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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stats as of 30 November 2011

November 2010
55.7 miles
11 hours, 27 minutes
Avg Pace: 12:21/mile
Cold Turkey 10K 2010: 1:07:14 (10:51/mile)

November 2011
60.5 miles -- 4.8 miles more than in 2010
13 hours, 4 minutes -- 1 hours, 37 minutes longer than in 2010
Avg Pace:  12:58/mile -- 37 seconds slower than in 2010
ING New York City Marathon 2011: 5:46:40 (13:14/mile)

Year Totals:
654 miles at 13:05 per mile

I ran more miles this month than I did in November last year, even though I didn't miss any runs last November and this month I skipped four runs. I took off the two runs right after the marathon because it's the smart thing to do, and I took off the two weekday runs the following week because I had a cold.  I'm all better now, and I've started up my weekday running again.

Last week, it was POURING on Tuesday when I would normally run, but I needed to go to the shopping mall where my running store is because I wanted to go to Trader Joe's and Pier One Imports to get some last minute Thanksgiving things. I ended up being the ONLY runner who showed up at the running store, and I went instead over to my gym and ran on the treadmill there. Nice treadmills!!

I've been swimming this month as well. I've been going to my new gym (the expensive gym #2 if you remember the post where I was trying to make a decision). I've been trying to make it there twice per week, and I've really enjoyed it. I didn't include it my stats, but I've gone about 5300 meters this month. I had to skip two pool sessions due to my cold. Since I'm trying to justify the cost of the new gym, I will have to make up those two pool sessions later. I haven't done it quite yet.

I came down to Tampa to visit my sister right after Thanksgiving. We left on Friday and I got home last night. Todd stayed home, and I worked from my sisters house on Monday and Tuesday. My mom wanted to visit my sister and my niece and nephew, so I went down with her to help her on the airplane and in the airport. I've missed Todd, and I'm glad to be home, although it was nice to be out in the sunshine for a few days. My sister and I ran two runs together around her neighborhood, and I had to giggle when she dressed in a thick jacket to run in 65 degree weather. I was wearing shorts!

This month, I've been mostly running easy slow miles, but this was actually my fastest month since May. I'm looking forward to running some faster miles now that marathon training is over, although I'm kind of mourning losing my super long distance endurance.  Oh well. Coming up, I have my last race of the year, a 15K near Washington, DC. Then, I'll be running the Walt Disney World marathon relay in January (and yes, Kitzzy, I would love to meet you, I just have been so busy that I haven't had a chance to get back to you!)

I've also got HBBC, which I need to check in for.  I'll do that soon.

And marathon photos!!  I have them, I will post them soon.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've been so crazy busy this week! I've talked a little about how my work process goes, basically we work in 3 week "sprints" where each of us has an assignment for those three weeks and then we release our software at the end of the 3rd week. Last week was "release week," which is always somewhat busy, but then when this sprint started, I'm the "disturbed," which means that I'm in charge of our day to day production support so that the other developers can work in peace. It's been busy, so I haven't been able to catch up on reading blogs and the other things that I usually do during downtime. Plus, Todd and I are in the midst of remodeling our kitchen (yay!)

So, what I am thankful for this year.

So much has happened this year! Gosh, how can I not be thankful for my trip of a lifetime to Indonesia? Three weeks in the South Pacific, I think about it pretty much every day, and I would love to go back someday. Todd and I get to go to so many amazing places, and I am forever thankful for that. This year, we were also able to make our annual trek to Little Cayman for our second anniversary. Awesome.

Of course, there's Todd. We've had more than five years together and two years married, and he is the most awesome, incredible, terrific thing in my life. I mean, think about any adjectives that mean "wonderful" and they'll describe Todd :)  He's always there for me, being an amazing husband and I am thankful every single day that he's a part of my life.

And of course, I am thankful for The Bug. He's doing much better and is hopefully recovered. We still haven't heard back on test results, but hopefully Friday.

My health, my family's heath, it's all so important. I'm thankful that I have a job that I enjoy with co-workers that make me smile. I'm thankful that I get to run with terrific people, and of course that I'm able to run. And I got into the New York City Marathon this year and ran a terrific race! How cool is that?

And I have to add the more "materialistic" stuff... :)

We're getting new countertops! Yay! And we just bought a new fridge, it was delivered on Tuesday. We're slowly making our house a home, and this year we've pretty much finished our dining room and for Thanksgiving we'll be using our new dining room furniture for the first time! YAY! YAY YAY!

Here's a weird one - I am thankful for my 9 year old car that is still running strong after more than 150,000 miles.

In all, what a terrific year and I have so much to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I'm hosting a lovely turkey dinner with my family. Here's to health and happiness!

(I'm thankful for someecardds, which always makes me laugh)

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Quick Update

If you were wondering about The Bug, he is back at home. The internist found nothing. The good news is that he didn't swallow an object such as fake plants or plastic, which are his favorite things to gnaw on. The bad news is, we still don't know what is wrong. The internist took some cultures and samples and whatnot from his inflamed stomach and we'll have the results in 3-5 business days.

Friday night, he was feeling to too good, and his meow was still strange and he was still lethargic. Saturday, he was doing things like trying to run down the stairs and then missing the last two stairs and falling over himself (he would normally jump those last two). Once, he tried to jump up on the table and he didn't make it and kind of hit his stomach and fell onto the floor into his water bowl.  It was depressing.

The doctors gave him a bunch of medicine, including some appetite enhancing ones (although I discovered on Wednesday that catnip encouraged him to eat a little). I think they worked too well, because now when we give him food he scarfs it down and then throws it back up again. He does keep most of it down, but like I said, some comes up.

He's clearly not totally out of the woods, but is better. I've just had to get him off the counter 4 times while I was cooking dinner, and he is meowing for food in a mostly normal kind of way (aka, annoying).  So, that's great news.

Here he is on Saturday, with his little marks on his paws from where the IVs were:

In other news, I DO have my NYC marathon photos, I just have to find the time to upload them. Between work, the cat and trying to get my house ready for Thanksgiving (which I'm hosting), I've been quite busy.  Here's a photo of the whole berry cranberry sauce that I canned yesterday:

Store bought cranberry sauce sucks.
Very exciting.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Update on The Bug

In case you were wondering about our cat, he is currently at a feline internist and is undergoing testing - an endoscopy and/or an ultrasound to determine what is wrong. Yesterday, he was eating some but was weird about it and his meow sounds different. I know that's weird, but his meow sounds older. Not as strong. He's still lethargic, but then at times he'll play and act normal. So, we're really  not sure, but wanted to have the tests done before it's the weekend.  I'll update when we know more.

I'm still sick and I'm super busy at work. I've finally gotten Brightroom to send my NYC marathon pics, so I will be posting those soon.

Have a great weekend, and watch my Twitter feed for more updates on The bug (see left hand column on my blog page).

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Random Update

On Sunday, I started getting sick, so I'm just going through this week with a cold that is strong enough to be annoying and make me feel wiped out, but weak enough that I've still been going to work. So, while I have some updates - mostly that last week I had an awesome time swimming at my new gym, I'm too tired to write out much detail. It was kind of expected that I might get sick after the marathon - I seem to frequently catch a cold immediately after a big race.

We're also in the process of redecorating / remodeling our house. This has actually been going on for quite a while, but work kept us from really getting into some of it until just recently. We're hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year for  my family, and my dining room is looking awesome. So excited. We're getting close to being finished, but we're also starting on doing some major changes to the kitchen (new countertops - yay!). I'll post some pictures soon.

Saturday, our cat Bugsy (aka "The Bug") stopped eating. He was acting moody and unhappy, and we realized that he hadn't been eating his food. He went to the vet yesterday and was given some medicine, but today he was no better and Todd brought him in again. He's still there under observation and we're still not sure what is wrong with him. We're missing him quite a bit.

So, this was kind of a non-update about lots of things but nothing specific. Once I'm feeling better, I'll write some more!

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

So, Now What?

As tempting as it (surprisingly) is to go straight into training for another marathon, I am pretty adamant about the policy that I have of only doing a marathon every other year. I think it gives me time to rest up and do other things with my life, so it's for the best.

I do not, however, have any policies about half marathons. I try not to run too many races, though, because I think that the more races you run, the more prone you are to injury. So, I try to only do 2-3 half marathons per year.

In 2012, I'm already signed up for both the Walt Disney World Marathon Relay (2 person, so a half marathon) in January and the Ocean City (Maryland) Half Marathon on April 29. I'm planning to run a half marathon in the fall as well.

The dilemma is that my high school friends are getting together to run the Rock & Roll USA Marathon/Half Marathon in DC on March 17. The group that is running is mostly members of my high school's cross country team, and I feel flattered that they've invited me to run with them. I was not on the cross country team in high school - far from it. (side note: I gave some thought to posting a high school picture of myself here, but I chickened out)

So, should I run the race? It's 10 weeks after Disney and 6 weeks before Ocean City, so they are spaced out enough, but something just makes me nervous about doing 3 half marathons in 4 months -- even though I know people do it all the time. There's also the cost factor. I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15K in December without realizing that I probably will need to book a hotel room. We're obviously spending money to go to Florida for Disney, and I'll probably need a hotel room for Rock & Roll USA.

I admit, if it weren't for my friends running it, I wouldn't even be considering this race. I am not a huge fan of the Rock & Rolls because they're just so big. For half marathons especially, I love a smaller, low key event and after running both the largest half marathon in the US and the largest full marathon in the US in the same year, I can use a little "low key." My friends are all faster than me, so running the race slowly with my friends isn't really an option.

Anyway, there's an 11-11-11 coupon for the Rock & Roll races, so I feel like I need to make a decision. What to do, what to do.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More Thoughts on NYC

Only because I can't stop talking about it, and because I have stuff I didn't mention in my ultra-long post about the race, here's some more!

The Weather
The weather was "perfect" and believe me, I'm not complaining. I will take the weather that we had in NYC on Sunday over just about any race weather. That being said, it was a little bit warm and sunny. The sun was so warm that I was a little too warm in the sun, a little too cold in the shade. On some streets, it went sun-shade-sun-shade in rapid succession making me go through weird hot/cold bursts.  Still, it was great weather and I'm not complaining.

The Course
The course is awesome, and the people are awesome. The strange thing about the course is that you don't go through what I would consider "landmarks" of New York - Times Square, The Met, the Brooklyn Bridge, etc (well, except Central Park). It was more difficult than you'd expect, or more difficult than I expected, although I can't say that the hills were really that rough. My legs weren't tired from the hills, my legs were tired from running 26 miles. The hills just meant that I was running them slower. That being said, I never really was cursing any of the hills and I felt ready for them and trained.

The Crowds
Here's the real thing - the course didn't showcase "landmarks." The course showcased New Yorkers! The real gem of the course for you to see while you were out there were the incredible people of New York City cheering you on. It was such a win/win, they were making my day, and I was apparently making theirs! I saw some clever and funny signs (my favorite being "Worst Parade Ever"), but it was the "New York Loves You" or "Brooklyn Loves You" signs that really got me. Spectators saying "Thank you for running"? Awesome. I mean, if there is one thing I can't say enough, it's that New York, the Road Runners and the race made you feel like you were special. Even if you weren't elite, even if you weren't a movie star, even if you were one runner of 47,000 runners. THIS is why you run New York. I never really understood that until the last week or so.

Watching the Elites
I did see the elites start the race. I was sitting on the ground at the village and to be honest, I didn't know if I'd hear the race start or see the race start or what. I thought maybe the bridge was obscuring my view. But, then there was a gunshot and that freaked me out until I saw the truck on the bridge and the heads bobbing up and down, and then the crowd still in the runners village started cheering. Very cool. I saw some of the race on television from the village, but not much.

The Wall
I never hit the wall. Even though I didn't run a perfect race, the wall was not my problem. I was struggling at the end, but to be honest, if I hadn't had a goal time and had slowed to a comfortable (non-walking) pace, I would have been fine. I could have even continued with 1:1s, I just would have been slow. All of that being said, I'm glad I wrote my race report already because even 3 days out, I have almost totally forgotten the pain of those last few miles and have given thoughts to what my next race will be.

The Bridges
There are two that were worries for me before the race: The Verrazano Narrows (at the starting line) and the Queensboro. Like I said in my race report, the Verrazano was no sweat because the crowd kept you so slow that you didn't even really notice it. The weird part about the Verrazano is that it moves while you're running on it. It bounces with the runners, and you can feel it either come up and meet your foot and you step, or disappear out from under your foot. It was freaky, and it made me want to be off of the bridge, despite the beautiful view.

I do wish that I had been on the top level. No, I didn't get peed on (thank goodness), but all of the really great photos are from the top level. I couldn't see as much because looking around would have made me more likely to crash into somebody. I wish I'd had more of an ability to see out of the bridge.

As for the Queensboro - for me it was no sweat. I know other runners had issues with it, but I was feeling ok at the time, and the bridge really didn't kill me. I was expecting it. It was quiet, yes, but for me it was a welcome break from spectators (yes, I love them, but I feel like when they cheer for me I should acknowledge them and that gets exhausting, especially when you're not feeling so great). It is an ugly bridge, and I know others were feeling bad because about 90% of the people around me were walking at that point.

The Pictures
I take horrible race photos, and this race was no exception. That being said, I'm going to purchase them and post them within the next day or two. I just can't decide if I should get the videos or not. There are two - one of me at the 10K mark and one of me at the finish. In the 10K one, you clearly see me cut some guy off (Sorry, guy, I had no idea that I did that). The videos are $10 extra, and I don't know if I'd ever find a use for them.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

ING New York City Marathon 2011

TLDR (Too Long, Didn't Read) Version:
I had a mixed up kind of race. I went in with three goals: 1) Set a new PR, 2) Make that new PR under 5:40 and 3) Have a great/happy/fun race. I made a new PR - 5:46:40 (previous PR was 5:52). And that's great, but I obviously didn't do #2 and I'm not so sure about #3. I had some stomach issues, and that made me dreadfully uncomfortable for the majority of the race. And, by the time I resolved the problem, my legs and body were too tired to make #2 happen. I was so determined to get a time under 5:40, and I fought and fought and fought as hard as I possibly could to get that time. It was incredible, and in the end, I am really proud of how I toughed it out. It was a more difficult race than I expected, that's for sure. Here are all of the gruesome details:

Yummy shake!
Friday, November 4
Todd and I both took off of work on Friday, so we left as early as possible (about 7:30am) to get up to NYC with plenty of time to do our thing. We made it into the city (via the Secaucus NJ Transit station) by about 1pm, and headed straight for lunch, where we had delicious toasted marshmallow shakes and burgers from Stand 4 in Union Square. I had seen this place on the Food Network quite some time ago, and I had to try it! It was worth the extra time and subway fare to get there and get the shake!! You can see more about it in the video from The Best Thing I Ever Ate. (Note: There are 3 desserts featured in that video, and I've had two of them - the CMP from Woodberry Kitchen is the other - yummm).

Next, it was off to the Expo. I had (of course) forgotten my registration card in the car back at the train station. I have never, ever to this day EVER remembered to bring my registration card to the expo of any race that I have ever been signed up for.  New York made it more difficult than the usual races for me to register, but I did finally find a helpful person willing to give me clearance to pick up my bib. I got myself a shirt, and then wahoo the best part of any race (well, ok, second to finishing) - buying merchandise! Since I figure this was my one and only NYC, I loaded up on logo items. I was quite pleased. Then, we roamed around the expo looking at various booths. As it became closer to about 5pm, it became more and more crowded, until we finally decided it was time to go.
Bart Yasso talks marathon strategy at the Expo

We headed back to Jersey, where we were spending the night with our friend Bill. You might remember Bill and his sister Terry from our 2010 trip to Belize and our 2008 trip to Turks & Caicos. We enjoyed a quiet evening with Bill and I headed to bed early.

Saturday, November 5
We kind of just chilled out in New Jersey all day Saturday. We had initially thought we'd go see a Broadway show, but the timing just wasn't going to work out. I was nervous about getting to bed on time and getting dinner on time, etc, so we kept Bill company, and then headed over to our hotel to check in. We had initially planned to stay with Bill, but I ultimately decided that the hotel made more practical sense, given my sleep needs, etc. Plus, the hotel was literally right next to the Meadowlands, where I was catching the bus to the starting line. I had everything laid out and ready, and then we went back to Bill's house. Terry had flown in from Arizona, and I cooked spaghetti for all of us to enjoy. Nice, quiet, relaxing evening. Then, it was back to the hotel where I settled in for a nice rest.

This handy door sign was in my
marathon bag
RACE DAY - Sunday, November 6
I was up at 5am, and I got dressed and ready. I normally don't eat much before a long run, but because I had such a long wait before my start time, I thought I'd have a good sized breakfast at the hotel. I had a full kitchen, so I made two scrambled eggs and two pieces of wheat toast. I kept worrying that I was eating too much, but I ate anyway.

Todd dropped me off at the Meadowlands, where a line of NJ Transit buses awaited the runners. I was all the way in the back of the bus, and I expected a 30 minute or so trip to Staten Island. However, I chose poorly and our bus driver didn't take us on the route to drop us directly at the runners village with the other offical buses. Instead, we were in line with all of the other traffic - the non-official race transport and cars dropping off runners. We sat and sat and sat in traffic, and it was 8:30am before we were off the bus - and we were almost a mile away from where we should have been dropped off. That was TWO HOURS on the race bus. At least I was warm, but it was frustrating and the people on the bus in the first wave missed their bag drop off time.

The runners village was clearing out as I headed to my corral
After a walk, I was finally at the runners village. I had been drinking water on the bus, so I decided to stop in the first potty that I found, which was right outside. I don't know why this is important, but I'm including it in my race report. Security was tight around the starting line, so after the gauntlet of security check points and a bit more of a walk, I finally made it into the green starting area. I had packed enough stuff to camp for several days, but the sun was warm, so I just sat on my garbage bag that I'd brought. I kept moving - once because the speakers were giving me a headache, and then again because the sun was giving me a headache. I turned in my bag around 9:15 (never having used the gloves, headband, fleece blanket, and hand warmers that I'd packed), and then found myself a delicious soft Dunkin Donuts bagel. I had also eaten my cereal bar, which was what I always eat before a long run. I was nervous that I was going to eat too much and get a stomach cramp, so I ate about 3/4 of the giant bagel and threw the rest away. Hindsight is 20/20, so I should have eaten the rest of the bagel and probably another bagel or two. Another potty break, and then at 10:15 or so, I headed into the loading area for the corrals.

The corrals had potties also, and at the last second, I dodged into one and went again. I was nervous about having to stop during the race and about waiting in line like I'd done at the 2006 Marine Corps, and I was very very glad that I'd gone a third time before the race started. We moved on to the bridge, and suddenly they were playing "New York New York" and we were moving! I'd been told to move as far up as possible, so I started before the 5:15 pace group.

Miles 1-4
It was surreal starting this race. I felt like It was almost 11am by the time I crossed the starting line, a whopping 6 hours since I'd woken up. I didn't feel like I was really doing it, it was like I was outside my body watching something else going on. The course was CROWDED. I was on the bottom of the bridge, so the view wasn't as good (and for the record, there was no sign of any urine raining down). It was impossible to maintain any real pace, but I did manage to start my 1:1 intervals right away. I was determined to not waste energy weaving around people like I'd done at the Indy Half Marathon earlier this year, so I just kept with the flow of everyone else. It was such an international crowd, so I enjoyed hearing other languages and seeing so many flags around. The first mile is a pretty big uphill - the Verazzano Narrows Bridge. I had worried about it, but to be completely honest, it was NOTHING. The crowd kept me so slow, I didn't feel the hill at all. My mile 1 time was slow, though - about 13:40, when I was trying to keep between 12:35 and 12:58. I knew I had to pick it up.
At the starting line

Suddenly, though, I realized we were headed down. The biggest hill of the race was OVER! A big downhill for mile 2, and when I reached the mile 2 marker, I had done the second mile in 11:40. I'd made up the time from mile 1, but that was too fast, so I slowed down some. At this point, I was getting hot and I took off my arm warmers in mile 3 and tied them to my belt. There were spectators everywhere, but I didn't want to use too much energy cheering. Some would yell "Go Fleet Feet!" and others would yell "Go Baltimore!"  Sometime early in the race, someone seeing my "Fleet Feet Baltimore" shirt yelled "It's ok, I have flat feet, too. Don't be ashamed, Sweetie!" LOL, I got a good laugh out of that one. My average pace at the 5K mark was 12:48, right on pace. I was so pleased and feeling great.

Miles 5-9
Brooklyn was nice. There were tons of spectators, and the road was divided. The green corrals (my side) were on the right side of the road, and the blue and orange corrals were on the left. The blue and orange runners were faster though, so the left side had cleared out. I took the first opportunity that I could to cross over to that side of the street, and then I didn't have to worry about weaving through crowds or that someone would crash into me when I took a walk break. I was basically on my own on that side of the street. I was still feeling good. There were so many bands and spectators that I had to leave my watch on the intervals screen rather than chrono so that I could tell when it was time to take a walk break. I certainly couldn't hear it beep.
It was at mile 6 where the trouble started. I started to notice that my stomach was just aching. Not a good sign. I was so early in the race, I didn't know what to do. I just kept following the plan, keeping up my pace and doing my thing. I was eager to see Todd and my friend Davida at mile 9. At the one hour mark, I had eaten half of  my bag of Power Bar Energy blasts, and I was taking water at every water stop. The stomach though, just kept hurting more and more. I thought it was gas, so I tried to make myself burp (Maybe TMI, sorry). It didn't work. I'd pass a CVS or Walgreens and think, "I have $40. What can I buy in there to make myself feel better?" I tried talking to my stomach in my head What do you want, stomach? What can I give you to make you feel better? It kept right on aching. At the 10K mark, though, I was at a 12:36 per mile pace, so I was still on track, and doing AWESOME.

At the 15K mark, I passed the first Jumbotron where we were supposed to see messages from friends & family, and sure enough, a message from Karen and Bobby showed up! Awesome! This would be the only one of the jumbotrons that was working, so this was the ONLY message that I got to see. That was disappointing, because I was really looking forward to those. Mile 8: 13:13. A little slow, but that's ok. Mile 9: 12:42. GREAT.

Miles 10-20

Immediately after the 15K, there were Todd & Davida! I gave them both a hug and stopped for a photo, and then headed on. I was happy and cheerful, and didn't let on that my stomach was hurting and that it was really starting be uncomfortable and worry me. Instead, I found myself at the 2 hour mark and ate the rest of my energy blasts. Mile 10: 12:44.

I started skipping water stops because I started to wonder if the stomach ache was being caused by me having to go pee. I'd been going like crazy all morning before the race, so I thought maybe that was the issue. It was NOT the other bathroom issue, I didn't have to go like that. But, I just didn't know. I was starting to be worried about eating, so even when people were giving out candy, I didn't take it for fear of hurting my stomach more. I was teetering on the edge of complete misery. I was watching for a bank of potties with no line, but was not finding one. And frankly, I was getting tired of being in Brooklyn and was ready for something new.

At a glance, I don't think that the elevation profile of this course looks too bad, so I was not worried about it. That being said, what I had heard was correct - the constant upward gentle grades were irksome and irritating. They were really making my life difficult, and I was longing for some solid flat parts. To be honest, there weren't many, and I was just constantly feeling like were going up, down, up, down, up, down. UGH. My stomach was REALLY hurting, and my mile 11 time showed it: 13:21. Mile 12: 13:03. Around this point, I saw my running friend Keely, whom I was really shocked to see. I was sure I'd miss her since I didn't know where she'd be.

Just before mile 13 (at the Pulaski Bridge) were a bunch of potties with NO LINE, so I jumped in one and took a quick potty break. Mile 13: 13:34, and I was in Queens.

The potty break did make me feel a tiny bit better, but to be honest, it didn't seem like I really had to go. At least I could drink freely again. I took my last photo at that point, because I couldn't focus on anything else except my stomach, wondering where I'd see Todd next, and trying to get my pace back into my goal range. At 3 hours, I ate a pack of Sour Patch Kids, worrying that I would upset my stomach even more. I thought it made my stomach feel better for just a little while. Mile 14: 13:15.

Then came the Queensboro Bridge. I was still feeling a tiny bit better (at least manageable) at this point, but it is a pretty big hill. Nearly everyone was walking, but I was faithfully doing my 1:1s, focused on getting my pace faster. Mile 15: 13:38, Mile 16: 13:14, which I think is pretty respectable given that this is the second biggest hill on the course. I was still not quite over my goal pace overall, so I thought I could make up some time in Manhattan.

First Avenue in Manhattan was a madhouse. A madhouse. There were people everywhere, spilling onto the street, crowded in the doorways of bars, up in the balconies of buildings, EVERYWHERE. I was starting to feel miserable and horrible, and I wasn't going to see Todd until 102nd street. All I could focus on was getting there, but the course was deceptively hilly through there. Just constant upward grades. Mile 17: 13:08, Mile 18: 13:20.

I saw Todd at 102, which was about halfway through mile 19. I told him that my stomach was hurting, but I still felt like my legs were ok, so if I could just figure it out... The whole race had been such a fight against my stomach and it was really dampening my spirits. I really couldn't even enjoy the crowds and the city. Todd wished me well and I carried on. Mile 19: 13:32.

At this point, we crossed the Willis Ave Bridge into the Bronx. My overall time had climbed above my 5:40 goal, so I was really getting frustrated. I KNEW that I could do better than this. Around this time, I passed the 4 hour mark and ate a packet of Sour Patch Kids. This time I was sure of it - I was feeling better after the candy. That was it, I was HUNGRY. UGH UGH UGH. And I started getting hungry around 12:30 or 1:00pm, right when I normally eat lunch!!!!!!!! I was so mad that I hadn't caught on to this earlier. So... at this point, I downed all of the rest of the food that I was carrying, which consisted of two more packets of Sour Patch Kids and four Starbursts. I was annoyed at myself for not taking the food offered by spectators earlier in the race. I have to be honest - I immediately felt better, and my stomach was fine. Overjoyed, I tried to enjoy the Bronx.

Miles 21-26
Mile 20: 14:16. WTF? Didn't I just say I felt better??? I was so pissed when I saw that mile time. I had been thinking about switching my intervals since getting onto First Avenue, and that did it. I switched to 30:30 intervals. I became angry and determined Kim, and I forced myself to go faster.

I had been really doing some negative talking to myself for much of the race at that point. I was mad that I was feeling so terrible. I needed to turn that around. For every single interval from that point forward in the race, I would start running while saying to myself It's just 30 seconds, just run a little bit faster than you feel comfortable running. Just a little bit faster. Just a little bit. I'm not kidding, it was the same mantra on every run interval for the next 6 miles.

Mile 21: 13:53. NOT good enough. It was weird, I would pass every mile marker thinking "Yeah, that was awesome. I was really pushing, this was a good mile." and then I would look at my watch to see myself STILL above my goal pace. I was back in Manhattan at this point, and there were some reasonably flat parts, but there were some brutal hills ahead in Central Park.

Mile 22: 13:45. Ok, I was feeling like if I could just pull out a couple of faster miles, I could get my time as close to 5:40 as I could, maybe even under 5:40 (I was hopeful, and I couldn't really handle math at that point). Around this time, I saw Todd again, and I told him how bad I was hurting. My body just wouldn't go faster. My legs were tired, and I was tired. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't go faster.

Mile 23-24: 13:40 average. Todd had said, "Is there anything I can do for you?" my response: "Yes, make this end." He told me I was almost done. Almost. The hills were starting to be pretty brutal.

And then it was like, holy crap, can Central Park take any longer? It was being a tease. From the course video, it sure did look like we were in it for a long time, but really we were just running around the outside. I wanted to be inside the park!

Then, I was inside the park, and I was just trying so hard to get myself faster. I can't even tell you about this, words cannot communicate how hard I was pushing myself during these last few miles. I was repeating my mantra, thinking about FAST, just trying to GO FASTER. I so wanted that 5:40, but I knew I wouldn't get it at this point, so I was just trying to stay as close to it as I could. Mile 25: 13:23.

Woa, the last mile smelled like crap. It was right were the horses usually line up in Central Park and EW! I was so close to the end, I could feel it. I was so ready to be done. Mile 26: 13:30

I tried to run it in, and in fact, I turned off my intervals at about 25 1/2. I kept having to walk. At one point, I bumped a French lady, and I told her sorry, and she said, "Sorry? What are you doing? Come on!!" because I was starting to walk again. I was probably running for around 40 seconds and then walking for 15-20 seconds at a time. I was doing my best to run non-stop, but I had to walk here and there.

At last, the finish. I HAD MADE IT. Final time: 5:46:40. A new PR. Not quite my goal.

I crossed the finish line and heard an announcer say "Someone will give you your medals ahead!" and I was like, hey, that's right, I get a medal! Awesome! I was so emotional that I don't think I was thinking clearly. I got my medal and started to cry (because I was happy to be done, and because I wanted to see Todd, but I had to wait to see him), and then had to get myself together so that I could get my photo taken. Then, I got  my space blanket and goodie bag (Yum, food), and then got in with the hoards of people trying to get our bags and get out of Central Park. I was totally prepared for how long this would take, but apparently no one else was, because they were all bitching at each other. I was just happy to be eating something, although I was eager to sit.

I found Todd at 77th street, and we caught the Subway (stupid people don't give marathoners their seats) and headed back to Jersey on the train. I washed up at the hotel and then we went back to Bill's where Terry had prepared an awesome surf & turf meal. It was delicious, and I enjoyed a glass of wine and we all watched "The Walking Dead" together.

Not much to say, we headed back to Maryland, and I took advantage of the nice weather to give my bike a bath. Tonight, Todd and I had a celebratory dinner out (since his huge 3 month work project is over also, yay!).

At first, my TLDR version at the beginning of this post was a lot more negative, and I've been a little negative on my race performance until I wrote all of this out and really stepped back and looked at how I'd worked through my issues. I mean, I was feeling MISERABLE and still toughed it out. I maintained a PR pace through a rough course and feeling bad. How awesome is that? I think I can be really proud of this race, especially given that I earned myself a new PR. That being said, I don't think I'd want to do New York again. I'm glad I did it, don't get me wrong. It's a bucket list race that's for sure. I am so happy to have done it and been involved in such an awesome race, but my next race will have an earlier start time.

So, another end to another marathon year. I am not set to do a marathon again until 2013. New York, I love ya. Thanks for welcoming me to your town.

And a thanks
Thank you to Davida and Keely for being out there, and thank you to everyone who wrote on my facebook wall or commented on my blog posts wishing me good luck! Most of all, thanks to Todd for doing everything possible to help me have a wonderful race weekend. I've got an awesome husband. I love you!

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

New York City Marathon Goals

This journey started a year ago. I watched the 2010 NYC Marathon on television, just like I'd watched for the past several years. I run a marathon every other year and 2011 was a marathon year, so I thought, why not run NYC? I figured I'd eventually want to run it, and since it takes applying 3 times before you're guaranteed entry, I thought it was a good time to start to apply. I was pretty psyched about it on Marathon Monday when I first applied. I had my photo taken by one of my co-workers holding a Miller Lite, since that was one of the scavenger hunt items that day.
Marathon Monday, November 2010

But, they only chose 50 people for guaranteed entry on Marathon Monday and I wasn't one of them. Still, I had applied and I began to wonder if I'd get in. I knew that I probably would not get in. My odds were somewhere around 1 in 10 of getting in, and few people make it on their first try.

I started investigating other races, and finally settled on either the Wineglass or Columbus Marathons as backups for if I did not get into New York. In fact, I was more excited about the possibility of running either of those marathons that I was about New York.

And then, on April 27, I miraculously made it into the race.  Panic ensued! I wasn't prepared to get in!

Well, 6 months later, I'm fully trained and ready. I'm overwhelmed by what a big deal this race is. I don't think I ever truly realized the size and scope of this race until the last few months. It's crazy! I'm still nervous about the start line, but at least the weather is looking awesome (Low of 42, high of 55, Sunny).

So, what are my goals?  I mean, obviously I want to have a great, happy race and feel comfortable. But, I do have a time goal.

*Drum Roll*
My previous PR for a marathon is from the Walt Disney World Marathon 2010, where I ran a 5:52. I would like to blow that out of the water with a "Shoot for" goal of 5:30 and a "Settle For" goal of anything 5:51 or better. I'd be totally thrilled with anything in the 5:30-5:40 range, and I think it's achievable.

Obviously, beyond that, I want to finish in one piece and hopefully see some of my spectators on the course. This will be the longest race that I've ever completed without someone to run with for at least part of the race. Until now, the farthest I've run in a race alone is about 16 miles. I'm trying not to think about that part because there isn't much I can do about it.

So, off I go to the Big Apple! I am doing my best to blog, but watch Twitter if you want to see the most current updates.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How To Follow the NYC Marathon

Just in case you might want to follow me (or anyone else) on Sunday at the New York City Marathon, here's how you can do it.

Android App
For $2.99, you can download an app to your Android Smartphone. I have downloaded it to mine and I'll be using it during the race. So, you'll be able to see me step by step as I run the race. No timing mats needed, wherever I am, you'll see me. That being said, I use an app called JuiceDefender that monitors my battery usage and might make it update just a little less frequently.

The app allows you to track up to 10 runners, and you'll be able to watch a live stream of the race from your phone. If you are in NYC, you can use it to meet up with runners after the race.

The Android app can be found in the Android Market.

iOS App
For free, you can download an app to your iPhone or iPad. However, it won't let you do much. To get the same features as listed above for Android, you'll have to upgrade to the premium version for $2.99.

The iOS App can be found in the App Store.

If you would like to receive text messages on race day, you can sign up for that as well. Just go to this website to sign up for the service. This is also $2.99 to track up to 3 runners and receive text messages as they cross over timing mats. This service will be available to sign up through Saturday.  After that, you'll have to text my bib number (which is 65088) to 99731 on race day.

Via the Web
I'm pretty sure live results will be available for free on race day. Just go to the ING New York City Marathon website to see the live results. Click on "Runner Tracking" on the left side.

Watch the Race
If you want to watch the race on television, you will want to tune in to NBC4 in New York. If you're not in New York, you can stream it live from the New York City Marathon Website, or tune in to Universal Sports. Race coverage starts at 9:00am EST. Remember though - I am in the third wave, so I don't cross the starting line until 10:40am.

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