“Training for a marathon started out as a life-list thing, and it turned into a lifestyle.” – Mike Post, Runner’s World Challenger of the Week

Ever since coming back from Florida last weekend, I have to admit that I was (and am) dreading the next couple of weeks. The best way I could think about how to describe these next couple of weeks for me is that each day is an item on a checklist. This is probably the first time I felt like this in all of my professional career so far. I worked some long hours in a previous life, but it wasn’t the same feeling. I used to feel like the bad weeks never ended and you couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, I see the end of the tunnel here and I just need to get there.
Between the longest runs of NJ Marathon training and the busiest time of year at work which includes travel to college fairs on weeknights and accepted student events on the weekends, every day feels like I’m running a marathon. Good thing, I know what it is like to finish one! I was talking to my mom today and she was worried about me (what else is new?). She is concerned that I am overextending myself, but I guess she caught me on a pretty busy day – I ran a race this morning and then went straight to a work event after quickly showering and eating. Today, I woke up 5:45AM to make it to Central Park by 7AM to meet my teammate, Julio to run three additional miles before the More/Fitness Women’s Half Marathon. As it is, we are a week behind in our longest run before NJ. Typically, you’re supposed to allow for a three-week taper but since we were coming off of the Miami Marathon at the end of January and the NYC Half Marathon in mid-March, we had some additional breaks built in so we could attempt to recover.
When I signed up for this race, I knew I would be doing back to back half marathons within a month sandwiched by two full marathons. I decided that it was more important for me to PR in the NYC Half and this one would just be training for me. However, I am excited to say that I ran this race as best as I could considering I was treating it like a training run and ran three additional miles beforehand. Since this half was two loops of Central Park, I didn’t want to go out too fast. I knew I was physically capable of running two full loops of the park but I didn’t want the hills to get the best of me psychologically. The first time I approached each of the “big” hills – Cat and Harlem, I would think to myself, “just one more time up this hill and I will be done.” As soon as I finished the first loop, I thought myself that “the remaining six-miles are easy because I’ve run the full loop numerous times, how bad could it be?” Also, as I felt my heart rate increase during an uphill, I looked on my watch to check on the beats per minute and then looked at it again when I was calming my breathing down during the flat or downhill parts. Most of the time uphill, my heart rate was around 178 bpm but as I was on flatter terrain, it dropped to 170. I think monitoring my heart rate also really helped me make sure I didn’t go too fast or too slow. I finished this race feeling so strong and excited. Today’s run really helped lift me up from the down feelings of the last two long runs.
You’ll notice in my race picture that I am wearing glasses. I never wear glasses during the day; I usually only wear them when I am getting ready for bed at night. However, brilliant me washed my face with my St. Ives Apricot Scrub on Friday night and accidentally rubbed the exfoliant into my left eye. After realizing my eye was in pain, we to tried to flush it out with no luck. I went to bed hoping that the pain would go away and when I woke up the next morning, I wasn’t in as much pain, but I definitely wasn’t better. We made an emergency visit to the eye doctor on Saturday and fortunately, she was able to remove the little pebble that was caught in the inside of my eye lid. However, the damage had already been done – I have a wound on my eye lid and my eye ball was scratched. I was given eye drops to treat a potential infection and was told that I cannot wear contacts for a couple of days. I was disappointed by not being able to wear contacts but am so glad that my eye does not hurt anymore. 
Typically I follow the rule of not trying anything new on race day, however, with the glasses I was already breaking the rule. So I figured once I broke the rule, it didn’t matter how many times I broke it! I really wanted to try eating something of more substance than a toaster waffle in the mornings before runs, so I made oatmeal last night to reheat this morning. I ate my steel cut oats with raisins and I actually felt okay. I think I’ll definitely try it again for the 20-miler and then if all goes well, plan on eating it the morning of the NJ Marathon.
On the topic of breakfast, I promised in my last blog post that I would share a picture of my Turning Point skillet. I am proud to say I ate the skillet twice this weekend. Josh and I ate at the restaurant yesterday and today, he picked up the order to-go while I was showering and getting ready for work. Absolutely yummy! However, it is funny that each time they make it, the skillet is a little different. Yesterday the spinach was cooked, today it was raw. Yesterday, they added onions (I didn’t order them) and today there weren’t any. The bread is buttered some times, not all. A small fruit cup is always included at the restaurant but not always when you order to-go. You’d think the inconsistencies would deter us from going every weekend, but something about the meal is so satisfying that until I find a way to replicate exactly at home, we will still be loyal patrons.
I was on such a high from the run and really enjoyed my time at my work event this afternoon, so when I spoke to my mom I reassured her I wasn’t doing anything I didn’t want to do and to not worry. (Don’t tell her about my eye though!) We’ll see how I feel later this week! (Please remind me of how excited I was today when I complain next.)
How do you get through rough patches at work? Or rough patches during a run?

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