Was is Worth It?

Since returning to the land of the living, I’ve been asked several times “Was is worth it?”  Sometimes the question is well intentioned, sometimes there’s a hint of sarcasm behind it, but at the base of the question, there is a genuine curiosity if running a marathon was worth the health problems that came with it.

My sweet friend Nicole from Masters to Marathons made this for me while I was sick.  I LOVE IT!

My sweet friend Nicole from Masters2Marathons made this for me while I was sick. I LOVE IT!

A bit of background for context first.  Three weeks ago (approximately a week before Rock-n-Roll New Orleans) I started to feel sick.  I spent basically the entire week before the marathon trying to get rid of whatever bug I had picked up.  By the Saturday before the marathon I felt about 85-90%.  Sunday, race day, I woke up with a bit of a sore throat but otherwise felt fine; thankful I had dodged the bullet on being sick race day.  Monday, after the marathon, I felt like I had been hit by a truck and then got progressively worse throughout the week.  By that Thursday it hurt to breathe and I was coughing up green stuff.  {TMI? Sorry.}  I drug myself to the doctor, got a lecture, a shot in the butt and the diagnosis of bronchitis and sinusitis.

I was put on two medicines but the damage had already been done to my system.  I spent the next four days (Friday-Monday) in my jammies, coughing so hard at times that it made me throw up.  I had zero energy, couldn’t really talk (no voice) and didn’t have much of an appetite. I lost weight which is always a concern since my BMI is an underweight figure.  Probably the funniest side effect of being sick is that I {still three weeks later} sound like a man.

My doctor confirmed that if I hadn’t run the marathon, I would not have gotten sick like this.  Since I ran the marathon with a compromised immune system, it gave free range for whatever viruses I had in me take me down for the count.

When answering the question, “Was it worth it?”, I take into account the fact that these people don’t run; I have yet to be asked by another runner if it was worth it.  Non-runners don’t understand the effort that goes into preparing for a marathon.  To them, this is just like any other race I run.  They don’t realize that I registered for it 9 months ago.  Or that I dedicated 4 months of my life preparing for it.  Four months of “I’m sorry I can’t {insert fun event}, I have to run”, 16 weeks of sore muscles & body aches, 112 days of mental battles and questioning my ability if I could actually do it.  Not to mention the amount of money that went into shoes, clothes, fuel, etc.  No to them, this is just a race.

To me, it’s much more.  This marathon was a test of not only physical endurance but also overcoming that annoying voice in my head that still tells me “You’re not a real runner.  You’re just putting on a good charade.”  Running is so much more mental than physical.  If I had decided not to run the race due to health reasons (which would have been the smart thing) I would have felt completely defeated.  Like that little voice inside me won.  “See I told you you’re not a real runner.”  If I hadn’t ran that day, Rock-n-Roll New Orleans would have always been the race that got the best of me.  I would have always wondered what if…  I know myself and I know I would have a very hard time forgiving myself.

All of that is what flies through my head when they ask me if it was worth it.  But I know they wouldn’t understand, so I just simply say, “Yes. Yes, it was worth it.”

The marathon was two weeks ago and I finally feel like I’m on the upside of this crud.  I’m still coughing and having sinus issues but I was able last week for the first time in 10 days to do something physical.  I went for a 2 mile run on Wednesday and then a 3 mile run on Thursday.  Both runs were slower than normal and exhausting.  Saturday I went for a 5 mile run with walk intervals and felt pretty good; although my pace (with the walk intervals figured into it) was 2.5 minutes slower than usual.  It’s going to take me awhile to get back to where I was but I’m ok with that.  All things considered, I would not hesitate to run the marathon again.

Don’t forget to enter my Huma Energy Gel giveaway – contest closes tomorrow at midnight!

Question:  Have you ever ignored physical symptoms just to compete in an event? Was is worth it to you?

Just for the record, I don’t advocate running while sick or injured.  It’s a personal decision and one that should be made with care.

MCM Training: Week 9 Recap & a Winner

I’m baaaaack! After almost 2 weeks of being sick, I finally feel like myself and my runs (all 30.25 miles) totally reflected it!  Before I get into my training recap, I want to announce the winner of my Garden of Life RAW Protein giveaway.

Congrats Darlena! I’ll be e-mailing you shortly to get your shipping information.

Now onto the recap!  This week introduced speed work back into my life.  The past 8 weeks have been geared more towards building endurance but now I’ll be doing more intense runs to get my body prepared to run the marathon in the time I want.  At the beginning of last week, I was still feeling fairly crummy but by midweek I noticed a great improvement and by Saturday I felt 100% – finally.

Monday’s run was nothing to write home to mom about but Tuesday’s run was a hair raiser.  When my running girls and I met to knock out 6 miles (3 of those miles being tempo) we noticed some very ominous clouds in the distance.  No big deal, at least 75% of our runs lately are ran in some sort of rain so we ignored the warning signs and took off.  Biggest mistake ever! We made it 2ish miles before deciding to cut the run short and head back.  A few minutes later the bottom of the sky fell out. I’m talking blinding, raining sideways, wind-blowing-the-drops-so-hard-into-your-face-you-think-it’s-hailing type rain.

Oh, and did I mention the lightening?  The lightening was going off every 20-30 seconds and it was so close that I could actually feel the temperature rise after several of the bolts.  Seriously scary yet, oddly exhilarating.  In just a matter of a few minutes, the sidewalk and road flooded.  It got so bad that we had no other option but to run another mile to the nearest gas station for shelter.  We waited it out until the lightening wasn’t striking right on top of us and then took off for the cars.  We ended up running 4.25 miles and definitely got our speed work in! The next day the flooding was so bad that several schools were delayed.  Turns out it was the remnants of Hurricane Isaac coming back for round 2.

We made up the missed mileage on Thursday.  Then before I knew it, it was time to get ready for Saturday’s 16 miler….my longest distance ever.  After running the last two long runs while being sick, I kept my fingers crossed for a good long run.  But it wasn’t good….It was great!  I got 6 1/2 hours of sleep the night before (I normally get between 5-6) so I felt completely rested.  Another bonus was that the weather wasn’t nearly as hot as it had been in previous week; I’ll take anything lower then 90.  I had great company and it was just an all-around beautiful day.  The only downside was I did get some pretty nasty chafing from my Camelbak.

We ran by this little guy twice in 90 minutes & he was sleeping both times.

I was starting to get down about my training from being sick but this run went so well that it restored my confidence.  I know that I will be able to run this marathon for Roger without a doubt.

Post 16 miles

Finally, my goal recap from last week – don’t worry, I’ll make it short! My #1 goal was to get better….check!  Followed with reading my devotions daily.  I did this during the week but missed Saturday and Sunday.  I know 5 out of 7 days isn’t terrible, but I really need to make reading my Bible my top priority.  I don’t just eat 5 out of 7 days, and spending time in His word is just as important.  The next goals of burpees, pushups, squats, foam rolling and yoga were all accomplished.  I also did my cross training at the gym (cycling) but I did not accomplish my goal of strength training.   These are my goals for next week:

Question:  Have you ever had to run for your life due to a freak storm?

Spartan Update

If you remember, a few weeks ago I put out a plea for advice in my Spartan: Am I Tough Enough post asking if I should register for a Spartan Race.  The race is just two short weeks after completing my first full marathon and I was worried about my body being recovered enough to handle the intensity that Spartan races are known for.  I want to thank everyone who weighed in; I received a great deal of advice through my blog, on facebook and also e-mail.  Y’all are awesome!

So an update on my decision….Turns out, I’m NOT tough enough for Spartan.  Next year Spartan, you’re mine but right now, these Olive Oyl strength arms are simply not ready for the beating a Spartan race will take on them.  Maybe Popeye can spot me a few cans of his magical spinach??

I wonder if this is how I look when I run??

What really helped me make my decision was reading a Spartan Race recap from Melissa who blogs at Melissa Runs.  I was fine with all of the obstacles, crawling under barbed wire, jumping over fire, climbing over walls, etc… but what stopped me dead in my tracks was reading that you have to do 30 burpees any time you fail to complete an obstacle.  (To read Melissa’s totally BA recap, click here.)  Now for most people, doing all those burpees might not dissuade them, but for me, I felt like I ran right into a brick wall.  You want me to do what?? How many times?? On legs that may or may not have recovered from running 26.2 miles?? Pfft!  That’s pretty much begging my body to rebel and get injured.  Yes, Mr. Race Director, I would like a side of torn IT band with this wall I have to climb; thanks for asking.

So for those of you who may not know what a burpee is, it’s not a cucumber.  It’s an explosive total body exercise that combines squats, pushups, and jumping in one fluid motion.  I can only do about 10 of these right now…not 30!

Am I disappointed that I didn’t sign up? Yes.  Am I content with my decision? Yes.  Now here’s the kicker…Can I promise not to sign up in the next few weeks? Unsure.  I’m kind of a compulsive race registrant.  Case in point, I just registered for the Gulf Coast Half Marathon Series in Mandeville, Louisiana which is only 2 weeks before the Marine Corps Marathon.  I’m hoping I don’t regret the decision to run a half 2 weeks before my first full but registering for it sure made not registering for the Spartan Race much easier!  Wish me luck and thanks again for all the wonderful advice – y’all rock!

Question:  Have you ever had race registration conflicts?  How did you resolve it?

Spartan: Am I Tough Enough?

So often with this blog I just ramble about my life (that’s what a blog is for, right?) but today I really need your advice.  I have been wanting to do a mud / obstacle run for about a year now.  So far my race schedule hasn’t worked out to do any and I’m reeeeeeally getting antsy.  I mean what girl doesn’t want to get covered in mud and jump over fire?!

At the beginning of this year I discovered the Spartan Race.  The  best way I can describe it is the Warrior Dash’s big brother…on steroids.

I watched the video, thought to myself these people are insane and then promptly searched for locations in my area which yielded nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nothing even close.  However, it turns out that the Gulf Coast has lots of crazy people that wanted a Spartan Race to come near us.  Pretty soon there was a Facebook page called The Gulf Coast Demands a Spartan Race and then I started seeing petitions to have one come down here.  Next thing I know the Gulf Coast is getting a Spartan Race – yippee!

Alright, so I know you’re thinking “at the beginning of the post she said she needed my advice where the heck is this going?”  Well this is where you come into play.  See I really, really, REALLY want to do this race but unfortunately it’s only 13 days after my first marathon.  I have no idea what shape I’ll be in or if my legs will even still be functioning.  Plus, I think I’ve failed to mention that I have 0 upper body strength.  It’s pitiful, I can do like 10 boy pushups before my form starts to breakdown.  (Hello strength training??)  To give you an idea what I’m talking about, these are some images from the Spartan Race Website.

So, my lovely readers, what are your thoughts?  Am I tough enough to Spartan or should I play it safe and recover?  What are your experiences with back-to-back intense events like this? The final thing I think you should know is that I’m already registered for the Color Run on November 17th.  If I register for the Spartan race I’ll be racing 3 (if you want to count the Color Run as racing) out of 4 weekends in a month.  I’m a compulsive race register(er) and I’m worried I’m suffering from the ‘eyes are bigger then my stomach’ syndrome…. The deadline to sign up for discounted registration is August 15th.  HELP?!?!