About Me

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What started as a little experiment in blogging has evolved into my renewed love for writing the raw, gritty truth. Running has always had so many parallels to life's ups and downs. As a new cancer survivor/fighter, running and writing has continued to be there for me in my quest to always move forward, always try to be better than yesterday. Find me: http://www.curetoday.com/community/kate or on facebook: running, cancer, and everything in between or on twitter: runliftbreathe

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Runliftbreathe: Mental Toughness

Runliftbreathe: Mental Toughness: One week left of training...my last taper week...6 days until the marathon. This could be my first time standing at the start having been ab...

Mental Toughness

One week left of training...my last taper week...6 days until the marathon. This could be my first time standing at the start having been able to complete the 16 weeks of training to have the opportunity to run 26.2 miles...assuming I don't do something foolish between today & next Sunday. 

So many questions have been whirling around...mostly from other people. What are you going to wear? What's the route? What time does the race start? Do you have a goal time? How's your injury? And so on.

I don't know the answers to most of those questions. In fact, I figure I'll know only two of them the day before (what time the race is & what I am wearing) & other than that, I won't know until some time during the race.

 There's only one question I care about right now. Am I mentally tough enough?

I am a competitor, but my background is in team sports. I never had a problem carrying a team on my back playing college volleyball. I could rally the whole team & get them to play up & play better & push. As a college coach, if I didn't have a player that could do this, I could find a few players to train to be mentally tough & take that task on. 

This is a whole different game.

I know physically, I've got this race...even with my injury. I've done all the work. The hard part is over. 
The question that lies, am I mentally tough enough to carry myself for all 26.2 miles? I know I can run the mileage, but do I have what it takes to push through when it hurts & when I don't want to run anymore...when I would rather just jog/shuffle to the finish line...

A true athlete & competitor can probably do both & transition between individual & team sports at ease without ever losing any mental toughness. I don't know if that is me.

My role of mother is just an extension of what my entire athletic/coaching career was...team sport. Team Beland. Rallying the troops...taking care of the ones in need, motivating all the time, & pushing to move forward when necessary...This is motherhood, & we all do this. We are the captains of our team. But, in some ways, that's easy. To put the team's needs before your own....it's a selfless role but one that comes naturally especially to those that have played team sports. 

This race is definitely outside of my comfort zone because it's long enough that I know I will need to rely on more than just physical strength. There is no one on the bench pulling you aside to re-focus. No one threatening "Suicides" if you don't get your head in the game. No timeouts, no substitutions....just me.

So no, I don't know what I'm wearing. I have no idea of the route & no plans to look it up. Yes, my achilles hurts, don't know what it will feel like race day. I have no idea how long it will take me... I think the race starts at 8? I might look that one up. 

Am I tough enough to motivate, encourage, & push myself? I'll let you know next Sunday. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dirty Dozen

I've told you about the truths about running (some of those will overlap here), the truths about marathon training...and beyond...well, that deserves it's own list...the dirty dozen. I apologize in advance...it's not pretty, but those of you who have trained & competed in marathons, ultras, and other endurance competitions will be know what I'm talking about.

1. Chub Rub: yes, I know you've heard this one before. Trust me, it happens. If it hasn't, give it time...and it can appear just about anywhere: thighs, under the arms, where the sports bra rubs...and so on...use your Bodyglide diligently & rethink some of those cute Lululemon shorts...cute for training, school pickup and the grocery store...not so cute after a hot 20-miler where half of your skin has been rubbed off by those oh so adorable seams.

2. Monkey Butt: This relates to the chub rub but deserves it's own spot. I had heard of the urban legend of the monkey butt & thought my skinny-ass ultra friend was just telling tall tales that only people of her mileage  would ever know...until most recently after a hot, humid 20-miler. Vaseline is your friend. Use it. Don't believe me? Wait until that post run shower water hits...you'll wish you had listened.

3.  The 100 Club: Unless you are a running freak, 22 years old, or just so gifted in which case you probably wouldn't be reading this foolish blog, the first 100 steps you take each morning during your training are going to creak, squeak, and just plain hobble and hurt. You will stumble in the middle of the night when you get up to go to the bathroom because everything will be so tight. Running does not make you more flexible. Repeat. And welcome to the club.

4.  Hungry horrors:  I've had my share of long runs...years of them. Something about this distance toppled with the overall mileage...after my long run, I am an animal. Cannot. Stop. Eating. All day. I anticipated I might need an extra snack, afterall, according to my Garmin, most of my longest runs, I've burned approximately 2400 calories...I've probably eaten almost double on those days! Remember when you were in college and you binge drank, inhaled, & then, called the pizza place for the Burnout Special? Reliving the dream.

5. Body Type: While I bet there are plenty of people who actually lose weight when marathon training...I had so hoped I would be one of them...alas, you get what you get & you don't get upset. The skinny is going to get skinnier...the curvy is going to stay curvy but maybe tighten up in the already tight parts, the muscular...yes, you know the drill...is going to build more muscle. I use to run because it made me skinny...it did, really. But then, I got to be kind of decent at it and became a stronger runner. The days of skinny are gone...I'm trying to embrace these thighs...I'm going to need them to carry me all 26.2.

6.  R.I.P. :  Not that I was ever fast...but I could run okay. My half marathon pace was a 7:30 per mile, not too shabby for these washed-up, 39 year old legs. Right now, during my marathon training, running one mile at that pace feels impossible. Marathons are an altogether different beast. And so I held a funeral for what was my race pace prior to the marathon. It was nice knowing you. See you on the other side.

7.  Crankies:  My husband is probably praying right now that I never train for another marathon...he swears that as soon as I started training, I became cranky. Maybe he's right? Thing is trying to get in the training before the sun comes up, working full time, managing three very active children...and so on, yep, I might be a little cranky.

8.  Skeletor face:  This is the really unfair part of training. You're chronically tired & needing more sleep & more water...and while your thighs may be strong & solid, and you will lose some weight...it will never be in the places you want it most. So yes, in order to get that tight butt & strong thighs that will be able to carry the distance, the face goes.

9. Aloofness:  There will come a point in your training when you will finally be able to say, "Yes, I'm training for a marathon"...without throwing up in your mouth a little or saying it shyly. I've got three weeks left....the taper has already started with the long run...and yes, I can casually throw around my goals for after my marathon. Big deal right?! The race is the easy part...it's the 16 weeks of training that are brutal.

10. Thinking outside the Box:  Towards the end of the training, you will be so sick of running that the most random things will seem like fun...like taking a BodyStep class...or how about a little Zumba? I never thought I'd be sick of running...but I am right now. It makes everything I don't normally ever participate in sound appealing...maybe I'll join a women's soccer league or body build...or do strictly yoga....

11.  Puberty:  In the reverse...the hormones can go a little haywire...gone are the boobs, the hips seem even smaller...and really, another breakout? Nothing like an almost 40 year old wearing a training bra & smearing clearasil on her face...

12.  Super-hero powers:  Honest to God, I haven't even made it to the start line but with 3 weeks left, nothing scares me now. I feel fearless...like I can do it all. And maybe I could all along, but this 16 week journey helped realize a lot of things about myself. No matter what happens between now and D-day...nothing can hold me back.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Race Ready or Beach Ready

Everyone that is not a runner wants to be a runner because they think somehow running is going to magically transform their body...they think they will lose the extra weight, lower their body fat, magically be toned and firm, and fit into their skinny jeans.

You want the truth? Not going to happen. Not unless you are that 1% of the population that has to eat to keep weight on, firms up picking up 5lb dumbbells and still manages to have a 36D bra size...and if that is you, you're too busy getting ready for your next Sports Illustrated shoot and don't have time to read this silly blog!

In all seriousness though, there comes a time when you've been running long enough...you've experienced all kinds of training, ran all kinds of races...hit the wall, kicked some ass, and a lot of in between...you realize that there is a big difference between being a race ready runner and a beach ready runner. That's kind of the fork in the road where you have to figure out what your genetics are, what your goals are, & then, you choose.

I remember when I first started distance running, whenever I use to start to train for a race, magically as I built up the mileage, my legs would start to disappear. I know I didn't fuel properly, and my legs always felt fatigued.  Inevitably, I never ran a race at my full potential...I chronically hit that wall and could never keep my speed up the entire race. But, man was I skinny...my skinny jeans practically hung on me.

Fast forward to today, I am a much smarter runner. I feed myself well, some days too well. I understand and know how to properly fuel myself during a long distance training run or long distance race. I can run strong and steady...even paced. And today, amidst my marathon training, I am definitely not at my "skinniest." I'm not overweight by any means, but yes, I do fill those jeans out...top shelf someone once commented.

A part of me longs for those skinny, long legs...they did always look great with a tan...but deep down, I know, my strong, Quadzillas, are what will get me across the finish line. It may not be pretty, definitely not skinny, but hopefully, well-trained & well-fueled... they will have what it takes to give me a steady race with a strong finish.

And so, for me today...my goal is to be the best runner I can be...to be race ready...even if that means, ditching the skinny jeans until after this training is over.