Pageviews last month

Friday, April 24, 2009


It's been four days since the 113th Annual Boston Marathon and it's the first time I have been able to sit down to blog about it. Cyndi's not the spring chicken she once was (insert chuckle here), so it takes her longer to work towards having those "aha moments".

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

Twas the night before Boston

It's go time.

Well, almost.

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.

Thanks, John.

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.
--Albert Einstein

Don't forget to TRACK me ONLINE! Go to My race # is 22608.

26.2 miles here I COME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

One Day at a Time...

Hi, my name is Cyndi and I'm NOT an alcoholic.

"HI CYNDI!!!!!"

Okay, now that I've gotten THAT out of the way, let me say this:


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

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?

Probably nothing.


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

Relax...JUST do it...

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:

Cyndi says...RELAX.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

If you live in a glass house...

I like to think that I am fairly well-balanced person 90% of the time. I'm a reasonably intelligent, grounded and emotionally mature young lady (can you still say that when you've reached your late 30's? Just askin').

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. :-)