Wow, it’s been a while since we posted. A good two months! So much has been going on lately that the Mad Marathon feels a long time ago, rather than a matter of weeks.
Mike and I haven’t lost our enthusiasm for running and our marathon experience didn’t change our minds about training for more races. But, we’ve hardly run at all since the Mad. It’s a bit depressing, but we have some good reasons for it. Nevertheless, it’ s going to take some work and real discipline to get going again.
Mike and I just announced to the world today that we’ll be moving to New York. He will be taking a new position with the Cummins Northeast distributor, and since we knew there was a likelihood of moving, we’ve been busy trying to get our house into selling shape. Not terrible with 0-1 kids, but with three little boys under 5, it is almost impossible to keep the house at a basic level of clean, much less show worthy.
Second, I’ve been gearing up to start my first year of homeschooling, and that has required a lot of reading and planning. We’re in our second week now, and getting the hang of things with a reasonable routine, so hopefully I can get exercise scheduled back in. I mean, formal exercise. I do alot of running up and down the stairs as it is.
Finally, the biggest reason I, in particular, haven’t been running? I was just crazy exhausted after the marathon experience. Note to all women of child bearing age out there….refrain from training for a marathon two months after having your third C-section when you’ve scarcely done any serious running in your life. While the idea seemed great at the time, and the training started well, towards the end of the 16 week training session and in the actual marathon, I tanked. My training runs up to 20 miles in length were going great, and I was happy with my times, but suddenly I just started pooping out, and my last few long runs were terrible. I attribute most of this to just being plumb worn out.
However, I loved the marathon experience and am determined to get back to serious running again. But this time I’m going to do it right. I’m going to train for alot of shorter races and half marathons first, before I attempt another marathon. Besides the physical effort it takes, the time commitment is really tough especially when you’ve got a young family.
I was planning on running some races in Indy this fall, but since we’re moving, it isn’t likely that will happen. So, my goal is to get at least one race done in New York in the last months of this year. All of you who follow this blog please hold me accountable to this!
Seeking to fully live,
We have been a little slow in updating the results of our marathon last Sunday. it’s been a hectic week and a lot of windshield time driving back to Indiana. Each of us is going to share their view of the race.
Almost six months ago, a month after having my third son (and third C-section), my husband popped up with the idea of signing up for the first ever annual Mad Marathon in Vermont. He was so excited about the idea, and I was motivated to get rid of the baby weight as quick as possible, and we both loved any excuse to go to Vermont, so I hopped on the marathon bandwagon.
After months of training and preparation, the race day, July 10, finally arrived. And now that the race is completed, I’m left with two predominant thoughts about the experience:
1. The Mad Marathon was AWESOME, well done, well organzied, BEAUTIFUL, and BRUTAL.
2. My race was about the worst, painful, most anti-climactic long run I’ve had so far.
Running the marathon was a great experience for us. Through it, we met some terrific people and were able to push ourselves to limits beyond what we believed ourselves capable of. The Vermont countryside in the Mad River Valley is breathtaking, and everyone involved in pulling off the marathon, especially Dori and Ian, the organizers, were fabulous. We were impressed by the serious runners who tackled the tough course in fantastic times, as well as amused by the more social participants, who stopped occasionally to snap pictures.
All that being said, the race was personally super tough for me. I was experiencing awful headaches every day for most of the week before the race, and didn’t feel in top shape by race day. While Mike and I included hill training in our prep for the race, I was intimidated from the start when we drove the course prior to the race. Hill after hill lay before us, including a particular daunting patch called “the Dip.” that we got to run down and up twice during the race. That was a misleading name…it should be referred to as “the Yawning Chasm” or “the Grand Canyon”.
From the start of the race, I had trouble breathing properly. This was frustrating for me because I haven’t had breathing issues since February. Only a couple of miles into the race I began to already feel exhausted, and by mile 15, my legs were cramping and having muscle spasms. At one point, my calf muscles cramped up so much that my toes curled under in my shoes and I tripped, nearly falling all over myself. I was so discouraged, because I had never experienced this before, and that morning I had been careful to eat and drink what I always did before long runs. Drinking gatorade and slurping down energy gels did little to make me feel better.
Mike was awesome, sticking with me and encouraging me, but I was obviously really holding him back. He refused to run on ahead until I told him that I’d be seriously mad at him for the rest of the day if he didn’t take off and run the best he could. He finally obeyed me ( ) with a little over 10 miles to go, and I proceeded to limp in to the finish. However, through the incredible encouragement of all the aid station volunteers and friends, alot of prayer, and sheer willpower, I did finish.
I’ve heard that people never run two marathons. They either run one and determine that that will never happen again, or they catch the bug, and run more and more. Despite the frustration with my first marathon, the nausea, cramps, and ginormous blisters on my feet….I’m addicted. I could hardly do more than hobble around after the race for about three days, but the whole time was thinking how nice it would be to get out and go jogging.
Mike and I are already planning our next marathon.
We are here! Our goal for the last six months, the Mad Marathon is right upon us!
It’s hard to believe that tomorrow Mike and I will be running our first marathon. Doing such a thing certainly wasn’t on my radar 8-10 months ago….then I was consumed with wanting to have my third baby so I could stop waddling around being a tired, pregnant mom chasing two other little ones all day. Mike has tons of work demands that have worn him out, and I have three little boys age four and under, one being our new little six month old addition. Fortunately, the baby just started sleeping consistently through the night for me, but I really could have used that extra sleep over the past few weeks.
So, has this journey been worth it? I can already say, even before the marathon has been run, that this journey certainly was worth it. My top reasons?
1. Mike and I have met some incredible people along the way that most likely would have never crossed our paths had we not started the marathon training and signed up for the Mad Marathon.
2. Training for a marathon is a great way to shed those extra baby pounds quicker.
3. Our preschooler is getting to see the value of exercise and the fun that can be involved with it.
4. Mike and I have grown closer and strengthened our relationship as we pursued this goal together.
5. My self confidence has taken a steep climb upwards….I used to think that two miles was my limit….I now know that I can do alot more than what I gave myself credit for.
6. I’ve had an amazing amount of fun!
Mike’s idea to run a marathon has changed our lives these last few months…we have entered a world, so to speak, that we previously were clueless about. I used to hate running, but have since become addicted to it, and have found that the running community is actually a really great thing to be a part of.
Am I ready for tomorrow? I hope so. As Mike recently posted, the last couple of months of training have been really tough.
I’m not a morning person (just ask Mike) so getting up to run has always been really hard. But, by seven pm I’m so exhausted from the day’s events that the only running I feel like doing is the short sprint to my couch. Making myself gear up and head out for runs at night would not have happened at all if we hadn’t set this marathon goal.
Am I nervous about tomorrow? Heck, yeah! We drove the course a couple of days ago and the long hills look daunting. I don’t want to be a DNF (did not finish). But darn it, what better and more beautiful place is there to be a DNF than Vermont?
Furthermore, my best friend came up from Boston to see us and help watch my boys (just having her around is heaven) and I’m getting to run my first marathon tomorrow with my other best friend, who is also the best husband I could ever have asked for. What could be better?
Seeking to fully live,
1. It’s amazing how I can drink water non-stop on a really long run and still manage to lose 5 pounds of weight by the end.
2. Running by fast food restaurants is brutal when you’re tired and hungry, but running by dairy farms when you’re at mile 22 is the worst ever. It makes you want to puke up everything that you don’t have in your stomach.
3. Running long distances can bring amazing amounts of clarity and critical thinking, but it can also bring incredible brain fogs. Yesterday in the first 14 miles of my run I had huge “aha” moments by listening to interviews with Dallas Willard, but by the end of the run all I could think about was counting my steps (1,1-2,2- 3,3, and so on nonstop) and silently cussing at Mike in my head for roping me into training for a marathon.
4. For the first 10 miles, energy gels work fine. After that, the idea of any brand of them makes me want to heave. By mile 20, I don’t want a sugary gel….I want to pull a hot dog or slice of pizza out of my fuel belt. I haven’t yet figured out how to package them for the upcoming marathon in Vermont.
5. To my coach in high school who very strongly implied that I didn’t run properly and wasn’t really worth the effort, may I say with all due respect that high school is not the world, and never say never. I may not be a good runner, or a fast runner, or a runner with fine form, but darn it, I am a runner and I’ve got the miles to prove it.
6. While waiting on the sides of back country roads in your van keeping an eye on your spouse who is running, Angry Birds is a great way to pass the time and drown out the continuous Thomas the Train music and dialogue that is coming through the car speakers.
7. Why is it that when you’re out running, lots of people in their cars and big trucks wait until they get close and drive as fast as possible around you, while revving their engines? Seriously, do they think that’s cool? Anybody with a foot can push an accelerator, not everybody is willing to get out and put some miles on the road. I prefer to pay homage to the runners and cyclists I pass VERY SLOWLY on the roads.
8. Completing 26.2 miles is one of the toughest things I’ve ever done (and I used to think biking 50 miles was tough), and at the end of it I thought I could easily give up running, but who would have thought, the next day running seemed like a good idea if I hadn’t been so sore. It’s funny how pain, sweat, and blisters can be so addicting.
9. I now know that I can exercise for 7 hours a day and not die.
10. Even though I’m the tiniest bit chagrined, I’m still thrilled and super proud of how Mike is whooping my butt at this whole running thing…let’s just say that in the 26.2 mile training run, he SMOKED me. I’m hoping I can just keep up with him during the actual marathon.
The magical time is over….it is now down to the business of “everyday-ness”. The romantic notions are fading a bit, and more common are the blood, sweat, and tears of perseverance.
Mike and I have been running hard core for a few months now, and while we’re still really enjoying it, trying to fit it into our daily life around work, kids, and other activities is getting tough. Now that our marathon training mileage is really increasing, we are feeling the pain and fatigue that comes with it; gone are the easy days of 3-4 mile runs and the fanciful dream of completing 26.2 miles in a really long time.
This training is alot like our marriage. The rubber has hit the road and it’s time to put up or shut up, pardon the bad cliches. Just like our running honeymoon ended, our marriage honeymoon ended and real life sank in.
Mike and I had an awesome week long honeymoon in Italy. It was a dream trip, one that I was amazed my new husband planned down to the last detail for us. We ate incredible food, toured Florence, Venice, and Tuscany, and enjoyed a wonderful first few days of marriage together. If you ignore the misfortune of my cheap curling iron absolutely frying my bangs the day after we got to Florence because of electricity differences (yes, I did use a socket adaptor), I couldn’t have asked for any better.
When we returned from Europe, we were unprepared for how hard life can be on newlyweds. We both worked full-time jobs, I had no clue how to run a household, and the fact that Mike and I have basically polar opposite personality types made living together for the first time a trying experience. So much for the romantic dinners with great food and wine, strolls on the Ponte Vecchio, relaxing boat rides through the canals of Venice….nope, it was now about learning to work hard in a relationship, love sacrificially, and realize that the kind of marriage we wanted, that 26.2 Mile Marriage, was only going to come as the result of pain and training, and hopefully as few DNF’s along the way as possible.
Life is even more complex now, six years into marriage, than it was as newlyweds. We have three kids, (5 if you include our goober dogs), a mortgage, jobs, and numerous responsibilities. Mike and I have to be incrediblly intentional about our marriage, just as we need to be in our marathon training, to reach our goals. Simply having good intentions never won any races, literally or figuratively.
Even though it’s getting tough trying to fit my runs in, I’m a little grateful for it because it is reminding me of my priorities, and pointing out areas where I might be slipping a bit, becoming complacent. I know that just because the honeymoon is over doesn’t mean that I won’t have wonderful times again. I appreciate running so much more now, and have noticed an marked increase in my endurance. The same is so with my marriage…the love and respect I had for Mike at our wedding was paltry compared to the way I feel now, and so many of the issues that would have caused nuclear war between us in those early years just cause ripples now.
Because I know these things, I’m so much more motivated to hang in through the long haul. I don’t have to be afraid when the honeymoon ends…it was really only just a taste of the good things to come.
The unchallenged winner of our 2Toms Butt Shield Giveaway is Christa!
Congratulations! Email us your contact information and we’ll get that sample headed your way!
As an updated review on this product, I have to say that I’m really pleased with the Butt Shield. When Mike and I started running, our mileage was low enough that we weren’t experiencing any chafing issues. However, once we hit about 13 miles, I started noticing more discomfort, especially on my arms when wearing sleeveless shirts, as Christa mentioned, and also my legs. The anti-chafing properties of Butt Shield have solved the problem in a non-greasy, non-messy way. Definitely give it a try!
This last Sunday I (Julie) did a 15 mile run. Fortunately, I had much better weather to run in than Mike…his Saturday run was cold, blustery, and rainy. He did a great job and got a really good time despite it all.
My run was very interesting to say the least. I decided to take off to the Indiana farmland south and west of our neighborhood to avoid traffic as much as possible and run on the roads instead of banging my poor knees on sidewalks.
Mike and I have invested in some running gear since we took up this marathon challenge, but as much as possible, I have tried to use what I already have to save some money. I didn’t spare on running shoes, but instead of investing in fancy running apparel I hit the fitness clothing sale at my local JC Penney and used my socks from Walmart.
This long run tempted me to start thinking more seriously about what I use to run in, both for comfort and convenience. My shorts only had a tiny inner pocket, just big enough to stuff a few pieces of sugary candy to eat. Mike insists I carry my cell phone for safety (you never know when you may be attacked by a dairy cow in the back country) and so he can track me by GPS, but my shorts had no place for the phone, and my water belt didn’t have a compartment to put it in either. After about 10 minutes of trying to figure out what to do with my big pop tart sized Android, I put it in a ziploc bag and stuffed it down the front of my shirt. My weight belt was tight enough that it didn’t slip through. My chest looked pretty funny…no feminine curves…it was rectangular.
After eating the candy while running, there was no way I could get the wrappers back in my pocket easily, so, not wanting to litter, I just tossed them down the front of my shirt as well.
Finally, my cheap socks allowed several blisters to form on my feet, and dumb me forgot to put on sunscreen so my shoulders and legs cooked to a nice shade of red.
I’m not doing any more runs over five miles without investing in some decent socks and I’m seriously contemplating just putting down the money to get some good running clothes that have all the pockets I could ever need.
Besides the pain I inflicted on myself, I was almost hit by a 1930 something model car as a parade of old cars turned on a road right in front of me. Later, two deer jumped out on a back road ahead of me, but fortunately, after staring at me for a few seconds, they decided to move on and not be hit by the speeding train that I am.
All in all, good run. I managed to run the per minute mile I was hoping for, and even though my knees are sore and my sunburn scratchy, I can’t wait to hit the roads again!
Saturday I (Julie) ran in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Breast Cancer 5K. It was the first real race that I’ve participated in since running cross country in 10th grade. Instead of starting with a small race, I managed to pick one with almost 40,000 participants!
The sister of a good friend of mine fought breast cancer over the last year, and I joined her race team to show her support. Even though the day was cold, windy, and threatened rain, along with soggy, muddy ground from previous rains, we had alot of fun. Everyone’s displays of pink, including a guy dressed in a head-to-toe pink bodysuit, were entertaining!
I was also really pleased with my race performance…Mike and I have been using Jeff Galloway’s method of running using run/walk intervals, but on Saturday I wanted to try to run the whole 5K without stopping. I succeeded, and had my best time for that distance! I hardly felt tired at the end and could have kept going. Especially considering how yucky the day was, I was thrilled with myself!
It was great getting to support breast cancer survivors and the cause of finding a cure, and most of all I realized that I am now hooked. Running the 5K was so much fun that I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing alot more races in the future!
We were recently given a sample of 2Toms Butt Shield to test out in our marathon training. It is designed to help ward off chafing and blistering caused by physical activity such as cycling, running, rowing, etc.
Initially, Mike and I got a huge kick out of the name and concept….we had never heard of or encountered butt chafing before, even with our road biking experiences. As a girl, I was well aware of that wonderful thigh chafing that can occur if you’re not stick thin, but I’d never suffered any other problems.
However, as we talked to friends who were much more experienced long distance runners than we, we learned that butt chafing is indeed an issue, especially as mileage increases. (You never know what you’re going to learn when you try out something new!)
Since I haven’t personally had an issue with thigh or butt chafing so far with my running, when 2Toms asked me to review their product, I decided to give it a go on a different area that was plaguing me….my three-time C-section scar.
Much to my dismay, long distance running has been awful for my scar, opened for the third time only three months ago. My shorts or tights elastic waist band constantly rubs against it so that when my run is over, anything touching my abdomen is brutal.
To my delight, the Butt Shield radically reduced the chafing of my C-section scar, and after running my longest run of all time last week, I was much less uncomfortable after the run than before.
Butt Shield comes in a roll-on container, and is easy to apply, isn’t messy, and most of all, doesn’t feel greasy or goopy like the standby Vasoline would.
So, while I haven’t yet had “butt” chafing, I will definitely keep this product around to solve the problem if it does occur.
Furthermore, 2Toms has generously offered a sample of Butt Shield for us to give away free on our blog. If you are interested in trying it out for yourself, leave us a comment on this post telling us what chafes you most and where your next big race will be. We will do a random drawing on May 1 and announce the winner!
2Toms is also hosting a contest on their facebook page for people running a half marathon or marathon in 2011 with a chance to win a year’s supply of their products, a $500 value! The contest only lasts for a few more days, so check out the link to enter!
Here’s to running with no chafing,
Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. I think he was right on when he spoke these words. If we don’t know who we are and why we do what we do, what is the point of living?
Because Mike and I are followers of Jesus, purpose is very important to us. We don’t consider our lives to be about mere chance, and we strive to understand who we are in relation to our creator and in relation to to the rest of the world, wanting our lives to be of consequence.
Our marriage, therefore, is not simply an archaic institution that we humor out of romantic sentiment. We wholeheartedly believe that our marriage is of eternal value and affects not only us, but our children and others that we come into contact with.
Regarding our exercise routines, we have discovered that it is essential for Mike and me to set up goals to work towards. Otherwise we tend to take the path of least resistance and head toward the couch at the end of the day, exhausted by our daily responsibilities. When we identify milestones in our marathon training, we are encouraged and motivated to keep progressing towards our ultimate goal of a 26.2 mile race. If we had just told ourselves that we were going to try and run every week without a plan and without acountability, we most likely would never make the marathon in Vermont in July. However, because we are purposefully approaching this event, we are seeing more success each week.
Our marriage is no different. I think when we first got married, we naively thought that we could just meander along and things would be fine, the romance would continue, life would be peachy, and we’d live happily forever after. Not so. It didn’t take us long to realize that unless fueled, the romance fires dim, responsibilities of life and busyness distract from quality time spent together, and selfishness and rushing around can blind us to why we got married and became parents in the first place.
When we became intentional about our marriage, we learned a few very valuable things that are making our lives much more meaningful:
1. Marriage is not just about Mike and me. We are leaving a legacy for our children. By building a strong marriage, we are modeling for our boys what marriage should look like – they will learn how to love and cherish their future wives, and find wives that will honor and respect them in return. They will learn how to “stay in the room” even during tough times. By purposefully approaching our life together, Mike and I hope to spare our children from many of the mistakes and pain that has been passed down through our families.
2. Marriage is a training ground for other areas of life. One thing I have found, much to my chagrin, is that marriage will very quickly point out how broken and selfish a person is. Living with someone so closely reveals every rough edge a person has and every fault that needs to be addressed. If we examine ourselves, and allow our spouse and others to examine our character, we can identify both the strengths and weaknesses of our personalities and temperaments, enabling us to make adjustments as necessary and navigate life in a much more productive and helpful manner.
3. Training for this marathon has been a discipline exercise for me in my marriage. Every marriage has tough moments, times when we don’t like our spouse, when the grass looks greener on the single side… However, there are moments when running that I don’t think I can make the next mile…my knees hurt, it’s hot, I’m thirsty, a bowl of ice cream sounds more appealing than losing those extra pounds..yet I discipline myself to continue towards the goal…I want that marathon! And if I can discipline my lazy body to run that extra distance, then certainly I can close my mouth when I only want to spew snarky comments in the direction of Mike, certainly I can lay aside my wants now and then to serve Mike. Don’t I want a successful marriage and children standing on a solid foundation more than I want to throw away all the energy I’ve invested thus far?
As we continue to examine our running strategies, our supplementing options, our gait, etc., we will continue to examine ourselves and our marriage. In the short run, it’s easier to give up when things get tough, but we refuse to become another statistic. We have our eyes on the finish line, our children begging us to finish well, and the assurance that all of our hard work will not be in vain.