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Derailed? Not hardly.

These past weeks have been anything but easy for us. We’ve had a big scare and then The Annoucement from MCM, it’s like the fates were against us. Well, what do we do?

First, the big scare. As everyone is trying to be cautious around this pandemic, we are one of the most cautious. We have older parents who have all sorts of underlying conditions, so we are always wearing our masks when we go out and not going to restaurants or anything that puts us in danger of exposure. We are careful but sometimes that doesn’t matter. Our son came over one day and then the unthinkable…someone at his work has covid-19. Damn! So he goes to get tested and we worry and wait. We can’t go run with our Galloway group just in case, I can’t check on my parents, we are quarantined. And we’re still training for MCM and Chris is getting faster!

Look at that fastie!

Then…MCM makes a major announcement that the time to complete the marathon and 50k has been changed. Now instead of 14:00 per mile it will be 12:00 per mile! That’s a big slap in the face for those back of the pack runners. Chris takes it in stride and says this will not stop him. We opt for the virtual. So the training continues. He is still optimistic that he will run 26.2 come October just not at DC but at the rail trail.

We did get good news Friday, our son tested negative so we are a-okay. In these uncertain times though it pays to be careful, you just never know. So Chris is off to scout summer camp, and when he gets back we’ll continue to marathon train. The fates are with us again.

Remember it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey,

Mercedes

What a difference a group makes.

Pandemic, social distancing, stay at home, virtual…all these phrases are part of our daily vocabulary lately. And it hasn’t been easy or fun to have to deal with especially a social person like my husband. Not only have I signed him up for the dreaded summer training Fall marathon, but he can only train with me?! No Jax Galloway friends? No BRF’s? Just a taskmaster with a Garmin watch reading off our current pace. Not a great combination with the most easy going personality.

Yes, he’s losing patience with me.

So this week has been a breath of fresh air! Running with various BRF’s and his beloved Jax Galloway group! There was a pep in his step and he was talkative(something he doesn’t do when we run together). After the 5 mile run this morning, he was jubilant about his 10 miles next week! Why? Because he would be running and talking and joking about pace and all the other fun things we runners talk about on a run.

Drills are easy when you run with BRF’s

I think he’s really excited about MCM training again all thanks to group running. It makes the miles go faster when you socialize and bonds and friendships are formed. Running by yourself is fine, but I really think most people prefer running with a group too. You’re suffering in this heat and humidity, why not suffer together? Talking to someone else gets your mind off how hard the training can be, so while not easy can in fact make miles melt away.

So next week is another adventure in our training made more bearable by the group run!

Remember it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey,

Mercedes

Discouraged but Failure is not an Option

It’s been a tough 2 weeks of MCM training. We’ve had some ups and a lot of downs. Chris has continued to run tempo and speed work drills, and even though not enjoying them has been motivated enough to run on his own. Unfortunately the long runs have been a struggle. We ran eight miles, and then…nothing the week after. Finally, this past Saturday I convinced him it was time for 9 miles even though he only wanted to run 5 miles.

He actually enjoyed this workout

The morning was humid and still. The weather though was kind because at least it was overcast with some sprinkles, and the route was for the most part shaded. I usually talk too much, and decided that I would run a bit ahead and let him focus on pace and form during those 9 miles. It did not go well though. I was doing 30/30 at a 17:00-14:30 pace, but poor Chris was so far behind me it was painful to watch as I waited for him to catch up. I think his knee was bothering him but he wouldn’t admit it. At the end, we were both thankful it was over. I took no pictures other than my watch. I felt great, he did not.

We’ve only just begun…

Summer training is horrible, but for someone who lacks confidence in him or herself it is absolute torture. He is beginning to realize what bad diet and bad habits can do. So he is eating healthier and hydrating. I’ve told him as a “trainer” not to diet(he keeps on wanting to try one of the popular diet plans), but to keep a food log and eat smaller portions. I’m no angel either and pandemic eating has done nothing for my figure. So both of us need to figure this eating dilemma together.

We received good news from our program directors at Jax Galloway, and we get to run with our groups again! Of course precautions will be taken. I know this makes him happy since he will be running with his friends again. Maybe this will motivate him more when it come to longer miles. If not, I will continue to run with him and encourage as much as he will let me. He is not giving up and is excited October is coming! I am too!

Remember it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey,

Mercedes

Persevere When You Think You Can’t.

I can’t! I can’t! Words that make or break what we think we can or can not do. As our MCM training continues, Chris has been discouraged and has been using these words a lot. “…I can’t run that fast…, I can’t lose the weight…,I can’t do this workout today…” all of these statements might be valid, but they are not helping him turn it around. As I keep reminding him, you can but just not yet. Growth mindset. I read the book for school and my classroom this year which focuses on turning those negative mindsets and putting a positive spin on it. I remember my sweet co teacher from 3 years ago, Chrissy, who would always tell our kiddos “…you can’t do it yet but you will…”. I truly believe that. I believe Chris will just not yet. It’s too early in his training and he has a lot of bad habits to undo. Example: stop not eating lunch and then grazing right before dinner!

When Chris has been down on himself all this week, I remind him that all he’s trying to do doesn’t happen instantly but he has to work on it. I ran by my favorite running store this morning and a sign outside spoke to me-wishes don’t win races. Very true! You have to work and you have to work hard to accomplish your goals. Maybe not winning races but doing better than last time. Not everyone can be a Mozart where it just comes naturally. You work to get better. A sweet friend worked for 20 years to qualify for the Boston Marathon. It doesn’t happen overnight. I have to instill that in Chris’ brain so he doesn’t get discouraged all the time when he doesn’t see results.

One step at a time

This morning we were doing our long run of 8 miles, and we woke up later than expected. Heat and humidity are no joke in Florida. He woke up with a headache that he had all day yesterday. Still he got dressed and grabbed his Garmin and water. We started, I asked him how he was doing? “Terrible I feel like I’m going to puke.” Uh oh. Turn around? “No.” He kept going and going until all 8 miles were done. No complaining. Just one foot in front of the other getting his miles done. In my eyes, he’s such a trooper. I know with a little bit of time and patience he’ll knock out this training, lose that weight, and feel like a real runner again. However, he’s that to me already. I’m so proud of him!

Remember it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey, Mercedes

Week 2: Wrestling with being Uncomfortable

Our bodies are funny, when we do something that is out of our comfort zone, our mind goes into survival mode. “…I’m dying…”, “…this hurts…”, and “…snarl…” are some of the most repeated phrases I heard this week.

Yes, it is the 2nd week of MCM training and the honeymoon has worn off quickly. It started off good with Monday as a recovery walk from our long run on Saturday. Tuesday was suppose to be our tempo run but our trainee was not having it. We did another easy walk. How long could we postpone the inevitable?

On your mark, set, run😎


Wednesday morning, he was kind of ready. Tempo run, which is 10 minutes of warm up and 10 minutes of running at pace, and then 10 minutes cool down. Sounds easy right? After 10 minutes of 15:00/14:30 pace he was done. Our race log has a place to rate our runs based on how we feel. I asked him to rate it from 1-10, 1-worst and 10-beyond awesome! He rated it a “2”. Oh boy. He had 2 days of rest and ran his first cadence /acceleration drills on Saturday. Just a quick note about the day…he woke up with a neck ache and headache, so I didn’t push him to run in the morning. We decided to run at 4:20 p.m. Well if we lived in say Maine where it ‘s cooler, no biggie. But we live in Florida and it was closer to 84 degrees of humid yuck! Again 10 minutes of warm up, 5 minutes of each drill, and then 10 minutes cool down. I was so proud of him! Even though he hated the workout, he did it! His best pace was 14:30! I got rewarded with the sneer.

There it is…the infamous sneer.

Long run was Sunday(we scaled back to 5 miles, which was a good call because the humidity was back), he struggled and said his leg was bothering him since we ran fast yesterday, (oh wicked mean mind messing with him in order to not do something uncomfortable)but persevered.

He knows it’s going to get harder, but he’s ready. Our minds can stop us but can also turn it around by just believing in yourself and your training. It also helps to have a trainer who believes in you and encourages you. Either way, we will make this running a habit once again.

Remember it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey,

Mercedes

Week 1…MCM training

Some days…

We have about 25 weeks to train for the Marine Corps Marathon, and this happens to be the real week 1. Chris has officially made me his trainer (he had a virtual doctor’s visit and told his doctor he has a trainer😂), and so I’m trying to get him down to running a 15:00 minute mile to start with. Easier said than done. However, he is trying every run he goes out on. Fastest: 15:10, slowest: 18:10. He ran 4x’s this week. 2 shorter tempo runs, 1 memorial run for #irunwithmaud, and then the long run. Some days he feels awesome and is talkative and smiling, and some days it’s a struggle. Today was a struggle but he didn’t quit-kudos to him!! However, he is getting out and doing it even when other people tell me “I’m too positive”. How can you be too positive?! Really people?! I don’t do grumpy.

So now his worry is his weight. Yes, he has some to lose, but once he gets that weekly exercise regime in gear the weight will start dropping off. It always does. I explained no skipping meals and no grazing(virtual learning helps me make sure he’s eating right). I know when Galloway runs start again, he’ll go with is runner friends again but until then…my special brand of training continues. Join in on the fun virtually and cheer him on(he does better when someone else is being his cheerleader). Stay tuned for week 2 on our journey of conquering summer marathon training!

Remember it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey,

Mercedes

Marathon Training Step 1

Every journey begins with that one step.

Chris had knee surgery nearly 2 years ago. Since then he has not run as much as he use too. Before this surgery, Chris was a runner, a swimmer, a tennis player…he was running way before me. He ran a lot of Gate River Runs, he was a Galloway group leader, and even a marathoner. Now…

Nothing. So I did a thing, I dared him to run MCM this year. He laughed. “Sure honey ,”he said. I signed him up for the lottery. He didn’t think he was getting in-surprise! He got selected. Now what? Well, time for him to start training.

What does that mean?

First of all, this man of mine has to run/be active more than 1 time a week. He has to run/walk at least 3x’s during the week minimum per Jeff Galloway. Then he has to try to get his pace under 14:00. He has to lose weight(25-30 pounds), which hopefully will happen when he runs more. And lastly, he has to do all of this during Summer in FL. Sound impossible? Well…

Of course not! Don’t be a killjoy! With some hard work, he should be ready by late October. Progress has happened already. Last 2 runs, he has gotten to a 15:45 pace! Every bit is a celebration. Now if I can get his attitude to be as chippy. Stay tuned as I whip him and myself into shape(I’m in this with him too)!

Remember it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey,

Mercedes

Grateful…

This is a strange time for all of us. Usually it’s a far off place that gets hit with epidemics. Africa, China, England…but now this pandemic is effecting everyone. Rich, old, poor, young, nurses, priests, mothers, fathers, police officers…so many people. It’s scary and heartbreaking. We’re rushing around getting TP, flour, eggs, and people are even arming themselves! The news are full of doom and gloom and worse case scenario predictions. It’s frightening! Now at the darkest times, I want to point out the glimmers of light in all this darkness.

  • Laughter. The memes, the jokes, and the stories from social media still make me laugh or giggle. Laughter and humor is the best medicine during this dark time. Freely share it and enjoy it. Lighten up those of you who are offended. We so need a lighthearted moment or more.
  • Friends. Text, call ,connect through social media, FaceTime, or Zoom chat are just some ways to make a connection. Now is not the time to let these people go. Check on them frequently. Stress is real, depression can spike, and frustration may worsen. Keep those connections alive. You have no idea who might need you.

Missing my BRF’s! So thankful for social media so I keep up with them.

  • Signs of hope and kindness. Boosting each other’s spirits is appreciated and frankly needed at this time. Some examples that I’ve seen and heard of include: school parades by teachers to let their students know they are loved and missed, #rainbowhunt for kids(what a boost on my walk the other day), providing food for first responders, providing lunches and snacks for students, and shopping for older at risk neighbors. All these acts of kindness are a boost. Even through the darkest times, people care and value each other.
  • It’s the little things. That might be time with your loved one, a run, an online chat with your class(distance learning week 1!), or planting a vegetable garden. Things you took for granted before or might have never tried, but it’s the new reality. All these things and more can make us feel accomplished or better yet smile. Never lose sight of those little things. They can refresh your soul.

These are some of things I keep in mind when the days blur together, but certainly this list is not finished. I’d like to hear what you are grateful for. Share. Remember we’re all in this together, does anyone ever feel like breaking into song when they hear this phrase(High School Musical), and we will be stronger on the other side. Much love.

Remember it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey,

Mercedes

Yes!

What to do when the wheels fall off(aka why am I getting slower?)

Ready, set, no.

This was suppose to be the Gate River Run of all River Runs for me because the weather was perfect, I had cross trained and did no extra junk miles, and I just felt prepared. Wave 1 takes off and I’m hitting 9:20 pace, then 9:40 then 10:00…well you get the idea. My get up and go has got up and gone. This was by far the worst River Run since 2009. 1:39:04. Pathetic. So what could’ve happened? For starters I’m not sleeping. I go to bed at 10:00 and guess who’s up at 2:00 or 3:00? A good night’s rest is key-I know that. Then I am not eating right-processed food is bad for your gut waistline, heart, you name it. Yep known that too. I’m battling a run down immune system (no, not Corona) from my kids coughing on me at school. So all those factors contribute to less than stellar performances. Yes I know.

Glad that’s over!

So what now?

My times have been dismal lately. No speed, no oomph. What can I do to fix it? I tried a Final Surge plan-no results. I enjoyed it but not the results I wanted. I’m a square peg in a round hole and what works for someone else might not work for me. So…I’m going to try hill training again. I have been running flat instead of my beloved Acosta. I know when we started running Jax Galloway, we had Tuesday night bridges that we ran. Those days saw some of my fastest times. And when Julie ,Misha, and myself use to run bridges for breakfast I saw some vast improvements there too. Mount Unpleasant might be my nemesis, but it will become my best friend. Follow my progress and see if I improve.

Remember it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey,

Mercedes

Adapt and overcome

Some people are afraid of spiders, others small spaces, and still others flying cockroaches. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like any of those things either, but nothing is as terrifying to me(well other than stupid snakes) than heights. I mean paralyzing fear. For the longest time I couldn’t go down escalators(up yes ,no problem), I couldn’t look down if I was on top of a building(Empire State building-uh no someone’s going to push me off), and then the time I climbed up the stairs at the Statue of Liberty (there’s no elevator?! Oh Lord! Talk me down.). I mean my palms are sweaty just writing this down.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have slowly conquered my fear of escalators by making myself go down them when I worked retail at Ivey’s. I’ve even worked up the nerve to go up to the St Augustine Lighthouse and walk along the walkway at the top. At Tybee Island Lighthouse I even looked down! Baby steps. However last time I did a mud run, I could not do any of the obstacles where I had to climb over things. I walked around them. That bothered me. I would not do that again!

Today however, I did something that I thought I’d never do-tackle all the obstacles at the Pink Army mud run. Our pep talk before the run included “…do something today that scares you…”I decided today would be the day to take that advice literally. With my GOTR tribe, I decided to give each obstacle my best shot. So balance beams, water/mud crawls, dirt mounds, and slides-no problem. High climbing obstacles…well damn!

Triathlon swim? I could do that. (Photo courtesy of John S.)

I climbed up that cargo net, and then I had to crawl across?! There was no soft dirt or water to cushion my fall in case I lost my footing or grip on those nylon cords, there was a hard metal floor! And it seemed really high! Laura L. looked faraway to me when I looked down(yes fear messes with you that way!). I remember saying out loud, “I can’t do this!” and tried to back up. Well that wasn’t any better. I tried again, and Laura was like “I got you…” and I kept thinking if I fall, we’ll be squashed from me hitting her and her hitting the metal floor! Damn it!! Do Something That Scares you today…okay I am scared! Go for it! And I did! Slowly, on my knees I got across, and then slowly crawled down the last bit. I had done it! Last obstacle and then all 7 of us crossed the finish line!

Where are my wings?! Can you see the absolute terror? This picture is giving me major anxiety.(photo courtesy of John S.)

What I learned.

Am I cured of my fear? Nope! However, I have to keep trying. It’s always good to have an encouraging group of friends urging you on and believing in you. Next up, Statue of Liberty again!

I love these ladies!(photo courtesy of John S.)

Remember it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey,

Mercedes