Thursday, September 10, 2020

Taking Risks


Today is the first day of school for my youngest son, who is a Junior in High School.  It's been 6 months.  My other two boys started college courses over the past few weeks.  I am guessing they are feeling a little rusty.  Because despite a few grand ideas & lofty goals as the quarantine dragged on and we were all laying around in our sweats day after day after day, nobody spent 30 min/ day  on Kahn academy.  Just like I didn't swim 5000/ day or run 50 miles/ week.  Ooops. As we all know, the world is a little strange right now.  But this is not a post about Covid.  It's a post about starting over, taking risks, doing things that are scary and hard and uncertain, and it's about not quitting. 

I like to write. I have had this blog for many years. I used to write all the time. It was fun to talk about my racing and connect with others. Our blog world used to be like social media. I actually met  a lot of people through blogging and have stayed in touch a bit too.  However, my last post was July 2019. I closed out my Ironman racing with #10 in Lake Placid.  I walked away.  I took a break. My achilles tendon was a mess. My head was sick of 6 hour solo training rides and I wanted to move on to different things.  After a year of not writing, my brain is rusty too.  My 9th grade English teacher taught us to keep our words short.  We learned to say what was needed and nothing more.  I don't think I have mastered that in my day to day conversation.  Just ask the 4 men in my home. ;)  I shall try here. 

I turned 50 the first week of 2020.   A few weeks after that, I was rushing into the house to care for my very sick son and wiped out on the ice in the driveway. I slammed on the ground and screamed such that Nick, who was way upstairs and delirious with fever, came running down.  I wasn't ok but neither was he. We both whimpered our way to bed.  I was sure I re-tore my rotator cuff that had been repaired pre-Triathlon career in 2007.  I was unable to swim from that day ( January 24th) until some time in April. Meanwhile, I also had a messed up knee.  February 6th I had surgery for a torn meniscus and the "it may be 4-6 weeks before you can run" turned into 4 months. ( But I hadn't run since Christmas so really 6 months.)   Throw in Quarantine + a son in the Class of 2020 and well, it was a rough spring.  Running and swimming are my outlets.  And I had neither.  I was sad, and worried and home. All the time.  I gained weight and my fitness was in the tank.   There wasn't much I could do about it.   There were certainly days/ weeks during that time that I believed my running career was done.  I was feeling improvement in my shoulder and knew it wasn't torn ( ahem, like Mark's is now.... that's another story) but swimming was weak and minimal.  But despite all the PT work and rest and patience, I still could not run.  
I am not exactly sure when it changed.  At some point in May, I stopped trying.  I gave it 5 weeks OFF. I got my son through "Graduation" and focused on that.  One day, I tried again and was able to go 2 miles.  It was Awesome.  Shortly thereafter I went 6.   And now here I am. 
I registered for the Mahoosuc Ridge2River in early January, before any of this happened.  I signed up for the marathon option.  Why not!! I am an endurance racer. I have done many many marathons.  I know Sunday River! It was the perfect goal. A hard endurance event that wasn't an Ironman.  
I just didn't plan on a 6 month hiatus from running or swimming. 

If you know me, you know that I am a little stubborn when it comes to things like this. I pretty much refuse to back down or quit.  I am competitive all day long not only with others but with myself.  
Despite a few family members saying, "why don't you just do the half?"  I am not. I am going to do the marathon.  
And it is going to be So so very hard.  
I am not sandbagging. I am just being honest.  I was not able to put in the mileage that I typically do.   There are a lot of gaps in my prep for a lot of reasons. But that is ok!!! I have a huge bag of tricks. I am very experienced and I know all about race- mindset.  I have done ten races that were over 10-11 hours. I know exactly how that feels.  I'm not going to head up there and expect to hold any pace or to beat anyone in particular. Instead, I am going to show up with an open mind and a very determined heart.  This is a risk. I am pushing my luck a bit.  But the alternative is staying home and feeling regretful. 
My boys are all starting over right now, they are jumping in after a big break, they tackling hard things head on. It's my turn to do the same.  



I don't know how to rotate this! Last week, I ran from my house, up some hilly roads and then up a little mountain and back home. ( 15 miles... ) This is me at the top looking back at our neighborhood ( you can see the tiny white houses off in the disance... )  and wondering what I have gotten myself into. 

Here's the course map. 

Seriously... why can't I rotate this. 





 

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