Friday, February 24, 2012

435 miles

Our training consisted of 435 miles of pounding the streets of Wellington in preparation for our marathon this weekend.  When you look at it that way, 26.2 miles doesn’t seem that bad, right?  We’re off to FINALLY run this race.  It seems like we’ve been preparing for it for a long time both mentally and physically - although I still think we are preparing for it mentally.  Stormie compared the marathon to giving birth. You’re excited and ready to get it over with, but really nervous and scared too.

Our running week consisted of 9 miles – 3, 4 and 2.  Wow – only 9 miles total.  What a switch from what we’ve been running.  I truly believe all of us are ready to do this.  We can feel all the support from our fellow runners and have loved getting all the last minute words of encouragement from everyone.  Especially Dr. Anders who says “don’t overdress” – something that 4 out of 5 of us do!  We’ll all be looking to Mitzi for this on race day as she seems to always dress the right way.  It’s just hard to put on shorts when it’s 40 outside – BRRRRR!

This is going to be a very emotional race for me and for all of us I think.  I never thought I would be running a full marathon and even said “I will never run a full”.  You know what they say about saying “never” – yep, it bit me.  When I start to get nervous and worried that I will struggle, I just tell myself that we are here to run this race for Team Higgie and our number one fan, Ethan.  What a joy it will be to hug him when we are done.  We will all wear our “Team Higgie” shirts with pride and do our best on Sunday and enjoy the ride – what a ride it’s been.
- JB

Editor’s note: I think I speak on behalf of all five of us in saying how wonderfully blessed we all feel. The support of people in our wonderful little town of Wellington has been overwhelming. The support of our families to endure the training, pain and complaining has been unwavering. The support of these wonderful group of women brought together with a love of exercise has been something that has changed all of our lives. We will be forever friends holding a common accomplishment together on the road and in life. Through everything, we have tried to remain positive, persistent and just run. Isn’t that what life really is about, just keep on going when it seems so hard?

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to JB, Alison, Lisa, Mitzi and all of you that have donated to PPMD in Ethan’s honor. You don’t know how much it means to me and my family. To run a marathon is a feat in itself, but to put money in the hands of an organization that could hold the cards to my son and other young boys’ lives is something that can never be repaid. I can’t say it enough how grateful that I am to each of you.  My MM’s are the most amazing ladies I’ve ever known and you all know how great they are! JB, Alison, Lisa and Mitzi-I love you! 

Now, let’s run and make this marathon our BITCH! GO TEAM HIGGIE!

Quote for the day: “Just Do It!"
- Nike

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oh My...

This was a very emotional week for me, as I didn’t feel ready for this BIG race we are about to run.  We started out the week with a 6 mile run on Tuesday.  JB, Stormie, and I were joined by Anna and John.  I can’t tell you how many dogs were on this route.  It seems like we were chased by a different one every block.  John and Anna ran on ahead of us, as we were feeling slow and sluggish.
  The next day was our 4 mile run.  JB and I ran by ourselves because the other 3 MM’s SKIPPED!!!  Mitzi informed me that their schedule wasn’t as tough as ours, but I don’t seem to recall a skip day on theirs.  Stormie had teacher conferences, so she was going to make this run up another day.  I recall asking her if she made it up, and I think the answer was no!!  J  Since JB and I were by ourselves, we decided to take a nice, easy, enjoyable stroll.  For some reason, once we started running, we just kept getting faster and faster.  We ended this run at a 9 minute pace…..ouch!!  We won’t be doing that on race day.
Our Thursday run was 3 miles.  JB and Stormie ran this together, and I was going to do this one on my own since Caden had a wrestling meet.  They are finding out as they are reading this blog right now, that I didn’t ever run it  ( I know I’m in trouble now after coming down hard on the others for skipping).  I dreamt about running 3 miles that night, so I think that should count. 
Our last long run before the big one was 8 on Saturday.  It was a cold, windy run.  The three of us and Lisa were the only ones to brave the weather.  It was a hard run for me, which is why I don’t feel ready.  At this point, everything on my body hurts.  It is so discouraging to know that you can run these distances, but your body makes it so hard for you. 
I think JB and Stormie are ready for this thing…..Stormie keeps a nice steady pace with her ear phones in, and every once in while you can hear her talking to herself to keep going.  JB is just plain strong.  She gets along great on the long runs.  She is the one that keeps the conversation going to keep me distracted.  I, on the other hand, am scared to death.  I am not at all confident that I can do it, but I will darn sure give it my best!!  See you all on race day! 
- Alison

Quote for the day: "Relish the bad training runs. Without them, it's difficult to recognize, much less appreciate, the good ones."
- Pat Teske

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tapering Off

After our longest run of 20 miles, we can now start the countdown to race day.  We start our tapering off this week with 5, 8, 4 and 12 miles.  It’s amazing that we find ourselves saying “only 12 miles” when we talk about our long run this week.  Seriously??  Only and 12 miles do not belong in the same sentence.
Monday, February 6th:  We were supposed to run our 5 miles on Tuesday, but a last minute check of the weather made us switch days.  I looked at the weather too late in day for Stormie to join us as she bowls on Monday nights so it was me and Alison.  We joined the group of girls training for their half and ran with them.  Melissa, Amy, Carmen, Mitzi, DeAun, Cassie and Andy – such a determined group of runners.  I told Alison that I wanted to take it nice and easy since we had just ran 20 miles the previous day.  She completely agreed, but let me know you something – I really don’t think she knows what nice and easy means.  She felt good while I didn’t start to feel good until about mile 3.5.  It always takes me a little longer to get in my groove and my legs were reminding me that they had worked hard the day before.  Stormie will do her 5 miles on the treadmill more than likely.  I promise to text her the whole time she’s running so it will feel like she’s running right beside me.  Don’t laugh – it really does help!
Tuesday, February 7th:  Yep – Stormie had to do the treadmill tonight due to the weather.  I did keep her company throughout her run just like I said I would.  I would send her random texts so it felt like I was there talking to her.  I was sitting at my son’s basketball game texting away J  I’m proud of her for getting out and going to the Fitness Center to jump on the treadmill.  It was a cold night and it would’ve been pretty easy to say forget it and spend the night at home where it’s warm.  Good job Stormie!!
Wednesday, February 8th:  It was a little chilly tonight for our 8 mile run and with overcast skies it sure doesn’t help the disposition.  But we got out and did our jobs – it was me, Stormie and Dawn.  Alison was busy at work so she joined us at mile 2.  Dawn did about 5 miles with us and as always, it’s nice to have others join in who like to talk.  I laugh at that statement because Dawn will tell you that she doesn’t like to talk during the runs, but we ask her all kinds of questions and ask for her advice so she’s forced to talk to us LOL!  It was a tough run for Alison and Stormie tonight.  Stormie’s legs were feeling the previous night’s run and Alison was feeling a little blah!  Sometimes life gets in the way of running but it sure feels good to get out and beat the stress out of our bodies. 
Thursday, February 9th:  Who knew it was supposed to snow today?  I sure didn’t!  With the snow comes the treadmill and with the treadmill comes a struggle.  I have my treadmill set up in the basement in front of the TV so that helps, but I would much rather be outside.  Stormie and I were on the treadmill at the same time – she was at the Fitness Center and I was at home.  We had fun texting each other while running.  It really does help the time go by faster.  We included Alison in our texts although she wasn’t running at the time – she was at Caden’s wrestling match laughing at all our back and forth texts.  Thank goodness we only had to do 4 miles tonight!
Sunday, February 12th:  We decided to change our run from Saturday to Sunday due to the weather.  We usually start at 9:00 a.m. and the temperature on Saturday at that time with the wind-chill was -4.  Good call on switching days although Sunday wasn’t much better.  At least it was 14 with the wind-chill.  We started at 12:30 and had a good group willing to fight the weather – myself, Alison, Lisa, Mitzi, Jenny, DeAun, Cassie, Andy, Carmen, Amy, Melissa.  Notice a name missing – yep, Stormie!  She’s still not 100% healthy and I think the cold weather scared her off J  (Editors Note: Stormie did run 4 miles on the treadmill. So technically she isn't a big loser :) This was the coldest running day we have endured – the wind was brutal and with overcast skies, we never warmed up.  But we all did it –11 and 12 miles.  This was Lisa and Mitzi’s first official training run – they did awesome!!    Jenny, Alison and I were even witness to a house fire.  We were running by and heard this man screaming “fire” over and over again.  He was lying on the ground screaming it and it took us a little while to figure out what he was saying.  I thought he was saying “liar” at first.  By the time, we got to his house we figured out what he was saying and were then trying to ask him if there was anyone else in the house.  His response “I don’t think so” – really??  How do you not know this?  Alison asked him what he meant by that and he screamed at her, yes screamed “I DON’T KNOW”.  We all felt extremely sorry for the guy because not only was his house on fire, but his prosthetic leg was inside.  That’s the reason he was lying on the ground.  The police arrived and one of them went into the house and grabbed the prosthetic leg – thank goodness it was right by the front door.  Just after the officer came out of the house, we all heard something pop and decided it was time to go.  We didn’t want the headline to read “3 runners caught in house fire”.  Kitchel – I thought of you during all of this.  You are always asking if we have any crazy stories during our runs and now we do.  My legs were really tired after this run.  I think the colder it is, the harder it is to run.  Your body has to work harder to keep warm and it seems like your body is tenser.  So then the doubting starts – I just did 20 miles the previous week and felt great and now after 12, I feel tired.  So many mental battles – I’m SO ready for this to be over so I can quit doubting myself.  I believe everyone out there who says running is more mental than physical – especially true when you are pushing yourself to do something you never thought you would do.  February 26th can’t get here soon enough.    
- JB

Quote for the Day: "We are different, in essence, from others. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.
- Emil Zatopek

Friday, February 10, 2012


Alison, Stormie and I were summoned to a meeting at Stormie’s house by Lisa and Mitzi.  We had no idea what was going on and all thought maybe we were in trouble – kind of like when you get called into the principal’s office.  Not that any of us know what that feels like J  Anyway, they informed us that they have decided to run the full marathon with us.  Yep – you heard right.  We tried and tried to talk them into doing it with us when we first started training but were met with big fat NO’s!!  Every time we asked, it was a resounding NO!!  When they first shared the news, Alison and Stormie let out a big scream and Alison jumped up off the couch!  I sat there in disbelief LOL!  I just couldn’t believe it.  They also informed us that we all have shirts and that we will be running for "Team Higgie" - running for Ethan. What a wonderful surprise! Below is a drawing from Ethan and his idea on our shirts :) 

We are super excited they have decided to join us as it was the 5 of us that started this journey of running together a few years ago – that’s why we call ourselves the “Marathon Mama’s” J

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Office

This whole running thing is beginning to feel like a job. We have to clock in, do the duty and clock out. We clock in at the storage sheds, run the necessary route, and head back to the cars to head home. We have our  boss (aka JB) who keeps us in line, we have the competitive co-worker (aka Alison) who consistently makes us feel like we need to do more and then there’s me... not sure what role I have in this “job” but I tend to think of myself as the one who makes it seem so wonderful and enlightening, but then craps out when it comes right down to it. You know that co-worker? Yep, that’s me. J And you know that BIG work project that is due soon…well, that BIG project is our marathon... And it’ only 4 weeks away!
Monday, January 30 - 5 miles
If I ever decide to run 14 miles on Sunday and think I can run 5 more miles on Monday and consider that a good idea, would someone please slap me? As Alison said “we would never run a half marathon on a Sunday and then come back and run the next day” So, this was a hard run for me. The miles and also the wind were difficult tonight. It was really warm also. All 3 of us overdressed. Running north was very hot! We ran the storage shed route and wouldn’t you know it we were stopped by a train. It was going fast, so we only had to do a block circle before we were able to cross. JB and Alison ran well this night. They were joined on Washington by John and continued to the sheds. There was a big group for the 5:30 run, which is always great to see!
Wednesday, February 1 - 10 miles
Funny how we used to consider 10 miles to be a long run, now it’s just like a normal weekly run.  It was over 60 degrees today, so we all had the opportunity to wear shorts! Yay! So, there was talk about us doing our 20 mile tonight since it was so nice out. Definitely didn’t have enough time to prepare mentally and also physically. And we could tell after our 10 miles we put in. There was a HUGE group of runners tonight; it was so exciting to see us filling up all the roads in Wellington! I think there were close to 20 runners tonight. It was so cool… And there were way too many for me to list off in this blog. It was such a gorgeous day to run that many took advantage of it. Run was a pretty typical run. We’ve been working on going through drink stops faster so that we’re not spending so much time. Our plan is to do the same at the marathon, so our goal is to train as close to the actual marathon timing as possible. Alison’s back is still giving her problems and her knee has been bothersome too. JB’s hamstring has also been hurting her a bit so she tried to tape it before the run and said she couldn’t really tell a difference. My knee still continues to hurt but it’s not too bad.
Thursday, February 2 - 5 miles
Once again, another great day for a run. We are still struggling with the feeling that this running is turning into something that we HAVE to do versus something we WANT to do. It will be nice to get that feeling back after this training. Alison has been diagnosed with tendonitis in her foot, so the doctor told her that she should rest before our 20 mile long run this week. So… she turned into Lance Armstrong and rode her bike beside JB and I J At one point, she started whistling on her bike as it was obviously not as hard as us pounding the pavement and JB sternly said “No Whistling”. Haha, she still wished she was running with us even though she couldn’t. We started slow, but JB and I ran the last 2 miles of this run fast. At one point, we were going 8:22 pace, which is unheard of for us. Not sure if we were just ready to be done or just felt good. Probably a little bit of both. Next up—20 miles! 
Sunday, February 5 – 20 miles
We had planned to run our long run on Saturday, but it was cold and windy and so we decided to wait and run on Sunday when the weather was to be nicer. We were thankful we waited because it was such a better day! Well, this is our final long run before we taper into the final stretch before the marathon. So, not sure what is worse: the anticipation of the long run or actually running the long run. There is such a lifestyle change that goes into training. You have to make sure you eat the right things, make sure you wear the right clothes, make sure you take the right stuff to fuel you on the run and make sure you just keep those legs going when they are screaming at you to stop!
We started at the Jr. High with me, JB, Alison, Kitchel, Trey, Dave and Dr. Anders was there. We only saw him for like 2 minutes and then he was off. Dave and Dr. Anders had run 15 miles before they even got to the Jr. High at a 7:45 pace! Wow. At 12 miles, DeAun, Cassie and Maria joined us. And as we ran into Carroll Glass, we realized that there were signs. Kim had made us signs and they were so cute and so inspiriting! I took a picture of it and it’s below. Then when we turned on Vandenberg to B Street, there was another one! We touched it as we ran by it. So thoughtful and we appreciate it so much! Love our fellow runners! Mitzi and Lisa joined us at 14 miles, we love when they run with us because we miss them so much! Dave decided to quit about 27 miles in on his run---wow! That's just crazy. But he did it. Kitchel and Trey dropped off at mile 16 and Cassie and DeAun went to C Street and back to Carroll Glass.  It’s not easy running these long miles. It takes so much out of you physically and mentally. When new runners join us along the route or drive by us and honk or yell things, it gives us such a burst of energy. Not energy as in we run faster, but energy where you feel like maybe you can actually do it. It really is something only you will know if you ever experience it. Shawn Becker joined us for the final 3 miles. Even though I personally couldn’t speak to him until we were at the water stop, we definitely enjoyed having him there too! JB was all smiles this run. She kept us in check with our water stops and felt really good. She is an inspiration because running just seems so easy for her. Alison was quiet for the last 4-6 miles. Her back is really hurting her. She is still ahead of all of us though, she is so strong mentally and physically both. I struggled a bit this run, but I always tend to struggle. But the most important thing is that I made it without walking. Our total time which included drink stops was 3 hours and 51 minutes. We have set our goal for 4 hours and 30 minutes for our marathon time and I feel like we may be able to do it. But if we are under 5 hours, that is good enough in my book.

We did it!!! We made our final long run and we are all still alive. It is such a mental game this running business. The power of positive thinking really helps you through those tough miles. Running seems to be over 90% mental and if you get down on yourself and think you can’t do it, and then you won’t. But if you feel like you can make it and think you can, you will. When I coach my middle school track and cross country athletes, one thing I teach them is that when it gets tough, you need to think of one word that you will say to yourself either out loud or in your mind that will help push you when it feels hard. I asked JB and Alison to come up with their words this morning and JB’s word was “believe”, Alison’s word was “determined” and my word was “strong”. I think that sums our running experience “believe, determined and strong” ---that’s what we are and our road on this journey to run our marathon. Now we taper and get ready to race! 

Quote for the Day: “Distance is one of the only things in life you can truly earn. Anyone can give you nine pies, but no one can give you nine miles. Nine miles you have to take. “
- Marc Parent

Awesome Signs 2-5-12 Love ya Kim!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Just another week of running...

Well, we had to change this week's schedule again because Caden had a wrestling meet on Saturday, so we ran 5 Tuesday, 9 Wednesday, 14 Friday and 5 Sunday. Our Tuesday run was a lonely run, as it was only the three of us. It was neither a good run or a bad run, it was just a run. It seems like when we are this far into our training we just seem to drudge through some of the runs as if it were our job. We just show up and do what we need to do to get to our goal.

Wednesday was our 9 miler and it still surprises me how "easy" this distance seems now. I remember when we were training for our halves, the 9 mile run was an obstacle. Not it's just another "short" run that we do during the week to prepare for a long one. We had several join us on this run...Mitzi and Carmen also ran 9, Lisa ran 6.5, and I think Anna ran 5 and Dawn ran 7 or 8.

Then comes Friday - I remember telling JB that this 14 miler would feel good after the long 18 miler...WRONG!!! It was extremely windy and it didn't let up for the entire run. The 3 of us plus Jen and Jeannette started at the old Jr. High. Dawn, Anna and Jenny met us on Washington about a mile and a half in. At our 6 mile water stop, poor Stormie was having a very hard time breathing (still sick) so, after we all pleaded for her to stop and go home, she finally conceded. It was a good thing she did, we couldn't even talk to each other the rest of the way because it was so windy and we were just fighting every step of the way. I know I heard Dawn say that this was her toughest run to date, and it was one of my toughest. I have been trying hard to nurse my back, but that wind played havoc on it. I started hurting 6 miles in and hurt the rest of the time. Poor JB was trying to talk to me to keep my mind off of it, but I couldn't even answer her I was so close to tears. But, we finished the full 14 miles without walking, and I consider that a win no matter how ugly it was!

Sunday was such a beautiful day! The sun was shining, no wind and pretty warm for the end of January. As beautiful as it was, it didn't make the run any easier. JB and I both commented that our legs felt like lead. Stormie, on the other hand, showed up all smiles and informed us she was ready to hit the road and run 14 to make up for Friday! JB and I ran our 5 and left Stormie to run another 9 by herself. That was hard, as we are used to running together. We know how hard it is to run by yourself with no one there to talk to or keep pushing you. But she was dead set on getting her mileage in, and by gollie she did. She is very strong willed, and when she sets out to do something there is nothing stopping her!

At this point, I think we are all just ready to be finished training and run the darn race! If there was one close, I would run it tomorrow just to be done!! The emotional roller coaster that you go through is just as draining as the actual running. After the 18 mile run, I felt awesome, and was convinced that I could go the distance with out hesitancy. Then after the 14 miler, I have doubts again. I now know why only 1% of the population are crazy enough to complete a full marathon. What I don't know, is why I thought I should be one of them!! We have such a great group of runners, that give us support with every move we make. I know I speak for all 3 of us when I say we couldn't be doing this without all of them. We love you all!!!!!


Quote for the day: "Every person who ever achieved greatness crossed the bridge of self-doubt"
- unknown