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mother. marathoner. blogger. reader.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Book Review: "The Long Run"

If I'm not running or changing a diaper or arguing with a 4 year old who thinks she's an adult; I'm reading.

In a good year, I can read about 100 books. Young adult. Mystery. Historical fiction. Contemporary fiction. Fantasy. I'm not picky.

I'm still a sucker for physical books, where I can feel the pages and actually turn them. I visit the library pretty frequently and wait impatiently on Fridays for the branch van to show up with reserved books.

Recently, I've read a slew of good books, including The Long Run by Matt Long with Charles Butler.

picture courtesy of Amazon.com
It is the amazing, mouth dropping story of New York City Fireman & runner Matt Long, who was riding his bike to work when he was hit by a commuter bus. His injuries were catastrophic. At the time of his accident, doctors gave him a 5% chance of recovery. Not only did he recover but three years later he ran and completed the 2008 New York City Marathon.

Yes, you read that correctly. A man who was HIT BY A BUS and basically had his body ripped to shreds found the strength, determination, and the courage to fight for his recovery and run a marathon.

Runners are a special breed. We are tough and unyielding. I have yet to meet a runner who has given up running voluntarily. I know people who may have stopped running due to injury but they miss it - I can see the yearning in their eyes whenever running is mentioned. All Matt wanted to do was run again and he did whatever he needed to do to make that happen.

You feel his pain as he truthfully describes the hardships, the embarrassing complications, and the dark despair he felt during those long months. I literally cheered out loud when he ran his first mile. Having run NYC myself, I could not help but sob like a fool as I read his description of that epic day in 2008 when he defied all odds and crossed that finish line.    

His story is inspirational and it gives you the push to be better, do better and to run the crap out of your life. Definitely worth the read.

Have a recommendation for a good running book? Let me know!

previous post: do you #runchat?

Friday, March 27, 2015

do you #runchat?

Today, I had three conversations with three different people about running.

We talked about how training for and running halfs - or is it halves? - are fun. About how unleashed and undisciplined dogs are scary. But mostly we talked about how great it is to be a runner.

When you're a runner, you LOVE to talk about running and anything related to running. Training. Races. Foods to eat. Tricks and tips. You can never get enough and there's only so much people who love you can take.

Enter social media. Or more specifically, Twitter.

It took me awhile to get into Twitter. I already had a massive time-suck relationship with Facebook, and didn't really need something else to keep me glued to my phone. However, after hearing John McCain - a man old enough to be my Grandfather - was on Twitter, I thought perhaps it was time.

I started following a few people here and there and quickly noticed I was gravitating toward others runners. One day, while scrolling through my feed, I noticed this one particular hashtag kept popping up: I had discovered #RunChat.

A weekly, hour-long twitter chat ALL ABOUT RUNNING.

Its like the holy grail of the running community.

Hundreds and hundreds of runners answer questions given by a moderator using the #RunChat (@therunchat). At first, it can be overwhelming, There are so many people answering questions and responding to each other that it can be hard to stay on top of it all. Eventually you learn just to scroll to the top of the page and read and respond to what you can. In the  meantime you "meet" some wonderful people who care about and love running the way that you do. Some of us are post-run beer drinkers, some of us are vegans, a few are struggling with injuries, and even more are trying to reach a goal or a new PR.

Most chats are sponsored by a company or individual seeking to get their product out within the running community. However, the emphasis is clearly on offering advice and encouragement to our fellow pavement pounders.

Often, these sponsors will offer a giveaway to participants, which is certainly the way to win a runner over - we love free swag. Last week, Under Armour (@UARunning) joined the party and offered up 3 pairs of their new running shoes: SpeedForm Gemini. Guess which lucky girl won a pair? That's right! ME! All because I retweeted the original tweet and hung out with some wonderful people, talking about the thing I love most (next to my husband and children of course) for an hour.

So, next time you're hanging out on the couch at 10 p.m. ET on the 1st/3rd Sunday and 8 p.m. ET on the 2nd/4th Sunday, come and join us!

I suggest setting an alarm on your phone, because there is nothing worse then realizing you missed #RunChat. #truth.

previous post: first you cry

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

first you cry...

   "Also, runners sometimes have to cancel marathons for other reasons, everything from illness to family or business situations. Often, the logical thing to do is shrug and rationalize: "There are more important things to life than racing 26 miles 385 yards. That's true, but that doesn't make the decision to postpone your marathon any easier. What do you do? First, you cry. Then you begin to consider your options." -Hal Higdon  

Such a wise man you are, Hal Higdon.

When Hal tells you can cry, you cry. When Hal tells you to stop crying, end the pity party, and move on - that's what you do. 

I'm 4 days into my "I had to DNS my first marathon and I'm still sad about it and I have another marathon scheduled in 8 weeks and I have NO idea what to do now" pity party.

Do I use Hal's 8 week multiple marathon schedule which is less mileage during the week? Or run the last 8 weeks of the tried and true Novice 1 schedule which includes heavy weekday and weekend mileage?

 I can't decide.


It feels like a switch has been flipped.

Before this weekend, I was all in. I was tired but still motivated and excited to pursue this multiple marathon thing.  

and now? bleh.

My last couple of runs before the croup/sick kids/leaving the hotel in the middle of the night debacle were less then stellar. They were hard, slow, and made me want to cry. Now, of course, that 18 miler was run in 18 degree weather and my water bottles froze so I put them in between my shirt and my bra to defrost them which made me even colder and left me dehydrated. That was fun.  

I seem to go through this process about once a year; where I question this addiction I have to long distance running. 

I agonize, pout, and complain for a couple days and leave my running shoes untouched by the front door.

I concoct dramatic, emotional filled blog posts where I question EVERYTHING.  

Then I get over myself and go for a run. 

and suddenly everything is ok again.

Pittsburg, I'm coming for you... as soon as I figure out what training schedule I'm going to use.

previous post: my first DNS

Saturday, March 7, 2015

My first DNS

I was supposed to run a marathon today.

Yesterday, my family & I drove to Columbia, SC. We picked up my bib, checked into the hotel, and went to bed.

Then at 11:30 p.m., despite two sound machines and a running air conditioner, I heard a noise. A low, wheezy, croupy breath.

I got up out of bed and stood near the bed of the my youngest child. The child who earlier that day was PERFECTLY FINE at his one year wellness appointment.

He started to cry and I started to panic.

I have never in my six years as a mother been as scared as I was last night. The more he cried, the worse his breathing became. I could not calm him down. I was five seconds from jumping in the car and taking him to the emergency room.

Thankfully, after about an hour and a consultation with the wonderful pediatric nurse who basically talked me off the cliff, he sounded much better. After some talking, Seth & I decided that we should go home. My kids are notoriously poor sleepers when they're not in their own beds. I knew if we stayed at the hotel, he would be up every hour on the hour and the chances of getting any sleep was nil. If we went home, we could give him his medicine... OH did I mention I have extra doses of his medicine which I usually bring with us but I didn't this time because WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT HE WOULD DEVELOP CROUP IN THE 12 HOURS WE WERE AWAY FROM HOME?!?!

So everyone got up, we packed up, and headed home. At 4:30 a.m., I laid my head on my own pillow. 3 hours later, the Run Hard Marathon started without me.

I'm disappointed and a little sad that I wasn't able to qualify for the Marathon Maniacs but such is life. I may be a runner but I'm a mother first and foremost. There will be other races but I only have one G.