Thursday, October 31, 2019

Marine Corps Marathon Weekend Recap!

I'm not even sure where to begin this report. This race has been in the works for me for over 11 years now...5 years before I even knew what the Marine Corps Marathon was. I had incredibly high hopes for this race from the moment I signed up. I won't re-hash the "jacket story" if you haven't heard it by have likely had me on snooze for the past six months. But, I will go back to early in the year, when my friend Suzanne sent me a link to the fund raising team sign up for the National Down Syndrome Society. Suzanne has two amazing kids who both have Down Syndrome, and she has been advocating and running on behalf of the organization for many years. When she found out about my dream of running MCM, she offered me the "in" to bypass the lottery and register for the race by running for #TeamNDSS with a charity bib. Knowing that I "had" to do this race, a guaranteed entry was a no-brainer. Little did I know how much more I was going to get out of being part of something so much bigger than myself. So, I'll start my recap by thanking Suzanne for bringing meaning beyond a jacket to this journey.
I also won't start this recap by boring you with stories about my ankle've heard it all...walking boot, MRI, six weeks of no running, blah, blah, blah. It sucked. I was scared I wouldn't be able to race. I rehabbed, whined a lot, built back up slowly...things many of you have also done during marathon training. It wasn't really that special. But, as I started to build mileage, my runs got stronger, I was running faster than I thought I could after being off for so long. I started to think, "Hey, maybe this marathon won't just be a 'finish it" kind of race anymore. Maybe, just maybe I can still eek out a PR". It was exciting to think that maybe I could run fast, maybe I was going to be trained just right to make magic happen. I went into race weekend excited, nervous, and hopeful...what if...what if?!?
I will get to some of the parts of the weekend that weren't so fun, but let me say that sharing this trip with Jennifer Gillen Sprain was the best part. My running friends are vitally important to my day-to-day well being...but being able to share something this epic with one of them will be a memory to last a lifetime! We headed to the airport Friday afternoon, after a quick "Oh my god I have too much energy to contain myself" shake out run. Our flight was full, but scheduled to depart on time. We settled in a few rows apart and contemplated our movie choices (mine was Book Smart, and I think Jen opted for something she downloaded). About 10 minutes into our flight the captain came on to tell us we would be hitting some "weather" and that we should expect the ride to be a little bumpy for the next 20 minutes. Pretty much immediately the turbulence started, and about 5 minutes later, the captain was back on telling the flight attendants to sit down and buckle up. What came next was literally the worst 40 minutes I have ever spent on a plane. The turbulence was so bad that there were several times I seriously contemplated turning on my phone and calling Bill to say good bye. I was trying to get myself to breathe and focus on the movie, but there were others around me crying and clearly freaking out too. I happened to be in the row facing one of the flight attendant's jump seats, so I told myself "If she starts to look panicked, call Bill". She thankfully stayed pretty much cool as a cucumber the whole time, although SHE kept texting someone on HER phone...probably stuff like "can you believe how much these passengers are freaking out, geesh it's just a little turbulence!" to the other flight attendants. Things finally smoothed out with about 30 minutes to go, so I got my $145 cup of club soda and pack of almonds. You'd think after that they'd at least throw in a free pack of cookies or something. Anyway, we landed, and several of us shared stories of our harrowing experience. I even got a high five from someone when I said to Jen that I was going to kiss the ground. Book Smart was least what I can remember seeing of it in between bouts of praying and trying not to cry.
We took the metro to a stop near our condo, it was so easy. As we walked the five blocks from the stop to our street, we happened upon the "Modern Liquors" store and decided that whisky gingers were definitely on the menu after that flight. We got to the condo about 8pm, dropped our bags and googled the nearest restaurant. We found a cute place called Lincoln that was almost completely I assumed the food would be terrible or the drinks would be outrageous...thankfully neither were true. We both got ginger-ale based cocktails and an order of deviled eggs that inexplicably only came with three halves (where did the other half go?) and soon met up with two of our house mates for the weekend, Rachel and Julie, along with a couple of their friends. After lively conversations and delicious gnocchi, it was time to head back to the condo to meet our third house mate, Kimberly, and get some sleep!
Saturday morning we had intended to do a quick shake out run on the Mall...but on Friday night we decided sleeping in a bit sounded better. So we headed out to the Expo around 9:30. Suzanne generously offered to pick us up and drive to the expo which was in Maryland of all places! (Okay, it's not like Maryland is far just sounds funny that it was in a different state).
The place was busy and I got very excited to see the banner welcoming us. If you didn't know this, race expos are my FAVORITE THING EVER! Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but I think I could probably live in a race expo and really not miss the outside world. The MCM expo did not disappoint. We walked right up to the bib pick up which was manned entirely with uniformed Marines. I mean, I know this race is put on by the Marine Corps, I guess I just didn't realize they would be doing everything. Next stop was to pick up our race shirts...the infamous "mock". Last year there was much controversy over how hideous the mock-turtleneck top was...but this year, it was lovely (somewhat making up for how hideous the weather was). We tooled around the expo for awhile, I bought many things I didn't need and then we headed to brunch, where I ate many things I didn't need.

Gator's jury is still out on me!
From there we went to Suzanne's house to kill time until our manicures (we also watched the Badgers get killed by the Buckeyes, sorry Jen). A little before 3:00, Sara showed up (she was spending the night at Suzanne's) and we went off to get festive race manicures in Arlington. Suzanne again picked us up to take us to the #TeamNDSS fundraiser dinner. I was so excited to meet the rest of the team, especially Michelle Ray who was such a fountain of information and an amazing support leading up to the race. Dinner was lovely as was the company. With some final hugs and a lot of "Good luck tomorrow!"s, Suzanne dropped Jen and I off at the metro station and we headed back to the condo to get ready for the big day.
We awoke Sunday morning to the sound of rain. Not the "pitter patter" of rain, not a light drizzle, no...this was a steady stream of significant water. Now, we knew it was going to rain, we'd been weather stalking for a week and the percentages only went up as the days went on...but it was still a little disheartening to hear how much was coming down. One of my Ragnar teammates, Dana was also in town, staying just a few blocks from us, so she joined us at our condo to have some company getting to the race. We decided to take an Uber to Rosslyn, which was going to put us a ways away from the start area, but near a hotel with indoor plumbing. My jury is still out on whether or not this was the best way to go...the metro would have gotten us closer to bag drop, but I did hear from several people that they didn't have enough time based on when the trains started. Regardless, this did leave us with was a very wet slog to get from our drop off point to the bag drop.

We had tied plastic baggies around our feet to try to keep them as dry as possible, but about 15 minutes into our walk, my left baggy was full of water. I pulled it off and trudged along. We finally started to see some semblance of the race, and after about 20 minutes of walking we hit the security lines. We went through a bag check which was thankfully quick as I didn't want all my after-race dry stuff to get soaked. Then we started the next leg of the journey...finding the bag drop. It was really coming down now, and my right shoe baggy had to go. My poncho hood would not stay up. so I pulled out the throw-away umbrella I packed and opened it up. We had been walking so far now that I was afraid we had missed the bag drop, but thankfully we finally found it after about 50 minutes of walking in the rain. I asked Jen to check her watch for how far we had gone from drop off to bag drop...2.9 miles. Three miles of walking in the rain, only 26.2 to go. Dana, Jen and I got our bags dropped and headed back to the start area to get in the porta-potty lines.
I have never been in a race with this many people...I would say about 50% of them were in the porta-potty lines, and the other 50% were just peeing out in the open. Because of the rain we knew we weren't going to have the flag brought in via parachute like normal, but all of a sudden, someone was singing the national anthem....we still had a half dozen people in front of us in line. I was really looking forward to hearing the Howitzer fire to signal the start...I was now pretty sure I would be on the toilet when it happened. I finally got in there and did my business, and got out just in time to hear the faint "boom" that meant the wheelers where on their way. We hustled back to the start area to try to catch up with the rest of our group. The start area is on a divided highway, so we jumped the median to get on the left hand side which was moving much more quickly. We spotted Sara's Target poncho and she and Suzanne came over to meet us, only for us to be corralled back over to the other side since we were in the "fast" runner lane. I dropped my poncho and my throw-away jacket before we passed under the starting arch. It was raining cats and dogs but it was also humid as I knew starting to run with all that on was going to be a disaster. Before we knew it, we passed under the banner and were on our way!
As relentless at the rain was prior to the start, it actually stopped raining shortly after we got going. I gave Jen a high five and said "We're going to run a marathon today!". We noticed an unofficial pace group in front of us with a sign that said "11s" on it. We both looked at our watches and noticed we were running at an 11:00 per mile pace. Suzanne had taken off, Sara and Dana had fallen a bit back, so Jen and I just settled in figuring this was a good place to be. We hit a hill right at the the beginning and slowed down a bit to tackle it, getting right back into our 11-groove on the downhill. We stayed here for the first 6-miles and that idea of a PR started to creep back into my thinking. It was drizzling/raining on and off, but with the heat, it actually was feeling good at this point. Then around the 10K mark, Jen asked for a walk break. Her heart rate was really high thanks to the heat and we walked a bit to get it back down. I didn't mind walking...we were on a bridge and the break was nice. We started back up with Jen telling me if I was feeling good I should take off. I really didn't want to leave her, but I also recognized that letting her feel however she needed to feel was important, so I put my head down and tried to get into a zone. We kept eyes on each other for another couple miles, but around mile 8 the rain started to come down in sheets, blowing sideways, and I decided that it was time to just focus on putting one foot in front of the other. My pace continued to hover around the 11:00-11:30 mark, but at this point I could start to feel the blisters on my feet taking shape. I for sure had one on the arch of my left foot and another under my left big toenail. There was blister pain on my right foot too, like I had a blister on the top of each of my toes. The rain was still hammering us and avoiding running in ankle deep puddles was useless.
My ankle had been feeling fine, but now, after 12 miles of slipping around in wet shoes, I could start feeling twinges of pain there too. I was starting to mentally prepare myself for the Wear Blue Mile (google it, it's amazing) when I heard "Linda!" Now, I had my name on my shirt (thanks Carrie) so I had been hearing my name here and there all morning, but this one was familiar. It was Rachel. I really hadn't expected to see her knowing she was going for a 4:30, but like most of us out there that day, she was also not having a great race. I had to chuckle when she said "I'm so glad I found you, I need someone new to bitch to!" We entered the Wear Blue mile together.
I knew what was coming, but between the giant river running down the middle of the road, the bodies packed so tightly in the chute, and not being able to look up lest I get rain in my eyes, I didn't get to really appreciate the pictures of the fallen service men and women as I would have liked. It wasn't until we were through the pictures and got the the families with the flags that I got chocked up. I mean, there were people out on the course cheering us in this miserable weather the whole way, but this was something really special. As we came out of that I finally admitted out loud that I was not going to PR today. Looking at my watch at that point I would have had to hold 11's for the whole second half of the race and between the pain in my toes and my uncertain ankle, that just wasn't going to be possible. I told Rachel that I would still maybe try for a sub-5 hours, but at the very least I should be able to do a sub-5:30. We hit a water stop after that, and I lost Rachel in shuffle. There were just so many people on the course the whole time. I'm guessing it seemed more congested since everyone was avoiding the sides of the streets lest they step in calf-deep water.
It was finally around mile 14 that I had to give in to the walking. So much walking. Everyone was walking...I honestly have never seen so much walking, and a lot of it was hobbling. We were all miserable. Being rained on for over half a marathon is no fun. I was doing my best to enjoy some of the sights I was passing, monuments, cool buildings, but I really was just telling myself "one foot in front of the other". I thought about getting into a pattern of intervals. Run five minutes, walk one minute. That worked for a bit, but then one minute turned into two, turned into, oh hell, just walk. By mile 18 the rain had stopped and the sky started to clear. Now, you might be thinking "yay!" but, you'd be wrong. Clearing skies after rain means only one thing...humidity that will curl your already blistered toes.
Some spectators called out "Smile, the sun is coming out!" I wanted to yell back "Bring back the rain, it's too f@#$&ing hot!". I kept on with my inconsistent intervals when I finally heard the drums indicating I had made it to the bridge of the infamous "beat the bridge" lore. There is a very strict time cut off to make it over the bridge. I looked down at my watch...a little over four hours passed since I started. I was at mile 20. I knew the sub 5 was out of the picture...but I felt like if I really pushed I could at least pull out a sub 5:30. My new plan was to run to each mile marker then walk two minutes. I held this plan for the next few miles, even though my run pace was really barely faster than my walk pace. At mile 22 the sun really started to blaze and I was a sweaty mess, but I smiled and sped up a bit as I passed the team NDSS cheer zone. They were streaming live on Facebook and I was going to be damned if I didn't look cheerful! As I approached the mile 23 marker, I was really looking forward to my walk break, but it was then that I saw the one and only Katherine Switzer standing right in front of me. I stood a little taller and held out my hand for a high five. I grasped her hand and said "Thank you so much for being out here!" she squeezed it back and said "You are doing great, keep going!". At that moment, I thought I could fly. Unfortunately, a Katherine Switzer pep talk only lasts about three minutes when you are in the pain cave and I took my walk break just past the mile marker. I got one more small burst when I finally saw Jen on the final out and back of the race. My biggest fear was that she was off course, but I knew in my heart she would keep fighting. I shouted "I love you! Keep going, you are going to do this!" intending it as much for her benefit as for my own. I kept running to the mile 24 water stop. I gulped down two glasses and filled the small bottle I had with me. When I started up again, I noticed a man running in front of me...a man with two prosthetic legs. Now, I had run alongside a few other runners with prosthetics earlier in the race, but here was a guy who had been through everything I had been through today, only he went through it without his legs. I started choking up and I said to myself, "as long as he is running, I am running". So, I started to run...again, my pace might have been slower than turtle walking through molasses, but it was running. I got to the 25 mile mark and remembered my "intervals", but at that point a Marine on the side of the road yelled "You have one mile left, go, go go!" So I went, went, went. The crowds were crazy at this point...over five hours into this race and these folks were cheering us like we were about to beat Kipchoge! I had long before given up on looking at my watch. I had been about a half mile ahead of the mile markers all race, so I didn't want to rely on it to tell me how far I had left, and I certainly didn't want to know my pace. but I looked down just for a quick glance to see that it read "26" for my miles. I knew I was close. I also knew I had one hell of an uphill to get to the finish line. I had since lost my prosthetic-clad beacon but there was no way I wasn't running this out. We passed under the huge blow up banner that said "Beat Yesterday" and I charged up that hill. My legs actually had a little juice left in them. I was looking for the big red finish arch I had seen in the pictures, but before I knew it a Marine shouted at me "M'am, you're done!"
I looked down and sure enough, there were the double timing mats. I was a little disappointed at how anti-climactic the finish was, until I found out that the arch had deflated earlier in the race due to the power generator getting flooded with water!
I followed the herd to the medal corrals where the Marines were waiting to congratulate us. I got my medal and snapped a selfie (I had a REALLY cute Marine!) and stumbled on to the muddy mess of a hill to try to figure out where the med-tent ankle needed ice stat! I heard another "Linda" shouted at me and looked up to find Michelle and many of the other members of Team NDSS waiting for the rest of us. It was so great to get hugs and congratulations from these folks...we had all been through hell together today. I finally hobbled over to the medics who wrapped a big bag of ice around my ankle and headed back to the team to find Suzanne and Jen. Even though none of us had the races we had hoped for that day, we all finished and that was a victory itself.
The sun was shining (it was 80-derees for crying out out!) so we headed for the exit and the food. I was started to feel a little nauseous, so I kept putting my head between my legs. We got water and bananas, then a big box of food before heading out to find Rachel, Kim and Julie. Rachel and Kim also struggled but Julie...the rockstar...ran her first 50K and kicked it's ass.I can't wait to see what she will do when she does an ultra in good weather! We sat and ate for a bit, rehashing the worst parts of the day with each other. Finally, we decided it was time to muster the strength to go the beer tent before it was all gone. We barely had to wait before we all said "cheers" with our mediocre, but cold beer cups...and I'm telling you, that was the best tasting beer I've ever had!
After a bit more hobbling, we got our gear bags and found an Uber to take us back to our condo. I will spare you the story of how much silent screaming there was in the shower due to having both rain-chafed and sun-burned skin, but after getting into dry clothes for the first time in about 8 hours I was so ready to relax with some cheesy pizza and not so cheesy conversation with friends. Bed time came early, by 8pm I could barely keep my eyes open any more. So we packed up and drifted off. An early flight back home meant we were up and out of the house before everyone else, but I left knowing I had made new sole sisters for life. So, the moral of this story can have the worst race you've ever run but still manage to have the best time you've ever had at a race.
Part of the conversation after the race was that I was done with marathons. Now that I sit here three days later, I realized that is some BS! This was the only "bucket list" race I've ever had, and even though I earned my jacket...I want a do over. So, it might not be next year, or even the year after that. But I'll be back for you MCM...I still have something to prove. Oorah!
The jacket that started it all!

An upgrade for 2019!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Midweek Motivation: Limits

Sunday I had an amazing victory. I ran 10 miles. For those of you who know me, you know I've run 10 miles before...a lot of times in fact. Heck, I've run 13.1 miles a lot of times. I've run 20 miles a handful of times, I've even run 26.2 miles a couple times...but on Sunday, 10 miles seemed like an unreachable goal to me. Every year I eagerly await Goldy's Run 10-miler. It's my favorite race of the season, mostly because I have a huge crush on Goldy Gopher, but it's also a run around "my hood" on streets and hills I have the pleasure of running frequently. It's always my first race of the season. It's a tough course, but I can't contain my excitement when I get to that starting line. Except for this year. This year I was not ready. I was not trained, I didn't feel prepared. I had placed an arbitrary limit on myself...I hadn't run more than 7 miles in the 10-weeks leading up to the race, I had barely run 10 miles TOTAL in the two-weeks leading up to the race. I hadn't run double digits since DECEMBER! There was no way I could run 10 miles today. But, there I was, wearing ridiculous gold pants, jumping up and down at the start line trying to convince myself it was going to happen. I stared out easy, hanging with Carla who was pacing the 10:30 group...a pace that was a good minute slower than I had run last year. I felt good those first couple miles, but there was still this little voice in the back of my head saying "you'll never make it past mile 7".
By the middle of mile three I had lost myself in thought, I was thinking about how I felt, I was thinking about how nice and warm my crazy pants were, I was thinking about work, family, and the cute skirt the woman in front of me was wearing (and where I could buy one). Before I knew it, Carla was no where to be found and I was running a 9:40 pace. I admonished myself, "Are you crazy? You can't keep this pace up and think you're going to finish!" There was another arbitrary limit. I slowed down a bit, but we were going downhill, so I said "screw it" and sped back legs felt strong, my breathing was even, and I was flying by people who kept telling me how much they loved my pants...who was I to deny the runners in front of me a view of those sweet, sweet leggings? Before I knew it I had passed the turn around and was nearing mile marker 7...that was it, that was all I had in me, right? Nope. Good bye mile 7, hello hills! If you've run Goldy's before, you know that I most certainly didn't keep up my sub-10 pace during miles 7-9, but I didn't stop, I ran those freaking hills like I had trained for them. I encouraged a few others who I saw struggling...been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I crested that last, ridiculously steep hill that someone thought was a good idea to have at the end of mile 8 and I mile to go...I was going to finish, and I was going to finish strong. Because what are limits but arbitrary numbers we assign to things we are scared of? They are preconceived stopping points we put in front of ourselves to give us an excuse to give up. Limits have nothing to do with our abilities, and everything to do with our failures. Limits are meant to be pushed, to be crushed, and then to be reset a little higher, so we can continue to defeat them on the road to our true potential.
I'm not going to lie...I was spent when I crossed the finish line. (That is the last time I line up for a 10-mile race with no training!) But if you aren't exhausted by surpassing your limits, then you haven't set them high enough. What ever that arbitrary, preconceived number you have put on yourself is, go out there and destroy it. You've got this...I believe in you!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Hot Mamas

26.2.0...Training Week Two

I don't know that I have a whole lot of of super-exciting stuff to report about this week of races, no crazy stories, no face plants on the sidewalk...just a lot of running with some cool ladies in the heat of the summer.

Monday I woke up thinking "You know, I don't think I ran enough hills this weekend, so I should totally get up and do hill repeats at 6am!" Okay, yeah...that's totally not what I was was more like "Why in the hell am I getting up at 5am to run hills after that race on Saturday!?!?" Well, getting to run with Lisa and Hanna is a strong motivator, so I rolled out of bed and met them at Island Lake Park to tackle four miles of ups and downs. It was already pretty steamy at 6am so we started right in on the ups. The hill we chose was about a 100 foot climb, maybe covering a half mile. The first one felt good, the second one felt great, the third one felt like someone had tied lead weights to my ankles and was actively pushing against me as I was other words...pretty sucky. We took an extended downhill after that and called it a day. I know I need to get many more hill workouts in before Ragnar in August (where we will basically run UP the state of Minnesota), and then for the hills of Summit at the end of the marathon.

Since I did Tuesday's run on Monday, I decided to take Monday's rest day on Tuesday...even though I was supposed to swim. I don't have a good excuse for not swimming, other than I just really wanted to sleep in on Tuesday....sometimes (okay, MOST times) sleeping in > swimming. Wednesday it was time for a meet up with my morning mamas...we did our usual 4 mile loop and said goodbye to Gina and Terri who had to hurry off to work, then Carla, Lisa and I took off for two more miles since we all had six on our training plans. It was a great morning and we kept it conversational, but also tried to push the pace a little. I love how just the addition of a few running friends can make the miles seem so effortless. Since today was Global Running Day, I had also planned a "Running 101" meet up with my MRTT group to do an easy three mile run/walk that evening. So after work I suited up and got Kayley to swim practice...we were meeting at the middle school parking lot so we could hit the trails around Turtle Lake. My friend Megan, who I've known since she was a baby, and who's daughter just started swimming with our club, was in the pool in what looked like her running gear, so I invited her along. Megan started running around the same time I did and we've been at some of the same races, but we've never run together. It was great to finally be hitting the streets with her. We also met up with Jacquie and Faith, who was pushing BOTH her sons in a jogging stroller....I was planning to push Logan in our stroller that night since it would have been frowned upon to just leave him alone at the pool, and I made sure everyone knew how much work that was going to be! Seeing Faith and her double stroller shut me up right fast...she is one strong mama! We had a great run even though it was sweltering hot! Megan and I said goodbye to Jacquie and Faith in the parking lot and headed back into the pool....yeah, not much relief there! I had planned to go over to the lake with Logan after the run and Megan offered to drive Kayley over after practice, so I went in to tell her to leave with Megan. Of course when we got to the lake, Logan was no longer interested in we just hung out to wait for Megan and Kayley. I'm looking forward to running with her again soon!
Celebrating Global Running Day with the best ladies around!
Thursday should have been a cross training day, or a strength day, or anything but a not doing nothing day...but that's exactly what I did...nothing. I was wiped out! In the past two weeks I literally have only slept past 5am on TWO I slept in, and love/hated every moment of it. Friday we were back up early for our regular meet up at Turtle Lake school. We pushed the pace a bit today and it felt good to go a little faster. I was a little worried about being speedy today since I knew I was planning to try to do my long run on Saturday with some fast ladies...but my foot held up okay and I had a pretty low key day at work, so I took it in stride.

Long run Saturday....9 miles on the plan. I had no worries about the distance, but I really didn't want to run them solo. Hanna had posted in the group about getting together for 9 miles but wanted to hold a 9:30-9:45 pace...which is much faster than I've been taking my long runs lately, but the desire not to be alone won out over the desire not to puke from running too fast and I decided to join her, Faith, Carla and Wendy for a run at the Coon Rapids Dam. Carla and I carpooled since I have an annual pass for the county parks (you should totally get one $25 for the year and it gets you into all Ramsey, Anoka and Washington County parks). We got lost (I was navigating, so...of course we did) and finally found the other ladies about 6:10. I stopped off in the porta potty....which was RANK! Ugh...not what I needed to experience when I was already feeling pukey....blergh. We decided to just head out and back on the trails since I wasn't sure I could hold pace...and I didn't want to get lost if I ended up behind...also, my plan technically called for "8-10" miles today, so I figured if I was totally dying at mile 4 I could just turn back and wait for everyone to catch up with me. We started out quick, right around a 9 minute/mile pace. We were trying to keep each other in check pace-wise, but then we'd get chatty and all of a sudden there we were, running 8:50 again! As the "slowest" runner in the group I should have been more on top of this, but I was there to push myself, so I decided to just go with the flow. We settled into a grove and the next few miles felt great. We took turns at the lead and made easy conversation. Did I mention that Faith had her stroller again?!? I mean, she only had ONE kid this you know, it was way easier ;)...she continued to kick my butt...impressive and inspiring! We decided to keep going after the four mile mark...4.5 would be our turn around. We took a quick water break before heading back....did I also fail to mention that it was H.O.T!!! Holy had my hydration belt on and was tempted to pour some water over my head, but was afraid of wasting that liquid gold! We got going again and quickly realized we were ahead of heart was racing and I told everyone I needed to slow down. Wendy and Carla pulled ahead a bit and I hung back with Hanna and Faith. Wendy, who was coming off a 50K and will be doing Grandma's Marathon this weekend decided to fall back with me and we discovered we both have swimmers in the family! It was great to get to know her and she was good with taking a quick walk break with me as I tried to calm my heart rate a bit. She kept telling me "you've got this!" I had to smile as I am usually the one shouting out was great to have that reciprocated! We took one more quick break as Faith tied her shoe laces and much to my delight I noticed we only had a little more than a mile left. I knew we were going to stop for a selfie on the bridge, so I just tried to put my head down and leg it out for a mile. The heat was getting worse, so when we hit the bridge and felt the spray from the dam on our skin it was heaven! We stopped for some pics, but Max, Faith's son decide he was OVER this run and started crying. We picked it back up for the short trip to the parking area. I had to make a loop around to get my GPS to register 9 miles (I ended up with only 8.9...but I'm counting it). Long run #2 was in the books and I had done it....a 9:38 average fastest long run in a long time! I know I wouldn't have come close to keeping that pace on my own...never underestimate the power of having badass mother runners by your side!

On to week three...and more sweltering heat on the! I have my last scheduled pacing gig next weekend...after plan is to stick to the plan....but we all know how that can go :)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Not going to plan...

26.2.0...Training Week One
Well, I've already screwed up my training plan. It's printed in black and white, right in front of me...Week One, Day one...REST.

Eh, an easy 10 miler around the lakes in Minneapolis > Rest.

So yes, I ran 10 miles on day one of marathon training, then I rested on Tuesday, no wait, I didn't rest on Tuesday I swam on Tuesday. Did rest on Wednesday? Nope, four miles with Gina that day....Thursday, I rested on THURSDAY! Okay, it's all good...I got a rest day in. I promise, after June 17th (the last race I have signed up to pace) I will get back on the plan. Friday I did an easy three miler with Jacquie so I could have fresh-ish legs for my pacing gig on Saturday. I also dropped the ball on the three days of strength training I was supposed to do...I really need to force myself to get back on that wagon...I can tell that I have lost a lot of glute and hip strength and it's affecting my recovery. I need to get it back before the long runs settle in to my routine!

Check out these hot, we were literally really hot!
Back to Saturday...I was signed up to pace the 11:00/mile group for Lola's Lake Waconia 10-miler. I was supposed to do this one last year but had to bail at the last minute due to a family commitment. I knew it was supposed to be a hilly course, but at 11-minute miles, I wasn't too worried about it. I was looking forward to some new scenery and seeing the MN Run Series crew, who always put on a great show. As the week went on, the mercury went up. My weather app consistently told me it was going to be in the mid-70's early Saturday morning...which got me worrying. I do not do well in the heat...I don't do well in the cold either, but I think the heat is worse...I mean I can always put extra clothes on, but generally it's frowned upon to run a race in the buff while minions throw ice cubes on yeah, not looking forward to running in the 70+ range. I had to be up at zero-dark-thirty since it's about an hour drive from my house to Waconia. The race started at 7:20 and I had to be there early to check in. As is par for my race-morning course, I for some reason woke up at 4:15, about a half an hour before my alarm was supposed to go off. However, I realized this was a good thing when I picked up my was there wouldn't have been an alarm to rouse me at 4:45. My charging connection has been going bad for awhile, I guess this is my excuse to buy a new phone! Anyway, I struggled out of bed and stumbled down stairs to feed the cat so she wouldn't start screeching at me and wake the rest of the house. I decided since I was up so early and wouldn't be running for three more hours, that I'd make myself breakfast. Two eggs and some almond butter toast later I was ready to gear up and head out. I had southbound 35W all to myself, which those of you who live in the Twin Cities metropolitan area kind of like seeing a Unicorn sliding down a was magical! I made it to Waconia in less than an hour. I found a parking spot about a block from the start line, I parked strategically so I could get out easily after the race since I had to head straight the pool. There were already a ton of people around, so I followed a crowd over to check in and grab my bib and sign. There were no lines for the porta potties (again...magical!) so I snuck in to one, did my business and headed back to see if anyone familiar was hanging around. I found Kirk, the race announcer...we talked about dogs for a bit. He knew about Sully since we used to be neighbors...he asked if we were ready for a new dog yet...I said I wasn't, but everyone else was. He offered to connect me with the breeder they got their lab, Goldy, from...I know the kids are desperate for a puppy, but I really want to get a rescue, so we'll see what happens. After that I chatted with Kristina, a pacer I have seen at a few other races but never really talked to...she is awesome! She pretty much eats marathons for breakfast and has done Ironman Wisconsin three times. We chatted about me doing an Ironman someday (right now my sights are set on Louisville 2021). Then we ran into Aubree, which for me, signals that I am in the right place...I'm not sure I've been to a half marathon that she is not at :) Another pacer friend Taya breezed in at that point, a bit frantic about the porta potty line...but Kristina told her to use "pacer privilege" and cut...we're pretty sure she didn't though and by the time she made it back to us we needed to head to the start corral. Well...I did anyway, they were both pacing the half marathon today and I was (thankfully) only pacing the 10-mile (three less miles of hills!)

Aubree knocks off half marathon #40, she shouldn't look so surprised!

I was the last pacer for the 10-mile, so I moved to the back of the corral...right next to the lovely hill we would be climbing at the end of the race. I gave everyone a quick pep talk...told them to make sure to drink plenty at each stop, even if they didn't feel thirsty. Told them that conditions were going to be tough and to be sure to take it easy on themselves out sense in pushing for a PR and getting heat exhaustion. I told them we would be running up many "mounds of opportunity" today and they needed to feel proud that they got out of bed to run 10-miles before most people even thought about waking up. Right before we started, I heard someone say "Oh, it IS you!" It was Leslie, a mom of one of the swimmers from Kayley's team. I knew she was a runner, but we hadn't ever been at a race together. We chatted for a bit and she told me she was doing Grandma's Half Marathon in a couple weeks so she was just out here to take it easy today. She picked a hell of a day and a hell of a race for taking it easy! Finally we were was only 7:20am, but I felt like I had been up for hours...oh yeah, I had been up for hours. Anyway, we headed out of the park and right onto some grassy trails and a long decent towards the lake. This wasn't so bad, soft trails, a nice breeze, beautiful lake view...okay, let's settle in. Our magical luck lasted for the first mile or so and then we turned a corner and....BAM big hill. I called out to my group and told then to lean into it, keep their steps short and power through. We did and were rewarded with a tiny stretch of down hill, a small patch of flat and then...BAM big hill #2. This pattern would keep up for the next eight and a half miles.
No, that is not an EKG...that is the race elevation!
As if the hills weren't bad enough, our "nice little breeze" had turned into a full on headwind...which could have been refreshing if it wasn't so stinking hot! I was doing my best to stay positive for my group, but man, I was huffing and puffing up those hills the same as everyone else. I tried to celebrate when we'd hit the top of each one, but no one in my group seemed too keen on celebrating...I think we just all wanted to be done. I chatted on and off with Leslie until about mile 7...we hit a pretty big climb and I lost a lot of my group at that point...hell, I almost threw in the towel at that point. But I plugged along and tried to shout encouragements to each person I ran by. I started to get passed by the fast half marathoners at this point...which I tried to be inspired, rather than discouraged by. I was trudging up the second to the last hill when the 1:40-finish pacer passed me...he called out a "Good job pacer" as he lithely strode by me, looking fresh as a daisy...I might have cursed him under my breath...but managed to barely eek out a "Yeah, you too" as I watched him zoom off. We had finally come up to the 12 mile marker and I ran up to a woman that had been playing leap frog with me all day, she said "That was the last hill, right?!" To which I had to reply "No, sorry, we have one more"...her shoulders dropped a bit so I said, "It's a tiny baby hill compared to everything else today". This was a total lie, but I had to pull something out of my hat! I then started to come up on a woman who's running skirt I had been admiring all day. When she saw my sign she said "Oh shit. I don't want to see you!" I smiled and said, "I won't take that personally, and besides, I'm about a minute ahead". She sped up a bit and for the rest of the race she fought valiantly to hold me off....I'm happy to say she succeeded. I finally crested that last hill and turned the two corners that would bring me to the finish line. I have to be very careful when I'm pacing to not go crazy and sprint at this point, so I looked around and started yelling "Come on, beat the pacer" to everyone who was around me. I got a few incredulous stares, but a few also kicked it in and beat me to the end. Kirk called my name and told the crowd that I had come in just 10 seconds under my pace (official results had me 20 seconds under...but he was close enough). Man, I'm not sure I have ever been so glad to be done with a race. I got my medal and immediately found some water (and the Old Dutch and Salted Nut Rolls that are staples of the MN Run Series events). I went back to the finish line to wait for Leslie, she came in about five minutes after me with a big smile on her face. Everyone who finished that day deserved a big smile...I've now paced a race on a rainy, 45-degree day and a windy, 80-degree day...and I honestly think I'd take cold and rain over heat, hills and headwinds any day!
Yeah, I earned that bad boy today!
After I chatted with Leslie for a bit I ran through the sprinkler that had been set up in the park (magical) and hit the porta potty. I got to my car and thankfully managed to get out of town without using my GPS (dead phone ya know). I made it to the pool just in time to see Kayley's first individual race of the day, and managed to charge my phone enough on the way to get a text from Bill with a picture of a smiling Logan wearing the medal he earned at his race that morning...a fun run at Turtle Lake was an athletic day in the McKee family...and I couldn't be prouder of all of us!
I'm gonna make him a runner yet!

I don't get many chances just to be a swim mom, I like this view!

Okay, week one is in the week...I attempt to only go off plan a day or two instead of the whole week :)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

26 Point 2.0

Me at mile 21 of Grandma's Marathon in 2015: "Oh dear lord, what the hell am I doing. This is the worst thing I've ever done. Just make it stop. I'm never running ever again!"

Me at the finish line of Grandma's Marathon in 2015: "Oh man, I can't believe I just ran 26.2 miles! That was the most amazing thing I've ever done! I wonder which marathon I should do next!"

I started this blog a little over two years ago as a way to document training for my first (and at the time...only) marathon. While I haven't kept up posting here like I had hoped to, I am planning to start anew as I begin training for what I'm calling "26.2.0", the Twin Cities Marathon this October.

So, what have I been up to since I last posted (in...December...maybe?)? Well, there was buying a new house, fixing up said-house, a little travelling, a lot of mom-ing, and of course plenty of running. I ran all winter long with the help of my running group. Thank goodness for motivation was at an all time low from January-March as we remodeled our new felt like those projects were never going to end. The accountability of the group was the only thing that got me out of the door some days! These women have listened to me vent, offered sage advice, commiserated, understood, held my hand, laughed with me and allowed me to laugh with them. Running has done much to change my life, but none more so than introducing me to some of the most amazing women on the planet!
Snow, rain, sun and sub-zero, these women are my rocks!
I managed to get in some really fun races this spring too, so here's a short recap of those:

April 9: Goldy's Run 10-Miler
This is traditionally my first race of the year. It was my first EVER race three years ago when I did the 5K and marveled at all the folks wearing 10-Mile bibs. I thought to myself, "I'm never going to be able to run 10 miles!" But, here I was at the start line of my third Goldy's 10-miler! I had no goal for the day other than to enjoy the run and the gorgeous weather we were blessed with (last year it was 27-degrees at the start). I had a meet up planned with my MRTT group before the start and we had a ton of ladies show up. It's so much fun to have that kind of energy surrounding you before the start of the race, I was really excited at the turn out!
That's a bunch of good looking BAMRs!
It was already really warm at the start...the first Goldy's Run I've started without a throw-away jacket. My friend Sara was pacing the 10:30 per mile group so I decided I would stick with her for the first 8-9 miles and see how I was feeling.
Ready to rock and roll (and sweat, and climb lots of hills!) 
This would be my longest run since our New Year's Eve 16-miler, so I wasn't sure where my endurance was. After a pep talk from new Gopher Football coach PJ Flek (Row the Boat!) we were off down University Avenue. I really can't tell you enough how much I love this course, I run this area all the time and it just feels so familiar and fun to share the route with a few thousand of my closest friends. It got hot quickly and I was rethinking my famous Goldy Gopher knee-high socks by mile three. Sara and I chatted and checked in with the runners around us, it was a big group, some first timers, but many who knew the course and what we were looking at in terms of climbing. We said good bye to a few relay participants in the group as we passed the exchange at mile 5 and settled in for a nice section of flat for the next few miles. I was sweating up a storm by the time we hit the "big one"...Ed Sciences hill. This is my favorite spot on campus for hill repeats, but not one I enjoy climbing after running in the sun for 8 miles! Nevertheless, we plowed on and at the top I told Sara I would see her at the finish line as I wanted to see what my legs had left. To my surprise, it was more than I expected! I took off and clocked my last mile at 9:17...not too shabby! We met up with some of our pacer friends at the finish and headed for the food line...Old Dutch Potato Chips and Salted Nut Rolls....HEAVEN!
Um...why am I the only one who looks a hot mess?
April 15: Hot Chocolate 15K
I was excited to get to the start line for my first pacing gig of the season. However, when I woke up Saturday morning, that excitement turned to dread as I realized that we were in for some serious rain and possibly serious storms today. If I hadn't been pacing, I likely would have crawled back under my covers...but duty calls and I was up and as "at 'em" as I was going to get. We had a car pool planned, so I waited for Tom, Carla, and Aubree to join me at my house...we had to be at the pacer meet up at 7am (a full two hours before the start for some crazy reason) so we hit the road at 6:15. It was drizzly, but not too dark, so we tried to stay optimistic. When we arrived at the race site we found some street parking that we hoped was legal (the "helpful" police officer sitting in his dry car just shrugged when I asked him if it was okay to park there). We found the Pacer banner sticking out of the side of the bag drop tent, so we asked the volunteers if we could wait inside the tent to stay warm and they obliged. 7:00 came and went and we didn't see any other pacers coming our way. Finally Sara texted me asking where we were...I explained our location and she said we were supposed to meet at the Pavilion....why that made more sense than meeting at the PACER banner was beyond me, but we left our warm dry tent and ventured over to get our signs and shirts. After we checked in I told everyone I was headed back to the bag check tent....and soon it was a pacer party in there.
Dark and cloudy...but we're ready!

We reluctantly left the tent to head to the start corral. At this race there are two corrals, the "preferred", where I was pacing the 11:30 per mile group with folks who had included a predicted finish time when they registered, and the "open" corral, where everyone else was starting. In the past, the preferred corral started about 20 minutes before the open corral...the preferred pace groups start at 7:30 per mile and end with me at 11:30. The open pace groups start at 9:30 and go to 15:00 per mile. However, because of the weather, the race organizers decided that both corrals were going to start pretty much together, with just a couple minutes head start for the preferred corral. Which meant that within the first few minutes of the race, some pretty speedy runners were looking at my "11:30" sign with much confusion on their faces. One guy even said to me "Whoa, 11:30, you are WAY ahead of pace!" So, I spent the next 5-6 miles explaining to everyone who passed that I was supposed to be pacing the PREFERRED corral and in fact, they were not running an 11:30 pace. When I finally got passed by the 11:00 per mile pacer from the open corral, I decided to just tuck my sign down and run it out...being sure my finish time at least corresponded with what I was supposed to be doing. It had rained off and on most of the race, but by mile 8 the humidity came out in full force and I was really ready to be done. Unlike last year I didn't have anyone running with me, so I just started thinking about getting to my big bowl of chocolate. I will say, for as miserable as the conditions were, I still really love this's well organized, a fun course, and unique swag. I hit the finish line a little ahead of my goal pace, but I figured with as messed up as the pacing was, I wasn't going to worry too much about it. The rain had let up, but had left a giant muddy mess at the after party site. No matter, at that point, I would have waded through quicksand to get my finishers mug :)


May 7: Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon
With a 10-miler and a 15K under my belt, I was pretty sure I would be fine pacing my first half marathon of the year, but just to be safe, I decided to do a 14-mile run the week after Hot Chocolate to be sure I had the distance in me. I was originally supposed to pace the 2:30 finish group, but the week before the race the organizers changed it to 11:00 per mile...which had me a little more nervous. Thankfully we held the fourteener at a 10:30 when I headed to the start line for Minnetonka, I felt ready to get the 11:00 minute milers to the finish line in a 2:24. We checked in and got our new (thankfully) smaller pace signs and directions on how the start corrals would work. I would be the middle of the last corral so Jenni, Beth and I headed out to find our areas. I had a great crowd around me and gave them all my "pacer pep talk" a few minutes before the national anthem (sung beautifully as always by race announcer, and my former neighbor, Kirk Poessehl). Soon we were off and were immediately greeted by a woman in a banana costume...I decided then and there this was going to be a great race! I was new to this course, but I had been forewarned about it's hilliness....and it didn't take long before we went straight up our first one. I set the tone with my group early that we were going to "kill the hills" and take it easy on the flats and downhills. This strategy worked great and before I knew it we were at the first water stop. I walked them through and we got right back to the business of climbing. The relay exchange came up quickly, it was at about mile 5 and a half, so I had to remind everyone that we were NOT half way done just yet. I had a couple first timers with me who asked a lot of questions, one of them wanted to know when she should "kick it in"...I told her for me, I usually wait until I can see the finish line, but that if she felt good with a mile to go, she should empty her tank. Small talk continued with my group through the next few miles, then we hit a portion of the course that was on a narrow shoulder of a fairly busy road, so we stayed single file for most of this time and I tried my best to convince my legs they were not tired (I am such a better pacer when I have people to talk to...I tend to forget that I am actually working kind of hard too!) We hit the last water stop at mile 11 and thankfully were able to group back up again for the last couple miles. I had lost a few of the women who were sticking with me, but I was confident they were going to get there. We came up on the 12 mile marker and I shouted "1 mile to go, it's time to empty your tank!" I saw the newbie who asked about kicking it in take off at that point and I felt like a proud mama. We rounded a corner and I saw the finish line and started circling my arm and yelling "You're there, finish strong" to anyone who was still listening to me. I crossed the finish and checked my watch. 2:23.40...30 seconds faster than my goal pace...not too shabby! After I collected my medal (yes, pacers deserve medals too). I headed back to the finish shoot to wait for my friend Lindsay, who was competing her first half marathon today. I saw my other friend Karen finish and chatted with a woman who ran with me last year at the Minnesota Half. She said she just did the relay today and stuck with me to the exchange. She told me I as a really good pacer and thanked me for being there....I really couldn't ask for a better prize than that! I saw Lindsay coming down the shoot with a big smile on her face and I held out my hand for a high five, she didn't leave me hanging and went on to finish under her goal time of 2:30...and that was just the cherry on top of a great morning!
Nothing like getting by with a little help from your friends!
May 20: The Birdtown Half Marathon
Well, if patterns exist in the world, my "race weather luck" is holding true to form this year. I had a gorgeous, warm day for Goldy's, a gloomy, gray day for Hot Chocolate, and a crisp, clear day at Minnetonka...and Birdtown, well, let's just say, I might as well have been doing a water-jogging half marathon as the only time I was dry that morning was when I was in a car. I was pacing today, which again, was likely the only reason I showed up at the start line. Despite the depressing weather, I do love this race. It's a great showcase for the town of Robbinsdale, it's small, but super well organized and the course is really fun...some killer hills in the middle, but also lovely neighborhoods, park trails, and city streets. I carpooled with Lisa, which was awesome since we are still currently a one-car family (don't even get me started). We met up with the pace group and got our (very bright, very pink) pace shirts, which I secretly love. This is a "balloon" race, so our pace signs are actually just balloons tied to a stick, which is not my favorite, but it always looks festive. The rain was holding off at this point, so I was just "minimally" wet when we headed to the start line!
Plastic bags make everything better!

Because of the rain we had a new starting spot this  year...which I liked a lot better than last year when we started in front of a grassy curb and had to make an immediate hair-pin turn to get out of the park. This year we started up the road from the park and ran down into the first neighborhood, a straight shot. It was also a little more organized, like a true race corral...I'm hoping they keep this plan for future races. Before long the drizzle was back, I had a nice sized group though so we kept our minds off the cold and wet by chatting about former and future races...I had a few who were planning on doing the Twin Cities Marathon, and a couple who had run with me at Minnetonka. This was my first time pacing a 2:20 finish, so I wasn't really sure how to run it. I knew we had some major hills coming up between miles 5-7, so I wanted to be out a little fast to make up for those climbs. We held the first 4 miles around 10:25, so I knew we had time to spare when we hit the first killer hill. There are three of them altogether, you climb, level out for a bit, climb, level out, and then climb again...I prepared my group by saying "I'm not gonna lie, the next two miles are going to suck". One woman said "Yeah, we call this the three levels of Hell!" An apt moniker :) We hit a water stop after the first hill and took a much needed walk break. This stop was manned by my friend Kristin and her daughter's dance team. Last year I was so ahead of pace when I hit Kristin's aide station that I actually stopped and chatted with her for a couple of minutes (I was also all alone, so no one cared that I took a long break). This year, not so much. I said a quick hello and told her that I had to keep moving...two more big climbs to go, ya know! We soldiered up them, with me shouting reminders (lean forward, use your arms), and encouragement (you GOT this, KILL this HILL). Finally, level ground as we approached the turn at mile seven. I heard my name and some awesome cowbell ringing out from the friends Sherry and Karen had also come to volunteer today and were working at the intersection. It is such a boost to hear people cheering for you, but especially when they are familiar smiling faces. I was so thankful for all the volunteers who sat out in the rain to help us today! With the major hills behind us we moved into the long flat portion of the race that winds through the trails of a city park. I love this section even though there isn't any crowd support (not that there was much crowd support anywhere today). I was trying to come up with witty banter to keep my group entertained, but I think at this point we were all just happy to have some tree cover to keep the rain off us for a bit (it really started coming down around mile 6). It was also about this time that I noticed my pace had dropped quite a bit...we had been steadily holding between 10:25-10:30 and I looked at my watch to see 10:45, about four seconds slower than my goal pace. I told my group we had to pick it up a bit and most of them followed me. We hit one more hill at mile 10 and I lost a few followers...I think we all were feeling the fatigue of running in the cold and rain for so long. We passed the Veteran's monument that marks the final straight away of the race, 1.5 miles to go along a nice flat neighborhood street. I thanked all the volunteers who seemed to be congregating around the 12 mile marker and took one last look at my watch...11:00 per mile! Man, I had really slowed down and even though I had picked up some time at the front of the race, I needed to get it in gear in order to finish on time. I willed my legs to speed up, to which they protested mightily, but thankfully I was about to hit the downhill portion that takes us to the finish line. I had a few folks around me, so I shouted "It's time to empty your tanks...but be careful on this downhill!" I guess that was the best advice I could muster at this point. I got to the bottom of the hill and saw a small lake had formed across the finish area...most folks in front of me ran around it, but I figured since I really couldn't get any more wet at this point, that I would splash right through it. That got a big cheer from the crowd and a shout out from the announcer as I crossed the finish line at EXACTLY 2:20...not too shabby!
My face says it all...somehow Sara looks downright giddy though!
PF sleeping boot...SEXXAY!
So, that's pretty much what I've been up to...I've also had a running-related eye injury, and have been dealing with Plantar Fasciitis for the past two know just normal middle-aged lady stuff. I'm looking forward to the next 18 weeks of training (mostly). I have a much better knowledge base than the first time I did this (as in...I know what NOT do to rather than necessarily knowing what TO do). I have another pacing gig coming up this weekend which should be fun (10 miles of unrelenting hills-style fun) and full summer of exhausting events at work (I love my job, I love my job, I love my job...) I'm excited to share the journey with you again...even if you will eventually get tired of listening to me talk about running (I mean, those of you who haven't already tuned me out that is...hello? Is this thing even on?) Thanks for the company, the advice and the miles of smiles you provide as fodder for this page. Happy Last Day of May!

Sidewalks are dangerous 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Attitudes are yours worth catching?

It's cold, it's windy, it's dark in the morning...these are factual statements that can turn into problems with winter running.
I hate being cold, it's hard to run in the wind, I'm not a fan of running when I can only see as far as my head lamp...these are statements of attitude about these problems...see the difference?
It's so easy to let our attitudes towards problems turn into excuses to give up. When was the last time you looked at a problem and consciously told yourself, "I'm going to have a positive attitude about this problem!" Has it been awhile? Yeah, me too. In fact, I have been in a bad mood for most of the past month! But, my drought ended this morning when my alarm went off at 5:15. Jen and I planned to meet up for a run at 5:45, and when I woke up I could hear the wind howling, I checked the temp...windchill -2, my bed was SO warm and cozy...problems! But, I told myself, "Don't hit snooze. You get to see Jen, you will get your run out of the way for the day, you get to wear your cute, new Moustache Run hat, you get to start your day energized, you get to have some awesome bragging rights for running in a sub-zero windchill!" I rolled out of bed ready to get at it...and you know what? It was perfect. I was layered just right, the wind wasn't so bad, and my hamstrings felt better than they have in a long time. I didn't make it warmer, I didn't will the sun come out, I didn't stop the wind, but I changed my attitude about those problems, and it worked.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm probably not going to turn into a Positive Polly all the time from now on...heck, I've got a couple of meetings on my work docket tomorrow that are likely to bring that bad mood right back to the surface. But knowing that a small attitude adjustment is capable of making a big difference is a tool I'm glad to have in my arsenal!