Hope you all had a great weekend!

I completed the 2015 New Jersey Marathon yesterday and the day couldn’t have been better. I will have a full recap up soon but I just wanted to share a few of the highlights:

1. I reached my A, B and C goal of finishing in one piece! And I reached my secret goal of breaking 5 hours.

IMG_5045Yup. I didn’t tell y’all that because I didn’t want to pressure myself having gone into this race SO undertrained and injury-plagued. I finished in 4:57:44, 19 minutes slower than my PR but this marathon wasn’t about PRs….it was about something bigger…love (more on that in my full recap).

 

 

 

the couple that runs together stays together =)

the couple that runs together stays together =)

2. Jane finished in 4:24(xx) which meant a 15 minute PR for her. She’s been hunting down a sub 4:25 and on marathon #3 she reached it and I couldn’t be more excited, happy, proud of her.

NJ Marathon BFFS 3 years running =)

NJ Marathon BFFS 3 years running =)

3. My brother, sister-in-law, niece and her friend came out again this year to cheer for me at miles 15 and 22 and brought me my ever important sweedish fish! More to come in the full recap but those fish helped me break through the wall at mile 18 and knowing they’d be there to see me at mile 22 kept me going when things got rough.

dig-deep

 

His and Hers. This makes my heart swell =)

His and Hers. This makes my heart swell =)

I hope to get the full recap up later today or tomorrow.

How was your weekend?

Yesterday I was at my shoulder physical therapy appointment. The exercises I had to do were so painful. I cried it hurt so bad. I cried some more because I felt so weak and even the easiest tasks just seemed impossible. Here it is almost 3 months since I fell off that snowmobile and I can’t wash a window with my right arm. I can’t put my hair in a ponytail (unless I bend down and do it upside down), I can’t lift myself off the couch or do a push up or plank….and the list goes on. All the pain, frustration and tears turned into anger and since I’m not a naturally angry person, that anger quickly turned into determination and I pushed through to finish my exercises and scheduled my next appointment.

I then posted this to Facebook:

facebookpost

And then I had my “aha!” moment. This is one of the many reasons I run marathons. It makes me stronger just as much on the inside as it does on the outside. Training for a marathon and the marathon day itself show me I can get through hard things. I can take the impossible (how on earth can i run 26 miles?!) and make it possible (baby steps! start with a long run of 7 miles and 14 weeks later run 20.). And with every marathon and training cycle I learn more about myself, my strength, my endurance and my capabilities. I learn through injury that I have weaknesses too. But I also learn that I can use my marathon training mind to get through those injuries.

I just need to stay in the mile i’m in! Just going to remind myself i’m only in “mile 1″ of rehab for the shoulder. So my mantra for Sunday’s race has now become my mantra for shoulder rehab too. And if when there comes a day I’m not injured or rehabbing I’ll be able to apply this mantra to some other aspect of my life.

Setting my PR of 4:38 last year. Best moment ever!

Setting my PR of 4:38 last year. Best moment ever!

Running marathons have given me confidence and to a degree an identity. If you’ve ever had the chance to see my Dicks Sporting Goods “Every Runner Has a Reason” video I said “I’m becoming more and more Sally, the runner rather than Sally the widow”.

I’ve also created some amazing friendships and just feel so at home in the community of runners.

Me and Lisa at my first marathon—the 2011 NYC Marathon

Me and Lisa at my first marathon—the 2011 NYC Marathon

My Ragnar Relay family!

My Ragnar Relay family!

Jane and I at mile 25 of last year's NJ Marathon

Jane and I at mile 25 of last year’s NJ Marathon

running and chatting

running and chatting

I really learned this after taking on the part time job working for the NJ Marathon. Speaking of, here’s a great interview with Joe Gigas, the race director of the NJ Marathon and a huge source of support and encouragement for me. This man cares so much about the runners!

That's Bre, Joe and me representing NJ at the Philly expo this past November. Photo: RunJersey

That’s Bre, Joe and me representing NJ at the Philly expo this past November. Photo: RunJersey

Lastly, while I was shooting for the Dicks Sporting Goods campaign a couple of years ago I met some amazing runners including Leah Thorvilson.

Me, Leah, Meggan (Rest in Peace-she lost her battle with breast cancer this past fall. ) and Tara—who's also running NJ on Sunday!

Me, Leah, Meggan (Rest in Peace….she lost her battle with breast cancer this past fall…I thought of her last month while running the Philly Love run right when I had that moment that I decided to stick with the full for NJ ) and Tara—who’s also running NJ on Sunday!

She’s run a 2:42 at the Olympic Trials and won the Mount Desert Island Marathon last October with a 2:49 after hamstring surgery no less! Now she’s faced with another huge setback a hole in the cartilage of her knee and she needs another 2 part surgery that will happen far away from where she lives and will keep her from any type of exercise for at least a year! But this girl is determined to run. And she has the biggest heart and gives so much of herself to others that I’ve decided to pledge money toward her traveling expenses for each mile I complete on Sunday (which will most definitely be ALL 26.2 even if it takes me all day). It’s not so much the money aspect but the return of support. She should know that the community of runners that she’s inspired is there for her as she undergoes another challenging year.

Oh I could go on all day about why I run marathons but I’ve got to head out for my last run before the big day.

What are you doing this weekend? Any fun plans? 

First, let’s talk about the Boston Marathon. It’s always so inspiring to watch. And boy could I feel for those runners in the cold and wet weather.

I streamed the marathon on my computer while at work and while I watched the winners cross I was called away from my desk and missed seeing Meb hold hands with that elite woman. Thank god it was posted everywhere! He’s the bomb. I think if I could meet any runner I’d pick him.

OK, so tonight when I came home from work I walked the dog for about 30 minutes and then i took off for my run. It’s probably the penultimate of my training cycle. I’m hoping to squeeze one more easy peasy 2 or 3 miles on Thursday or Friday.

IMG_4942

sunset

sunset

Now because I’m starting to get into my obsessive all about that base marathon mode I looked up the weather forecast first.

looks good to me!

looks good to me!

And then, because I’m a numbers geek, I went to see how many miles I logged last year in preparation for the 2014 NJ Marathon and how many little I ended up running for the 2015 NJ Marathon.

hmmm, less than half of the miles as last year.

hmmm, less than half of the miles as last year.

Yikes! I am so undertrained! But I’m still so excited to run. I’m actually looking forward to hitting the wall boardwalk in Asbury Park at mile 20.

I just yawned so I better wrap this up and what better way than with cute doodle pics…

Sloppy sit!

Sloppy sit!

I think Chester likes the smell of Duncan's paws

I think Chester likes the smell of Duncan’s paws

If you could meet any elite runner who would it be?

Are you a numbers person? Do you look at your running statistics all the time?

Running is always such a metaphor for life. Some good days runs, some bad…

After my awesome evening run on Wednesday night I ran again the Thursday during my lunch break. It was such a great 5 miles. I felt like I had bounce in my step—finally! I felt zippy! And I realized that V-neck shirts are awesome because I can clip my iPod Shuffle on my shirt.

sub 11 minutes these days feels zippy.

sub 11 minutes these days feels zippy. How did I ever run a half marathon at a 9:30 pace? It seems so unattainable these days…

Later on in the day I went for my second shoulder PT appointment. He worked on some knots in the muscles surrounding the rotator cuff which was painful but enjoyable all together. Then I did some range of motion and strength exercises that made me realize how weak my arm really got.

Friday I went into the city to see Dr. Williams for my knee and he declared we’re done with treatment. So that’s it! I’m going to miss all the bruises and pain in some twisted way. I will keep foam rolling and stretching like a champ though. He said to come back in if I need a tune-up after the race. I left his office and took a stroll through Central Park to relish in the completion of “kneehab”.

a view thru the railing

a “LOVEly” view thru my favorite railing in Central Park

I have always been fond of this ornate railing

I heart this railing

Yesterday I needed to get my last long run in, but I also needed to be out of the house by 12:30 in the afternoon so I set out for my run about 9:30am figuring 2 hours was more than enough time. I figured this was my last practice run before the marathon and I wanted to focus on a few things, specifically mental games and staying in the mile I’m running. All was going fine until about mile 3 or 4. I don’t know what it was but I was STRUGGLING to run. I could barely breathe and my legs felt like lead. The trees and flowers were in full bloom everywhere which might have spurred on some allergy stuff. I don’t usually feel like I can’t catch my breath when running. Also, we had an unbelievably warm day so that might have contributed to it. Well, whatever the reason my run plain sucked. On the bright side it forced me to work on my mental games. I kept giving myself milestones to reach for. “Just make it to the firehouse and then you can walk. Just walk until the downhill and then get your sh-t together Sally”. I walked a lot of the last 5 miles and only kept going because I had to be on the road to visit my friend Sue by 12:30. The exciting thing to note here is that I was able to start and stop with absolutely no knee pain! Even 2 weeks ago I still felt some discomfort when I would stop running and walk and then try and start running again. What a huge happiness!

I even prepared for the warm weather and swapped out my hat for a visor and filled a water bottle with some diluted Gatorade just in case.

I even prepared for the warm weather run and swapped out my hat for a visor and filled a water bottle with some diluted Gatorade just in case. I ended up drinking the entire bottle plus i filled it up at a water fountain too.

IMG_4883

I’m calling this the run I needed. I needed to struggle. It’s always good to know I can get through the struggle.

Today marks 16 years since this guy passed away from Melanoma.

He's finally resting peacefully =)

He’s finally resting peacefully now that I’ve found love again.  =)

Each year on the anniversary of his passing I take a minute to look back and see how much progress I’ve made living (not just existing but really living!) without him. And with the anniversary being so close to the NJ Marathon, It makes the perfect opportunity for me to see how strong I am both physically and mentally. If I could not only navigate through the hard work of caregiving and the sadness and grief of watching my husband die miserably from cancer and then navigate through those early years where I felt so lost I can totally navigate through a tough 26.2 miles undertrained come next Sunday. Maybe it’ll take me 5 hours and 38 minutes rather than 4 hours and 38 minutes but it doesn’t mean I’m any less determined to reach the finish line and honestly it might just feel that much more wonderful to get there this year. And here I go again with the running metaphor of life. Whatever your life goals are, just work at reaching the finish line….get there….don’t worry about the time or the hard work it’ll take to get there…..just focus on getting there.

This week I plan on finalizing all the race week essentials.

1. Get pumped! Well with the Boston Marathon tomorrow I’m sure that will spark all the excitement and inspiration I need.

2. Finalize running playlist: I just found a new song I’m going to add. It’s called Geronimo by a band named Sheppard. And Uptown Funk will be on the list for sure.

3. Make some goals: My A goal is to finish in one piece. My B goal is to finish in one piece and my C goal Yep….to finish in one piece!

4. Hydrate and foam roll: Yeah, this is pretty self explanatory.

5. Get plenty of sleep: Yeah, this is pretty self explanatory too.

So who’s running Boston tomorrow?

Who’s going to watch it on TV?

Who’s going to wear Blue and Yellow?

Who’s got a running/life metaphor to share?

Oh, and here are 2 more pictures Mr. SOTTS took of me when we were in DC last weekend.

How funny is that tree-hugger girl in the white dress. She's working' it for the camera.

How funny is that tree-hugger girl in the white dress. She’s working’ it for the camera.

I never saw what I looked like taking photos before.

I never saw what I looked like taking photos before.