Some big things are the same:
- I'm still raising three kids (now in 9th, grade, 6th grade and 5th grade).
- I'm still married to Andy. We climbed Mt Katahdin this summer and celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary.
- I'm still really into my dogs.
- I still train and race. This is me finishing the first leg of the Vermont 100 on 100 Relay. I like it because I look kinda buff despite that I haven't done a push-up for like a year.
But...there are some big things that have changed:
- We moved our family from Westwood to Medfield so we could share a home with my father-in-law, Jack.
- I went back to teaching 8th grade English full time, and then, after 1.5 years, I left teaching, again.
- I started volunteering at an animal sanctuary (aka mucking and cleaning stalls and barns), volunteering at the Medfield Animal Shelter, (aka walking dogs and cleaning cat cages), fostering dogs for Forever Home Rescue (aka trying to tame, train and manage unruly puppies so they become adoptable), and picking up my triathlon coaching (yay!), which I had cut way back on in in order to teach full time. (Pictured is Brenna, who is a very energetic, seventh-month old German Shepherd/Black Lab mix. She is awesome. But really energetic. Did I mention she is energetic? And she is adoptable! Email you if you need an amazing, devoted, unable-to-tire running partner.)
- I have gotten really into gardening and I'm obsessed with having a daylily specimen collection and with hybridizing dayliles.
- I have not done any swimming or biking for the last year. I've just been running and doing (mostly) endurance road races.
And, I'm writing again!
I actually began writing today after reading a post by (one of) my former coaches, Jen Harrison. She wrote a great post on training and racing after 40. One thing she hits on is that the desire to train and race hard doesn't necessarily diminish as you age, but your ability to do that hard training day in and out does change.
For example, I used to be able to race hard on a Sunday, and resume normal training on the following Tuesday. Now when I attempt to do that I--almost invariably--get sick. Last weekend I ran the Surftown Half Marathon in Rhode Island with a few of my GNRC peeps. I didn't taper for the race because I am in the heart of marathon training. (We are running the Mohawk Hudson Marathon in NY in a few weeks.) So, I wasn't really rested going into the event. And then I raced--hard. Okay...I always race hard. I seem unable to NOT race hard, even when I tell myself I'm not actually "racing." It's like a sickness. Anyway, I ran the first 9 miles at a good clip (for me) and then hit a bit of a wall. I didn't slow down a great deal, but my slowing was definitely discernible, and I didn't feel especially super (aka I was seriously hurting, fighting off barfing and praying I wouldn't wet my shorts), but I kept at it and finished with a faster half marathon time than I have pulled off in the last few years. Of course, it was no PR, but hey, it was two minutes faster than my run at New Bedford last March, so I'll take it, damn it!
So, in short, I was happy with the race. I worked hard, I held on, I won my age group, I placed very well among women, and I didn't wet my pants until after I crossed the finish line.
And I paid for it.
I was tired on Tuesday, but I ran anyway. I tried to run a tempo run with Mel, my running partner, on Wednesday, but dismally failed and bailed on the run only a few miles into it. On Thursday I began to feel a bit sick to my stomach as I ran, but I decided to ignore it. It was in my head. Of course it was in my head. Friday I was exhausted, and definitely feeling really off now, but ... I have a marathon coming up. You know the drill. I was fine, right? I needed the miles. Saturday I got up early to run with my GNRC friends and a few miles into the run I KNEW I was in serious trouble. The nausea was so overpowering it was well-beyond undeniable. One of my angel GNRC friends (thanks, Jen!) ran me back to my car--and that was that. I was out for the rest of the weekend.
In the last few years I have had a really hard time accepting that my body needs a break after I kill myself in a race. Not a one day break, like I took in the days of yore, but a 4-5 day break. It's part of the reason that we don't perform as well when we get older, I think. We can't recover as well or as quickly from tough efforts, so we end up NOT putting in the training that we could when we were younger. Less quality training = worse performance. It's frustrating. I really want to train -- but my body flips me the bird and demands I recover. If I don't, it resorts to barfing until I cry uncle and just STOP.
So, I'm headed into this marathon with only one 20 miler under my belt. Granted, I've had a few big training weeks (for me a big training week as one that is over 50 miles), but my training log is full of holes--places I really *wanted* to train but couldn't because I just wasn't recovered enough from a previous workout or from a race or whatever. Sigh.
And that's all for now, folks! Ahhh... I missed ranting on my blog.