October 20, 2010

thank you

I want to say thank you to all of you who followed my running adventure - supported me with advice, hugs and motivation and especially to Jacob who woke up at 5:30 to drop me off and met me at 13 with food and a smile and to Ryan who probably had the hardest job of all and rose the occasion with flying colors.

Till next time :)

October 16, 2010

The Play by Play

I will be honest. I had doubts of running all the way up to when the gun sounded for the start. What on earth was I thinking?! But here's the deal: I FINISHED! I ran my first ever marathon in 4:33:59!

Here's the Recap:

I woke up around some ungodly hour (probably around 5:30ish). I saw that it was raining and thought out loud, "there's no way". I gave a little laugh but decided I'd head to the start line anyways. I brought a large black plastic bag with me (thanks to some helpful marathon tips) and wrapped myself inside of it to protect against the early morning chill and rain. When I got the start area, there was a buzz. Like the buzz of electrical lines, people were nervously excited. Some were jogging back and forth (no thank you - I will be running enough today as it is), some were huddled down, most were in line for the toilets. I was running alone and got into the 3:50 pace group. I figured I might as well aim for a decent time, hell - if I even finished at all.

I stood around patiently, listening to music and awkwardly standing watching other people warm up. I tried to not think about what lay ahead or have any expectations. When it got closer to the gun... I could feel my stomach tie up in knots. I always get nervous in situations like these. Eventually, the crowd slowly started to move forward to the start line... what a sight it must have been from above! I felt better moving though - like one way or another, this was going to happen and I was a little closer to it being done with. I ditched my garbage bag and prepared to get wet (though a lot of people would run with their bags the entire way - there was no way I could have done that). It wasn't long before the crowd began to walk faster, then jog, spaces opened up, the crowd created space and then - GO GO GO!!! We were off...

With every race, people tend to fight at first to find their pace, fight for the space on the road that they want and fight their own competitive spirit to reign it in so you don't putter out in 10 minutes. The first part of a race is always the most emotion-filled. As we started to go, I fell into a groove. I easily slide in-between slower runners and moved ahead of the group. It was around mile 5 that I needed to go to the bathroom - badly. The first line of porta potties that I could spot had a line 12 deep, but I needed to go and there was no debate that stopping was mandatory. I pulled over and quietly watched as people I had passed now passed me. The line took forever but I was determined to remain calm and collective. I had a long way to go - these 5 minutes waiting were nothing. Eventually I was given my turn - after having watch the 3:50 pace flag, 3:55 and 4:00 flag pass me by. Shit.
After my pit stop, I hit the road. I was warmed up, my legs were feeling strong - the music was keeping my pace up. I decided to make up some time and run a bit faster than planned. I wanted to catch back up to my 3:50 pace flag. It took me about 6 miles, but right near the 1/2, I caught up the pacer. And then I passed him. I was feeling so good and my boyfriend Jacob was waiting at 14 mile marker with shot blocks and a killer smile... I could keep going strong.
When I did see him - what a sigh of relief! He didn't see me until I ran up in front of him and then we continued on together. His plan was to run with me for a mile or so then turn back (he's not a runner). I was so happy to have shot blocks... those little blocks of goodness was exactly what I needed at the half. Marathon food is NOT good. Besides the water, I didn't take anything else - especially that gold crap they kept trying to push on us. While I ran with Jacob, I took off my headphones - which was a bit of a heartache for me. That music was keeping me in pace and to ditch it for conversation felt like I was running uphill. Nonetheless, I was grateful for his support. He turned around near mile 16 and I was left to tackle the bridge by myself.

Headphones back in - I pushed onward. While many people took to walking up to the St John's Bridge - it was against my moral conscious to do so. I never walk uphill. Downhill - sure - why not? I probably earned it. But up hills have always been a personal goal for me. I passed a ton of people on that hill and fueled my motivation to push on. My roommate Ryan was waiting for me at mile 22 and would help motivate me to the finish. I just had to do the long stretch to mile 22.
By the time I met Ryan, my legs were starting to waver. He had more shot blocks for me and a ton of enthusiasm - so onwards I kept! The hardest part at this point was the rain. I was soaked - so much so that my outer shirt weighted about 3 pounds more than it should have. I eventually gave it to Ryan to carry since I felt as though I was getting slower. After a certain distance, you can start to feel the posture in running. You can either run forward - more on the balls of your feet, or you can run more sitting back - heal striking the ground. After running in one position for a mile, I'd have to switch it up to the other form just for some relief. At one point Ryan said, "you didn't want any beer?" after having just passed the Widmere brewery beer station. I must have been in the zone as I said, "What?! Beer?! Where??". I turned around and ran the 10 yards back to the table for a glass of beer - "carbs" I told Ryan. Whatever - it tasted like the best beer in the world.
The last 1.2 miles were HARD. Ryan was pushing me hard, motivating me, yelling at me to keep going. It hurt. Every joint in my body hurt like hell. Switching from forward running to heal running occurred every few steps now and it was noticeable changing between the two postures. The 26 mile marker couldn't come fast enough and when it did - the 0.2 felt like 10.
Running in towards the end, you are oblivious to the cheering - all you focus on is the big timer at the finish. You focus on who is around you and who you could feasibly beat. Or you focus on not letting anyone behind you beat you. You focus well past the finish line, to the food, the water, the ride home. You focus on a warm shower after running in the rain for 4.5 hours. You focus on what you just did. Wait - what did I just do? That's right - I ran my first marathon. I was so overcome by the end I felt every desire in me wanting to cry for joy. But there's no time for that at the end - they shuffle you past space blankets, flower girls, food, t-shirt pickups, photo opps... there's no time to sit back and contemplate what I just put my body through. And truth be told, if I stopped walking - I did not believe I'd be able to make it to the car. So I kept walking until I could lay down on the couch for an indefinite amount of time.

What an adventure.

October 9, 2010


It's near to deciding time folks. Do I run 26.2 or not? I haven't been training seriously since June... weather is forecasted to rain... it all looks very iffy at this point in time. I have a running mix on my ipod, my clothes picked out, my game plan ready. But I'm still on the fence.

My plan as of right now is this: to stretch tonight, wake up and gear up - check the weather and if feeling motivated, head to the start line. If I decide to run - great, I'll take it step by step. Perhaps I will bail at the 1/2 (or sooner) but either way - it's going to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of decision.


September 17, 2010

Running with my gnomies

So completely off cuff, a group of friends and I decided to run the warrior dash - a fun filled 5k obstacle course out in the boonies of Oregon. And if we were going to do it - why not get dressed up for the occassion?! We all wore our best Sunday garden gnome outfits for the event - and boy were we a sight!

There's no way you can compete on this course for speed - the obstacles and lines to get to them slowed you down far past any personal best. And little did we know just how difficult this course would be with bellies stuffed with towels, beards that soaked up mud and pointy hats!

I'll let the photos do the talking...

September 7, 2010


Okay - the Portland Marathon is just about a MONTH AWAY and I haven't really been running more than 2-3x per week 3-4 miles each run. How am I possibly going to run 26.2?!?! Suffice to say, I am starting to wonder if I will be able to pull this one off.

This last weekend I was in NYC for a friends wedding. NYC is simply beautiful in the fall. Reminds me of Vermont (minus the skyscrapers, traffic and grid system). I stayed with a friend who lives literally 1 block away from Central Park and the urge to get out and run the loop was too great to resist. It was gorgeous. The leaves were turning, the air crisp but warm, the road blocked off to traffic and hundreds of people jogging and biking throughout the park. You almost forget your in NYC. I was surprised to find out that the loop was a bit more than 7 miles... it felt more like a solid 5. Even so - the marathon date is looming ahead of me and I am starting to freak out.

August 31, 2010

H2C... driving

I was originally cast to run in a Hood to Coast team - one of the larger relay races and a rather unique event in Portland. The relay consists of 12 people broken into 2 teams (or for the professional teams, commonly 6 runners who kick some major running butt) who have to run from Mt Hood to the Oregon Coast. The two teams leapfrog each other and start on a Friday afternoon, arriving in Seaside sometime on Saturday.

I wasn't feeling confident in my ability to pull my weight on the team. My injury is still persistent with any longer runs and even with smaller runs, I wasn't sure my hip would last running three legs of 4-6 miles each. So I gave up my spot and volunteered to drive the van instead.

It was an interesting experience driving the van. I desperately wanted to get out and run. Just seeing my friends run, getting pumped up, and celebrating a leg's finish made the running itch come out bad. I have decided it sucks to be the driver to an event that I would otherwise have been participating in. It's like being invited to a party and not being able to have any cake.

At one of the major exchanges. I must admit, it's hard to not be excited for everyone else... but still. I hate being a bystander!

August 24, 2010

Gotta give it a Tri

I simply LOVED participating in the Portland Triathlon! My two friends - Rebecca who is a superb runner and Rachel who can swim like a fish convinced me to do the cycling portion of a marathon triathlon (40km). I've been biking but nothing hardcore... so I wasn't sure how I'd fair in the race. All I knew is that I had to give it my all and that it'd be over with in just over an hour. I researched times from past relay teams and figured that if I could complete 40km in 2 hours, I'd be doing well since the results for the female relay bike portion ranged from 1:23 to 1:54.

We had a bit of a hiccup when Rachel couldn't find me coming out from the water (I later found out she had puked en route)... so our transition time lacked; however, I felt strong taking off and was confident we could make that up. The route itself is interesting - a slight uphill for 1/2 with a steep incline right before a long descent. The rain held off but I was well aware of any man-holes (= slippery surfaces) going around turns. We then had to loop back to the start and take off again on the same circular route. For the marathon, I had to go 3 times around. By the 3rd loop, that steep incline felt like it was ripping every muscle fiber I had in my quads. Oh the relief to finally hit the descent!!

When I finished, I frantically looked around for Becca - the runner. I later learned that the rest of the team had gone to breakfast as I cycled thinking it would take me well over 2 hours. They were shocked to see me pulling into the exchange corral and Becca had to run frantically behind me to catch up! She undressed as quickly as she could considering the circumstances and then took off for her run. I was amazed to discover that I had finished 40km in 1:21:41:022!! This time was 2 minutes UNDER the first placing team in 2009. Maybe it was all the running I had done this summer or maybe it was the break from running in the last couple of weeks that gave my legs a refreshing break - but I have to admit, I'm quite pleased with myself!

We ended up finishing 2nd for female relay... super happy and pleased with our superb efforts!