Race Report: PGH Marathon 5K

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Guys.  This race.  Everything.  The weekend.  Everything!  Our people?!  EVERYTHING.

Listen, I’m not going to pretend that I was easy not running the marathon on Sunday.  But, I can say, with certainty that I have a lot of peace with where I am physically and with running.  That certainty allowed me to really really enjoy participating in the 5K.  It also, truly, allowed me to soak up our people while we were in town for the weekend.  Sure we were busy and running from event to event, meet up to meet up.  But, without the pressure of the marathon, and having a peace with this season of my running life, I was thoroughly present.  I could enjoy each person I saw, really see them, enjoy our time together.  It was an amazing time.

First up though, the 5K.

MB and I arrive in Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon and Omni was home base.  I had coordinated with Steff to meet and walk over to the start of the 5K.  She and I both pretended like I’m not 100% directionally challenged and I ended up meeting them right outside of PNC park which was perfect.

it was so dreary and cold.  and wet.  and dreary. 

fancy we run social pic from their insta page. Also LNRB, stop going out in the rain without a hat on.  You look ridiculous.

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Sara: On her first marathon, after her second

NB: I asked Sara to write her musings on her first marathon back in January.  I had absolutely no idea that they would be so kind or make me feel so many feels.  If you sub out my name the info is a great resource to finding the best possible route to becoming a first time marathoner.  Please allow me this unbelievably indulgent guide, according to Sara, about how to prepare for your first marathon.

FOUR MONTHS AGO I was a debutante of the marathon, slogging a final mile through the Epcot parking lot with crippling pain in my right calf.  As I trotted through the alley of spectators, the finish line in sight, the crowd was going wild.  With my leg on the verge of giving out, I rode the wave of the crowd’s vibrations to my first race medal.  The applause gave me the final push I needed, and, although I felt like I deserved it, the crowd’s exuberance had nothing to do with me.

They weren’t proud of me for spending hours on the trail mostly every Saturday for the previous four months while my family sat at home waiting for me.

They weren’t congratulating me for spending hours running in cold rain the day after Thanksgiving when I could have been shopping online.

They didn’t know about how I logged weekday miles on my basement treadmill when I managed to get my kids to nap at the same time.

They weren’t impressed with the fact that I went through the wringer to find a babysitter so I could get outside for my tempo runs.

Nope.  Those strangers were going wild as I crawled toward the finish because of this wild runner two steps in front of me waving a blue fairy wand and screaming, “IT’S SARA’S FIRST MARATHON!” to anyone who was within earshot.  I give you zero guesses as to the identity of said runner.

The day after we finished the Disney marathon together, Lauren asked me to write a post for her about being a first time marathoner.  She said to write from whatever angle felt best and that it didn’t have to be perfect.  I decided to focus on creating a list of what I personally needed in order to successfully train for and tackle that elusive distance for the first time.

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PGH Marathon: Training for Cheering

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In a week, I’ll be waiting, anxiously, to have dinner with my friends who have successfully dominated another Pittsburgh Marathon weekend.  I’ll also be basking in the warm glow of my success as one of the best cheer-ers that the Pittsburgh Marathon has ever seen.  Since I’ve run the course about 790 times, I have scoped out all the great places, as a runner, where people’s yells, snacks and funny signs meant the world to a marathon-weary runner.

especially that time I ran 2 marathons back to back!

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PGH Marathon Training: Weeks 3-6 (?)

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You can still register using my code BAILEY10!

OK, so.  Running has not really been a big huge priority lately.  As you might have read, I’ve been suffering from a low point with my depression, which in turn makes me really disinterested in things that usually bring me joy.  I’ve been feeling better, but I’ve also gotten really really busy.  Busy means I’m tired a lot and still dealing with my depression does not really create an environment for running success.  Then I got sick.  And the sick held on for almost a month.  This week, I tweaked a muscle in my glute.  It hurt so bad I could barely sit, let alone run.

Earlier this week I was starting to panic.  I’m running a marathon in 5 weeks.  The farthest I’ve run is 12 miles.

And then, I started talking gently to myself and I decided to take stock of what I’ve done and what I’m able to commit to doing in the next 5 weeks.

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Running Real Talk: I Cannot Outrun Depression

I’ve been deleted and rewriting this post for a long time but I decided I’d just come right out with it:  I suffer from depression that I usually manage pretty well.  The last four months, however, have been particularly hard.  This isn’t to say that I haven’t had some really bright spots during this time.  But it is to say that even though I can recognize these times, most of the last few months have been spent in a fog.  An unhappy and very dense fog.

A lot of people write or talk about how running is free therapy.  While I’m not adverse to this line of thinking — running can in a lot of ways be very mentally therapeutic — I’ve personally experienced that this is a dangerous way for me to think about running.  Back in 2014 when I was finally diagnosed with chronic depression and began treatment, I almost couldn’t believe it.  I run, I thought.  That’s supposed to be enough therapy.

It’s not.  For me, it is just not enough.

Instead, my enthusiasm for or my lack of interest in running is sort of a canary in a coal mine for me and my depression.  When I’m not able to muster the excitement for my literal favorite activity, when putting on my running shoes is akin to my ripping off my skin piece by piece, when the finish line of my next race seems literally impossible — I know I’m in deep and I need to get some help.

That’s why, even though I’ve been training for and very excited about my next marathon, I’ve been less than consistent.  My depression was able to waft in and steal my joy for the cycle.  Zap me of my energy and motivation.  Help me say mean things to myself about my abilities and commitment to my goals.  I’m still able to train, sort of.  But the running isn’t making me feel better necessarily.  It’s just a symptom that things are on the upswing.

OK, so what?  I wanted to share for two reasons:  First mental health issues are real.  If you or someone you know is feeling depressed I cannot urge you strongly enough to seek professional, clinical help.  Also, mental health issues are prevalent  and underrepresented.  In this age of social media, everything always looks really smiley and happy (of which I’m totally guilty.  I’m not one to post my puss face or a picture of my third helping of ice cream with #depressedAF.  Not my style but also I recognize not that helpful) and it’s OK if for you right now it’s just not.  You’re not alone, ever. Second, it’s OK if you are a runner suffering from depression and you don’t feel exorcised by your running.  You don’t have to.  I don’t.  Some people do.  You do you, boo.  And get some help if you’re feeling down.

I’ll end with this.  I’m feeling better.  I’m lucky to have a great network, awesome doctors, good health care, rad family.  My training is starting to get back on track.  Things are looking up.   And I hope that if you’re not feeling as hopeful as I am right now, you know that I’ve been there and if you do what you need to do you’ll be on the upswing soon, too.

 

Cheer Squad Recap: The Princess Half Marathon

A friendly reminder: I’m a Disney travel agent that can make your next racecation super magical.  My services are free so let’s do it!

Last year, my Princess Squad rolled down and ran one of each of the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend races.  So, of course, we had to do it again this year.  Because no one was trying to get up early 3 days in a row, the girls decided that this year, the half would be the race of the day.  We also decided that Holley would run her first half.  AND that it would be the first race back for LV after a major surgery.  AND almost all the Ohana came too!  Glory!

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PGH Marathon Training: Week 2

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You can still register with my code BAILEY17 and save $10!!

This week started off OK and then quickly devolved into not sleeping, eating anything and trying not to cry about everything.  Thankfully, I was able to pull it together for the long run this weekend so the week could end on a very high note.

Historically, things are weird for me in week 2 as my body gets used to training again, so I’m not too freaked out.  Just freaked out enough to try to spend $1,000 on new Oiselle gear.  (that I didn’t purchase, you’re welcome Duffy.)

Monday img_4229

Friday

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