Wednesday, December 21, 2011

First Group Run

Saturday was the big day, our first team run!

Friday night, I cut myself off after two beers in prep for waking up and being in Lexington by 8 am. The week of non-stop holiday parties had already gotten to me and I was exhausted. I woke up, threw on my clothes and grabbed a granola bar for the car. I never realized how close Lexington was until I plugged it into my gps and found out my arrival time would be 15 minutes later. Found parking right in front of the store and walked in surrounded by amazingly fit athletes. I won't lie, I was pretty intimidated. Luckily, I saw some now familiar faces from the newbie meeting in which calmed my nerves just a bit. They started off with announcements and an overview of the course. You had your option of anything from 5 miles to 10 miles. As I realize that most of the fast guys will run their 10 miles in my 10k pace, I opted for doing a little over a 10k.

I started out on the course with a group keeping pace. They were running at an awesome speed and one that I would like to keep up with. Of course, at mile 1.5 that dreaded granola bar decided it hated me. Lesson learned...always practice nutrition! Good thing this was a fun run and not race day. My pace dropped back significantly and I started to keep pace with this awesome back of the packer. We chatted for a bit and she restored my faith in being a back of the packer. See, I started as one back in '08 doing triathlons barely able to run a mile. And as my blog title says, I am a "real girl" which means I was built more like a linebacker than a speed star. As training for tris progressed, I became a mid-packer which, while not as fun, allowed me to finish strong before they packed up the refreshment stations. So, while I was feeling down about everyone passing me by, this lovely lady made the comment that we were doing much more than those who were on their couch or still in bed. Yes, I was trotting along slow, but I was out there running and soon will be out there doing a marathon. I may not be first, heck we know I'm not Kenyan, but I will finish in my own time. I let me new friend speed along as I scouted for some woods.

Shortly after my break, I approached the 2.5 mile water stop. The parents manning the station were the cutest people I have seen and so cheerful. It reminded me that I am not alone in this race. Between the donors behind me and the people there watching me run each mile, I have a support network. After stopping to chat, I jogged along to the turnaround for a 6.5 mile run. I turned around just as the fast 8 milers were running on by. As I moved along the fast 10 milers started to run by as well. Everyone was so nice and cheered each other along as we passed by others. The final downhill approach brought everyone in sight including the running store. I took a bit of a long path back in order to feed my meter. Low and behold, someone had done that for me which put a smile on my face!

Back in the running store, everyone was chatting away. I ended up making some much needed purchases to get me through the dark winter and went outside to stretch. I got to talking to those still out there and once again was reminded of how supportive everyone is. We were discussing past races and upcoming ones and the challenges we face. No matter how fast you are, there will always be someone ahead of you to try and beat. It was nice to hear that because after doing a lot less than the super fast group, I was starting to doubt myself.

I came home, took a nice hot shower and sat on my couch for the next few hours. As I was flipping through my blackberry, I saw a DFMC email come through with a notification of a donation. A very sizeable donation was made in memory of a dear neighbor whose funeral I had attended 2 days before. As I was sitting there in a pile of a mush, I was reminded that yes, today was not the best of runs for me, but that wasn't why I was running. I am running so one day I won't see the in memory of as a subject line. And with that, my faith in running was restored.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Inspiration from Celebrities

Part of our newbie meeting this past weekend, Jack, our awesome coach got up and spoke. One of the topics he discussed was setting realistic goals for the race. My one and only real goal is to finish the race. Of course, I have a few super secret pipeline dreams. I would like to finish in sub 5:30 with an amazing finish of sub 5 hours. Yes, most runners will finish is around 4, but have you seen the title of this blog? I am not a natural born runner and thus I will not be finish in the 3s!

This morning I jumped on Yahoo to get some of my basic news and saw that Kate Gosselin was trending. Clicking through, I read it was about her finish at Vegas this weekend. As an inspiration, I decided to pull celebrity times to compare to and set some of them as my targets to beat.

Here is my top 10 list:

10. David Lee Roth, 1987 NYC Marathon (6:04:43)
My ultimate goal is to beat this former lead singer of Van Halen. Boston closes the course at 6 hours and gosh darn it, I want my medal and my name in the paper!

9. Freddie Prinze Jr., 2006 LA Marathon (5:50:49)
 I hope that I can beat a former teen star and now WWE celebrity.

      8. Katie Holmes, 2007 NYC Marathon (5:29:58)
Did scientology help her through the 26.2 miles? As a proud Jew, my people are used to wandering. Let’s see if 40 years lost in the dessert can help provide me with speed.

7. Kate Gosselin, 2011 Las Vegas Marathon (4:59:21)
I would like to think I have seen more success than a crazy haircut and selling myself to reality tv, but the reality is I would be more than happy with her time. 

6. Oprah Winfrey, 1994 Marine Corps Marathon (4:29:20)
Oprah, as a former “real” woman yourself, you give everyone the hope that they too can finish a marathon, but why did you have to go do it so fast?


As many know that you can’t compare other courses to that you run yourself, the remaining 5 celebrities are Boston Marathon finishers. 

5. Mario Lopez, 2002 Boston Marathon (5:41:42)
I grew up loving Saved by the Bell. AC Slater, you may have missed the bell of my goal in this marathon, but I still love you. 


  4. Ali Landry, 2002 Boston Marathon (5:41:41)
Did she and AC Slater run the race together? 

3. David James Elliott, 2000 Boston Marathon (4:57:23)
He was brought to fame staring on a show bearing my initials. Maybe some of that breaking 5 hours will wear off on me!

2. Lisa Ling, 2000 Boston Marathon (4:34:18)
We kid around that a group of guys at work are auditioning for her former show The View. I didn’t realize it, but she can really move when off that couch. Was she getting chased by Whoopi?

1. Valerie Bertinelli, 2010 Boston Marathon (5:14)
I kid about all the runners above, but I for sure have a lot of respect for this Hot in Cleveland star. As she ran by us at mile 10, I quickly googled who she was running for and there learned about Dana-Farber. She raised a whopping $17,000 for the charity and finished strong. My new ultimate goal is to finish both the fundraising efforts and the marathon effort as graciously as she did.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Crying on a Saturday Morning

This past Saturday, Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge hosted a first timers meeting for all of us new to the team. The night before, I had the Santa Claus Anonymous Snowball and was dancing until the wee hours of the morning. I won't lie, waking up and getting out of the hotel room door to head over to the meeting was hard and I much would have stayed in bed. That is, until I walked in the door.

For those that have never been to Dana-Farber, first count yourself lucky, but second realize how amazing of a place it is. Every hallway, every elevator, and every room is named after donors that have helped financially to make this place exist. The amount of people treated here plus the medicinal advancements that are spread throughout the country are awe-inspiring. Meandering through the hallways, a few teammates and I found the conference room the meeting was being held in. As we got our nametags, there was a city listed at the bottom. At first I thought they got my work address and home address mixed up as my city was Framingham. Shortly thereafter, I realized they had set up all the towns that the marathon runs through.

For those that know my bike route, I usually go out to Natick or Framingham and ride back home along the course. Seeing the town names I have grown to love and know incredibly well was inspiring. During training runs, I will now picture passing through Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline and finally Boston to the finish. Aptly enough, I walked by the finish from last year on my way to a party Thursday night. All I could do was smile and realize that in a few short months the freshly painted one will be my finish line.

Once assembled in our groups, we had to answer three questions which included the famous why we run question. By now almost everyone knows why I run (and if you don't, read my first entry), but I did not know others. Let me tell you I was choking back tears listening to those talk about losing parents at young ages, losing siblings and watching loved ones go through treatment. As I said starting this thing, cancer does not discriminate and 1 in 3 will be a victim in their lifetime. It was proof as over 50 of us talked about how cancer has affected our lives.

I left the meeting once again inspired to try and fundraise as much as possible to help put an end to this ugly disease.