Running for Anna

On December 12, 2010 our family was devastated by the loss of my niece, Anna Rogotzke, on her fourth birthday, to a rare cancer called Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. On December 4, 2011, I ran in the California International Marathon to raise money for the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative, a leader in the fight against sarcomas. This blog is created to update those interested in my journey and progress as I train for this event and events thereafter.

....And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

You Just Never Know

So, my training so far has been going so, scary well.  Almost every run has felt great and every week I feel like I'm accomplishing what I set out to do.  I guess it was only a matter of time before a run came along to remind me that anything can happen, and it won't all be sunshine and roses.

Today I was up bright and early for my scheduled long run of 12 miles.  We own two houses (we don't WANT to own two houses...long story), and they just happen to be 11.5 miles apart.  Last night, I parked my car at our "old" house and stocked the fridge with post-run chocolate milk and gatorade.  My husband drove me back to the "new" house, which would be the starting point of my run this morning.  The plan was to run to the old house, add .5 miles somewhere, and get the 12 miles done.  What I failed to remember, however, was our "new house" is in a valley.  Our "old" house is also in a valley.  In between the two valleys is a small mountain range you have to cross (OK...I exaggerate only slightly calling it a mountain it felt like the Himalayas).  I also failed to notice that the first 4 miles would be a gradual climb in elevation and the second 4 miles would be a very NOT gradual climb in elevation.

I felt pretty good the first 4 miles.  However, my right leg (hamstring?) was starting to give me a little pain by the end.  Starting the steep second 4 miles, it really started talking to much so that miles 7 and 8 were half-running, half-walking. I have not had to stop and walk on a run, yet, this training period (other than potty breaks)...I can't even tell you how mentally punishing this was.  I was at the point in the run where it would be longer to turn around and go home, but it was soooo tempting.  I just kept trying to relax, let the music motivate me, and to remember the downhill coming up. 

I FINALLY crested the hill, started downhill and....woo-hoo!!!....oh, it felt good.

I was envisioning making up some of that lost time from when I was walking when, suddenly...a horrible ache started in my right side.  Not just a "side stitch", but a pain so fierce I was actually starting to wonder if I had appendicitis or something.  All the stopping and stretching in the world was not making it better.  So the last 3.5 miles were also run/walk mixes...and forget about making up the .5 to get to 12 miles.  I got to the "old" house and collapsed on the living room floor.  I cannot remember feeling so awful after a run (if I can even call it a run).

Of course, this plays with your mind.  You start thinking things like, "How will I ever run a marathon if I can't even run half the distance?" and other self-defeating thoughts.  But, now that I've had a chance to recover, I think I did one major thing wrong.  I know incorporating hills into your training is good, but maybe not so much on the long runs (not this extreme...anyway).  It's hard enough to get the distance done (speaking for myself) without throwing 8 miles uphill into the mix. 

The beautiful thing about running is that all runs are different.  The ugly thing about running is that all runs are different.  We never know what we are going to encounter after stepping out the door.  We can be mentally and physically prepared, but that's not going to ensure that all goes well.  All we can do is try to enjoy ourselves, learn from every good run and every bad run, and - above all - keep stepping out that door!


  1. Loved this post for a few reasons;
    1. The picture of that guy is hilarious and helped show exactly how you were feeling! hahaha
    2. You shared exactly the thoughts that so many of us have when we have a bad run..."How are we ever going to do this?"
    3. You FINISHED what you set out to accomplish. No matter how painful, exhausted, mentally tough it didn't turn back or give up. You kept moving forward and FINISHED!!! That's awesome!
    4. Your positive outlook is contagious. You are right, we may never know what will happen when we step out that door. it may be good or bad, but we still need to do it!! I love that!!

    Thanks for sharing this experience! You inspire me!

  2. I agree with everything that Nikki said above! Plus you are amazing and inspiring for ending with such a positive message. Reading this sounds EXACTLY how my 12 turned 11.5 miles of walk/running felt 2 weeks ago. It definitely shook my confidence but I just keep trying to tell myself that it was just one day and by no means does that determine the days to come.

    Hopefully you continue to recover today. I am amazed you tackled 8 straight miles of hills whether you had to walk, run or both! That is just awesome!

  3. Wow, thanks for sharing. It's nice to know I'm not the only one that has bad runs! Although, your runs are much longer than mine at this point, it still helps to know I am not alone in the struggles!

    I love how you said the good thing AND the bad thing about running is that every run is different. I am going to try to remember that next time I feel like I my run is horrible.

  4. Oh man! Sorry you had a bummer run. We all have them once and awhile and it will just make the next one feel that much better. And I think we learn just as much from the rotten runs than we do the great ones. I hope you are feeling better today and that the next run ROCKS. :)