11315 Miles

Run, Walk, Bike…Repeat. Never.Give.Up.

Dublin Marathon 2017 Race Recap

“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing.  You have to make the mind run the body.  Never let the body tell the mind what to do.  The body will always give up.  It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night.  But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

– George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

So where were we….yes…in Dublin, Ireland a day before the marathon and no suitcase!  While I was on my day trip to the Wicklow Mountains and Kilkenny I did get a call from the hotel that my bag had arrived.  A huge load off my shoulders but also a little annoyed that I had to go buy new stuff.  It was a damned if you do, damned if you don’t type of situation.  I didn’t want to get stuck so I made the hard call.

I ended up wearing a combination of old and new stuff.  New running skirt, my shamrock compression socks and drum roll please….My Nikes.  In the end, I decided to go with the shoes I railed most about.  I felt that I had more toe space and they were a little more broken in then the Asics.  What can I say….a woman is free to change her mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On to the marathon….

I really liked the fact the marathon didn’t start until 0900 for my corral.  It gave me plenty of time to get ready in the morning and eat.  The marathon instructions said be there at 0800, which I thought was a bit early, but then I decided to do just that because I didn’t want to get into any long porto potty lines.  Right….

I stayed at the Hilton and it was a nice walking distance to the start line.  When I got there people were already lining up for the bathroom.  To put it in perspective there were 20,000 participants this year.  I was in corral number four.  This would put me at a finish time of around 4:30.  The porto potties were lined up by the corral time so you could stay in your lane so to speak!  I never miss a chance to have a potty mouth when it comes to portos at a race.  Get it!!!  I mean it’s like a box of chocolates…you just never know what you’re going to get!  Man, I’m killing it today.  Some photos:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there is always that guy….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Granted it was Halloween, but dude, really?

 

 

I was lucky – clean porta and done early.  It was one of those moments you were glad you got there early to avoid the long lines.

A few pictures from the beginning:

My wonderful friend Diane wore her Wonder Woman shirt and had this support sign!

Wrong time on my Garmin, but I just needed it to track the run. Plus my running rosary received by a fellow runner years ago. I love it and wear it to most of my races.

Can you see “believe” on my shirt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a while it was a little unclear what was going on and where the actual start line began.  I started following the people in front of me at a slow pace.

People shedding their clothes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We walked for about a good quarter-mile and then I could faintly hear someone on a loud-speaker with a heavy Irish accent.  “Come on lads and lasses” it was really funny.  As we moved closer to the start line it began to get packed.  I mean nose to nose packed.  Then just as I was looking around the gun went off and EVERYBODY started running.  I mean damn…it was like a herd.  In the back of my mind I was like wait, I’m still trying to process all this I’m not ready!  But, the starting pistol don’t wait for no one.  Time to get going.

The race

The weather for the race started off at about 54° and slightly cloudy.  I didn’t have any pain and I was tracking at a good pace.  There were so many people there it really made it hard to “break out” of the herd.  I’m not over exaggerating either.  It was crowded.  Instead of trying to break free and find some space I found the 4:30 pacer and just decided to keep pace with that group.  It was funny because you had three people running with large red balloons with the pace time on them and a large group of people just clustered around.

The first half of the run took us through Phoenix Park and in front of a lot of sights throughout the city of Dublin.  I was happy that I was keeping up with little effort.  The amount of people who were out supporting the race was amazing!  Hundreds of people lined the streets at different points all through out the race.  Offering cookies, candy, and baked goods.  It was a sight to see and a much-needed visual for support.

My fueling consisted of sports beans, gum, and I hydrated at the stations provided.  There was no reason to wear a belt or bring a pod.  There were plenty of water stations and support staff.

Things were good for me all the way up until the halfway point.  There was a half marathon and a full at the same time.  Nothing says “oh, I see you’re finishing” to the person next to you ~  “Yeah I don’t think I got the full experience, I’m going to go around one more time!”  It was at this point I began to see the 4:30 pace balloon pull away from me.  Sigh.  I really wanted to keep up.  I didn’t feel bad, I was just slowing down.

At least I was beating the gal in the full Wonder Woman costume.  Yeah I’m good.  I started to breathe a little heavy at this point.  Everything else was good but the breathing was a little labored.  The course itself was fairly flat.  There were some hills that did provide a bit of a challenge.

Around mile 15 I was passed by Batman and Robin.  I really wish I had my phone to take a picture.  Batman was in a wheelchair and Robin was pushing him. It was one of the greatest scenes I have ever seen at any race.  They were just so positive and happy.

At mile 17 I started to get hungry.  The beans weren’t doing it for me.  The streets were lined with people offering snacks or “jellies”.  I had to laugh at the jellies because they were gummy sweets.  I passed all of that for security reasons.  I mean probably no harm no foul, but I thought better of it….until mile 18.

Yeah, let’s see….laced cookie?  Yes?  No?  “The world is so much better with you in it, Clarice.”  Hmmm, what to do…I ate the cookie.  Heck, I ate a couple of cookies.  Glad I did because they hit the spot.

I never really hit the wall.  The definition ~ hitting the wall or the bonk is a condition of sudden fatigue and loss of energy which is caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles.  I have before, but not now.  I was just slow.  I will say at this point it began to seem like the never-ending race.  More so around miles 23 and 24.

I find during the last two miles you tend to play patty cake with fellow runners.  You speed up, then slow down, only to be passed by the same runner about 30 times until you get to the finish line.  It’s a little annoying.  Then I was passed by this one girl and I just had to laugh out loud.  Another camera moment!  She had a crudely hand written note pinned to her back that said “I absolutely hate running, I will never f*cking do this again.”  It was just too darn funny.  I followed her until the very end and I kept laughing every time I looked at her.  There were definitely some characters at the race!

The big finish ~ there is nothing better than having someone support you in an endeavor like a marathon.  I was about 200 meters from the finish line and I hear my name yelled ~ and there was my friend Diane yelling and with the support sign.  Such a great way to end a race.

In the end I finish in 5:11:50.  I am pleased.  It’s not easy flying to another country then running a race.  I have enjoyed every step of this journey and the outcome.  This post wouldn’t be complete without a little self constructive criticism.  Did I think I did my best?  No.  It’s as simple as that.  I felt that I could have done much better with everything all around.  Food, training and gear.  I look forward to analyzing my performance and seeing what things I could have done better.  Running this race has fired me up to run another.  I love the race energy and the people.  I would like to train for another marathon in the not so distant future and try to improve my time and running experience.

If you are a runner and want a fun challenge I definitely would recommend this race.  It was very well organized and the the people of Ireland were so friendly.  The proceeds go to assist the Irish Cancer Society.

I want to take this time to thank those who have supported me in this endeavor.  My parents Charles and Darlene ~ thank you for all the texts, love and support.  You both have been a catalyst for reaching for the stars.

My brother and his wife Lori, my sister Elizabeth and her husband Eric for all the love and support.

My sweet daughter who ran out of the house to meet me on my return.  Sorry I didn’t catch the Mr. Mime Pokémon.

Diane who waited patiently for over 5 hours while I completed this race.  You are a great friend.

Thank you to all of my friends and blog followers who dropped by to offer support and kind words.

This race was extra special this year.  One, in a few days I will turn 50.  Where has that time gone?  Two, to honor my Mother, Karen Dennis and her Irish roots.

Completed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I completed 47.24 miles from Oct 16 – 29 with an end of month total of 105.92.  I have 6339.47 miles gratefully remaining in my journey.  The body achieves what the mind believes.  What’s next?

I leave you with one of my favorite songs….

Happy Miles to You!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 18 – 24 Sept…”There Is No Luck Except Where There is Discipline”

I love that opening quote.  So many times I hear people say, I just got lucky, to explain their accomplishments.  They got lucky on a testgetting a certain job or any other positive event in life.

The definition of luck ~ success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.  I guess you could argue there is luck in some things, like being in the right place at the right time or meeting someone by chance and winning the lottery.  But I think most “wins” in life are a conglomeration of little steps that brought you to that final “lucky” place.  So the Irish saying (Yes it’s Irish) in the title, “There is no luck except where there is discipline” just proves my point (or so I like to think:-) )through hard work and discipline…things happen.  Luck, really has nothing to do with it.  What does this have to do with this weeks running mileage recap?  Well, this week was tough for me mentally when it came to my long run.  The running schedule called for 17 miles and I r-e-a-l-l-y didn’t feel like running.  I’m tired of the heat, the nasty gels, the electrolytes, before workout products, recovery protein, my feet hurt and oh by the way I’ve already lost two toenails – WAY before the normal nail losing process.  I lose the same two every long run event, but normally after it’s done.

I know quit whining…right?  I just didn’t want to do it.  But, I got up at 4:30 am and went through the pre-run ritual and was out the door around 5:45.  It wasn’t luck that was going to take me to the end, it was going to be discipline.  Discipline to get up and do what needs to be done to reach the end goal.  This goal just happens to be the Dublin Marathon…and I’m not that lucky.  I had a guy tell me one time that he just went and ran a marathon, no training – just did it.  News flash  ***There will always be people, better then you***.  In everything you do, so know yourself and just get used to that fact.  With all things in life, for most of us, discipline is the key to your version of winning.

I kept mulling it over in my mind that any time I feel like this, it may be a good day!  For the most part the long run was a good run.  The temperature was 66 when I started and I ran that first 10 miles easy with a break for water, some dried banana chips, and a gel.  Got back out on the road and two miles in my stomach felt a little queasy (thank you gel) but that feeling quickly went away.  The next five miles were good, but a little slower.  My feet started to hurt a bit and I actually thought about quitting and finishing up at the gym.  I kept going and the last two miles were difficult.  My breathing was good – but I’m still dealing with the arch pain in my feet.  Not a good sign with brand new shoes (another post).  When my legs and feet starting hurting I focused on using my core and hip swing that does amazing things for the pain in the lower body.  I swung by the house before the last two miles and had some water.  Needless-to-say I had too much water….sigh another lesson learned (many times before – ha!).  Need to watch how you consume. So at mile 16 I was doing the sprint home!  All ended well and I got it done.  Discipline.  My average pace this time around was 13:05.  Hey, I own that pace.  I ended with 32.94 miles for the week that brings the monthly total to 100.06 so far.  I find this song was appropriate for this week.  One of my favorite Irish bands.  On the playlist for sure.  With all the aches and pains that “Linger” I continue on with 6478.05 gratefully remaining.

Happy Miles to You!!!

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 11 – 17 Sept Week 10 Dublin Marathon Training…Picking the Playlist

Like most people, I like to listen to music when I run.  I trained for a whole month without listening to music a few years back and I will say my running performance was definitely better.  Meaning that I concentrated on all the wrong things I was doing and corrected them while I was running.  Getting lost in the music is a great stress reliever, but I personally believe it messes with breathing and pace.  At least for me it does.  Some great song comes on and you find yourself running to the beat, then a slower song comes on and changes the stride.  I have read articles where runners say never to music…but I like to listen more than not.  I never plug-in when I’m cycling, but running is a different story.  I like creating a playlist for the event.  Every time I run I find myself in a different place figuratively and mentally so I create my playlist to how I’m feeling at that moment.

I like all kinds of music.  I mean I’ll listen to anything at least once and I have wide eclectic tastes on different genres.  My favorite music is…wait for it ~ classical.  Not the best to run to but there are some good ones you can.  For this run I was wanting to have fun and pick some good Celtic music.  Let’s face it, this little jaunt is going to last about 4:30 hrs…if I’m lucky.  So, that means a lot of music.  Not sure I can just listen to Celtic artists…but maybe I can!  If you have some suggestions I would love to hear them.  Matter of fact, help me pick my playlist!  That would be really sweet!

Week 10 training went well.  I completed three days of running and one day of walking.  I decided to use that fourth day for either walking or speed training.  I like it because it gives me two days and a little more recovery before the long run and that’s just something I need at the moment.  The long run was 16 miles this go round and for the most part I felt really good.  Pace is staying the same somewhere between 12 and 13 minutes.  My biggest drawback was at mile 8 I started to have some epic foot pain.  It was really weird because I didn’t experience that last week.  I hate to admit it ~ but it might be my shoes.  That will be another post.

I ended with 31.46 miles for the week.  I can’t believe how fast time is flying!  The marathon will soon be here!  I hope this finds you with much peace and love in your heart.  I have 6510.99 miles gratefully remaining.  Happy Miles to You!!

I leave you with this little diddy.  Safe to say this will not make the playlist….may afterwards at the pub!  “May you live to be 100 years, with one extra year to repent.”  

 

 

 

May you live to be 100 years, with one extra year to repent.

Mileage Recap ~ 28 Aug – 3 Sept…The 9/11 Heros Run

I decided to change-up my running routine this week and run the 9/11 Heros Run sponsored by the Travis Manion Foundation.  1LT Travis Manion was killed while serving in Iraq.  The Travis Manion Foundation is one of the more interesting foundations, in that it places veterans in mentoring roles with community youth that need positive role models.  The meaning of their motto, “If not me, then who…” stands for their mission to Redefine Americans Character through mentorship roles.  The Foundation realizes that many veterans experience difficulty reintegrating back into civilian society.  Often they feel displaced in their own community and mentoring youth without good role models provides purpose.  From the website:

You can check them out more here:  http://www.travismanion.org/character-does-matter/

When I signed up for the race it asked the question who is the hero you are running for?  There have been so many heros of 9/11 and unfortunately, there will continue to be more in a conflict that seems to go on endlessly.  We are very fortunate to have individuals military/civilian that will step up when called to duty.  We see it in all facets of life not just military conflict.  Look at the Texas flood.  The United States if filled with GOOD people.

 

A few shots from this weekend.  I ended up running around a 10:25 average pace and 11th in my age group.  My daughter made the sign!  She is such a great supporter!

 

 

 

Week eight marathon training went well.  My training plan called for 4/6/4/14 which ended up being 4/6/4/3.1.  I had every intention of “making” up the other 11 miles….and that pretty much went out the window Saturday night.  Yes, I know tsk tsk, but it will be okay.  Just clicking my heels three times….there’s nothing like mileage!

If I have to hold my Guinness with two hands instead of one, I – will – be – okay.

This is a picture of Jason Momoa from GOT looking like he’s holding a Guinness…it has absolutely nothing to do with this post…moving on.

So yes, training was good and I will be back on track Monday ~ meaning no more “side gigs”.  Pace is remaining the same in the 10 – 11 minute window for shorter runs and around 11 – 12 for the longer runs.  I’m glad I took the time out to do something different.  Stats are as follows:  17.70 miles for the week ending August with 96.11 total miles.  I have 6574.97 miles remaining in this journey!  There is always sadness when thinking about 9/11. Especially for all the life that was lost.  Every day is truly a blessing, we never know when it will be our last.  Celebrate every day.

Leaving this post on a high note, I’ve been looking for music for my run.  I’ve been erring on the side of native…if you know what I mean. Found this little diddy…I’m in the back. (Just kidding)  Happy Miles to You!!

Women On the Move ~ Dr. Karen Gaffney – All Lives Matter

I love writing about all types of strong women and their accomplishments.  Honestly, I don’t know how I find some of these people.  It’s like divine intervention just leads me to the correct place and wallah!  I’ll start reading and something just connects and then you’re like whoa.  There are women everywhere doing great things and no task is too small.  Not to sound trite or a bit cliché but what we hold in high esteem in the United States sometimes, is less then impressive.  We all like pop culture.  I have found myself glued to The Kardashians© and Real Housewives of Atlanta© on more than one occasion and rarely have I said “hey how about that Grace Hopper, huh”?  Yes, I added a link ~ that is your homework between Fourth of July beers.  It’s a shame we don’t treat women like Grace Hopper as the real rock-stars.  Can you see a show called The Real Female Scientists of Atlanta?  No, I didn’t think so.  Let’s face it, we are addicted to the wrong kind of badassery.  Meet Dr. Karen Gaffney.

Photo courtesy of the Karen Gaffney Foundation

I love the photo above.  She is perfection.  Dr. Karen Gaffney has Down’s Syndrome.  Dr. Gaffney is the first person with Down’s Syndrome to complete a relay swim across the English Channel in 2001.

Karen graduated from Portland Community College in 2001 and received her Associate of Science degree and teaching certificate.  In 2013 she became the first living person with Down’s Syndrome to receive an Honorary Doctorate Degree, Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Portland for her work raising awareness for people who have Down’s Syndrome.   She travels the world addressing people on Down’s Syndrome and how she believes is a life worth living.  Unfortunately, the statistics of women aborting fetuses once diagnosed with Down’s is staggering.  This is not a post to discuss abortion or pro-choice.  What Dr. Gaffney is stating and showing the world is that all lives matter and having Down’s Syndrome isn’t a show stopper.  One of my FAVORITE sayings, “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show“.

Some of Karen’s other swims include:

  • Swimming across the nine mile span of Lake Tahoe ~ which became the documentary Crossing Tahoe: A Swimmer’s Dream (you can find on Amazon)
  • 2009 swam the Boston Harbor to celebrate Down’s Syndrome month
  • 2 Gold Medals from the Special Olympics
  • 16 swims across the San Francisco Bay including the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon.  (Bucket List Item)!

When she isn’t swimming she is running the Karen Gaffney Foundation.  Stop by and see what she is about.

 

“A life well lived, is long enough” ~ Seneca.  Happy Fourth of July and Happy Miles to You!!

This is for you Dr. Gaffney ~ one of my faves from the Divine Ms. M.  Down Syndrome don’t stop no show….

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 26 June – 1 July…Have You Hugged Your Physical Therapist Today?

I think everyone should go to physical therapy at least once a year in my humble opinion.  You most likely will be blown away at how out of balance your body gets with the normal wear and tear of daily life.  I first went to a PT after I had my knee surgery four years ago.  As I was doing my rehabilitation exercises my PT casually mentioned that it looked like one of my legs was longer then the other.  Upon closer inspection she mentioned that my pelvis was twisted.  In order to get myself in alignment not only did I have to do knee strengthening but pelvis stabilization exercises.  I have always had hip issues and this was most likely due to that fact.  I had also received an MRI about 3 years ago meant for the hip and you know how that goes.  It’s like taking your car for an oil change and the mechanic says “yeah we changed the oil but did you know your radiator has a leak”?  This was one of those moments.  I go into for the MRI for the hip and come out with a slightly bulging disk review.  Hmmmm.  I know if I just don’t think about it, won’t the diagnosis magically just disappear…….

Fast forward to the present, the doctor wants me to get a follow up MRI. Since I have been having a few niggles here and there I was nervous about the prospect of the bulging disk because I still was having pain radiate down my right leg from time to time and of course the left knee issues.  Good news – no bulging disk!  It was gone.  I was a little perplexed because the doctor told me if there was damage or the disk was herniated then it wasn’t going to fix itself.  So he gave me an order for physical therapy to “fix” what needs fixing.

I love my PT!  She first made me go through some exercises and evaluated me then measured my hips and said, yep your right hip is rotated 1.5″ inward.  Amazing.  So I’m way out of alignment and now I have to work to stabilize and bring the pelvis back.  I asked about the bulging disk and she mentioned that if it’s no more than 9 degrees it can correct itself.  That’s great to know.  She also mentioned that the new running shoes I bought, the ones where they watched me run then made a determination on the correct shoe, were wrong!  That sucks.  Because my arches are so high the “stability shoe” I have is incorrect.  So, I will need to purchase the right shoe before I get up into the longer runs.  There is plenty of information and research on how the wrong running shoe has caused major injury and damage to the body.  My personal mantra is you can skimp on everything else but never on the shoes.  You don’t have to buy the most expensive pair, but a good shoe and one that is correct for you.

I’ve been attending PT for two weeks now and I can tell a difference already in my pain level during and after a run.  It is really amazing.  During my last session I mentioned that my right glute was really tight and I started prattling on about foam rolling and the PT says with a huge grin let’s do some myofascial release! Yay…uh what is that?  As a registered yoga instructor I know about fascia.  Fascia is the thin sheath of fibrous tissue enclosing a muscle or other organ.  The collagen fibers that make up the fascia need to stay supple and be able to slide and move.  When muscles stay tight, the fascia clings to them, and both can become rigid over time.  That’s why it feels good to stretch, foam roll, tennis ball therapy and do yoga.  You may even have purchased an instrument for myofascial release and not even realize it!  For more on fascia read this article:  A Body Part You Never Knew Could Be Making You Miserable .

Back to myofasical release.  The PT tells me to go in this special room.  I’m excited because I think I’m getting a spa treatment!!  She comes back with a tool like this:

It looks like a shoehorn.  I realize there might be people out there that don’t know what a shoehorn is….I’ll give you a clue…it helps you get your shoe on…Google it my friends.  All the while I’m still smiling.  She then hands me the tool to inspect and she speaks in a kind voice, “see it has a little serrated edge at the top almost like little teeth”.  She hands it too me like a dentist hands a child the drill before getting a filling.  See Jimmy, it’s really not that bad, and will be over  before you know it!  Okay….spa treatment!  Then she smiles and says, “Oh yeah this might cause a little bruising”.

How could something so right go so terribly wrong!  My sweet PT went from all smiles to badass in 3 seconds flat.

It was like a bad European women’s wrestling match dream.  Spa treatment, spa treatment, spa treatment…I clicked my heals three times as I felt those little teeth digging into my right glute and I realized I wasn’t in physical therapy Kansas anymore.  PT smiles and laughs ~ “you thought you were getting a spa treatment didn’t you”!  I had to laugh…how the heck could she read my mind!

 

I’m not going to lie, it was damn painful.  I’m still feeling the “release” as we speak.  The only problem with PT is doing the homework.  You go and have these sessions, but then you have to be disciplined enough to come back and do your homework.  I would say I’m a C+ student at the moment.  I am doing the exercises, but I could be more disciplined.  Over all I’m pleased and hope this will make me stronger.

Running was good this week.  Still hanging at the 6 mile mark for the long run.  The long run was about at a 6 on the 1 – 10 scale with a pace at 11:57.  Slooowww and hot.   Logged 11.78 miles for the week.   I have 6736.58 miles gratefully remaining.  Even though it’s tough I had this song playing and so true.  Happy Miles to You!!

 

Chau Smith – Running Goals

In my humble opinion, running is 90% mental.  This is just me talking.  You have to 1) want to run, 2) have a goal, and finally 3) stick to the plan and follow through.  The first two are critical points that will help you get through number three.  There is always going to be a reason (for most of us) not to do something.  There will never be enough time, enough money, or enough energy ~ but there always seems to be plenty of excuse to not (apply your own verb here).

Age.  Getting older.  I’m too old to…  I went to this conference in Atlanta for work some years ago and the speaker was talking about getting stuff done.  Something to that effect.  It was a semi motivational but dealt with government work stuff etc…Maybe even a little boring, until he said something that I still think about to this day.  He said, “we all know 20 year olds that act like they’re 60 and 60 year olds that act like they’re in their 20s“.  The whole point was never giving up, continuing on and not letting age act as an impediment to keep trying, living and achieving your goals.  It’s strange how that line still sticks with me.  I was in my early 30s then and I just thought it was great advice.  If you want to do something, don’t let age be an excuse.

Meet Chau Smith from Missouri.

She is 70 years old and ran seven marathons in seven continents….in one week.  One week…did you hear that…one week.  Oh and don’t be bothered that she ran over 70 races…last year.  From the Huffington Post, “Smith’s legal age is 67. She told The Huffington Post that after her father was killed in the French occupation of Vietnam during the First Indochina War, her mother went into hiding while pregnant with Smith for their safety. After she was born in 1947, her mother didn’t report it for three years. That’s why she wanted to honor turning her real age ― 70 ― this year in a special way”.

Smith is part of a group called Marathon Adventures.  She basically would run a marathon in one country, board a plane to the next and start all over again.  Smith ran in Perth, Australia, Cairo, Amsterdam, Singapore, New York, Chile and King George Island, Antarctica.

She credits running to keeping her healthy and happy, clears her head and that helps her make better decisions.

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