Thursday, March 27, 2014

Succumbing to Peer Pressure Like a Champion

If you've been reading here long, you may remember I was a solo runner up until last year.  I trained for everything alone and ran almost every single race alone, not because I wanted to, but because I didn't put myself out there and find other runners to befriend.  Fortunately, that all changed last year, and now I have a large group of fellow adrenaline/sweat junkies to log miles with.  I have a lot more fun.  

As far as I can tell, there is only one downfall to running with friends:  peer pressure!

(My dogs figured this out a very long time ago.)

I'm not talking about the negative, "I have to be better, faster, stronger than you" type of peer pressure.  It's more along the lines of, "I'm running this race, you should run it too!" type of pressure.  It's very hard to turn down a race when I know I can run it with a friend!  

Here is a primary example.  Last year when I convinced my college friend to join the marathon training group (peer pressure works both ways), the Houston Marathon was already sold out.  She decided to sign up for the Woodlands Marathon on March 1st.  I had already decided I would go out there to cheer her on for her first full, but then I thought, why not run the half while I'm there?  We can make a day of it.  
Sounds fun. Where do I sign up?
Normally, registering for a half would not be a big deal.  However, in my infinite wisdom, I figured running it 5 weeks after my first full would work out fine.  Plenty of time to recover and retrain!  Incorrect.  It turns out the generally accepted marathon recovery plan of taking 26 days off of running (one for every mile) does not mean casually run a few 8 and 10 milers and then race on day 35.  Oops.  I did not interpret correctly.  

Even though I went into the race with no plan except to have fun, it was still a spectacularly craptastic race.  

Rather than focus on the pain I was in, I practiced my poker face for the camera.

My smile says, "This is a great race!!"
My brain says, "@*$#%)^**@#!!!"
Do you think I learned my lesson? That would be a NO.

In the midst of my "training" for the Woodlands, I finally reunited with my bike.  I had to neglect her in the final months before Houston.  We had some quality time to make up.  

Her name is Betsy, due to her patriotic color scheme.
I knew I wanted to spend March and April focused on Zooma Texas, which was going to be my goal half marathon of the year.  After the half, I planned to take the summer off racing and get back into triathlon training for the fall.  This solid plan lasted about a week.

I was out on a beautiful (and windy as Hell) Saturday ride with two friends, and low and behold, I found out they were signed up for the Kemah Triathlon in April.  I had been eyeing this race for months, and I had finally decided to pass and give myself some time off of racing.  We rode 30 miles that day, and by the time we rolled back into the parking lot, they had convinced me to register for the Olympic triathlon.  Keep in mind, this was not a hard sell.  After about 10 minutes of hearing how fun it would be to experience the event together, I folded like a cheap lawn chair and got out my wallet.  To heck with resting!  Let's race!

These are the culprits.  Don't they look intimidating?
After I was officially signed up for Kemah, I reworked my plan, decided to remain firm in my plan not to race at all over the summer and focus on building a really strong base for a fall triathlon I am eyeing.  Do you see where this is going?  A week later one of my badass tri friends (she's about to rock Ironman Texas) sent me a link to the Shadow Creek Ranch Sprint Triathlon in July.  I gave her my song and dance about taking the summer off, blah, blah, blah, to which she replied, "But it's only a sprint.  It won't even tire you out."  

Crap.  Willpower, why have you abandoned me??  I cannot turn down the promise of friends and racing.  

So here I am in the middle of triathlon training (and loving it, by the way), while at the same time gearing up for another half marathon in two weeks.  What did I do with my time before I became a race addict?

Oh, and just for fun, I am racing the Esprit de She 10K in May.  As my tri badass friend would say, "It's only a 10K, right?"

Succumbing to peer pressure, one race at a time.
Preserving Polly

* It's not to late to register for the Zooma Texas half marathon or 10K in Austin on April 12th.  Come join me in Hill Country for a girls' day out!  Use code TXAMB5 for 10% off.

** If Zooma isn't enough girl time for you, meet me at the Esprit de She 10K in Katy, TX on May 8th for a run and happy hour.  I had a blast at this race last year, and I am looking forward to running for mimosas again!  Use promo code: EDS48.  Hope to see you there!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Zooma Half Marathon Price Increase Tomorrow!

If you are contemplating joining in the fun at the Zooma Half Marathon in Austin, sign up today!  The price goes up tomorrow.  You can save an additional 10% with the code TXAMB5.

April 12. 2014

Register HERE.

You know you want one of these medals.

Come run with me!

Already looking forward to another race,
Preserving Polly

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I AM A MARATHONER!: Chevron Houston Marathon Recap


Words I never thought I would say at this time last year.

It's been four days since the Chevron Houston Marathon, and I'm still riding a runner's high while trying to sort out my thoughts and gratitude in order to write a race recap.  In summary, it was a perfect day with an unbelievable spectating team.

Leading up to the race, I was calm, confident and very excited.  I felt great about my training and knew I would finish.  Most importantly, my attitude going in was extremely positive.  Instead of viewing the race as the toughest challenge at the culmination of 6 months of training, I saw it as a reward.  I put in over 700 miles in preparation for the marathon, many of them in extreme heat and humidity and a few in the pouring rain.  I loved every minute of it.  All of those miles were money in the bank, and I blew every penny on a spectacular 26.2 mile victory lap on Sunday.

But before the race day fun could begin, I had two very important people to pick up from the airport on Saturday morning.  You may know them as Team 'Stache, but they also made up two thirds of my champion spectating team.

These two amazing people flew all the way from Chicago just to wake up before dawn and cheer for me.  I am beyond grateful for their support!  We spent Saturday afternoon and evening getting supplies, making signs and enjoying an early carb-filled dinner.

Where was the glitter poster board when I was in school??
By some miracle, I was able to sleep on Saturday night and was up and ready to get my game face on at 4:30am on Sunday.  My cheering section and I headed towards downtown, and before I knew it, I was kissing my husband goodbye and in my start corral.

Last photo as a non-marathoner!

In my corral, ready to fly.
Twenty minutes later, the gun went off, and I began my first marathon.  It was a beautiful day.  It was in the low 50s at the start, and even though it got pretty warm, it definitely beat the monsoon of 2013.
The race featured a new course this year, and the majority of it was through beautiful residential areas of Houston.  The first few miles lead us straight out of downtown to Washington Ave, which is full of restaurants, bars and coffee shops.  It was fun to enjoy a change of scenery, and the streets were wide and less crowded than the previous course.

I knew my dream team would be staged around mile two, but after that, all of their spectating spots were a surprise.  As I neared the 2 mile marker, I was expecting to see them on the left side of the road but spotted them on the right side just as I passed them.  They didn't see me, which left me worried they wouldn't know I had passed.  Since there wasn't much I could do, I kept running and kept my eye out for them for the next two miles while enjoying all the spectator signs.

Two miles later I made the turn near the historic River Oaks Theater.  I almost missed my team again, but this time it was due to their disguises!

I laughed so hard when I recognized them.  It is hard to describe how amazing it is to have spectators during a race.  Seeing friendly faces (in disguise or not) truly makes a runner's day.  It's not a glamorous job, but it is so very appreciated!

At mile 7, a new disguise.

I'm fairly certain M couldn't wait to wear that mask, since he finds my fear of clowns so amusing.
At this point, the race seemed to be going by really quickly.  I wasn't worried about my pace and was running what felt comfortable.  I knew it wasn't as fast as some of my training paces, but it didn't bother me.  I was having fun, enjoying the atmosphere and looking forward to the next spectator costume change.

At mile 8 we split from the half marathoners.  I remember thinking to myself:

"This is it.  Don't get scared now."(source)

It is somewhat amusing to reflect on what goes through your head during races.

Mile 9 took us by Rice University and Rice Village.  As we were running through the little downtown area, I looked to my left and saw my FB friend, Tara, running right next to me.  For the past year, we have been Internet friends and have chatted on FB about our running, but had yet to meet in person.  I love that when we finally met, it was at mile 9 in the middle of a marathon with 25,000 other runners.  In true Polly fashion, I got so excited I gave her a big sweaty hug, mid-run.  
Who doesn't hug while running?  

Tara is right behind me in the neon green.  She's been chasing a sub-5 hour marathon for months, and she got it!  Congrats, girl!
We chatted for a minute, talked about how we were feeling and wished each other luck before I ran across the street to see my family again.

Somebody got a big kiss at mile 9, and it wasn't the girl with the faux hawk.
The worst part of the entire course (in my opinion) is a small overpass you cross over right before the halfway point.  I was battling some extreme thirst and mild nausea at this point.  No matter how much liquid I consume, I am always desperately thirsty in anything over 65 degrees.  By mile 13, the sun was bright and it was warming up.  I experienced about 10 seconds of "why the hell did I sign up for this?!" before shaking it off and remembering how much I love racing.  Luckily, those 10 seconds of doubt were all I had.

I saw the hubs and my friends at mile 13, applied some much needed chapstick and snatched another kiss.  I told them my 2nd half would probably be slower than my first and set off to repeat the mileage I had just covered.  

At mile 15 I was greeted by these three crazies again.

Every time I saw them, they looked funnier than the last time!
I was still battling the queasiness and was so tired of my sport beans and the super sweet Gatorade on the course.  I asked them to bring some ginger ale to the next stop if possible and kept moving along.  At mile 15, the mister was waiting for me with a bottle of Propel and the water bottle I brought with me in the car earlier that morning.  When I reached him, he said, "Can you believe I found ginger ale in a mile?"  I don't know what I said, but I remember thinking, "WHERE IS IT???" while chugging the Propel.  (After the race I found out he had poured it into the water bottle he was offering me, but my runner brain could not comprehend that detail in the moment.)

He told me how great I was doing, gave me another kiss and said he would see me at mile 19.  I told him I was doing okay and still having fun despite feeling queasy.  At this point I was forcing myself to eat my sport beans but had switched to only water at the aid stations.  I wanted something salty so badly.  At mile 16 a spectator had a giant bowl of pretzels.  I grabbed a few, hoping they would help me feel a little better.  Have you ever tried to eat a pretzel with a dry mouth?  Impossible.  As soon as I started chewing them, they turned to sawdust.  It took me half a mile to swallow them.  

Despite wanting to chug a 42oz cup of water, I loved this part of the course.  It took us through one of the really nice neighborhoods in Houston, and I always enjoy looking at the houses while running there.  For some reason, I felt like once I reached mile 18 and made the last major turn towards downtown, I would be in the homestretch.  Even though I had 8 miles left, mile 18 was the magic mile for me.  As I ran along, dreaming of salt, I looked ahead and saw it.  No, not the 18  mile marker.... a spectator with a huge bowl of Ruffles potato chips!!

Best damn potato chip ever.

I grabbed a handful and thanked him profusely.  Those chips may have been the best thing I have ever eaten.  Almost 10 minutes after eating them, I felt so much better.  Right after the miracle chips, I made the turn at mile 18 and started the 8 mile journey to the finish line.

Guess who was waiting at mile 19?
It still amazes me they were able to get around so quickly and see me so often.  
At this point I got my second wind.  I was ready to be done, but the crowds along this stretch were amazing.  We ran past Memorial Park (where I have run more 3 mile loops than I care to add up), and the next thing I knew, my friend Piper and her boyfriend were jumping in to run with me at mile 22.  I was so excited and surprised to see her!  She was also the lucky recipient of a sweaty Polly hug.  They ran with me for about half a mile, and it was GREAT to talk to someone other than myself for a few minutes.  After they sent me on my way, the rest of the race was a blur.

I came up on mile 23 only to see these three in yet another costume change and with a new sign.

I was on cloud nine at this point.  I think I told them I felt great and would see them soon at the finish.  I was having so much fun, mostly because they kept me laughing every few miles!

Almost immediately after leaving them, I ran into my running coach.  He jumped in and asked how I was feeling.  I told him I felt great and was ready to be done.  He told me to run into our team tent a few blocks up and someone would give me water so I could skip the last water stop and cruise to the finish line.  I pulled over at the tent and was handed a cup of water.  I chugged it down and for some reason felt guilty handing the volunteers an empty cup.  Instead, I had the genius idea to bend down and put it on the curb.  As soon as I started to squat down, my legs practically screamed, "What in the H are you doing??"  This is one of the brilliant decisions you make at mile 24.  It didn't even occur to me that the volunteer would have to pick it up anyway.  

Leaning over to put down my cup.
I wasn't putting up with any complaining from my legs.  I had less than 2 miles to go, and I was running all of it!  I knocked out the last of the dreaded Allen Parkway hills (which I don't mind, coincidentally) and headed into downtown to cross the finish line.

My dream team was waiting at mile 26, screaming their lungs out.  I felt like I had the biggest smile on my face, but judging by these pictures..not so much.  I guess the excitement was on the inside, because I felt unbelievable at this point!
I was behind the girl in the red polka dot skirt starting at mile 18.  I made it my mission to pass her.
Quarter of a mile to go!

I took my earbuds out so I could hear the crowd and the announcer calling my name at the finish.  Strangely, I heard him announcing the finishers right up until I made the final turn to the finish line chute, and then everything went quiet.  I have no recollection of any sounds in the last 50 yards.  All I remember is staring at the finish line, amazed and elated I had done it.  


And I loved it.

As soon as I crossed, I hugged my friend, Kelli, who was at the finish line with a press pass.  After collecting my medal (which I want to wear every day) and my finisher shirt and mug, I walked hobbled out to Discovery Green where my husband and friends were waiting.  As soon as I saw M, he ran up and engulfed me in the biggest, tightest hug a person can give.  We were both teary-eyed and overcome with emotion.  I was so touched at his excitement. He kept saying how proud he was of me and how much he loves me.  It was exactly what I needed and something I do not ever want to forget.  He is always 100% supportive of any crazy endeavor I get myself into, but what makes him so special is how excited he gets for me.  He is my rock.  I can't imagine life without him. 

I swear there is a tree behind my head.  I did not stick my finger in an electrical outlet.

While we were hugging, my parents called to congratulate me.  It was so fun to hear their voices and excitement.  I'm pretty sure they and my sister think I am completely crazy for attempting this, but they are always so happy for me.  It makes such a difference to know they are cheering for me from a few states away!

Continuing the theme of the day, these two got sweaty hugs as well! 


 I don't even know how to thank these two sweet friends for their support.  They went above and beyond with the costumes and signs, and they made my race experience one I will never forget.

I started 2014 by accomplishing something I swore I would never do, which just goes to show, never say never!

"The experience is more valuable than your finishing time.  
Don't take yourself so seriously that you come away from 
such a unique and amazing experience 
with anything less than gratitude and joy."
- Lance Carter



26.2 and Proud,
Preserving Polly

Monday, January 13, 2014

Running Is Not a Solo Sport: 2013 Reflections

Here I am, 6 days from my first full marathon, feeling calm and excited rather than in full out panic mode like I was before my first half marathon.  Despite my propensity to worry things to death, I have confidence in my training and know I am as prepared as I can be for the race.

Since the next few days are more about resting than running, I've had plenty of time to reflect on 2013 and what an amazing year it was.  As far as racing goes, 2013 will be hard to beat.  At the beginning of the year, all I wanted to do was beat my 2:18 half marathon time at the 2013 Houston Half Marathon.  I reached that goal, and then PR'd three more half marathons last year, bringing my time down to 2:07:59.  My year of racing was unbelievable, but not as memorable as the amazing friends and family I had the opportunity to race with all last year.  

During the Houston expo last January, this girl and I decided to meet in real life.

Up until the expo, we were only friends on Twitter.  I think we both agreed meeting at a crowded expo was a good plan in case one of us turned out to be bat shit crazy.  As it turns out, she really is crazy, but in a great way.  

After we because fast friends, she introduced me to this girl, who is one of the sweetest people I know.

After the three of us had been running together for a few months, they convinced me to register for my first full marathon.  Not wanting to be the only marathon newbie in the group, I convinced my dear friend from college to join in on the insanity.  

That's the kind of friend I am!

We have covered miles and miles and miles together over the past year.  They each have made me a better runner, and I have loved every minute of our time together.  

While the four of us ran together weekly all year, I also had the opportunity to travel and race with more amazing friends and family.

You know you have a good cousin when you can email her and say, "Hey, I'm coming to town, and I need to run 9 miles.  Want to run a 15K together?" and she jumps right on board and brings her hubby and friends to the party.  PS. It was 20 degrees.

Even better?  When you get along with your mother-in-law so well you travel to Austin for a 10 mile race/girls weekend.

Or when you can ask your father-in-law to get up at the butt crack of dawn to drive you to the start line of a half marathon, even though his wife is running the closing leg of the marathon relay 4 hours later.

Most fun race of the year: Team 'Stache with two of my favorite people.

One of the most rewarding races:  Convincing my little sister and one of my best friends to run a 10K, even though neither of them had run more than 3 miles.  Seeing their smiles when they completed the race was amazing.

Each of these people mean so much to me, but the people I have to thank the most are the ones whose faces I saw the moment I crossed the finish line.

This girl: my BFF and first running partner.  She drove an hour and a half and braved the cold to join my personal cheering section and act as my personal photographer.  

My in-laws: who cheered me on in 2 half marathons last year.

My parents: who cheered me on for 2 half marathons and a 10K.  No matter how old you get, it's still fun to have your parents nearby to witness an accomplishment.  

And last, but most certainly not least: my favorite, my partner in crime, my number 1 cheerleader, my heart.  He listens to never-ending chatter about runs, races, paces and aches and pains without any complaints, and he is the world's best spectator (even in the pouring rain).

Running may be considered a solo sport, but it isn't.  Friends and family make all the difference.  When I'm out on the race course on Sunday, I will be thinking about each and every one of these people and how much fun they made my 2013 running season.

Let's run a marathon!

 Head up, wings out,
Preserving Polly

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Farewell to 2013

If at the end of each year, I have more happy memories than sad and more satisfaction than regret, I believe it has been a successful 365 days.  2013 has been without a doubt an amazing year in all aspects of my life.  I'm slightly melancholy about closing the door on 2013, but am excited for what is store for 2014.

I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions, partly because I can think of very few things that will have a big impact on my life if done every day for a year, and partly because I have an ongoing list of goals that are irrelevant to a certain year.  However, as 2013 comes to an end, I challenge each of us to be the best version of ourselves.

Be humble.
Be fierce.
Be loyal.
Choose happiness.
Be generous.
Help others.
Do what makes you happy.
Believe in yourself.
Keep running!
Love more.
Love completely.

Be Fearless.

Happy New Year,
Preserving Polly

Friday, December 13, 2013

Zooma Texas Half Marathon & Discount Code

Happy Holidays!

Down here in the tropical swamp known as Houston, we are experiencing something close to actual winter weather.  The cold air that blew in from all of the northern, snow-covered states brought a healthy dose of Christmas spirit to H-town and forced everyone to dig deep into the corners of the attic to dig out winter coats.  Naturally, the natives are absolutely at a loss for how to deal with anything under 50 degrees.

Since it is December, and I finally was able to turn off my air conditioner, I'm hoping the cold weather stays around...for at least 12 months. 

Too much to ask?

Meanwhile, even though I'm in the final countdown to my first marathon (36 days to go!), I'm already looking at races for 2014.  Is this the first sign of a problem?  I suppose the desire to run 26.2 miles for fun is the first sign of craziness, but I digress.  One of the races I'm looking forward to the most is the Zooma Half Marathon in Austin on April 12.  I mentioned previously I am an ambassador for this race, which is good news for you!  If you want to join me for a gorgeous run through Texas Hill Country during Blue Bonnet season, sign up for this race.  

If you are unfamiliar with Zooma, it is an all women race series.  The Austin race takes place at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort.  Race + Spa?  Yes, please!  In addition to the race, Zooma hosts a pre-race "mocktail" party and a post-race "relaxation" party complete with wine, champagne, massages,  yoga, shopping and music.  I'm bringing a friend to enjoy a weekend of girl time and racing.  Zooma also offers a 5K and 10K option if you want to take things a little easier and really enjoy a weekend away.  

Another perk of the Zooma series is the swag bag.  The bags include over $50 worth of products.  Previous race bags have included yoga mats and stainless steel water bottles.  I know for certain every runner at Zooma Austin will receive a pair of Feetures socks.

I put Feetures socks to the test this week, and I am very happy with them.  They are lightweight, no show and have a seamless toe to prevent rubbing.  They have increased support around the arch, which is much appreciated if you have a flat foot like me.  Given the price of running socks, I think it's great Feetures has partnered with Zooma to provide socks for everyone.

If you're interested in joining the party in Austin in April, register before the price increase on January 25th and use the code TXAMB5 for an additional 10% off.  I would recommend booking a room at the Hyatt ASAP as well.  Rumor is it sells out quickly.  

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and the cooler weather!

Keep running,
Preserving Polly

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Self Doubt, You Have Been Evicted : Houston Half Marathon Recap

Way back in April, when I was just beginning to contemplate a full marathon, I signed up for 2 fall half marathons within a week of each other.  The later one was a local race I participated in last year, and the earlier one won me over with the bargain price of $30 (<-- unheard of!).  I knew running these races back-to-back could be detrimental if I raced both of them, so I planned to race HITS Oklahoma City and hoped to use the Houston Half Marathon as a PR celebratory/shakeout/long run (does such a thing exist?). 
It felt so strange to go into a race without a plan. I had no pace in mind, I didn't do my usual pre-race prep, I could actually sleep the night before (this was a nice change), and I grabbed my race fuel walking out my front door at the last minute.  Basically, I was winging it, and it was pretty nice!
Prior to the race, nothing went right.  What started out as a humid morning turned into a torrential downpour complete with a clash of lightning and thunder.   After getting completely soaked running from the car to a building overhang, my running buddy and I found out the race was delayed an hour.  Jacket and phoneless, we found shelter in a hotel lobby (Thank you, Hyatt! I'm sure you appreciated 50 wet runners crashing your lobby) and huddled up in a booth for an hour trying to stop our chattering teeth.  I realized I left my race fuel in the car, but I brushed that off with my new found low key race attitude. 
The whole time we were shivering in the lobby, we wished we were close enough to the car to run back and get phones, jackets, fuel, money, etc.  God forbid we not have our phones for an entire hour! When we finally left the lobby to head to the start, we walked outside and realized the car was across the street.  Somehow in the sprint through the pouring rain, we both thought we had run a few blocks. A couple of Magellans, the two of us. I ran back over to grab a throw away jacket and my missing race fuel, and we finally headed to the start line.  Unfortunately (and comically), I must have dropped the elusive fuel (any my brain) on the way.
My friend was shooting for 2 hours, so we split up immediately after the gun went off.  It was still raining, but the thunder and lightning were gone.  I like running in the rain, so I just took off, ran at a comfortable pace and enjoyed the day.  When I got to the first water stop, I tossed my jacket and made an impromptu decision to walk through the water stops to keep myself from running too fast.  I kept this pattern up throughout the entire race, never looking at my time.  Right around mile 12, I saw my coach in the median.  He hopped in and asked me how I was feeling after racing the weekend before.  I told him I was shocked at how great I felt.  He gave me some last minute pointers for the last two hills and sent me on my way. 
With a mile to go, I decided to check my watch for the first time.  I flipped over to elapsed time and blurted out:
If I kept up whatever "easy" pace I had been running for 12 miles, I was going to PR again.  WHAT. IN. THE. WORLD? 
Naturally, I threw caution to the curb, kicked it into high gear and bolted to the finish.  If I was going to PR again, I was going to finish strong.  I crossed at 2:07:59, three and a half minutes faster than the week before
When I got home (and dry, finally!), I thought about what was so different about this race.  Why was I able to run so much faster while feeling like I was running easy?  Was running a race without a goal the answer?
Without a doubt, yes.
This race was missing some big things: stress, fear, pressure, anxiety and PR greed.
The one thing it did have: FUN
That's right. Three simple letters. 
In all of my previous PR half marathons, I crossed the finish line and immediately said, "That was so hard!"  When I finished the Houston Half, I was in a state of disbelief.  It didn't feel hard.  I couldn't even comprehend what had just happened.  I looked through my splits and couldn't believe the paces.  I chased the elusive sub 2:10 half marathon in my last 3 half marathons and came up short, and when I finally stopped thinking about it, it came easy. 
For the past two weeks, I've enjoyed a refreshing new perspective on my runs.  All of the sudden I feel calm and confident.  I feel like the voice in my head taking up space with the "What if you can't do it" propaganda has been evicted.  It's about damn time.  That voice is loud and persistent.  During all of my other races, he's been there from the beginning:
Can you keep up this pace?
Are you going too slow?
Take a walk break.
You can't do it.
Are you going too fast too soon?
During the Houston Half: silence, with a healthy side of fun.
So my question is this:  Are we sabotaging ourselves?  Are we missing out on the fun of racing because we are captured in a vice of self-induced stress, doubt and what ifs?   I'm guilty on some level, but through this race experience, I hope to change my ways.  I want to push myself in my running, but more importantly, I want to enjoy it.  
I want to enjoy the mile I'm in, instead of worrying about the miles to come. 
Running the moment,
Preserving Polly