Trying to catch up!

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!!!

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Just kidding I love bagpipes. I’m also not Irish, but I’m feeling a little more festive about this holiday than usual following Baltimore’s big St. Paddy’s Day 5K last weekend which I will have a recap of tomorrow. Today I’m just trying to get my wits about me. Work has been IN-SANE (in a very busy, but good way) and outside of work I’ve been working even more. I got a new computer so my freelance game has been pretty strong lately. And of course my newly minted 4 YEAR OLD. And then I had a birthday too and turned 30-again. And in the midst of all that….

I’m Still Training!

Even though I haven’t written about it in the past couple weeks, things are still moving along. Most of it has been good with a little bit of terrible sprinkled in. One of the two plans that I had been working off of has been ….how should I put this nicely…overzealous and due to going too hard lately I think I might have caught myself a slight case of plantar fasciitis. So if anyone has any recommendations on how to deal with that, I’m all ears.

Seriously though, I’m astounded that any half marathon training plan that claims to be geared toward beginners includes more than one speed training day per week and multiple middle-of-the-week runs of 8+ miles.

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I digress. Aside from the heel pain, my workouts have been going pretty well. I’m about 50/50 treadmill and outside running now thanks to the return of 60-70 degree temps. (And SNOW again on Sunday just in time for me to run 12 miles! AWESOME!) I’ve also been working in stroller runs which are considerably harder now that Betty is practically driving and my new and most favorite way to work out…ORANGETHEORY!

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WE FINALLY HAVE ONE HERE and I totally see what all the hype is about. More on my experience in an upcoming post because I could go on and on about it for a week, but I’m in love after just two times and will be signing up for some kind of membership. Not only is it such a fantastic workout, but it totally caters to my competitive side as well.

Oh and I booked my room for the race next month. Can you believe it’s almost April?

How has your training been going? Are you wearing green today? (I AM!) Drinking any green better later? (I’M NOT! Green beer weirds me out.)

xo,

Salt

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They say you aren’t supposed to forget how to ride a bike.

Apparently I did temporarily. I am not the most coordinated person and there would surely be only a matter of time before I had a bike mishap, but that’s why they make helmets right? Thank goodness I have one. Maybe I should walk around with it on constantly.

I don’t know how national the news was about the two police officers that lost their lives the other week in Abingdon, Maryland, but this all occurred about a half hour drive from where I live. Last Saturday, one of the officers was being laid to rest in a cemetery a couple miles from my house. There are funerals like that around here occasionally, but the only experience I had ever had with them was getting snarled up in the resulting traffic. The weather was forecasted to be February-warm that day (low 60’s) and I decided to go up and pay my respects. And because I was no stranger to that traffic, I chose to ride my bike . Originally I was going to run up, but Betty had I had done 4 miles together that morning with a group from Charm City. She has definitely gotten bigger since our last stroller run together, but we had a great time out there. 70+ pounds of kiddo and stroller on some crazy hills!

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The route I mapped was a little shy of 4 miles in each direction. When I got up to the main road there was already a bunch of traffic including a long line of police cars going by with lights and sirens on their way to the service. They weren’t even a part of the much, much larger procession that I would see later. I’m not new to riding my bike but I am still somewhat of a novice when it comes to riding with lots of people around so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous, especially crossing over the on-ramp for the interstate. Things started to get a little too congested and I could see up ahead that I would have trouble staying where I was and that the sidewalk might be a better option. Luckily there was one right there and it was relatively clear of the snow from that blizzard we had a few weeks ago.

I took my first opportunity – a wide driveway – and as soon as I crossed the area where it met the street I knew that I had made a terrible mistake. By that time it was too late because I was going pretty fast and didn’t have time to react to what happened next.

My tire caught on the little bit of ice that was lingering there and my bike shot out from under me to the left and into traffic. I was falling – thankfully NOT into traffic – toward the driveway where –thankfully again – there were no cars coming. All I could think when I was tumbling down was how happy I was to have a helmet on.

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I wish I had rolled out of it as gracefully as Pee Wee. Instead there was that moment where I laid there fearing I had broken something, but that passed pretty quickly and embarrassment hit me like a tidal wave. The crowded street and all those people who saw me fall. It just had to be the busiest day out there. Traffic came to a halt because my bike was in the road. Several cars pulled close to the curb and the concerned people inside asked me if I was okay. At the time I was mortified, but now I’m glad that people did stop for me. It gave me a little faith in humanity in a world where Donald Trump is apparently a viable presidential candidate.

I collected my bike from the street and tried to get back on, but the chain was popped off so I flipped it over with zero idea how to fix it because I’ve never had to fix a bike chain before.

In hindsight I wish I had gotten a picture of any of this or a selfie of my triumphant face when I got the chain back on all by myself, but at that moment I really wanted to be off that road. I headed on my way and when I got to my destination I took more time to check for other injuries: road rash on my leg and on my elbow which I thought was funny because my jacket wasn’t ripped at all. My top lip was bloody although I don’t really remember hitting it on anything; they had been really chapped anyway so maybe the force of the fall made it split.

So a couple days later I still feel pretty beat up, but I’m super thankful that things weren’t worse…no broken bones and I still have all my teeth! And not like I ever would have ridden without my helmet anyway, but this incident definitely made me realize how crucial they are. Whether Betty thinks she looks uncool in one or not, she will never ride her bike without one!

Have you ever had an accident on a bike? Do you wear your helmet every time you ride? 

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Tuesday!

xo,

Salt

New Jersey Marathon Recap Part 2: The Race!

So when I left off yesterday I had just gotten myself into bed after being evacuated from my hotel by some HILARIOUS person pulling the fire alarm. Let’s just cut to the chase here…I don’t think any legitimate sleep happened. I wasn’t really expecting it to. Last year before Potts I got pretty much zero sleep the night before so this time around I made sure to get as much rest as possible leading up to the race. This worked out fine and when my alarm buzzed at 4:30, I hopped out of bed feeling pretty refreshed.

I had two English muffins, protein bars, water, and a Starbucks doubleshot (best idea) all set up to eat as I got myself ready to go. Intelligently enough, I purchased starting line parking for $5 so I would have a place to leave my car right there at Monmouth Park Racetrack where the Expo had been held. The New Jersey Marathon is a point to point but they had convenient shuttles at the end to transport runners back to their vehicles at the start.

I had pulled a Sue and traveled with an old bathrobe that I could wear around pre-race and then ditch when it was time to go. I looked like a total hobo and received quite a few side-eyes, but whatever…I was warm and cozy in the barely mid-40’s weather. The morning was clear and crisp with a slight breeze. In my thin capris, tank and sleeves I was chilly, but knew I would warm up quickly as I ran.

I had exchanged contact info with Charissa who was running the half and she eventually found me in the ridiculously long bathroom line. It was SO AWESOME to meet her! She’s exactly as sweet and adorable in person as you might think from her blog.

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As you can see, we were also sock twins. Lily Trotters rock!

I even got to take a quick pic with Jamal from Go The Distance on Facebook!

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Such a wonderful guy!

The Start

If I had smelled Cheech and Chong’s room the previous day before attending the expo I could have blamed that on the fact that I signed up for the 3:40 pace group. There was no way with all the back issues I had experienced recently that I would be able to hold that pace for 26.2 miles. But I figured why not and just try to keep up with them the best I could.

Unfortunately the 3:40 pace group was in corral C and I was assigned to D. I could see their little flags up ahead, but the people working the corrals were not friendly about letting people switch. So I figured I could just try to keep them in my sights as long as possible or haul ass and try to catch up with them.

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Our waves were set off by an incredibly obnoxious trumpet player and it was then I decided I was going to try and catch up to my intended pace group. In other words…my first mile was WAY too fast (7:38), but it felt good and I don’t think it negatively affected my performance beyond that. I was able to catch up with them fairly quickly – then had to stop and tie my shoe and catch up with them again – but once I did I was able to settle into a comfortable groove. I even took out my ear buds which is something I never imagined I would be doing at the beginning of a marathon. The group was entertaining and I enjoyed talking to them. It felt easy. I crossed the 10K timing mat feeling super strong at an 8:11 pace.

ANd then at the Half things went south

Honestly I stuck with the 3:40 group way longer than I thought I would. I ran into Charissa as she neared the end of her half and was still feeling pretty great . Then a water stop happened and I lost a little bit of ground, telling myself it was okay because I had started behind them anyway. And then at right around my own half marathon mark my right toes started to cramp up. I stopped to walk and it didn’t help. I walked some more and sighed a big, sad sigh as I watched the 3:40 banner disappear in the distance.

Oh well. It was a pipe dream anyway.

I started to text Helly and she was full of all the motivation and inspiration that I was completely lacking at that point. I reached mile 14 and started to run again only to deal with the same cramping less than a mile later.

And this would be how the rest of my race would set up. Running. Cramping. Walking. Wanting to quit. Friends texting me and telling me to not dare quit. That I was still moving forward and that I was going to get that medal at the end.

By mile 19 I hated everything, but I felt like I was at a manageable enough distance from the end that I would finish. My fuel plan was working great and I didn’t feel weak or particularly tired, but my foot just continued to fight me every half mile or so. It got so bad by 21 that I had to stop a couple times to sit and try and massage the cramps out. Both times kind runners asked me if there was anything they could do to help. One woman who was walking by offered me some of her Gatorade, which I declined, but then I started walking with her and we got to talking. Her name is Amy and she was about to become my new BFF.

Strength in Numbers

Amy had gone out that day with BQ hopes and just like me, the race had not gone her way. For the remaining 5 miles, we pushed each other to keep running, walked if we had to, and took some hilarious pics when we came upon the MarathonFoto photogs. When we reached mile 25, I told her that I was going to run to the end. My time no longer mattered, but I wanted to have a strong finish. So I went. My foot cramped and I ran through it. The crowds of people cheering became more and more dense. People were shouting at me by name (I guess I do kind of like having my name on my bib) and as I rounded a final corner with the finish line in sight, I heard Charissa yelling for me from behind a gate. It was exactly the final boost I needed.

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I finished in 4:23:38. Way off the time I wanted and I didn’t even care. If not for the people who stuck with me through the worst parts of the marathon – Helly, Amy, my friend, Chip, and my mom – I wouldn’t have finished at all. I was just so happy to finally have that big, heavy medal around my neck.

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I waited for Amy to cross the finish line a couple minutes later. We hugged and exchanged information. I really hope to do another race with her one day (and that we both have MUCH better outings than this time around!).

As far as the race itself…I would do this one again in a heartbeat. The course was beautiful with lots of cool stuff to look at and there were plenty of water/fuel stations. I barely needed to carry anything with me at all. And the finish right there on the boardwalk was just amazing. I may have hated everything while I was out there, but looking back it was really awesome.

So that’s it! The marathon that almost wasn’t…then was…then almost wasn’t again…and then ultimately was. I learned A LOT about myself during that race and I’m so glad that I didn’t allow myself to give up when things seemed really impossible. I have wonderful people in my life that believed in me more than I believed in myself and because of them I was able to keep going forward. There will be other chances in my future and hopefully I will go into those healthy.

Now it’s time to heal.

Thank you all so much for your support, kindness, and advice over the past couple months. The running community is such a wonderful thing…something I realized more than ever when people stopped their own races and offered to help me when I was hurting. I’m truly touched and honored to be a part of it. 

Happy Tuesday and I love you guys. ❤

xo,

Salt