November 29, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Sooo I had a post planned for earlier this week recapping just how awesome my weekend was but I'm waiting for a certain boyfriend of mine to get back from flying the high skies and email me all of the pictures that are on his camera so that I can actually post it! So until's what's going on this week.

1. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - I gave The Pilot a mission this year: to be the Cindy Lou Who to my Grinch and try to spread some Christmas cheer to my two-sizes-too-small Grinch-like heart. He's taken his mission quite seriously and made me listen to Christmas music on the drive up to Rochester. Today, I actually found myself singing Christmas songs in my car. Who am I? So yes, this year I'm trying to get into the Christmas spirit. So far, it's involved Christmas music and network television Christmas specials. So far, I'm managing just fine without having to dip into the egg nog but we'll see how that goes when I start shopping!

The goal is to look like this people...only not
2. 2012 Goals - With Christmas right around the corner...that means the New Year is also right around the corner...which means I should probably get to work on some of those lingering 2012 goals I have yet to accomplish. Like run a sub-4 marathon. Just kidding. That's not going to happen. I have no desire whatsoever to run another marathon this year. I do however have a college scrapbook that hasn't been touched in about 2 years. I should probably get on that...

3. Planners - Last year, I Mom splurged on an Erin Condren planner for me for Christmas. I was great about using it through the beginning part of the year when I lived, worked and worked out all in the same building and rarely ever left and didn't have to carry a 5 pound planner around with me but honestly, it's way too big to carry around on a daily basis. So I'm hunting for planners again. I have my eye on the Martha Stewart for Staples calendars but I have to go check them out. I also spotted the Mead planners I used to use in high school and college and I always loved them so I may go back to those. We'll see.

What are some of your favorite ways to get into the Christmas spirit? How are you doing on your 2012 goals? Any lingering goals that you've yet to work on? Anything you didn't get to accomplish this year that you're setting your eyes on again for next year? What kind of planner do you use?

Happy Thursday!

November 21, 2012

On Being Thankful

My family doesn't really celebrate Thanksgiving. A few times, in college, I went home with friends who had "proper American Thanksgivings" and it was always kind of weird to me...the whole stuff-your-face-with-turkey-and-say-what-you're-thankful-for thing just never really resounded with me. This year is a little bit different though. This year has been kind of tough and I feel like when things get rough is when you should take the most time to reflect on what's really great in your life because if you can't do that, things will start to get really bad.

I let that happen this summer and I got whipped back into shape real fast.

So this year, I want to really take a minute to share some of the things I'm thankful for...the things that have made the tough times this year just a little bit easier to handle.

I'm thankful that I have an income. It may not be doing what I love and it may not be the greatest, but I'm saving money and that's going to lead to bigger and better things for next year.

I'm thankful that my family was ok after Hurricane Sandy. We all had some pretty significant damage but no one was hurt and I'm grateful for that. It was a scary night when the hurricane hit and I'm happy that everyone was ok.

I'm thankful for The Pilot. He has been so unbelievably amazing this year. From coming to my races to taking care of me when I'm sick/injured to whisking me away to Paris to making every possible arrangement in his work schedule to get time off when I need/want him to to just getting it...I'm so unbelievably lucky to have him.

I'm thankful for and old. Friendships change and I learned that the hard way this year...but I've made some amazing friends this year and rekindled old relationships and I'm grateful to have so many amazing people in my life.

I'm thankful for running. It keeps me sane. Training for the New York City Marathon kept me together this summer. Even when New York fell through, I'm so lucky to have been able to run Richmond with such an amazing group of girls. Part of me misses training already I'm really happy to have the next few months off to not have an Excel sheet to go off and just get back to the basics of running before my next training cycle begins.

I'm thankful for my mom. She's the most amazing woman I know. From popping over to Madrid to support me in my race to just being the most incredible mom, I'm so lucky to have her. If I can ever be half the mom to my own kids that my mom has been to me, I'll be a damn good mother.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Whether it's something you always do or not, take a moment this year to reflect on what you're thakful for.
It's good for the soul...I promise. =)

November 19, 2012

Love/Don't Love

1. I didn't have much of a weekend since I had to work Friday and Saturday night but Sunday, The Pilot and I headed into Brooklyn to see my roommate from when I was in Geneva who just moved to New York and we had a great time! Love.

Love this picture of us on the ferry from Williamsburg to Brooklyn Bridge!
2. I am sick today. I've been nauseous all day and have had a horrible headache and my knee has been hurting. Don't Love.
3. The Pilot and I are heading up to Rochester this weekend for my friend Stephanie's wedding! I'm so excited for her and I can't wait for a weekend reunion with all my DC loves. Love.
4. I really want to see Anna Karenina this week but it isn't playing anywhere near me! Don't Love.
5. I feel like good things might be coming my way soon and I really hope I'm right. I'm sorry for being shady but I don't want to reveal anything unless things come to fruition. Love.

6. My Madrid sister Ally is coming to town this week! We're having a sleep over on Wednesday and are going to do all sorts of fabulous things together on Thursday morning and I can't wait because seriously...I haven't seen her since MDI and that was almost a month ago! Love.
7. I've run a total of 1.4 miles since Richmond and I'm totally ok with that. So far not training for a marathon is just as fun as training for a marathon. Love.

That's that! 
I'm excited for the shortened week because of the Holiday!

November 15, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Getting Back in Shape - It seems a little weird to be saying that I need to get back in shape when I ran a marathon on Saturday but 2 weeks of carb-loading and light running with little to no cross-training has left me aching for a good workout. I have done virtually no form of exercise since Richmond and I have loved every second of it. Don't get me wrong, I love running but it was only yesterday that I was finally able to walk up and down the stairs like a normal human. Tonight, I'm going to Refine Method with Ashley and tomorrow, I'm trying out a spin class on an 'unstationary' bike. Quite frankly, it terrifies me and I'm really scared I might fall off the bike. We'll see.

This video makes me giggle.

2. Anniversary - The Pilot and I had our 3 year anniversary on Tuesday...and last night, we learned that we both have the same favorite style of beer. We've had a lot of fun together and this year, he's been there for me through a lot of not so fun stuff and it means the world to me that he's stuck around. Here's to the next year being even better than the last 3. I love you babe.

3. NYC Marathon - I've gotten a lot of questions about what's happening with the NYC Marathon. Well, I don't know. New York Road Runners has been dead silent since they cancelled the race other than to ask for 'patience' while they sort this out. Really? It's been 2 weeks. Every so-called expert from pro-runners to coaches to Runners' World and the New York Times has formulated some kind of opinion on how NYRR should handle the situation and they've all, for the most part, come up with some pretty sensible solutions. I don't understand why it's taking a random person behind a computer 20 minutes to think up a well thought out solution and blog about it, when it's taking NYRR 2 weeks...and counting. 

That's all for today!
If you don't hear from me, I've fallen off a spin bike somewhere!

November 14, 2012

Baseball Season

It was almost 3 years ago that I decided to set out on a mission to visit every Major League Baseball stadium. Initially, the goal was to go to all of them before I turned 25. That didn't happen, so I reset my deadline to the end of the 2012 season.

Well, baseball season came and went and, while I did manage to go to a few more stadiums, I didn't get to all of them.

I blame The Pilot.

Just kididng. Sort of. See, all through the off season, The Pilot was getting these amazing 24-36 hour layovers in baseball cities like Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Houston, and Milwaukee. I couldn't wait for baseball season to start so that I could start dropping "Oops" posts like it was my job and take off to all of these cities to nail the rest of those ballparks on my list.

This baseball season? He didn't get one. What!? I mean, he got a few, but they were all to baseball cities that I had been to before! His schedule this summer and my lack of a job (and income) made it even harder for us to jet off to random cities at our choosing, so my baseball adventures are pushed back yet another year.

I had a fantastic baseball season this year though. I went to a few Mets know when they weren't absolutely terrible.

I almost went to Johan Santana's No-Hitter...but didn't.

I went back to San Francisco with my little nephew.

I went to Philly and realized that I actually loved their stadium.

I went to Nationals Park with one of the biggest baseball fans I know and watched the Mets throw a game and screamed profanities at the players with Katie's husband.

I went to Cincinnati and watched Bronson Arroyo pitch a perfect game well into the 8th inning.

I went to All-Star Weekend in Kansas City.

All in was 4 new stadiums bringing the grand total to 18.

I'm just gonna go out and say again that I'm going to try and get in those last 12 before the end of the 2013 season. Why not? I've already got plans to go to Cleveland and run a Half-Mary with Holly and The Pilot is itching to LA. A West Coast trip in April for a spring marathon might make that happen.

We'll see. If I don't get to all of them, I'll just keep working my way through season after season. Let's just hope The Pilot starts getting some good overnights next season so that I can knock out the remaining 12 though shall we?

And in all honesty, I can't say I'm not sad to see baseball season having come and gone. I'm so glad the Giants won (my brother-in-law is the biggest Giants fan I know) but the way the Mets were playing after the All-Star Game was just painful to watch!

Until April...18 down. 12 to go!

November 12, 2012

Race Recap: Richmond Marathon

Q:You know what I love about the marathon?
A: That you learn something new in ever race.

Q: You know what else I love about the marathon?
A: That after 5 marathons, I can actually, finally say that I love the marathon distance.

If you had asked me how I felt about the marathon distance between miles 17-19 and during mile 21 of the Richmond Marathon on Saturday, however, I would have given you a very different answer that would have involved a highly offensive amount of profanity.

I'm so freaking happy that I caved into Twitter and joined #teamrichmond and sat in a car for 8 1/2 hours with a bunch of girls I had never met to run a marathon this weekend because seriously? This weekend was absolutely amazing.

#teamrichmond at the start with both our Richmond and NYC race bibs

We all stayed at Katie's parents' house which was about a 20 minute ride from the Start and got there with ample time to check bags, stretch and line up before the gun went off. I was way more nervous than usual but I set off at a comfortable pace with Ashley and Katie and just like that, I was running Marathon #5.

We kept a steady pace and the miles were just flying by. The course was very far from being "flat" which we had all thought, but the hills were manageable and Katie's strategy of racing up the hill and recovering on the downhill really worked for me.

People loved that we had our NY bibs on our backs! So many runners chatted with us, asked us about the race, welcomed us and shared their own stories of NY being cancelled and it was so great just casually talking to strangers the whole time. There were signs all over the course that said "Welcome to Richmond, NYC Marathon Runners!" and a guy who was carrying a sign around that said "Route of NYC Marathon." It was great to feel so supported along the course by so many strangers, especially after the mess of last week.

When we hit Mile 11, I started getting nervous again and we were tackling an up hill and I started falling way behind Katie and Ashley and getting really out of breath and started to panic a little bit. Somehow, I managed to catch up with them and Katie totally calmed me down and we made it to the Half and had a spectacular moment of hitting the Half marker at the exact same time.

Since I was running with friends, I didn't spend a heck of a lot of time looking at my watch and when we hit Mile 15, I swore that the sign we were at was wrong because I thought we were at 14 until I looked at my watch. That is an amazing feeling to have during a marathon.

Mile 16 was the Lee Bridge which I was deathly afraid of after my experience with the 14th Street Bridge at Marine Corps but I took it like a champ and actually gained some speed. Ashley started to pick up the pace and around 17.5, she turned and mouthed something and took off. When I got to where she was standing, I saw Bart Yasso! I ran over to him and he high fived me and said "Lookin good girl!"

Holy shit. Bart Yasso just told me I was looking good. Run faster! Run faster! 

See! See! Bart Yasso told me I looked good! *TWICE*
And I wanted to, except that I was going up hill, and my nose started bleeding and I didn't know why so I didn't. At this point, I was running by myself. Katie had dropped back and Ashley had picked up the pace so I put on my music and just focused on getting to the 20 mile mark in 3 hours so that I could focus on going sub-4.

I hit Mile 20 right at the 3 hour mark and just started to focus. The last 10k of Richmond are a total blur. I have never been so focused during a race in my life.

Mile 21 was the worst mile of the race. It was awful. I don't even know what was so bad about it. All sorts of negativity snuck in. I started crying when I realized that I still had 5 miles to go. Then I started thinking...Marathons are so stupid. This is stupid. Everything hurts. Why do I do this shit? I hate this. I just want to be done. What's the point? I should just stop and wait for my friends. Why is this mile so freaking endless. I'm never going to finish. I still have to run for almost an hour. Ahhhhhh.

At Mile 22, I picked my head up and I picked the pace up and I shut out every single one of those thoughts. When Mile 23 hit, a thought popped into my head - You are about to finish your 5th marathon and you are DAMN close to hitting your goal. So I started working. Hard. I picked up the pace a little bit and I focused more than I have ever focused. I didn't pay attention to signs, spectators, or runners. I put one foot in front of the other and I just ran.

Mile 24 was up hill and it was hard. I had refilled my water bottle at Mile 20 and had run out again but I didn't want to stop for more and lose time. Towards the end of the mile, I started getting dizzy. Really dizzy. Mile 25.5 to the Finish were straight down hill. When I hit 25, everything started to blur and I started getting nauseous. I hit Mile 26 in 4:00:32 and my first thought was, I'm going to PR the shit out of this marathon.

And then everything faded. I know I crossed the Finish Line because I felt the timing mat under my foot. I couldn't see anything and I couldn't walk in a straight line. I felt like absolute death. I saw Ashley up ahead and felt like she was 26 miles away. I vaguely remember taking some pictures before I found myself lying on the ground with Gia standing over me asking how I felt.

<3 this girl
I gave the Richmond Marathon everything I had and then some. I finished in 4:01:04...a 2 minute, 6 second PR and I was ecstatic! I did everything right in this marathon. There isn't a single thing I could have done differently to have gotten a better time. This was the first time I ran a marathon without stopping. In hindsight, some Gatorade or other form of electrolytes probably would have prevented me from getting so dizzy and might have helped me pick up the pace a little bit towards the end but I don't care. I ran the best race I could run and I put everything on the line and I'm so unbelievably happy to have worked so hard and to have walked away with a new marathon PR. Oh and it wouldn't be right if I didn't say that I couldn't have done it without Ashley and Katie. Thanks for the miles ladies. It was a blast.

Happy NYC Runners in Richmond! Every one of us PRd on Sunday!
I had thought I would be disappointed if I didn't go sub-4 but I'm not at all. How could I be? I ran a great race and you know what? I'm 2 minutes and 4 seconds closer to that goal and I know that I'll get it next time!

Stay tuned: Marathon #6 Training will becoming to you in January 2013!

Congratulations to all of #teamrichmond: To the first time marathoners, the marathon returners, the BQs, the PRs, and to those who proved that finishing is the biggest accomplishment of all. I'm so proud of each of you and so proud to have been able to run with you.

November 7, 2012


"The power of one is above all things the power to believe in yourself, often well beyond any latent ability you may have previously demonstrated. The mind is the athlete; the body is simply the means it uses to run faster or longer, jump higher, shoot straighter, kick better, swim harder, hit further, or box better"...It means "thinking well beyond the powers of normal concentration and then daring your courage to follow your thoughts."

And lastly...

"Maybe strong is just what's left when you've used up all your weak."

It's Marathon Week. 
Take II.
Stay Tuned.

November 5, 2012

What a Week

Friday morning, I made my way to the Javits Center to pick up my race packet for the New York City Marathon. 

I walked into the Javits Center and saw thousands upon thousands of runners taking pictures in their shirts and race bibs and tried desperately to absorb the hustle and bustle of the Expo and get excited to tackle 26.2 miles on Sunday over the course of the world's largest marathon.

It shouldn't have been easy for me to to get excited for a race that I started preparing for almost 2 years ago to the date...but the excitement at the Expo was somewhat muted. Everyone was conflicted over where the marathon should go on...but here we all were...just 2 days away and trying to psyche ourselves up for a marathon that none of us were sure we should run. It was easy to see - just in catching someone's eye - that I was very much not alone in how I felt about this race.

I left the Expo, met up with Emily for an easy shakeout run and started to mentally prepare myself to run a marathon on Saturday. No less than an hour later, the news broke all over Twitter and the major broadcast stations that the ING New York City Marathon had been cancelled for the first time in the event's history.

A rush of emotions flooded over me - frustration, anger, sadness, grief...and an overwhelming sense of relief.

Friday night, I did what just about every other runner in New York I know did. I drank.

On Saturday, Emily and I headed out for a run in Central Park. Just after we had hit 4 miles, she asked me how far I wanted to go. I almost started crying. I felt like she was asking me what the meaning of life was. How far should I go? I'm not even supposed to be running today, I'm supposed to be running a marathon tomorrow. I felt good so we kept going. Around Mile 8 or 9, we came across the New York City Marathon Finish Line. We immediately started sprinting, hoping to cross the line but it was closed off. We walked to the other side of the Finish and I just lost it. I completely fell apart. 

It was completely and utterly unfair for Mayor Bloomberg and the New York Road Runners to cut the cord on the marathon on Friday night. Yes, it was the right decision, but it needed to be made 3 days before. 

The worst part of everything though was the backlash that came from the city of New York. It was absolutely appalling. It's impossible to not take it personally when it isn't just Facebook commentators but major news outlets like NBC that are calling runners insensitive, selfish, narcissistic and unsympathetic. 

It got so bad that my dad called me from Texas to tell me that he feared for my safety if I were to run this race. People threatening to throw garbage at the runners, saying that they hoped runners would drop dead mid-race, threatening protests...Tell me: How would any of that have helped New York to recover?

How is it that all of this backlash was targeted at the runners who weren't at all responsible for making the decision to hold the race -  but were already making commitments to help. In the wake of disaster, New York City decided to turn their attention to the marathon instead of to the relief efforts. What makes anyone think that runners AREN'T doing everything they can to aid in relief efforts? What makes anyone think that runners couldn't have run the marathon AND assisted in relief efforts?

I came across these two posts this morning and I couldn't agree with either of them more: 

I spent Saturday night looking for marathons to run. I couldn't let all of my training go to race. I had always had Dallas in the back of my head but the idea of running a race 5 weeks from now would have brought my training cycle to 21 weeks...with 3 weeks of base training...the idea of training for that much longer made me nauseous. 

I looked at some other options. Ally offered to come to Tulsa if I ran Route 66 and The Pilot would have been able to make it but I took too long to decide and the race sold out before I knew it. I desperately wanted to run Philly...I could get really excited about running my first marathon again but Philly seems to have no interest whatsoever in allowing bib transfers for deferred New Yorkers. There's a race in Fort Worth next weekend, which is wear my dad lives, but it doesn't seem like a very good one. Almost everyone I knew who was supposed to run New York registered for Richmond and when it became my only option, I went ahead and registered yesterday afternoon. 

I'm trying to get excited to run a marathon this weekend but it's been tough. I know that there won't be a cloud hanging over me or the race this weekend. I won't have my mom or The Pilot out on the course cheering for me but I will have Katie there to spectate and a slew of other New York runners running alongside me and it's that camaraderie that I think is the only thing that didn't shut me down from running another marathon this year at all. 

So, this weekend I'll be running the Richmond Marathon. I'll spend yet another week carb loading and getting excited to run the race I've been training for for the better part of this year. Just writing this post, I'm already starting to get excited about the race. I really hope this race goes well for me because after everything else this week...I need to have a good race. 

November 1, 2012

Sandy and the NYCM

Hurricane Katrina hit during my Freshman year of college. That year, I spent spring break in New Orleans cleaning and gutting houses from the aftermath of the storm. 

I never imagined that I would see that same kind of damage at home. My mom lives in Central Jersey and I'm fortunate that we only had strong winds and a little bit of rain to deal with. The biggest signs of damage here are down power lines, uprooted trees and a lot of fences taken out (ours included). 

My uncle lives at the Jersey Shore. He lost his home due to severe flooding. My aunt and uncle live about 15 minutes away and had a tree come through their living room. By comparison, we're lucky. A tree came through our roof but thankfully didn't break the ceiling. We have significant roof damage and the ceiling in my mom's bedroom is damaged from water seeping through but we're so so so lucky.

                                           The tree that caused the damage. 
The roof/side of the house
It's 8pm right now and we regained power about an hour ago. When my mom and I pulled down our street and saw all of the lights on, we were both reduced to tears. It's easy living without TV or internet and we  were able to keep our phones alive by using them minimally and plugging them in at stores once the stores opened again so we were able to stay in touch with family but living by candelight was hard. With the aftermath of the storm, we needed candles by 2 or 3pm and not having heat was absolutely terrible. It's amazing how easy it is to take advantage of something as simple as electricity but I'm so unbelievably grateful to have it back and praying hard for everyone who still doesn't have it...most of my family included. 

This week has been physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. That said, it's been really hard to think about the marathon. Yesterday I posted some of my thoughts on it and since I posted, the marathon has officially been confirmed but after getting power back and being able to watch the news and hopping on the internet and reading some of the backlash over the decision to still host the race...I'm torn over whether it was the right decision.

Someone posted a comment on NYRR's Facebook page saying that it's wrong to hand out water, food and fleece lined ponchos when there are people who have lost their homes and have no access to water, food, heat and shelter. 

Ouch. It does seem wrong. 

I will still be running the New York City Marathon. I've barely been through anything this week compared to most people it hasn't been easy for me by any stretch of the imagination and the opportunity to still run is giving me something to look forward to. From what I understand, Staten Island is an absolute mess. If NYRR and the Mayor's Office were to turn around tomorrow and decide against hosting the race, I would completely understand but right now, if the race is on, I'll be there. I trust that if Mayor Bloomberg made the decision to go on with the race, then I'll be there to run it.

I haven't exactly been secretive about my feelings toward New York City on this blog but I can say this - I grew up in New Jersey. I went to college on Long Island and I lived in New York City. The areas affected by Hurricane Sandy have all - at some point or another - been home to me, and I'll be pouring my heart and soul over the streets of New York this Sunday. 

After all, it's the least I can do. 
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