The Race That Wasn’t…Empire State Half Marathon and Relay

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“To keep from decaying, to be a winner, the athlete must accept pain–not only accept it, but look for it, live with it, learn not to fear it.”

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I have been side-lined since about three months ago…I confess I have been racing as you can tell…but I went from about 40 miles of running in a week…to under 5….

Number 2447….did not finish today…nor did it start.  I had every dream of racing today.  I should have been there.  The Empire State Half Marathon is one of my favorites.  I even won a plaque the inaugural year it came out…I was so excited that I will never forget how stoked I was to go up on the stage and get my plaque.  I finished in 1:45…I improved since then.

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I like the shirts at the race.  I have two shirts from this marathon and I have my name on the back…One of my shirts has “Squire” on it and the other has “Phelpsy.”  Phelpsy was my nickname in high school…

empire9  I was supposed to be moving this weekend to keep my mind off of running.  My apartment is pretty much finished…I do have a few things left to do but there is a lot of time left…I have to be out by the 28th.  I am not sure moving is the best decision but I am looking forward to a new start in Liverpool.  I am a little scared because I have lived in Manlius and Fayetteville for many years.  I am not sure what Liverpool will be like but I will never know unless I try.

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I figured I could get my mind off running if I went out on my bike.  It was really cold but I had a good time.  I did just shy of 15 miles on Saturday and I made myself get up and ride for about 14 miles today.  I had a great time and it was beautiful outside.

bikeride It was a gloomy ride, but it was still pretty.  I love riding in the Fall.  I am positive Fall is my favorite season.  I wish it lasted longer because the leaves on the trees are so pretty.

bikeride2 I love going by the farms and getting lost in the country.  I will never be a city girl.  I am scared of the city every day but it is where I have to work…I do it for Lilly.

empire4  With my recent photo on Twitter and the Oiselle website, I have been really excited about running and being a member of the flock.  I love belonging to a group, though I feel like I will never belong.  I try so hard to fit in, but I will always be that shy girl…who is just waiting to be discovered.  I was hoping to feel proud about this and I do, but I confess that I wish some of my friends could have been happy for me.  It meant a lot for me to be chosen for this…and I put the personal touch of Green Lakes in my picture because it is one of my favorite places…

empire5  So it meant a lot for me to be picked to model in the “Fearless 261” collection by Katherine Switzer.  She is amazing.  It must have taken a lot of courage to sign up for the Boston Marathon in 1967 and be almost thrown out of the course for being a woman.  I think I would have been irate if I could not race.  I would like to think that I am faster than a lot of men.

As you can imagine, I cannot get my mind off running.  I went to the doctor’s on Friday.  This time I went to Upstate Bone and Joint.  The doctor asked me what he could do for me.  I did not know what to say.  He said he thought the injection and he was surprised that the cortisone shot did not work.  Well, he looked at the MRI and saw that there was bruising in my Femur, just by the knee.  He thinks that I might have a stress fracture and that I have one in my ankle.  I just want answers.  I want to run and feel amazing.  I love biking and I got into it because of my ex boyfriend.  I thought I was going to give it up and I do like it now….but it is a love/hate relationship.  I am also wondering if the bad falls on my bike might be the cause of my knee problems.

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I could get lost running forever though. The doctor agreed to let me have another MRI.  I am so happy but I am afraid that I will still be without concrete answers.  What will I do next?  If I do have stress fractures, he says they take about two months to heal.  I have already been gimpy for three months.  I have this constant pain that has only gotten worse.

baa I am a little sad tonight.  I am afraid that the B.A.A. Half Marathon will be the closest I ever get to Boston.  So what do I do?

I wanted to race so bad today but I know I need to listen to my body.  I woke up this morning and stretched.  I heard a loud pop and that was my answer for today.  There would be no race.  I was told I couldn’t race anyways and decided to listen.  I am not sure it matters.

So here I am alone tonight.  I set out on this journey to do all these amazing races and qualify for Boston.  I know I go out fast, but I always have.  It bothers me that I know deep down I have the speed but I am really injured.  My body is capable of a sub 1:30 time, but my knees are not physically capable of it right now.  I am bummed to read all of these wonderful posts about the race today…a race I should be able to run.  Three months has been too long.

I am going to hear what the doctor says and I hope I get answers.  I cannot keep reading about all of these races, no matter how much I care about the accomplishments.  I hate that I will be alone on Thanksgiving….but I am strong.

So I am focusing on next year.

Here is what I want to do:

February – Ragnar Relay Florida Keys

February 22- Lake Effect Half Marathon

March 8- Ocean’s Run Rhode Island

March 21- Sleepy Hollow

May 16- St. Michael’s Distance Festival, Maryland

May 24- Buffalo Marathon

June- Lake Placid  Half Marathon?

July- Shipyard Half Marathon

September 6- Bird in Hand PA- Deferred

September- Gulf Beach Connecticut – deferred

October- Bay State Marathon – BQ????

October- Marine Corps Marathon – Deferred

Syracuse Half Marathon #36

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ImageImageImage“Listen to your body.  Do not be a blind and deaf tenant.” George Sheehan…

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     Today was my 36th half marathon, as well as the 4th half marathon of the month.  I did it.  I am still in shock that I made it past this half marathon.  Each and every time I run, I am amazed at what I am capable of.  I am not sad I am not as fast, but I am working harder and putting my heart into my running.  I start my playlist off with Breathe Carolina and I know the song order.  I know how much time I have until I run out of music.  I really like the songs at the end, but I am not disappointed when I finish before they play.  I set the music so it plays in a certain order and usually miles 8-10 are like a fish yanking on a pole.  This is when I focus on breathing.  Today, it worked and I would not let my knee get in the way. 

 

     I started out the race going a little too fast but it was nice to get out of the way.  I was doing really well until my knee did not like James Street.  I used to live off of James Street on Sedgwick Drive, so the hill was not the problem.  My knee kept buckling and I think because it was so cold outside it helped my situation.  I think the coldness made it numb so I could just run and not think about it.  If it hadn’t been for that I was done! 

 

     I finished the second mile in 9:03, but then I got my groove back and started making good time.  I knew I could do it and I think because I ran this course last year I know the whole drill.  I also practiced running the creek walk for a little while.  This helped too, but there were so many people it was hard to pass the slower people.  I had to wait.  The snow made it a little slippery and I was nervous on the downhill by Court Street.  However, this all made me miss living near Eastwood.  It is a great area.  I do enjoy the hills I have now though.  I like this hilly area and it helps with biking and running.

 

     Somewhere along the way, I ran into a few people who had thought I disappeared.  I sort of did.  I went from really fast for a girl to really not so good…yeah!  So I stopped doing so many races and I was also caught up with helping other people that I gave up a lot of my spare time.  I think I could hit myself for that.  UGHHHHHHH!!!! 

 

     I think when I run I have a different perspective than most people.  I know people run to lose weight and I did too in a way.  Well, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, so I figured that running was a great way to not get diabetes when I am older.  My chances are 50%…and I want to beat it!  Without getting into my craptastic life problems I have had, running truly saved me, along with my awesome girl- Lilly!!!!  She is the best!  I think that people at work want to adopt her.  I wish she could go to my school but unfortunately that is not an option.  I always thought I would never want her in my class, but I would love it and I could never be happier if she was my student.  I would never treat her differently than my other students. 

 

     So my point it, when I get out and run I realize how much it means to me.  I take it all in.  I feel free because I wasn’t for a while.  I love spectators and I love the signs people put up.  Yesterday’s race had more signs.  I really liked the signs from “Hangover.”  I also liked the horse signs with the pumpkin heads on them in Sleepy Hollow.  The small things are sometimes what make the race.  I also like the little kids cheering.  I hope Lilly gets a chance to cheer me on someday in a race.  If I ever get to Boston, I am giving her my medal when she graduates from school because I want her to know anything is possible if you put your head and your heart into it. 

 

     Today when I was running, it was like a part of me came back to life…that had been pretty dormant for a while.  I had this will inside me to not give up and to help others make it to the finish line.  I ran in a tank top and shorts today and it was about 22 degrees outside.  I was warm but everyone thought I was completely crazy.  When they were all sweating at mile 10, they even came out and said they were envious of me.  It made me laugh.  This was coming from a guy dressed in a plaid dress shirt and I don’t now what he was wearing for pants.  Maybe he randomly signed up.  There was a guy in khakis yesterday with a dress shirt.  I have seen some pretty interesting things, though the girl wearing the southern belle wedding dress with the umbrella for the entire Gettysburg Marathon is still my favorite. 

 

     No matter how slow or fast I go, I take it all in and no matter how much I hurt I want to be the girl who is always smiling.  If I stop smiling then I need to stop running.  It definitely hurts and the hills can be a pain but you have to remember that it will pass.  So today I finished in 1:48.  I am really happy with my time because it means that my speed is coming back and  I have missed it so much. 

 

     I did a few things daring today for me.  If anyone knows me, they know I always wear a running belt for races because I hate Gatorade.  I need something to drink and I get side stitches and feel sick with Gatorade.  I bring vitamin water in my water belt.  I also bring shot bloks or honey stingers.  I love the pomegranate flavor.  Well, today I texted my good running friend, Krista.  I asked, “the water belt?  Ditch it or bring it? ”  She said to ditch it and I listened.  I spend too much time ignoring opinions and it was a great idea.  I am glad I did.  Thank you, Krista!!!!!!!!  Then, I had to ditch the honey stingers.  This was the hard part as well because I hate Gu.  I think it is absolutely disgusting and I want to gag when I eat it.  I didn’t have pockets so I ate half the bag and called it a day.  The only thing I did was take my long sleeved shirt off and run like a streaker. This was definitely a good idea because the sun made me hot. I even rolled up my arm warmers.  I was glad I had one pair of running gloves left.  I still miss my black ones. 

 

     Today’s race was great.  Last year I finished in 1:44 and I am sure if my knee wasn’t hurting and I did not run yesterday, I could have made it in 1:44…but I had a great time and I love my medals from this weekend.  I have to give it to Sleepy Hollow!!!!!  The Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon Medal is serious!!!!!!!  It says to all the people looking, “I just ran some bad ass hills and trails.”  Mine says,” I fell on my face and ate dirt, but I still finished.”  A lot of people have not heard of this race.  I thought Sleepy Hollow was wonderful and the people running it are really nice.  I was glad I did not have to throw my shirt today.  I also realized my last name is on the back.

 

     After completing Sleepy Hollow and seeing my last name everywhere, I keep being reminded that I need to finish changing my last name back to Phelps.  I was holding off because my passport expires in 2017.  I am quite the adventurist and I don’t like the idea that I have to fill out a new passport and this one is not full.  Plus, Lilly’s last name is Squire.  However, I am tired of trying to figure out if they have me registered to run as Phelps or Squire.  Phelps is my maiden name and I would like to rid the name Squire from my title.  I miss it even if people always mess up Phelps.  It is my identity…and I don’t know if I will ever get married so why wait?

 

     I leave you this weekend with a smile, but I must also confess I am still lonely.  I really enjoyed having these races, but I hate traveling alone.  I am looking forward to nagging people enough that I will have a road buddy before I turn 50!!!!!!  Well, at least have someone come to a few races to run or watch.  I have a great time on the roads and I know how to do a road trip. 

 

     My next race weekend is going to be a blast, but lonely ha ha ha.  I am doing three races in one weekend.  It isn’t that crazy if you listen.

 

     April 5, 2014 I am doing Race the Runways in Brunswick, Maine.  I signed up for the half marathon but they actually have a one mile sprint.  I am a better sprinter and I am not going to lie, I would love to bring Lilly home a trophy with an airplane on it.  Haha ha ha. 

Then I have the half right after.  I will have to drive seven hours, which isn’t going to be fun, but these adventures make the loneliness a little less lonely.  I love the coffee along the way, the horrible music, and the road munchies I bring.  I have been living off luna bars and pita chips.  I think I am successfully dropping weight, but I am missing something in my diet because I am always hungry and dehydrated. 

     Sunday, April 6, 2014 is the Ithaca Skunk Cabbage Classic.  Like I previously said, it was my first time going sub 1:40 and it was hilly.  I do not know if I am capable of doing that again but why not.  The race was only 18$ I think and you get a cute skunk medal.  I am a little nervous because up until now, the first race of the weekend is hilly.  That weekend, the skunk cabbage will be the hilly course.  We will see….doom doom doom…anyhow, happy Sunday.  I hope everyone had a great weekend…and I think I already feel a case of the Mondays coming….blaaaaaaaaaaa I have ELA testing coming up and four weeks of school before April break…