I have a plan!

Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I need a plan.  A goal marathon. A training schedule. A race on the horizon. When I’m training I am happier. More productive. More disciplined. I’m just in a better place – physically, mentally and emotionally. I NEED that this year.

So I am happy to say that I found a marathon that is perfect for me. 🙂

My struggle this year is two-fold.  Time and money. I have SO many changes in store this year, all of which translate into money constraints and time constraints. Senior year activities and graduation for my youngest through early June. A June wedding for me! Having both my kids in college in mid-August. Moving out of my place and in with my new husband and step-sons in September. A super exciting honeymoon in the Fall (stay tuned!).

For my marathon plans, this means I can’t afford a big travel marathon. And I can’t do a spring marathon (senior year stuff). Can’t do a June marathon (wedding!). Can’t do an earlier August wedding (taking kids to college). Can’t do my normal Twin Cities October marathon and do well because our honeymoon location/timing would interfere with the final training.

SO – I started trying to think of what sort of marathon I could do and when I’d be able to/like to do it, given these life constraints. And in my mind, I thought it would be perfect to find a marathon that I could travel to by car in the last week of August. Why? Cheap travel expenses. And, in a way, a good transition weekend for me – my last weekend in my own house before I join Scott and his boys. My last hurrah. 🙂

I’m coming for you, Wausau Marathon.

I love everything about this marathon. The timing. The 3 hour drive – where I can reflect on my kids starting their adult lives, my new husband and step-kids and all there is to look forward to with them.  The fact that it’s a tiny race – perfect for me and running for ME. And beer in a dive Wisconsin bar to celebrate change.

 

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Balmy Running Weather!

You know you’re a Minnesotan when you wake up and are literally smiling and excited to run because it’s FINALLY going to be 20 degrees and sunny outside!  Balmy.  Lovely. Exactly what I needed.  It’s been a long couple of weeks of below zero temps, icy running conditions and a crazy work schedule – so I’ve been on the treadmill or skipping workouts. Blah.  It’s only mid-January though – we are guaranteed to have many more weeks of crappy, icy, cold weather.  Those of you that live in moderate year round climates should count your running blessings!

 

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Happy New Year!

I think 2016 will go down as the year that I wrote the fewest posts on runninfromthelaw.com. I just wasn’t feeling it. Blogging, not running.  Running was actually great in 2016.  I ran 2001 miles!  And, I can honestly say that I loved all 2001 of those miles.  I am SO thankful to have had a healthy year. To have run two marathons – Blue Ridge Marathon and Twin Cities Marathon. And to have running as a way to relieve my stress.

What’s in store for running in 2017? So far it’s just enjoying every step.  I was signed up for a marathon in March, but training for that fell apart and life is not letting me do a destination marathon this year. But I’m ok with that.  LOTS of exciting stuff going on in 2017.  I’m getting MARRIED! 🙂 My kids are both going to be in college.  I’ll have two step kids still living at home with us, so I will still have years until I’m officially an empty-nester.  I’m changing locations at work. I’m doing some exciting travel. And between all of that I will be running. 🙂

Stay tuned.

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Twin Cities Marathon 2016 in Photos

Photos courtesy of my awesome and talented photographer brother, Tom of ThomasJSpence Images.

It was a slow day (3rd worst marathon time at 4:22), but a great day. Perfect running weather. Good company. Great crowds. Family and friends supporting. Healthy and happy! Loved every minute of it. I’ll do a full race report soon.

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The Best Is Yet To Be: Thoughts From A Mom With A (partially) Empty Nest

File Aug 17, 12 10 12 PMWhen I dropped my daughter off at college – 7 hours away from home – last week, I was overwhelmed with emotion.  Pride – about all that she has accomplished in her short 18 years. Sadness – about the change that we are experiencing. Excitement – about all that she has in store for her in the next 4 years and in her lifetime. Worry – about whether she will be ok and make the right choices.  Joy  – about the choice that she made about where to attend college being the perfect choice for her. Fear – about the unknown. Panic – about whether I’ve taught her enough, so that she can survive at college without me. All these emotions have been building over her last months of high school and this summer. I’ve joked with a few of my friends who are also sending their first-born off to college that there should be a support group for this situation.  We are all so emotional and nervous and, really, just sad.  About little things. About big things. About giving up control. About whether we have taught our kids enough.

What is she going to do when she’s sick? One of my favorite things about being a mom has been when my kids are sick.  Not because I enjoy seeing them puking or feverish or in pain.  Of course that part hurts my heart. But because when they are sick they need me, and I am able to nurture them and make their sickness feel a teeny bit less awful, in the way that only a mom can. They need me to get a puke bucket, a cool wash cloth, the thermometer, a sip of water, a sympathetic ear.  So what is she going to do when she gets the flu at college and I am 7 hours away and not able to help her in the way that I’m used to helping her?

How will I know she is safe? I’m a worrier. I can’t help it. I imagine the worst and tend to overreact about things. I have my kids wake me up when they get home from work or going out because even though I fall asleep, it’s not a good sleep until I know they are home safe. I’m also extremely punctual and expect the same from others. So when my kids are supposed to be home at 10:00 and it’s 10:01, I become anxious and convinced they’ve been in a terrible accident. When they arrive at 10:02, I feel an enormous sense of relief.  Every single time. So how will I know that she is safe at college, when I am 7 hours away and she can’t wake me up to tell me she is ok?

What is she going to do when she gets overwhelmed and stressed out by the difficulties of college? When your child lives with you it’s easy to see when they are struggling with school or life stuff.  When that happens it’s easy to address the issue – to suggest that she take a break, that she talk to a teacher, that she study in a different way, etc. (not always easy to solve the issue, but easy to acknowledge it’s there and offer solutions on how to help her deal with it). The challenges, stress and uncertainty that she will face at times in college will be huge – unlike any that she has experienced so far. So how will I be able to help her when she is 7 hours away and when I won’t necessarily know that she is struggling?

How will I be ok without her here? I’m divorced – we divorced when she was in her early teens – and I think there is a different bond between moms and daughters when there is a divorce. Post-divorce there is a lot of heavy stuff for parents and kids to deal with: the emotions involved in the breakup of a marriage; the challenges and emotions in kids splitting time between mom’s home and dad’s home and being separated on holidays; the fear and uncertainties and excitement in forming new love relationships.  As she’s matured, my daughter has become more than just a child to me. She’s become a confidante, a friend, an advisor. We communicate with each other every day – in person or via text or social media. We shop together – she’s the one who went with me a few weeks ago to pick out my wedding dress. When I want someone to eat dinner with, she’s always up for popovers from Hazellewood or sweet rice from Rojo. When I am excited about something or sad about something, she’s the first to know.   So how will I be ok without her here?

As I sit here and try to figure out why I am sad about her leaving to college, I think what it boils down to, for me, is that I am afraid of the change and impact that her leaving will have on MY life, not on hers.  And really, I think this is pretty normal.  Change is hard.  Whether you are an 18 year old going off to your freshman year at college, or a 45 year old mom who is looking at (partially) empty nest.  Change is scary and difficult.  But I need to remind myself that change is also exciting and necessary and good. In changing, we open ourselves up to new possibilities, new relationships, new experiences and new adventures. In change, we adapt and grow in ways that strengthen us and make us better individuals.  I gave my daughter a framed quote for graduation, with what I thought was the perfect saying for her at that time.  “The Best Is Yet To Be”.  It’s true. Even though things will change for her, for me and for those that love her, the best is yet to be!

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Lessons from my crappy 20 miler!

20 milesIt’s always such a relief to get the first 20 miler of a marathon training cycle done! Finished my first one for Twin Cities Marathon 2016 yesterday.  It was ugly. The first 10 miles were great.  And then I hit the wall.  At 10 miles!? I could not move. My pace slowed.  My legs were heavy.  But I powered through and finished at exactly 20 miles, not a step further.

I’m a Type A runner (aren’t most of us?) and like to learn from each run, particularly the bad ones.  So here’s what I figured out:

  • I was severely dehydrated post run.  I had lost 3 pounds during the run and felt ill. Looking back, I should have forced myself to drink more fluid from the beginning.  I didn’t plan the route very well and only had my hand-held water bottle with me.  I ran out about mile 7 and didn’t have a stop planned until mile 11.  So I went about 5 miles without fluids – and those miles were early miles so probably critical to get the fluid in.  When I refilled, I was already dehydrated and it made it hard for me to stomach even water.  So I ran the last 9 miles with just one more water bottle.  Blah.
  • Pace: I went out at 9:15 pace and decided it felt ok (my goal marathon pace would be about 8:50, if I’m going for a BQ again!), so tried to stick with it.  It actually felt good until the dehydration issues.  But in retrospect, since it was the first 20 miler of the cycle, I probably should have started out slower, like a 9:30 pace, and just been happy with that.
  • Sleep.  I stayed up too late.  With 20 milers, I should treat them more like race day and get to sleep early.  They are too tough to do on too little sleep!

Even with it being a crappy 20 miler, I am SO grateful to have the legs to be able to run it.  The legs are feeling great! Moving on!

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