Thursday, November 1, 2012

Just over three weeks ago I DID IT!! I finished the Chicago Marathon...running...with a smile...and not last! What an amazing feeling to cross the finish line. So many emotions all at once...pride, relief, amazement that I did it, sadness that it was over (not so much the run, but the journey). I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. The fact that Greg was right there as we were about to round the last turn to the finish line and my kids were cheering their heads off in the bleachers right before we crossed the finish line added to the awesomeness. 

We were so lucky to have family and friends cheering for us at SO many spots throughout the race. It was such a boost each time we saw them! 

I wanted to make sure I had closure here. So that when I go back and read this a year from now, my journey is complete. Thankfully, just a day or two after the run I emailed all my thoughts to Denise, the amazing CF running coach who was there for my questions and freak outs numerous times throughout this journey. Here's how it went down...

Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2012 20:12:25 -0700


Feeling like a super star!! Everyone keeps telling me how proud they are and what an amazing thing I did. Nice to be acknowledged for all the hard work :) And I just got the official email from the marathon congratulating me on being a marathon finisher!!! The pride just keeps flowing. I feel so awesome! Not only did I finish the marathon, but I raised over $1,800 for Cystic Fibrosis which I'm am also VERY proud of.

Sunni ended up not coming down with us on Saturday and we never did find her in the corral Sunday morning. So it was just Emily and I the whole way. We've been running together for years so it was so awesome to cross the finish line with her. I can't even describe the range of emotions I was feeling as we ran up that final hill, knowing we would turn that corner and see the finish line. My hubby was there about 2/3 of the way up the hill which made it even more special. And my kids were in the bleachers right before we crossed the finish line. So, so awesome.

The people along the way were amazing. After feeling how much they keep you going I can't wait to be on that side cheering people along. My family split up so I think we had people cheering for us at about 10 places. Couldn't have done it without them :)

The run was great. There were a few bumps in the road, but I wasn't going to let them stop me. I kept thinking about Dean who is my friend's little boy with CF and my reason for doing this. I thought even more about my friend and what she wakes up with every day--the fact that her baby is sick and she can't do anything to change that. If she can get herself out of bed every morning and be an amazing mom, wife, friend, etc. with that on her heart, I was not going to let a few miles of pain stop me. The signs the said "Pain is temporary. Pride is forever" helped me keep that focus. The pain was going to be temporary!

My knee that had been hurting was fine. But about mile 14 the other knee started hurting. I'm sure I was overcompensating and not running with my regular stride. And then at around mile 20, my toe nail popped halfway off. Felt like my toe exploded. It is UGLY.

But at that point I knew I only had about 6 miles easy run. If you look at my splits you can see where I struggled. We had been stopping at the aid stations, using them to get Gatorade and/or water or just take a quick break from running. At about mile 23 I realized that it hurt more to start running than it did to just keep running. And then two of my best friends (one of them was Dean's mom) were at mile 24 and ran with me for a few blocks. It was then that we really kicked it back up. So many people were walking, but I had always envisioned finishing strong. And we DID!!

Massage tomorrow--although I'm sure it will be painful. My quads are still super sore. But I scheduled a full hour, full body massage with the therapist I've been seeing throughout my training. I'm looking forward to sharing all the details of my weekend with him. And he just got back from Disney, so we'll have lots to chat about during that hour!

I figure in another few weeks I'm going to schedule a massage at a spa and really relax and enjoy it. I'm also getting a tattoo. Emily and I have been talking about it since training started. Just something small on my foot, but something that will be a reminder of this amazing accomplishment that I am so proud of. That's my big reward--one I've been thinking about for months and I am very excited about!

Thank you for all your knowledge and support! Knowing I had someone to email with questions, concerns, or when I was FREAKING OUT was great. Even better was having someone who I could email who was as excited as I was about each accomplishment as the runs got longer and longer.

Congrats to you, too! I think it's amazing that you've completed so many marathons and that you're willing to share all your expertise and knowledge with those of us who had no idea what to expect. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!


The toenail mentioned above was indeed UGLY for a week...then Greg amputated it and it was so much better! My knees are still in recovery and I can't seem to get past 3 miles before my IT band is killing me. But I'm resting more days and doing some strengthening exercises and hoping to get back on track soon. It's already hard to imagine that I actually ran 26.2 miles! But all the pain and the time was worth it. I'm proud of what I did and why I did it. It's something I'll never forget.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

One week until the marathon and I'm falling apart. I needed the marathon to have happened about two weeks ago :) 

I've developed a mysterious knee pain. It came the evening of a rest day out of nowhere. Go figure.

I'd run 10 miles the day before and it was a really good run! The next night I was in the kitchen when I got a pain in my knee. I kept thinking it would go away; that my knee needed to crack or something. Not the case. When I got up on Wednesday and it was still hurting, I called the chiro's office. There's a (for lack of a better work) "regular" doc there too. She saw me the next morning. I hadn't run since the 10 miler on Sunday. Of course when I went in nothing was really hurting. I couldn't even really tell her where it had been hurting. She felt around and said that all the ligaments and the knee cap felt fine. Ice, ibuprofen, and maybe a brace.  She said to go ahead and give running a shot in the next day or two.

So after another day of resting it, I headed out yesterday (Saturday) for just 2 miles. It did not go well. The first 1/2 mile was great. I thought I was better. Then I felt a twinge and by mile 1 I stopped to stretch to see if that would help. I turned around and the second mile was maybe a little better. I found that shortening my stride helped a lot. So I guess it wasn't completely awful, but the fact that there was pain is frustrating.

I am so happy that the second 20 miler went so much better than the first. I am trying to keep that thought in my head as I make the decision to not do any running this week. I really did put in almost all of the training miles. I missed a 6 miler today and two 4 milers during the week. I'll miss a few miles this week, but I'm going to do some walking to keep my legs as ready as they can be for Sunday.

I'm considering a cortisone shot, but have read mixed "reviews" on going that route. I think I've finally found a brace that I like (after spending $100+ on 5 or 6 different ones!) and I bought some Salonpas patches.

I know I can do this, but I was hoping the pain would come at the end--not be there from the beginning. I keep telling myself that I delivered two kids with zero pain meds, this really can't be much more painful than that...right?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I'm ready to be done with training. I'm starting to feel burnt out and am ready for a weekend when I don't have to wake up at the crack of dawn. Less than one month until marathon day. I'm super excited about that day. It's all these other days that are getting hard--especially the weekday runs. At least on the weekends, the long runs feel like an accomplishment. More and more often, I find myself looking at the purple bracelet I've worn since making this commitment and reminding myself why I'm doing this.

Of course my ultimate reason is to help find a cure--for everyone with CF and especially for Dean and his family. But in my heart, my biggest reason for doing this isn't for Dean, but for his mom. I'm amazed by her strength. I don't know if I could be as strong as she is if I had to wake up every morning knowing my baby had a sickness I had no control over. I want to do everything I can to help find a cure so she can maybe wake up one morning without that heaviness in her heart.

I'm proud to report that I've met my fundraising goal!! I hope to keep raising money over these next few weeks, but I have to admit that it's nice to know I reached my goal! Thank you to everyone who made a donation! I have some pretty amazing family and friends.

Another 20 miler coming up this Saturday. I'm looking forward to it and am hopeful it will go a little better than the last 20 we did! I've decided that long runs are kind of like giving birth. Right after it's over, you're exhausted and in pain and think you'll never do it again. You quickly forget how bad it was and start looking forward to the next one!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I can't believe I ran 20 miles. Over four hours of running. Who in their right mind does that?!! All I can really say about it is that it was HARD! We were visiting my parents in Wisconsin for the holiday weekend. Emily and her family joined us. So at least I didn't have to run it alone. The route was pretty much flat and probably 95% farm roads. All we saw for hours was corn and cows with an occasional car speeding past.

The first 10 miles were really good! We got to the Varley's house at just over 10 miles and I was feeling great. By 15 I was feeling shaky, but had left some peanut butter sandwich cookies with the water jug we'd dropped on a corner and they seemed to help. By 18, the sun was hot and we were jelly-legged. But we managed to finish out the last two miles by setting small goals--run to that stop sign then walk a block or so; run to the end of this street, then another walk. It really wasn't pretty, but we finished it out with a run up a small (although it seemed giant at the time) hill.

We rewarded ourselves with a soak in the hot tub and lunch at Blue Spoon Cafe! Followed by an agonizing 3+ hour drive home. Ugh!

I have to say that this 20 mile run hurt less than the 18 we'd done two weeks before. We had to stop and stretch numerous times then; my legs and back felt really tight. During 20, I didn't experience any of that. Just pure exhaustion the last couple of miles! I'm not sure how I'm going to go for another 6.2, but I'm hoping after the next 20 mile training run, I'll feel more confident. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Many times garage sales are a waste of time because they're so much work to get ready and there's no way to know what will sell. This thought went through my head MANY times as I worked my butt off getting ready for my fundraising garage sale held last weekend. The night before, I had major anxiety worrying that no one would show up because I had decided not to put signs out until the morning.

Turns out I didn't need to worry at all. The people came and they kept coming! On the first day, there was not one moment there wasn't at least one person shopping until around 1:30. It was a ton of work, but almost $650 later, I'd say it was well worth it. I had signs plastered on every table saying that all sales would benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. And people were very generous. During the first hour, I had a woman purchase $3 worth of items. She gave me a check for $20. My neighbors bought a desk we had for sale and gave me an extra $20. People often said "keep the change--for your fundraiser." I had the opportunity several times to share what Cystic Fibrosis was and why I was raising money.

The sale ended as uplifting as it had begun. As we were closing down and boxing things for Goodwill, a final customer came to browse. She picked up 5 $.10 items. She handed me her two quarters and then reached back into her wallet for a $5. "For your fundraiser. Good luck," she said, and went on her way.

I am truly grateful to my friends and family for helping me to pull this successful garage sale off. To those who donated items to sell, stopped by to shop, helped me set up and/or take down and loaned tables in the mad scramble we had the night before...Thank you!!!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wow! It's been a whirlwind few weeks. Between two mini vacations, getting my first grader ready for the first day of school (which is this week), planning for and executing a VERY successful fundraising garage sale and of course RUNNING, I'm exhausted. But I keep putting one foot in front of the other and know the craziness will end...some day...right??

We spent 5 days camping on Lake Michigan in Sheboygan with my family. Lots of fun. Had to get two runs in there. One 45 minute run and one 8 miler. I went into the 8 miles hoping to use an app on my phone to map my run. Not sure if the app just doesn't work or if the signal just wasn't consistent enough, but I knew I was in trouble when I'd been running for about 30 minutes and it said I was at 5+ miles. I do not run that fast. I run a pretty consistent 10 minute mile. So I decided I'd just run 90 minutes and call it good.

The next weekend, we had a trip to the Dells planned. Long run for that weekend was 16 miles. I was stressed about not only running 16 by myself, but actually getting it in at all. Decided to do it Saturday and get it over with so I could enjoy the rest of the trip eating and drinking with no worries. I searched for running paths in the Dells and came up with nothing. The best the Dells' tourism office could offer was the name of a state park that was nearby. I found a map of the park and realized it was just a couple miles from the hotel we were staying at. We got up there early enough the day before my planned run to do a drive of the route. All I can say is Holy Hills!! That night I mapped out my 16. I ran from the hotel to Mirror Lake State Park, looped the park twice, back to the hotel, then down the main street to the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory Museum and back to the hotel. Thankfully it was overcast and fairly cool. I'm not sure I would have made it in any kind of heat. The hills were brutal!! I wish I had taken some pictures so everyone could see just how crazy hilly it was! But I did it!! And I followed it up with a huge breakfast at Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty!!

This past weekend was an easy 8. Up next is 18. Wow!

I have some exciting fundraising news to blog about also, but I was up at 4:30 this morning to get my 6 miles in. So it will have to wait for another night. I'm off to bed :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

This past weekend, we spent Saturday at a fun, fun, fun event. The first Chillin' and Grillin' for a Cure was held at Dean's house. It was a block-party type event, complete with kids' games, live music, a rib cook-off, lots of good food and drinks, tons of cool raffle baskets and more. 

The party was fun, but even better was seeing all of Dean's friends and family out there grilling, serving, selling tickets, organizing games, donating raffle items, buying tickets for raffle items...I could go on and on. It was amazing. 
Dean is waving hello to everyone :)

I am so proud to be a part of the awesome Eat.Pray.Dean fundraising team. What a special group of people coming together for a special little guy :) Can't wait for next year!