Sports Star

I am currently training for my fourth marathon. Once again, I will be attempting to run the Richmond Marathon in November. Last year, I attempted to run this marathon but after my [redacted] diagnosis, that ended up not happening. My head was definitely not in the headspace that it needs to be in order to finish a marathon.

Something definitely feels different this time around, and I know exactly why – my weekly appointments with a personal trainer. On Monday, the trainer took me to the downstairs gym with “the big boys” and had me back-squat 85 lbs and leg press 115 (or around there).  I actually have some upper body strength, and my legs (especially my quads) are looking massive!  Remember when obtaining a thigh gap was all the rage? I’m doing the opposite right now – closing up that gap.

Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it definitely paints a picture in the changes I am currently seeing. I can bench press around 40 lbs, and given that I could barely do 5 lb weights over a year ago, that is big for me.

I stayed away from strength training, especially the upper body, because I could never really adjust to my chest post-mastectomy. I’d feel the tiniest bit of pulling and go “NOPE, not doing it.” Since I have been working with a trainer, I have gotten over that fear and have been pushing through it.

I joked to my trainer that I should be an Instagram Un-influencer. Instead of being a perfectly sculpted gym goddess wearing expertly coordinated Lulelemon, I’m an oddly shaped, middle aged women who wears mis-matched clothes to the gym or looks like a soccer mom dropping her kiddos off at the game while I am running.  (“Holy Quads batman, this unassuming, bespectacled lady is back-squatting like she knows what she is doing!”)

Ever since my surgery in 2017, I haven’t really made serious progress as a runner. I’ve just kind of plateaued. Granted, I did track sporadically and I certainly never did any toolbox runs on a consistent basis. When I ran the Pittsburgh marathon, I just ran 4 days a week and did the personal training. Other than that, I didn’t mix anything up or incorporate any speed work. Surprisingly, I ran Pittsburgh in 5:28, and I was injured when I ran that. Not bad.

My goal for my fourth marathon is to get back as close as I can to the 5 hour mark. I doubt that I will hit sub-5 since that’d involve shaving 29 minutes in 6 months. A lot of stars would have to align for me to get there. I’ll try, obviously, but I am not going to kill myself to reach it. I’ve been working with a friend who is a Certified Running Coach, and I am trusting her and the plan.

She gives me certain pace goals to try and hit. So far, I haven’t quite hit, well, any of them. I’m going to keep trying and that’s going to be approach for this marathon: just try and do my best.

Whenever the trainer Anthony has me try something new or a lot more difficult than I am accustomed to, I tell him, “I don’t know if I can, but I will try.” There have been times where I tried and absolutely could not do it (i.e., pushups). I tried, though. That’s how I am going to approach all the runs Sara has planned for me.

If I fail, I fail. At least I will have always given it a shot. To me, it’s great to have goals because it gives you something to work toward, but if I don’t reach my goal but I did my best, I will be okay. The fun is in trying and getting to run with my friends.  Maybe by the time the marathon rolls around, all the strength training and speed work will create a mean, lean, glasses-wearing running machine.

That’s right. I’m a damn sports star.

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Glacier Ridge Trail Ultra 30K

The Pittsburgh Marathon took place on a Sunday. The following Saturday, I drove up to Moraine State Park and completed the Glacier Ridge Trail Ultra 30K. I know what you might be thinking – “Lara, you ran a marathon on a Sunday and then did a trail run on Saturday! Are you crazy?”

Yes, yes I am.

Was it a good idea?

Nope, no it was not.

Back in 2015, I did this race and the last couple of miles were pure hell. I ran out of water, the temperature got ridiculously hot, and I had side cramps that made even walking forward difficult. I should also clarify that I ran out of water because my dumb ass passed up a water stop. If my memory serves me, I didn’t come in before the cutoff, but they gave me a medal anyway.

When I crossed the finish line, my friends Kelly and Emily were waiting for me. Once they saw how overheated I was and how much my fingers looked like sausages, they went into overdrive to make sure I cooled down. Water may or may not have been poured over my head.  Honest to dog, I honestly thought I might need medical attention for the last mile.

This race haunted me.

Gearing up for 2019, I vowed to not make the same mistake I made in 2015. I wore a hydration vest and carried an extra bottle of water in the backpack. I did trail runs on a semi frequent basis prior to the race. I thought all my marathon training, weight training and other cross training meant that I was going to kill this race.

Before the race, I found out the cutoff time for the race was 7 hours. I thought, “Oh, so that must have meant I ran it past 7 hours back in 2015. I got this!” Plus, the temperature was absolutely perfect the day of the race. However, the day before the race, it had rained a bit, so the trail was pretty muddy. I’m talking the kind of mud where your shoe stays in it but your foot leaves (that is, if you don’t tie your shoes secure enough).

During the race, I felt good, all things considering. I kept reminding myself that I had ran a marathon (injured, nonetheless) not even a full week ago. I stayed properly hydrated and didn’t feel like I was all alone for most of the race, unlike last time. For a long stretch, there was a woman I kept figuratively and literally chasing. I know she was using me as inspiration to keep going faster. We leap-frogged a couple of times and when she was ahead of me, I noted her looking back at me a couple of times and then increasing her speed.

(Spoiler alert: I caught up to her for the last mile and a half. I beat her! Mwahaha.)

Someone actually captured a photo of me during the last portion of the race. I’m smiling and more importantly, I’m actually running. If someone had photographed me in 2015, they would have caught me in the midst of heat exhaustion, wanting to cry.

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I wanted to come in under six hours, but that didn’t happen. I walked more than I wanted to, but I listened to my body. I came in at 6:09, but I wasn’t in the midst of heat exhaustion or potential heat stroke. I was happy that I came in with time to spare! I didn’t get swept!

I was convinced that I destroyed my 2015 time because didn’t I not make the cut off time that year? I looked at my time from 2015 when I got home from GRT and saw that I was 11 minutes SLOWER this year.

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No, it’s fine. It’s fine. It took me a day to accept that I was actually slower this year. I was definitely a lot faster at 35 compared to 39, plus I may have gained a little bit of weight.

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Whatever, I still did it and I came in feeling strong. This race isn’t going to haunt me anymore.

 

World’s Okayest Runner

I’m so behind on my race recaps, but then again, I don’t think I have that many captivated readers who have been waiting with baited breath for my marathon recap. (If you do read these exercises in word vomit of mine, leave a comment! Until then, I’m going to believe I’m typing into the void.)

I celebrated my birthday one week before the Pittsburgh marathon. Dave took me to breakfast and then we saw Avengers: Endgame. It was exactly what I wanted to do for my birthday. Afterwards, we parted ways and I went grocery shopping to complete my weekly meal prep. I placed one grocery bag in my trunk, and then a second. I leaned forward to push the second bag back a bit when I felt a muscle pull in my left shoulder.

That’s right. I pulled a muscle in my shoulder on my 39th birthday putting groceries away in my car. It hurt so bad that I yelped loudly. Really? I injure myself putting groceries away? Come on.

For the week leading up to the marathon, I refrained from running or anything physical really. I iced my shoulder and rested. I also worried like a crazy person, filled with anxiety, like, “Am I even going to be able to run the marathon?” I could barely rotate my left arm without pain radiating throughout my shoulder, and I’m going to run 26.2 miles? I kept thinking, “I may be cursed to never run this fucking race. Unreal.”

The night before the race, I still didn’t feel remotely good but I decided to go for it anyway. I figured that I would try and if it got to be too much, I’d stop and do a Do Not Finish. I wanted to try because this is The Race I have been wanting to conquer since 2015, 2016.

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I may be smiling but I was thinking, “If anyone bumps into my shoulder, I will probably cry.”

I did make a crucial error the morning of the race. It was raining, and I did not lube up my feet. I had vaseline with me, but Race Day excitement means I’m more forgetful than my normal. You’d think I haven’t been running since 2013, but sigh… welcome to my brain.

During the first 16 miles of the race, my friend Emily stayed with me. She and I trained together a good portion leading up to the marathon. Throughout the race, I had a couple of close calls where I came close to someone colliding with my shoulder. As a result, Emily stayed on my left to prevent anyone from getting near my left side. I am so grateful to her.

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She was ahead of me on the hill but I wasn’t that far behind!

Mother Nature was not kind to us runners that day. It rained a bit during the race, and so I formed a gnarly blister on my right foot. I was feeling it bad. I also kept having to stop and clear my glasses off so I could, you know, see. When we were approaching 16 miles together, I could tell the wheels were starting to fall off for me, and my friend was holding back for me.

My shoulder hurt, and because my shoulder hurt, I wasn’t rotating the way I normally do when I run. On top of that, the blister on my foot was killing me and for the first time in years, I felt IT band. Before I pulled the muscle in my shoulder, my training was pretty solid and consistent. My 20 mile runs were each around 4 hours. I thought I could get 5:15 or thereabouts.  I knew that wasn’t going to happen for me, and I will be damned if I hold anyone back.

I told Emily to go chase her PR and I would be fine running by myself. Besides, if something bad happened to me, I was never truly alone. I’d be fine. I appreciate that she wanted to make sure I’d be okay before she went chasing her PR (spoiler: she got it!).

During the last 10 miles, once I accepted that I wasn’t going to hit my time goal, I just focused on enjoying the beauty of the marathon. I looked to see if I recognized anyone, and I thanked the volunteers who braved standing in the cold, rainy weather to help crazy people like me. When I hit mile 18 (aka the greyhound mile), the rain was coming down pretty hard, so the greyhounds who normally like to run with the runners, were all taking refuge under a bridge. I didn’t blame them!

The last couple of miles were a real struggle. My shoulder hurt, the blister was taunting me at that point, and I was overcompensating all over the place. I later saw a video of me close to mile 26, and I was run/limping, hop a long Huffman.

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Yeah, take a closer look. I’m in a lot of pain here. My foot is really not supposed to be turned in that direction.

For no reason other than pride, I was hustling as much as I could the last couple of miles because I wanted to come in before the 5:30 pacer. My first marathon in Columbus, I was at 5:00:58. For my second marathon in Indy, I was 5:28. I wanted to beat 5:30, so I can still stay this is my range.

I CROSSED THE FINISH LINE AT 5:28:58. That’s right! Pittsburgh is much harder than Columbus or Indianapolis, and I ran that sucker all banged up and still managed the same time I did for Indy. (Granted, I didn’t cross train at all before Indy, and that murdered me.)  That still shows how much I really worked hard for this race.

Now, if my health does a nose dive into the crapper again, I’m not going to be haunted by the race I never got to do. I did it, y’all. [Redacted] can never take that from me. If I find myself in the chemo chair again, and given [redacted], it could very well happen, I’ll tell everyone who’ll listen to me about that one time I ran a marathon a week after I pulled a muscle in my shoulder.

Stayed tune for the next post, where I provide my Glacier Ridge Trail recap. Why yes, I ran a 30K trail race 6 days after running a marathon.

So, I did a thing

Last year, when I signed up for the Hyner 25K Trail Race, I said to myself that I would  train for this race. Yes, ma’am, I would be a good little runner and be prepared for once. Before I signed up, I knew very well that Hyner was a beast. I mean, look at this elevation profile.

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A year went by, and I trained… but for the Pittsburgh marathon. I did some trail runs here and there, but absolutely nothing to really train for Hyner. I have been running four days a week and cross-training at least once a week, mostly two days a week. I’m in fairly decent shape and I thought maybe there’s a shot I can survive Hyner.

Barely survive, that’s what happened for me at Hyner.  Here are pictures from the time at Hyner 25K taken by friends of mine. I didn’t take any pictures along the way because I was too focused on not falling or hurting myself. Since it had rained pretty hard the day before the race, the conditions were less than ideal. The ground was ridiculously muddy, and the stream crossings were a little… intense.

I ended up spending the entire 16 mile trek with a new running friend. I honestly do not know if I would have finished without her. I could have mentally DNF’d at some of the aid stations, but I know she never would let me. If I hurt myself and had to drop out, that would have been one thing. Quitting – nope.  Amy would have pep-talked at me until I got back on the trail and gave it a shot.

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See the top there? I made it up there.

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My right calf seized up on me, and my right foot went numb around this time.

Hyner 25K caps at 1,000 registrants, and it has a 9 hour cut off. Out of the 1,000 registrants, there were 798 finishers, and I was motherfucking number 788. That’s right – I FINISHED.

This trail race was the most physically and mentally demanding feat I have ever voluntarily done. (Since I have gone through cancer treatment, that’s going to always take number one spot.)  Afterwards, I thought no way in hell do I want to do this again. A couple of days removed from the race, I’ve been thinking, maybe one more time.

My recent life motto has been this: “I don’t know if I can, but I will try.” I say it to the trainer I work with once a week whenever he has me try something new. Here, I looked up at Humble Hill and had no idea if I could do this. I tried, and look what happened. I finished.

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Pittsburgh is my White Whale

On May 5, 2019, I am finally going to catch my White Whale. I’m going to give it everything I have physically and mentally, and I am going to attempt to run the Pittsburgh Full marathon. This will be my third marathon, but it will be my first time attempting the entire full marathon course in Pittsburgh.

I have wanted to give this race a shot several times but life got in the way.  I have signed up for the full once before–forget which year–but dropped down to the half when I realized I couldn’t do the full marathon. One year, I decided to put the Pittsburgh full off until next year when I started a new job as a consultant. The following year, I ended up doing the Columbus full as my first marathon.

The following year, I put the Pittsburgh full off until new year when I had surgery on my abdomen. That surgery reset me to zero but I still tried to do a marathon that year. I ran the Indianapolis full in 2017 and added a half hour to my previous marathon time.

I wanted to do the Pittsburgh full marathon in 2018, but at the end of 2017, I tripped and face planted, breaking my nose and pride. By the time I recovered from that, bronchitis came roaring into my lungs and hung out there for a solid month.  Last year, I put the Pittsburgh full off until this year.

This is my mother-fracking year. I am going to do this. I had a couple of challenges, namely bronchitis yet again.  My umpteenth bout with bronchitis and my one billionth sinus infection during this recent training cycle actually led me to installing an internal french drain in my basement. I am tired of getting sick, damnit.

 For the first time ever, I am actually consistently cross-training during a training cycle. I have been seeing a trainer once a week, and I’ve been working on weights and core. Friends, I actually have a bicep muscle. Squee! The other day, the trainer referred to me as Quadzilla. Other people can actually see the progress I’ve made since I decided to accomplish this goal of mine and get this White Whale. I am giving it everything that I can.

Pittsburgh, in all its hills and pot holes, is my White Whale. Just even thinking about running the  Pittsburgh fullmade me think I could be more than a sickie, that I could be a runner. That I could actually be an athlete. Growing up, I was the weirdo kid who you did not want on your team during gym class, so for me to even be considered athletic is mind boggling.

Pittsburgh is my white whale because if I end up not being able to do any marathons after this, I will be okay because I did the race I have always wanted to do.

I’m fundraising for the Cystic Fibrosis foundation, which does amazing work for those living with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. My cousin Kathryn’s children, Andrew and Cece, have Cystic Fibrosis. I want these little ones to grow up as strong and healthy as they can be, and the CFF is the foundation making that happen. Whatever you can donate, I appreciate it, and if you can’t donate,  please share!

https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/runtocurecf2019/lkhuffman

 

I am not a good sick person

Almost a month ago, I woke up with a fever and head congestion. I didn’t take any time off from work, nor did I go to the doctor for any medication. I worked from home that week, and I thought that was sufficient. I took a week off from running and honestly thought, “I’m okay.”

Soon after, evidence of my 1093908 sinus infection came around, and I continued to ignore it. Each morning, I enjoyed my hot steamy shower as it allowed me to clear my sinuses. Despite evidence to the contrary, I kept telling myself, “I’m okay.”

I continued to run 4 days a week and cross training 2 days a week. Last weekend, I did a 15 mile race and felt so terrible afterwards. Granted, it was cold and North Park isn’t the most forgiving. Still, I felt like I had been hit by a truck and had zero energy for the post-race festivities. I still thought, “I’m okay.”

For almost two weeks, I had obvious signs of a sinus infection, and I knew it was a sinus infection. I would hack up a lung every time I stopped running, plus I was fatigued. I knew I was sick, but I still thought, “I’m okay…. this will pass.”

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During work on Thursday, I started to feel an ache in my chest and began wheezing, and finally the rational part of my brain screamed, “Go see a frickin doctor, you dumb ass!” I still fought the urge, texting Best Boyfriend Ever that I was considering going to Urgent Care after work.

I was still ON THE FENCE because I didn’t want someone to tell me what I already knew: I had to stop running and rest. The Pittsburgh Marathon is my goal race, and The Race that I want to accomplish as my big fuck you to [Redacted]. I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone but myself, and I am trying to prove that I am more than my faulty genes.

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Best Boyfriend Ever responded, “Go to Urgent Care.”

At Urgent Care, the PA listened to me breathing and took a look at my nostrils, saying immediately, “Whoa there, you have quite the sinus infection.” (Sigh.)  She then told me that based on the wheezing she heard, I definitely had bronchitis, likely from the sinus infection traveling downward.

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When I went back to work yesterday, I saw my discharge paper from Urgent Care. I noticed that I came in with a slight fever: 99.7. I got so used to feeling under the weather for the past month that I didn’t even realize I was running a mild fever.

I’m not a good sick person. I can deal with a chronic condition like [redacted] like a champ, with slight hiccups along the way. But, apparently, faced with a temporary illness, the personality traits I don’t necessarily care about myself come to the front: stubbornness.

My anxiety also manifests itself as not liking to rest. I constantly feel like I have to be doing something or training. It’s why I love running so much – it quiets my anxiety.  My anxiety is telling me that if I rest too long, I’ll screw up my training for the Pittsburgh marathon, and maybe I’m not really an athlete. I’m just a sickie sick person who does nothing but get sick.

I know it’s not rational, but [redacted] has instilled a sense of panic in me. How much time do I have until [redacted] comes roaring back? I feel like I’m on borrowed good health time, and I want to enjoy it and take advantage of it while I can. This is what goes in the mind of someone who’s already had cancer twice, a [redacted] diagnosis, and generalized anxiety disorder.

It’s why I’m not a good sick person. I have so much I want to get done. Good health is a gift, and I don’t want to waste a second.

2019

When a new year comes around, I really don’t like making New Year’s resolutions. I feel like most of the time, that’s setting myself up for disappointment because if I don’t hit every goal, I feel like a failure. I do make the same resolution each year: read more books. If I don’t meet that goal, it’s okay because it’s all about the pursuit (i.e., reading like a fiend).

This year, though, feels a bit different since my [redacted] diagnosis. While I am not sick again, there are preventative steps I need to take to ensure that I stay as healthy as I can be. [Redacted] rests for no one, and I have to stay ahead.

That being said, I feel a sense of urgency that I have never felt before. What if [redacted] means that sooner, rather than later, I cannot run or exercise like I can do now? What if the preventative steps I have to take negatively affects me both emotionally and physically? I have no idea what this damn diagnosis is going to do to me short term or long term.

Everything feels uncertain, hence the sense of urgency when it comes to my current state of health and physicality. How long is this going to last?

I have signed up for several races this year that I would have kept pushing off to “some day.”  I am signed up for the Pittsburgh Full marathon, Hyner 25K, and Glacier Ridge 30K. Best boyfriend and I also want to bike the Great Allegheny Passageway in the fall. To prepare for all of this, I have been running four days a week and doing a weights/core workout two days a week.

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I also want to find three or four half marathons to do this year. Five might be pushing it, but it’d be cool to reach 20 half marathons this year.

For the first time in my running career, I’m giving it 100 percent, which I am ashamed to admit. [Redacted] lit a fire in me that I didn’t know I had, which I am also ashamed to admit. I never wanted to be the person who waited until a medical diagnosis to change her life.

I think I can redeem myself by never allowing myself become inspiration porn. I hope my friends will stage a personality intervention if I whore myself out as some sickie who overcome obstacles inspiration for others. Ugh, no thank you. If I call this a journey, I want one of you to slap me in the face. Please and thank you.

I always, always, want to be known as some middle-aged woman who’s the #worldsokayestrunner.

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I plan to reach these goals with the same snark and self-deprecation that have defined my adulthood. It might not be pretty and involve a lot of cursing, and it will never involve inspirational quotes.  If that revs your engine, that’s awesome. I’m going to use spite, anger, and stubbornness to get me where I’m going.

[Redacted] has taken a lot from me, and it’s about time I take something the fuck back.

Half Marathon #15 – Richmond

The race that I have been training for has come and gone. Shortly after my [redacted] diagnosis and the depression that followed, I thought it would be best to drop down from the marathon to the half marathon. I was under a lot of stress, and the last thing I needed was self-inflicted stress while I dealt with medical issues.

Frankly, it was the best decision I have made recently. I felt a weight lifted off me, and I could start training again and focus on having fun.

Beloved boyfriend and I arrived at Richmond on Friday where we picked up my half marathon packet. When I had signed up for the full marathon, I had paid for them to pay for my bib and shirt to be mailed to my house. As such, I had a Richmond marathon shirt, not a half marathon shirt.

I brought it into the expo, and when I went to get my half marathon shirt, I tried explaining to two volunteers why I was giving back a shirt. “You … can keep the shirt,” the man responded after I explained why I was trying to give it back.

“I can’t wear a shirt of a race I didn’t do,” I said aloud, slowly feeling like a crazy person.

Another volunteer laughed and took the shirt. “I get it,” he promised me. I heard him say to the other guy, “Runners, man.”

On race day, I woke up feeling ready and confident. I began putting on the race outfit I laid out the day before… only to realize I had packed yoga pants, not running tights. What the hell, Huffman! I went through a momentary bout of panic because I hadn’t run in yoga pants since I started a couch to 5k.

I also thought I’d look like a total running hobbyist by running a half marathon in frickin’ yoga pants. Why do I own so many black running tights that I confuse them with my black yoga pants? Also, why don’t I separate yoga and running pants? Argh. Given that I had no other choice, I put my big girl pants on figuratively and put my actual pants on literally. I looked and felt like a jagoff, but I had nothing else to wear.

During the run, y’all, I felt mostly great. The weather was perfect running weather, and the course elevation was tame compared to Pittsburgh. During the 5th mile, I had to stop and adjust my right sock twice because it felt off. (Turns out, I was right because I had a giant blister on my big right toe. Guess I didn’t fix the sock problem.)

Throughout the run, I focused on my breathing, not shrugging my shoulders, and lifting my damn legs. I had to fight the urge to shuffle my feet and shrug my shoulders. I stopped at every water stop and drank water, or I stopped to eat the Gu chews. Hell, I walked a couple of spots just to get my heart rate back down.

The best part of the race had to be downhill finish. I know when I came to the end, I probably had a huge grin on my face. I hyped myself up and said, “Let’s do this, Huffman,” and I went flying down that hill. The first part of my final mile, I had to walk for 30 seconds. That makes that 10:17 mile at the end even more fist bump worthy.

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I’m happy with my time! I can’t remember the last time I had so many miles in the 10-minute pace. I didn’t have an overall time goal, only just to finish and have fun. Mission freaking accomplished.  I finished, and I’m proud of my time.

I went through a lot to get to this mindset and place. It took me awhile but I have stopped comparing myself now to what I used to be able to do. That never helped me and just made me feel angry at myself.  I’m looking at each training cycle in the present, and keeping the past (especially results before a 5-inch incision in my abdomen) in the past.

For my 15th half marathon, I listened to my coach and checked my pride at the door. I knew what I had been doing was wrong with a capital W, so I listened to the coaching and advice from Coach Dan. I’m glad I did because this is one of the best results I have had in a while.

Looking forward to half marathon #16 – maybe I”ll see the 2:10-19 range again…. that’s the beauty of running. There’s always the next race. [Redacted] will take a lot from me, but it cannot and will not take my running from me. I may have [redacted] but I am a mother-fucking runner.

Running

I signed up for my third marathon, which is going to take place in November. After Indianapolis, I had made a proclamation that I was going to stay away from marathons. I felt burnt out, and beyond discouraged. I added on 30 minutes to my first marathon time. Granted, I was coming back from a pretty extensive surgery, so I’m sure that played a big part.

This year feels different. I feel different. It’s like something finally clicked in my brain that if I want to yield different results (i.e., run faster and not be so burnt out), then I need to be different. For the past month or so, I have been doing track workouts on a regular basis.

Before this, I hadn’t done a track workout on a regular basis in years. When I ran with Fleet Feet, I would drive all the way from the North Hills to the South Hills to make the track workout. Given that I have turned into quite the pseudo-yinzer, I don’t like to go through a tunnel.  I got out of the habit of going to track workouts, and it takes me forever to get back into one.

I am so thankful for my current job, and the fact that it allows me to attend these toolbox runs. I can definitely I’m making progress because my pace is getting faster in certain stretches of my long runs. Yesterday, there was a half mile where I was flying! I looked at my watch and saw my pace was 9:30. Granted, I was going down hill but I was still flying.

Last week, I signed up for a gym membership because I’m determined to get stronger in areas where I am anything but. I love, love, love the feeling of my legs getting stronger, like tree trunks. I want to improve my time, of course, but most importantly, I just want to get stronger.

Stay tuned. Watch these progress reports actually… progress.

30 years

This month, it’ll be 30 years since my mother died. Gotta say, it feels surreal that she’s been gone for this long. My mom, she missed pretty much everything in my life, minus my birth. She was definitely there for that one. After that, my mother missed my First Communion, Confirmation, high school graduation, college graduation, first job, first heartbreak, buying my first house, so on and so on.

She wasn’t there when I had breast cancer. More than anything, I missed her while I was going through treatment. I wanted my parent there so badly. Just because I don’t remember doesn’t mean I don’t miss her and have a mom-shaped hole in my heart, which will never go away.

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This is what she just missed in my life. My two brothers, each of whom have kids, also missed out having our mother in their lives.

Metastatic breast cancer is a thief. It’s a dirty dirty thief. It stole my mother, and I’m doing something about it. Once again, I’m raising money for Metavivor. Every dollar you donate will go toward researching metastatic breast cancer. This year, I decided to run 30 miles this year – one mile for every year she has been gone.

That’s right – 30 freaking miles. I’m doing a marathon and then 3.8 miles before.  The date will be November 18 – be there or be square, and watch me hobble toward this bonkers goal of mine.

If you can donate, then you can do so here:

https://secure.metavivor.org/page/contribute/larahuffman30

If you cannot, I understand and would be very appreciative of anyone who can share my story and my link.