Sunday, November 21, 2010


That was an unbelievable experience! I can’t believe that I finished the race! I was loving (almost) every minute of the race! The number of people out to watch the race was awesome! The “tunnel” on Chestnut Street was unreal. During the half-marathon there were very few spots that were empty. 

My nerves were getting to me beginning last night. I went to sleep early but woke up in the middle of the night and had a hard time going back to sleep. I was very paranoid about oversleeping.  We got to the start and met up with my friend Sarah, who ran her first full marathon.  It was COLD! We both huddled and were trying to stay warm. The Rocky Theme that they played at the beginning did pump us up enough to forget about how cold it was! I didn’t realize how cold it was until I started and my toes were a bit tingly!

I started off strong, maybe too strong. I was checking my pace on my Nike+ sensor.  I slowed down at times and was forced to slow down due to people traffic.  We winded down ben franklin parkway and down Arch street, making our way to Columbus Boulevard.  This began my unknown territory. We went down to Washington Avenue, turned up to Front street, over to South Street and up to 6th street where Rob and Jennie were waiting for me! What a boost!

We turned on 6th where another boost to see Dave and family, even though they didn’t see me! I was on the wrong side…I should have written down where they would be! We turned up Chestnut street where Allison was waiting for me at Chestnut and Broad.  After that, my water boy, Nick, with his “cat in the hat” Ireland hat! It was great, I couldn’t miss a 6 foot 3 cat in the hat! The water exchange went smoothly (another point of anxiety pre-race).  Then came the difficult part.

I have noticed with my long runs that after 6-7 miles I feel good, really good.  Thinking about it, during this training program 6 miles was my “base run”.  I did a 6 mile run at least 2 times a week.  Well after seeing my water boy, we hit the hard part! Chestnut up to 34th street.  2 hills there that were tough! Then we hit 34th street, over by the zoo and into the park.  OMG! Coming from 34th on market I was ok, I slowed down and walked a wee bit.  Passed the zoo, and then the 10 hour hill appeared.  That hill after mile 9, yes after 9 miles of running they expect you to go up a hill that literally lasted 10 hours! It was CRAZY! I walked up half it. 

With what little I had left, we made our way past the please touch museum and went down to west river drive.  It was back to the Art Museum.  I gave it all I had but looking back at a video that Nick took of me at the end, yeah I wasn’t going THAT fast. Haha! I remember that last half mile I was gasping for air from running and from crying! I couldn’t believe that I was actually there finishing the half marathon! I couldn’t believe I actually did it.  It was a long journey.  5 days a week for 12 weeks.  I dedicated a lot of time to do this. I went running even when I didn’t want to do it or doubted I could do it (with a lot of help from my biggest fan/water boy/honey).  I pushed through a lot of negative talk in my own head doubting that I could do it!

People have been saying to me all day “you are an inspiration”. I hope I am because trust me everyone out there, if I can do this, you can too!!! I didn’t do anything special, I just stuck with it. Like I said before in my first post, I hate running before but I have tried it again. I now love it, hills and all!

What next people ask? I picked up my number on Friday and the woman was asking me if I was doing the full marathon next year.  Dave is already planning my training regimen. I don’t know what is next but I will take the time to bask in the afterglow of accomplishing this goal. 

I have to take a moment to thank everyone along the way, everyone who read this thing, everyone who left comments and everyone who kept on asking and rooting for me during the training program, way too many people to name here.  I would like to thank everyone who was there today, Rob, Jennie, Dave, Tobey, Maya, Jon, Merle, Allison, Arian, JLO, Bec. Thank you Sarah for moral support and support going through this process together! Chatting and talking about this training was so helpful! and Special thanks to my honey Nick for making me run when I didn't want to, for believing in me the whole time and for being my biggest fan and hottest waterboy! I love you! 

So for those counting at home. This week I did 21.1 miles, that is including the race.

My time for the race, a personal record in the half-marathon (the best part of doing a distance for the first time): 2:08:14

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Less than 24 hours away

I picked up my bib and picked out the running outfit…wow. There is no turning back now.

Yesterday when I saw the big sign on the convention center, the health expo to pick up my bib, I must say, there was a little butterfly in my stomach.  It was finally here.  As I went to pick up my number, I began to be more and more nervous….and I wasn’t running a full marathon! I picked up my bib, my bag and my shirt.  The ever important shirt!

I went to the service area to change my time.  When I signed up they ask you to estimate your time to complete it.  At that time, I was probably doing a 2 hour and half pace, so I decided to see if I can get to 2 hour and 15 minute.  But as my training has been preparing me, I am not close to the 2 hour mark! I met up with my friend Sarah who is running a full marathon tomorrow and we began walking around the expo and discussing tomorrow.  As we planned and talked about tomorrow, I began becoming more and more confident in my ability to do this. 

I can’t believe that after 12 weeks of training, it is finally here.  I am excited about the race and still a bit nervous. I am going to get through this race for sure, I just want nothing to go wrong. I just want everything to go smoothly. Either way, it will be a crisp morning and I will be running 13.1 miles….amazing.

The forecast for the race is as follows:
7 AM (beginning of the race): sunny 37 degrees
8 AM: sunny 39 degrees
9 AM: (end of my race): sunny 42 degrees
10 AM: sunny 45 degrees
11 AM (end of Sarah’s race): 47 degrees

Sunday, November 14, 2010

OMG….one week away!

I am both excited and nervous at the same time about this race.  I am excited to finally put these 12 weeks of training into action.  Last week I ran 12 miles and today I ran 12.5.  physically I know that I can do it, which is a pretty cool feeling, I must say.  I am excited that I now say things “oh, it’s ONLY a 6 mile run”.  I am excited that despite this training program being really hard, I STILL love to run. 

I am nervous as well about it.  I am nervous about oversleeping (it just happened on Amazing Race! It can happen to me!).  I am nervous about handing off water bottles and getting the water bottles from Nick at mile 6! I am nervous about not finishing!

I have already checked the weather (hourly just in case it changes) and it is looking sunny and the low for the day is 38 degrees.  Perfect morning to run say….13.1 miles maybe? Haha….we shall see.

Last week, I did not post. Sorry about that! I ran 29 miles last week and this week I did 30 miles. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Week 9

It’s November! The big day is getting very close…very very close. 

How do I know this? Well, it is officially November 1st so that is making us 20 days away from the big day! I also know this because this week I ran 11 miles for my long run.  I also know that it is coming because more and more people are asking me if I am ready for the race.

It is officially November as of today.  Other than the other most important day of this month (TOMORROW TUESDAY NOVEMBER 2ND GO VOTE!!!!) November 21st is really getting close.  The days are dwindling between today and race day. I am excited and very nervous at the same time.

I also know that race day is close because my long runs are getting longer.  If I sit here and think about running 13.1 miles I will not want to get up off this comfy couch! I know this because for the past 2 weeks when I thought about the increasingly longer long runs I freak out. I don’t think I can do it and I consistently doubt my ability to do it.  This could be considered as an important part of my training program, the mental training of my program.  I believe that running races like this is a lot of mental work.  Physically I can sit here and say yes, I could do it.  I am not always as sure of my mental state to run the full race.  Every Sunday, just like this week, I have to train my mind to believe that I can run this race.

Finally the way that I know it is getting close is the number of people asking me about the race.  All of the sudden I know that it is getting close because people are asking me about my training and how my running is going. I really do take it as supportive. I know that when I run on November 21st I will have all of Team Nat running with me in spirit. It does make me think about the race more when people ask but let’s face it, that is all I am thinking about these days anyway!

Week 9 total for those counting at home is 27 miles. I skipped a run this week because I was feeling a bit sick and run down on Tuesday.  Let’s hope for a good and healthy week! 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It’s getting TOUGH

It is getting very tough, both mentally and physically. 

Mentally the week was difficult.  I had again a few tough runs but mostly it is getting to be a lot with running 5 times a week.  The actual running 5 times a week isn’t as bad as the feeling that I HAVE to run 5 times a week has been difficult.  I am getting tired of the training program.

It is also getting difficult with my long runs. I ran 10 miles for my long run today.  I was struggling to make it, but I did make it. I need to keep that in mind that no matter what, I made the run and I got through it. 

For those counting at home: Week 8 total was 29.07.  My mileage actually dropped this week from last week for those astute readers.  I do a speed run on a treadmill on Tuesdays at my gym. This week there was no air circulation in there and I struggled to do 3 miles. I was totally overheating and I felt it to be unsafe. I am ok with it because it was unsafe. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tough week 7

This week was tough. I had a few tough runs this week.

My tuesday and wednesday runs were good, in fact they were some of my fastest runs! I had my Thursday break and then it all went downhill from there. 

Friday I had a horrible run and was not able to complete it! I started off good but then about half way through I had to stop and slowly got back to the house.  I learned a few things, though, from this run. 

Lesson #1: Don’t eat curry for lunch when you have to run in the afternoon. Enough said.

Lesson#2: Stopping in the cold is not good.  It was a cold day out there and when I had to stop it was very hard for me to start up again.  The cold made my muscles tighten up very quickly. This is something I must keep in mind when I am getting ready for the actual race.  I have to both wear a lot of clothes and just not stop running the whole time!

My run on Saturday was just intense.  I took lexi to her spa day in Chestnut Hill. well when she was getting beautiful I decided to multitask and go for my run.  Well they named that area of Philadelphia for a reason.  Everywhere you looked, there was nothing but hills! I got through my 4 miles but I had to walk a bit again!

Then I only had today’s run. I was very much in my head but I tried to put that out of my head and went on.  I didn’t realize it was THAT warm! So I had a long sleeve on and I was totally overheating. I stopped to take that off.  Then I continued on my way and I ran down to the Schuylkill Banks to complete my run.  The hill that leads up to the beginning of the Kelly drive path got me. I stopped and walked again.  Then halfway through to get home I had to stop again for a side stitch that was not going away. 

I am trying not to let this affect me but today was the first day that I questioned if I could do this.  I will keep on pushing just because I have to at this point. I still love running, and scenes like this are exactly why I still love running. 

For those keeping score at home, this week I logged in 29.6 miles. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Running the loop

Yeah…I ran the loop. You heard me right! I ran the FRICKIN LOOP!  

This is a HUGE accomplishment for me.  I have always wanted to run the loop for as long as I can remember, well as long as I have been running. I had an 8 mile run for my long run today.  I was fretting about this run all week long.  Running the loop for the first time was a big deal and it always seemed to be an impossible task to me….before today. 

So I woke up this morning and it was just gorgeous this morning, perfect to attempt this impossible task.  I got ready to go, procrastinated a bit but got out there.  I started up the small hill to the falls bridge and went over to west river drive.  I then turn and head on down the road. I begin down West River Drive (now technically called Martin Luther King Jr. Drive).  I am truckin along when all of the sudden, there were a TON of people on the road. It was the Making Strides against Cancer Walk.  UGH! Don’t get me wrong, totally support the cause and was even wearing pink! My first (and only) 5K was the mother's day run several years ago.  But what it meant to me today was that I didn’t have the clear path that I thought I would have.  In fact, I had to bob and weave around the walkers! But this didn’t stop me! I imagined in my head it was all the runners I will be running around on the half-marathon day!

I got through the crowds and I make my turn to go up Kelly drive. It suddenly hits me, I am running the loop. I am familiar with my side of the river. I go by boathouse row and there is yet another walk! It was the Stepping out for Scleroderma walk! This was a smaller walk but still, my bobbing and weaving skills were put to the test again! 

I break through the crowd from that walk and then I am off to the races.  I made it all the way to the end, with the help of my energy chews and Nick, who biked the loop while I was running it. He found me with half a mile to go and gave me the extra boost to make it all the way, with an extra quarter mile to boot. 

All day long today I randomly had the thought in my head “wow, I ran the loop” and I would just smile.  I can’t believe I ran the loop. It is beyond a big deal (have I mentioned that I this was a big deal?).  With this run, I feel like I have the secret handshake to a mythical running club.  I feel like I have arrived.

And for those keeping score at home, week 6 total mileage is 27.38.