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Friday, April 24, 2009
What does all this have to do with the marathon? For God's sake woman, just get on with it!
Okay, okay, okay...
I rode the bus to Hopkinton with my friend, Christine (I always try to mention her at least once per entry), and my teammates, the Hunger Strikers. The bus ride was a lot of fun, like it was last year. We laugh, we joke, we encourage each other, etc. Once we arrived at Athlete's Village, we took pictures, checked out some of the sights and took full advantage of the fact that we had a bathroom on the bus (how cool is that??? No lines, no waiting).
Before you know it, the time had come to make the trek to our corrals. Unfortunately, Christine and I got separated, so I didn't get to start the race with her. However, let me say before continuing this tale that she ran a personal best on Monday and qualified for next year. Great job to my partner and friend.
Now, back to our story.
I ran the first half of the race with my teammate, Heidi, who is one of the sweetest, friendliest people I've ever had the privilege of meeting. We were running at a comfortable pace in an effort to conserve our energy for the hills that awaited us between miles 17-21. Once we reached the half marathon, we high fived each other, knowing that we were 50% done.
So, I was pretty much alone with my thoughts from that moment on. I continued to run, not quite knowing how this whole thing was going to turn out. I just kept going...through Wellesley, on to Comm Ave, up Heartbreak Hill and got to BC, which is about mile 21. At that moment, I decided to see what I had left.
I crossed the finish line in 3 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds.
My initial reaction was an overwhelming sense of relief. I had been sweating this day for months now; all those long runs in the cold...all the emails, blogs, and networking in an attempt to raise the money for Lazarus House finally resulting in bringing me to the end of my journey.
Once I turned in my chip, received my medal, got my bag off the bus and found my friends and family, the bone crushing disappointment set it.
Um, say what?
You heard me.
But, Cyndi, you must be CRAZY! You have run 3 marathons in a 12 month period, all of which were under 4 hours. How many people can say they did that????
Now, I'll show you my "aha moment". But, in order to do that, I must start from the beginning.
I had been entertaining notions of doing a marathon in the fall of 2007. A couple of my friends were thinking about training for a fall marathon in 2008. I was the short distance person and scoffed at the thought. But, decided, why not?
As luck (or life) would have it, the plan changed. These two friends of mine were able to get #’s for Boston through their local track club. How could you pass something like that up? So, instead of the fall marathon, the plan was Boston. Now, I had to see if I could get a #.
That’s how I found Lazarus House…while I searched for a charity that would take me.
Long story short, I was full of piss and vinegar (pardon the crude expression) during this time. It was my first marathon and it was Boston, dammit! I trained, I fundraised, I celebrated the entire process. I wanted to just finish and if I broke four hours, all the better. As it turns out, I ran 3:55 at my first marathon EVER and, must say, I was giddy.
Then, I decided to see if I could get faster. I am a fitness fanatic/gym rat/avid runner and have done well in local 5K’s and 5 milers. I’m more competitive than I care to admit.
I began training 4-6 weeks later for the Maine marathon (10/5/08). I balanced long runs with 5k’s, 5 milers, teaching group fitness classes, relay races, etc. Nine days before, I went to the dr. complaining of pain and cold/flu like symptoms. After an x-ray, it showed an infiltrate on the lower right lung. On the Z-pack I went.
But, I pressed on. On October 5, I ran the Maine marathon in 3:52, 4 days removed from anti-biotics. I was pleased, considering all that I had overcome to get there. I figured shaving 3 minutes off was quite an accomplishment. Would it have been nice to turn in a 3:45? Sure! But hey, I was sick. It was okay.
Then…I decided to try and train for Hyannis (is this getting old yet?) in the hopes of decreasing my registration fee for Boston and moving up in the pack so I didn’t have to try and pass 8,000 runners like my first Boston (selfish, I know, but I have to be honest). However, as time went on, it was clear to me that recovery was what I really needed as my breathing took a while to return to normal. Respiratory infections take a lot out of a person. Even though I’m fit, I’m still human. Even though I passed on Hyannis, I continued to run, workout, push myself.
Finally, the invitation to return to Lazarus House presented itself and I couldn’t say no. Maybe I should have, but I really love them and had so much fun last time. Plus, two of my friends were running for charity and it was to be their first Boston. How can you turn away long run training partners?
I have been pushing myself beyond my limits for a good six months now. I am overtrained. My heart wasn’t in the right place when I got to the line on Monday because I am totally and completely DEPLETED. However, despite my apathy, I felt so incredibly disappointed that I didn’t PR at the end of it all. What did I expect? I didn’t train to PR. I trained to finish. And I did that.
Disappointment and heartbreak are a part of life and this too shall pass. I would like to say that I had 100% noble and selfless reasons for doing Boston this time around, but perhaps I was mistaken. Sometimes, it takes 26.2 miles to humble a person. I was humbled on Monday. In spite of my mediocre training regimen and mentally exhausted self, I never allowed myself to quit. So, I guess that gives me hope for accomplishing something really great once I recover – physically, emotionally and mentally.
Most importantly, I had the incredible privilege to help others on the road to a better life by raising over $3,700 for a very worthy cause. I am ashamed that this in and of itself isn’t enough to take the sting out. But, it’s a start and I am truly blessed.
The point I am making here and the lesson that I got out of it was simply I need to do what is right for me. Am I saying that you should just look out for numero uno and never lend a hand to help another. Absolutely not. But, you must have the right motivation in order to do the right thing. Hindsight is 20/20 and I had to go through all of this in order to have my "aha moment", my epiphany.
To thine ownself be true. No one can live their lives for other people and do what they THINK others expect them to do. Happiness cannot be found in fulfilling other people's expectations.
Maybe I'll run another marathon someday and maybe I won't. But the lessons, aha moments and epiphanies that presented themselves in this one won't soon be forgotten.
I can't think of a more fitting way to end this blog entry:
Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.--Hardy D. Jackson
Thanks to all of you who read my blog and care about me. I love you all!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I did my 2 mile jog this morning to keep my legs loose. I even went out at 10:30 a.m. to "prepare myself" for the actual start of the marathon tomorrow. I took it easy and was able to breathe in and out of my nose the whole way.
I picked up my official race bag today (thanks, Christine) with my bib #, champion chip and this years 2009 long sleeve dri-fit Boston Marathon T-shirt (which, by the way, is so bleeping bright, I burned my retinas taking it out of the bag).
The chip is on my shoe, my bib # is pinned to my shorts (I'll warm up after a couple of miles, it's worth it to wear shorts), and my fuel belt is packed. All that is left to do now is put some dry clothes in there and put my feet up. And sleep. Oh yeah, that.
Well, we'll see how that one goes. ;-)
This time tomorrow, the 113th Annual Boston Marathon will just be a memory. It'll be another accomplishment I can be proud of and share with my loved ones. It's been a long road and I'd be lying if I didn't say there was a part of me that can't WAIT for this to be over so I can "have my life back". But, I know it won't be long before that itch to get out there again comes back.
It's been a rollercoaster ride with every emotion imaginable penetrating my psyche. I've experienced joy, excitement, nervousness, dread and outright PANIC. How will my legs and lungs hold up? Will I set a personal record? Will I find the perfect balance between conservative and aggressive in my pacing? But, now, none of that seems to matter. That gun is going to go off and I'll be at that starting line ready to run.
I came across an old issue of Runners World this morning (September 2006) and read an article by John Bingham called "The Chosen Path". This excerpt really says it all:
"It's also important to find the joy in today's run, even if it doesn't markedly advance us in our pursuit of something better. The magic of running is that it has inherent value of its own. We need to celebrate the accomplishment of every run -- no matter how far or how fast -- and not let the positive drive for self-improvement become an all-consuming obsession with constant improvement."
He goes on to say:
"When I started to run, I was in between the smoker-drinker-overeater and the healthy, active person I wanted to be. After months of running, however, I was no longer content with just running. I wanted to go farther -- and then, faster. There was no way to be at peace with what I had already accomplished because there was always something else I thought I had to achieve. I was frustrated at not being where I wanted to be -- and that meant never enjoying where I was."
He concludes the article by saying that he has given up on living in a constant state of in between. He is not going to spend the rest of his life in between yesterday and tomorrow.
I want to enjoy the fact that I am healthy and strong enough to be where I am right now...less than 16 hours from the start of the Boston Marathon.
I want to revel in the accomplishment of running my 3rd marathon. Training and completing one Boston is quite a feat. After tomorrow, I'll be able to say that I did it TWICE! Awesome.
I want to celebrate the accomplishment of raising $3,736.00 for the Lazarus House and be thankful that I was blessed with the task to help people who have fallen on hard times.
It's not just "all about me" tomorrow. There is a higher purpose than just "setting a PR"...and that makes tomorrow's event so much more meaningful and important.
Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.
Don't forget to TRACK me ONLINE! Go to www.baa.org. My race # is 22608.
26.2 miles here I COME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Okay, now that I've gotten THAT out of the way, let me say this:
I LIKE WINE.
There is nothing like a nice glass of chardonnay after a long day out in the rat race...or sitting by a roaring fire in the middle of winter with a good cabernet. I enjoy a glass of wine most nights of the week. I enjoy the taste, the experience and, well, it does make me look rather sophisticated drinking out of that classy lookin' glass... ;-)
The good news is, health experts all over the place will tell you that women can enjoy one alcoholic beverage each day and reap some health benefits. Check this out:
Already well-known as heart healthy, wine in moderation might help you lose weight, reduce forgetfulness, boost your immunity, and help prevent bone loss.
(taken from http://eating.health.com/2008/02/11/6-reasons-to-drink-wine/)
Wait, something I like that can also be GOOD for me??? Say no more, say no more!!
So, what's the problem with continuing my nightly ritual?
This is the final week of the terrible taper, so I've decided to pull out all the stops. I haven't lifted weights in almost TWO weeks (unthinkable by normal Cyndi standards) and subbed out ALL of my group fitness classes in an effort to conserve my energy. Alcohol has been known to create a diuretic effect, which means it causes you to pass a lot more water than you normally would. This would obviously lead to a loss of fluid from the body. I also read that alcohol consumption can hamper glycogen storage. Yikes. I kinda need glycogen if I'm going to be out and about for 3-4 hours, don't you think?
Today is day 3 since I've tasted the grape. And while I'm sure I'd enjoy a glass of the good stuff right about now, I'm okay with it. There is an unopened bottle of chardonnay in the refrigerator and it can stay that way until April 21st. No wine, no problem.
One day at a time, right?
As I'm typing this, I realize (thank GOD for calculators) that I'm about 110 hours away from the start of the Boston Marathon. I trained all winter thinking this day was never going to get here and now I can't believe I'm just hours from doing it...really doing it!
One day at a time.
One hour at a time.
One mile at a time.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Ah, the 80's. Remember the BIG 80's?
The decade was BIG for many reasons, specifically HAIR and FASHION (shoulder pads, anyone?). Some of you out there reading this were around me during this decade. How BIG was my hair???? I carried aqua net with me 24/7--RELIGIOUSLY.
You remember Aqua Net, don't you? Also known as "cardboard in a can"???
I would go to bed at night, wake up the next morning, and MY HAIR LOOKED EXACTLY THE SAME!!! Ah, good times.
Also BIG back in the 80's were those "minimalist, sloganeering" T-Shirts, created by designer Katherine Hamnett. Her famous slogan was "Ban Nuclear Weapons NOW" and FRANKIE SAYS RELAX.
RELAX. Think about that for a second.
Have you ever noticed that everything in life flows so much smoother when you relax? I read a statistic in a fitness magazine that shocked me. About 90% of all illnesses are related to STRESS. 90%! Can you believe that????
So, I started thinking about my big day that's coming up. You know, my little 26.2 jog from Hopkinton to Boston on April 20th? I asked myself just how much better would it be if I just, well, relaxed?
See, there are factors within my control and factors that I cannot control. I cannot control the weather. I cannot control the competition. However, I can control my attitude, my race strategy/performance, fueling schedule, etc. Those are things that I am responsible for. I decide how my experience is going to be. Am I going to be nervous, scared, stressed out, worrying and second guessing myself? Will I spend the next 7 days over analyzing the past 19 weeks, going over my training log with a fine tooth comb and obsessing???
Or, will I finish my taper by enjoying the reduced training schedule, focus on getting proper rest, eat healthful food to nourish my body and...relaxing?
The latter sounds like a MUCH better idea to me.
In closing, this makes the most amount of sense:
God Grant me the serenity...
to accept the things I cannot change...
the courage to change the things I can...
and the wisdom to know the difference.
It's so simple, isn't it? Why do we want to make it so hard?
I continue to be amazed by the generosity of the people I'm fortunate enough to be associated with. The donations are STILL coming in!!! How 'bout THEM apples??? Check it out:
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I'm not a big fan of drama either. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? Drama Royalty (Queens AND Kings because men, you are NOT immune). Some people get a paper cut, hangnail or something equally insignificant and, I swear, it's like you cut their arm off. EVERYTHING is a big production...EVERYTHING is a crisis, blah, blah, blah. It's all I can do after listening to it over and over again not to give them a good old fashioned dope slap while shouting, "SNAP OUT OF IT!"
Having said all that, let me share the following story with you.
Christine and I did our last LONG run on March 28th before the start of what shall now be known as "the terrible taper". For those that are unfamiliar with marathon training or the concept in general, tapering means cutting back your training, so that your body can rebuild to peak strength. It allows your muscles to repair and your energy systems to store up glycogen. In other words, it's wicked important.
We ran for 3.75 hours at the perfect long slow distance pace. As we were running, I felt some friction in the bottom of my right foot, but nothing that I couldn't handle. Oh, and I did I happen to mention that I was trying to break in new orthotics???? We'll get to that later.
Once the run was over and we started walking, I noticed the stinging a bit more, so I took off my shoe. Oh yeah. There it was. The start of a gigantic B-L-I-S-T-E-R. Can you say gross? It was about the diameter of a quarter and it was already starting to puff up. Nasty. I didn't even want to put the shoe back on for fear of having an explosion. So, in my stocking feet, I walked back to my car and drove home.
Then of course, there is always the "to pop or not to pop" debate. Do I leave it alone? Do I poke it and drain all that stuff out? I didn't have a run on my schedule until Tuesday, so I let it go for a couple of days. Monday night rolls around and it's still there, so I finally decided to perform surgery. After draining it (am I grossing you out?), I applied triple antibiotic ointment, covered it with 2 bandaids and called it a day.
So, I run the next day and the right orthotic STILL doesn't feel right. I could actually FEEL my sock scraping across my foot as I ran. But, I had the bandaids protecting it, so I didn't worry too much. Remember, I don't like DRAMA. Just chill, Bill. Everything is a-okay.
I bring the orthotics back to the chiropractor, explaining that I had gotten a blister after my long run and felt like they needed to be adjusted. He whips out his heat gun, bends it back and forth a bit, and then gives me an adjustment (no, he didn't use the heat gun on me). Now, I should be all set, right? Off I go on my merry little way.
I took my Lab's Biggest Loser Platoon out to a healthy lunch the next day. Some of my more ambitious members decided they wanted to walk to and from the restaurant, which is 2.3 miles each way. Great, I say! And hey, let me go with you!!! So, the new orthotics and I go for a nice 45-50 minute walk there and a 50-60 minute walk back (they wanted to take the long way back). Again, the burning in the arch starts. Now, I'm getting a bit annoyed.
I get home, take off the shoe and gasp. What used to be a healing blister is now this hard, reddish mass of Lord knows what and it hurts! Like to even put WEIGHT on it! Hurts! Did I happen to MENTION that I am running a MARATHON???? Soon??? Like this MONTH????
Oh, did I happen to mention that I hate DRAMA????
Well, apparently, I forgot.
I proceeded to have the meltdown of all meltdowns. My heart starts beating out of my chest...I type "blister" in my google search engine and start reading every possible article I could on how serious my affliction was. I had visions of having an "alien like" experience with some foreign body emerging out of my foot. I am convinced that the sky is falling, the world is ending and my marathon hopes will be dashed...after all my hard work.
This went on for three days. Remember, I don't like DRAMA.
After telling my good friend (who also happens to be a physical therapist AND a triathlete) about my plight in an email message, she responds, "LOL, first, take a deep breath. It's a healing blister that's supposed to change a bunch of colors. Of course it will be tender and sore if you keep poking at it and thinking about it while running." Then, she advised that I get some of those blister band-aids (the ones that you can actually leave on for a few days) and go run. Oh, and the most important thing: ditch the new orthotics! BAD time to try and break these in.
What's that I hear? The voice of reason???
I took her advice and am happy to report that I've successfully run on it for the past three days and, dare I say, it looks and feels better!!!
Now that I have some clarity, I can see how ridiculous my behavior was. I completely overreacted and was convinced that this was the end. My life as we know it, was over.
As far as the Lazarus House and my fundraising goes, things couldn't be better. I've exceeded my goal by $181 and people are STILL asking if they can donate! How cool is that? Here is my page:
Only eleven days until Boston! Can you believe it? I will be ready.
But for now, I'm going back in my glass house. :-)
Monday, March 30, 2009
I DID IT!!!
I have exceeded my $3,000 fundraising commitment for the Lazarus House. It's official! What an accomplishment! What a rush!
What a relief! ;-)
Remember the movie "Rocky"? Of course you do.
Well, for those of you that are a little fuzzy on the details, let me refresh your memory.
Rocky (played by Sylvester Stallone) was a small-time boxer looking to make it as a legitimate fighter. He got an opportunity to fight Apollo Creed, who was the heavyweight champion. It was a chance for a "nobody to become a somebody", according to Creed's managers. Of course, Rocky wasn't REALLY supposed to stand a chance. He gets a trainer, he gets a girlfriend and then realizes his one shot at a better life is to go the distance with Apollo. No one has ever been able to do that before.
And you know what? He did it! He went from a "nobody to a somebody". This Italian guy who worked at a meat packing plant while moonlighting as a shady debt collector dug down deep and went 15 rounds with the champ.
Goose bumps. Everytime I see that movie...even though I know how it's going to end, I STILL get that same overwhelming, emotional feeling.
This metaphor is twofold for me. One the one hand, I feel as though I've "gone the distance". I set out to raise $3,000 for the Lazarus House and I've done that, thanks to the many generous people I'm blessed to be associated with.
But, on the other hand, I haven't even started.
On April 20th, 2009, I will have the chance to "go the distance" for real, that is...26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston. It will be a test of my physical and mental toughness. I will be running through eight cities and towns with the help of my spiritual, emotional and financial supporters. When the time comes where I turn right on to Hereford and then left on to Boylston, it'll require every ounce of energy I have left to stay the course and stay on my feet.
Just like Rocky.
Hey, if a two-bit club fighter from Philly can do it, why not me?
I WILL become a somebody.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Normally, my blogs have been a mixture of comical running escapades and a desperate plea for money (okay, maybe I'm overstating it just a little bit). Today, I'd rather talk about something else.
For those of you that don't know, I am a full-time fitness professional. My official job title is "Health Fitness Service Representative". Doesn't that sound wicked IMPORTANT???? Basically, I train clients, teach classes and provide customer service to the fitness center community. There are days where the job can be somewhat mundane. We have a towel service for our members, so a big part of my 8 hours is spent washing, drying, folding and putting away towels. Washing, drying, folding, putting away. Lather, rinse, repeat. Ho hum.
But, then, there are moments where I feel positively GIDDY about where I am and what I'm fortunate enough to be a part of. Today is one of those days.
We started a promotion here called "The Lab's Biggest Loser". There are 4 trainers (I am one of them) that are responsible for a "platoon" of 8 people. All in all, 32 people were accepted into this program because their BMI (Body Mass Index) was considered unhealthy. The LBL is a 12 week program. It started on Monday, January 26th and concludes on April 19th. Prizes are awarded incrementally on percentage of weight loss. For example, you receive a $10 gift card when you have lost 5% of your body weight. You get another one at 8%, 11%, 14%, etc. Each participant is required to weigh-in once a week with their trainer.
I'd like to tell you a little bit about my platoon.
They call themselves "Cyndi Lou's Losers" (I swear, it was THEIR idea, not mine). I met with them initially the week before to pass out the materials and talk to them a bit so we could get acquainted. The first meeting went well and I was hopeful.
It is now week 9 and they are doing so well. As of the end of week 7, my "losers" have shed 87.4 lbs. and, as a team, have lost 4.52% of their initial body weight. Pretty cool, huh? They're very focused.
I can't take all the credit. I try to send them motivational emails a few times a week, pass along proper nutritional guidelines and conduct one weekly group workout. The rest of it is all them. They are truly an amazing bunch of people. One person in particular has prompted me to share this story with you. To protect her identity, I will simply refer to her as "Rock Star".
One of our teammates has been struggling with adherence to the program. She is having difficulties putting herself ahead of anything and anyone else in her life. She'll lose a couple lbs., then gain it back. Unfortunately, she is battling excuses...and the excuses are currently winning.
During one of our group email correspondences, she issued a cry for help. She sounded very defeated and sad...saying she lost her will...that she is going through a lot emotionally and she thinks that is bringing her down. She feels as though she doesn't have enough hours in the day. We can all relate to that, but sometimes, you just gotta put the big girl pants on and do it, right?
Well, then Rock Star emailed her privately (just copied me on the message). In five good sized paragraphs, she shared her own struggles with riding the weight loss rollercoaster. She took her defenses down and let our friend see who she is and how she got to this point in her life. She also shared with her how she finally decided it was time to do something about it. One line of her email really stood out for me: sometimes the heart is ready before the body and will-power are.
But, she knows she can't give up the struggle.
Where there is a will, there is a way. Anything worth having is worth fighting for. Rock Star wants to be a better wife, aunt, daughter and friend. She knows she needs to take better care of herself in order to achieve all of these things.
Finally, let me say this: Rock Star has lost 8% of her body weight since January 26th and is only 1.2 lbs. away from achieving her 11% weight loss milestone. AWESOME.
I am reminded by the triumph of the human spirit and how powerful it can be in times of adversity. She has been a huge inspiration to me and the rest of her team.
Maybe some of you reading this blog right now are experiencing some kind of struggle. It doesn't have to be a weight issue. Perhaps you have reached some sort of crossroads in life and feel powerless to change your circumstances. Sometimes, it's easier to give up. Some days, the problems of the world just seem way too big.
My fundraising endeavor for the Lazarus House in the grand scheme of things may seem a bit small. I only have to raise $3,000. Surely that isn't enough to cure hunger for everyone.
But, it's a start. Thank you all for helping me "make a dent".
I only need $139 more to make my goal. SO exciting! Here is my personal fundraising page:
In closing, I'd like to share this quote with you:
“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.”-- Edward Everett Hale
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Let me explain.
Ever notice you have some rituals that are a part of your daily life? You don't really know how it came to be that way but, well, it just is. So it is with the news. I watch it every day. Sometimes more than once.
Now, this is where the whole love/hate thing comes in. I don't really LIKE hearing the news. Frankly, it's downright depressing to hear about the escalating jobless rate, crooked politicians and the dow plunging to record lows every 30 minutes. How about some good news once in a while? And besides, the Eyeopener on Channel 5 just hasn't been the same since Ed and Heather left (sorry David and Bianca, it's just the way I feel).
But, it's a necessary evil. I NEED to know what the weather is going to be so I can plan my marathon training around the random acts of nastiness Mother Nature has bestowed upon us this winter. I think all runners are slaves to the wisdom of meterologists everywhere.
So, I watch.
I was home sick on Monday (darn head cold...happens practically every time I train) and I heard this sobering statistic:
The National Center on Family Homelessness released a report today that estimates that one in every 50 American children was homeless between 2005 and 2006. That totals roughly 1.5 million kids.
1 in every 50! Homeless! And we're not talking about some scruffy looking wino holding out a coffee can asking for change. These are CHILDREN! With no home!
Adults are one thing. Granted, no one likes to see anyone down on their luck. I know I don't. But, we've become pretty hardened and jaded by all the stories of the panhandlers who go home to penthouses and drive sportscars. It's hard not to be.
But, we're not talking about opportunistic con artists. We're talking about innocent boys and girls who are counting on us to love them, mentor them and protect them.
It really got to me.
I didn't have a storybook childhood by any means. I come from a divorced family. I moved from town to town more than I wish I had to. I struggled with self-acceptance at an early age due to societal expectations about how the media perceives beauty.
But, I always had a home. I may not have had both parents in it at the same time, but I had food, clothing, and shelter.
After hearing the news, it made my mission seem even more important. I have been training in adverse conditions (extreme cold, snow), sacrificing half the weekend so I can fit those long runs in, and have done some of this while sniffling and sneezing. But, you know what? My struggle is NOTHING compared to what some of these little ones are forced to endure.
I will run 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston on Monday, April 20, 2009 for the Lazarus House. Here is an excerpt from their home page:
We help to prevent homelessness by providing food orders from our food pantry for those who cannot afford to pay both the rent and buy food. If that fails, we provide shelter. All of our guests are assigned an advocate who will assist them with a tailored plan for reconstructing their lives in a way that will allow them to be active and productive members of the community.
Would you like to help one of those children who don't have a home? Please visit my personal fundraising page:
Your support and kindness is so appreciated...by me and I know by the little ones your donation will benefit.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Speaking of the great outdoors, can I just say brrrrrrr? Mother Nature, I am begging you...no mas, no mas! However, being the hearty New Englander I am, I laced 'em up and headed out the door for a training run early this morning, wearing layers that would rival Ralphie's little brother in "A Christmas Story" (I can't put my arms down!).
Did I also happen to mention that I'm a slave to technology when I run, particularly when I'm running alone? I have the heart rate monitor, the GPS watch, the iPod...man am I high maintenance. Normally, I don't consider myself to be a very anal person, but when it comes to running, I've timed 99% of EVERY training run or race I've done since 2003. I always HAVE to know how far I go and how fast it was. Call me crazy. It's one of my quirks (I have many).
A few weeks back, I found myself to be in a bit of a funk. I felt tired, listless, frustrated, slow and sick. All classic symptoms of overtraining. This is my 3rd marathon in one year and distance running can be very taxing on the body, not to mention the psyche. As much as I love to run, I was beginning to feel like I was in a bad relationship. Must...keep...going...can't...stop...running. After all, I had taken on this huge commitment to train and fundraise for the Lazarus House, a very worthy and admirable charity. How can I fulfill this promise if every step is an effort???
Aside from scaling back the miles a bit, I wondered what else I could do in order to restore that fire in the belly. One of my dear friends suggested I "leave the watch at home" for a while. You know, just get out there, enjoy the scenery and don't worry about my time. Stop and smell the roses (well, slow down and get a whiff as you pass them, really). Run just for the sheer joy of it. I said I'd think about it. That was a couple of weeks ago.
I walk outside to put on my gps watch and "BATTERY LOW" ominously appears on my display. Hmmmm, I thought, that's odd. Well, I'm sure it'll last long enough for my run.
So off I went. All of a sudden, I look down and the watch is completely blank!!! The horror, the HORROR!!!! What do I do? I have no idea how long I had been gone or how far I had run...I just kept moving. The OCD started kicking in. Mentally retracing my steps while formulating plans to drive the route afterwards began to flood my thoughts. Then, it hit me.
I was enjoying it. I could have been out there 5 or 15 minutes. I didn't really know. And it was okay! I ran for a while longer enjoying my tunes. When the time came to go back home and get ready for work, I chuckled to myself. I may not have followed my friend's advice, but it ended up following me instead!!!
So, I guess, sometimes, one battery must die in order to recharge another. I felt accomplished. I felt free. I felt good! And I still haven't driven the route. Yet. ;-)
As of today, I'm up to $1,311 in donations for the Lazarus House. Thanks to all who have contributed to that number. If you are in the position to help me make a difference in the lives of many deserving, needy people, please visit my webpage below:
Only 23 more days until Spring. Whoo hoo!!!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Thankfully, it got better as we went along. With only two necessary stops (thank you, Dunkin' Donuts), we did it in 3:10. Both of us were relieved to have it done and out of the way so we could enjoy our holiday weekend (thank you, Presidents Day). In fact, the main reason we ran on Friday was because I was getting out of Dodge for the weekend. Cyndi's had it with this @#$&* cold so she was off someplace tropical.
Yup, you guessed it. New Jersey.
Okay, so it's not the Bahamas, but hey, there wasn't a patch of snow to be found in the Garden State and it was in the mid 40's the entire time I was there. I needed a brief respite from the ravages of winter in New England. Besides, it's where I'm from and I have family there. And I stay for free. :-)
So, now I will explain the title of my blog.
I ran 6 miles on Saturday morning, fairly tentatively and slowly since I had done 20 miles the day before. At the end of the run, I felt pretty good and energized. So, I figured I'd run the same course on Sunday and see if I felt any stronger.
I never saw it coming.
I'm about 1.5-2 miles into my run where the sidewalk goes from concrete to uneven stone and brick. Cyndi's got the iPod going and is daydreaming as usual when all of a sudden...
I FELL! Seriously, I fell. My shoe must have caught in the gap between stones and I lost my balance. It's a bird...it's a plane...no, it's just clumsy old me wiping out for all the world to see. Like all the cool stuntpeople (being politically correct here) do in the movies, I wiped out in style, rolling over mid fall and landing on my back on the grassy/dirt part of the sidewalk. Of course this HAD to happen at 9:45 a.m. on a Sunday when EVERYONE in Cranbury, NJ was out and about. In true New Jersey fashion, NO ONE stopped to see if I was alive and well, so I jumped back up and started running again. About a minute or two later, the embarrassment began to fade and I am thinking to myself, "okay, does anything hurt? Did I pull a muscle anyplace?" I felt the random twinge here and there, but nothing major.
At the end of the run, I went back to my cousin's house to survey the damage. I think I lost about four layers of skin from my right knee and I have this bitchin' scratch up the lateral side of my shin. Makes me look tough, sorta. But, I am no worse for the wear. Just another day in the life of training for the Boston Marathon, my friends.
I am happy to report that I'm up to $1,250.00 for the Lazarus House. If you haven't yet checked out my personal webpage, please check it out below:
If you are in a position to contribute, I would welcome your support.
Another snow/ice/rain event is in the forecast for tonight. One month and three days until spring. Bring it, Mother Nature.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
The weather prognosticators were forecasting temperatures in the upper 40's for Sunday, February 8th. Shoot, it might even hit FIFTY degrees! That is equivalent to getting 13 bagels for the price of 12. Bonus! Christine, my excellent training partner, and I were debating: shorts or tights? Shorts or tights?
Well, we opted to go the safe route and wore the latter. However, we ditched the traditional winter hat and headwraps for dri-fit baseball hats instead. It's going to be in the 40's we said. Who NEEDS to cover the ears????
We met at the local gym near my house around 9:30. After lacing them up and emptying our bladders once or twice (hey, all runners know that feeling), we hit the road. We were chatting away the first 3-4 miles, remarking on how nice it was to see the sun and how much lighter we felt with half the layers that are normally required on a long run in the winter. And then, the wind came.
If anyone within reading distance has ever enjoyed, endured or suffered through a run on Route 111, you will immediately begin to sympathize with us. The second we turned on that road, it was as if we entered a wind tunnel. Not only had we entered a wind tunnel, but we were going up, and up, and up. It wasn't one of those "in your face, beotch!" hills where it's short and steep. No, not this road. It is a gradual incline that goes for about, oh, I don't know, almost a mile, perhaps???? Imagine someone wrapping a large elastic band around your waist and pulling as you try your hardest to run away from them. Yeah, that was how our 3 mile stretch of 111 felt. Christine had the brilliant idea at one point of running in front of me in an attempt to shield me from the wind. What a doll. Did I mention that this doll is 100 lbs. soaking wet?? Yeah, so we determined that wouldn't work. But, it's the thought that counts. ;-)
Once we hit 7 miles (our schedule called for 12 today), we got off of that blasted road and ran through some neighborhoods. There were occasional gusts (at one point, Christine's baseball hat flew off her head. She had to go running after it. ;-) But, we dug down deep and sucked it up. At one point she cried out, "Why can't we have it all????", meaning we were fortunate enough to be enjoying seasonally warm temperatures. However, the sun took an extended coffee break and the wind was working overtime.
Why can't we have it all?
I'm reminded every day, by my endeavor to raise money for Lazarus House, just how fortunate I am. The economy has affected all of us in some way. We've had to make some sacrifices and forego some things. But, I always know where my next meal is coming from. I always know where I'm going to sleep at night.
As of right now, I've been able to raise $1,115.00 towards my fundraising goal of $3,000.00, thanks to the kindness and generosity of family, friends, co-workers and people with big hearts. If you haven't yet donated and would like to contribute, here is a link to my personal webpage:
Now, I'm going to have some birthday cake with my friend, Sarah. Peace, my friends. Until next time.
Monday, February 2, 2009
So, Christine and I were planning on 18 miler for yesterday. She is like the "Mapmyrun" and "USATF" queen...she had our route done like two WEEKS ago, she was so excited..
Side note: This is the young lady who I ran 10 miles in that snowstorm with a few weeks back. Her idea, mostly, although I'm glad I succumbed to peer pressure.
Okay, now, back to our story.
So, we're running and talking, and running and sniffling and running and fueling. About 15.5 miles in, we turned on this road that was supposed to keep going. Um, it didn't. Yup, just stopped, with a big pile of snow at the end...like a dead end road. My running partner looks at me and says, "I swear the road kept going on the map. I SWEAR." So, Christine asked a couple of people who happened to be outside how to get to this road we were looking for since it appeared we were stuck. The husband (boyfriend, man of the house, whatever he was) says, "well, if you go down here, take a left, go to the end, take a another left, run down 102, blah, blah, blah...turn, turn, turn...there is the road. Or you just walk through the snow and follow the snowmobile tracks and there it is."
So, we look at each other and say, "okay, thanks" to the man. And we commenced climbing up the snow bank and started stomping through the woods in the snow. It went something like this "walk, walk, walk, SINK...walk, walk, walk, SINK..." It was like snowshoeing with ballet slippers on. Kinda made you suck wind in a different sort of way.
This went on for about 1/3-1/2 mile, we think...not too sure, because my GPS kept autopausing and autoresuming. It does this if you don't maintain a fast enough pace. Well, excuse meeeee.....
The good news was, we did find the road, we didn't fall down and break any bones and made it back to her house in once piece.
Next time, I am planning the long run. Love ya, Christine!
Just checked my page and I'm up to $1,105! If you haven't donated yet and are able to contribute, I could use your support! Go to:
Friday, January 30, 2009
We got yet ANOTHER snow/sleet/ice storm (hard to believe, I know) on Wednesday, so I decided to wave the white flag and take a rest day. It wasn't so bad, actually. I got to sleep later than usual, watched a movie starring Edward Norton and Colin Farrell and got some stuff done at home. Beats sitting in traffic.
I worked yesterday from 6-2, trained a client and then began psyching myself up for the treadmill, yet again. For the life of me, I can't remember where I put my headlamp and, well, running in the dark alone just freaks me out (ask any of my Reach the Beach teammates...they'll tell you).
I did a mile warm-up at an easy pace and then started my first 800 meter repeat (about a 1/2 mile). I've been very sporadic with speedwork since the summer, and figured it would be harder than usual. I was so RIGHT!!! Ugh! The plan was to do 6 of them @ 8.0 mph (about a 7:30/mile pace. I did 4 of them and was grateful that I didn't fall over DEAD!!!
After a long (very long, very slow) cooldown, I hydrated, stretched and headed home. All in all, I managed to crank out 6.5 miles which will only help me on April 20th, 2009.
I checked my personal fundraising webpage and was pleased to see a couple of more donations came in. I am now up to $855. For those who are reading and wish to donate, here is the link:
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Ah, winter. As I type this, we are on the verge of another snowstorm…anywhere from 3-12” depending on where you live. It certainly makes training for the upcoming 113th Annual
If it’s not the snow getting us down, it’s the cold. When I did my long run this weekend, I think it was single digits at the start. Thankfully, the sun was strong and there wasn’t much wind. I found a new use for those handwarmers that come in those foil packets too…put one in each pocket of my jacket so my 8 oz. water bottles didn’t freeze. Brilliant!!!
The run I did on Sunday was, technically, a “race”…it was the
The course is labeled as “moderately challenging” and they’re not kidding. The hills between miles 10 and 12 are brutal (if anyone knows where
My competitive nature got the best of me after the hills and I decided to push the last 4 miles. After it was over, I didn’t feel like it was a successful run. My time was about 5-6 minutes slower than my 2007 official time. I felt a bit defeated and discouraged.
A dear friend of mine helped me realize something very important. It isn’t always about getting a PR. Sometimes, it’s about helping someone else get a PR…or even to just FINISH. I was able to be a part of that on Sunday and, in retrospect, that was so special. I’m thankful to have run the first 10-12 miles with my two friends and have no regrets. I no longer feel like a failure, but instead, learned an important lesson in helping someone else reach their goal. I was inspired. Every race I’ve run in has taught me something. This one was no different.
Speaking of helping someone else reach their goal (come on, you KNEW this was coming), won’t you help me reach my fundraising goal of $3,000 for the Lazarus House? Here is a link to my personal fundraising page:
In closing, I’d like to share a quote with you:
"Before you begin a thing remind yourself that difficulties and delays quite impossible to foresee are ahead. You can only see one thing clearly, and that is your goal. Form a mental vision of that and cling to it through thick and thin."
Thank you all for your interest and support. Be safe in the snow tomorrow for those that live in glorious