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. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

week 5

Week 5 is done. 
I ran 20 miles this week. 
I was supposed to have run 23 though….that means that I skipped a run! And I almost skipped 2 of them! YIKES!

Friday I came back from work late because of SEPTA and the rain! BUT I busted out a 4 mile run at the gym. It was a buzzer beater.  Literally I was one of the last people in the gym! Yup...I closed it down.

Yesterday we went to the One Nation Working Together rally in DC.  It was a beautiful day and it was so full of hope.  I woke up my normal week day time at 6:30 in the morning! So no…no running before that! We got back really late so no running late! So I skipped the 3 mile run scheduled on Saturday.

I should have planned it out more. I should have skipped a rest day to mesh with my schedule.  As the saying goes “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.  I failed to plan this week.

I will not let this get me down and I will just push on! Next week will be difficult because now I will be adding a lot more mileage for the week but I won’t let this bring me down! 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

week 4

Week 4 is done! FINALLY! 

21.89 miles total this week.
This week was a difficult week for me and my running.  It was the first week that I actually questioned deep down if this was a good idea to sign up for this half marathon. 

I started this week, as I always do on Tuesday night, with a speed workout.  I was not able to complete what was expected for the day.  I left the gym feeling down and dejected.  I decided to just let that run go and move onto my next run with a clean slate.  The next run was a 5 mile run.  I ended up having to run it on a treadmill.  I don’t like running on treadmills! It was a struggle.

Having 2 runs in a row that were a struggle really broke my confidence.  Up until now, I have been telling people that I am running a half-marathon and believing within myself that I will get there.  After those 2 runs I was no longer sure if I could do it.  My next run was a “short” 4 miler.  I was finally able to run outside.  Around mile 3, I had to stop running and I ran for part of it.  I haven’t had to walk during a run since I started running about 5 years ago! This was demoralizing. After that I was certain that I would not be able to run the half marathon. 

I looked forward to the rest of the week.  With only 2 more runs left in the week, I figured I might as well finish it out.  I ran 3 miles the next day, super slow but I completed it.  I was on shaky ground.  I looked ahead and I had a 6 mile run.  I was nervous and doubting myself completely.

I woke up this morning wishing I could just sleep the day away and avoid the run.  I eventually got out of bed and got dressed.  I got some water in me and for the first time, I used an energy gel.  I tried my sportbeans (made by jelly belly).  And hoped that it would enough to get me through it.  I began to procrastinate…played solitaire, even contemplated doing laundry! I decided to bite the bullet and get out there.  I began running and somehow got through it.  I even felt good at some points of the run. 

I still don’t feel confident in my ability to run the half marathon.  I am looking ahead and it will only get tougher from here on out.  I just have to take it one run at a time.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon

This weekend the ING Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon came through Philadelphia.  What a blast! It was great to see so many people running the half marathon.  The course wound through the city and made it’s way up Kelly Drive, crossing the Falls Bridge and then down West River Drive back to the Eagan’s Circle.  I cheered on the runners by the Falls Bridge, cheering specifically a few people that I knew were running the race.

Watching the runners was a wonderful experience.  When a race like that is in town you see varied styles and fitness levels.  The bottom line is that they are all trying to get through the race and complete it.  Watching the racers made me very excited about November.  Knowing that they have all been putting in weeks of hard work to get to that day made me more motivated to keep up with my training program. 

I was very excited and motivated, which then came crashing down when I saw ambulances going by with people in them! I saw one runner on the side of the road being tended to by paramedics.  Running may seem like it isn’t a dangerous sport in comparison to skiing, for example, but this scene really brought into perspective that like any physical endeavor, there are risks! The training program that I am following is a slow gradual build, which is the safest way to begin running.  There was no way for me to know, but these runners were probably pushing themselves too far too quickly.  This is something that I have to keep in mind.

I hope that those that were taken away in ambulances were ok.  I was thinking about them as I completed my final run for week 3 of my training program.  This week I completed 19 miles (for those keeping score at home).

Friday, September 17, 2010

Running is like therapy

As I start to run longer distances, I started to pay attention to my attitude about running.  I realized that running is a lot like going into therapy/treatment. 

When I think about going for a run, barring a GORGEOUS day like yesterday, I am not always super psyched.  I look at the training program and stare at the number of miles that I have to run and I shudder.  I begin to imagine all the things that I can do with my time other than run.  Then I glance down at next week’s run. I realize that I have to go for this run because next week, I will have to run farther yet.  So I play my tape out, I can skip this run but then next week, I will be suffering.  I will be in a lot of pain and the run will just be horrible.  I realize that I do trust that running this run will help me in the long run. With this faith and trust in the process, I tie up my shoelaces and I go out there. 

During my run, I am in my head.  I may be in pain. I may increase the volume of my ipod and try to drown out my own doubts and/or voices telling me to stop.  I also increase my awareness of my surroundings.  I am aware of the beauty of the Schuylkill, the trees and the other runners around me all enjoying the outdoors right along with me. 

After the run, I always feel great.  I may be physically tired, but it is one of the best tiredness that I can feel.  No matter how long or short my run is, my endorphins are running around me.  I am proud of doing something for myself.  Bottom line, I feel like I can take on the world.  I have noticed that over time, my mood is just better with all the exercise that I am doing. 

The same process that I just described about my run is what happens when entering therapy or treatment.  When being told or starting the process of therapy, you have to know what you are getting into and trust in the process.  You have to trust that it is a valuable process to enter for yourself, your health and your well-being.  You might look at your day in treatment/session with your therapist and think about all that you can do with your time instead of being there, until you look at life or your future and think about the hurdles that you will have to face in the future.  So you tie up your sneakers and get to treatment/therapy. 

During treatment and therapy, there may be moments where you are overwhelmed, scared and in pain.  Things get brought up that you have been working really hard to not realize, sometimes use a lot of energy to do so.  During treatment/therapy lots of emotions and feelings will come up that you must feel, deal and then heal from.  It does work if you work it.  You have to put your all in every day, no matter how much you want to run out of the room. 

After you leave, the benefits of the catharsis are real.  With the awareness that is gained in treatment/therapy, the sense of empowerment and confidence in oneself is priceless.  You feel like anything that life brings, you can handle it.  Living life on life terms isn’t overwhelming.  The sense of freedom and relief is refreshing.  

Bottom line:
Keep coming back…It works if you work it.  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

week 2

Pushing on.

I completed week 2 of the training.  This week I completed 16.05 miles.

Today I felt sore.  I believe I overdid it with yoga this week and I was SORE for my run today.  I still got through it and felt good in the end.

Next week I will focus on not over doing it!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Running gadgets

Running gadgets ROCK...or do they? 

So when I started running as an official hobby, Nick got me a Nike + and an IPOD.  Well it couldn't have been a better present! I love it! 

The way it works is that there is a chip that you put in your shoe (if you get the NIKE shoe that has a special pocket) or you put it on your laces if you have any other shoe (aka your favorite running shoe).  That little thing then sends a signal to the transmitter on your ipod.  With this, your ipod then tracks your distance, pace, time and calories burned.  So just right there, cool right? 
But wait, there's more.  Then you plug in your ipod on your computer and it goes to the nike+ website that stores all that information.  THAT is the best part. Today I found out that I have run off 11 pounds of fat! wehoo! 

so there are lots of other running gadgets out there.  GPS watches, heart rate monitors, etc.  I think that there are really great things about all these gadgets.  The heart rate monitor can keep you safe to make sure that you aren't pushing yourself too hard.  The GPS and Nike + things help when training. I don't have to think about how far I am going, I just run. But with all these advances, I wonder can all these gadgets take the spontaneity away from running? I no longer grab my sneaks, change and go out there.  I have to make sure my ipod is charged, make sure I got my heart rate monitor on, find the watch that goes with it which I can never seem to find and then finally I can get out there to just run. 

But then I think about that graph...oh that graph.  So pretty...the peaks and valleys...the rating system for each so pretty. In the end, that graph is a highlight of my running experience. When I look back at my first run that I tracked in May 2009 when I ran 2.72 miles at 12'52"/mile, I can be proud of how far I have come. 

Running gadgets are like most things in life, what you make of them.  They can trip you up and make you lose your joy or they can be a tool to measure the progress that you make and a source of pride.  

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

week 1 done

So I am a little late to report that I completed week 1.  Even though, the amounts of each individual run was small (between 2 and 3 miles) I ran 5 times that week.  I usually only do 3-4 times a week.  I didn't realize that that jump would be a lot!

Today I am tired. I didn't listen to my own advice and respect the REST day.  I biked into work yesterday (yes, I labored on labor day!) and it really was too much.  I was, the runs weren't that long, but really I should have listened to the wisdom of the REST day! so no longer will I not listen.

So for the first week, I ran 11.89 miles.

Onto week 2....

Thursday, September 2, 2010

what runs through your mind...

I read this article that was just great! It was a stream of consciousness of a runner.

So after having read this, I started to think about what I think about when I run.  I realized that it really can go either superbly great or horribly wrong.  So I paid attention to what I was thinking about yesterday on my run.  After the initial 5 minutes of "'s hot" I started to realize that I lost myself in my a good way.  I thought about my day, processed sessions, processed groups, thought about my form, thought about breathing, listened to my music, thought about memories that it brought up.

On the other hand, sometimes runs can make you feel worse.  When I have a bad run, my stream of thought is not a pretty thing to be observing! I am hypercritical of everything.  Everyone that passes me on the path crushes me and my confidence.  Every pain that I feel becomes overwhelming and makes me doubt that I can run.

I think this is one of the best gifts that running has given me, the good and the bad runs.  Having the space to examine my thought process and see how my crazy mind works is a wonderful gift.  I have learned a lot about myself and a lot about how I process things.  It also gives me a chance to make the changes in how my mind works and to be kinder to myself.

What do you think about when you run?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Week 1, Day 1

Done! I love this training program so far!

Seriously, rest days are an important part of a training program.  Of course, I haven't really technically started the running program yet, but there is a purpose to these rest days that are built in.  Mondays will always be my rest day because it follows my long run.  It is important to build these rest days to let your body adjust to the progress that it just made with the long run.  I have been reading a lot about these rest days and how important it is to build them into your routine because of the possibility of over training and causing injury!  There are training programs that have you do shorter runs for a whole week to let your body adjust to the increased capacity from intense weeks before. 

Whatever the reason, rest days are important and I will respect them.  So today I am respectfully resting my body! And enjoying the break :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

There is no turning back....

Tomorrow I begin my training program! I remember when I had this crazy idea to do this half-marathon I didn't think that I would be this excited. I know I won't be EVERY day of this training program but even now as I run I can picture finishing and I get so excited that I run a little faster for those final few steps.

Despite all this excitement, there are many days that I am nervous. I am nervous about how it will be that day, will I finish it, will I hurt myself in this process, am I taking on too much...all these things go through my mind when I think about this race.
This will not be my first race ever, though. I have done a few 5Ks (3.2 miles) and an 8K (5 miles).

The picture is from finishing that and the medal I got from that. I have that hanging on my mirror to inspire me every morning. I will need all the inspiration I can get!

So thanks for following me on this journey and think about joining me! :)