Everything is Awesome*

Training week: 6 of 18
Money raised: $2,498 of $8,000
Today’s run: Cross-training (hiking)
Cumulative training miles: 112

I caught up with an old friend a few days ago, and he asked me how the marathon training was going. I told him I was working on a blog post titled “Everything is Awesome,” because that’s honestly how I had been feeling about the experience so far. Recently, I had been feeling very lucky that Trinity Boston Foundation chose to give me their final bib for the 2017 marathon team, and I’d been having an amazing time training and fundraising for this great cause. Everything was going great — until my long run yesterday. That’s why there’s an asterisk by the title of this post.

Before we get to that, here’s what’s going awesome these days:

  1. My friends, family, and colleagues have been incredibly supportive of and enthusiastic about my marathon running. People who I haven’t connected with in a long time have been quick to lend an encouraging word. They’re impressed. That’s surprising to me, because in Boston, marathon runners are a dime a dozen. I didn’t think I was all that special. But the outpouring of support has given me a huge burst of energy and increased my drive and motivation. These days, I really feel like I can do this.
  2. I’ve reached the first 2 fundraising milestones that were set by Trinity Boston Foundation. I was encouraged to raise $1,000 by Dec. 31, and $2,000 by Jan. 15. I was pretty worried about the second one (as you can tell from my previous post), but my direct asks have been successful so far. A few things I’ve learned about fundraising: emails are far more lucrative than snail mail (who knew! I thought the old-fashioned touch was worth the time!), and people give more money when you ask them on the weekend. Also: Facebook is a fundraising MACHINE. Speaking of which:
  3. Facebook is a TON of fun and wildly addictive. I had taken a hiatus from Facebook for roughly 5 years. I didn’t exactly swear it off, but I didn’t find much use for it after my college days were behind me. I was used to the version of Facebook that started with “the” and was exclusive to college students. I reluctantly returned to the world of social media at the insistence of my fundraising coach, Cori, who swore I would need it to spread the word about TBF and have any hope of reaching a lofty giving goal. As is usually the case, Cori was right. Plus, now I have videos of golden retrievers in my life.
  4. With the right gear, winter running ain’t no thang. I’ve run in 6-degree weather before dawn; I’ve run on snow and ice with spikes on my shoes. I’m a layering pro and the cold doesn’t phase me anymore. However, there is a lot of snot in winter running. More on this in a future post.
  5. No sign of injuries. Like, NO sign. No twinge in the knees, no awkward ankle rolls. Knock on wood.
  6. I think I’ve lost some weight? I don’t really track my weight, but I suddenly fit into a pair of jeans that I purchased in 2009. WHOA. What happened to my beloved thunder thighs? #gonebutnotforgotten
  7. I found a great team. Last week on my long run, I ran into a guy setting up a water station on the Comm Ave carriage road in Newton. I stopped to chat and it turns out he coaches a marathon training team that includes over 100 charity runners, and he invited me to join them. This was exactly what I had been craving — a community of runners. If I learned anything from working at the Posse Foundation, it’s that TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK.
  8. I’ve started to inspire others to focus on their fitness. On the one hand, I’m constantly worrying about becoming that guy who can’t have a normal conversation without talking about marathon training. However, it seems like this topic has jolted some of my friends into action. One of my colleagues has taken up cold-weather running instead of heading indoors. A former student set a plan for her own fitness training after hearing what I was up to. This shouldn’t surprise me, since I’ve got role models of my own who inspired me to start training. But it feels pretty great.

So why is everything not awesome? Well, I’ve got some work to do regarding long run recovery. I ran 10 miles yesterday with the Furey 26.2 team, and I took it slow, drank plenty of water, and generally felt great to the last mile. But 30 minutes after the run ended, I completely crashed. I felt drained and listless, and was generally useless and curmudgeon-y all afternoon. (My husband can attest.) This isn’t the first time this has happened after an 8+ mile run. In fact, it’s pretty much my normal. Even after 6 half-marathons, I still haven’t quite figured out the perfect formula for nutrition and hydration before, during, and after a long run. I’ve experimented with a lot of foods and energy gels, and my current theory is that I’m missing a crucial window for refueling with carbs and water immediately after the run. I’ve got a plan for next Saturday, but this is going to take a lot of trial and error. Luckily, I’ve got at least 10 long runs left, so there’s still plenty of time to find the Goldilocks nutritional formula before Marathon Monday.

One last thing before I go. In case it’s been playing in your head this whole time, here is the music video for “Everything is Awesome” from the LEGO movie. I think I’ve found a new theme song.

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