Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Who I Run for Wednesday: Kay

Almost six years ago, I decided to embark on the journey of home ownership. I proudly signed the deed to my condo and moved in with the intent on being an amazing neighbor. About a week or so in, right in the middle of a kitchen remodel, I got a knock on my door from a neighbor. She was introducing herself to the new kids across the hall as well as telling us about her role as a trustee. A trustee she said, man she has the authority. A month or two later, this trustee convinced me to run for the vacant slot on the board and to my excitement, I was elected. Years later, I view that knock as a pivotal point in my life. First, if someone wants you to run for trustee after being in the building for a mere month or two, think twice! An amazing friendship was born with that knock.

The lady that knocked on my door over the years has become the support system for the A-hall as we like to call it. The first summer I lived in the A-hall, we all decided to head on down to E's cape home and visit miss A and her sister in their summer abode. This was a big deal as we had never met her sister and had high hopes for how awesome she would be. We trekked on over and were met with grilled pizza and sangria. They had won us over in a few short minutes! Her sister ended up being just as funny as A and we were in awe of how amazing they were. V instantly has become a fixture in the A-hall and we love her almost as much as we love A. We have taken vacations together as a hall, spent weekends down on the cape, laughed until we literally peed our pants, and experienced major life cycle events. In fact, it was during a jaunt to the Met and dinner in NYC that we concocted the plan to set my college roommate up with their nephew. We all proudly attended that wedding a year ago. Where does Kay fit into all of this? One word, Gerta!

Gerta is one of the coolest little dogs around filled with personality and energy galore. Gerta comes with an interesting story in which V's bestie was named Kay. Kay decided to become the mom to Gerta when she was sick knowing that there was a very high likelihood that the dog would outlive her. Kay was sick with cancer and V took it upon herself to be one of her primary caregivers. This was way back before I knew the two lovely sisters, but knowing the generosity and love that they give, I know that Kay was taken care of in a way no one will ever know. Kay passed away in 2001 when our dear dog friend was just a pup. V has now been the "friend" of Gerta's since and is quick to talk about Gerta's mom all the time. From everything I have heard, this woman is nothing short of awesome just like her dear friend.

When deciding to run the Boston Marathon, the choices of charities seemed endless. I could apply for G-Row in honor of my college running career, the Respite Center in memory of my aunt who taught at a similar school, and so on. None of these charities really struck a pain in my heart as Dana-Farber did. It was all or nothing in the application process as I wanted to be part of the DFMC team bad. One of the reasons was in memory of Kay. You see, I came into the A-hall as a kid without direction. I was working a job to work a job, not a career and living like your average party animal 24 year old. These two sisters showed me compassion and what it is to be part of a family without blood lines. They have always been there for me and are my local in case of emergency contacts because as it says I trust them with my life. Both ladies would do anything for a friend and have always made sure I have a home for the holiday and a shoulder to cry on. Through them, I have learned unconditional love apart from a parent. What better way to honor them by honoring their dear departed friend than by running a marathon in her memory? So it is with great pride and sadness that I run in memory of Gerta's Kay.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What a difference a year makes

I still remember my first half marathon like it was yesterday. I met my mom and sister down in Disney World for the Princess Half. To say I was nervous is an understatement! I ate the perfect dinner the night before, got a full eight hours of sleep and made sure I ate and drank the right things that morning. The 13.1 miles were hard, but some of the most rewarding I will have ever run. Years have passed and I now have plenty of halts, both good and bad, under my belt. Today adds another to that list, the Hyannis Half, but man have times changed.

I received an invite for a going away party for someone I have known almost my entire length in Boston. The party was to be held at 9 pm at a local bar on Saturday night. With the best intentions, I figured I would make an appearance for 30-45 minutes and be home in bed by 10:30. We all know how plans usually don't work like planned. I ended up drinking and eating things that would not be considered half appropriate, but was oh so tasty. Add to that the staying out way too late, I found myself with about 3-4 hours of sleep. The lack of sleep normally would be fine if I had slept well the night before, but the 6 hours on Friday just wouldn't cut it. I was beyond exhausted!

My alarm went off bright and early and I headed on out with breakfast in hand and a change of clothes. I tried to choke down breakfast on the hour and a half car ride, but it just wasn't sitting right. I made it down to the race site in epic time, checked in and had about an hour to kill. The ballroom was getting packed, so I headed to the car for a break. About 30 minutes beforenthe race, I hit the bathroom and met up with fellow teammates at the starting line.

The race went off and runners started to move forward. The first mile was amazing as were the second and third. I was flying and felt amazing with an awesome pace. Then it hit...the feeling of being sick. With no porta potties in sight, my pace slowed down significantly as I tried to hold my composure. It wasn't until mile 6ish that I found a coveted portapottie with line to boot. The next 3 miles were again a blast and I started to pick up my pace quite a bit. For some reason, I felt awful again with only a 5k to go. My legs and body felt great, but I felt like I was on a ship in rocky seas. I struggled to keep it together to finish, but managed to pick off some of the slower runners as I was headed towards the finish. With a mile to go, I knew there was no way I was going to PR and my only goal was to finish. I crossed the finish line, stretched, saw some teammates and got myself cleaned up. I met up with some tri teammates for lunch before heading back to Boston.

The results of the race were somewhat disappointing as I was far from my goal time. Yet, I am also happy with my results. In life you have to pick priorities and this weekend it was celebrating an awesome dude. Races will come and go, but seeing these people was a rare occasion. Am I glad I went? Of course! I also know that my body felt amazing later in the day which meant I had plenty more to give. Now on to the next race and seeing what that brings. I'll be back in Vermont and my goal is to shave 5-10 minutes from last year.

Friday, February 24, 2012

I Guess It Really Is Official

Best part is that I will still be 29 when running. A great finish to a very awesome decade filled with lots of learning and discovery.

My new mantra

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Changing Up the Routine

While at my weekly sport's massage today, I was lamenting that I feel like my whole life right now is centered around running. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love it and am enjoying it beyond belief and would not trade this experience for anything, but there are times I need a break.

Tonight was supposed to be the usual 9 miles to Crossroads for pizza and beer. My life instead would have other plans. While on the drive home, I got stuck in gridlock traffic causing me to take over an hour to get home which meant that I was already late for meeting up with everyone on the run. I figured I could cut off a few miles and be ok, but I was pretty sore from the working on my quads. As I was stuck in traffic, I looked at my Facebook to see that a former teammate of mine had posted about a pickup foursquare game. Let me back up a bit.

Three years ago, my friend Sarah convinced me to join her in her foursquare league. Having met playing kickball years before, I figured it would be a blast as it was yet another playground game. It turns out that these people mean business! I pretty much stunk, but had a blast and continued with it for two seasons. For some reason, mainly the perpetual blizzard, I missed every game last year. The season was cancelled this year and they are just now having practice to prepare for the world championships. Reading the message on Facebook solidified my decision. I would skip my run, only to make it up tomorrow or Saturday and head on over for a solid 1.5 hours of cardio.

While I would like to pretend that all of a sudden I was a rockstar at the game, I would be lieing. In truth, I still pretty much stink, but not as bad as before. I had a blast and forgot how crazy of a workout it really is. You are running after the ball and doing shuffles to try and get the ball into another square. Am I sad I missed Crossroads? Of course as it is always a fun time. Am I glad I went to foursquare? 100% as it was great to see everybody and reconnect with an old hobby. Sometimes you need to find that balance whether intentional or not. Now how to explain ditching next Tuesday's track practice for a Bruin's game?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Who I Run For: Mom-Mom

As Wednesdays seem pretty boring running wise, I figured I'd switch it up a bit and make it Who I Run For Wednesdays. My first one honored is my grandmother prominently known as Mom-Mom, MiMi or Muriel. Almost all of my friends just refer to her as Mom-Mom as she is just that legendary.

A little background on Mom-Mom, born in 1921 to immigrant parents, she was the youngest by years. She still to this day is convinced that she was a surprise due to the age difference of her two sister and no one has doubted it. Mom-Mom was a pretty awesome lady in her youth and ended up being the life of the party and a bit of a social butterfly. She ended up married later in life and had my mom when she was 30. She was a working women throughout her years. Her husband, my grandfather, succumbed to lung cancer when my mom was only in 4th or 5th grade. Mom-Mom went on a cruise where she met her second husband Aaron. Mom-Mom moved over to helping run his oil business and continued on working. Aaron also was diagnosed with cancer which forced my parents to move up their wedding so he could walk her down the aisle. He died months later in 1972. By the age of 51, this lady had watched two husbands be diagnosed with cancer and pass away from the disease, but it didn't let her get down in the dumps

As a child, Mom-Mom seemed so glamorous and exotic. Gifts would be brought back from far away trips from countries I had never heard about. She also drove a 70something pale blue boat. Literally, you could see her coming from miles away when she came to pick me up from school. Coupled with her love of hitting up the casinos, playing canasta and working with the girls. She built up an amazing group of friends with hilarious stories. The stories I could tell you that I have learned over the years would make people laugh and are probably not fit for blog consumption.

When I was in high school, Mom-Mom was diagnosed with colon cancer. Luckily, the detection and treatment had advanced significantly since the loss of her two husbands and her doctors were able to diagnose at an early stage and aggressively treat the colon cancer. Of course, I could never show my face in the store that she accidentally drove right through after passing out after chemo one day, but that is another story. She fought and beat cancer like a champ. This past year, she had another fight with cancer, this time with skin cancer. They caught it early and yet again she was a trooper. Luckily, we took away her license years ago so there were no store front issues!

This past summer, her friends and family gathered around to celebrate her 90th birthday. Flying in for it was a treat and seeing her in her element was even better. You see, about 5 years ago she moved into the Jewish Home for the Aging. As she was before, Mom-Mom is a social butterfly there with activities and social time scheduled every day all day. Mom-Mom is a known staple in that part from the staff right down to the gentleman callers. She is a tour guide, in a canasta and maj jong group, sings for the choir (check out her youtube video), and is an avid knitter in the arts and crafts classes. She makes sure to call me after every race congratulating me on winning (even though I never have) and has outfitted me with enough scarves to survive 100 New England winters. She is having a blast at 90 and not letting her history of cancer get in the way. She is a survivor!

In my eyes, my grandmother is one of the strongest fighters I know. She was able to grieve the loss of both husbands, be a single mother as a result to cancer and successfully twice overcome it herself. If in my life, I find even half the strength she has in her life, I will feel lucky. Heck, I am just lucky to call her my grandmother and with pride "win a medal" for her.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Beating my daily commute.

Once again, we had a group run with DFMC. This time it was at Mount Auburn Club which means that they are held on Sundays and about 5 minutes from me. I love the proximity, but having it on Sundays mean the weekend nights are kinda shot as you can't go out on Saturday nights. Honestly, I like this excuse of being allowed to stay at home and watch bad movies. Next week may be different as I have two parties the night before my Sunday run, but I will still attend and attain balance.

My alarm went off at 5:15 this morning and like normal I hit snooze until 5:30. After a quick change of clothes and trying out a new breakfast and I was out the door headed to Comm Ave. After a quick five mile jaunt down the hill, I decided my breakfast really wasn't the right style. Cutting the run quick, I headed home 7.1 miles in ready to join the group for the rest of the run. My goal was to run a total of 18 miles trying gu along the way. In a fun twist of events, the water stops would be placed every 3 or so miles meaning that I was instead about to run 19 miles.

We left as a group from the club and soon I was left in the dust by the fast runners. Soon, I was running up the hill on Chestnut Hill inspecting the fire damage from last week. A quick turn on Comm Ave and I was back where I was less than an hour before. Making it to the first water stop was easy and I was making sure to work on my pacing. The second water stop was also pretty easy to get to. At that point, I was now 13 miles in which a year ago would have seen epic. This year, it just marks a short run. Who would have thought? A quick turn and I was headed back up the hills going strong. The last hill was just a bit too much and I ended up walking up it for 3 or so minutes. As I hit the next water stop, I knew only three short miles and I was done for the day. I also realized that anything further than that water stop was new terrain. As I rounded the corner onto Chestnut Hill, I hit a wall. 17 miles in and I was done! Sadly, I still had 2 miles to get back to the club. With hip tightness and just all around blah feeling, I walked more than I ran. At this point, I was a bit disappointed, but impressed that these short legs made it this far. Walking back in the club, it turns out I was not alone in feeling the pain.

All in all, the last bit may have been slow, but as I was rounding the last corner, I realized something important. Day in and day out for the last 7+ years, I have been making a drive out to Framingham for work. The commute is 18.2 miles and today I ran further than that. Yes, I beat my 20 minute daily commute in mileage! Man, is that an awesome feeling.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Putting It In Perspective

As people that have seen me in the last week or so can attest, I am not in a good place. Work has been stressful and I find myself at wits end by closing time. Yesterday was one of those days! I was having a pity party for one and everyone around me knew it. One thing stuck on my calendar, the in memory dinner. I knew that I just had to get through until then and I would be fine. I ended up crying to some sappy song on the car ride there and really was not a great person to be around. And then it happened...

I walked in to Maggianos a few minutes late for the dinner. I was told that my family was unable to attend, but I would be seated with another family whose runner was unable to attend as well as a fellow teammate who was in the same boat as me. The night kicked off with a father speaking who had lost his 3.5 year old a few years ago after she had been a patient partner. I was pretty close to crying at that point. As we sat around our table, the family we were with starting talking about their daughter/granddaughter's fight with cancer. They lost her at 18 months after a short 6 month fight starting at the age of one. The cancer she had has virtually no survivors at that young of an age. To boot, she was a twin and her mom was pregnant at the time of diagnosis. Her little brother was born one month before she passed away. I can't even imagine the difficult time that this amazing lady was going through dealing with this all. 5 years later and she discussed in vivid detail all that she went through during that short drastic time period. I kept it together and didn't cry, but I think that was more because I was in awe of her strength and determination in life.

During dessert, I was looking around the room at all the parents of kids that never got to grow up. All the siblings that never got to fully know their brother or sister. Parents were wearing buttons of their kids, t-shirts of memorial races that have been held, and passing around photos. It was inspiring to see how strong they all were discussing the memory of their child taken too soon. Pictures were being snapped and laughter was being heard. It was all a bit surreal.

Everyone said their goodbyes and see you at the pasta party and I walked into the night towards the common. As I was reflecting on my day, none of the stress from earlier came to mind. Instead, the image of the pebbles and sand came to mind. You see, in college, I had a professor demonstrate the glass jar with pebbles activity. For those that are unfamiliar with it, the exercise is supposed to show you where priorities are in life being family, health, friends, etc. The little things are work and other normal stresses. The families I had met helped to show in my head that my jar right now is a bit distorted. Work, stress on a clean house, chores, and such are taking up too much of the space which is not allowing other areas to be a priority. From today on, I will shift my focus back to where it matters and work towards what is important.

The dinner originally slated to let us meet our families gave me so much more and to that I am thankful for those that let us in on their journey with Dana-Farber.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Run to the Statue

Saturday was an experience to say it nicely. I went to bed with the hopes of a snow storm that would cancel practice. Of course, when I woke up there was no snow to be seen. I pull on my clothes and eat my packet of oatmeal and head over to BSC Wellesley. After hearing a new famous quote about leaving the blood in battle so you don't killed in war, we were off. I was super pumped to see another back of the packer in the group and made it a point to run with her. I'm not sure if Rebecca enjoyed the company or not, but running and talking with people make it so much easier. We went through the first water stop with ease and kept on down route 16. Once I hit Woodland, I knew the course like the back of my hand as it is the Crossroads course. Of course, I should say I knew one direction of the course! As we rounded the corner onto Comm Ave, we hit the 5.4 mile water stop and got excited about our consistent time. Sadly, I lost my running partner as she turned around to not further injure an Achilles issue. Now here comes the funny part of the run.

At the 5.4 water stop, the awesome volunteers asked me if I was continuing onto the 3rd water stop. I told them no as it was at mile 8 and I wanted to stop at mile 14. During the pre-run meeting, our coach gave us the run overview and said that if we were doing 14 to turn around at the statue. I am running in auto pilot and totally miss the statue and blow right past it. I then ask the lovely TnT volunteers if I could use their portopotty in which they of course agreed. On my way out of it, I learned that it wasn't theirs, but actually the construction site they had camped in front of. So after my illegal use of a bathroom, I continue on my run trying to figure out why it seemed further than 7 miles. And then I hit it, the 3rd water stop. I was in my own world that I blew totally past my turnaround and into what would become new territory.

I turned around at Centre Street tempted instead to swing a left and just go home back to the second water stop. Along the way, another team stopped me to ask how many miles were on my schedule and when I told them, they joked that I needed to channel my inner Kenyan. I wanted to explain to them that I did try and find out the secret of the Kenyans while there only to find out that it is in their genes. The lovely ladies at the 2nd water stop waited for me and were supportive in giving me pointers on how to try and make it back. Now mind you, at this point all I have consumed in my day is about 8 ounces of Gatorade, 5 shot bloks and one packet of oatmeal. I was fading fast. Along the run back, all my teammates were cheering me on as they were driving home. People were stopping to see if I needed water and/or a ride and were way too nice.  I thanked them all and trudged on.

At mile 14, I hit a wall. There were way too many hills in front of me and I was getting miserable. The nice people at the first water stop left a few cups of Gatorade out for me which I demolished and it tasted amazing. From that point on, I was jogging with walking more and more. Finally I hit the home stretch and then I got a bit turned around. Luckily, the amazing volunteer who checks us in each week found me like a poor lost puppy. It turns out I was less than a quarter mile away, but at that point, it felt like years! Everyone was so nice and understanding and supportive even though I felt defeated in the time it took me to run it.

As most people know, I hate to be an imposition on folks and hate asking for help. If there is one thing that this marathon has taught me is that it is ok to need to lean on people. Everyone has been in a similar situation at one point or another and will understand when it takes a bit longer to get back to the home base. Despite everyone being ok with it, I have devised a new plan.  From now on I'm going to run to all the runs near my house. These runs will add on a few extra miles and allow me to get in some of the distance before everyone takes off. By doing this, I will finish about the same time as those that ran the full 18 or 20 or 22 while I pre-ran the first 4 or 5. In addition, I am going to need to work on my nutrition the day before and the morning of the run. One packet of oatmeal is no longer cutting it! All in all, the run was a learning point for me and a break into higher mileage. Onwards to 18 this Sunday!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sleep Training

Yesterday morning marked another morning of waking up exhausted. I kept blaming my crazy workout schedule and life on constantly being tired, but figured I needed to do something about it. A quick google search showed tips on how to get a better night sleep. What did I have to lose? After returning from Crossroads, I stuck to what I had read.

Step 1. Don't shower right before bed as it heats up your body temperature. I gave myself about an hour before hand to allow it to cool back down.

Step 2. Make sure your room is around 62 degrees. Man does that sound cold, but on goes the ceiling fan.

Step 3. White noise will allow you a better night sleep. The ceiling fan was already on to keep the temp down, so I figured it could count as my white noise as well.

Step 4. Switch up your routine and sleep on the other side of the bed. This one was easy as it meant just crawling into the other side of the bed.

Step 5. Make sure you are sleeping in the dark with no visible light. By sleeping on the other side of the bed, the alarm clock light and all other lights were now far away.

The results: I woke up at 6:45 sans alarm clock rested and ready for the day. New take away is that I can no longer blame the exhaustion on my workouts and I really do need to set a bed time routine. Excited to see if it will work tonight before conquering the hills of Wellesley tomorrow.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Speed Demon

I was texting with my dad early Tuesday morning only to find out that he was going to be in town that evening. As my parents live across the country, I live for these visits. Once upon a time, my dad lived in NYC and working for the same company which meant seeing him more than once a month. Years have passed and now I see him 4-5 times a year. Don't get me started on how rare it is to see my Mom, sister and Mom-Mom. Anyways, knowing that I would miss track practice to see him, I realized I needed to get it in before dinner. I also realized that after a full day of meetings and his plane landing at 5:20, I really only had 70 minutes for the speed workout. On deck for the evening was 6-8x1000 with a 400 recovery.

Looking at my schedule and the time allotted, I realized my only option was to crank out the run as fast as possible. With a very quick warm up, I started my first 1000 and ended up finishing it about 2 minutes faster than normal. Thinking this was a fluke, I let myself take time to recover with the 400. Surprisingly, the 400 even "slow" was now at my normal 10k pace. The next 4x1000 felt very similar. The 6th one was getting more and more difficult, but I couldn't break my streak! I ended up finishing it even faster than my first 5. With a cool down run at my 10k pace, I was now officially done with my run. The best part, I beat my goal of 70 minutes by 5 minutes.

I won't lie that it was the hardest run I have done in years. I pushed myself beyond my limits and realized I could survive. I'm pretty sure, I will not be able to repeat that unless I have a hard stop to meet a parent like that night. Yet, despite it all, I learned that my body is much stronger and faster than I give it credit for!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Racing the T

A few years ago, I invented a game to play called "Racing the T" in which I, as it sounds, race the T. It all started when I would go visit my friends who lived about 1.5 miles down the road. As us locals know, the T can be spotty due to traffic and often take 10-15 minutes to show up and then another 20-30 minutes to get me that 1.5 miles. In an effort to get some exercise in, I would start my walk and then hop on when the train/bus would get close. Often times I would be about 3/4 of the way there and thus just continue on to my journey.

As the marathon training keeps getting stronger and stronger, I find myself playing race the T way too often and not just with the T. The other day, I chose to walk 2 miles home from a friends as it was easier than waiting for the bus. Another day, I chose to walk a few short miles in order to avoid switching lines from red/green. I also find myself parking in the first spot I see and choosing to walk to do my errands. All in all, it is adding up to about 8-10 extra miles per week that I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

While this entry sounds quite boring, the reality is I am trying to show how easily the little things add up. Those 8-10 miles hardly go noticed and yet I find myself more on time for things and happier when I get there. As the weather gets warmer for spring and summer, I do hope I can continue this trend and work towards bigger distances such as meeting people in Harvard Square for drinks or Back Bay for dinner. While these little miles won't equal a marathon, they add in exercise to my daily routine without feeling like it.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Rolling Hills

Saturday marked the day of the longest run to date, 16 miles. I pushed my speed on Friday and got a good pace going for 4 miles thinking this running thing was actually quite easy. Follow that with an early morning wake up for the run in Waltham at Healthpoint. Oh the memories of Healthpoint!

When I was a sophomore in college, I met a guy who was 2 or 3 years older than me living in Natick. The relationship was going strong, so we decided to take it up a notch and spend the summer living together in Waltham. We were still in that puppy love stage and living together was a blast. In fact, it was so much fun that one night we decided to throw a small dinner party on our spacious deck. Luck would have it that the porch was never securely fastened to the house and it collapsed. I ended up tearing my labrium in the fall and needed extensive PT. Living and working in Waltham at the time, the closest place to go with the best reputation was at Healthpoint. That place became like a second home and once PT was over, I hadn't gone back.

Video of Porch Collapse

Pulling into the parking lot Saturday morning was like returning to a good friend that you neglected for new cooler friends. Nothing had really changed in the place which was nice. The normal intro was given and away we went. Despite spending ample time at the gym, I had never turned left out of the parking lot as my life and job was to the right. Today we were to turn left. I plugged away down about a mile of nice hills thinking that I was flying. And then the amazingly beautiful rolling hills started. Vermont is filled with rolling hills and in my running of that race, I realized that was my favorite way to go. This course followed a similar path of not to steep hills. I was trucking along at a slow pace, but at a pace in which I was having a blast. The first water stop at 2.5 miles came faster than ever before. I stopped to chat and then hit up the next bit of the road to route 2 with a turnaround and back to the water stop. Running down the hills through Lincoln Center with an awesome volunteer crossing guard to the next water stop. Onwards to the next time I made contact with route 2 and back to the water stop. About a mile or so after that water stop, a teammate/coach came up behind me and told me I was limping and favoring one side. I felt no pain and was tempted to keep going the 3 miles back to the club, but his words rang true that there is no shame in bailing out as the season is still young. At about 13 miles in, I hit the next water stop and sadly defeated listened to him and asked for a ride back.

The act of quiting is not something I am good at and I was bummed for a bit. Then reality sunk in that if I was limping it meant something was up even if I wasn't really feeling it. I ended up making up a mile later on in the day just to eek out the mileage at 14 and felt good again. This is for sure a time of experiments in which I am learning a lot about listening to my body and knowing when to quit while I'm ahead!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Life meet running

While I like to keep work and my outside life completely separate for obvious reasons, yesterday was an exception. Our work had a get to know your coworker event for our floor. One of my lovely colleagues convinced me that I had enough hobbies to showcase them in a booth. While he wanted me to bring my bike, I opted to instead highlight my running of the marathon. So I packed up some of my medals (yes, there are surprisingly a lot to choose from), my running shoes, and my DFMC banner and was prepared for no one to show up. What happened yesterday instead made me proud to work with such awesome people.

The turnout and interest in the event was beyond belief. First and foremost I was impressed with every one's hobbies. We had fisherman to martial artists to collectors and photographers. I was stationed in the sports section despite still feeling like a sham all these years later. Secondly, I was impressed with the interest people showed in what I am doing. A lot of people came over to discuss running and triathlons in which they participate in. Others talked about how they want to get into sports and were asking about it. Finally there were those whose lives were impacted by cancer. I often forget the survivors we have walking around coupled with spouses, parents, grand kids and the like. People were quick to thank me for what I was doing and to share their stories of their survivors and memories. As I run day after day, my thoughts often go to Mom-Mom and how I am running for her. They usually start to venture over to my grandfathers, Kay, my step mom's mom Helen and others that I have grown to feel connections with. The more stories I hear, the more these people touch me to the core and I find myself tearing up on the runs. Each mile reminds me of the people that I hear about and how awful of a disease it is. So, as I finished up my show and tell time, I was given more than I ever thought. I was given the strength and motivation to run that extra mile and work twice as hard so these stories are somewhere down the line less of a norm. I'm thankful of the time I was given to hear from people and excited/saddened to add many names to the people I run for.

And the second best part of the day, I won the gift card raffle.

With an aggressive company match, I have just been able to add an additional $100 to my total. All in all a good day!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Taking a break from it all

From the title it sounds like I am taking a break from running and yes, that is correct. Wednesday night I had an hour workout on my schedule. I woke up Wednesday morning and a quick glance around my house gave me the heebie jeebies; it was a disaster! I live in 800 square feet which is usually easy to maintain, but also easy to show chaos. Running has surprisingly become like a second job. I wake up, go to work, go to run or the gym, grab a quick dinner and am in bed. Lather rinse and repeat and you've got my life. Of course, being a girl about to turn 30, there is social stuff mixed in, but that is becoming more and more rare, reserved for weekends or nights with nothing going on.

After realizing the state of affairs my house was in, I knew I had to do something right away. Finishing work at 5ish, I made an effort to spend the next 4-5 hours cleaning my house. Laundry was done and then done some more while the fridge was cleaned out and dishes done. Add to that a good bathroom cleaning, so sorting the mail bin, putting away shoes upon shoes and making order of a counter covered in stuff and I was done. Luckily, it did not take the full 4 hours allotted, but enough time to show that I wasn't getting my workout in that day. At first I felt guilty, but then it dawned on me, running is more mental than physical. When my mental health was going nuts because I felt my house was a disaster, I for sure would have been a mess working out.

After having a clean house I realize it is important for me time. From now on, I plan to take one day a week (most likely my rest day) and use it to catch up on the little things that slip away.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Stumbling Blocks

Last night marked another evening of track workout. After last week's dismal failure, I was determined to not let injury take over. I ended up at the track on time in my old shoes. Luckily, this past week's run was at the running store in which they taught me how to properly tie my shoes. Yes, apparently I missed out on Kindergarten as I needed a lesson!

On the books for the practice was 8-10x800s at 10k pace with a 400 recovery. We all got started and it became obvious I was getting lapped. This is now super normal for me as the track is 200 yards and I run a good 3-5 minutes slower than a lot of these folks. Yes, you read that right, some of the team happily runs sub 7s. I can only stare in awe as I know I will never see sub-10. Heck, running a solid 10 minute mile would be amazing.

So, as a few groups were half way done with their 10, I realized that there is no way I would finish in time if I did all of mine. I started making excuses and decided I would skip out after 6. No one would know the difference and I would finish around the same time as those doing 8s. Something then hit me, if I cheated those 2, I would really only be cheating myself. I am so afraid of being the slow runner that I forget that I am an equal member and participant. I need to take just as much accountability even if it takes me double the time. After my mental break through, I realized that I put these hurdles in front of me that are only for my eyes to see. No one else cares that I am slow, they are just as supportive. I can almost guess too that they don't go home and make fun of the slow kid. In fact, they are probably in shock that the big kid on the team actually can run any distance. I need to take ownership of myself and my actions! With that being said, I muddled on for the remaining 2 sets and finished just in time for stretching. And you know what, it felt awesome!

On the books for this weekend is 16-18. While I don't think I am quite there, I will proudly do my 14-15 miles no matter how long it takes. Of course, I will also bring a thank you gift to the lady who checks us in to not feel guilty for making her wait for me.