13. It’s my lucky number.

After a beer and 50 mg of Benadryl, I decided it would be a miracle if I even got up to run this morning.  I felt like butt after work last night…eyes swollen…runny nose…itchy face…hives.  I was having an serious allergy issue…until I went unconcious before sunset. 

My alarm went off this morning and I nearly cried.  I didn’t want to get up.  I most certainly didn’t want to run.  I was positive I had no desire to run 13.1 miles…but I had to.  No matter what, hell or high water, I had to.  It was the last long run before my first half marathon and I would have been an idiot to sleep through it.  So I got up. 

Lauren was kind enough to loan me her Garmin, as well as her boyfriend.  I was happy to have someone to run with.  Long runs are tough by yourself…at least I think so.  I would also like to point out that I did this run without music, just as I’ve done on all my long runs.  I haven’t been using my headphones for a good percentage of my runs, especially the last month. 

I started my journey running up Ft. Henry Drive.  I wanted to run a route that would be closer to my actual race, so I chose a few hills.  Well, I thought it was a “few” until I started running it.  From there, we headed down Warpath and made our way through the “nice house neighborhood” on Watauga.  I like this street because it has shade and it was pretty warm for an early morning. 

We came up on church circle, made a left down Broad Street and eventually made our way to East Center Street.  This street is basically a false flat with a few legit hills.  Zero shade.  I was actually feeling pretty good.  The inaugural bike ride two days before had my hips a little sore, but overall I felt great.  We passed DB, where we were parked, and headed back up Ft. Henry.  Round two…ding…ding…ding!

Second time around wasn’t as awesome, but at least I had good lungs.  My legs started hurting around mile 8.  By mile 10 I was moving just so I wouldn’t cramp up.  Hips, feet, ass cheeks.  Yes, my ass cheeks hurt.  The hills on East Center were bitches, but I kept a good pace and mashed through.  I made it to the flat part and started busting it to the car. 

I made it.  I ran 13.1 miles for the first time….without ITB pain…without stopping to puke…without giving up.  I managed to keep it under a 10 min pace, with a total time of 2:10.  I’m happy with this time because it was hilly and I hate, hate, HATE hills.  That run saved me.  I’m blistered, sore and can barely move, but that run saved me.

I am pooped but confident that I will do well next weekend.

Thanks Jenna Booher, Lauren Root, Cory, Niki Ferguson, Brian Archer and especially Jamie Williams for being my running partners, supporters and dear friends.  Without your encouragement and motivation, none of this would be possible.  I actually CAN do it!

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I’d Rather Be Sleeping

Nathan and I at Honors Convocation
I recently attended Honors Convocation at Northeast State. Apparently, I have the highest grade in my medic school class. It’s pretty awesome, actually. Aside from all the jokes I make about myself, I am pretty smart. I am a slight overachiever, but anything worth having is worth the hard work, right? I do realize I DON’T know everything and I don’t claim to. I only hope I can take this wealth of knowledge and apply it to my job…I hope I can “walk the walk”. You know what they call the person who graduated last in their medic class? A paramedic.  Yeah.  So, technically I could  be the dumbest SOB in my class…as long as I make a passing grade I get to play doctor.  Scary.
Anyhoo, school is winding down.  With the exception of our comprehensive final next week, this semester is Tony Dungy.  Just a few random classes this summer, state check-offs and the National Registry exam.  Oh, and there’s this little thing we call CLINICALS.  I’m basically booked for 3 months straight.  Good thing I don’t have any dating prospects.  My plan to stay single for the rest of my life is coming true!  All work and no play.  If I’m not working, I’ll be working for free.  Speaking of work…thank God for the folks at Sullivan County EMS.  They gave me a chance.  I have pretty much emptied my savings account over the last 2 months trying to compensate for the lack of hours at my other job.  Like I needed that stress!  I think I’m really going to like there.  It’s nice to be appreciated.  It’s nice to have a job…with actual hours!!
Dad and I before Honors Convocation

My motivation this week has sucked.  I think my marathon naps have been the culprit.  I rarely have time for naps, but this week I have taken advantage of this opportunity in preparation for the next month.  I’ve been exhausted.  My naps have been 2-3 hours long.  I wake up bummed out and tired.  I don’t feel like running.  I don’t feel like eating.  I don’t feel like doing anything but going back to bed.  WTF?!  I actually feel worse than I would have without the nap.  I don’t understand. 
I managed to get out for a TOUGH paced run with Jamie Williams last night.  Shew.  That girl ran my booty off.  I’m pretty happy with the sub 9 min pace for 5 miles.  I felt like dookie at mile 2.  I was on the verge of throwing up or blacking out for the next 3 miles.  It was awesome.  I even had to collapse on the ground at the finish.  It will help me get better, but DAMN, it hurt.
Sucking up all the oxygen at The Wellness Center
I’ve been swimming too!  Trying to get ready for this triathlon at the last minute has added two very early mornings to my already nutso schedule.  I know I should be swimming more than two mornings a week, but time is a real issue here.  I won’t be Michael Phelps, but at least I know I can swim 1000 meters without stopping.  Hey, it’s more than a lot of people are doing at 5am.  I should be happy.
My new cyclocross bike, Misti.
She’s here!  Finally!  My brother built me a cross bike that will double as a road bike until that glorious day when I can afford such luxury.  She’s pretty awesome.  I have yet to ride her other than around my neighborhood.  I’m fairly certain I’m going to die on the bike portion of the tri.  I’m very unprepared for this event.  I just hope I make it to the finish line in one piece.
As I sit here an type this, I’m “recovering” from my nap.  I feel like ass…most certainly don’t feel like running a measly 3.2 miles.  Please, please find me again Mr. Motivation.  I need you.  I just feel like going back to bed.

Succombe to the dark moment!

If you’re a runner, you’ve had a dark moment.  You can feel it creeping up…wrapping it’s cold hands around your neck.  It takes your breath.  It increases your heart rate.  Most of all, it makes you feel overwhelmed and exhausted.  She found me tonight, that bitch.

I didn’t even run today.  I haven’t had time.  I was lucky to get out of bed at 4:30 this morning to swim.  I even logged 2000 meters…longest swim workout yet.  Felt pretty good about myself too.  I came home, took a shower and went to take care of a few things for my new job.  Aside from the rain and cloudy sky, it was going to be a good day.  After lunch, I covered my bed in books, notes and handouts…study time!  This has been the same old sob story for the last 12 months.  I made plans to study my ass off all day and run before dinner, but my body had other plans.  I fell asleep, covered in notes, and woke up about 2 hours later.  I guess I needed it.  I felt like I wasted 2 hours of my day.

It’s now 9:30pm.  I’m overwhelmed with things I have to do and things I didn’t get a chance to do.  I hate missing workouts…opted out of my run due to time constraints.  Started thinking about my upcoming triathlon and how I don’t even have a bike yet…I don’t have road shoes…how am I going to practice T1 and T2 if I don’t even have a bike?  This shindig is 3 weeks away! 

This manifested into, “How will I run tomorrow with an exam, class and honors convocation?”  Then I thought about my 12 mile run set for Saturday AND ambulance clinicals immediately after.  I took one look at my pocket calender and wondered how I would be able to work enough during the summer to build my savings back, which then moved my focus to “I really need to get out of this house and get my own place, but school has drained my bank account.” And then came the real kicker…I miss my mom.

Mom’s birthday is Sunday.  This will be our second one without her.  I’ve really learned how to cope, but this time of year is not easy.  With graduation coming up, I find myself missing her more than ever.  Even though she saw me graduate with my B.S., paramedic school is something BIG and she would have LOVED it.  I think a small part of why I signed myself up for 15 months of scholastic agony was because she got sick.  I couldn’t help her, but maybe I can help someone else.  I wish my newly obtained knowledge could bring her back.  I’d give up everything to get her back. 

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my future.  I’ve watched nearly ALL of my friends get married.  I’ve watched as they pop out baby after baby.  I’m going to be 32 years old this November.  Never married.  No children.  People always ask me what I’m waiting for.  Hahahahaha.  Such a loaded question!  I’m not really waiting on anything…just a decent human being.  I’m amazed at the long list of humanity rejects I’ve involved myself with.  To think I almost made a few of them “forever”.  To be honest, I feel like all those horrible relationships have made me into something amazing.  Yeah, I’m amazing, so where is my honest-faithful-kind-intelligent man?  Good question.  I’m not holding my breath, because I’m certain I would become hypoxic long before Prince Charming came along.  And since I brought that up…STOP READING THAT STORY TO YOUR KIDS.  When your little girl grows up and realizes life isn’t a fairy tale, you’ll have some explaining to do.

Yep.  My dark moment.  It’s not about the running.

I must be crazy…

4am…GET OUT OF BED AND SWIM!

Well, I’ve done it.  I signed up for my first triathlon.  I always had it planned out perfectly in my head…hahahahaha. I laugh when I think about what I’ve done. 

I used to own a road bike.  I had to sell it when I lived in Mammoth because I needed rent money and didn’t make enough in the off season to cover it.  I sold my pretty little bike.  Loved that thing.  In hindsight, I could smack myself.  That was nearly 6 years ago.

I just learned how to “swim” a little over a year ago.  Jamie Williams taught me.  I was always a little water monkey as a kid, but no one ever taught me how to blow water out of my nose and I certainly didn’t know how to SWIM like a triathlete.  Thanks to her, I found something else to torture my body with.  I like torturing my body.

I’m a runner.  I suck at it…most of you have read to that conclusion by now.  I’m not fast.  I’m nothing special.  I CAN run farther and faster than your average human.  With that being said, your AVERAGE human sits on the couch and eats Cheetos all day, so go figure.  Anyhoo, I logged 80+ miles last month and feel like I can call myself a runner…so I do.  I even wear the little compression sleeves on my calves and spandex  booty shorts.  It’s all about how good you look anyway, right?! 🙂

Sooooo, with all that being said, I pulled the trigger on the Gametime Sports Tri at Warriors Path State Park.  It’s an Olympic distance (1000m swim, 26mi bike, 6.2mi run).  I guess I should also mention that it’s exactly a month from today…a whole week after my very first half marathon, which is two days after my paramedic comprehensive final.  Comprehensive meaning: ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING OVER THE LAST 12 MONTHS.  Since I’m on a roll, I will point out I DO NOT have a road bike and HAVE NOT been on a road ride in nearly 6 years.  My brother has been building me a cyclocross bike (steel frame) and I will have road tires to make it “street legal”. I have been in the pool TWICE in the last 6ish months.  I have a good running base, but still suck wind like a hot air balloon…at least that’s something. 

What the hell was I thinking?  I’m not sure.  I’ll have to get back to you with that answer.  All I know is this…I LIKE TO SUFFER.  I like to push myself to the limit, even though I could kick my own ass for stacking up the first two weeks of May with straight up torture.  It’s gonna be one hell of a ride, that’s for sure.  I’ll keep you updated. 

It’s all or nothing, baby.

Today I punished myself.  I ran 50% of my long run in agony.  My ITB flared up again.  I’m really trying to keep my head up, but I have spent most of the day being pissed off.  I feel like most of my runs over the last few weeks have sucked hardcore.  I had a couple GREAT runs and a ton of CRAP runs.  People keep telling me “it’s part of the journey”.  Well, I still suck at running.  I’m not getting any faster.  I’ve lost that spark I had a few weeks ago.  I’ve lost my motivation.  I don’t know how to get it back.  I feel like such a wus.

DEFLATED

I was doing so well.  I managed to squeeze my first two training runs in this week.  I had logged over 12 hours at the new job on Tuesday and Wednesday…AND pushed myself to run sometime after 9 pm on both days.  Not to mention they were GREAT runs.  I had today all planned out.  School, errands, group run and abs class.  I didn’t get out of class until nearly 3 pm and my errands were cut short due to the immense hunger I felt deep down in my belly.  I decided at this point it would be best if I just stayed in Blountville and ran on my own.  I had a VERY tough course in mind.  I ate a cookie (GU has just as much sugar, so don’t hate!) and purchased a sugar free Rockstar to help muster up the energy I would need for the hilly course around my house.  I put in my infamous Lil Jon CD and got “crunk” on my way home from Kingsport.  The thunderstorm was also headed right for me.  I CAN DO THIS, DAMMIT.

Got home.  Let the dog out.  Checked the radar.  Saw the BIG flashes of lightning.  Started getting sleepy.  Started getting hungry.  Started to realize I might not be able to do this.  Storm showed up.  Started cooking dinner.  Realized I would have to run after the storm passed.  Planned on running a gazillion laps in my neighborhood after my food settled…in the dark.  Started to feel sleepy again.  Put in a load of laundry.  Watched the gully washer outside.  Felt the failure creeping up my leg.  Screw this.  I’m not going.

I feel like my excuses are just that…excuses.  Just because I fell asleep standing up TWICE this week doesn’t mean I’m too tired to train, right?  Just because I fell asleep in class this morning and accidentally wrote all over my face with an ink pen doesn’t mean I’m too tired to train, right?  I don’t know how the “ironfolks” do this shit.  I’m exhausted.  Not even from running…just from my crazy life as a medic student.  My runs actually make me feel better, but I couldn’t muster up the “whatever” I needed to accomplish tonight’s run. 

I know it’s normal to miss a few runs, but I feel like I’ve failed.  I’m by no means a professional, but I do take some pride in getting stuff done in the midst of my crazy schedule.  Today I gave in…and I don’t like it.