Two years ago today was one of those monumental, life-changing events. I can honestly say it wasn’t “the” event that most changed my life – but it was among the top 10. On January 14, 2011, I had RnY Gastric Bypass surgery. In the two years that have followed, I have earned the title of WLS Athlete. Not because I’m three weeks away (!) from my first marathon. But, because I chose – one step at a time – not to take the “easy” way out (which is a lie, anyway). I used the surgery as the “tool” it was intended to be and it launched me into this lifestyle I’d only dreamed of.
Enough about that! Let’s talk about the biggie – TWENTY DAYS until Surf City Marathon!
My last month of “Sunday long runs” has been very challenging – mentally and physically.
~ Mental Low…I had a 16 mile planned day with icky weather that turned in to 17.75 miles due to a wrong turn. (At least I got the miles in.)
~Physical low…An icy morning in which I planned to do 18 miles on the treadmill (so I wouldn’t slip on the ice) and instead FELL OFF THE TREADMILL and got hurt at mile 9. (Yes, that’s a special kind of stupid!)
~Mental high, physical low…Last week was the highlight of the last month with a personal record time on my 10K race…followed by not completing the “walk home” mileage due to GI distress. (Called hubby to come pick me up.)
So, yesterday was going to be great! My last “LONG” run before the marathon - 20 miles. I woke up to sunny, dry – but COLD (28 degree!) weather. I’m fine with that, though – as I would prefer cold to rain and wind any day. Since I wasn’t having an afternoon massage, I was on an easier morning schedule. I took my time to have a good breakfast, make sure I wasn’t going to have any GI issues, let the sun come up fully, and make sure I had everything I needed for the trek. I know that my dear friend Katie’s house is exactly 10 miles away, so I had planned to make her house my warm-up, clean-bathroom stop! I’ve also been having “phone won’t stay charged” issues, so I was walking without tunes…which is good to do once in a while. It was just me, my thoughts, and the bitter cold – but I was headed out (after a quick text to Coach Lea).
The first mile was the hardest (as always), but getting to Katie’s house, though much slower than planned, went well. I had lots of time for talking to myself (IN my head, I think), and thinking about the “what next” phase of my life. (Another topic, another day.) When I arrived at Katie’s house, the kids & dogs were happy to greet me, though poor Katie was sick as can be. Her dear husband made me a hot waffle, and offered tea and/or soup! He’s a good guy. I stayed just long enough for the dogs & kids to maul me – and decided I’d better keep moving.
The return trip was a different story. My sweat had had time to cool…and the first two miles back out (mile 11 & 12) were EXTREMELY cold. I could keep warm if I ran, but I was getting pooped…and couldn’t keep the pace. So, I’d run 100 right-foot-strikes, walk 30, run 200, walk 50 – whatever I could do. It helped, but I was getting physically exhausted. At mile 14, I got back to my “good, clean bathroom” Shell station, bought another bottle of water & headed back out. I kept my run/walk going for another 2 miles, and hit a wall physically. My knees hurt if I ran, my hips hurt if I walked, and I was out of steam. There were about 5 times per minute when I thought of calling home.
By mile 17 I was in full-fledged pity-party mode – tears freezing to my face. I knew that if I called home, hubby would come get me, never mention anything about it, stop at Starbucks on the way home, and that would be that. But, I also realized that in the past four Sundays, I’ve only hit my planned mileage on one day (the day I took the wrong turn). I KNOW I can do the miles, but when am I going to have the opportunity to push through the mental piece to finish? Not on marathon day- but TODAY!
Besides, my New Year’s Resolution was to pay myself a dollar for every mile I complete in 2013, and my cousin, Karina, is matching me…so was I REALLY going to give up SIX DOLLARS?!?!? J
So, tears dried up (or chiseled off), I pressed on. I told myself that Starbucks (and a clean bathroom!) were only 2 miles away, and after that it was only 1 mile home. I could go get a warm cup of coffee to celebrate my last mile! Low & behold, my pace picked up (still walking), and when I got to Starbucks I just wanted to be HOME, so I skipped the stop altogether and just finished!
So, here I am…on the other side of 20 miles, two years out from surgery, and 20 days from the biggest athletic event of my life. And guess what, I’m still Living My Fit Dreams (tears and all!).