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Okay, I am officially ready to do this!  Today was an awesome run although really stupid.  I’ll share the stupid part later.  Let’s just say geography is not my best subject and for someone who thinks that they are faily intelligent I can be a bit of an airhead.  Anyhow, onto my awesome day!  First of all my mommy is the bestest.  Well, she’s not always the bestest, but today she was.  Yesterday I called my mom up. I don’t see her very often and we aren’t particularly close.  My dad and stepmother raised me so I didn’t grow up with her, but that’s a story for another day.  So I called her up and was thinking of going over there.  She lives in the middle of nowhere.  I asked her if she wanted to run with me.  I have asked everybody I know if they want to run with me and everyone I know responds with “NO” or ” I hate running” or some other comment to that effect.  In my whole training I have yet to get anyone willing to run with me.  So when my mom says “Sure”  I’m all over that.  My mom used to run when she was younger, granted she didn’t do races or a marathon, but she did run.  My mom is also very active and rides her bike and hikes a lot. She figured she could ride her bike while I ran.

It worked out great!  We’d talk a little then she’d ride ahead for a bit and I’d put on my iPod and run a little.  Then she’d catch up and we’d talk a little and run a little.  We ran from her house all the way to Lake Michigan!  Awesome view!  She lives in the middle of nowhere, but only 12 miles from Lake Michigan.  We ran up to a private beach, but we cheated and went through the subdivision anyways.  It was diserted practically.  Kind of sad seeing all these million dollar houses (and I am sure they were in that price range being that big and right on Lake Michigan).  And lucky enough there was a port-o-potty right there.  Like it was just put there just for me!

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See, I told you big houses.

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Lake Michigan, not the best pic, but what we could get without stepping onto the private beach.  I didn’t want to push my luck.

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We stop there for a couple minutes, but no too long because I still did that mile in like 16 minutes even with the potty break and picture taking break.  Besides I needed a couple minutes to regroup anyway.  Then we head back for the treck back.  I was surprised because I was cruising a lot faster after mile 12 than I was before mile 12.  I only did 11 to 11 1/2 minute miles on the way there.  Not sure where all the mojo came from on the way back, but mile 14 I did in 10:35, mile 15 in 10:36, mile 16 in 10:56, mile 17 in 10:28.  I stopped again at mile 17 to catch up with my mom and figure out which way was home, but I still did okay time for mile 18 as well.  Not as fast as the other ones, but not too shabby for me for being on my 18th mile.  Maybe this marathon thing won’t be so bad.  I get to her house and it’s 19 miles.  Now here’s where the stupidity part comes in.

So I go in at 19 miles use the potty and have half a bagel, but tell my mom that I’d like to go just a little bit further.  I wanted to hit 20 miles and see how I felt and see if I could push just past 20.  I was thinking I’d aim for 21 or 22 depending on how I felt since I was still feeling surprisingly good for having ran 19 miles.  She offered to go with me, but at this point I really just wanted to run by myself. I knew I’d be moving slow and that I wouldn’t be up for talking so I tell her no, you stay here and if I’m not back in an hour come find me.  Well, dumb dumb dumb dumb, did I say dumb didn’t bring my cell phone.  I figured I was only going a mile or 2 at most I’d be okay.  Did I mention she lived in the middle of nowhere??? Okay, so I run out and hit 20 miles and I’m feeling a little slow, but figure let’s head out to 21 miles and then head back to her house.  I figure I can walk back.  So I hit 21.25 miles.  Don’t know why I went the .25, but I did and head back to her house.  Keep in mind I went straight out of her house and made no turns.  I just went one way out and one way back.

Well, I’m still running sort of until I get to mile 22.  Then I start a 1 minute walk, 2 minute run and figure I can do that until I get home.  Anyhow, I start looking at the numbers on the mailboxes and I swore her house number was 437.  (My mom hasn’t lived in this place that long and I think I mentioned we’re not particularly close so I don’t see her all that often.)  So I’m looking at the numbers and I see 533 and then 611 and then 6 something else and I’m like oh crap.  Where’s her house??  I can’t find it.  My water ran out at about mile 22 or so and here I am my legs so tired and ready to sit down and I can’t find her house!  Believe me I was freaking out.  I am in the middle of nowhere.  I finally see a few guys on their cellphones in front of their house and decide to chance it and go up there and ask them if I can use their phone.  So, I call my mom and good Lord she is the only woman on the planet too cheap to pay for call waiting so all I hear is a steady busy signal!  More freaking out from me.  I try again, another busy signal.  So these guys are talking to me and are all “Sweetie I saw you running about an hour ago coming from that direction over there.”  I’m thinking great!  That helps, who knows where I was an hour ago.  An hour ago I was with my mom who had a map and lives here and isn’t quite as stupid as me.  So then they procede to ask me what street she lives on.  So I’m like she lives on 58th street.  They ask what her name is and none of them know her.  Then they ask what the house looks like and I say “It’s a blue house with a small fence for a dog and a swing on the porch.”  None of these guys recognize this house, but they tell me that I am on 58th street.  I finally decide after a 3rd time calling my mom’s number and still a busy signal that I can’t stand in these guys driveway forever and decide to start walking back the way I was.  I mean I knew I only went there and back or that’s what I thought.  I mean where could her house have gone to.  I walked a little furthen then turned back and walked the other direction and then turned back again towards the way that I was originally headed.  I was really about to cry.  I was very freaked out and starting to get a little disoriented.  Anyhow, then along come the guys from the house down the road in a truck.  They had warned me when I was at their house that I should be careful because there were a lot of transient people and migrant workers in this area and that I should be careful.  They then ask me if I want a ride to find my house.  And trust me ordinarily I do not get in the car with complete strangers, but at this point I figured if they had wanted to rape and murder me they could have done it easier when I was up in their driveway and that I’d be better off taking a ride then wondering around lost, tired, hot, and without water.

I swear we drive 2 minutes, maybe a 1/10 of a mile and there you go my mom’s house.  I was not lost.  I was just stupid.  Her house was NOT blue nor is her house number 437.  I have no idea where I got the 437 from.  And God am I lucky these guys were legitimate good Samaritans.  Very good learning experience for me and thank you God that this all ended well.  Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, did I say DUMB!  Anyhow, after all my walking in circles I hit at least 23 1/2 miles.  I might have gone further than that, but I forgot to turn my Garmin off when I got in the truck so I’m not sure how much of it was the drive.  Anyhow, I am officially ready for my marathon and not doing anything that stupid ever again.

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God, these last couple weeks are going to suck!  Please don’t worry about commenting to my blog as I am really just trying to settle my nerves and sometimes blogging helps.  (You can of course comment if you want, but if you are sick of listening to me whine that’s okay too.)  At least I’m not blogging about my binges or poor diet.  That has actually been okay.  I think the anxiety and nervousness kicked in yesterday.  Now I’m too anxious to eat. I mean I am eating, but I’m not worried about binging anyway.  First off I kind of wish I followed a real training plan.  I didn’t follow one because I got so stressed out looking at them trying to figure out what was what and decided to “just run” and go from there.  Now I’m having all the could of, would of, should of feelings and trying to put that aside.  I haven’t really done anything specific for hill work, nor have I done any speed work.  Well, I have done a little hill work as one of the routes I take for my runs has a decent amount of hills.  They just aren’t super steep, but they are definitely hills.  Speed work, done none of that.  Have I mentioned how much I don’t like running fast.  I hate it. Going to work on that for next race.  I still don’t get what a lactic threshhold run is either.  Yes, I know blogged this all before, but dag gone it I want to figure that out.  I joined a local running group.  Well, I signed up for it, but haven’t quite figured out how they work and haven’t gone to anything.  After this race I am going to figure out how to be a real runner.

Oh yes, back to my freak out.  See, now this week I am freaking out because I don’t know if I should run more or run less or what I should do.  I’m afraid to run too much and I’m afraid to run too little and I guess I’m just afraid.  I know how hard that half marathon was.  It was way harder than I was expecting, but then again I did make it to the finish line, right?  I’m scared of the hills in this race.  There are going to be hills in this one.  I’m not sure how bad.  I do not plan to drive the course ahead of time.  Maybe I should, but I really think it would exasperate my anxiety so I am probably not going to do it.

Fear number 2, my darling hubby and our big old bus.  We are going to be taking this bus on our trip.  Yes, it is a huge school bus.  Originally was a 66 passenger, but my handy dandy husband converted into an RV.  He did a nice job with it, but it is still big.  I am very concerned about him getting me to my race on time with this thing.  He is not like me.  He does not feel the need to be early to things and casually late is more his style.  He knows this is important to me so I know he won’t get me there late, but I want to get there early and I am very concerned about this dang bus of ours getting me to my race on time. We are going on vacation directly from the race so I don’t mind taking the bus and understand why we are driving it, but still I’m a little bit worried. Anyhow, going to will myself to bed or surf the internet until my eyes get tired and hope I don’t make myself crazy between now and August 9.

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I decided to ditch the 23 and 26 mile runs I had planned for my final runs and just stick with 20 miles and hope for the best.  I haven’t made up my mind yet whether this will be my last 20 miler before my race or if I’ll hit just one more long run next weekend. I’m leaning towards one more long run, but we’ll see how I feel.  Today was a much better day for me.  I’m feeling a lot better about things.  I think it’s because I’ve taken some of the pressure off of myself and decided to take all time goals off of myself for this marathon.  I know this is why I’ve been so discouraged lately.  I really wanted to do less than 5 hours for this marathon and I think that’s been getting me down.  I mean I *might* be able to get to that and I *might* not, but today I realized just finishing is okay and I can lay off of myself a little.  Based off of my last 3 20 milers I don’t know if I’ll be able to pull off a less than 5 hour race.  It’s so hard for me to tell though because I run faster in a race than on practice, but I don’t know that I can run any faster than what I’ve ran.  That and I don’t know how much slower the last 6 miles will go since I’ve never ran those.  I’m trying to stop fretting and just think positive.

Onto today’s run.  I’ll try to keep this short, but I figure next marathon this will be good to have around for me to read.  I am sure I will do another one at some point.  I did much better than last week’s run.  No nausea or vomitting or heat exhaustion, but I did meet nausea and vomitting’s evil cousin (cramps & diarrhea) how nice not that you wanted to know that.  I figure I will be all well and prepared for anything now come race day.  Haha.  Nothing like needing to use the bathroom to speed up your pace.  Other than that I had a really good run.  I actually ran 18.66 miles out of the 20 miles and then that last mile and 1/3 I walk/ran it and still managed to run a good portion of it.  I had a considerable improvement from last week too!  I actually ran it in under 4 hours (3:54:32)!  I figured I could have squeezed a few more miles out of me today, but then thought why am I doing this to myself?  Most of the training plans only call for 20 miles at the longest so stop torturing yourself about it.

I wrote on my arm with a sharpie marker before my run today for motivation.  It says “You can do this!”  Any time I felt like stopping I looked at my arm.  That and my husband knows me better than anyone (except maybe my twin sister) and he knows what makes me tick.  So last week after my run I said to him I just couldn’t run any more so I wound up walking parts of it.  He pops out with “Sure you can!  If you can walk you can run!” So that was my mantra for today.  I don’t know if he says that stuff to grate on my nerves or if it’s just because he knows me so well and how my brain works, but either way that got me through my run today.  I just kept repeating “If you can walk, you can run!”, looked at my arm, and kept putting one foot in front of the other.  Now I’m to the point where I’m crossing my fingers and hoping I gave it enough because I’m in the downhill slide and ready to taper.   I’m very excited about that!

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This high mileage is taking it’s toll on me.  First off it is messing with my menstrual cycle big time, not that you wanted to know that, but hey I spent half of yesterday google searching menstruation and marathon training to realize I was probably okay and I could start freaking out about it after my marathon if things weren’t back to normal.  (Don’t worry I’m not pregnant, tested just to be sure.)  Without going into too much details I am just having a very unusual spotty irritating cycle. I will be adding some extra vitamins to my day though because I just feel like I am being depleted in so many ways.

I didn’t run yesterday.  I just couldn’t will myself to do it.  My sister told me to give myself a break and stop being so hard on myself so I did just that.  Then of course I wound up moping the rest of the night because I didn’t run.  Like the whole world was going to come to an end.  I am totally freaked out about this race.  It’s bad.  I just want the next couple weeks to fly by and they are going by so slowly.  I may still be able to hit 50 miles this week for mileage which was my goal, but I may just say screw it and lighten it up.  I know it’s going to be time to taper soon.  Google searches gallore coming in store for me on that.  Next marathon I do I am going to follow a real marathon plan and not just make things up as I go along. I think at this point it’s too late to change anything. I am just trying to keep myself moving for another week.  I figure if I can keep strong for the next week, then I can taper and get ready for this race.

I am having huge anxiety right now and that’s not helping anything.  I have had problems with panic attacks on and off throughout my life.  They used to be a lot worse, but never anything disabling or in need of medication.  Now that I am aware of what they are I do a much better job working through them.  That being said I am struggling going through the motions right now.  I am very attention needy.  I have put my whole family on alert that they have to be there for me right now.  That I am going to be attention needy and that they all have to encourage me as much as they can for the next week.  Thankfully for the most part I have an awesome family.  Well, they can be crappy sometimes, but they all know this is important to me and so far everyone has been really good to me.  My husband has been awesome.  Anyhow, I’m about to scour the internet for some motivation for today’s run.  I sure as heck hope I can find it.  Thanks for reading folks!

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I know I shouldn’t be discouraged and I know I shouldn’t compare myself to other people, but I can’t help it.  I’m discouraged.  I’ve put a whole lot of work into this marathon training and I just think I’m going to suck at it!  I just keep thinking maybe this running thing isn’t for me.  I’m not a very good runner and I don’t even get half the “rules”.  For the record, I’m not following a training plan.  The training plans confused the heck out of me.  I still don’t quite get what a Lactic Threshold run, Tempo run, speedwork and all that other stuff is.  I mean I have an idea, but for the life of me can’t quite figure out how to do those all right.  I figure next marathon (can’t believe I’m typing that), but I figure next one I can do it right.  Runners intimidate me.  I’m irritated with everything lately.  I ran 20 miles yesterday.  I know I should be proud of myself and happy and all that, but I’m not.  It took me 4 hours 1 minute and 45 seconds and I was walking a good amount.  I ran as much as I could, but I did wind up alternating running & walking.  It was really hard and I really, really, really (did I say really) wanted to quit.  I got to 8 miles and thought 2 more miles and I’ll be to 10 miles so I kept going.  At 10 miles, I wound up heading to the bathroom and throwing up.  This heat/dehydration/throwing up thing is getting old.  I got some good advice on this and going to to try a few changes on my long run next time.  Anyway, I get done throwing up and feel like qutting yet again, but then I think damn I made it 10 miles already if I stop now I’m going to have to start all over again to get to 20 miles.  I was determined that I was getting 20 miles in and I didn’t want to have to try again tomorrow and all those 10 miles been wasted because I quit.  So I get out there and start running again.  I managed to run again until 12 and then run/walk honestly for the last 8 miles.  I’d run for a mile then run/walk to recover and then run for a mile.  I did that until I got to the last 2 miles and then the last 2 I am not sure what the run/walk ratio was.  I know the last mile I found a little loop that was about a 1/10 of a mile so I’d run around it and then walk a quarter of it and then run again.  Anyhow, I also stopped at the bathroom a couple more times in that period.  I did finish it so I guess that’s what matters.  It’s just that it took me over 4 hours and I figure I still have 6 more miles to add so I’m leaning towards 5 hours at best for my first marthon which is just not real exciting or impressive.  I know I should be happy just finishing it, but it’s frustrating working so hard and still feeling so sucky.  That and I need to stop hanging out on the speed demon marathon forums.  I think I should hang out on the slow poke wannabe marathoners forums instead and then I’d feel better about myself.  (If anyone knows where such forum might be feel free to point me in that direction lol.)

That and everybody (that is not a runner) is giving me their 2 cents on things.  It’s rather irritating.  If I wanted their 2 cents I’d have asked.  Anyhow I checked out run number 1 of 3 of my last long runs.  Only 2 more runs from hell to go.  That and worse case scenario I only do 1 more long run and decide to call it taper time, but I’m aiming for 2.  Sorry if I’m such a whiny blogger and sorry if I’m not being such a good blog reader.  This whole running thing takes a lot more effort on my part than it seems to on other people.  I’d like to pull out the 6 kids card on this, but really honestly the 6 kids have nothing to do with it.  Heck, 4 of them aren’t even here right now.  They are camping with my sister in law for the week.  Anyhow, that’s my mopiness for today.

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Ah, not sure if I got that quote right, oh well.  Awesome day! I took on the beast (the mental one that’s been hanging over me) and I won!  Hip hip hooray!  I left today with a plan to get past this mental block I’ve had over me and get back out there on the high mileage.  I told my kids and hubby I was leaving and I wasn’t coming back until I ran 17 miles.  I said if you don’t see me for 3 days “I love you!”  Of course, they all laughed at me, but I was serious.  I got in the car and headed to a park with some trails to run.  I normally run around my neighborhood, but I wanted to do something different.  I figured a change of scenery would be good. I also thought this would be a good way to fight off the heat/dehydration issues from yesterday.  I came prepared.  I packed a bottle of gatorade along with my waist pack that I use for water on my runs. There’s a couple bathrooms there and a really nice trail to run on. One of the reasons I get dehydrated is because I don’t drink enough fluids before I run because I don’t want to have to pee.  Having had 6 kids my bladder just isn’t that good any more.  I figured today if I had to stop and pee every 3 miles then so be it.  I wasn’t going to get dehydrated and I was going to finish this run. I also planned on wetting myself down in the bathroom if I needed to.  Well, I did good I did it.  I stopped 4 different times at the bathroom each time drenching myself in water.  By the last stop I wound up literally sticking my head under the faucet and soaking my entire head.  I was hot and sweaty and honestly I didn’t look any different coming out of the bathroom than I did going in.  I was drenched going in and drenched going out, but I was much, much cooler coming out.  My feet hurt and I was tired and I didn’t run super fast, but I did it. I hit 17 miles.

Now here’s my plan up to my run.  I’m planning on 20 for my long run on Sunday.  Then the following Sunday I’m planning on 23.  The next Sunday 26.  Then it’s taper time for this marathon.  So I’m trying to look at it this way.  Only 3 more runs from hell and then the marathon — right?  I can do that?  I CAN DO THIS right?  I’m gonna be the little choo choo for the next 3 weeks.  I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.  Oh and by the way the Cajun chicken and shrimp pasta from Bennigans was yummy!  I still think that run deserved more than just some good food.  Going to think of some new bribery for the next 3 runs.  I’ll put my thinking cap on for tomorrow.

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Loser’s limp, that’s what my dad always called it.  You know when you hobble off the field and feign injury so not to have to face the failure of defeat.  That was me yesterday, but today I am here to kick butt!  I decided to pick myself up, brush myself off, and make some obnoxious post before I go give this running thing a go again.  I’m crazy, but I’m going to get my booty out there and give it one more shot today.  I can’t tell you how mopey I have been the past few days.  All the I should have stuck with a half marathon and what kind of idiot signs up for a marathon in August and let’s see what else has run through my head.  Hmm, how about I don’t have to be perfect.  Why do I need to run a marathon anyways?  Ack, blah, negativity!  Why do I do that to myself?  I have been really, really discouraged since I haven’t been able to break past 13 miles lately.  I had broke that barrier and now I’m stuck at it again.  If I can get past 13 then I can usually get way further, but I just keep getting stuck by this mental block.  It’s definitely as much mental as physical.  So here’s the deal I made myself today as I’m giving this long running thing another go today.  That is if my husband can get back to watch the kids in the next hour. I made myself a deal — Bennigan’s Cajun Chicken and Shrimp and a Brownie bottom pie or whatever it’s called, yum, yum, yum, and totally fattening and unneeded calories.  Sick, disturbed??? Oh well, I figure right now my goal is whatever it takes to get me through the next three weeks until I can call it taper time for marathon.  I’ve made it too dang far to quit now.  Right?  Of course, I’ll probably come back hobbling with my tail between my legs saying I only ran 10 miles and I just couldn’t do it, but here goes nothing self talk, pep talk, giving it a shot.

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