Decision Help

I am having a dilemma right now and would love to know what you think I should do.  As I mentioned here, I have been dealing with some fatigue issues the past few months and have not felt 100% in my running or my day to day life.  However, my running is starting to feel a little bit better.  I had some good runs over the Thanksgiving holiday that left me thinking and hoping that I am on the rebound.

Now I need to decide what to do with the next few months of running.  I am thrilled to get to run the Boston Marathon (God-willing) this April.  I’ve also got my hopes set on running the Boston Marathon in 2014 because it falls on my birthday, April 21st.  So I need to run a qualifying time that will allow me to run in 2014.  In an ideal world, I would qualify at this April’s Boston Marathon for the 2014 race.  However, I know that Boston is a challenging course with the hills, and there is no way of knowing what the weather will be that day.  If it’s hot like last year, put a fork in me because my body does NOT run well in hot weather.  So that would leave the remainder of the summer to run a qualifying race, which may or may not happen and my dreams of Boston 2014 would be dead.  This is the reason I was going to run the Tucson Marathon as my Plan B after NYC didn’t happen.  It’s a great downhill course, giving me some extra help in hitting my qualifying time.  The problem is since I haven’t been feeling great, my training has not been ideal leading up to this marathon that is now a week and a half away.  So do I still try to go for it and see if I can hit the 3:45 I need for Boston 2014?  Here are the options I’m weighing and would love your help in deciding what to do.

1.)  Run the Tucson Marathon on December 8th and hope to hit my time.  Then take a few weeks off and jump into training for Boston.

2.)  Take the next 7 weeks to focus on gaining some speed back (which seems to have been missing the past few months) and run the Arizona Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon on January 20 in Phoenix and then transition into Boston training.  Essentially putting all my eggs in the Boston basket and hope to run a 2014 qualifying time there.

3.)  Take the next 7 weeks to train for the Arizona Rock ‘n’ Roll full marathon and try to qualify there for Boston 2014, then take 2 weeks off and have 10 weeks to train for Boston.

Please leave a comment let me know what you think.  What would you do?  If you have run Boston is it as tough as everyone says it is?

Thank you!

Thankful for the Weekend

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I had a great weekend filled with eating, relaxing, time with family and friends and a little bit of working out.

Thanksgiving morning Rick and I did our own Turkey Trot after dropping my sister off at the airport.  Maverick came along with us on our 8 miler.  It was chilly at the start but I warmed up quickly thanks to the Albuquerque sun.

Friday afternoon both of our kids were invited to sleepovers, so Rick and I went for a 20 mile bike ride.  This is the first time I’ve been out on my bike since the MS Bike Ride this summer and it felt great.  I really need to do that more often!  I just get stuck in my running rut because it’s what I love and seems easier to throw on the shoes and head out the door to run vs. getting the bike ready for a ride.  After our glorious ride, we went to a movie and saw the new James Bond flick.  Thank you to our friends for having our kids spend the night so we could have a great date-afternoon and evening, followed by a 10 mile trail run together the next morning.

The rest of the weekend consisted of getting the Christmas decorations up.  I wish I could say I got some holiday gift shopping done, but sadly that did not happen at all.

How was your weekend?  Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? 

Plan B…Maybe

Even though I ran 26.2 miles the day the NYC Marathon was supposed to have taken place, it wasn’t “officially” a marathon and I took it easy on that run so that I could be ready to take on an official marathon race soon after.  I have my eyes set on the Tucson Marathon on December 8th to take advantage of the 4 months of training I put into the NYC Marathon.  I have run the Tucson Half Marathon the past 2 years and have loved it.  It’s an easy trip to make because it’s only a 7 hour drive or 1 hour flight and my dad lives there.

Sherri and me after the 2011 Tucson Half Marathon

The weather is always great and this is a mega-downhill course which I LOVE.  Last year, I ran a 1:39 and used this race for my guaranteed entry into the NYC Marathon.  I decided this would be the year to cruise those downhills and do the full marathon.

The only problem is that I have not been feeling well for a while now.  I have been fatigued for months, but just thought it was from the increase in miles in my training schedule that I talked about here or possibly it was just normal fatigue from my MS.  Then I started having headaches every day, which is (thankfully) very unusual for me.  Then the big bombshell hit when I was going to do my last 10 mile run before the NYC marathon.  It was supposed to be a marathon pace run and 1 mile into this run I knew something was not right.  I could barely hold my pace and my heart rate was through the roof, as if I was running speed work.  I had to walk after 3 miles to bring my heart rate down.  I tried one 1 more mile before throwing in the towel and walking home.  I don’t think I have EVER cut a run short, especially the last important run before a race.

This rocked my confidence, but more than that I knew something was just not right with my body.  I had some blood work done and it showed I was low in iron, which can cause all the symptoms I had been feeling.  So my doctor recommend I started taking iron supplements.  To make a long story shorter, I recently had my blood retested and while my iron is on the low side, it’s not terribly low and now my doctor and I do not know what is causing these symptoms.  It very well may be the MS Medication that I am on, but we are running some more tests to see if we can determine anything else.  I have taken a bunch of days off of running and any other exercise to let my body rest.  But I am itching to get back to my running, I miss it so much and need it for my sanity!  I will try another run sometime this week and cross my fingers that my heart rate is normal and happy.   I am still hoping that I can possibly run the Tucson Marathon in a few weeks, but if not…there will always be another marathon.

Happy Dance

I was doing a happy dance Wednesday night when I opened my mail and saw this:

My kids thought I was a little a strange.  And those of you that know me in real life have probably never seen me do a happy dance, but this called for one!  With all the drama surrounding the NYC marathon, I had almost forgotten that in 5 short months I will get to run the marathon I have dreamed of and worked hard to qualify for the past few years…The Boston Marathon.
Other happy news.  I have some family members coming into town for an early Thanksgiving celebration this weekend.  My dad and his wife, and my sister will all be in town.  The last time we were all together was Thanksgiving a year ago.  It’s going to be a great weekend!
What exciting things do you have planned for the weekend?   

NYC Pictures – Finally

Where has the past week gone?  We finished our trip in New York and flew home Wednesday just before the snow storm hit.  I cannot believe that the East Coast was hit with another big storm after Sandy.  I feel so bad for all the people there whose lives have been disrupted from all this horrible weather.  Please continue to pray for them.

After we got home, my son got sick and passed it on to me, so I’ve been battling a head cold and just overall run down feeling probably due to the crazy ups and downs of the previous few weeks and the traveling.  Finally here are some pictures from our amazing trip to New York.

This was around mile 16, running over the Brooklyn Bridge.  Gorgeous views!  As I mentioned here I decided to run 26.2 miles on the day the NYC Marathon was supposed to have taken place.  I made it an easy training run so that I didn’t have to take too much recovery time afterward and can, hopefully, schedule another marathon soon.

Thousands of runners were in Central Park along with many others spectating and cheering the runners on.  People had even set up their own water stations and were handing out drinks and snacks.  After running along the East River and then over the Brooklyn Bridge, I returned to Central Park to finish my last couple of miles.  I was overwhelmed when I arrived and saw how many people were there running.  I wished I had more miles to complete so that I could have done at least one big lap around the park, but it was not the day to run an ultra-marathon (although that is on my bucket list!), just 26.2 miles for me this day.

I timed my run so that I hit 26.2 right at the finish line that was still set up for the marathon.  It was funny because the actual finish line was blocked off, you couldn’t run underneath the banners, and security guards were standing watch to ensure no one went in that area.  Not sure what the big deal was about the actual finish line, because there were people everywhere else, even sitting in the grand stands that lined the last few hundred meters of the course.

It was a very emotional moment when I reached the finish line area.  Hundreds of people were hanging around, while other runners were still passing by on their own personal journeys.  My family was not there yet, so I had a few minutes by myself (amongst a sea of people) to just absorb the moment.  I’m usually not too emotional after races, but this one was an exception.  This was a race I had dreamt about for the past year, and with my MS diagnosis earlier this year, I just felt so grateful for the opportunity and the ability to be able to move my body over 26.2 miles in one of the best cities in the world.

No better way to celebrate then with my family!  Thanks to each of them and to all of you for your support on this amazing journey that I was blessed with.  God is good!