April 26, 2011

Marathon v. Marathon

Tomorrow is Opening Day for the New York City Marathon. This means I'm finally going to find out if I got in to the NYC Marathon. Over the last several weeks I've been so frustrated with not knowing what my fall race is going to be. I haven't been able to sign up for any fall races because I know that everything running related is contingent on what race I'm running in the fall.

As you know, I signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon and was one of the last few people to actually register before it closed out. I signed up for MCM as my backup race in case I don't get into New York.

The more I've thought about both of these races, the more I lean toward wanting to run one or the other, so I came up with a pros and cons list of each!

NYC Marathon
-Not having to travel for a race means spending less money and having a stress free race morning
-It's one of those marathons that you have to do at least once
-I'll be able to train on the race course
-It's 1 week later than MCM so that's one less week of training in Sri Lanka
-It's a tough course to PR in
-It's crowded and I get easily frustrated when I can't run the pace I want to because of a crowd

Marine Corps Marathon
-Some awesome bloggers are running it
-It's in DC and I love DC
-The course is mostly flat and it's definitely a PR course
-I can stay with friends so I won't have to worry about a hotel
-I have to travel to get there
-I'd have to start training while I'm in Bosnia which means my first full month of training would be in Sri Lanka's less than pleasant running weather

So there it is! The plan is to run NYC if I get in and defer MCM until next year. If I don't get in, I'll run Marine Corps and use my 9+1 guaranteed entry to run New York next year! Either way, I'll be running my 2nd marathon and aiming to run it in under 4 hours and I'm excited to start training again! I'll keep you all posted as to the results tomorrow!

April 25, 2011

love/don't love

1. I had a pretty awesome Easter Sunday with my family and my boyfriend's family. Love.
2. Being at The Pilot's house for Easter without him there made me miss him a whole lot. Don't Love.


3. I'm still glowing from my weekend PR...and my weekend PR from the weekend before. Love.
4. I have 2 papers to write and the semester is over. They're both due next Wednesday and I've got a good start on one of them and an ok start on the other. Nevertheless, I'm going to go into crazy mode this week. Don't Love. 
5. Today is the second consecutive day this year that we have had temperatures above 60 degrees. Love.
6. It's been raining for both of those days. Don't Love.

 7. I find out if I get into the NYC Marathon this week! Love. 
8. I tweaked my hamstring again over the weekend. I ran 0.25 miles yesterday before I had to turn around and go hope because my leg was screaming at me. This time it was the opposite leg from my last hamstring tweaking. I'm hoping that it will be like last time and I'll be fine in 3 days but I hate being hurt and not knowing what's going on. Don't Love.
9. The semester is over in less than 2 weeks! And in less than 2 weeks, I'm off to the Sunshine State again to see my love! Love.

Can't wait to do this at the airport...via

 Happy Monday!
I hope you all have a wonderful start to the week!

April 24, 2011

NYRR 4-Mile Race Recap

To say that it was raining at this race would be a bit of an understatement. It was pouring. I have never run in rain like this before. To give you a little bit more context before I begin this report, let me show you some pictures from the Event Gallery at NYRR's website.

The race was in Central Park so I stayed at my friend Nayeli's apartment. She lives on just off Central Park West so she's my go-to gal when I'm running a race in CP. She was running too so that was helpful. We left her apartment at 7:45 and dropped by her gym to drop our stuff off before trekking out in the rain to the starting line. Now, the only way to go into a race in these conditions is to smile about it so as I lined up in my corral, I said, "Great day for racing, huh?!" No one seemed to like that. Ok, I'll keep my humor to myself, you can be miserable in the run but I'm going to have fun in this.

The gun went off and I slowly made my way to the starting line before crossing. I was expecting this course to be pretty flat since I know that the famed rolling hills of Central Park are more so at the top of the park but I was wrong. While it wasn't tremendously hilly, there were definitely some hills which slowed me down a little bit. And as with any NYRR race, it always takes a bit for the crowd to thin out so I hit Mile 1 (at the Guggenheim!) in 9:02. Nayeli was aiming for a sub-30 race and wanted me to keep up with her. I thought she was crazy but I tried.

I managed to hit Mile 2 at 7:52 before I started getting winded and Nayeli took off. I was getting a little dizzy and started to worry because the night before, I didn't even know if I was going to run this race since Thursday morning, I was in Emergency Care because I literally couldn't stand up for more than 45 seconds without feeling like I was going to faint...and that had been going on since I came home from Boston.

Keeping that in mind and not wanting to collapse on the course of a 4-mile race, I slowed down a bit. I rounded out Mile 3 in 8:31 before I started to feel a little better. At this point, I couldn't see anything with the rain and fog covering my glasses (this whole not being able to wear contacts for 6 weeks is hell) so I took my glasses off (I'm not quite but almost legally blind, mind you) and let the crowd lead me. I ran into a few people (oops!) and when the Finish Line came up, I couldn't even see it until I was practically across it. But I did my best to sprint across the line I was already on and round out Mile 4 in 7:50 finishing in 32:43 an even 2 minutes faster than the last NYRR 4-mile I did in February!

The fact that I ran 2 miles in under 8 minutes is huge for me. At this time, 1 year ago, I had 1 race under my belt and If I could run 1 mile sub-9, I was elated. This race showed me how much stronger of a runner I've become in the short span of a year. But really got me thinking about this race is how much better I can become. Until I started training for the NYC Half, I had never done speed work. I've done minimal hill work and I don't strength or cross-train. As Base Training for my Fall Marathon approaches, I'm realizing how much more potential I have to be a better runner and I know that if I incorporate all of these things into my training and really hone in on my sub-8 miles and try to stretch them out over longer distances, then my goal for my Fall Marathon might be a lot more than a sub-4 hour race.

And that is something I'm really excited about. I can't wait to test my potential and really see what I can do in the Fall.

April 21, 2011

three things thursday

1. Cross-Training - I know that I'm supposed to cross-train  and I know why it's so good and important for runners but truth be told, I just don't do it. I try and I'm always really good about it for all of 3 weeks into a training cycle but then I fall off the bandwagon. Honestly, working almost full time and being in school full time with 3 days a week that are 15 hour days, I just don't have time. Well, Tuesday after work I went to the gym and had to wait about 10 minutes to get on a treadmill. I didn't want to just stand around so I hopped on a recumbent bike for the time being. I only managed 2 miles on the treadmill because I had to get to class but I felt awesome. If 10 minutes on the lazy man's bike could make me feel that good during and after a workout, I'm sold on what 30 minutes to an hour the day before a workout can do for me.

2. NYRR 4-Mile - I'm supposed to run a race this weekend. It will be my 3rd qualifier for the 2012 NYC Marathon through the 9+1 Guaranteed Entry program. I really want to run it except I don't know if I'll be able to. Truth is, I'm sick. I took 2 days off last week and I felt better in Boston but last night in class, two people actually stopped in the middle of class to ask if I was ok because I looked like I was dying and I didn't feel any better than I looked. I can't quite explain my symptoms but I just feel incredibly weak and it's starting to worry me. I went to the doctor today and they said my blood pressure is really low but other than that I seemed fine so they did some blood work to try and find out what's really going on. I'm trying to be optimistic because the idea of missing a 2nd race this month is not something I want to think about right now.

3. Boston - In case you aren't sick of hearing about the Boston Marathon. Spectating was every much as fun as I thought it would be. I was at Mile 23 with one of my very best friends from when I lived in Boston and a few of her friends. Everyone running just looked like they were having the time of their lives. Boston was such an amazing weekend and I'm so glad I got to be part of it all. And who knows? Maybe one day I'll BQ myself and make the jaunt from Hopkington to Boston.

I know the military races every year but they don't wear bibs...do they bandit the Boston Marathon??

It was a little warm for this...
Recognize this sweat-tastic girl? I spotted her looking strong at 23!
The pack coming down from Washington Square and out of Brookline.

That's about all I have energy for today.
I think I'm going to leave work soon and get some sleep. 
Cross your fingers for me to be able to race this weekend!

April 18, 2011

A Marathon of a Weekend

This weekend was amazing. It was the first time since I started grad school that I've completely abandoned school work and just did things because I wanted to. Add some amazing friends (old and new), a few blog meet ups, a 5k PR and spectating the marathon of all marathons and I was one happy girl this weekend!

The weekend started entirely too early on Saturday morning with a Bus trip to Boston. After a power nap and some school work, we made it into Boston's South Station and I headed straight to my friend Sarah's to drop off my stuff and go to the Expo to pick up our race packets for Sunday's 5k.

After the Expo, I headed over to Kim and Lizzy's Happy Hour with Emily where I stuffed my face with cupcakes, got an awesome goodie bag and won a new pair of shoes! Best Happy Hour ever!

From Happy Hour 1, I headed to Happy Hour 2 and met up with some more awesome bloggers before heading to dinner with a friend and going back to where I was staying to pass out in prep for the next morning's 5k! The Start of the 5k was a Blogger Block Party and so many bloggers were there including my favorite Texas runner/blogger:

Ally from The Shabby Princess

The 5k was amazing! Even though the course ran through my normal running route from when I lived in Boston, it was so great to be back there and enjoying it and running a good, strong race because I wanted to, not because I was vetting my frustrations from my boss! 

The race started in Copley Square and ran up Boylston Street and along Boston Common. At the Start, I ran into Danielle who offered to pace me. It took a minute for my Garmin to adjust and we spent the first half mile or so weaving in and out of the crowd of 5,000 miles and hit Mile 1 just at the top of Park Street in front of the State House. I totally missed the Mile Marker and was shocked when she asked how we were at Mile 1! From Mile 1 was a fast downhill down Beacon Street where I lost Danielle (it was just too crowded!) to the Public Garden and onto Commonwealth Ave. The one regret I have of this race was that I didn't really take a whole lot in, partially because I knew the course so well, partially because I was aiming for a PR and partially because it was humid and raining and my glasses were fogging up! Anyway, we got onto Comm and I was so thirsty! That whole drinking water in the morning never actually happened so I was itching to finish! Comm Ave was pretty thin so it was easy for me to pick up some speed as we made the left onto Hereford and left onto Boylston to run through to the finish! Final Time? 25:09 a 5k PR!

Post-Race with my friend Sarah who ran her first 5k!
An early morning 5k of course calls for Brunch! So a bunch of us blogging folks headed to Stephanie's on Newbury for some food!

LPT and I!
Spike and Morgan!
Katie showing some serious love!
   It was an awesome way to spend a Sunday morning! And as much as I'd love to keep writing about the whirlwind rest of the weekend I had, it's going to have to wait because I'm exhausted!

Hope you all had a great start to the week!

April 14, 2011

three things thursday

1. Moving back to NYC - So I know you all fell in love with Hoboken after yesterday's post and believe me, I'm in love too but yes, I'm moving back to Manhattan in August...two blocks from my old apartment to be exact. I was offered a job at NYU and instead of giving me real money, they're giving me a 1 bedroom apartment with meals included. It's not an RA job but it's through the Housing office at NYU so to avoid confusion, let's say I 'm going to be an RA without any residents. Sweet deal right? Perks of my new place? It's in the same building as the NYU gym and pool. This girl is about to take sweating to a whole new degree of addiction. You all might have to put me on that show Intervention come Fall! I'll also be living above Trader Joe's...which means I can scope out the line before venturing down! Oh and 2 blocks from Union Square (and the Union Square Farmers' Market!)...hello fresh, locally grown fruits and veggies! So, even though I love Hoboken, I'm moving back to the Big Apple but I think that living by myself in a spacious apartment is going to make a huge difference in my attitude about living in the city!

My soon-to-be new hood!
2. Eye Doctor - Remember when I wrote that I had something going on with my eyes? Well, I went for my 2 week follow up and Doc told me that the problem had gotten worse and was referring me to a surgeon. Needless to say, I freaked out. When I tried asking questions, she told me to ask Surgery Doctor because she "didn't go to school for that"...hmm is there a Yelp for doctors? So I went to Surgery Doctor and after poking and prodding with my eyes for about a year, he diagnosed me with Dry Eyes...oh my goodness, it's so severe, it might need surgery, it'll take months to heal...thank you USELESS doctor who I first saw. Apparently, chronic dry eye is very common among runners so he prescribed me with some fancy eye drops, told me to lay off contacts for awhile and I'll be good to go. Seriously...some doctors are so stupid. So, instead of having surgery and possibly losing my vision which Doctor #1 alluded to, I get to run around looking like this for awhile:

Hopefully in clothes that don't cover me from head to toe.

3. Boston - In case you've been living under a rock for the last few weeks, the Boston Marathon is this weekend. I'm excited to empty my savings at the Expo, hang out with some awesome bloggers and run a little 5k on Sunday morning. It'll be my first time in Boston since I left in June and now that I've finally come to terms with Boston, I'm ready and excited to go back.

Those are my 3 things for Thursday!
I'm home sick today because I feel blah...thanks NY weather for fluctuating like the Stock Market.
I'm still going to try and go for a run because it's actually somewhat nice outside. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

*Saturday Update: I'm 12 miles outside of Boston and can't wait to get there! While catching up on blogs from the bus, I noticed that at 5 Miles Past Empty is having an awesome giveaway! She's giving away an Allied Medal Display which I've never seen before and really want! Click here to enter!

April 13, 2011

Where I Live Wednesday

Remember when I wrote this letter? And this one a few months later when I moved into my new apartment? Well, shortly after my Open Letter to New York, I decided that I needed to get out of my 11x7 hole with no closet and 3 roommates who always had a hundred people over, so I packed my bags and moved across the river to Hoboken, NJ.

I love living in Hoboken. It takes me 15 minutes via Path train every morning to get into the city so it really is the best of both worlds. The average age in Hoboken is about 30 so it's a really young town and almost everyone works in the city. It's the birthplace of baseball, has spacious apartments, and a gorgeous running path that runs right alongside the Hudson. Read: this place speaks my language.

To show you a little bit of Hoboken, I took my camera on a 4-mile run the other day and snapped some photos along the way so you can see for yourself where I live. Here goes:

My tree-lined street in Hoboken!
The Cake Boss lives here too!
The Lackawanna train station is beautiful!
Running along the Hudson River!

Love this view!
That building in the middle with the pointy top? That's where I go to school!
After running along the river, I loop back into the center of town, past this park and back to my apartment!

So that's Hoboken! What do you think?
I love it and I'm really sad to leave it in a few weeks!
But I'm on to other things (more on that later!)

Have a great day!

April 12, 2011

Coming to Terms with Boston

For runners, Boston is not a city. It is a word: an ambition, a goal, a dream. I'm not writing this post as a runner though. While I have my own dreams of crossing the line at Copley Square, Boston has meant a lot more to me than a marathon and it was only until a few weeks ago that I finally came to terms with Boston.

*Warning: This is a long post.*

Until a few weeks ago, my response to Boston was always: I [insert expletive here] hate Boston. Because in my heart, I truly believed that I did hate Boston but as my trip to Boston for this weekend's marathon festivities quickly approaches, I've found myself getting more and more excited about returning to the city that less than a year ago, I called home.

For the record, I'm not running the Boston Marathon this year. I'm running the 5k and meeting up with the incredible group of Boston-bound bloggers who are either running the marathon or traveling just to be part of the festivities.

 Last year's Boston Blog Meet-Up

I moved to Boston about 6 weeks after graduating college. The only time I had been there before moving was for an overnight trip for my job interview 2 months before. I was staying in an apartment (of the woman who would later be my boss) on Charles Street just a block from Boston Common. I was in a boot from a sprained ankle and was having a lot of difficulty moving around, so I spent the 36 hours I was in Boston reading and watching movies in her cozy apartment while she was in India.

See, I had been her intern during my time abroad in London and we been close friends ever since. Sometime during the winter before I graduated, she sent me an e-mail asking if I would be interested in a job as a Research Assistant with the Division that she worked at. The interview was a mere formality and I met with her boss and stayed in her apartment while she was away but I already knew I had the job.

Fast forward past my college graduation, my trip to Africa and my first few months on the job. I loved my job. I was doing some really exciting work and loved the girls I interned for. One of them was a close family friend of the Big Boss's so he would take us sailing on his yacht on the weekends. I lived by myself in an beautiful apartment with a private roof deck overlooking the Charles River. I practically lived on top of Fenway Park. I didn't know anyone but was slowly making friends and I was making money! Life was great.

 The view from my Beantown apartment

Then October rolled around. Baseball season was over, it started to get cold and I got caught in the middle of a disagreement between my boss and another person at work that left me crying on the phone after 11pm phone calls on Friday nights and 8am phone calls on Saturday mornings from my boss's boss. I started working 60 hour weeks to meet a deadline and felt like all of the pressure at the office was on me. The interns left and because of the disagreement I got caught in between, there were no more picnic lunches with the Big Boss or after work martinis and manis with my immediate supervisor. I was told I would be laid off by Christmas and to start looking for other jobs. Locked into a lease in Boston, I started sending resumes out to every imaginable place related to my field in Boston. I was studying for the GRE and applying to grad school, trying to sort out my relationship and stressed beyond belief.

I went to Texas for Thanksgiving with my boyfriend and despite giving more than 6 weeks notice for my travel plans was berated for not answering my calls/e-mails while away. Life at work started leaking into my nights and weekends and when I didn't answer a phone call or e-mail on a weekend, I was ripped apart for it. I made frequent trips to the office bathroom to cry and with the onset of Boston's winter, I became miserable. But, shortly before Christmas, and my laying off, I was told that I could stay on but for a pay cut. I took a $7,500 pay cut to stay on in a job that I hated because I felt like I had no other options.

In February, fed up by it all, I quit. After a particularly trying day involving my not being able to get my boss on a flight to London in the middle of the European volcanic ash ordeal that grounded some 15,000 flights, I sent an e-mail explaining that I couldn't take it anymore and I quit. My boss (who I was friends with, although our relationship had become very tested) hadn't been in the office that day. When she got my e-mail, she called me, took me out for lunch and made promises to me that things would get better.

 Another view from my apartment: cold, snowy, dreary Boston

They got worse. If you've never been to Boston in February, don't go. It's absolutely miserable. On my birthday, it was -12 degrees. I was miserable. My relationships with my family, friends and boyfriend became very strained. They were tired of hearing me complain. That's when I started running and that's when I started this blog. I put on a happy face to write to the handful of readers I had accumulated and slogged through the next few months until another particularly contentious issue involving weather and a flight delay that kept me from making it to the office finally forced me to quit. I couldn't stand being treated the way I was. My "contract" which was never actually formalized was up in 6 weeks and I couldn't take it anymore. I gave exactly 2 weeks notice and left.

I wish I could say I never looked back but here I am, looking back. My relationships with the people I worked with have made me terrified to ever have a real job again. Being locked into a lease with no other options made me terrified to ever enter into any kind of leased living arrangement again. Cold weather with no end in sight made me feel like I was trapped in Bosnia again. I hated Boston and everything about it. I was so miserable living in that city and so powerless to doing anything that the only thing I could do to was to hate the city itself.

Lately, I've come to remember how much I loved running along the Charles and eating breakfast on my roof, walking up and down Newbury Street with friends and grocery shopping in Coolidge Corner, baseball games at Fenway Park and drinking beers outside the Cask & Flagon. I've come to realize that Boston is an unbelievably beautiful city and that I lived in a really, really bad situation there. Had I actually known people living there and had some kind of support system other than the phone, things might have been different but I know all of this now and I've finally come to terms with Boston and I'm so excited to go back there this weekend.

Dancing on ""The Big Dig"

There are a lot of things about the time I lived in Boston that I still need to "get over" but time heals everything and I'm a lot stronger than I was then and those changes are slowly, but surely coming. And one day, I'm going to take Boston by storm and pour my heart and soul into Boston, as a race, not as a city, and give Boston everything that was taken away from me while I was there. Until that time comes, I'll keep running and keep training and living my life knowing that I made it out of there with a few minor scratches but none that are leaving any scars.

I've finally come to terms with Boston and that is something I am damn proud of. And one day, I'll really come to terms with Boston: by running Boston.

April 11, 2011

love/don't love

1. This weekend was absolutely perfect. We went to the zoo, the Mets game, ate lots of yummy food and just had a great time together. Love.

 It was Ski Cap day at CitiField!

2. It's disgusting in New York today. It's supposed to climb up to 70 but it's going to be cloudy all day and there's rain and temps in the mid-50s for the next 10 days. I have officially concluded that spring is never going to come. Don't Love. 
3. The semester is over in 3 weeks! Love.
4. The semester is over in 3 weeks! That means falling off the planet to write papers, proposals and presentations. Don't Love.

5. Boston is this weekend! Love.
6. The approach of the end of the semester has made me realize that I have to move again in 3 weeks. Don't Love.
7. Moving means throwing everything I own into my old bedroom at my mom's house where it will sit while I'm gallivanting around the world. Love.
8. I didn't run at all this weekend. Don't Love.
9. Despite the crappy weather and the ridiculous amount of school work that will consume my life for the next 3 weeks, I am in an absurdly good mood this morning. Maybe it's because I got a good-bye kiss on my way to work today. Love.

This was too good not to post.

I have some exciting posts planned for this week so look out for them!
I hope you all have a wonderful start to the week!
And I hope that some of you are experiencing spring weather. 
If you are, do me a favor and remind me what that's like?
Happy Monday!

April 5, 2011

March Recap

Oh yea, I was supposed to do one of these wasn't I? Between my crazy weekend of traveling, I just haven't gotten around to it!

So, March was a pretty good month...very long, though! I always hate the month of March! Anyway, I'm still in DC and praying for warm weather in New York this weekend when the pilot comes to visit...although that's not looking likely. New York sucks. I'm staying in DC. That being said, in March I:
  • Continued reading the Bible and read the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth and 1 Samuel
  • Read Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie off The Book List
  • Cooked 3 recipes out of one of my cook books
  • Paid off 1/4 of my credit card debt and am well on my way to paying it off!
  • Bought a Living Social deal for a photography class!
  • Continued watching my Spanish telenovelas!
I also, of course, PR'd my Half-Marathon and am in the works of planning a next Half and started planning my trip to India! It's been a great month and I'm looking forward to what April has in store, namely, the end of the semester!

So that's that! Happy Tuesday everyone!

April 4, 2011

love/don't love

1. All of your comments about the Cherry Blossom were wonderful. I'm in the process of responding to each and every one of them but it just goes to show how much more I love this blog. And all of you. Love.
2. It was 80 degrees in DC today. It was supposed to be a rest day for me but I couldn't resist so I went for an easy 3.5 miles around the Mall. Love.

3. My knee has been hurting a lot the last 2 days. I haven't been to PT since before spring break so I really need to jump back on that. Don't Love.
4. So far, the business side of my DC trip is going great. This is the 7th time I've been here in less than a year and a half and every time, I want to move here more. I freaking love this city. Love.
5. Next week is the BAA 5k. I can't wait to go back to Boston and see everyone! I got my race packet in the mail last week and I'm super excited! Love.

6. Despite how hard this weekend was, the loves are far outweighing the don't loves this week. Love.
7. I signed up for the NYRR 4-mile in Central Park in 2 weeks. It'll be my 3rd NYRR race (towards 9) and I'm definitely trying to squeeze in at least 2 more before I leave this summer. Love.
8. Speaking of leaving this summer, I'm adding a few stops to my international travel itinerary this summer. I was accepted into an International Law class that is taking me to the Netherlands, Bosnia and Serbia! So I'll be in Europe for a few weeks before heading to Sri Lanka this summer! Love.

 Belgrade, Serbia via

9. I'm still debating whether to run the NJ Half-Marathon in 3 weeks. I feel like running it even moreso after missing the Cherry Blossom but race registration is $100 and that's pretty steep. Don't Love.
10. I went and saw Source Code with Jake Gyllenhaal tonight. It was unbelievable. Seriously, go see this movie. Love.

That's that! I hope you all had a wonderful Monday!
Thanks again for your wonderful comments!

April 3, 2011

This is not a recap for the Cherry Blossom 10-Mile

Today I was supposed to run the Cherry Blossom 10-miler.

Had I run the race, I would have woken up around 5:30 or 6, eaten my ritual race day breakfast of Quaker Instant Oatmeal and a banana and made my way to the start with four of my friends.

Instead, I woke up at 5:30 groggy, tired and tear-streaked in a hotel room in Chicago and made my way to the airport so that I could board a flight that would land at roughly the same time I would have crossed the finish line.

Here's how it all went down:
My conference at Notre Dame ended at 5:30 on Saturday evening. My flight was at 7:12pm. Perfect timing to get to the airport. I cabbed it to the airport, went through security and found myself with ample time to relax, read on my Kindle and chat with the friend I was traveling with before we started boarding. We boarded what was meant to be a short 25 minute flight to Chicago that would have landed an hour and change before my flight to DC was to take off. Then they announced that they were having difficulty shutting the door to where they keep the luggage. After 15 minutes, they deplaned us saying that we would all be more comfortable in the airport...the airport that was already closed. Because it had already closed, it would take Maintenance about 45 minutes to get there. It took them an hour. The Maintenance guy stood outside with 2 other guys talking for 20 minutes before he finally walked up to the plane. It took him about 5 minutes to fix the plane. It took them about 45 minutes to board us again. When we finally took off, they assured us that though our connections would be tight, we would be able to make them if we ran because the pilots were alerting the airline that everybody on the flight had connections to make and they would hold our flights for us.

When we landed, I grabbed my bag and ran to the front of the plane. Then we sat there. Our gate was occupied so we couldn't get off. It was 8:45. My flight was leaving in 15 minutes. I checked my Blackberry and saw that there was another flight to Dulles at 9:15. Fine, it'll be tight but I'll at least be able to get on that one. I kept hitting refresh on my Blackberry. At 8:54, my flight left. 6 minutes early. Thanks for holding the flight like you said you would, United.

We finally deplaned at 9:06. Ok, 10 minutes to get to the next plane. It was 10 gates away. Luckily, I had my sneakers on and I ran. Had I been clocking my time on my Garmin, I could tell you that suitcase and all, I was easily running a 5 minute mile. I got to the gate at 9:08. There was no one there. The plane had left 15 minutes early.

I frantically used the wonderful tool that is my Blackberry to call every single airline that flies out of Chicago O'Hare to find a flight that would get me to DC in time to get to the race. Apparently, red eyes are a thing of the 90's...or maybe just weekdays because not a single airline had a flight leaving the airport. I was stuck. I sat down on my suitcase and cried bawled. Everything that has been bothering me and slightly stressing me out for the last 2 weeks just came out. I came so close to a meltdown on Thursday night but a 5 mile prep run for the Cherry Blossom cured that. Not running the Cherry Blossom and being stranded in Chicago brought about the meltdown. I honestly don't remember the last time I cried that hard.

A woman on my flight tried to cheer me up by me about a friend who missed an ultra for the same reason. That didn't help. My mom said "These things happen," that didn't help at all. I went to the kiosk to deal with the people at United who were just abysmally unhelpful from the moment we first deplaned at South Bend. They put me in a hotel for the night and gave me a $15 voucher for food. I got to the hotel. The cheapest thing on the menu was $15. Great...now I have to dish out another $10 for a drink and tip because United is cheap. I called the Front Desk to find out if the fitness center was open 24 hours. I needed to run so badly. It wasn't. So I texted my friend Steph and told her I wasn't going to make it. She tried to make me feel better by joking around. That didn't work. She got that real fast and then she wrote this:

"I'm sad that you won't be with me in the am. But you just ran your heart out at your recent half. Got a new PR. And you have more races to come. And next year, you're coming in on Thursday. I wish I could hug you from here. I'll think of you at the finish so I finish hard. If it wasn't for you I would never have made it to the start. I won't forget that."

With that, I slowly got dressed for bed and went to sleep. I got to DC this morning at 9:30. I took the Metro to Steph's apartment and watched what felt like everyone in the building coming in from the race while I waited for her. It took everything in me to not start bawling again in the middle of the lobby. I spent the early part of the day with some friends and then I laced up and went for a run. I didn't know how far I wanted to run but I just needed to go. Around Mile 3 I started crying again. But I kept running. When I hit 8 miles, I thought about going the full 10. Then I decided not to because my heart just wasn't in it. Then I asked myself what the hell kind of runner I was and I went the extra 2 miles. Almost the entire time I was running, there were Cherry Blossoms on either side of me. I may not have run the Cherry Blossom 10-mile but I ran my own Cherry Blossom 10-mile.

It's been a really rough 2 weeks. I don't think I would have been nearly as much of a mess under any other circumstances but I just felt like this was the culmination of 2 weeks of nothing but stress.

I feel better having still run the 10 miles but it stings not having that post-race glow. But like Steph said, I have other races and that's what I need to focus on. In the mean time, I'm going to take the next 3 days that I'm in DC to relax. I'll go to the meetings I have to go to but other than that, I'm just going to relax and take the time to de-stress.

Thanks for listening.
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