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No longer “Chasing Boston”

It’s been a while since I have posted a blog. I have sat down numerous times with no success in posting what I had written. Perhaps it is the part of me that second guesses and asks “is this worthy, am I enough?” It is human nature to doubt ourselves to allow outside opinions make us feel less than our worth. The truth of the matter is we are all enough we just have to believe it!! Hope you enjoy my journey.

Well it FINALLY happened. I achieved my goal of qualifying for Boston! It wasn’t easy but it was most definitely worth it. I set out on this journey in November 2013, after running the New York City Marathon. It has felt like an uphill battle. Thanks to the love and support of my family, friends and my yoga practice my journey has come full circle.

Let me start in 2014, it proved to be a tough year for me personally and physically. After months of training, intense yoga teacher training and starting a new job I was ready to give my best try at getting my BQ time at the Disney Marathon in January 2015. To my dismay it wasn’t in the cards for me, during a training run on December 25, 2014, I had intense pain in my foot and was later diagnosed with a stress fracture. After months of recovering and then several months of running through pain I wasn’t all that confident that I would ever hit my BQ time goal (at least not in my current age group). No matter the challenges I was determined to give it my best but with a different mind set an open-mind set.

Fast forward after running Disney World in my boot in 2015, I took the time needed to recover. Once I recovered I broke down and got a coach and joined Team Rogue (a running group with some really amazing runners) I had wanted to join this group in the past but I always felt like I wouldn’t be able to hang with them. Keeping an open-mind and believing I am enough allowed me to surrender to my insecurities, my doubts of not being good enough. I started training with them in June of 2015. I had deferred running Missoula Marathon in 2014, so it was on my calendar for July 2015. I was nowhere near ready to run at the pace needed to qualify. I would be running this race no matter the condition I was in so I made the best of my situation. I decided to use this race as a base, it had been 15 months since my last marathon, to see where I was and what I would need to work on for the next marathon. I ran Missoula in 3:47:48. I wasn’t sure how I pulled this off, I has happy my base was better than I had anticipated, yet disappointed that I came so close and still no BINGO. I reminded myself that I would have more training under my belt and to appreciate that I worked through some tough moments in the race. I cramped at mile 22, with 4.2 miles left to go I couldn’t hold the pace needed to come in under 3:45.

Pre-race photo with Bart Yasso

Pre-race photo with Bart Yasso

Lehigh Valley Via Marathon 2015…here I was toeing the start line and another opportunity to fulfill my goal. The weather wasn’t ideal, 61* with 80% humidity but I was’t going to let that affect me. I was healthy, I was well trained and I was in great company. Via Marathon is known for the last chance weekend to qualify for Boston. As my sister and I waited in line for the port-o-potty we looked around at all the Boston attire runners wore from previous years. I have to say it was a little intimidating but no matter I was happy, nervous and excited to be here. To be in the present moment. I wasn’t going to dwell on what if’s. With less than 2 minutes before gun time we said our well wishes to each other, we took our picture and hugged each other and said our infamous words “see you at the finish line”. I set off with 1000 other runners. Our friend told us he would be cheering/spectating at mile 2, 8, 13-14 and then the finish line. Knowing and looking forward to seeing someone cheering for you at any point in a marathon is just what can feed and fuel you when you are tired or having doubts. The gratitude I have for my friend is limitless. Thank you, Bart!! The night before the race we had dinner with friends one of them designed this course so we had good insight as to what to expect the other had ran the race last year. My sister asked if they had anything they wanted to share with us about the course. Boy am I glad she did, John shared two things we should be aware of, one delta and one positive. The positive was mile 2 was downhill and to be aware that we would shave time off but not to worry it was still early in the race. Low and behold this was my fastest mile!! The delta was around mile 25.5 you would hear the crowds from the finish line; you would even see the finish line but you would still have 3/4 of a mile left to run.

Break down of my race: my goal at halfway point was to cross at around 1:50:30, I crossed 13.1 at 1:49:30, I felt good, I had typical aches but no real pain, my lungs felt strong. I made small talk with several runners. I asked if they had a time goal, every runner I asked had a time goal they were trying to achieve. Several runners had goals of 3:30 and 3:35. I thought to myself ok I have to pull back my goal is 3:40 and I am going to burn out if I continue pushing this pace. Even though I felt good at that time. I know from experience that it can turn ugly real quick. Especially if you don’t leave gas in your tank for those last 6-8 miles of the race. Mile 20 I could hardly believe my time was 2:43, even if I ran the last 6 miles at a 10 minute pace I would hit my BQ time. I had to stay strong and push on. As I ran I reminded myself how grateful I was that I was strong and capable. I used my yoga breathing skills, pranayama, throughout the race but I really honed in on it as I pushed the “final leg” of the race. I inhaled love, my love for life, my love for health, my love for my family, my love for my perseverance. I exhaled gratitude, my gratitude for my family, gratitude for the strength I have, gratitude for “being

selfie

selfie

enough,” my gratitude for overcoming so many obstacles in my life. Mile 24, what?? how the heck was I at mile 24 already did I really only need to run 2.2 more!! Time 3:18…Holy Smokes I could potentially cross sub 3:40, was I dreaming? The word HOPE comes to my mind…Hold On Pain Ends. Mile 25ish I hear the crowd, I see the finish line but I knew what to expect. The route to the finish line is basically a jug handle, you go around in a loop over an overpass to get to the finish line. Knowing this was crucial in the final stretch of the race. (Tip from guy who ran it last year.) Knowing this information kept me strong in the final stretch. The cherry on top was seeing my friend at mile 26. Finish line here I come!! I cross the finish and the clock is 3:37 something. I’m overwhelmed emotionally. I feel the water works coming, tears of happiness, tears of accomplishment. As I continue down the runners chute I stop to get “crowned” and hug the person who hung my medal around my neck. I walk to the medic tent to get ice for my legs and sit for a moment. I sit silently absorbing the present moment. A moment I will forever remember.

Namaste

Melanie, YogiRunner

 

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“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”

Let me begin with saying how grateful I am for the amount of support I have received from my family and friends. Every well wish and positive energy you sent my way didn’t go unnoticed. It’s times like this that you discover how compassionate some of the people in your life truly are. To my husband and kids, thank you for taking care of me. You made sure I was comfortable and didn’t go hungry. You hung out in bed watching tv with me and sometimes watching me sleep, you offered encouragement and so much love with your kind words and your sweet and tender smiles, hugs and kisses. You made me laugh a image nd kept me entertained. I love you guys so much. To Kip, your heart is so full of love, I’ve never met a more giving person. You racked your brain seeking a way to put me back together and for that I’m forever grateful, your gift of healing others is beyond imaginable. Thank you my dear friend! To my sister, your guidance and advice has been spot on. I’ve know what issues I was going to be dealing with each step along this journey. I had hoped to prove you wrong but as usual your knowledge and unfortunate experiences dealing with stress fractures was accurate. Thank you so much for your daily texts and phone calls. Love you forever my best friend.image

I’m happy to report that I’m finally out of the boot. I’m officially on the road to recovery. For all of you who have had the not so pleasurable experience of a stress fracture and/or needing the boot to heal I’m sure that you will agree with me the real work begins when it comes off. Luckily my sister and I discussed some of the issues that may arise. Kip had also given me several exercises to work on. I had also asked a few of my running and non-running friends what they experienced. I knew I wouldn’t be able to pick up where I left off but somewhere in my mind I thought I might be one of the lucky ones who escaped with nothing more than a tender and sore foot. Nope, no such luck!! Where I had the fracture is tender and sore which I expected but I didn’t really think I’d be dealing with shin splints, the beginning signs of plantar fasciitis and knotted and tight calves. Wasn’t I suppose to feel better now that the boot was off? What in the world was happening!! Why was I dealing with symptoms that didn’t exist prior to my injury…but enough about that, imagemy blog isn’t about my injury or my recovery.

My story is about all the joy and happiness I’m surrounded by. I started practicing yoga at home and I’m feeling strong and refreshed. I’m scheduled to teach yoga classes beginning in 2 weeks. I’m completely excited and nervous as I embark on this new quest in my life. It will be challenging but my mantra as of lately has been “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” The other joyful thing in my life is that I was able to go out for a run this past Thursday. It wasn’t easy but I had to test it out. I went out for a 2 mile run to see where I was physically. We were registered to run the Hot Chocolate 15K (9.3 miles) on Saturday. I had already made the wise decision to change from the 15K to the 5K (3.1 miles). I was really happy that I was going to actually run. I set 2 goals, first was to enjoy the run and the second was to attempt to keep an 11min. pace. I somehow managed to meet and surpass my time goal which was icing on top!! When it felt tough I chanted my mantra to myself. My heart is happy and I’m humbled at how resilient we are. I still plan on taking it one day at a time and enjoy every second of everyday.

So with an open heart and an open mind.
Namaste
~Melanie

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Ready to Boot “the boot”

Sorry for the delay in posting a new blog. I guess I’m having bloggers block. As you all know when we hit the ground running with our blog I was healthy. I was running and preparing for the Dopey Challenge in Disney World. I had just completed my yoga teacher training and then BOOM, out of nowhere I end up with a stress fracture. On a bright note, I’m healing!! Yes it’s been a slow process but it’s progress in the right direction.

Once I returned home from Disney World all I wanted to do was sleep and that is exactly what I did!!! Rest, rest and more rest. I literally would go to work, crawl in bed the second I got home from work and sleep, then eat, then back to sleep and repeat. This went on for 2 weeks. I felt like Jenny from the movie Forest Gump!! It was like I hadn’t slept in years. I went from being an early riser to not wanting to get out of bed at all. This is so not me. I always have 50 things I need to do or want to do but my body wasn’t having of that nonsense. I’m glad to report that I finally feel rested. I am nowhere near running at this point but thanks to Kip, my sports therapist, I have been able to walk out of my boot for an hour or so per day. It isn’t pain free but it’s manageable pain. His advice: “your will has to be greater than your thoughts.” Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. So everyday after work I’ve been taking baby steps without the aid of my boot. I’m ready to give the boot a boot but per doc’s orders I need to remain in the boot until my next visit. February 4th needs to get here already!! So until then I will take it one day and one step at a time.

Thanks for all your continued love and support.

With love and gratitude, Namaste

Melanie

Runcations

“Boot Girl”

Well, I’m proud and happy to say that I completed 3 of the 4 races. I’m learning to accept that I wasn’t able to run the final race, the “beast,” the full marathon. Anyone who has ever ran a full marathon can testify that it isn’t something you take lightly. I’m not implying that the half marathon isn’t tough but when you decide to train for a full marathon your base mileage is 10-14 miles. So you may as well get use to running 1/2 marathons on your “easy long runs.”

Today was a tough day, I had to put my big girl panties on and deal with the fact that I was not going to be running the marathon. Which meant I was not going to be earning my Goofy and Dopey Challenge medals. This is my first DNS (did not start) race. It was a tough decision but honestly I know it was the right thing to do. I need to allow my body to heal. Two weeks ago I wasn’t sure I would be able to walk much less run one race. So being able to complete three of the four races exceeded what I thought was possible. I had my fears. Then my fears turned into gratitude. I had to set my ego aside. This injury has humbled me in more ways than I can express.

To my sister, I’m beyond grateful for you. She stayed by my side running the 1/2 marathon with me. She caught me at mile 5.5 (we started in different corrals) and she sacrificed her race to stay with me. For that I will forever be grateful. I also want to thank the running community, so many runners, spectators and volunteers offered kind and uplifting compliments. Nothing prepared me for that type of emotional support. It was the fuel that kept the warrior in me fighting to finish and to finish strong and with a smile. So for all of you who sent me positive energy and love I want to thank you and I want you to know that no gesture went unnoticed. You were there by my side at all the right moments, sharing my journey. Whether it was a thumbs up, a pat on my back, a kind, encouraging word or walking/running with me for a portion on the course. You will forever be in my heart and thoughts. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!!

To the few who felt the need to express your opinions in a “maternal or paternal” manner on why I was running in a boot, I understand your worries were for my well being. However, as the saying goes “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. I did appreciate your concern luckily my yoga practice has taught me to take what I need and leave what doesn’t feed my soul.

My fairytale didn’t end as I had hoped, I wanted my medals more than anything, honestly who doesn’t love bling, but it wasn’t meant to be. It did end with a desire and determination to get healthy and to honor myself and my body for what was accomplished. As I close my tale please know that it was a hard call not to run but my fairytale doesn’t end here. I will heal and I will come back a stronger runner and a more compassionate and humble person.

I also have to thank my family, my husband and kids who supported me from home. You guys are my rock. I know you were worried and I appreciate you allowing me to figure it out on my own and my friends for your support and for honesty. I cherish you and your honesty.

With love and gratitude I thank you for taking time to read my blog.
Namaste
Melanie aka “boot girl”