Thursday, November 29, 2012

Shiny New Marathon PR

I have been waiting 4+ years to write that :)  This PR has been years in the making :)  It only took about 7026.2 miles (my training partner thought of that one) You know the whole trip to NY thing happened.  It still seems a little surreal that I was finally able to put it all together.
The double taper must be a good thing for me.  I know things happen for a reason and for me it was not until after my 20+ miler in Central Park after the NYC marathon was canceled that I really believed that I was totally capable of running a 3:15.  That run gave me the confidence and let me relax a little.  Don't get me wrong I was still nervous but not crazy nervous.  Tyler, Nick, and I headed up to Seattle on Saturday.  Needing sunglasses driving into Seattle in late November is a glorious thing.  Our hotel ended up being really close to the start/finish line. Things we feeling really right!  My tag line was, "this is going to be epic!"
My teammates rock!
They dropped off a recovery swag bag and made Tyler and I sweatshirts.
Cancel NYC...We go SEA

The Expo was nothing like NY, but lets be honest at that point it was all business.

I took advantage of time waiting for my hubby to get up to Seattle and laid out all my stuff.  Pre race ritual for me, it calms my nerves.  Packing for NY made this one easy.

Race outfit.  Seattle bib and NY bib :)  Forecast was awesome.  Sunny, low 40's
  We got dinner and then headed back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep.  there were some good things about Seattle over NY.  My favorite was that Seattle started at 8:15 which meant a 6:15 wakeup as opposed to a 3am wakeup call for a 9:40 start time.  I was not looking forward to trying to stay warm for 3 hours out in the cold while waiting for the NY marathon to start.  

Got a pretty good nights sleep and was ready to roll :)
Tyler and I went for a little warmup in our lovely sweatshirts
It was a little chilly and foggy but it was dry.  Cant ask for more than that in Seattle.  I was happy and just so ready to run!

Shedding our warm clothes.  Seattle on the front
NY on the back
Standing at the start with the 3:15 pace group, Can you find me and Tyler?
Stay tunes for the details of the actual race, oh and my PR :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Human Spirit

 My experience in New York was certainly not what I was expecting.  It was a life altering experience. A lesson about the human spirit and my own spirit.   My previous post was written on Thursday after arriving in NYC.  I knew that the race was going to be different but I had no idea what this trip was going to be like.

 The trip began pretty great!  Chatting with Kara Goucher at baggage claim was really fun, she is so real.  We chatted about how the race was going to be different this year and how they were taking so much heat for having it.  Even though her race had been canceled she was very excited about spectating the marathon and it made me feel like I could get excited about the marathon.  Up to that point I felt guilty for even wanting to run the race.

 Friday we made our way to the expo :)  I love marathon expos, especially really big marathon expos.  Met up with Tyler ( my training partner, we planned on running the race together or at least staying together for as long as we could) picked up our race numbers, were interviewed for ESPN Deportes, chatted with Kara again (we are BFF's now), and left the expo feeling energized and dare I say even excited.  The expo felt normal but maybe that is because we were all runners there :)

 Then around 5pm as we were sitting getting hot chocolate because it was freezing outside my phone started going crazy.  Tyler called and told me the marathon had been canceled.  It was unbelievable and yet at the same time somehow I felt like I knew it was coming.  I had heard and seen the outrage that was going on all over the country because the marathon was going to happen.  I was angry although I felt like if I expressed that I was heartless because so many people were suffering.  So I tried to keep it all in and be brave.  I talked to a couple of my friends and family but was not really ready to talk much. My husband, brother and sister in law sat at the table in disbelief for about an hour.  I kept the tears in and tried to figure out what was next.  I texted my coach and after a few choice words about the timing of the cancellation and mayor Bloomberg she said, "Well you have a 21 miler tomorrow."  Direction is definitely what i needed and it got me through the next day or so.  Tyler and I made plans at dinner and tried not to think about what might have been.  So Saturday morning we met and ran 21 miles around central park.  It was great, hard, and cathartic.  My body was ready to run an amazing race and that made me happy and angry at the same time.  Seeing all the marathoners running was inspiring and sad. It was hard to see all the mile markers and marathon signs in the park.  We did 3+ loops having to go through the finish line each time.  The grandstands were up, the flags were up, and it was almost electric.  There were tears on lap 1 and 3 when we finished at the finish line.  21 miles at race pace made me confident that there is a great race in me.
Finished with 20+ miler #5
picture with our Team Athena shirts on, starting to freeze after our run
 The rest of Saturday was actually pretty emotional for me.  I tried to be happy and make the best of the situation but I failed.  I really just wanted to go home but was so torn because I could not help but feel that there was a reason that all of this had happened.  I wanted to find a way to help, to make a difference.
Why not go to a Broadway play since there would be no marathon in the morning, even if you find yourself crying in the middle of it because you have been holding it in for 2 days

5 layers on because I was freezing!!
 Sunday was spent walking across he Brooklyn Bridge and enjoying some NYC pizza.  We were also able to go to Lower Manhattan and see some of the damage from the hurricane.  It was surreal to see.  The 9/11 memorial was closed due tot he hurricane but just to stand where those towers once stood left one thinking about how many lost their lives and how blessed I am.

Finally on Monday we were able to help in the relief effort.  It was rewarding to be able to help people that had lost everything.  Again it made me realize how grateful I am for everything that I have been blessed with.  It also made me realize that you have to make the most of the time you have because at any point it can be taken away.  These people were pulling together to get through a huge disaster.  In times of great tragedy the true human spirit shines through.

Lessons from NYC-
-Life does not always go as planned, there is a lesson in every experience we have
-I am stronger than I think I am.  I can get through hard things.
-People are amazing and there is good in all people, sometimes it just takes a little effort to find it
-Things happen for a reason and sometimes we are not able to see the reason for some time
-I appreciate my life more now, I love my life more now.

So grateful to have Tyler to share this experience with.  We got each other through this.

I could not walk by a fire station and not think about 9/11.  This city has been through so much and its people are stronger for it.  I hope that I can grow stronger through my trials too!
Running in Central Park was amazing!  Next year I will be back crossing the finish line :)

In the meantime, whats next?  Well I am running the Seattle marathon on Sunday!  Aghh!!  It does not really seem real!  It is hard to get mentally psyched up for this race.  I have trained hard and am hoping for an amazing race.  This journey has been an interesting one and I am hoping it has a happy ending.  Lets hope the double taper is the key to an amazing race

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mixed feelings-NYC 2012

What an emotional roller coaster this last week has been.  A week ago I was so excited for the New York marathon.  I have had the best training cycle that I have ever had and have stayed relatively injury free ( just the routine aches and pains).  Our trip was planned and full of fun stuff, the kids schedule was worked out in my absence.  I was full of hope and excitement.  Then news came that hurricane Sandy was headed for the east coast.  Still hopeful I watched and prayed for the people on the east coast, hoping that it would not be as bad as they were predicting.
Well as you all know it hit and it hit hard.  There is so much devastation and loss.  The marathon seemed very insignificant.  There was question as to whether it would go on at all.  I kept packing and planning as if it would but I had a pit in my stomach.  Wondering how I could travel to NY and run a marathon in the middle of so much hurt.  Would the people of NY think that we did not care about their loss?  Would they think that all we cared about was running the marathon and meeting our goals?  My excitement was gone and instead I felt guilt for even caring about the marathon.  My husband and I made the decision that if they decided to have the marathon we would go.  The city needed the economic boost and if they decided to have it we should go.  So we got on a plane this morning and I am now sitting in an apt In upper Manhattan typing this post.  I watched the local news tonight and the loss is worse than I was aware of.  As we were in a taxi driving to our apt we passed many police officers guarding gas stations where there were very long lines.  People are suffering, hungry and cold.  I want to be able to help, it is heartbreaking!
So while I hope to have a good race it is not about me anymore.  This race is dedicated to NYC, to a city that has been through so much, to it's people who are fierce, strong, and resilient but who are suffering and have been asked to do so much.
My hope is that while I am here I will find a way to help, to ease someone's pain.

I will run hard, I will give it my all as the people effected by this disaster have.