"Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best." - Theodore I. Rubin

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Brief Chat" + It's time to go....:):)

As I packed up my car today and put my boys in the backseat, I pulled out of the driveway and took one last look at my brother's awesome house that I love so much...the house where I've lived and trained since I moved back almost exactly one year ago. I thought to myself that the next time I'll see the house will be when this long exciting and challenging journey of training for NYC will all be over and it will be time to start another one all over again. It seems like just yesterday I took the short drive out to the dirt paths where I run all the time, to test my plantar fascia in my foot, on June 14th. I almost cried the first 200 meters of that run because I was filled with so much joy to be running again! The months of filling the freezer with bags of ice are over, clean sheets and clean rooms await my return, my little loves will cover me with kisses when they see me again and the 6 am traffic won't see me shuffling along the roads for hours every morning :)

Here I am a few months after starting to run again, very excited and feeling very ready to go race the *BEST* marathon of my career thus far. The last time I had this feeling of excitement (and not fear/negativity) was before the 2009 PF Chang's marathon. I think when you know you are ready and have trained very hard, you feel excited and not afraid :) (hehe, Eminem)

The hundreds of hours dedicated to training are coming to an end and in about 10 days I'll let it all out over the course of 26.2 miles through the 5 awesome boroughs of NYC. I finished my last hard workout this morning of 5x1k and felt good hitting them in 3:12, 3:07, 3:07, 3:06 and 3:06. Here are some things I'm excited about before my race:

*Watching Sammy run in her Big East Championships this Saturday!
*Chatting and catching up with Sammy about everything going on in her life!
*Decorating my bottles with my adorable leopard print duct tape!! :):)
*Going to eat at yummy restaurants in the city and also cooking at Sammy's house
*Resting and not having to do tons of working out

I'm superrrr excited for this stuff AFTER the race:

*BEER! and lots of it:):)
*Crumbs bakery cupcakes!!!!! :)-
*Magnolia Bakery banana pudding!
*Corner Bakery angel food cake!
*Dunkin Donuts maple donuts :)-
*Making my homemade popcorn and watching movies with Sammy :)
*Mexican food, chips and salsa, Margaritas, etc. mmm :)-
*SHOPPING and getting special stuff...Louboutins baby!!! ow ow :)
*Swimming and doing relaxed runs/exercise for a couple weeks :)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the next 16 days in NYC..it's going to be a blast.

Here is the link to the "Brief Chat" I did for Runner's World. http://racingnews.runnersworld.com/2010/10/a-brief-chat-with-sally-meyerhoff-2.html

*** I also made the title of my blog a link to the chat if you don't want to have to cut and paste this...sorry I can't figure out how to add a link right here

I am soooo thankful to all my sponsors, fans, friends and family who support me and give me so much positivity and enthusiasm for what I do. I hope to make them all very proud when I race on the 7th! My bib number I believe is going to be 134 so if you want to "follow" me via texting, etc. that should be my number. :)

Pics: My Scottie pumpkin I carved last night while D, K and I had some carving fun :) and my shirt I bought in MN...how perfect is it??! A red head with the saying "What's hard to endure...is sweet to remember".....here's a big toast to a very sweet race to remember :)

That'll be my quote for today: "What's hard to endure,...is sweet to remember"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The "Haves" and "Have Nots"

As the days wind down and the time gets closer to leave for NYC, I have been thinking about everything I have and have not done in order to make this marathon the best thus far in my career. If you watch the reality show Big Brother, I stole the title from it, hahaha

Let's see...I HAVE:

*Trained harder and longer than ever before in my life
*Hit all time highs in my mileage
*Done workouts I didn't think were possible
*Stayed dedicated to my training even when tempted to "go easier"
*Pushed through the negative-mindset days
*Stayed tough while training alone 99% of the time

*Had much of a social life (past 8 pm) due to being up at 5 or 5:30 every day :)
*Had any alcoholic drink since my last night in Cabo (July 25th!)
*Had any sweet treats, desserts, candy, etc...(as of today it's been 69 days!!)
*Given up on myself when I thought there was no possible way I could continue to suffer....

I am sure there are a lot of things I could add to these lists but this is good for now. Next up will be my lists of what I'm getting SUPER excited for pre and post race in NYC!! :):)

This past week seemed to drag on forever and the when the weekend started at 2:42 pm on Friday afternoon, I bolted from school for fresh air and no stress! My workouts the rest of the week went well after I had to take a couple days of running easy to recover from the 15x 1 mile workout. My run the next morning after that workout was the SLOWest run I've done in years, LOL...but my upper hamstrings and hips needed it :) My mileage hit about 74 which left me feeling fine. This week will be about 55, which I'm hoping isn't too little. I never thought I'd say this, but running higher mileage does make the taper seem so much more drastic! However I know I need to wind down, let my muscles heal and store up the glycogen so I can run faaaaast in TWO WEEKS!!

I ran a 15 mile long run this morning and I couldn't believe how well I did with gradually dropping my pace every single mile. My splits: 6:58, 53, 46, 41, 37, 32, 30, 26, 24, 22, 17, 14, 14, 09, and 5:58...avg of 6:28 :):) I felt pretty darn happy with that. I took an ice bath, biked to the grocery store, took a nap, etc. and enjoying a nice relaxing Sunday.

I'm starting to pack for NYC and I'll be there for a total of 16 days...well, trying to fit everything in a carry on size roller bag is interesting but I'm determined to make it work. When we get there we have to rush to get our rental car in time to drive to upstate NY to see my sister for dinner before her Big East Champs the next morning! woo hoo baby :) Ok that gave away one thing I'm excited for...better stop now or I'll keep rambling things off :)

I did a "Brief Chat" for Runner's World so when the link is up I'll post it on here...I hope it's good! :)

Pic: The beautiful desert I live in....

Quote for today: "We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face … we must do that which we think we cannot."- Roosevelt, Eleanor

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

777 and 15x1 mile= borderline torturous :)

I'm not an incredibly superstitious person but something I thought about the other day regarding NYC marathon...7 has been my "lucky" number since I was in middle school. Well, NYC will be my 7th marathon and it's on November 7th...then I thought about how my number for NYC is going to be F 34...3 + 4 = 7....:):)...sooo I'm thinking these are some very "lucky" signs that NYC will be all that I've ever hoped for. Here's to an amazing 777 marathon...haha

My day off yesterday was very nice and I managed to stay pretty busy despite not having any running or working out to do. I packed up everything I need for the week since I'll be teaching Wed-Fri and staying at mom's house...I also took my baby loves to get groomed, did a couple errands, made my Heaven bars for my mom (with dried cherries instead of dates, YUM!) and did some stuff around the house. It felt great to relax though and I slept until 8:10 in the morning! 10 hours of sleep :)...my body woke me up at 5:30 but I forced myself to try and sleep longer :)

As the evening wound down last night I started to get a little nervous for my 15x 1 mile workout this morning. I hoped my body would hold up for me after my 22 miler only 48 hours prior. Mom was going to try and come down to be with me for the workout but her work schedule wouldn't allow that. I had planned to do the workout tomorrow but with teaching I knew I had to move it to today due to lack of sunlight in the mornings now and not wanting to be rushed. Anyway, I felt ok for the first few and then suddenly after I finished the 7th one, I thought to myself "oh my gosh, I have EIGHT left?!?! what the heck...I don't know if I can do this"...I told myself to focus on one at a time and try to get through it. I started to have a bad side cramp after 10 of them and felt like my legs were shuffling more and more. I could tell my legs were "bonking" so to speak, after about 10, so I had a difficult time focusing. I'm happy I managed to run them all in 5:35 or faster and never gave up on myself. I struggled to stay focused because I kept thinking how much I wanted to be DONE and how bored I was, hahaha :)

I'm pretty sure my 22 miler on Sunday made me feel a little more fatigued today. My total mileage for today was 21.85!! My splits for the miles: 5:33, :33, :35, :31, :32, :31, :34, :33, :32, :32, :34, :34, :35, :34, :33. Soooo happy it's done and pretty proud of myself for sticking with my schedule and doing it, yet still shocked I actually did it! Pretty sure I don't ever want to do it again though, LOL ;)

Pic: My excitement to be in Cabo...I'll be doing this pose after the marathon for sure! :):)

Quote for today: "If you had... one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?"- Eminem

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Island Nectar Roctane, Singlet is ready, Long run confidence + COMPLETE day off! :)

Just when I thought GU had plenty of amazing flavors to choose from, they added another for a limited time only! Island Nectar Roctane :) yummm...I was thoroughly excited when my package of Island Nectar, Mint Chocolate and Vanilla Gingerbread arrived last week! The Island Nectar tastes so yummy..a mix of tropical flavors that taste fresh and make me feel like I'm actually in Hawaii :) If you love GU, I promise you'll be happy if you quickly order a pack before they are gone!

Last night I finished up getting all my sponsors on my singlet. I still needed to get the Triple Sports logo on my singlet because I've been wearing their visor in races yet haven't had their logo screened yet. I am out of time to actually get it done before I leave for NYC, so I went to their store and Kara and I picked out a Headsweats hat with their logo embroidered on it. I cut it out of the hat yesterday and I fit in on the upper right of the singlet so I'm happy I didn't have to put it on the back or on my skirt! I put a photo of it up here and it's ready to go..I may sew on a small GU logo on the front since I only have it on the back right now, and possibly an American flag patch. I also have a little Scottish Terrier patch that I may add as well, so I can think of them the entire 26.2 :)

My pre-race long run simulation went really well today! I started by acting as if yesterday were a pre-race day. I did my run and drills in my typical early morning hours and proceeded to shower, eat and relax all day :) I did some paperwork to be ready for tax time next year, checked email, watched TV and made some fresh homemade dog treats for my boys. Later on I took them for a walk (more like a sled dog race!) and then ate my dinner early like I usually do before a race. I got to bed by about 8:30 and I think I fell asleep around 9. I woke up at 4:30 this morning and immediately made my rice with honey and coffee. I drank about 10 oz of my GU Raspberry brew and then started to dress like I would for the race. Of course I didn't wear arm warmers, gloves or a headband like I may need in NYC, but everything else was exactly how I'll dress for the race.

I got out the door right around 6 a.m. with only a tiny bit of light coming into the sky. I opted for NO music on this run (first time ever for a long run), to really focus as if it were a race. I got started off on a great clip feeling totally relaxed and eventually I got in a groove. I started at 6:49 and quickly got down to the 6:40's, 6:30's and then two at 6:20, with my final few from 6:15 down to 5:54 :) My average pace for the 22 miles was 6:30. I'm happy with the run and feel VERY confident for NYC now. My legs feel totally fine and overall my body, breathing and everything didn't feel like I was "going to the well" so to speak. :)

I took an ice bath, made homemade french toast and now I'll relax until I do my core/ST later today. I'm EXTREMELY excited for tomorrow because it's my first day completely OFF from doing any sort of working out at all, in many many weeks! I'm going to sleep in as long as I can...although my body may wake me up pretty early since I'm so used to it. However I'll spend the day laying around, resting and enjoying a complete recovery day! woo hoo :) This past week was right around 93 miles and this week I'll take it down a notch to 70...let the gradual taper begin baby...

I'm working on a mental "list" of everything I'm excited for with the pre-race stuff, race stuff and post-race FUN..so I'll post that in the next week or so...It's going to be pretty funny :)

Quote for today (inspired by my mom's words to me): "Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve."- Mary Kay Ash

Pics: front and back of my racing top + my boys with it...they thought it was for tug-of-war but then stopped biting at it and modeled with it for me ;)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pasta from scratch + lonely dark mornings until....

your sister responds to your text at 5:30 am and calms you down enough to start your workout. My mind was a bit nervous for my workout this morning and therefore I kept waking up, starting at 4 am, until my alarm went off at 5. You would have thought it was a pre-race night with the way anxiety crept in. I got up and basically struggled to get my mind right and feel good about what I was doing. Sometimes I just feel so selfish with running professionally and not working another full time job; it makes me feel like I don't do enough with my life. Sam helped me feel more positive and reminded me that the hardest days to get going are the most important to get the hard work done. I popped in my Eminem CD driving to the road for my mile repeats, listened to "Not Afraid" and then got going with my warm up. I did 12x1 mile with 2 min recovery and hit them all in 5:34 or faster with my splits being 5:34, :32, :32, :27, :33, :30, :34, :34, :33, :32, :31, :24. A smile spread across my face when I finished and started to make my way back to my car. I treated myself to a large Caramel Machiatto from Tully's afterward :)

It's very hard getting up in the dark, going downstairs alone and getting ready for an extremely challenging workout, having your dogs look at you like "why the HECK are you up right now mom?!" and my body just wanting to run easy or go back to bed for a few hours! Yet the rest of this week and then next week are my last really hard weeks. When I'm in NYC in a few weeks I need to look back on everything I've been though these past few months, healing my foot (:)), working so.damn.hard. and realize that 26.2 miles needs to be a two and half hour celebration of my dedication, not something to be super nervous about or feared.

I have always wanted to get involved with the New Balance Girls on the Run program, so I think I'm going to look into volunteering with them here in the Phoenix area. Ever since I coached for a couple years at my old high school, I've wanted to get back into inspiring young kids and helping them get fitter, healthier and have fun doing it. Doing something like this will help me mentally because I always feel better when I can give back something to this amazing sport that has given me SOO much in life already. It makes me feel so good inside when I see kids get excited about running and achieving their goals.

Yesterday I went on a baking frenzy and made pumpkin spice muffins and cornbread from scratch. Then I decided to finally use my pasta roller and make pasta noodles from scratch for a big dinner for D, K and I :) It was soooo cool to make the dough and then cut it in pieces, roll it through the machine until it was just right, and then roll it through the linguine and spaghetti rollers. I put some pics up of the pasta drying on the counter and then in the strainer after I cooked it. Plain and simple..it.was.DELICIOUS!!! We all looooved it and I can't wait to make it again!! So yummy and 10 times better than dried pasta bought in the store :)

Quote for today: "Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success."- David Joseph Schwartz

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wow, what a week!

100.8 miles. WOW, I can officially say I have run 100 miles in one week of training. I definitely felt it during my trail race yesterday and during my long run today which I ran a bit slower than usual until the last few miles. My days were all singles and starting on Monday went: 5, 16, 13, 15, 16, 14 and 21. I did 3 days of my core/ST, got a massage on Thursday and took naps on 4 of the days. A couple ice baths in there also helped keep me feeling pretty good. The highlights of the week definitely have to be the 10x mile repeats and breaking my old course record at the Cactus Cha Cha Trail race out at the White Tank Mountains by over a minute :)

The Cha Cha trail races are really fun and something different than the typical road races every weekend. With all the trails we have in AZ I'm surprised we don't have more trail races. The one yesterday (7 mile course) challenges you a lot, especially with all the rocky sections, technical downhill and a huge hill around mile 4 of the race! Afterward they have good food (especially the breakfast burritos), a raffle with tons of prizes and awesome awards that are really unique, basically a piece of flagstone with a Cactus statue on top of it with an engraved piece of metal, etc. Mom came to cheer me on and then we went to have breakfast with some friends afterward; fun times! :)

Following friends and watching the LIVE feed of the Ironman world championships yesterday ignited so many emotions in me. My eyes welled up with tears many times, feeling excited and proud to see how well they finished, feeling downright inspired to GO to Kona and race like I've always wanted to, feeling very sad and horrible for withdrawing from the event and lastly, feeling motivated and determined to race to the best of MY ability in 4 weeks when I toe the line in NYC. Commentary from Paula Newby Fraser resonated with me when she talked about so many athletes who go into their big event with a "first or failure" mentality and therefore they lose site of the love of what they do and the enjoyment they get from it. It's exactly what I've been dealing with in regards to my marathon.

What I (and anyone) has to remember is that you train and work very hard for so many months and on race day, it's time to let it all flow and come together. The marathon is unique in that it's more about where your own personal fitness is, and not necessarily starting the race saying "I'll stay with her". Unless you are in world record shape, there is never a guarantee you can stay with any specific person; they may blow up and race too slow and in general it's not smart to base YOUR race plan on someone else. You have to control what you can and not worry about what's out of your control. Yes, there is something to be said for RACING others, because why else go do it? However you have to stay within yourself and what you are prepared for because for example, why race the first half much faster than you are able to run for the whole race?

Anyway, this week I'll run around 90 miles and for workouts, I have a day of mile repeats, a day with a longer run plus fast 400's at the end and then on Sunday I'll do my closest simulation of a race as possible. i.e. exact pre-race foods, outfit, shoes, etc. I'll also be doing it at specific paces to really see where my fitness lies and if I can hit the splits I want to hit to get an indication of what I can hold for the marathon...should be a good week.

Pics: From Cactus Cha Cha

Quote for today: "The surest way not to fail is to determine to succeed."- Richard B. Sheridan

Thursday, October 7, 2010

10x1 mile, Homemade granola/protein bars + running HAPPY :)

I'm so extremely happy and proud of myself for my workout this morning. I did 10x1 mile out on the same road where I did 8x1 mile 2 weeks ago, and I felt pretty darn good :) I had a much more positive attitude toward the workout and although I knew it would challenge me, I thought about how confident and excited I'd be AFTERward if I hit my times. I definitely hit my goal of running all of them in 5:35 or faster (except one against the headwind, which I hit in 5:36 and then proceeded to run as fast as I could on the last one to make up for it, lol) :) I had two minutes jog recovery between each and my times were 5:35, :32, :31, :27, :29, :28, :34, :30, :36 and :24. I drank acai pomegranate coconut water after each 2 that I did and after the 6th I ate a Jet Blackberry gel. I think I'll stick with using my GU Brew for the marathon because I think the coconut water is too thick and concentrated for my stomach to handle when running hard. It's great for long bike rides but not great for my running it seems. I also am trying out a different food to eat before the marathon because I just think toast/bagels are too heavy for me and take too long to digest. During the 10 miler I think my bagel was still in my stomach and it made me feel sick during the race. I've heard a lot of athletes who eat rice or cream of rice cereal the morning before, so I tried about 1/4 cup of rice this morning with honey and I reallllly liked it! I'll try a bit more before my race on Sat and my long run Sunday and see how I respond but this morning it seemed great.

Yesterday I FINALLY went to the grocery store and got all the ingredients I needed to make some homemade granola protein bars that I've had a recipe for, for ummmm maybe two years?! LOL I have been meaning to make them and I came across the recipe again the other day so I finally did it and OH.MY.GOSH. they are so good I'm calling them my "Heaven" bars :) They are made with natural peanut butter, honey, bit of vanilla extract, rolled oats, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, raw almonds, unsweetened coconut and dates. DELISH. One more thing I'll for sure be selling at my bakery someday...:)

After my race on Sunday I was SO down all day Monday...I had an annoying day teaching kindergarten all day and after getting up at 5 to run, teaching all day and then doing my core and ST, I was in a horrible mood and exhausted! I drove home with all my stuff and my boys from staying at mom's after the race on Sunday night and after unloading and unpacking I went to make some tea. On the Yogi tea tags they have cool sayings and I opened mine which read "Appreciate yourself and honor your soul". Then the next day I opened another that read "May your inner self be secure and happy". WOW. Can we say I was meant to read those?! They really made me smile and definitely helped me change my perspective on things, especially with my running. There are so many things with being a professional runner that can get in your head and ruin the enjoyment you get from the sport. Worrying about making money, wondering WHY I fell short of a goal, feeling insecure about body image, etc. aren't going to propel you forward and help you make improvements. If anything, they will tear you down mentally to the point of hating what you do. Thank goodness for my Yogi tea tags because they lifted my spirits and totally turned my mindset around. I'm doing what Brooks tells us all to do....run HAPPY :)

I'm looking forward to my massage later and then Tom Petty concert tonight!

Pics: From the 10 miler. My friend Bill took them for me.

Quote for today: "Those who have easy, cheerful attitudes tend to be happier than those with less pleasant temperaments, regardless of money, ‘making it’, or success." - Dr. Joyce Brothers

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Race recap + staying focused and positive

This is my blog I wrote earlier today on the plane…

I’m sitting here on the plane struggling mentally and physically after my race this morning. Physically, I’m hoping I don’t have to sprint down the aisle to throw up since I had to drink 115 oz. of gross Powerade and water in order to fill my drug testing cup to it’s necessary line. Let’s just say my 5 mile cool down after the race with all the fluid in my stomach was the most painful cool down of my life!

Mentally I’m struggling because I can’t seem to think of any really positive things to come away with from the race. I really wanted to challenge for the win or at least finish in the top 3 yet I was never within spitting distance of the leaders after about the 2nd or 3rd mile at the most. I followed my race plan of staying as relaxed as possible until Summit Ave and then pushing as hard as I could those last few miles to the finish. However as I was slowly catching Jen Rhines who was in 3rd, two girls behind me were hunting me down. One passed me with about a mile and half left (Alissa) and I tried to go with her for a little while, both of us passing Jen, and then as we got to the 9th mile I knew I needed to totally put the hammer down. I kept digging deep and running as strong as I could. As we made the turn to the final downhill to the finish I was sprinting as hard as I could but the other girl behind me (Meghan) passed me right before the finish line.

My time 55:22, is relatively good for the very uphill course yet far from the 54:38 I ran at Cherry Blossom in 2009. The weather was very cold and my upper thighs were practically numb. I wore a fleece headband and gloves along with my CEP compression socks and I still felt pretty cold. It gave me a good reminder for what NYC will feel like though, possibly even colder! 5th place at a National Championships isn’t horrible, yet I’m just not satisfied. No, I didn’t taper for it and NYC is my focus right now, yet I’d feel so much better if I had at least held off the two women who beat me at the end by only a few seconds. I know I ran as hard as I could those last couple miles and my 10th mile was a 5:15 and my last little bit (course was a bit long) was at 5 min pace, so at least I didn’t completely fall apart. Beating myself up about it and being down definitely doesn’t help me when moving forward with training this week and with it being my FIRST ever week hitting 100 miles, I need to get excited and look forward to a great race in NYC in 5 weeks! :0) It’s easier said than done though, so I’m hoping by Tuesday I’ll feel better….At least it's nice to come home to people who love me and think I raced awesome no matter what :)

A couple good things over the weekend were: good weather (no rain or severe wind) and I was able to see and talk with my sponsor from MarathonGuide.com. He called me the night before the race too, which was really nice to hear from another person who believes in my abilities. It felt good to wear his logo proudly during the race and talk to him about everything afterward. Another weird thing is that the results have me being from New York! That’s definitely wrong and I’m pretty sure it’s because my agent lives in NY and she registered me. I like showing my AZ pride though and I tried to get it changed but they didn’t do it in time ☹

I’m sub teaching tomorrow and having an easy, short day of running plus my core/ST and then the week gets cranking with some long runs, a race on Saturday and another hard day of mile repeats on Thursday. I think I’ll celebrate on Sunday after my long run with some of my amazing homemade pancakes☺☺

Quote for today: “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no help at all.”-
Dale Carnegie