Tuesday, November 24, 2009

No Running...

..and it's all my fault! :)

After my "long" 6.5 miles on Sunday, I decided to take Monday off...was gonna go to yoga, but didn't.  Then today I had all intentions of running about 4 miles...but then I just decided not to.

I kinda regret it.

But I kinda needed to be in vegetation mode.  Plus I got to make a really delicious split pea soup that took a whole bunch of time to cook.

Tomorrow I am going into work early, which could still mean a run in the morning if I had a treadmill (which I don't) or if I didn't mind running in the dark (which I do)--sooo...no run for me until tomorrow afternoon/evening.  I may have to go to that "gym" (basement fitness center of landlord's other building downtown).  But all I really wanna do is cook stuff for Thursday and pack for Detroit (where we're going for TG).

In fact, all I EVER wanna do these days is cook and eat.  And wear sweats.  This is sounding too familiar!  The all-too common winter hibernation mode, complete with a 10-pound weight gain.  I don't want to do this again, but there's something about these months that makes me tired, lazy, and hungry!!!!  Aaaaughhhh!

As I write this I am eating from a box of...

Well, I guess it could be worse.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thankful for...the Weekend!

Man, now that I'm working again, can I just say how much I love the weekends?  Seriously.

Holiday spirit and thoughts of yummy food are in the air.  I love this time of year.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I love all the cozy sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, and delicious meals we all enjoy around this time.  And by the way, I still haven't given in and put on my winter coat...no way! :)  But that reminds me that either this week or next I'll have to make a switch-er-oo and bring up my winter clothing from the basement.  Booo!  But at least I'll be like, "Oh, yeah!  This shirt!" etc.

Yesterday I went to hot powerful flow with Claire and I sweated my face off!  Seriously, wow, it was great.  I like this class because it's very fast-paced.  It's not traditional Bikram, but rather, just a challenging vinyasa class in a heated room.  It was great for the (slight) hangover I had yesterday morning!  Washed it right out! :)

Derek and I walked over to Loop in the afternoon, had a cup of coffee and hung out with Rob and Claire, who just happened to be there too!  (Funny; I've never lived in a "small town" neighborhood like this where you could feasibly run into people you know all the time.)  Then I spent most of the day cooking.  Like I mentioned, we were invited to this party called "Drunken Thanksgiving" last night, hosted by our friends R and R.  I was going to do these pureed sweet potatoes with caramelized onions and then beets on the side, but then I decided to look up recipes featuring both ingredients, and found this one:

Roasted Beets 'n' Sweets


  • 6 medium beets, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  1. In a bowl, toss the beets with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to coat. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  2. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and sugar in a large resealable plastic bag. Place the sweet potatoes and onion in the bag. Seal bag, and shake to coat vegetables with the oil mixture.
  3. Bake beets 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Mix sweet potato mixture with the beets on the baking sheet. Continue baking 45 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes, until all vegetables are tender.

I did a few things differently.  First of all, I had to double the recipe, because there were going to be a lot of people at R and R's, and I didn't know how much food they were going to have.  Secondly, I have only ever roasted beets with the skin on, because it seals in the nutrients and keeps the color--plus, they're so much easier to peel when cooked; you just rub the skin and it pretty much falls off (wearing kitchen gloves of course!)  I also used fresh chopped garlic instead of powder.  Last of all, I needed to roast these veggies FAR longer than the recipe said.  After the beets cooled, I peeled and sliced them and then mixed them with the sweet potatoes & onions at the very end. This is how it turned out:

To be honest, I was pretty disappointed with the results.  I don't know why, but it just didn't seem seasoned enough despite the proper doubling of all the spices.  I had to keep adding more kosher salt and pepper.  Derek even suggested adding maple syrup at one point, but I didn't want to chance making it too sweet.  The one thing I didn't double were the onions, because I am not a huge fan of things with overwhelming amount of onions--but maybe there was something to that, like they might caramelize and give off more flavor?  I don't know.  Plus the colors freaked me out.  Maybe that's why the recipe said to roast everything together and to peel the beets beforehand?  Oh well. 

The other thing was that we got to R and R's kinda after everyone else, so the food was already out and people had mostly eaten, so it really got untouched.  I know it wasn't because it was gross, but I felt bad.  I guess the upside is that it was fairly healthy.  But I will probably never make this again!

The rest of the party was really fun.  R's home-brewed beer was a big hit--especially the wheat one!  I also tried an Irish red.  We ended up playing Rock Band for about three hours and it was awesome!

Today, Claire and I met up for a longer run...about 6.5 miles!  Yay!  I feel back in the groove.  This was our route -- two bridges connecting Tremont to downtown.  I wore my Nike arm warmers for the first time and I was EXTREMELY pleased. 

They kept my arms warm but not too hot.  I could have rolled them down but they were fine the entire time, and that's saying a lot because I usually get really hot.

Now I'm sitting down with a cup of coffee relaxing.  Even though that darn ice pack is back on my foot, I would have never been able to do 6.5 miles a week ago!  Yay!  Tomorrow's off though.  Maybe I'll get the chance to catch up on all my dumb reality shows on DVR.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Powered by Chocolate

...Aren't we all a little bit more motivated when we pop a piece of chocolate into our mouths?  Whether it's out of guilt (and we're working off what we already ate), or as an incentive (high mileage = free pass for lots of chocolate)?  Ha ha.  Well, today my usual pre-run meal variation just wasn't cutting it.  I needed a little extra boost...so I reached into the freezer for two mini Snickers bites!  YUM!

I actually waited quite a long while to run today, although I was up early.  I had to bring the car back yet again (last time for awhile, I promise!) and was waiting on S to give me a call back about it.  I was getting antsy waiting...not only because I wanted to run, but because I had other errands to do with the car, and also because I didn't want another bomb dropped on me about $$$ like last time!

Turns out all was fine (just needed an alignment this time) and - WOW, there is a difference in the way the car feels.  I guess it was worth it.  Well, it was definitely worth it in terms of safety, but in terms of how the car is driving...it's much better too!

Went for a 4.5"ish" mile run.  Didn't bring my watch today, so aside from the somewhat inaccurate mile markers on the towpath trail, I didn't have a strong concept of how much time I spent - probably close to an hour including cooldown and stretching - plus I took a detour off the main path and I'm not sure how long that part is because there are no markers there. 

A couple things about running in parks with mile markers: ONE: It's nice for speedwork and you want to time your splits and you don't have a Garmin (or you just don't feel like waiting for the ^@*&!%* thing to load!). TWO: they are great for long runs, when you don't want to have to look at your watch but just wanna know when you've finished your distance wtihout worrying about time.  BUT, THREE:  like I said, the measurement is slightly off, especially because I've heard that most paths, race courses, etc. are measured on all the tangents and would measure the shortest distance from point A to B on the path, not taking into consideration all the curves and stuff that, were you sticking to your correct side of the path, you'd have to run through.  So in a way, the timing is slightly slower/you are running slightly longer if the course is really twisty and curvy (like this one is). 

Whatever, it was still a good run. I have come to the conclusion that sometimes, today included, I really like running without a watch.  It's like, the only thing I have to be accountable to is finishing the run, not worrying about my time.  Save the time obsessing for speedwork and races -- two things I am forcing myself to take time off from until December.  Still practicing the every-other-day rule until I feel no more pain, I am not running tomorrow but going to hot yoga (finally!) with Claire at Inner Bliss in Rocky River.

This evening, I made the pretty bad mistake of doing some grocery shopping at Wal-Mart.  I just hate it there so much, I can't describe it, but it is cheap and close by so I sucked it up and bought just a few things I needed (mostly things with the brand "Great Value").  Plus, I felt right at home in my flip-flops, baggy sweatshirt, unwashed hair, and sweatpants.  Nice to feel that you don't have to impress anyone at Wal-Mart.  (By the way, if any of you really like Wal-Mart I am sorry and I don't mean to offend anyone.)  I was behind the slowwwestttt family in history - isn't that always the case? and even though we were in the "20 items or less" line, it took forever and I was certain my ice cream was going to melt before getting home!  Oh well, I had to go.  It was time to re-stock up on some staples, like light mayo, butter, sugar, as well as some skim milk and yogurt (Weight Watchers has a large vanilla yogurt now!  Yay!). 

I also got some sweet potatoes and a bunch of onions and thyme because I am going to try a recipe my friend sent me for this pre-Thanksgiving pot luck dinner we're going to tomorrow night.  Actually, come to think of it, I don't even know if it's a pot luck; it was just called "Drunken Thanksgiving" and the hosts are providing their home-brewed beer and they're inviting a whole lot of people, so I want/need to bring at least one thing anyway.  In addition to the sweet potato dish I am thinking of roasting this bunch of beets I've been saving for a little while.  Does anyone have a good suggestion or recipe for a dish featuring roasted beets?  I was just probably going to let them come to room temperature after roasting and then slicing them and tossing them with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, kosher salt and fresh pepper.  Unless anyone else has another idea! :)

Another thing I'm looking forward to tonight...relaxing with a big glass of Sangria!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Today was a pretty good day.  Woke up really early and felt like I got a good hold of the day (sometimes, because I go work afternoon to evening, I sleep way later than I like).  Enjoyed my coffee and went for a run along the Towpath Trail - 4.2 miles.  I felt no pain in the foot at first, but then it gradually came back - of course.  Nothing too bad, though.  Also, for the first time since the marathon I felt the desire today to go fast.  I didn't really, because I "know better," but I am feeling myself getting stronger.

The run was also a pretty emotional one.  For some reason, I kept thinking of my dad (for those of you who don't know, he passed away 12 years ago).  Also, my husband and his sisters lost their mom 9 years ago this past Sunday, and I was very grateful to be able to spend time with all of them to honor her on that day.  So I guess I dedicated this morning's run to both of them.

At one point, I was just getting so into it, and was sweating so hard that I felt drops of it falling off my face (I usually don't sweat that intensely other than in races).  Then I realized that it wasn't only my sweat...and that it had started to drizzle.  Ha ha. :)

Because I have been getting sorta tired of coming home at 8:30 from work and then deciding what to throw together for dinner (and to add insult to injury, Derek has also had to work late these past few weeks so he couldn't take care of cooking), I prepared a simple but delicious meal for tonight: Stuffed peppers.  I got everything ready this afternoon, including cooking the rice and hollowing out/steaming the peppers, and stuffing them.  Then I just put them in the fridge and popped them in the oven when I got home.  I used the following recipe, substituting ground chicken for ground beef (and changing around some of the spices, adding tomatoes and garlic powder..well I guess the recipe was just a suggestion!).

Now I am very tired. 

But I have this last thing to say: I love The Biggest Loser and all, but Bob's annoying "let's eat something new and cool - or just chew gum" complete with over-the-top product placement really irks me!  It is so cheesy.  The new "green" Ziploc bags are made with 50% wind power....WTF?! Also: still can't believe Shay got kicked off last week.  And why did Jillian get all bent out of shape about Rudy not revealing something private about his past?  It's not like everyone is comfortable sharing everything. 

Anyway!  This post has reached a new level of tangents and rambling. Time for bed!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

High Five

This has been a great weekend so far, and it's not even halfway over!

Yesterday, I was a huge nerd.  After picking up my car from the mechanic, I went over to the Old Angle Tavern to...wait for it...meet a bunch of people I didn't know.  That's right, there was a Yelp Cleveland meet-up last night.  For those of you who don't know about Yelp, it's a website where people review local businesses and share information.  There's also a discussion forum where people write about funny topics. Anyway, I joined in September to give me something else to do (other than blogging of course) while job-searching...and the people are really nice.  One of the girls sent out a message this week suggesting we all get together for a drink on Friday night - and we did!

It kinda felt like a group blind date at first, especially when I was the first one there and didn't really know which group, if any, was the one I should be looking for.  Turns out that I was sitting one seat away from another yelper at the bar (she didn't have a picture up on the site, so I didn't recognize her) and only realized it when A., another yelper, came in!

It was really fun, and, for the first time, I felt like I was taking some sort of initiative with my social life.  Being married is so great, but it's difficult to meet new people without going a bit out of your way.  I have met a couple of cool new people at work since I started 2 weeks ago, but this was another way to feel like I was making new friends.

I got home at about 8:30, and my two sisters-in-law, Becca and Alida, arrived shortly thereafter to spend a weekend with us in ol' Cleve-o!  We had fun last night walking around the Tremont Art Walk, popped into Loop, the new coffee shop/record store on our corner, and got some pizza from Edison's.  The girls seemed to really like the neighborhood.

Watched some late-night entertainment shows like The Soup and Chelsea Lately - hilarious!  and then went to bed.

This morning I went out for a great 5-mile run.  The weather was unseasonably warm - and I guess I was a little overdressed in pants and a long-sleeve shirt - but it still felt great.  The sun felt so nice on my face and, additionally, it just felt great to be out there.  My goal was to do either 5 miles or an hour-long run, whichever came first.  Turns out I did 5 in about 57 minutes, but then jogged as a cooldown until my watch said 1 hour, then did the routine stretching and whatnot.  The foot felt pretty good, and at one point I didn't feel any pain at all.  I was a bit tired during this run, but was still really glad to do it and felt great afterward.

While Becca was at her physical therapy conference at the Cleveland Clinic, Derek and I took Alida to the West Side Market - she was so impressed!  We got a bunch of stuff for sandwiches and are currently just having a lazy afternoon at home.

More tomorrow!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Just a quick question...

Has anyone out there ever brought your car in for a "minor" thing (like an oil change, or scheduled tune-up or whatever) and NOT left spending tons more money than expected on a problem found in the process!??!?

I brought the ol' Focus in this morning to get two new tires.  S, my maintenance go-to guy in the neighborhood, told me that I would need to get the rear tires replaced, and the front ones rotated to the back, before winter hits.  I totally agreed with this, as a) this is a used car, and since buying it last summer I haven't done much of anything with it in terms of checking out the tire situation, and b) last winter was TERRIFYING in Wisconsin and every time it snowed I was sure I would slide right off the road.  Silly me, didn't realize it was a tire "issue," I just figured it was because the car is sorta dinky and small and doesn't have all-wheel drive.  So when S suggested this I was all for it.

Tried to plan out when best to do this, to work around my work schedule and also being able to shell out about $200 for the tires and labor.  Decided today was a good day and made an appointment.  Brought her in at 9 am, and S said she'd probably be ready by 11.

I got a call a couple minutes later saying that he didn't have the tire I needed, and would have to bring the car out to a warehouse and it would be ready closer to 1 or 2.  Ok, I guess I can wait to do the grocery shopping (my sisters-in-law are coming to stay with us this weekend and I wanted to stock up!!!) until mid-afternoon. And I guess I can skip the yoga class I was planning on attending.  I can deal without it :(

UM, yikes when I got yet another call an hour later: apparently while S was driving the Focus out to the warehouse he was troubled by a little noise.  This noise was not really that noticeable to me and Derek, or we thought that, again, it was because it was a 7-year-old car and was bound to make a noise or two while driving fast.  But apparently I was wrong because S told me it was imperative that I get the hub bearings changed pretty much immediately on both sides.  YIKES!  How much? $400!!!!  Oh crap. (By the way, I had no idea what the hub bearings are or what they do, and did some research.  Here's a video explaining it pretty well.)

Unfortunately, S's place doesn't take credit cards unless you want to be charged the extra fee, but thankfully I can pay by check.  (By the way, despite this minor inconvenience about the credit cards, I go to S for stuff because he's right in the neighborhood, so I can walk; it's a mom-and-pop operation, which I like to support; and he develops a good relationship with his customers and is very honest about what needs to be done.  For instance, this summer my "check engine" light came on and brought it to him.  His code machine-thingy said it was probably a vacuum leak, but upon further inspection he discovered he only had to change the gas cap, which was thankfully only about 20 bucks.) 

Yup, so there's $600 I could have spent on any number of things I wanted to spend money on...oh let's see: a honeymoon (still haven't done that yet); getting some new clothes (haven't gone clothes shopping in over a year); maybe going out to eat or to the movies or getting my nails done or ANYTHING else we have been trying not to do because we are so short on cash right now!!!!  This sucks.  We've been eating macaroni and cheese and rice and beans for dinner and even stocked up on Ramen (I realize this sounds funny, and it sort of is). I am only working part-time (even though I tried for months to find a full-time teaching job), and despite Derek's 13-hour days he isn't making a ton either.  Not enough for his grad school bills, our huge gas bill that I just paid today too ($120! What!??), plus various medical and dental charges (although thank heavens we have insurance!!!!!!)

But I realize that as aggravated as I am, there was really no way around this situation.  I mean, I really don't want to be driving on the highway and all of a sudden have one less wheel!  My stepdad helped me through it by saying it just needed to be done, it was nobody's fault, and it's better to keep our safety in mind than worry about spending more $$.

I guess this post was not "just a quick question" after all.  Sorry to be complainy and whiny.  But I hate always having that feeling of not being comfortable with the amount of money we have versus what we have to pay.  And we live in Cleveland!  Imagine if we were still in NYC.  I just don't like feeling worried that we won't be able to buy a house, or afford to have kids soon....I am really feeling overwhelmed.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Invincible (and other great running songs)

I had a very enjoyable, almost pain-free 4-miler this morning!!!

The pain stayed somewhere around a level 2 out of 10.  I even (tentatively) jogged up the hills.  Am still icing the foot as we speak, and keeping to the every-other-day plan, until I feel no pain at all.

But how great did that feel...and the weather was again, perfect.  We are getting lucky in old Cleveland town...as this video jokes, "We see the sun almost three times a year!"

At one point, I thought to myself that I felt invincible.  A silly thought, yes, but it's the little things that make you feel like you're back in the groove.  I wouldn't consider myself fully there yet, but today's run helped a lot.

Towards the end, I flipped through my "Ultimate Running Songs" mix on my ipod to end on a strong note...and thought about my top running songs--those favorites that I come back to again and again when I need a mental boost.  I decided to post them here.  Enjoy!

My Favorite Running Songs (in no particular order)

Move Along - All American Rejects
Unwritten - Natasha Bedingfield
Let's Get It Started - Black Eyed Peas (actually, I listen to the "other" version...sorry mom :)
Breathe - Michelle Branch
Lose My Breath, Independent Woman Part 1, Survivor - Destiny's Child
Separate Ways, Don't Stop Believin' - Journey
Burning Heart, Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
Don't Stop the Music - Rihanna
No Easy Way Out - Robert Tepper
Born to Be My Baby, Livin' on a Prayer, You Give Love a Bad Name - Bon Jovi
One Step at a Time and Tattoo - Jordin Sparks
Just Dance, Poker Face - Lady Gaga
The Climb - Miley Cyrus
Who Knew - Pink
Let it Rock - Kevin Rudolf
Call Me When You're Sober - Evanescence
I Don't Want to Be - Gavin Degraw
This is How a Heart Breaks - Rob Thomas
B.O.B. - Outkast
Miss Murder - AFI
Maneater - Nelly Furtado
Little House - The Fray
Beat It, Thriller, Smooth Criminal - Michael Jackson
I Don't Wanna Be In Love - Good Charlotte
Whine Up, Run the Show - Kat DeLuna

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Well, yes, I had the best of intentions to get up on the early side this morning and go to a 9am hot yoga class at Inner Bliss... let's just say that sleep got the better of me and I didn't get out of bed until 9!  Oh geez.

It is such a beautiful day today: crisp air, bright blue skies, crunchy leaves everywhere.  It is killing me not to go running today!!!  But I have to focus on the big picture.  I am waiting until tomorrow to prevent anything weird from happening to the foot again.  Patience!  (Did I mention I am pretty much the most impatient person I know?!?!)

Maybe I'll take a nice long walk before work.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One Step at a Time

...Why is it that I like that song so much??? :)

Well, that's what today is feeling like.  After three days of no running, plus RICE of course, I tried my luck out there today.  I am pleased to report that I actually ran 2 miles and had minimal pain!!!!  Wore my new Under Armour Cold Block compression tights (thanks for the gift, Mom!)  I think it wasn't cold enough for those, but wanted to "break them in" anyway.  And they were comfy!

The last time I attempted to run, I was aiming for about a 4 mile run, and was forced to stop and walk about halfway through because I was in so much pain.  I felt so defeated.

However, today was different.  I had 4 miles in mind again, but I did a couple of things differently. First of all, I stayed away from sidewalks, and pretty much concrete/uneven surfaces in general.  I opted for the Towpath.  Secondly, I did a walking warm-up (something I must say I don't do as often as I should).  Thirdly, I walked all of the steep hills.  Finally, I decided that I was going to be "ahead" of any pain by gaguing how I felt throughout and stop early if I was worried it might become worse.  (Kind of like the mindset of when coaches say to keep easy days easy, even if you feel like you could do more, and "save it" for the next workout, where you'll really be able to do a great job - I didn't want to blow it on my first time out.)

When I started, I had sort of a dull ache in the arch, but it still felt so good to run.  I was glad the rest of my body didn't feel fatigued at all.  The pain was about a 3 on a scale from 1-10.  Throughout, it fluctuated from about a 2 to a 4.  When I felt the 4, I decided that I was going to turn around and come back after 1 mile instead of going out to 2 miles.  I felt that it wasn't worth it to have to stop again because I was hurting, especially after the progress I made resting/icing, etc. 

That left me with a strong finish at the end of 2 miles, and then maybe another quarter mile of a slow jog/walk cool down.  The great news is that it doesn't hurt more now than before I started!  The even better news is that I got to run again, which I'm coming to realize my brain and head needs just as much as my body does.

Tomorrow I will do yoga (preferably hot), and then try for 3-4 miles again on Thursday.

So happy about this!

Monday, November 9, 2009

How it all began

I've been doing a lot of blog reading lately (specifically, blogs about running and/or about people who are using running as a way to maintain/lose weight).  I have been noticing on many of these blogs that their creators have something along the lines of an "extended bio" in which they explain their reason for what they do.  Whether it's the reason they started running, or the reason they started writing about running, it's still interesting to read all these people's stories.

So I'll do the same, to the best of my ability.  But I am gonna cheat just a smidge, and cut and paste from an email exchange with a friend of mine, E.  But of course, I'll add more as I go along...here we go.

I'm going to need the story about the running. How did you start and how did you keep going?
Oh my god. I don't know.

I had just ended a relationship, I was overweight [180 pounds at 5'3"], working a really difficult and mentally taxing job, smoking more often than just socially, and...ugh. Just unhappy.  It was the fall of 2005.

I decided to join the gym first, and, then a month later, Weight Watchers. I stuck with both and saw a lot of success. Mostly at the gym I was doing the elliptical or the stair master, but occasionally going on the treadmill for a walk/attempt at running/heaving and walking again. In the late winter/early spring of 2006, I was doing the treadmill more often, mostly because I was getting bored with the elliptical, but also because I had always had a curiosity about running and never thought I could actually do it.  At first I would be like "who am I kidding?" and would have to stop after less than 5 minutes.   After a little bit of time (maybe a month?) I was able to run for about 10 minutes without stopping. I was flabbergasted because I had NEVER done that before...well, maybe in high school for that fitness test, but even then you could take walking breaks as long as you completed a mile in a certain amount of time.
It became sort of a way to prove to myself that I could do it. My next hurdle was a full mile. Then two.  And so on. I think that what a lot of people think is that in order to run you have to run fast the entire time. That kind of thinking is what made me fail at first. When I slowed down to a comfortable pace, it was then I realized I could run longer without hyperventilating or cursing myself for getting too tired. And every day did get easier. And, weirdly enough, you kind of become addicted to it.

I continued this into the summer of 2006, when I discovered I could run 3 or 4 miles - it was a total breakthrough and I was so proud of myself. I was like, "who am I?" A year earlier, I told my roommate, cigarette in hand, that I'd rather jump out the window than go on a run. Now I was running for 40 minutes. Unbelievable.

Fast forward a bit to early 2007. Had started dating Derek [now my husband] and did my first 5k race in March. I decided that sort of made me an actual runner, being that I spent money on  the race, put on the outfit, showed up at the start, and finished the whole thing, even though I had to take one walking break.  I had no idea what racing meant at that point, but was so proud of myself and felt such a sense of accomplishment. I finished the race in 35:13.
It only made sense to focus on moving forward with this new healthy discovery and to rid myself of lifestyle choices that did not support my best interest health-wise.  I had started eating healthily and exercising, but there was one demon left.  I quit smoking cold turkey March 22, 2007!
Then, after doing more races in Central Park that spring and early summer, I decided I liked racing because the excitement of the crowds gives you a surge of energy and adrenaline and makes you feel part of something cool. On a whim, I entered the lottery with my friend Heather (lifelong runner) for entry into the NYC Half-Marathon that August. She didn't get in, but I did. I was acually on my way back from the AHA Start Wall Street Run when she called me and told me the news as she read it off the computer.  I was like, "Oh crap, well, here we go...!"

Training in the summer was hardcore, but after that race, I knew there was no turning back (damn that sounds cheesy & awful, but it's true). I finished my first half-marathon in 2 hours and 35 minutes.  It was brutal and hot, but representing the city like that felt amazing.  That fall I joined Team in Training, a health organization associated with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society whose volunteers run distance events while raising money for cancer research. I ran my first marathon on January 13, 2008 in Phoenix, AZ in just under six hours.
Again, who in the world have I become?

Now I'm training for the NYC marathon! I can't wait.

So the moral of the story is...even if you think you can't run...you can. Anyone can. So give it a try!!!!!! And be crazy like me!

 Follow-up note: I have always called myself a "slow" runner.  Because I am, at least in comparison to so many bloggers out there!  It sorta makes me feel bad sometimes, but not when I consider my own progress. This is what I have to remember.  Since that first 5k, I have lowered my time to 28:43.  My best half is now 2:17:12.  And, after training hard for the NYC Marathon and actually trying some strategy in running it, I lowered my marathon time by almost a full hour.

I have a bunch of high hopes and expectations for myself.  I would like to get faster at every distance.  But right now the most important thing is that I just keep running.  It keeps me grounded.  It will always be there through the times when I need to think through something, or when I just don't want to think at all.  It allows me to experience the seasons in a visceral way, through my lungs, heart, breath, and skin.  And--we've all felt this one--sometimes the best runs are ones you didn't really want to take in the first place.  You make yourself get out there, time and time again, and you surprise yourself at who you've become in the process.  And we find serenity, inner beauty, and mental toughness.

Don't you non-runners want to start now? :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

RICE = Really Irritating Cessation of Exercise

Ha ha.  Oh, RICE, the acronym that every runner loves to hate.  Did 35 minutes on the bike and 10 on the elliptical, using mostly my arms on the latter to avoid undue stress to the foot.  On my way back from the "gym" (I say that in quotes because it's not really a gym, but rather, a basement of another building with a few machines and weights that my landlord lets me use for free), I was trying to come up with funny alternative acronyms for RICE.

Cessation of


Completely forgotten you

and so on.  Post your funny ones here if you wish!

Also, I need to share this redonkulously cute picture of my parents' dog with my cousin's dog.  Cody looks like an actual MUPPET!

Putting my Foot in my Mouth

Riiight....so just as soon as I say I'm ready for another marathon?  My first post-marathon run ends after about 2.5 miles because MY FOOT HURTS!  How aggravating.  Guess I spoke too soon.

I am sort of "plagued" throughout major training sessions with a bunch of different minor injuries.  Since I started running, I've had ITB syndrome, hip/piriformisissues, lower back injuries, a mean case of plantar fasciitis, shin splints, calf "hot spots"....and now some ridiculous arch pain in my right foot that I can't exactly pinpoint. It's not heel pain, and it's not exactly underfoot, either.  it's more like both sides, right alongside the arch, are bruised.

In all of these cases (except for the plantar fasciitis, which lasted a full year) I just eased back on running and the pain eventually subsided.  But I had to really struggle with it, because most of these nagging aches and pains were during the hard part of training.  Now I guess I shouldn't really worry, because the marathon is said and done.  But the last thing I want to do now that I've completed it is just stop!  Not only am I reluctant to lose fitness (and the specificity of training that running provides - elliptical doesn't cut it!), but now I am also in fear of gaining weight.  Dammit!

This pain started when I was really increasing my mileage to allow for 20-mile runs.  The taper helped a lot, as did icing, advil, and kinesio taping on the bottom of the foot...but it's back with a vengeance.  Well, I shouldn't be surprised.  It's not like the streets of NY are well-paved. :)

So I am succumbing to a little less intensity right now.  Did yoga twice this week (Wednesday and today, Saturday) and the failed attempt at running 3-4 miles was on Friday.  I know that I should just be patient, that the main goal is to not be injured long-term and that this is a sign that I need to back off a bit.  But I am experiencing (as Bob Glover puts it) a marathon "post-partum" type of depression where all I want to do is run and not being able to do it is killing me psychologically.  I was very pleased at how my other muscle aches, mostly in my quads, subsided after only a few days but am p.o.ed at the fact that I am still hobbling around because of this darn foot.

Deep breaths!  It will be ok. :)  Running will always be there for me!  Guess I have to face the facts and focus on cross-training this week.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pay no attention...

...to the lists below!

I just wanted a place to archive my races since I started, and the only way to make a link (or so I'm aware of) is to create a new post.  Whatever!

More to come - including how I'm dealing with my ANNOYING foot pain which is preventing me from running! :(

Friday, November 6, 2009

2009 Races

2009 Races:

January 1: New Year's Day Dash (5M)
Middleton, WI
54:53 / 10:58 pace

February 14: Movin' Shoes Frosty 5k
31:23 / 10:06 pace

March 15: Shamrock Shuffle (5k)
Madison, WI
38:59 / 12:32 pace

April 25: Crazylegs Classic (8k)*
Madison, WI
51:03 / 10:16 pace

May 2: Lake Monona 20k (12.4M)*
Madison, WI
2:30:46 / 12:07 pace

May 24: Madison Half-Marathon (13.1M)
Madison, WI
2:31:22 / 11:32 pace

June 28: A Most Excellent Race (5k)
Shaker Heights, OH
30:37 / 9:51 pace

July 25: Winking Lizard's A Shot in the Dark (4M)
Cleveland, OH
41:08 / 10:17 pace

August 15: Patrick Joyce Scholarship Run (5k)*
Lakewood, OH
28:43 / 9:14 pace

September 13: Cleveland Clinic River Run Half Marathon (13.1M)*
Rocky River, OH
2:17:12 / 10:27 pace

October 11: Towpath Half-Marathon (13.1M)
Peninsula, OH
2:20:30 / 10:43 pace

October 18: JWCL Great Pumpkin Fun Run (5k)
Lakewood, OH
29:36 / 9:31 pace

November 1: ING New York City Marathon (26.2M)*
New York, NY
5:08:13 / 11:46 pace

December 5: 10th Annual Reindeer Run (5k)
Lakewood, OH
29:10 / 9:25 pace

*Indicates PR

2008 Races

2008 Races:

January 13: PF Chang's Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Marathon (26.2M)
Phoenix/Scottsdale/Tempe, AZ
5:57:45 / 13:38 pace

February 3: NYRR Gridiron Classic (4M)
New York, NY
40:56 / 10:14 pace

March 2: Coogan's Salsa, Blues, & Shamrock (5k)
New York, NY
31:54 / 10:17 pace

March 9: Colon Cancer Challenge (4M)
New York, NY
40:40 / 10:10 pace

March 15: Central Park Challenge (8k)
New York, NY
51:57 / 10:27 pace

March 30: Scotland Run (10k)
New York, NY
1:05:28 / 10:33 pace

April 13: Run as One, TGL Classic (4M)*
New York, NY
38:37 / 9:39 pace

May 3: NYRR Brooklyn Half-Marathon (13.1M)
Brooklyn, NY
2:32:05 / 11:36 pace

May 11: NYJL Mother's Day (4M)
New York, NY
41:01 / 10:15 pace

May 17: Healthy Kidney 10k
New York, NY
1:05:16 / 10:31 pace

July 13: Diva Dash 5k
Middleton, WI
32:30 / 10:27 pace

September 21: Henry Vilas Zoo Run Run (10k)
Madison, WI
1:06:47 / 10:44 pace

September 27: Free to Breathe Lung Cancer 5k
Madison, WI
30:13 / 9:43 pace

October 18: RASCW Home Run (10k)*
Fitchburg, WI
1:04:25 / 10:22 pace

October 19: UW Homecoming Run (5k)
Madison, WI
35:38 / 11:28 pace

October 25: MARS Series Fall 15K (9.3M)
Madison, WI
1:40:07 / 10:45 pace

November 1: MATC Turkey Trot (5M/Trails)
Madison, WI
57:12 / 11:27 pace

November 25: Berbee Derby (5k)
Fitchburg, WI
30:51 / 9:56 pace

* indicates PR

2007 Races

2007 Races:

March 4: Coogan's Salsa, Blues & Shamrock (5k)
New York, NY
35:13 / 11:21 pace

April 22: Adidas Run for the Parks (4M)
New York, NY
45:42 / 11:25 pace

May 13: NYJL Mother's Day Run (4M)
New York, NY
41:29 / 10:22 pace

May 22: AHA Start! Wall Street Run (5k)
New York, NY
32:29 / 10:49 pace

June 23: Front Runners NY Lesbian & Gay Pride Run (5M)
New York, NY
54:35 / 10:55 pace

July 14: Naples - New York Park-to-Park (10k)
New York, NY
1:11:15 / 11:29 pace

July 21: Run For Central Park (4M)
New York, NY
43:10 / 10:47 pace

August 5: NYC Half-Marathon presented by Nike (13.1M)
New York, NY
2:35:58 / 11:54 pace

October 28: Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff (5M)
New York, NY
51:23 / 10:16 pace

December 15: NYRR Holiday 4-Mile (4M)
New York, NY
41:47 / 10:26 pace

December 31: Emerald Nuts Midnight Run (4M)
New York, NY
Fun Run / Unscored

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NYC Marathon Recap: Post-Race

After crossing the finish line, I was thrilled to receive my 40th anniversary medal, mylar heat sheet, and goody bag.  What I was not happy to do was..just STOP.  Yep, with all the crowds backing up, we pretty much bottlenecked as soon as we stopped running.  There were announcements being made, "emergency vehicles" transporting injured runners, golf carts driving through, and we had to further squish to make way for them.  We were directed to the left in order to immediately get our UPS checked baggage back.  Good idea, but this left us no choice but to stand there in agony as our muscles cramped up and we couldn't walk it off.  It was also very difficult to eat or drink, because we were so packed in and we had to hold our (very heavy!) goody bags.

It pretty much felt like a bad dream, but I was still exhilarated from the race that I held it together and tried not to let panic get the best of me.  Now I understood what they meant when they said it would take approximately 30 minutes for runners to meet their waiting friends and family.  I quickly called mom, who was so surprised to hear from me! and Derek, whose phone had died (of course) but who had already met up with my folks.  Also spoke to Heather, who was heading to the meeting place.

When I finally got through the crowd, we had to walk up to 77th and exit the park, then walk south a bit to meet up with people.  I said goodbye to Maria and Louise, who I was going to meet for a quick celebratory bite to eat at Cassidy's on 55th between 5th and 6th.  To be honest, I was not really looking forward to dragging ass across town, especially since I needed to head back to Louise's on the east side and pick up my stuff before going back to my parents' house in Croton, but I did want to spend a little extra time with them and relish in our accomplishment!

I met up with my group and let them know where I was going.  My parents and Derek went back home (Derek had to do work), while Heather and Mike and I tried in vain to find a cab.  Nope!  After looking for 30 minutes, we finally decided on the subway.  We took the 1 to Columbus Circle, then transferred (after another 20 minute or so wait) to 47-50 Rockefeller Center.  Got out at 50th and 6th, and that was only a few short blocks away to the bar.  (By the way, during this entire debacle, I kept missing calls from Kristin.  I found out shortly that she had been at the finish and I didn't know it!  She ran into my folks, who told her I had just left.  Gave her the info for the meeting place and hoped she would be able to make it!

Now, I had mentioned before that I wasn't too keen on staying out for a long time.  But as soon as I entered the bar, it erupted in cheers and applause!  I couldn't believe it.  Turns out a lot of marathoners came here for their post-race celebration, and every time another runner came in, everyone gave it up for them. That really turned my mood around; the stress from traveling so long to get there was gone and I could enjoy myself!  And what do you know, 5 minutes after I entered...in came Kristin!  Yay!

I usually can't eat a great deal right after races, but I did have some of those delicious Emerald Roasted Almonds from the goody bag and part of an apple.  Also ordered the mushroom barley soup at Cassidy's with extra bread, which hit the spot -- it was delicious!

Also got the opportunity to meet some of Maria's family.  While we didn't stay for very long, it was the perfect amount of time to relax and refuel a bit before heading back to Louise's.  And, of course, we couldn't leave without getting a picture of the three of us!

After saying goodbye to Heather, Mike, and Kristin, I hopped in a cab (yay for cabs!) with Louise and Britt back to the east side.  Took a MUCH needed shower and changed while waiting for Jack to come pick me up.  We started watching the newscast from earlier in the day - guess it wasn't Paula or Ryan's day. :(

I really wanted more food (duh), so Mom, Jack, Derek and I went to Cappricio's - heaven!!!  I had my favorite meal of all time, of course: Chicken Parmesan with spaghetti. The entree looked like it could feed a family of four.

The rest of the night and the next day I just relaxed, mostly with my feet up...went for a walk by the river with Cody (puppy) the next day and just enjoyed being home.  Had another stress-free traveling experience on the way back.  All in all, a wonderful weekend, filled with family and friends!  Best time ever!

This week I am not going to run for at least a few days.  This is now day 3 of no running.  I think I am going to wait until Friday to attempt a very slow, easy jog.  My legs were crazy the other day but now are feeling good, it's just that my right foot kills around the arch - blast!  Going to try yoga today.

Of course I wouldn't be me without looking ahead to my next marathon...ok, I have to be honest: I am considering a May marathon!! (Maybe.)  I want to keep it at least semi-local, so my choices right now are the Cleveland Marathon (May 16), the Cincinnati Flying Pig (May 2), or Pittsburgh (also May 2).  Hmmm...will keep you posted, without a doubt!  But until then, will try to work on my times for shorter races. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NYC Marathon Recap: The Race

We set our alarms for 6 am (which felt like 7 am - yay!).  I had gotten a decent amount of sleep on Saturday night, which I was actually surprised about.  I also didn't have the alarm/getting up anxiety I usually do, because there were three of our phone alarms, plus alarms in the apartment to utilize.  We ate a little something (banana for me, half a powerbar for Louise & Maria) and took the rest to go.  We thoughtfully packed our clear UPS bags (the only bags allowed to be checked at the site) with stuff for after: advil, warm clothing, our official marathon shirts, water) as well as another bag filled with more food, gatorade, baby aspirin, body glide, and salt for before the race.  We were ready!

We got to the train and were slightly worried that the R was going to run on a weird schedule.  Luckily, it came within 5 minutes and we hopped on, soon joined at the other stops by more marathoners on the way downtown.  It was still dark out, and kind of dreamlike.  We got out at Whitehall Street and immediately got to South Ferry.  We used the bathroom, then popped a squat to wait a short while for the 8:00 ferry.  We got on quickly and soon started to eat more (english muffins with peanut butter, made by yours truly) and take some pictures!

We chatted with a couple of people running the race, mostly from other countries.  We got off the ferry after about 20 minutes, and then had to join the massive crowd waiting for the buses to shuttle us over to Fort Wadsworth.

Once on the bus, we overheard an 84-year old woman and her 76-year old male friend running what was something like their 30th marathon.  I thought, geez, if they can do it, so can we!

We got off the buses, and to be honest, this next part really sucked.  I won't go into much detail, because it's boring and there's no point, but it took forever to get where we needed to go and everyone around us seemed to be rushing one way or the other.  They called the first wave and so we felt like we were trying to swim upstream as a group of panicked runners starting hurrying back towards where we were coming from.  It didn't do much for my fear of crowds, and I was starting to worry because I had a bad headache that wasn't going away. The one good thing is that we just happened to be stopped by security at a random point, where yellow tape was put up on either side of a path, and the elites were escorted RIGHT past us!  We saw Ryan Hall and Brian Sell in the bunch.  Wow!

I took one extra-strength Tylenol, which definitely seemed to help.  Checked our bags right before they closed at 9:30 (we even saw a bunch of runners who seemed to have missed the bag check because they were dawdling!)  We ate even more (powerbar for me, bananas for them), used the porta potties again, and took our baby aspirin and salt.  Sipped on Gatorade and waited, people watching, and nervously chatting.

And then, they called our wave, but it was still a long time before we were actually invited into the corral.  We saw the elites start, then wave 1, then wave 2.  Finally, we were in!

We knew to reign it in at the beginning and to not pass anyone on the bridge.  But the rest...?  We decided to communicate when necessary, and be honest about how we felt.  We each had a 5:00 pace tattoo (Maria had a pace bracelet) because that was sorta our goal.  Let's see how it all went!!!

Mile 1 - 12:37
Mile 2 - 10:59

This bridge was exciting, and not at all grueling.  We were so hyper and happy!  The second mile was fast because it was all downhill....now into my hometown, Brooklyn!

Mile 3 - 11:11
Mile 4 - 10:39
Mile 5  and 6 - 21:56 (didn't see the mark for 5...ooops)
Mile 7 - 10:56
Mile 8 - 10:53

This section above is what I'll call the "how did THAT happen?" section, otherwise known as the crazy party, revved-up, going a bit too fast section.  We ran through Bay Ridge first, which was a bit uneventful off the bridge as our color, green, had to veer off East from everyone and we had no crowds for about a mile.  It's ok, it'll feel awesome later.  We conserved our speed a bit.  Then Bay Ridge Parkway was a great street, with people really showing neighborhood support, tissue boxes and paper towels out, etc.  Before we knew it we were at 4th avenue, where we met up with the other colors, and saw tons of crowds.  It was insane!  I was slapping people's hands left and right (well, just right I guess :) and people were shouting our names.  Good thing we decorated our shirts!  Maria saw some people from work in this section.  I looked for Judy and Lenny, my mom's friends, at 11th street, but didn't see them.  But then at Union Street I saw Derek, Maureen, Matt, and Sarah!  I gave Derek a big kiss, but didn't lose any time as you'll see from the mile markers.  Fast, fast, fast!  The energy kept up until we hit the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which was a crazy crowd too, and I saw Emily!

Mile 9 - 11:14
Mile 10 - 10:53
Mile 11: 11:17
Mile 12: 11:22

Then we made a right turn and I started to feel the effects of going out a wee bit too fast.  We had a big hill somewhere in there that killed my legs and my heart was pounding like crazy, though the crowds were still supportive.  They even offered us leftover Halloween candy (thanks, but no thanks!)  Still, I needed a bit of a respite from those crazy spectators.  I did get a bit of a break in South Williamsburg, and was then hungry for more cheering in a mile or two.  I knew I was going to see Trish and Allison somewhere in Williamsburg, but the course map didn't show where McCarren Park was (where I knew they'd be).  I knew it was somewhere soon...where is that damn park?  THERE IT IS!

Of course, I didn't actually take this photo, but someone was nice enough to do it for them, and they sent it to my phone!  Trish, to my surprise and excitement, grabbed my hand, hopped off the course, and ran a block with me in her high-heeled boots!  She asked how I was, and I said, "Good," which I guess was true even though I knew it might not be long until I was no longer feeling that great!  We chatted, still running, until the next water station (by the way, those stations were a MESS!  Navigating through them was insane!  I had to keep shouting to Maria and Louise that I was right behind them, or whatever, so we would know we hadn't lost each other.  Plus, there were cups literally EVERYWHERE and the ground was slippery from water and sticky from Gatorade. Gross!)  Said goodbye/I love you to Trish, and headed on over to the Pulaski Bridge and Queens!!!

Mile 13 (Halfway!!): 11:37
Mile 14: 11:47
Mile 15: 13:56
Mile 16: 12:09

We were actually ahead of our pace tattoo schedule for beating 5 hours!  I was getting really crazy with excitement.  This provided us with a cushion, should we need to use the bathroom, or, just, duh, needed to slow down after mile 20 or whatever.  The girls mentioned the bathroom at about mile 13 or 14, and we decided to stop at a great point (in Queens, almost to the Queensboro Bridge).  By the way, Queens was great and showed a lot of support.  I think I heard "Just Dance" by Lady GaGa in there somewhere!  Woohoo!  I didn't have to use the bathroom and in fact felt that if I, um, "adjusted" anything it might not feel right when I put it back on, so I decided to just use the opportunity to regroup and stretch for about 2 minutes.  It was greatly needed, as I was really stiff and my feet/legs were starting to hurt.  They jumped out, and off we went to the Queensboro Bridge and into Manhattan!!!!!!

Mile 17 - 12:06
Mile 18 - 11:16
Mile 19 - 12:11

This is where the going got tough.  The bridge was relentless, neverending, and pretty much felt all uphill (of course, until it started to go steeply downhill, a respite for our lungs and hearts but not for our quads!).  After running 14+ miles, the mile and a half of the Queensboro was just not welcome at all.

However, we knew that we were in for quite a scene when we came out at the other side.  We heard the cheering and screaming...and when we emerged, there we were!  First avenue in Manhattan.  Wow!

I quickly assessed the area and realized it was super crowded. No way was I gonna see Andrew and Kristin even if I tried.  Oh well.  Louise knew to look for Britt on their own corner, at 63rd street...yay!  Before I knew it we were in the mid 60s, when....I heard and saw Andrew, Kristin, and Wil!!!!!  It was great to see them and they realized that if they were to get a good place to stand it was to be a little further uptown from the bridge.  Yeah!

I was feeling a little bit like I was dragging, and then another surprise hit me!  Derek and Maureen on 89th!  Maria spotted them first, but what a sight for sore eyes.  Maria also saw some of her friends during this stretch.

Mile 17 brought about the Poland Spring hydration zone, complete with soaked sponges.  That felt pretty nice, especially because my hands were all sticky from Gatorade from previous stations and I looked forward to cleaning them off.  Louise jumped off the course a minute to see someone and then met back up with us.

The next couple of miles SUCKED.  That's all I can say!  First avenue, which I thought was going to be flat, instead proved to be a series of rolling hills.  Sometimes it would be a really nice relief, but at others I just wanted to scream.  And I was tiiiired and getting a little bit bored with the sameness of the avenue.  But, the crowd support was still pretty strong and I got a lot of people calling our names and saying "Go Team in Training!"  Mile 18 was the PowerBar Gel station.  I grabbed two - Raspberry cream (yum) without caffeine, and Double Latte with 2x caffeine.  My strategy was to take the non-caffeinated one now, and save the caffeine boost for mile 22.  I had been eating mostly non-caffeinated gels which was good because my stomach wasn't mad at me.  Good to know for next time.  Also?  The GU chomps, which are great for long training runs, are not as convenient for the intensity of a race.  I think I'll stock up on PowerBar Gels (my fave) and stick to those for races.

Mile 20 - 12:23
Mile 21 - 12:33

I kept thinking, "Just get me out of this part of Manhattan, just get me to 20 miles."  Before I knew it, the 20 mile mark was in sight and we were already in the Bronx!  Crossing the Willis Avenue bridge actually wasn't too bad, and it was interesting that we had an orange carpet rolled out for us - that grating must have been horrible on the legs.  I saw a couple of people look like they were losing it, including a guy who looked like he was in excruciating pain.  Just pushed through and hoped that he was ok - it would suck to have all that hard work not amount to a finish because of leg cramps.  Louise got a bit teary-eyed at mile 20, as did I.  Remembering this moment in Phoenix was awesome, too, but now we were in NYC and it was great.  Being that I worked in the Bronx for so many years, I felt a particular affinity towards this part of the course.  But before we could get comfortable here, we were crossing yet ANOTHER bridge - the Madison Avenue Bridge, the fifth (and final!) one on the course.  Back to Manhattan to finish this one off!!!!

Mile 22 - 12:14
Mile 23 - 12:32

I knew that pretty soon I was going to see my parents.  So that, coupled with the nice, smooth paved road on Fifth, made me happy at this point on the course.  There were lots of gospel singers and it was great.  The road is narrower at Fifth, which I was thankful for because there weren't as many barricades and people were able to get closer.  At one point, I heard Jordin Sparks' "One Step at a Time" and I am slightly embarrassed to say I got all emotional.  It was one of the songs on my marathon playlist, and just works at a time like this.  Saw my parents - who were screaming! between mile 21 and 22, at 125th street.  Then there was the famous "Fakeout" of Marcus Garvey park - like anyone would think that was Central Park!  Well, maybe if they were delirious enough.


At 110, we were comforted to know that we were abutting the park and were very close to being home free.  Here is where the crowd support was really key.  We just kept going, no matter what, but it was hard and everything hurt at this point.  Maria got a "Go Marla!" which made us laugh because in Phoenix everyone kept calling her Marla and not Maria.  110th to 90th on 5th was endless and the uphill climb was a bitch.  I was like "are we seriously only 2 blocks past when I just looked?"  Then we were fortunate enough to run past Christine Luff, one of our TNT coaches, and she said we looked great and just let us know that shortly, we'd be at the entrance to the park and just to look for mile 24.  "Let the crowd take you," she wisely said.  And we did!

Mile 24 - 12:45
Mile 25 - 12:15

It was a relief to be inside the park.  It just felt like home.  These couple of miles were mostly downhill, including Cat Hill in reverse - yes!! Saw Heather and Mike, who were excitedly screaming.  When mile 25 approached, I said aloud, "I can't think about this as just one more mile, because then it will seem endless.  I just have to be in the moment."  I tried my very best to do just that.  And then finally we turned left for a quick jaunt out of the park onto Central Park South.

Mile 26 -  11:54
Last .2 - 2:35

It's weird, because this last mile seemed so long, but so short too.  Definitely still got the support, and the three of us seemed to pick it up a little bit too.  Funny that 11:54 seems like a quick mile at this point, when early in the race we were averaging around 11 minute pace.


When we turned back into the park, I could scarcely believe it...but there were my mom and Jack again!  Somehow they had made it to one of the most coveted spectator spots on the course.  Hooray for them!  Gave it all I had through the last 400 yards...200...and at 100 I could see the finish and was so relieved and excited!!  Ran through and felt perhaps the proudest I ever have in my life!

Finishing time: 5:08:13, 11:46 pace!  A great accomplishment!  And a personal record by 45 minutes!

I will write another post tomorrow rehashing the finish, along with more pictures and stories about post-race. Stay tuned!!


Monday, November 2, 2009

NYC Marathon Recap: Pre-Race

Hey Folks!

For the sake of time, and also giving myself a break once in awhile, I have decided to do this race report in three different segments: 1) the weekend travel, including Saturday pre-race stuff; 2) the race itself; and 3) everything afterwards.  So if you don't wanna read about what happened before or after the actual race, you can skip the first and last post and just read the race report itself. :)

So I'll begin with Friday. We took a 7:20 pm flight from Cleveland to New York and...I'm serious...no delays, no problems...we even boarded early!  I took it as a good sign.  I had obsessively packed my bags, including packing all my racing gear in a carry-on (of course), just in case.  I even anally packed my duplicate pair of sneakers in case something happened to the ones I was supposed to wear on race day.

Got to NY without a hitch, and Mom and Jack picked us up at LaGuardia.  It was great to see them, as well as their new addition...a soft-coated Wheaton Terrier named Cody!!!

Isn't he frickin' adorable?  I mean, come on.

Derek and I were pretty hungry when we got in, so we had some bagels and just hung out with my folks for a while before going to bed.  (By the way, I was still working on the "dedications" page at that point, which I STILL have not finished, and I'll have to post it post-marathon now. Oh well, the sentiment is still there.)

Slept really well Friday night (I always do at my parents' house...you know how it is) and then Saturday morning woke up to a peaceful pitter-patter of rain.  This, to me, was both good and bad.  It was bad because a) I was supposed to do a 2-mile jog that day to loosen my legs and clear my head, and b) we were supposed to head into the city to get to the expo and lug all my crap around, and I hate walking around in the rain.  However, this rain turned out to be a good thing, because a) it forced me to wear my "backup" shoes around the city, thus not wearing out my newer pair or getting them soggy for Sunday; b) I didn't do my jog that day which I think was good because it forced to me to rest a bit more, which I needed; and c) the rain came and went on Saturday....which meant the weather forecast changed: no rain on Sunday!  YAY!  Whatever rain was predicted for race day came early.  Good job weather.

And, in fact, the rain even stopped by mid-morning, which is when Derek and I got out of the house and went to the train station at Croton.

Now, I should mention that traveling, and crowds, and having to schlep stuff anywhere for extended periods of time on a time-crunch situation, gives me anxiety.  Not just normal-level stress, but close to panic sometimes.  It's weird.  So anyway, I wanted to make sure it was as painless as possible.  Not really likely, considering I had to carry ALL my race-day gear with me all day, including my extra pair of sneakers, plus my purse, plus we were getting into Grand Central and the Expo was wayyy the eff out at the Javits Center, yet Louise's is on the East side.  So, you ask, why didn't I just drop off my huge bag at Louise's first?  Well, because then I'd have to go ALL the way back to the west side, and THEN back to her place because that stupid pasta party wasn't letting us get in with bags larger than a purse.  

That being said: all was painless, starting with the free shuttle from Grand Central to the expo (nice!), where we spent more than half the time waiting on a dumb line.  I got my bib, my bag & shirt, my pasta party tickets and got the heck outta there!!

This "quick & dirty" ordeal was followed by lunch at 'wichcraft in West Chelsea a short walk away from the expo (27th and 11th) where we met up with Andrew, Kristin, Kelly, and her boyfriend Bill.  Great sandwiches, soups, and cookies.  Yum!  Then Derek and I parted--he went to stay with Matt & Sarah in Brooklyn, while I took the train to the east side to Louise's!  I finally made it after two transfers!  Ugh, the subway...how convenient and yet inconvenient you are.
Louise and her hubby Britt were such great hosts, and gave me my own little room.  Louise had even set aside little marathon souvenirs for me (pace tattoo, postcard, poster) in anticipation of my arrival.   We hung out for a bit and then walked over to the pasta party to meet Maria!

I can sum up the pasta party (er.. pardon me, the "Barilla Marathon Eve Pasta Dinner at Tavern on the Green") in two words: it sucked.  Will never do that again!  Waited in line forever, then were shuffled through
the entrance and food lines like cattle, the music was so loud that we couldn't hear each other, and it was like a bunch of dance music.  The lighting was dark, and there were even go-go dancers making a fool out of themselves onstage.  I felt like this was more of  a victory party but without the dance floor.  After experiencing the TNT pasta party, I was expecting something more inspiring, maybe with a speaker or a video or at least some peace and quiet.  No, not at all.  At least we got a picture:

Even though the pasta itself was good, we were all still a bit hungry after we finished, but we really did not want to go back through the entire line again.  So we grabbed our freebies (weird juice with fruit bits in it, 100 calorie packs of some sort, apples which I will be sure NOT to eat until they are properly washed, and Italian Ices) and booked it outta there!

We got back to Louise's place (cabbed it this time), and the three of us girls got started setting up our race-day stuff.  We put stick-on letters on our TNT singlets, pinned on our bibs, and attached our D-tags to our shoes while listening to our favorite "running songs" on Louise's computer.  It was so fun being with them again!

We tried to get to bed early, and remembered to set all the clocks back one hour - extra sleep - not that we'd be getting much sleep tonight!!!  All ready for the morning!

Stay tuned for...the race report itself!

I did it!!

A quick post to say that I am at home relaxing the day after a kick-ass marathon!!!

Unofficial time: 5:08:13!!!

More to come soon, including the eventful weekend, the buildup to the race, and the marathon itself!