Traveling, Races & More!

Once again, it has been WEEKS since I’ve updated so I am slightly behind. So much to write about. First, I’ll give my full recap on the Chicago Marathon (which I DID conquer, damn you injury!) and I left straight from there to vacation in Europe. So many stories and experiences in Chicago, London and multiple cities in Italy (including climbing a volcano- can check that off the bucket list!)

Once I get my bearings together and catch up on work and school, I’ll be back in full force with race recaps and pictures from my travels.

Happy Running!

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Small Acts of Kindness

Yesterday we had the world’s most perfect weather. Mid 70’s, no humidity, sun was shining bright. Of course, I wanted to run. My podiatrist asked me to go for a short run before I see him tomorrow to have my foot re-taped. At first, I was terrified. What if I screwed up my foot more? What if one small baby run lessens my chances of making it to the start line on Sunday? Bottom line- I was scared and doubtful I could do even 2 miles.

Then I weighed the pros. If I did a baby run, I could gauge everything and still have a few days rest before the race. Hopefully the cortisone will kick in more before then and a few extra days rest would do me good.

In the end, my own stubborn attitude won out. I laced up my shoes, turned on my Garmin and went for a run. It was only 3 miles, but I couldn’t be happier to be out there, running down my familiar trials. It wasn’t as painful as it had been while running but it was still sore and not exactly comfortable- not to mention slow. Truthfully, I have my doubts about 26.2. It is a weird spot to be in as I’m trying to push past fear and both prepare myself equally mentally for either not being able to run….or running and conquering the marathon distance.

I finished my run and returned home. Right on my doorstep was an envelope addressed to me. Confused, I opened it. Inside was a card:

keys

Inside the card read: “Kate, You have come so far and I have nothing but faith you will accomplish this goal. Just take it one step at a time. Treat yourself to a yummy post-race breakfast on me.” There was money and a key that said strength on one side; courage on the other.

My friend Kim, who lives over 30 minutes away took time out of her day to drop this beautiful gift off to me. I was beyond floored. I didn’t expect it and the thoughtfulness and generosity blew me away. This woman shows me how to be a better friend and overall person on a daily basis.

It just goes to show- we may not be able to change the world. But little acts of kindness, even something as simple as holding a door, giving a smile or simply saying hello can make someone else’s day.

What will you do to make a difference today?

RAAAAAACE WEEK!

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone for their kind words regarding my injury. I read each and every one of your comments even though I haven’t gotten the chance to respond. Everyone who reached out whether it be on here, or finding me on Facebook- your support meant the world. It is what makes this running community SO amazing.

I’ve taken the past week off of running, not entirely sure if I’d be able to run Chicago this weekend. I swear it is a cursed race this year as I’ve heard about SO many injured Chicago runners. On Saturday, I finally couldn’t take sitting around anymore so I hit the gym, biked 12 miles and lifted which was more difficult than I anticipated. Rut roh.

I finally figured stuff out with my insurance company which is a nightmare (crap insurance through work) and got an appointment with a Podatrist that my dad recommended. I went in yesterday, on one hell of an emotional roller coaster. I thought I had prepared myself to potentially hear that I wouldn’t be able to run, but at the same time I was PISSED. Five months of hard work and sacrifice to not be able to do it only a few weeks before?! I was starting to see what everyone had told me about when I first started on this marathoning mission- that the mental game and roller coaster is harder than the physical aspect of training. I COMPLETELY underestimated how many ups and downs there would be throughout this entire thing!

I had myself convinced that I fractured my foot so bad it would have to be amputated (dramatic, I know, but I was a wreck). They took me back and did both X-rays and an ultrasound to check for a multitude of injuries. I finally met the doctor himself and went through everything- how this started a few weeks back with my Achilles and now it is my foot. He sat back, looked at me and said: “When is your race?” I told him and he looked at me for a second and he goes, “I know better than to piss off you runners. I come from a family of them and I know how psychotic you get when you can’t run. Let me check your tests and we will see what we can do to successfully get you through Sunday.”

X-rays and ultrasound came back normal. The doctor said I mostly likely strained my Achilles and as a result, overcompensated heavily with my foot which led to a whopping case of tendinitis. He told me I could probably run Sunday and that it wouldn’t be pretty and I’d be struggling after, but he wanted to do everything possible to make it happen. He gave me a Cortisone shot and taped my foot to hell and back. He told me to stop by on my way to the airport Thursday for a re-taping for Sunday’s race. Post Chicago, I will have to get fitted for a boot, but at that point I won’t care.

Even though I got the green light, I am trying to mentally prepare to run but not get excited at the same time. I plan on taking it day by day and know that it will most likely be a game day decision Sunday morning. Worst case, I jump back into the training saddle and do Philly next month instead.

I will try to post again later this week, but good luck to everyone running this weekend! Can’t wait to read about all of your hard work paying off!

Ocean City Half Marathon Recap

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This past Sunday I ran one of my favorite half marathons ever! I ran it last year for the first time with my mom and it was her half marathon debut.

I’ve written about it on here before, but Ocean City, NJ is literally one of my favorite places in the world. Last week when my friend suggested we leave Philly for the weekend (Pope weekend), I jumped at the opportunity to go back to the beach and run this race. My scheduled mileage for Sunday was only 12 miles so I figured one more wouldn’t kill me.

Sunday morning came and my friends Brandy, Kim and I all set off for Ocean City bright and early. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sun was shining and it was a cool 66 degrees. Unfortunately, the winds were rather strong which I knew would make things difficult during the second half of the race. That being said, we were all up to the challenge.

Shortly after arriving in Ocean City, we headed up to the boardwalk to pick up our race packets when I ran into my friend Tim. It always amazes me the people you manage to run into at races. He was supposed to have done a competitive swim in the ocean that day which was cancelled because of the winds and current. Instead, he decided to run the 10 miler. After talking for a few minutes, we went to get our bibs.

Funnily enough, when we were in line, there was a man ahead of us who was picking up his packet for the “10k”. The woman behind the table informed him that there was no 10k, but a half marathon, 10 miler and 5k. The man kept insisting that he signed up for the 10k. He finally resigned himself to the fact that he had signed up for the 10 miler, thinking it was the same thing as a 10k….whoops. Poor guy.

Several people from my run club were also taking on OC. We ran into Annika, her boyfriend Mark, and Angela before race time. Mark won a half marathon a few weeks back and was hoping to repeat and win some possible prize money.

The race kicked off at 8:30. We started off of the boardwalk on 9th street for anyone who is familiar with Ocean City. We had our asses handed to us almost immediately as our first two miles were spent conquering hills on the 9th street bridge to Somers Point. Once those first few miles were over, everything was relatively easy. We ran back over the bridge to the very beginning of the island, weaving our way in and out through neighborhoods. I managed to keep around a 9:00-9:30 pace for the most part.  Around mile 6, we ran back onto the boardwalk which is hands down, my favorite place to run. The boardwalk itself is 2.5 miles in length. The breeze felt AMAZING, but it was strong and I knew the headwinds would be a bitch on the way back.

Around mile 7, Mark ran past me on the way back, about 1.5 miles from the finish, right behind the guy in first place. It was amazing for me to see, as he didn’t look the least bit tired. Once I got off the boardwalk, I saw another friend from run club who cheered me on, which gave me all the motivation I needed.

However, around mile 10, it all went downhill. This was the turnaround point where we had to run straight into the wind. What was a nice breeze before was now near impossible to navigate. My lungs were burning and I struggled to breathe. Around this time, my foot, which has been feeling fine and I was able to do 21 miles on successfully, felt like it was on fire. All of a sudden, I felt a sharp, fiery pain that was similar to what happened last time around when this happened several weeks ago. I had to stop around 11.5 and walk a bit. However, that hurt more than running, so I jogged (literally), very slowly to the finish for a final time of 2:05:57. I tried not to beat myself up. It wasn’t even close to my worst time, but it was not my best either. That, and the fact that I have been nursing whatever injury this is, with the strong winds on top of it would insure that most people wouldn’t have their best race.

I found Kim and we went to get some post-race grub. When I say this race has THE BEST post race food, I mean THE BEST. Water ice, pizza, donuts, salt water taffies, popcorn, soft pretzels, etc. I was in absolute heaven. We met up with the rest of the group for some team pictures before heading off to watch the Eagles game.

Overall, it was another fantastic experience. Aside from my foot, this race has it all. Great swag, even better food, beautiful scenery. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a beach race.

As for my foot. Due to insurance complications (what exactly IS the point of paying for health insurance if visits are still unaffordable?!), I haven’t been able to get to the doctor’s and I am back to square one. The pain is excruciating and once again, I am facing that fact that after five months of hard work, I may not be able to run Chicago in 11 days. I feel like I have been on an emotional roller coaster. I dealt with this several weeks ago when it began, rested it and did my own conservative therapy. I made it through 21 miles with no problem, getting my hopes up. I made it through last week running with no problem. Then BOOM- here we go again. I’m trying to simply take it one day at a time. I’ll be taking a week off again. I can’t put any weight on my foot whatsoever. I have compression tape wrapped around my foot for support and have been elevating and icing while at work to help. I have no problem dealing with injury as it is par for the course for a runner. I think what is so disheartening is that I’ve worked so hard and sacrificed so much that is just simply sucks for this to happen so last minute.

I just have to keep remembering that whatever is meant to be will be.

group run2

Running & Protein Shakes

I came into work this morning to find this gem. Minus the bow and the skirt, it is eerily accurate. My coworkers know me way too well. I’ll keep them for awhile 🙂

kate

Ocean City Half Marathon

All I have heard lately is the Pope this, the Pope that. For those who don’t know (or live under a rock), the Pope is spending a week in NYC, Washington and Philly. All sorts of phrases are being tossed around such as Popeageddon, Popeapalooza, and many more. Bridges and roads out to the suburbs of Philly are being closed down. In a nutshell? Total total nightmare.

pope traffic

(This picture pretty much depicts how all of us feel)

Last year, I ran with my mom for her first half marathon in a place I frequently mention on here- in Ocean City, NJ. That same race also happens to be happening this weekend. My friend Brandy (who is going to Chicago with me) came up to me this morning at work and asked me what I am doing this weekend. I told her that I would be treating it like a snowstorm. (Read: binge eating and watching Netflix all day in my PJ’s). Then, much to my surprise, a few beautiful words came out of her mouth: “There is a half marathon in Ocean City this weekend. We should find ways around the road closures and just DO IT.”

Needless to say, a mere 30 mins later I’m registered and pumped with adrenaline because unexpectedly this weekend will be full of two of the things I love most, running and the beach.

6b3b9-kateandmom

Throwback to last year when Momma Bear ran her first half!

Anyone else racing this weekend?

Training Training Training

I stopped counting training weeks. I just know it is double digits and waaaaaaaay too many. I very slowly started out running last week. Throughout training, I’ve been running four days a week. I have accepted that with my Achilles injury, that probably is not likely for the rest of training, especially if I want to attempt Chicago.

Last Tuesday, I ran a relatively pain free six miles. I did not get my hopes up though, which ended up being a good thing since Thursday’s five miles were BAD. Ankle pain, foot pain, you name it. Throughout training, I have been trying to do some visualization exercises. A friend suggested to me that I write my goals on paper, say them out loud and essentially put them out there into the Universe.

Thursday night after my run, I decided to try just that. I had already accepted that Chicago, which is a mere 20 days away, may not happen. Why not try something else? I put pen to paper and wrote out a ton of goals, career and personal. I got as specific as possible. I stated that I wanted to run and finish Chicago, but that I would respect my body through the next few weeks more than ever to help that. I wrote exactly what my game plan was: sleep, fuel, lots of water, massages, foam rolling, yoga, etc. You name it. I then put it out there into the universe.

Originally, I had aimed for two 20 milers. Obviously, this did not happen. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to do one. However, I was hellbent on doing at least 18 miles this past weekend to gauge how I was feeling. My mom agreed to run part of the way with me to help me warm up and gauge.

We woke up early yesterday morning. I fueled with some oatmeal and chia seeds, as well as some Pedialyte. By 6:45, we were ready to go. I said a quick prayer and left it up to the universe. Whatever was meant to happen would.

We set out and we could not have asked for better running weather. It was cool, windy and simply perfect. My mom ran the first six miles with me which I desperately needed. It was also great to catch up with her seeing as we have both been so busy. My mom has always been the one trying to get me into running but I would never bite. Now, the tables have turned and I am the one getting her into distance running. Two years ago at 55, she ran her first ten miler and last year, she finished her first half marathon. Yesterday, while running, she suggested “maybe” doing a marathon. She truly inspires me as she proves that it is never to late to go after something you want.

At mile 6.3, I said my goodbyes to my mom and kept on going. I felt great. The more the numbers on my Garmin kept inching up, the more determined I was to hit that 18 mile mark- and I did. Once I did, I kept going. Mind over matter. I could and I would do this. Once my Garmin read 20 miles, I started to tear up while running. Running 20 miles is something I never in a million years dreamed possible. Hell, six years ago, I couldn’t even run a block. And here I am, training for my first marathon, giving a nice one finger salute to my injury and running 20 mother effing miles. It was surreal and I was unbelievably overwhelmed.

I’ve written before about what a crazy ride it has been throughout this past year and running has helped me through all of it. I’ve moved forward. I am setting goals and accomplishing dreams. I’m learning more about myself and my limits. I have days like yesterday and it is just mind blowing how far I have come. I amaze myself sometimes with what I am capable of.

I went home yesterday, ending up with a surreal 21 miles. That was the furthest I have ever run in my life.

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It was hard, it was tiring, it was both overwhelming and emotional. I did it. Chicago, I am coming for you.