Thursday, November 19, 2009

My marathon...not the race I wanted to run but the race I finished.

It has been 5 days since I crossed the finished line. I am still walking with a slight limp, the stairs are my enemy, I am so tired it hurts and I think about Saturday constantly.

Ok I will say it "I AM A MARATHONER". Okay I got that out.

I did not run the race I wanted to run, but I finished and persevered and that counts!

Up until a 12 days before the race I had been having a lot of trouble with my left leg, IT Band issues that plagued my knee possibly combining with a bulging disc in my L5. I was stretching doing some PT and working hard to recover my leg and not have another run like the 20 miler - that was brutal. Until a short little 6 mile run with my husband changed everything. My left leg felt great, no pain, no fatigue - YEAH!!! And then around mile 3-4 my right leg started hurting right in my knee just like the pain I was having in my left legs for the last 6 weeks. Are you kidding me is what I was thinking. I could not finish the run which was mentally challenging, I was so worried about not being able to run the marathon.

For the next 12 days I stretched, iced, stretched and looked for any miracle cure I could find - there is not one...or at least not a guarantee. I got lots of advice and finally decided after many tears and frustration that I was going to continue my stretching, icing and see a new PT guy but not do anything drastically different so close to the race.

So now on to race day. Man was I nervous. I thought I was going to have a panic attack in the corral. My stomach didn't feel right, my shoes didn't feel right. I was worried, worried about pain, worried about finishing, worried about Tom's race suffering from my injury.

(Just a little backstory. I had only to goals relating to the marathon. One was to finish, I did not care about time, I don't even wear a watch. And the other more humorous was to not get a divorce during the race - figuring that Tom and I would fight about something as the mental game of the marathon entered the race)

A kiss before the we crossed the timing pad and we were off. Crowds of people and the anticipation of seeing my family somewhere along mile 9 was on my mind. And then we hit mile 1 - yes folks, I said mile 1. And my knee started to hurt, my lovely right knee who had been so kind to me for 5 months of training, never giving me any trouble until 12 days before the race. I didn't say anything to Tom and tried to push it out of my mind. Man was I hurting, mile 2, 3, 4, 5 went by. We ran past friends at miles 6 and 7, which really helped with the pain. I knew I just had to make it to mile 9 and see my family. My parents, both my sisters, my nephews and my 3 kids were here to cheer us on. They had even printed up t-shirts that said Go Team Voekler. I was going to keep going with a smile on my face until I saw them. I got very emotional as we saw them ahead, they had signs and noise makers and were so excited to see us running towards them. It was just the pick me up I needed or so I thought. The pain was getting so intense now. I had to start taking walk breaks. I really tried to only walk for a minute or two but it was hard cause running was so painful and walking was so well NOT. And this is when Tom and I started fighting (ok fighting is not correct, disagreeing about how to run the race) I wanted Tom to go on without me and just let me finish how I was going to finish. I wanted Tom to run HIS race at his speed and get a decent time. He did not agree. He said we trained together, we run together, we will finish together. I told him I was going to quit so he would run HIS race. And then we didn't talk for about 2 miles - those of you who know me know this is not NORMAL. The pain was excruciating. I was crying at this point, I really wanted to quit but just would not, I did not want to quit, I was going to finish. We ran into Lynn one of Tom's coaches who saw me crying and us disagreeing. She told Tom to go ahead and that she would stay with me...good idea right? Tom said no he is going to stay with me no matter what. I told Lynn to go on and help someone else since Tom is too stubborn to listen to me. We ran mile 12, 13, 14 adding more walk breaks and more tears to the race. At mile 14 I told Tom to please, PLEASE go on without me. I told him to tell Barrie - my wonderful friend and running buddy - who was meeting us at mile 18 to run with us a while to tell her that she was going to have to run me in. He said he would go on without me if Barrie promised to finish the race with me...don't you love how we are making plans for Barrie without asking her .

So we did not get a divorce and Tom started his race at the Lee Bridge, I watched him get smaller and smaller and he ran across the long windy bridge as I walked across happy he was going to get to run his race. And he is amazing, having a negative split on the marathon. He did so good and I am so proud. While I would love to have run across the finish line holding his hand and doing it together I know there is time for that and he deserved to run it his way.

So now I am alone...well really can I ever be alone, I will talk to a brick wall. And that is what I did, I started making friends along the way. If someone was walking I would walk with them for a while and then run for a little bit. At this point the problem was that walking was not making the pain subside. Of course running was more painful but I still tried to run as much as I could.

Mile, 15, 16, 17 and 18 were boring but my family was there to cheer me on at mile 16 and some friends along the way. I could see how proud they were of me since at this point my limping style of running was pretty apparent. I kept going, finally losing it right before I saw when she found me I was crying and not just crying but bordering on hysterical. She hugged me and said come on let's do this. She talked to me for the next few miles and we walked/ran as much as I could. I fell in love with a nice gentleman handing out chocolate covered shredded wheat at mile 19, I was so freaking hungry - man were they tasty - so thank you to whomever you are!

Finally we hit Mile 20, I made it past Sports Backers and we were on the final stretch. Running was becoming very difficult now but having someone to talk to helped. Around this point we started talking to Erica, she too was a fellow Marathon Team in Training participant. I had noticed her for the last 5 miles or so. She is just about the tiniest, cutest little thing you would ever see. She seemed to be enjoying herself and not having a hard time. Little did I know she was suffering from IT Band issues as well. I said to her but you don't look like you are in any pain, you look so happy. She then admitted that she had been crying cause she heard me sweet. We ran with her for few minutes until she caught up to some friends that she was meeting to run her in.

Mile 20, 21 and 22 were just a blur. I don't know how much we ran but we were trying to enjoy ourselves. The last time I tried to run again around mile 22.5 I almost collapsed, the pain was so intense I could not run ONE step. I grabbed onto Barrie. She said do not do that again, we are walking the rest of the way. And that is what we did, we walked the last 4 miles.

The last mile was so tough, the hills were killing me, I really wanted to run across the finish line but I could barely walk. The looks on people's faces as I limped by was priceless. One big downhill before it is all over. My eyes swelled up with tears and then I saw Tom and he jumped the barricade, this coming from a man who had already run 26.2 miles, he is amazing. I saw my family and my youngest Brooke (who was missing her nap) was crying in my sister's arms so I grabbed her and then my other two kids came over and held my hands as I crossed! They were so proud of me.

It might have taken me 6+ hours but I finished. I didn't quit, I didn't give up, I didn't just sit down. Like I said before it was not the race I wanted to run but I finished it! At the half point, despite already walking some I was faster than my first half marathon. The last 13.1 miles took 3 and a half was a difficult 3.5 hours but I stuck with it.

And that is my marathon story!

Monday, November 9, 2009

379 miles give or take

Almost six months of training and from my estimate around 379 miles give or take. The crazy thing is I probably missed about 100 miles of training due to injury, sick kids or just laziness :) I keep putting that in perspective, that I could have basically run from Washington DC to that crazy or what! I think it is amazing and something I never thought I could do.

6 days to go and it is all I can think about. Some good things, like overloading on carbs this week, I am totally looking forward to a few Panera bagels, some yummy baguettes, lots of pasta and some carb heavy desserts! I am excited for my family to come on Friday night and have all the kids make some signs. I am excited to make some t-shirts for my kids to wear.

I am scared too...scared to get sick, scared to not get enough sleep this week, scared it is going to rain on Saturday making the crowds less and the race harder. Mostly I am scared of the pain. I have been fighting IT Band syndrome in my left leg September. Just when I thought I was getting better it has not hit my left leg and it extremely painful. I am working so hard on getting it healed and looking for any options to make that happen! I want to enjoy my first marathon and have the desire to do it again...yes I am saying it right now I want to do it again.

Over 379 miles that is a lot of pavement pounding!

Friday, November 6, 2009


Sitting in my kitchen this morning, baking cookies for a school bake sale and reading an article on motivation. I have decided I will write a quote on my arm for the race to remind me to keep going.

Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” - Lance Armstrong.

I think I will stick with Pain in Temporary since I don't have that much arm space.

Only 8 days until race that is crazy, seems to be coming so soon yet be do far away. Only have 3 more runs before the big day. Next week will mostly be focused on eating (Yippiee) rest and for me STRETCHING. I am working so hard to work the kinks out of my IT band, I think I successfully have made my left leg better but my right leg is awful. I friend gave me this thing called a foam roller, it is like having a deep tissue massage...oh my gosh it hurts to bad. Actually it hurts SO GOOD!

Back to baking and stretching!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just Like Natural Childbirth

Before I was even pregnant with my first child I wanted to try for Natural Childbirth. I picked a practice that had midwives and then set out to get pregnant! Tom and I are very lucky and get pregnant very (VERY) easily. I always tell people that we talk about having a baby at the bottom of the stairs and by the time we are the top I am pregnant. I must say after watching friends go through months, years of trying to get pregnant I know how lucky I am...however fear an accident, although I was an accident and I am SO COOL! HAHAHAHAH...had to put that in!

Anyway....once I got pregnant and started my journey of achieving natural childbirth I was amazed at the comparison between natural childbirth and running/training for a marathon. Basically the gist is that you can't just show up at the hospital and decide to have natural childbirth you have to prepare or "train" for it. So for 9 months Tom and I set out to do that. We told family and friends, many who said I was crazy and that it hurts too bad and that I will ask for the epidural.

We started in the midwife program of my practice - LOVE THEM!!! The midwife, Carol, who delivered my daughter will always be an amazing lady to me, I think of her often. We bought books, reading them all and pretty much talked about the baby, pregnancy and childbirth constantly (so funny about the obsession now since when I was pregnant with my last I don't think I remembered I was pregnant most days). We also enrolled in a Natural Childbirth class and struck up a friendship with the teacher (I recently ran into her at a restaurant after 6 years and she totally recognized me - how cute!)

I hit the ninth month and we were prepared, I was taking 3 walks daily, drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea, doing lunges and squats, taking Evening Primrose Oil and obsessing over every little pain I felt. One day I totally thought I was in labor and the Comcast guy was hooking up the internet and I was freaking him out!

And then the morning of April 14 I had my last appointment with my midwife. She said I was 3 centimeters and 90% effaced and the baby had dropped. She stripped my membranes and sent me on my way. I got home very excited not because she said the baby would be coming soon but my sister, Laurie, who lived in Alaska was coming that day. Not only had I not seen her for about 9 months but she was bringing my brand new nephew Jake for me to meet for the first time. I was sitting on the front porch when she arrived, I still remember what I was wearing!

About an hour later we all decided to walk to a nearby restaurant for lunch, it was a gorgeous Spring day. At lunch I thought I felt a contraction but didn't say anything. Then at the end of lunch I had another one, like 30 minutes later. I told my mom and sister as we were walking to Target. My mom and sister looked at each other and said I think she is in labor. I said NO WAY! Then I had another contraction in Target and they were convinced, me I was in denial. I headed to the bathroom and just cried - I was so excited, nervous, anxious.

Then the pregnant in labor lady decided that we should walk to Pier One, across the street at another shopping center. I know crazy! We did some more shopping and hit Starbucks at Barnes and Noble but I wouldn't get a frappaccino since they would not make it decaf - WHATEVER!!!!

Go home and have contractions about every 20 minutes for the next 3-4 hours. I called Tom at work and told him what was going on but said don't come home it is early yet! We debate about calling my other sister Julie since it could still be hours or days or maybe I was not in labor. She really wanted to come for the birth but lives 3-4 hours away. We were about to call her when my contractions stopped for like 90 minutes. So we went for another walk...I think we hit about 4 miles that day!

Around 6pm while making dinner - Spicy Peanut Noodles - my contractions started getting closer and a little more painful. After dinner, Tom started writing them down and timing them, they were anywhere from 3-5 minutes apart but would only last for like 30-45 seconds. Then they started coming faster but still didn't last that long, however I was crawling on the ground through the contractions and doing squats...I am laughing at myself right now about that.

Tom convinced me that we should go to the hospital around 8:30...I didn't want to go, but it was a good decision. Laurie and my mom followed in the car...they called my sister Julie to come about an hour earlier...she was on her way.

We arrived at the hospital around 9:30 and I was 6 centimeters...WOW was I excited about that. I did monitoring for like 30 minutes and filled out all the paperwork. Then I headed to the waiting room to labor out there - weird I know - but they would not let my sister come in the room with her baby so I said then I am going out there. I went back into the room again did some monitoring and was 8 centimeters, Carol, my midwife, broke my bag of water and I headed to the shower to work through the contractions of the transition phase. It was one of the hardest 45 minutes of my life, I could not have done this part without Tom, he totally got me though this TOUGH part!

I wanted to PUSH and PUSH now...they called my midwife and sure enough I was almost 10 centimeters...she told me to push a little through the next contraction, I was standing up. Then we headed to the bed and they set everything up. I was crying, swearing, laughing...the whole range of emotions! I was so scared to push but boy did I WANT to push. And 3 contractions and 18 minutes later my beautiful baby girl was born, sweet Lily!

I did it, I managed to have Natural Childbirth and I was so proud of myself, so proud! I set out to do some and I did it. Yeah me!

At this point you are wondering why is hell am I telling you this story! Well, because while I have not run the marathon yet, I have trained, read books, researching on-line, talked endlessly with friends and nigthly with Tom about completing this goal. I am not just showing up on race day hoping I can run 26.2 miles. I am ready, I am prepare, I am scared, I am nervous, I am excited, I am anxious, I know I will feel like crying...I know there will be pain, I know there will be swearing, I know there will be laughter, I know there will be friends and family cheering me on and congratulating me. I know I will cross that finish line...while the gift will not be as wonderful as holding my baby girl Lily or kissing Sam for the first time after he was delivered via c-section (breech baby) or taking Brooke out of my best friend's arm after she delivered her but it will be WONDERFUL and I will be proud and I will have accomplished my goal. I will get to the finish line if I have to crawl.

So running/training for a marathon is like Natural Childbirth...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Its been a while I know...I had to take a break, I was just not in the marathon training mood.

First I got differing opinions on my injury or pain in my knee/leg/hip. Did Physical Therapy for a few weeks but things did not get better so I am just going to stretch and hope I can push through the pain.

Then life just got busy and I was not feeling the training and being marathon peppy.

I am back and ready to finish this baby. Only 3 more weeks, 3 more training runs until the BIG DAY. Sunday is our 20 mile run, luckily we got a baby sitter so Tom and I can run together, which I am so happy about since my usual running partner Barrie is going to be running the Marine Corps Marathon...GO BARRIE!!!!!

I am excited to tackle the 20 miler however I feel kind of crappy, sore throat, sinus heachache, but I will get over it before Sunday. I know I can do this and will push through the pain, RIGHT?

What I am a little nervous about it making it through the rest of the day after running for 4 hours. We have a party to go to at noon, do no ice bath - ugh oh! And no rest, I am just hoping we don't fall asleep at the party. I will let you know.

Post more Sunday night so I will let you know how it all goes!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Getting back on track

The last week has been hard, seeing the dr. and hearing what he has to say, trying to digest what he thinks is wrong with my back and then waiting to find out. Then Sunday, having one of the worst runs ever, such severe heartburn that it lasted for almost 48 hours. Still feeling it a little but getting better. I really wanted to throw in the towel on Sunday and just admit that I am not cut out to run a marathon, maybe halves is as good as I get...but I am not accepting that! Maybe I will not be a repeat marathoner, but I will cross that finish line on November 14 come hell or high water. (Of course unless my MRI reveals something crazy today).

So I am having a new renewed spirit and determination.

Today is the first day of the last 7 weeks to race day and I am going to stay motivated...GO ME!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Good News vs Bad News

Saw the dr. yesterday, he is a Sports Medicine Dr. that is associated with the marathon training team, I have heard wonderful things about him. Initially I went in for pain in my left knee and hip that mostly occur when I run the long distances. He ran me through all the regular tests checking both legs and seeing what hurt, nothing really hurt when he did all this of course making me feel silly. Then he had me run up and down the hallway and watch what happens and make comments like "oh look at that" "huh" "well there you go". He had two medical students with him so he was teaching them what to look for, I just kept running.

Finally he took me in the room and said he didn't think there is anything wrong with my knee or hip but my back. Really? My back - funny since I have had lots of back pain since I was in high school mainly when I was a cheerleader. Also my dad has had chronic back pain since I can remember so I just thought I inherited this condition.

Dr. Cutter decided to do x rays on my back. He took me to look at it and said he sees a slight curvature of the spine and then possibly a herniated disc or even a healed cracked back from years ago. I was stunned, didn't really know what to say. He then suggested I get an MRI to get a better look, so I go back next week. He did tell me I could keep training and running unless the pain got too bad. So now I just have to wait and see.

What is the most my back hurts, I know I am crazy, my husband already told me that. Oh well guess I will know more next week.