5 Year Marathon Anniversary

5 years ago I ran my first marathon at the age of 38.  I had run a little off and on for years prior, but never for more than 4-5 months at a time before getting injured or being pregnant or running a business and taking another year or 2 away from running.  I did not grow up running or participating in sports that required running and I am far from a natural athlete.  However, I had always had the idea of doing a marathon in my head (even when I couldn’t have completed running a 5k!).  All this to say, you never know what is possible until you try.  And that small seed that had been planted in my head to “someday” do a marathon has now blossomed into 11 marathons completed and a bigger seed in my head to “someday” (as in 4 weeks) do an Ironman.

My first marathon was the Duke City Marathon in Albuquerque where I live.  I didn’t know much about training back then and didn’t even have a watch with GPS.  I found a marathon plan online for running 3 days a week that I used because I had battled many injuries that derailed my running over the years.  The plan worked well and I was able to run the entire marathon without stopping (although the last 10k I could have probably walked faster than I was “running”).

The start line of my first marathon, October 2009

The start line of my first marathon, October 2009 (I’m in the center with the pink shirt on)

Finished in 4:13

Finished in 4:13

As painful as those last miles of the marathon were, both physically and mentally, once I crossed the finish line I knew I wanted to do another.  I thought with better training I could possibly get a little faster.  Unfortunately, my eagerness to continue running did not allow my body proper rest and recovery time after the race, and I was quickly injured again.  It took me 2 more years of working through various injuries before I was able to run my second marathon.

Now 5 years, 11 marathons, including 2 Boston Marathons, later, (not to mention a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis), I still want to train and continue to improve.  I have taken a bit of a detour from running marathons due to triathlon training this year.  I raced my first Half Ironman 4 months ago and am getting ready for my first Ironman on November 16th.  I’m fairly certain that myself of 5 years ago never could have imagined this!  Keep dreaming, let those thoughts that might seem crazy in your mind become the seeds that blossom into your future.  You never know where they will take you.

Dream big

 

8 Weeks To Go

As I’m typing this I have to pinch myself because I simply cannot believe that there are only 8 weeks left until the Arizona Ironman!  It does not seem like that long ago that my family and I were volunteering for the event last November.  As volunteers we were able to sign up before the registration opened to the public, so my hubby and some friends and I bit the bullet and registered.  At the time it seemed so far away, however, as time seems to do lately, it has flown by.

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My daughter handing out water at our superhero themed aid station.

Training is going as good as can be expected.  I haven’t posted much about it because between shuttling kids around to school and activities, training, and working full-time, blogging has taken a backseat.  I have been averaging about 10 hours per week of training.  A typical week will include 3 sessions of each discipline…yep that means 9 workouts total.  How do I fit those into 7 days (really 6 since 1 day a week is a scheduled rest day)?  The 2 runs during the week that I do are rather short compared to my previous marathon training plans, so on run days I will also throw in my swim training.  That is getting a bit harder as the swims are progressing in distance, and therefore taking me more time since I’m still quite the slow swimmer.  However, I have enjoyed swimming after running as it seems to really loosen my legs up and I don’t get as sore.  I’ll have to remember this and keep this practice when I get back to “just” training for a marathon.  Yes, you did catch that correctly, I will be switching back to marathon training post Ironman (and after a good long recovery period).  I’m sure there will also be more triathlons in my future, as well, but I need some time to get back to my first love after all this Ironman craziness.

As if I’m not already nervous enough with just 8 weeks to go, here is a picture of the start of last year’s race.  I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around what it will be like to be in the water with 2,500+ people.  Did I really sign up to do this?!

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2014 MS Bike Ride

This weekend I rode in the New Mexico MS 150 Bike Ride for the third year in a row. After my diagnosis in March of 2012 I knew that staying active was more important than ever and to be able to do that while giving back to this wonderful cause has been a blessing.  I am very aware that due to the unpredictable nature of MS there may come a day that I cannot run marathons, do triathlons, or ride a bike anymore, so I feel that it is my duty to do what I can now in the present.

I love doing this ride every year because it is such an uplifting weekend with people coming together to raise money for MS research and awareness.  Here are some pictures from the weekend’s festivities:

This is Day 1, my husband, Rick, David (a friend of mine for over 27 years!), me, then another Rick (who has been a friend for 25 years!)

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The “Ricks” taking a well deserved break at a rest stop around mile 80.

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The end of Day 1 and 150+ miles done!  There may have been a little fall at the end of Day 1 at the finish line.  Note to self: Don’t attempt to high-five someone while still riding your bike…taking a hand of the bars before coming to a complete stop may not be the smartest idea after 100 miles.

Time to refuel and get ready to ride again the next day. IMG_7770

Day 2:  We were joined by Brian, another great friend of over 27 years (boy am I feeling old).IMG_7775

I got to reunite with Larry, a fellow MSer friend from Colorado who comes to New Mexico to do the ride every year.  He is one tough cyclist (I suppose all those mountains in Colorado make for good training!).  I enjoy seeing him and his wife every year.  Larry is a source of inspiration and support to me, for which I am very grateful.

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Celebrating after a tough climb on the course:

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I’m overwhelmed by the love and support:

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Day 2 and 50+ miles complete!  And there was yet another fall off the bike at some point during this ride…something to do with a washed out road, lots of sand and not being able to unclip in time.  Oh well!

Time to celebrate, recover and get back to Ironman training!

photoTo sum up this amazing weekend, here is what I posted on Facebook to my friends and family.  I am truly blessed.

Words simply cannot describe the gratitude I feel in my heart after this weekend’s MS Bike Ride. While I never would have chosen to be stricken with this disease that has no cure, I am beyond blessed by the outpouring of support. From our friends that donated, to those that prayed for us, to those that watched our kids so Rick and I could ride together (thank you Kelly Martin!), to those that rode this year and in years past, to my friends that also live daily with the uncertainty of MS…thank you for helping me not feel like I’m going through this alone.

 

 

7 Random Facts About Me

Tina over at Gotta Run Now nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award and asked me to post 7 random non-running facts about myself.  Honestly, Tina has inspired me over the past few years as I have followed her blog and watched her run many races including 15 marathons and a 50k!

Here are my facts.  (A few running related ones may have slipped in, what can I say, it’s a big part of who I am!):

  1. When I was in second grade I was an extra in a TV movie called “A Shining Season – The John Baker Story”.  I got pulled out of class for about a week to film different scenes and remember how fun and interesting it was to be a part of this film about a great man/coach/runner.  Talk about an inspiration!
  2. We take a lot of road trips as a family (because it’s usually too expensive to fly!), and to pass the time in the car my husband loves to listen to books on tape.  I, however, cannot pay attention long enough to follow an entire book through!  My mind ends up wandering and when it finally returns to listen to the story, I’m completely lost!
  3. I have a love/hate relationship with swimming.  I hate getting up, putting my suit on, going to the pool, jumping into cold water, trying to catch my breath the first few hundred meters.  Then, when I’m about 75% done with my workout I starting enjoying it and occasionally will even add a few laps at the end if I have time.  So by the time I’m out of the water I think “I LOVE swimming”!  About an hour later that feeling is gone and I start dreading my next swim.
  4. I have fallen twice on my bike in the past 2 weeks…while clipped into my pedals.
  5. I have fallen twice while running in the past few months…fortunately I was not clipped into anything!
  6. I have one sister and my husband has nine siblings.
  7. I recently read “Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself” by Rich Roll, and I loved it.  It may or may not have planted a seed…

Now, I would like to nominate Kristen at Faith and Margaritas (great name, right?!).  Kristen and I connected a few months ago as fellow runners with MS.  Kristen was diagnosed about a year ago and is staying healthy through diet and exercise (both are so important when you are battling an auto-immune disease).  She is a sweetheart and will be running her first marathon in New York City this November.  I’m so excited for her!

Don’t let me be the only one sharing!  Tell me a random fact about your life in the comment section.

Injection Independence Day

I am celebrating a different kind of Independence Day.  No it’s not the 4th of July, (which by the way was great, my family went camping in Colorado at a gorgeous lake), it is my Injection Independence Day.  For the past 2 years I have been in a clinical trial for a new MS medication.  The trial has consisted of getting an IV Infusion of the trial medication (or placebo) once every 6 months, and giving myself injections of an existing MS medication (or placebo) 3 times a week.  Basically I’ve been on either the trial IV infusion drug or the injection drug the past 2 years, we just don’t know which one.

Getting one of my IV infusions

Getting one of my IV infusions

I recently completed the initial 2 year trial and have been accepted into an open label extension study in which I will receive just the IV infusion of the trial drug every 6 months.  The best part is that I do not have to do the 3 weekly injections anymore.  Hallelujah!

Bye bye needles.  I hope to see you NEVER again!

Bye bye needles. I hope to see you NEVER again!

Now it’s time to rejoice over being done with giving myself the dreaded injections.  (I really do not like needles and this has been a huge accomplishment that I’ve gotten through 2 years of giving myself shots.)  And it’s time to pray that the trial medication, called Ocrelizumab, works well for me and others in helping slow (or ideally stop) the progression of MS.

Hope faith