elisariva

Seizing life's joys and challenges physically, mentally, and emotionally.


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Never Say Never?

I am just shy of four weeks out from my next marathon. Back in October the idea of running an early Spring marathon sounded good. With the cold and snow we have had in Northeast Ohio this winter, I am questioning what I was thinking!

Treadmill runs to me are fine in the winter – for week day speed workouts or tempo runs. A few weeks ago I did something I never thought I could do – I ran 16 miles on my treadmill. My mind was as strained as my body when I finished. It was snowing and single digit temperatures outside. I had to get the distance in. The treadmill was the lesser of two evils that day. Fortunately this past weekend I “only” had a 12 mile long run and the weather cooperated – it felt great to run outside. This weekend I have an 18 mile run. Right now the forecast calls for snow but temperatures close to 30, I hope to get it in outside.

After my treadmill 16 mile run I posted my experience on social media saying “Never say never – I just ran 16 miles on a treadmill.” The responses I got were interesting. Some comments were encouraging words, some commented given the conditions it was a good choice, a few commiserated that they too had put in treadmill runs that day, and one friend ran 16 on her treadmill too! One friend did say never – he would never run that long on a treadmill. That same friend has been able to ride 3 hours on his bike trainer – something I question I could do.

More often than not I do think “Never say never” is appropriate. The older (or shall I say more experienced?) I get, the more this is true. I said I would never do another marathon after my fifth one. This next one will be my eighth. Actually number 6 was a February marathon and I said I would never train for a marathon through winter again – so much for that idea. After my first half iron distance triathlon I said I would never do another long course triathlon again. I have now done six.

My experience with running and triathlon has taught me so much about myself – what I truly am capable of, what limits I can surpass, as well as how to listen more closely to my body. And my mind for that matter. I am competitive in the sense I compete against myself to improve. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon or winning my age group is something I never will do do not expect to do. There are a few challenges that I have doubts about right now – mountain biking for one. What the future holds remains to be seen. What I do know is saying it is impossible I will never do.


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Back to Blogging

While I may have taken a break from blogging, I haven’t taken a break from training. My experience at Chattanooga impacted me in many ways. It was disheartening, but it also strengthened my determination to improve on my abilities and possibly tackle the challenge again. So while I watch the big football game, I thought I would write and share what I have been up to the past four months.

On my drive home from Chattanooga I talked with my coach and discussed running a Spring marathon to work on my running. I chose the Shamrock Marathon in  Virginia Beach at the end of March. To test my progress I also registered for the Houston Half Marathon in January. Right before my training was to begin, I had mentioned to my coach that it had been a while since I had my VO2 max test done and thought of doing it again. I told him last time was in March of 2013 and it measured 55. I really didn’t know exactly what it indicated but I knew I ranked in the “very fit” category. My coach was quite surprised considering the pace I had been running. Apparently at that level I should be running much faster. Hmmm.

Running economy is where I must be lacking – as well as believing I am able. There is that word again – believe – a mantra I chose three years ago. I took the test again and it had dropped, but not by much – 47.5.  So my training began in mid November with a much more challenging plan to push me. Despite another mild ankle sprain and a terrible cold over Thanksgiving – and lots of snow – I have been running more than I have in a long time. It is tiring for sure, frustrating at times, and my toes are very angry with me. Thank goodness for dark colored toe nail polish!

I went to Houston a few weeks ago and ran the half marathon. A very dear friend lives there – who also happens to be a wicked fast runner. I stayed with her and her family and she paced with me the first two miles and last three of the race. It was a perfect day with temperatures ranging from 45-55 and sunny. Also the perfect flat course. I ran well and unfortunately missed a personal best by less than 3 minutes – an unavoidable potty break 5.5 miles in set me back. Yes, it happens..

My swimming has become my strongest sport. Go figure. For those who have read my blog since I started in 2012, you will know it was my worst and most challenging. I am thrilled with my progress and working on getting faster. Cycling – I need to work more on it. I will be honest. The plan right now is two workouts on the trainer a week until the marathon, then it will become more of a focus.

In addition to training, working, and family I have taken on a home improvement project. I am taking down walls to open up my kitchen and dining room creating my dream kitchen. It will take six to eight weeks (I hope not longer!) and I want to document the process. I have created a new blog to share the experience. If you are interested, I would like to invite you to follow the saga of my kitchen renovation at Making My Bitchin’ Kitchen. The title says it all, it will be – well – bitchin’ when it is finished! Getting it done will be a journey for sure.