Saturday, November 5, 2011

From Peak to Valley to Peak!

My favorite quote used to be "The harder I work, the luckier I get."  This season has caused me to change my mind.  I worked hard: February through April I followed a marathon training schedule, enduring  wind, rain, snow, below zero temperatures and ice; including taking a fall while running fast, hitting ice on a downhill, falling forward strking my left knee, arm and both hands, and inspite of blood, pain, mud and holey running tights, finishing the six miles left in the run; including getting in those two 20 mile runs at a Boston pace.  (This is the "peak" part.)  I increased my distance and my speed gradually.  I followed the advice of an expert CTS coach @

Did my hard work result in good luck?  Heck no! (Here comes the valley part.) Two weeks before my first marathon effort, the CellCom Green Bay Marathon ( ) things fell apart.  On a ten mile Sunday run, I got out six miles and my right shin started to hurt.  Downhills were excruciating.  I stopped when I could no longer stand the pain.  This clearly was more than shin splints.  I wasn't warming up and feeling less and less pain.  I ended up limping back six miles.  What happened to this idea of hard work and good luck??

Six months later, after two MRI's, two sessions of aircast use, lots of PT, and a gradual return to running, I was ready to try to achieve this goal again!  The Summit Credit Union Haunted Hustle ( was my focus.  It is my neighborhood marathon, covering trails and roads that I regularly run and so close I could pick up my packet by driving less than ten minutes, and I could be dropped off by my husband just thirty minutes before the start.  Only one problem:  it sold out!  I had delayed registering wanting to be sure I wasn't going to throw away a hundred bucks. (Maybe not a valley, but definitely a "dip" in my success trajectory.)

Fortunately my neighbors and friends who own the Endurance House ( )gave me VIP treatment.  They let me register in advance of the "waiting list," the night before the race.  How's that for a high anxiety situation?

Race morning was dark and cool, but I donned my sunglasses, race belt, handheld water bottle, ForeRunner, iPod shuffle and cool weather running gear and off I went with enthusiasm, anticipation and trepidation (ie those shins). 

I was right about wearing my sunglasses for the semi-dark start.   What a morning; what a day!  It was sunny and in the upper forties, low fifties.  No wind.  Just a little frost on the wood bridges and walk ways.  I followed my nutrition plan relying on PowerBar vanilla gels and my GU Brew, along with taking advantage of the water stops along the way. 

I focused on leaning from the ankles, completing my stride and keeping my running cadence in the upper 80's.  Thanks, Brian Heiderscheit at UW Sports Medicine Runners Clinic! ( )  I implemented the run/walk plan designed by my CTS coach.  Okay, maybe only through mile 14.  After that I ran most of the race, other than long uphill climbs, and I ran on grass and dirt whenever I could.

Arriving at mile 24 was pretty emotional.  I knew then that I was going to achieve this goal, and I knew from here to the end, I could use up whatever I had left in me.  (Finally another "peak"!)

As I crossed the finish line it took a lot of self-control not to just break down sobbing.  Having that medal put around my neck is the most memorable moments in this Boomer Beginner's running career, so far!

I also must admit that as I was completing that last mile, I thought," You know I have another six miles in me.  I could do a 50K!"

Stay tuned,

The Boomer Beginner

1 comment:

zenabowli said...

I think what we learn from athletic competition is how to take a loss and not except it as failure or defeat. There is nothing like the triumph of a comeback.