to switch from the treadmill to the elliptical for my final 5 miles.  Other than that, I just kept moving.  I texted Josh at one point to tell him I had decided to go for the entire 22 miles and would be late getting home.  He responded "That is really crazy, Christie."  I replied, "Crazy stupid? Or crazy but within the realm of reason?"  "Not sure," he said. My reply: "Me either."

Regardless of the level of sanity (or lack thereof), words cannot convey what that 22 miler meant to me.  So many times throughout our training, I've pictured the moment I finish that 22 mile run.  It's the ultimate climax in marathon training.  The "now I KNOW I can do it" moment.  And up until Saturday evening, I didn't think I was going to have that moment.  It made me feel so far removed from the race.  Honestly, taking away the chance to have that moment was like taking away the heart of training.  I didn't realize just how important it was to me until I began my last 5 miles on the elliptical.  It was the first time I turned on my iPod, and the music coupled with the adrenaline of knowing I was in the final stretch (and that I was actually going to do this!) gave me a 2nd wind like I couldn't believe.  Multiple times I got teary eyed.  It took everything in me to resist the urge to jump off and do a little dance on the gym floor.  I told my husband to pop open some champagne.  I was about to accomplish something ridiculous, and by gosh I was going to celebrate.

Today is the 6 month anniversary of my "real" running.  While I had run a few scattered miles last winter, March 20th was the day I logged my first 3 miles on my Half Marathon training program.  Here I am, on September 20th, looking back in awe wondering how in the world I got here.  It's such a great reminder of my favorite running mantra: "If you do it, it will come."  I am not some star athlete.  I was not born to do this.  I have not been doing it my whole life.  I did not use to do it, took some time off, and decided to start up again.  I started from scratch, struggling with every step, hating the thought of running but loving the idea of being a runner.  I just continued to put one foot in front of the other, and here I am, 2.5 weeks out from running a marathon.  I never, ever, e v e r  thought I'd be here.  Yet somehow, here I am.  It blows my mind.  And as I told Sarah this afternoon, if nothing else, it makes for a really good Christmas letter. :)

From here on out, nothing really matters.  Yes, we are supposed to still run 4x a week.  Yes, we are supposed to do an "easy" 12 miler next weekend.  But neither of us really cares.  We just ran (or power-walked :) 22 miles.  We have officially trained for a marathon.  We did it!  We did it!  We really, really did it!!  Helloooooo, taper.  We've been expecting you. :)

Toasting while waiting for my ice bath to fill up :).  Cheers!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

21 or 22 Miler Recap :)

I think my Garmin may have had an aneurysm because I mapped my run and drove it and both said it was 22 miles. But alas when I went to log my run this morning it says 21!!! I couldn't see for the last 4ish miles last night and didn't care enough to look once I got inside- all I could think was 'ice bath, ice bath, ice bath!'
But, pretty sure it doesn't really matter.
Becauseeeee.....(drum roll...).....(pause for effect....)... I DID IT!!!
I did it. I DID it! I did it?
My original plan was to run Saturday morning. But, Friday afternoon I got this headache that felt...weird. Took Tylenol, but it didn't do anything (which is unusual for me.) I called my doctor and he said it sounded like a migraine! (WHAT!!??) Told me this nice cocktail of drugs to take and said it should be gone by morning. Right...
I woke up at 3am to the worst pain I've ever felt in my life. I tried to get up to get more drugs, and I must have made some distressing sound because Pat was up immediately. Somehow he knew it was bad, prayed for me, got me a washcloth and while I was crying and felt like my head was literally exploding he held me. At some point in the night he told me there was no way I was running in the morning, and I knew he was right. I wasn't even sure it'd be gone by the morning. Finally the drugs kicked in and I fell asleep. Woke up in the morning and still had it a little bit. I was so frustrated! I had mentally prepared to do this last big run!
At some point in the later morning I made the decision to go for it that afternoon. I just wanted to be done!
I set out at 3pm. I had to plant my Nuun bottles all over the place. I'm planning on running the marathon without my water belt so I wanted to do this big run without it as well.
Got back home and got the dog leashed up, said a quick prayer, sent a text out that said something to the effect of 'if I survive this it will ONLY be because of Him who gives me strength!' and off I went!
The plan was to run the first 2 hours with my trusty road dog, Bogey. He can do 10-11 miles, but that's the most we ever take him. Its such a mental thing for me to have him. So we set out. Not too bad! I alternated listening to music and not. I was feeling GOOD! I had my directions written down (did I mention 54 TURNS!) So, there were a few neighborhoods up here I had to have it out- the turns were confusing!) Then about mile 5 I had to go to the bathroom. Bad. Son of a... Thankfully some wonderful construction site had a porta potty set up!!! Looked around to make sure the neighbors weren't watching and Bogey and I ducked it! Bogey was confused and didn't like it :) But, I felt a million times better!
Kept on trucking and a few miles later I saw in the distance this dog in the middle of the road. Cars were having to stop for him. We get closer and he sees us and I see his hackles rise and he heads towards us. And of course, my pepper spray is in the cupboard at home. I picked up a handful of gravel and chucked it at him. Nothing. Kept growling and stalking towards us. Bogey isn't a tough dog, so he was curling around my legs. Cool, Bogey. So, then I grabbed a big rock and chucked it at him. I missed, of course. But, that stopped him. I got my toughest, meanest, loudest voice and told him to get. And THANK GOD he did. Went into a yard and the guy came out and called him and I yelled at the guy that his dog almost attacked us, and we were on our merry way.
Right around halfway Pat and the kids met me to pick up Bogey the scaredy cat. They brought me a Nutri-Grain Bar and water. I downed it, gave my babies kisses and went back out. Solo. Just a woman and her thoughts... and a car honking and screaming... Oh, they were looping back by me :)
OK, now it was 'put  your big girl pants on' time!
Got to 13.1 and had a little 'Woop Woop' celebration time :)
At around 14 miles the course got very hilly. I decided to walk up the steep ones and use that to take my ShockBloks. On one of these hills an old man on a bike passed me and it just pissed me off... not enough to run up the thing, but pissed me off none the less.
At 17 miles I had The 5 course to hit. Its an almost 1 mile downhill (in gravel) and then ridiculous hills. The downhill was not smart. I don't know what I was thinking! It was so unstable, and bumpy and I kept tweaking my ankle! Got to the uphill part to walk and walking up it was hard. I called Christie for a little encouragement. She was putting her time in on the treadmill, so we talked and joked and got me to the top.

This was it. The end. I had to finish strong and leave it on the pavement, as Christie had said. I didn't want to have regret or an excuse when it came marathon time. So I pushed. The last mile I was sailing. I don't know how fast because I couldn't see my garmin but I know it was around a 9 min mile if not faster. I rounded the corner to my house and got tears in my eyes. The end. I sprinted and hit the finish and stopped my garmin, and shook my head. The end. I finished. I was strong.
I still don't believe I did it. Maybe it was a dream, or I made it up?
But, you know what? I really did. My body hurts enough this morning that I know it wasn't a dream.
I'm a runner. I'm tough. I finished something. I am stronger than I thought.
I saw my shadow a couple times in the streetlight and I saw two shadows. At first it scared me and I thought someone was behind me. Don't really know what it was but in my heart I pretended it was the One I had prayed to through the whole thing. The One I knew had been with me through every step. The One who has been with me through it all :)
God is so good. I couldn't love Him more. He fills my cup and makes my life have meaning. I couldn't have gotten through this training without His strength and endurance!
On to TAPER!!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reality Bites

I have a list of peppy, fun blog posts I've been wanting to do but keep putting off for one reason or another.  I was going to do one of them today, but instead it looks like I've been fed a large serving of reality for lunch.  So that's what I'm going to dish up here as well!

I've only run twice since my 18 miler (during which I hurt my knee around mile 8 or 9 and walked from mile 13 on).  The first time was last Friday and really doesn't even count, as I honestly went 0.1 miles (less than 60 seconds).  Although my knee doesn't hurt at all when I walk or do normal activity, the second I started to run it killed.  So I stopped immediately and decided to give it more time.  This week I wanted to try for 1 measly 3 mile run.  Endurance-wise I felt awesome, which was such a relief!  But 1.5 miles into the run, my knee was burning and tightening up.  After texting with Sarah (yes, we do this while running :) to see if I should stop or continue, she encouraged me to push through to 2 miles and then reevaluate.  I'm so glad I did, as by then it had started to loosen up a bit and was feeling a little bit better (though definitely not normal).  By mile 3 it was super tight again, but I finished it and was really glad I did, as it showed me that I didn't die (and come Marathon day, that's what really matters, right? :).

I stretched, foam-rolled and iced that night, and the next morning (yesterday) it was definitely sore.  Today it feels better again, where I can't even tell I'm injured just by walking around and doing my normal day-to-day stuff.  I've been really wanting to still do my 22 miler this weekend, thinking after 2 weeks off (with the exception of that one 3 mile run) I should be good to go.  Right?!?

This morning I had a playdate with a friend of mine who ran the Portland Marathon 5 years ago.  She told me that she, too, injured her knee during her 18 mile training run and ended up having to walk the entire marathon.  She said she felt totally normal when she walked, and that she tried to run a few times after her 18 miler, but every time she did it ended up feeling worse than before.  It all sounded a bit too familiar to me.  And snapped me right back to reality.  There's a chance that I might not be able to run the race.  And it's an absolute certainty that I won't be running my 22 miler this weekend.

Based on my oh-so-scientific Google searches, I'm going back and forth between "Runner's Knee" and an IT band injury as the culprit.  Either way, recovery time (if treated early on) is between 3-6 weeks.  I injured it 5 weeks prior to race day.  So even if I didn't run another mile between now and October 9th, I still might not be fully healed.

Time to take it one day at a time and trust in the Lord to pull me through.  During today's pep talk with Sarah (or I should say my early afternoon pep talk, since I've been needing so many lately) she reminded me of 2 things: 1) Although freakishly similar at this point, my friend's story is not my story, and 2) We know God has a plan for this training and race and that He wants to use it for His glory. 

Reality might bite, but thankfully, I believe in modern day miracles. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"It is a shame for a woman to grow old without ever seeing the strength and beauty of which her body is capable." -Socrates

I've found a bunch of inspirational quotes that I'm LOVING :)
Thought I'd share...
  • "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." Neale Donald Walsch
  • "Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated."
  • "Suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret."
  • "It never gets easier. You just get better."
  • "A year from now you will wish you started today."
So thankful for the people in my life who have pushed me through this and made me run when I didn't want to. I'm finishing strong!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hebrews 12:1-2

Sarah and I seem to be on hiatus again. :)  It's possible that we skipped all of our "short" runs this week.  We were scheduled to run two 5 milers and one 9 miler.  So a total of 19 miles.  And we did exactly 0 of them.  She did her 18 mile run on Monday, so she needed days off to recover.  I have been allowing my knee to heal after hurting it on my 18 miler run last Saturday.  So it wasn't exactly due to laziness.  But I admit that after I got hurt last weekend, one of the first thoughts to go through my head was how excited I was to have to miss out on some weekday runs. :)

Last week my dear friend, Jinger, (who inspired me toward and ran with me during the Half Marathon in June) told me that during her marathon training a few years back, it was right around 5-6 weeks pre-race day that she experienced burnout.  This comforted me so much because I realized that was exactly where Sarah and I were.  I know that as we approach our final few weeks of training (only 4 more to go!!!!), we will get our 2nd wind and bursts of nervous anticipation and excitement.  But these past few weeks, I've definitely been feeling a bit over it all.

This morning during my quiet time I came across a "Good Luck" card Jinger had given me the day before our Half Marathon.  In it she referenced a verse I know and love, Hebrews 12:1b-2.  The part I know by heart says "Run with endurance the race set before you..."  I turned to it in my Bible to re-read the entire passage.  Here is what it says:

"Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of God."

WOW.  How could I have missed all that?!  What an amazing reminder of what Jesus did for us.  He set His sights on God's incredible plan of redemption and love and endured death by crucifixion because of it.  And even though He had moments where He would have preferred a different route (Matthew 26: 36-46), He kept His eyes on the "finish line" and completed the ultimate test of endurance, faith, and love all in the name of the joy that would come in the end.

Good grief, I think I can roll myself out of bed, look to Jesus, and run 2 miles this morning.  I feel a revival coming on. :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

This whole marathon thing is losing its novelty.

Patience is not my thing. I like things that are:
  • New.
  • Exciting.
  • Immediately gratifying
...18 miles is none of those things.
Luckily, I've just recently decided to become a trooper. :)
This run was kind of scary for me. Christie hurt her knee on her 18 miles, and my husband came home from his 20 miler with a bum knee, too. I posted this video on my facebook page as I headed out for my own (seemingly) doomed run.
This is how I felt as I was strapping on my water belt, pepper spray, ipod, garmin & copious snacks/gels.
Off I went.
It wasn't bad for the first 6ish miles. Same old. I was doing a new route so that's always nice (See above) :)
Once I got around 6 miles though my right hamstring began to cramp. I've had tons of issues with cramping during this whole training. I usually just stop for a sec and stretch and its OK. Tried this a few times and was realizing it just wasn't cutting it. I called Hubs at one point to see if he had any ideas. He gave me a couple stretches to try... as I looped back to my car I decided to dump my water belt and just keep my water bottle with Nuun. (First time running with Nuun and I LOVED it!!) I took a good 5 minutes at my car to stretch and felt a little better heading out again. But, as I got to around 13 miles I was having to stop ever half mile or so and stretch. I was also walking for short periods, but soon saw that not only did that not help the cramping it was just making my run take longer :)
It was at this divine time that Christie called :) I was a little worried that I was pulling my hamstring. I had no idea what that meant though, so I asked her what she thought. Josh was there and they've both pulled their hamstrings and said it was a sudden pain from a specific movement. That I was in no danger of that  :) This made all the difference! I knew I could just push through it if there was little chance of making things worse. It was just this huge fear that I was making something worse. So, I hung up with them, called upon my new trooper self, and spent the next 5 miles praying my heart out :) I can say without a shadow of a doubt if it wasn't for Christ picking each foot up for me there's no way I could have finished this run!
I was discouraged when I got home. Even cried to the hubs. What if this is what my body does during long runs?? I cant stop every mile of the marathon to stretch!! I just felt like even though I finished the run I didn't do as well as I wanted to.
This is new for me. Is this being a competitor? In the past I never would have cared that I walked for a bit. (In all honesty it was probably 3/4 mile total I walked, but still...) or that I had to stop over and over, but now... it kind of makes me mad! I want to do better.
I finished in 3 hours 19 min, which means I was at a 10:56 pace. BUT, I stopped my watch every time I stopped to stretch. :) Kinda cheated :) I think you could add on a good 20 min to that time for all the stretching on the side of the road I did. Oy.
But, we're done with 18 miles. Wow.
When I drove through Starbucks on my way home the little kid (he was probably 20. Good land, what an old woman I sound like!) in the drive through asked me what I was up to. I said, "Just got done running." And he said, "How far?" "18 miles," I say. "Pish! Child's play." Says the kid.
And I laughed the whole way home. Because if I had said 8 miles he would have said, "WOW! That's far!" But, its like 18 miles is so far out of the realm of understanding for someone whose never done it. It sounds far, but you have no idea just how far and how long until your feet gone each and every step.
It's kind of cool to be on this side. :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

I'm too excited to sleep!

Today is my day to sleep in.  It's one of the big reasons I decided to run on Saturday morning, even though there were multiple signs telling me to stay home.  But now that it's here, I just can't sleep!  I'm too excited for Sarah, who is out there right this second doing her 18 miler!!!!  I just KNOW she is going to rock it!!!!  Oh, oh, I feel a cheer coming on... if I had my old pom poms right now they'd totally be up in the air...

Go Sarah go, Go Sarah go, Go Sarah, Go Sarah, GO SARAH GO!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Whole New Meaning to "Finish Strong"

What a day, what a day, what a day...

As Sarah said in her previous post, I did my 18 miler today.  I don't think I need to explain just how crazy that is.  1  8   m  i  l  e  s.  Enough said.

Before I get into the details of this morning's run, I need to backtrack and describe my week.  I ran Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and the nicest way I can say this is that running and I did not get along.  At all.  My slowest paces EVER, and I cut out short on 2 out of 3 runs.  After my Thursday run, I sent Sarah a text that said something along the lines of "I hate my Garmin.  I hate the music on my ipod.  I hate my routes.  I hate running!!"  Like I said, I was a real peach this week. ;)  She called me within seconds, and after letting me whine and complain, she worked her magic and had me cracking up about I don't even know what in no time.  I hung up feeling such an overwhelming appreciation for her...a feeling I've had countless times!  Sarah Jean Green...no one could ever compare to you!  I am so, so blessed!

I didn't officially decide to do my long run this morning until pretty late last night.  I mapped out my (ridiculous) route, plugged in my ipod and my Garmin, set out my clothes, and went to bed.  I woke up at 5:40, wrote my route on my hand (the list had 2 full columns this time!), got my gear, and headed to my starting point.  Once there, I strapped on my water belt, turned on my Garmin, and set across the first street.  Then I noticed my ipod was dead.  WHAT?!  My computer must have been in a weird sleep mode or something when I plugged it in.  Whatever the case, it had nothing.  I stood on the sidewalk contemplating what to do.  I thought about running without music.  But I knew I would die having nothing to listen to for 3+ hours.  I thought about skipping it and going Monday instead.  But I had gone to bed early, missing out on an in-home movie night with my hubby, and had already missed the chance to sleep in.  I didn't want that to be for nothing.  So I decided to head home and plug in my ipod...again...for a quick 30 minute charge.

Finally got back to my starting point just before 7:30.  Once again, I strapped on my water belt, turned on my ipod (now working), and started up my Garmin.  Immediately it started blinking at me: "Low Battery."  I STILL don't understand this one, as when I plugged it in last night, I watched as it said "Charging" and saw the little battery icon filling up over and over again.  Maybe these things were signs that I should have headed home and rested for a few more days after my crappy weekday runs, but if so, I didn't listen.

As I started to run, I was amazed at how great I felt.  Sarah had given me so much encouraging advice that morning as I was waiting for my ipod to charge.  One of my favorites was when she said not to think about all of my training as being just for the marathon, but to remember that all of my training got me HERE.  To the day of the 18 mile run.  That thought was eye-opening to me.  As I ran my first mile (9:24), I remembered the first time I ran a full mile straight and what an accomplishment it was.  When I hit mile 3 (9:01), I remembered my first full 3 mile run, and all the pride I felt as I came home and told Josh that I did it!  My Garmin lasted me 6 full miles before dying, and my average pace for the entire 6 miles was 9:17.  My fastest 6 mile run ever.  I felt incredible, and I was SO excited to see how it would end up!

All was good until about mile 8.  After my Thursday run, I had complained to Sarah that my body was hurting for the first time since my foot injury in July.  My shins and knees were mad at me, and I didn't know why.  We talked about how running such a slower pace the past 3 days could have thrown off my muscles, as I had been literally dragging my feet, running with completely different form than my body is used to.  At about mile 8.5 this morning, my left knee started to ache.  It certainly wasn't unbearable, but it was annoying.  I really didn't think much of it, and I continued on my way.  My mile 11, I was walking quite a bit and stopping to stretch for extended periods of time.  My mile 13, I decided that I absolutely could not run another step.  It didn't hurt to walk, but one stride of running and I would wince in pain.  It was KILLING me.  It felt like my entire knee was on fire.  Although I wanted so badly to run this whole thing, especially given my strong start, I knew that I was bordering injury that would put me out for good, and there is no way I was going to let an 18 mile training run rob me of the joy I will feel when I cross that 26.2 mile finish line.

I thought about calling Josh to come pick me up.  But I remember Sarah telling me to "finish strong," so I did.  I walked every single step of my course from there on out.  Yes, I made one wrong turn and actually accidentally shortened my run by about .4 miles, but after 3 hours and 40 minutes of moving, I finished what I started.  And I did it with pride.  When I texted Sarah to tell her I was out for this run, I told her that I wasn't upset about it.  And I really and truly wasn't.  I was happy.  So happy.  And so, so proud.  I had trained so hard to get to this point.  It was a gorgeous Saturday morning, and I was walking down the beautiful streets of Lake Oswego with the sun shining down on me and a perfect breeze.  I felt like a "real" runner because I now had the wisdom to know that "strong" can mean different things at different times.  Some days it means giving it your all no matter what comes your way.  Other days it means bowing out of something that could have been good in anticipation of something so much greater.  I may never remember today's run.  But I will always remember finishing my first marathon.  It gives me goosebumps just to think about it!

I never would have made it through today's 17.54 mile "run" if it wasn't for Sarah.  Thank you, bestie, for giving me the encouragement I needed to lace up my shoes this morning, and the inspiration I needed to keep them tied until I finished the whole darn thing.  I cannot wait to cheer you on Monday morning as you rock that run for the both of us!  I love you so much!!

Go, C, GO!!!

As I'm sitting here on my couch with my cup of coffee and KILLER cramps, Christie is out running her 18 miler with a dead Garmin and an about dead Ipod!! Tough girlie! So proud of you, woman! When you first tried to sell this insanity to me this day was the day I couldn't imagine... when we'd be heading out for 3 hours and 15 min of running!!! We are here! I'm praying for you right now- praying for strength, encouragement, enjoyment, and that God would make time go so fast for you :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

I think I can, I think I can...

I am always daunted by these long runs.
This is what I've done to get ready for this weeks longer-than-FOREVER run:
  1. Ipod shift-a-roo. Took all my slowish worship/love songs and added a lot of booty shakin', lots of partying and sin talking kind of music. I'm telling myself I'm not listening to the words. In all honesty I'm not because I cant understand them... but, the beat makes my feet move faster. Which is always nice.
  2. I'm going to try putting Nuun in my water bottle. Its electrolyte replacement, and I'm hoping it'll help with... something. :) It probably tastes like that stuff they give you when you have to do your pregnancy glucose test, but if you tell me it'll make the run better- bottoms up!
  3. I've slacked. I cut out one of my short runs... I've been tired. PMS is definitely to blame, so I'd rather give my body a little rest than push it... who wants to be an overachiever, right??
  4. Encouraged Christie. I think we both play off each others B.S. la-tee-da encouragement :) It works for us. :)
  5. Once again reminded myself to take it one week at a time. Enjoy the moment... I mean, when else in my life am I going to be trying to map out an 18 mile course??
This will be my mantra tomorrow morning :)

Hope you crazy kids have a wonderful, fun filled, safe Labor Day Weekend!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wardrobe Planning...

I think we've found out shirts!!! :) :) :)

So excited to debut them on race day... if I don't wear it before. They're super cute, and hopefully functional (because let's face it- function is secondary.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yesterday's Texts

Christie @ 8:27 am: "Happy 1 day late anniversary!!!!!  How was it?"
Sarah @ 8:29 am: "And 2 days late happy bday to miss n!!!  Fun anni!  How was the party?"
Christie @ 8:30 am: "So fun!  Sooo tired though!  And didn't run a single mile!  Eek!"
Sarah @ 8:31 am: "Me either!  Lol!  Drank A LOT of booze!"
Christie @ 8:33 am: "Lol!!  I love it!  I could only be doing this with you!!!"

I love you bestie!!!  Way to rock it this morning! 

Good break!

Like Christie said- we kinda went on hiatus. We both had so much going on this weekend, and all those things were more important than running.
On Friday I had an awesome birth. I knew it was going to mess with my training, but boy was it worth it. Getting to experience birth, for me, is getting to see God in a way I never have before. It touches my heart, reminds me of Grace, Strength, and the Holy Spirit. I remember at one point watching this exhausted mommy while I told her, "Just a little longer!! You're almost there, and I know you can do it!" (Just typing it now brings tears to my eyes.) And I thought, when I get to this point in the marathon where I don't think I can do it a second longer, where I'm certain the end will never come, and I was crazy to even try this- I'm going to remember that mommy. The look in her eyes when she would say in a quiet whisper, "I can do this." And I'm going to practice what I preach, dig deep, and find the strength. Because if I believe it of her, I have to believe it of me.
After the birth we went up to the lake to celebrate our anniversary :)
We had an amazing weekend full of sun, a wonderful surprise, and huckleberry mojitos (I don't know what it is with me and Huckleberry mixed drinks!!)
Soo... come this morning when my alarm went off and I felt like sleeping in I knew after taking the weekend off- it was make it or break it time!
Started out and it was surprisingly cool outside! My 4 mile loop is an easy run one way, and a hard run the other. Guess which way I almost always go. Imagine my delight when I realize that I'd been daydreaming and was going (gasp!) the hard way. My legs felt really fresh though, and I was maintaining a solid 9:40ish pace. Which is pretty good for me. I tried to keep only fast songs on the shuffle. Pat ran with my shuffle this weekend and couldn't believe how slow all my songs were. He thought that may have something to do with my pace issues (p.c. for "slow"). I think he was right! (Damn!) It was a beautiful run, killed the massive hill, only beat my dog twice when he cut me off because a few of the 2 million Quail up where we live may have been in the bush next to me.
Felt great to finish strong and according to Daily Mile it was my fastest run EVER! Woot woot!
So, the weekend off was worth it. Got to see what perseverance looks like first hand, saw another chapter open for someone I love, and celebrated 6 years of ups, downs and marathon training with my husband :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

This Week's Recap (and a Really Good Lesson)

It appears that we took a bit of a blogging hiatus.  Kinda like the running hiatus we seem to be taking this weekend.  More on that later...

I had 2 days off from running following my 15 mile run last Saturday, yet when Tuesday rolled around I still wasn't quite feeling it.  I set out on my short run for the week...a "measly" 4 miles.  I could tell right off the bat it wasn't going to go well.  Apparently wine and Nestle drumstick(s) night the evening before any run is not the best idea.  My legs felt like lead, and I honestly did not enjoy a single step.  I turned back early, walked a LOT, and ended my run at 3.3 miles.  My pace was the worst I've ever run since I've been documenting it.  It was just not fun.

Thankfully, Sarah was there to save me.  During a conversation with her later that day, she told me the BEST quote.  She said that expecting every run to go well is like trying to have the highs without the lows.  This totally spoke to me in so many ways!  I think this is true in all aspects of life.  You can't see the view from the top without working through the valleys and hills.  You can't have a thriving and secure marriage without having proven to yourselves that you can make it through the storms.  You can't fully grasp just how divine a full night's sleep is unless you've been up every hour for months on end with your newborn.  You can't appreciate vacation until you've been working long or hard enough to see how different it is from the day-to-day grind.  And you can't understand the freedom and joy of feeling like you are flying during a run if you haven't experienced the feeling of not being able to drag your feet a single step further. 

Wednesday I was scheduled to do an 8 mile run.  Overall, it was amazing!  It was reaaalllly hot, and crazy hilly.  At one point I hit a ginormous hill (I swear it was almost a mile long) and walked nearly the entire way.  Then I kind of scared myself when I started running again.  I could instantly tell I was going really fast.  And that it felt really good.  I checked my Garmin (yes, I finally got one!!!  More on that in a future post :), and for a full 1.5 miles I was sailing at sub-9 minute miles (and often sub-8.3) Um, what?!?!  I am a solid 10 minute mile runner.  On a great day I'll float into the upper 9's, but that is rare.  Running that fast, and feeling like I was in my sweet spot, was  c  r  a  z  y !!  I may never do it again, but for those 12 minutes, I was floating on air!  And I appreciated it all the more having survived my 3.3 mile crawl the day before.

I took Thursday off, really just because I was lazy. :)  We are supposed to be doing 16/17 miles this weekend, but I've been having the hardest time figuring out when to fit it in.  Tomorrow is my daughter's 2nd birthday (and party).  My husband's parents are already here, and my parents fly in tomorrow morning.  Even if I left at 5 am, I wouldn't be back in time to greet my daughter when she woke up on her birthday, make her a pancake breakfast, and spend every minute focused on her.  I made a promise at the very start of my training that if it ever got in the way of my family, I would quit on the spot.  I couldn't figure out a way to balance it all with the events of this weekend, so I called Sarah for moral support.  She said she had already decided to take the weekend off (or do a shorter run), as she just finished a birth and was headed to her family's lake cabin for her anniversary weekend.  I was instantly relieved of any guilt, and we reminded each other that we were doing just fine and would pick up where we left off.  Just one more reason she truly is my sole sister. :)

I'm going to try to get in a good run Sunday...maybe even the 12-miler we are scheduled to do next weekend.  But with family in town, and pizza and cake for dinner tomorrow, 5 miles or so is looking more realistic.  I'm just excited to wake up tomorrow and enjoy every minute of the day with my family and friends.  The roads will still be there on Sunday.  And I know I'll enjoy my run all the more.